How to Teach College Courses Online
Teaching college courses online might seem like a great job. You get to work from home, the schedule’s a lot more flexible than it is if you’re teaching traditional classes, and you still get the prestige of teaching for a university. But teaching courses online can be a lot of work—and it’s not always easy to get hired. Here are a few pointers for how to find a job teaching college classes online.
Get an advanced degree
Most colleges require an online PhD to teach, although with some disciplines, particularly in the Fine Arts, you may be able to get hired with a Masters-level degree. In addition, some community colleges may only require a Masters-level degree to teach. Either way, you’ll most likely need more than a Bachelor’s.
There are some exceptions, however. If you have a long history of experience in a field—particularly a more vocation-based field—you may be able to get a job teaching at some colleges without an advanced degree. And a few colleges are willing to
hire adjunct professors to teach solely online classes without requiring
the same standards needed for a more traditional position.
Online teaching may look like a dream job, but it isn’t as easy as it seems.
Some colleges only hire online teachers from their existing faculty pool. If you go this route, getting a job teaching classes online may be a long-term project. First you’ll need to get hired in a traditional position. Then you could volunteer for online teaching duties or let your school know of your interest, or—if your school doesn’t have an existing online program—you could work to start one. Being familiar with the latest online education applications and technologies will work in your favor here.
Apply for online positions
While many colleges hire online teachers from the inside, it’s still possible to find online teaching positions advertised online. It’s not always easy—but do a Google search for online college teaching positions and see what you come up with. Other places to check out include HigherEdJobs.com—most of the jobs here are more traditional, but you may be able to find a few online teaching opportunities as well; Adjunct Professors Online, affiliated with CNNMoney; or Online Adjunct Jobs, a service that collects online teaching positions directly from college sites.
Talk to the schools
If you’re interested in working with a particular online school, consider emailing or calling them directly to find out about current openings. Many online and for-profit schools list available online teaching positions on their websites. And if they don’t, bear in mind that many of these schools are expanding, and the one you want to work with may just be looking for new teachers—even if the positions aren’t listed. Get in touch and see if you can find any leads.
Seek out people who’ve landed these jobs
Look for discussion boards, LinkedIn groups, blogs, and other online communities that cater to people who either are already online teachers or who are looking for work in that area. It’s especially valuable to make connections with other people who’ve already gotten hired. You never know what kind of leads and advice you may be able to get.
Online teaching may look like a dream job, but it isn’t as easy as it seems. Still, you may be able to land a job teaching online for a college through a variety of paths—from the traditional teaching approach to applying directly to online job openings, contacting schools, and networking. Use every opportunity and method available to you, and you may be able to find your ideal job teaching in an online classroom.
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