Online Education Schools
Pursuing an online teaching degree is possible by enrolling in online school education programs that culminate in a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees. Although states differ in regards to qualifications necessary to legally teach in that state, all elementary, high school and college-level teaching positions minimally require a bachelor’s degree plus an additional year of schooling that culminates in a teaching certification. However, some states accept no less than a master’s degree before teaching privileges are granted for both secondary and post-secondary instructor positions.
Teacher’s Aide Certifications
Certification as a teacher’s assistant is offered by several online education schools such as Kaplan University and Penn Foster Online Schools. As a one to two year program that provides instruction concerning general education subjects, educational psychology, child psychology and development and effective classroom supervision, a teacher’s aide certificate grants individuals the qualifications necessary to help teachers in the classroom with assignments, paperwork, student monitoring and taking attendance. In the past, obtaining employment as a teacher’s aide did not require certification but a growing number of states are now requiring teaching assistants possess at least a two-year associate’s degree in addition to successfully completing a competency test.
Teaching Kindergarten Through 12th Grade
Online education schools offering teacher certification programs develop programs comprised of courses essential to earning a teaching degree within the state they operate. For example, students enrolled in an online education school established in California may need to take the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET®) test developed by the CTC (Commission on Teaching Credentialing) in the state of California. This examination determines knowledge of basic skills and competence level regarding the teacher’s area of specialization (math, science, history). Alternatively, earning a teaching certification in Ohio requires potential instructors to complete a bachelor’s degree program, pass the State Board of Education licensure test and finish 12 semester hours of study involving early and middle childhood education and intervention specialist readings.
In addition to obtaining a bachelor’s degree and passing state-mandated licensure testing, students are expected to complete a certain amount of hours working as an intern under the supervision of a licensed teacher. Depending on how many hours a state requires student teachers to accumulate in internship positions may influence the amount of time needed to finish a bachelor’s degree. A list of obligations necessitated by each state’s Department of Education can be found here: State Departments of Education
For students who have a non-teaching bachelor’s degree–such as a Bachelor of Arts in English or History–but would like to pursue positions in the teaching field, enrolling in a post-bachelor’s program would allow these students to obtain the internship and coursework necessary for receiving a state teaching certification. Post-bachelor diplomas take ten to 20 months to complete, depending on the state’s Department of Education requirements and the type of degree the student possesses.
Master’s Degree in Teaching
Teachers desiring to enhance their knowledge regarding a specific subject in order to teach that subject in primary or secondary schools need to enroll in an online education school’s master’s program. Obtaining an MIT or Master’s Degree in Education (MEd) will also broaden employment opportunities to include guidance counseling, special education, pedagogic research and administrative positions within the academic field. Individuals with master’s degrees may be able to teach at a community college or vocational school while working on their doctorates which enables them to teach at the university level.
Doctorate Degree in Teaching
While earning a master’s degree in teaching usually takes five to six years, the time it takes to obtain a Ph.D. in teaching a specific subject varies greatly. For example, students who wish to become instructors of anthropology will be required to produce a thesis regarding a non-Western culture in which they live and work for several months. Alternatively, a student pursuing a doctorate in teaching philosophy may take several years to complete a dissertation that could consist of several hundred pages.
The Praxis Examination
The Praxis Series™ examinations are essential components of the certification procedure established by each state’s Department of Education and involve two tests that assess a teacher’s general knowledge of reading, English composition and mathematics as well as the specific subject area chosen by the teacher prior to obtaining his or her teaching degree. The Praxis I examination is the general knowledge portion and the Praxis II represents questions that test the teacher’s area of expertise. Due to states having different guidelines regarding the minimum passing score, students should check with their state’s education department prior to taking the Praxis concerning score requirements.
For state-by-state information concerning the Praxis exam, visit Praxis Exam
Online Education Schools
Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Western Governors University offers online teacher licensure programs that lead to obtaining Bachelor of Arts degrees in early childhood education, mathematics, special education and the sciences (physics, biology, chemistry and geology). In addition WGU has Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs for elementary education, mathematics, social science and science. Masters of Arts degrees in teaching kindergarten through eighth grade with emphasis on math, science and elementary education are available as well.
The University of Phoenix offers an online education program providing curriculum that enables students to obtain bachelor and master’s degrees in general education, adult training and education and continuing education instruction. This school also has doctorate programs for teachers wanting to pursue degrees such as Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction and Doctor of Philosphy in Higher Education Administration.
Kaplan University’s online educational program offers courses leading to MS degrees in Educational Psychology and in Education for instructors already teaching kindergarten through 12th grade.
For students wanting to obtain employment in the teaching field without spending four to six years in school, The Stratford Career Institute provides an early childhood or teacher’s aide program that allows students to recieve an associate’s degree in less than two years.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
The NCATE sets standards of excellence for higher learning institutions presenting courses intended to culminate in a teaching degree. This accrediting council is comprised of over 35 professional organizations qualified to establish policies identifying quality educational schools that have been subjected to rigorous analysis by experienced members in various academic positions. In addition, the NCATE is also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S Department of Education.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students applying to online education schools need to fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine whether they are eligible for Pell Grants and other financial assistance that does not need repayment. Further, scholarships designed for students enrolled in teaching programs can provide financial help as well.
Some of these scholarships include:
- National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Scholarship Fund
- Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation Scholarship
- Zeta Phi Beta Isabel M. Herson Scholarship in Education
- Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarships
- Society of Physics Teachers Leadership Scholarship
Tuition for a four-year, online education school program is approximately $30,000 to $50,000, with Master’s programs generally costing more per year than Bachelor’s programs. Teachers pursuing doctorate degrees may find the price of attending seven or more years of school reaching $70,000+.
Some teachers may be eligible for loan debt forgiveness programs offered by a state’s Department of Education. For example, some states contain large urban areas where inner city teaching positions remain unfilled due to the stressful and dangerous nature of the environment. Cities like Chicago, New York and Detroit have programs that substantially reduce or forgive a teacher’s student loan debt if they agree to take a teaching position in one of these at-risk schools for a certain amount of time.
Salary Averages and Job Outlook for Teachers
Salaries of qualified educational instructors vary depending on a variety of factors. Teaching experience, degree level and geographic location of the school are two main factors causing yearly wages of teachers to range between $30,000 to over $100,000.
While employment opportunities for elementary and high school teachers remains steady, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that post-secondary teaching positions, especially at the university level, are likely to decrease in the following decade due to all states initiating financial cuts to colleges and universities as well as the glut of Ph.D. professors waiting for tenured professors to retire.