A Comprehensive Guide to an Online Teaching Degree

A teaching degree prepares graduates for careers as teachers, administrators, or professors. In addition to specializing in either elementary or secondary education, students earning a degree in teaching usually master a particular subject area such as English or mathematics. Whether they are kindergarten teachers or high school drama teachers, graduates can pursue a variety of teaching jobs that match their talents and ambition. Aside from general subjects, jobs are available in specialized subjects such as art, physical education, music, and special education. While many graduates are interested in classroom teaching, a teaching degree can also lead to careers in administration and education policy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor’s in teaching is an entry-level requirement for teachers at the elementary and secondary levels. This degree prepares graduates to earn a teaching license in their state. In some states, teachers can hold a degree in their subject area rather than a degree in education. Teachers who go on to earn a master’s degree can increase their earning potential and apply for administrative jobs as school superintendents or principals.

job opportunities for teachers will grow by 7-8% at the K-12 level in the next decade

The BLS projects that job opportunities for teachers will grow by 7-8% at the K-12 level in the next decade. In underrepresented specialities, teaching positions may be even more abundant. Teaching is an exciting field, in part because teachers help so many young students succeed in their educational and future career endeavors. An online teaching degree also allows graduates to become substitute teachers, though the requirements for substitute teaching vary by state.

Students who are enthusiastic about education can pursue many career paths by earning a teaching degree online.

Online teaching degrees offer several benefits over traditional programs. Because they are flexible and accessible, students can choose to go at their own pace or pursue an accelerated degree. Learners pursuing teaching degrees online complete coursework on their own schedules, making an online teaching degree an excellent option for working students. Pursuing a teaching degree online also allows students to arrange their student teaching experience locally in order to make important networking connections.

Accessibility

An online teaching degree allows students to access lectures anywhere, at any time. While some programs require scheduled class meetings, others provide the lectures and materials at the beginning of a course, which allows students to work at their own pace. The accessibility of online teaching degree programs makes it easy for current teachers to pursue advanced degrees.

Flexibility

Unlike traditional programs, online teaching degrees have the benefit of extreme flexibility. Many programs offer multiple start dates throughout the year, allowing students to begin their studies at a convenient time, and most offer part-time or accelerated options. Students can also choose programs that offer classes on an eight-week or shorter schedule to quickly move through course requirements.

School Options

Location can matter when it comes to online teaching degrees. Licensing requirements vary by state, and each state has its own approval process for teaching degree programs. However, an online degree allows students to select the best school — either regionally or nationally — for their interests, which can be particularly helpful for students planning to earn a license in another state.

Diversity

Teaching degrees online attract a range of students from all different backgrounds. Rather than catering to local students, online programs enroll a diverse student body, providing an excellent opportunity for students to create an expansive network.

Technology

Online programs allow students to connect with their classmates and faculty members through live class sessions, video conferencing, and other instructional delivery methods. Students also have access to university resources specifically designed for online students.

Before choosing an online teaching degree, it’s important for students to research the top schools and programs. Because teaching degrees involve a high level of specialization, prospective students may want to compare a program’s areas of emphasis — such as elementary education versus special education — rather than looking at teaching degrees more broadly.

When evaluating programs, prospective students must make sure that the institution holds accreditation. It’s important to check the prerequisites and application requirements for each program, as well as the application process and deadlines. Finally, prospective students must compare degree requirements, including any student teaching requirements.

Student Teaching Requirements by Degree

Many online teaching degrees prepare students to become teachers through student teaching. These requirements vary by degree and are often designed to meet state licensing requirements.

Associate

Rather than a traditional student teaching experience, many associate degree programs will incorporate field experience into coursework or require an internship with student teaching.

Bachelor's

At the bachelor’s level, learners complete student teaching for a minimum of 10 weeks, and in some programs, student teaching can last up to two semesters. Student teachers develop lesson plans, lead the class, and attend parent-teacher conferences.

Master's

Master’s students spend at least one semester as full-time student teachers in their educational specialty. The student teaching experience requires master’s candidates to run all aspects of the classroom, from creating lesson plans to implementing and evaluating them.

Doctorate

Doctoral candidates typically spend one or more semesters fulfilling student teaching requirements, which may include teaching at the college level. Program requirements vary depending on the specialty and the student’s career goals.

There are several degree options for students who would like to become teachers. The type of degree can determine job opportunities and salary potential, so prospective students must consider the degree level carefully when choosing an online teaching degree.

An associate degree in teaching, for example, can be earned in two years, which allows graduates to quickly enter the job market or transfer into a four-year program. In most states, teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to earn a teaching license and work in public K-12 education. A four-year bachelor’s degree in teaching online also includes a substantial student teaching requirement, preparing graduates to enter the classroom as teachers.

In most states, teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in order to earn a teaching license and work in public K-12 education

In many states, public teacher salary scales are based on the teacher’s highest degree earned. Teachers with a master’s degree can thus earn a higher salary, and the degree may also be required for moving into administrative positions, which tend to command higher salaries. A doctoral degree prepares graduates for careers in postsecondary education, administration, or leadership.

Median Salary for Teachers by Degree
Associate Degree in Teaching $$44,583
Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching $46,649
Master’s Degree in Teaching $51,020
Doctoral Degree in Teaching $58,650

Associate Degree in Teaching

An associate degree in teaching can be a good first step for students who are interested in teaching. Most associate-level teaching degree online programs require 60 credits of coursework and can be completed in two years. The degree prepares graduates to work in preschool education or as paraeducators, also known as teacher’s assistants. Paraeducators may work as classroom assistants in kindergarten or elementary classrooms, as an aide for teachers, or they may participate in classroom instruction.

In most states, teachers are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in order to earn a teaching license. However, the associate degree allows students to determine whether they want to pursue further training to become a teacher, and allows graduates to transfer into bachelor’s programs. Some schools will give associate degree holders credit for meeting general education requirements.

Applicants to an associate degree in teaching program must have a high school diploma or an equivalent, but typically do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores. High school graduates interested in online teaching degrees can benefit from earning an associate degree in teaching.

Example Courses:

Foundations of Teaching

This introductory course in the teaching profession provides students with a foundation in the field, and may include field observation of working teachers.

Introduction to Special Education

This course introduces students to special education theories and practices, including equity in the classroom, facilitating learning, and serving students with diverse learning needs.

Methods of Teaching Reading

This class addresses best practices and approaches to teaching reading. Coursework covers types of reading, assessments, reading skills, and other practices to teach reading processes.

Field Experience

When earning a teaching degree online at the associate level, students may gain field experience both through observation of teachers as well as student teaching practicums that allow students to practice their teaching in a classroom setting.

Multicultural Education

A course on the principles and practices of multicultural education focuses on cultural diversity in the classroom and how major cultures influence behavior and learning, which prepares future teachers for diverse classrooms.


Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching

A bachelor’s degree in teaching prepares graduates to earn their teaching license and pursue a career in teaching at the elementary or secondary levels. The BLS considers a bachelor’s degree the entry-level degree for public school teachers. Graduates from a bachelor’s in teaching program can apply for a state teaching license and work as a teacher, or they may choose to earn a master’s in teaching.

Students typically earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, and most programs require 120 credits of coursework. Teaching majors choose a focus, such as elementary education or secondary education, and may pursue a speciality, such as mathematics, science, or social studies. Programs typically require a mix of coursework on teaching methods and best practices, as well as advanced coursework in the teacher’s subject area. A teaching bachelor’s degree also requires a substantial student teaching experience, which may include one or two semesters of classroom teaching.

Applicants who want to earn a bachelor’s degree in teaching online must hold a high school diploma or an equivalent, and many programs set GPA minimums and require SAT or ACT scores. It’s important for prospective students to research the top online teaching programs before choosing a school.

Example Courses:

Methods in Teaching Mathematics

Many programs include classes on teaching mathematics for elementary or secondary students, and emphasize developing strategies, techniques, and materials for teaching mathematics, including assessment.

Composition for Teachers

Composition classes focus on the principles and practices of teaching language, writing, and grammar, including assessment practices, collaborative learning, and language conventions.

Introduction to Special Education

Special education encompasses both students with disabilities and gifted students. Students learn about effective instructional procedures for students with special education needs, as well as the educator’s role in serving this student population.

Teaching English Language Learners

Also known as English as a second language, or ESL, these courses focus on the theories and principles related to teaching a second language, including reading and writing instruction models.

Teaching Internship

Students may take an internship course in their specialty, which can include student teaching experience as well as designing instructional units and creating assessment plans in specialized areas.


Master’s Degree in Teaching

Earning a master’s degree in teaching can increase a teacher’s earning potential and allow current teachers to apply for administrative positions. Prospective students can choose between a master’s in education or a master’s in teaching. The master’s in teaching focuses on a subject area, such as special education, and emphasizes practical experience, while a master’s in education is a more general degree that prepares teachers for administrative, research, policy, or school counseling positions.

Most master’s programs require a minimum of 30 credits, which often includes student teaching. Accelerated master’s programs may require a single year for completion, but a standard degree typically takes two years. An online master’s degree in teaching allows working teachers to increase their salaries by earning a graduate degree.

In order earn an online master’s degree in teaching, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree does not necessarily have to be in teaching or education, as many programs admit students who hold a bachelor’s degree in their teaching subject area. Some programs may also require test scores, such as the GRE, or work experience. Before enrolling in a master’s program, it is wise for prospective students to research the top online teaching master’s programs.

Example Courses:

Assessment and Evaluation

Coursework on evaluation examines methods of assessing student learning, including written and performance tests, techniques for evaluating the effectiveness of instructional programs, and determining the reliability of evaluation instruments.

Learning Theories

Pedagogy classes focus on the relationship between learning theory and instruction by examining research-based instructional strategies and how to apply pedagogical theories in the classroom.

Curriculum Design

Courses on curriculum design examine curriculum policies and practices, including models of curriculum organization and development. These classes often include a project requiring students to create a curriculum.

Research in Educational Practices

Research courses introduce master’s students to advanced studies in education, including research on best practices, trends in education, and issues in the field.

Student Teaching Practicum

The student teaching practicum requires master’s students to gain classroom experience in order to become successful teachers. Practicums require students to be supervised while teaching for a certain number of hours.


Doctoral Degree in Teaching

Earning the highest degree in teaching prepares graduates for advanced careers in administration and academia, as well as leadership roles in education policy. Depending on a student’s career goals, however, a doctoral degree may not be the best choice since it requires a substantial time commitment.

Prospective doctoral students must choose between a Ph.D and an Ed.D. A doctorate of education (Ed.D) prepares graduates for advanced careers in education, such as administrative or research positions, and these programs do not require students to conduct original research. Ph.D programs, by comparison, prepare graduates for research-based careers, including as professors, and thus require substantial original research. Graduates with a Ph.D can apply for postsecondary teaching jobs.

Doctoral degrees typically require 60 credits of coursework, and the average Ed.D program requires three years, while a Ph.D can take four to six years. Programs may require applicants to hold a master’s degree, and a doctorate of education may also require teaching experience. The requirements vary depending on the program and the speciality.

Example Courses:

Advanced Topics in Education

Doctoral seminars in education cover a variety of advanced topics, including learning and development, theoretical frameworks, and the acquisition of knowledge.

Education Policy

Courses on education policy and theory examine the formation of educational policy, the implementation of policy, and its effectiveness for a range of student learners. Doctoral students also examine case studies in education policy.

Applied Data Analysis

In order to complete a doctoral degree in education, students must be able to conduct data analysis and quantitative analysis. These statistical techniques courses often require students to write a dissertation.

Research Review

Doctoral students in this course create a literature review about the state of research on a specialized topic. Students must critique the research and identify gaps in the field that may lead to a dissertation topic.

Learning Assessment

Through an examination of learning-centered assessment, students analyze the tools, techniques, and methods that educators use in teaching. Coursework may emphasize implementation, data collection, or reporting results from assessment projects.


Teaching Concentrations and Specialties

Within the teaching discipline, there are many different concentrations and specialities depending on the subject matter being taught and the age of the students. These teaching specialities may also have different educational requirements. While many elementary and secondary-level teaching jobs may only require a bachelor’s degree, postsecondary teaching typically requires a doctorate. The pay and job requirements vary depending on the specialty and educational requirements.

Kindergarten Education

Kindergarten teachers instruct kindergarteners in reading and phonics, numbers, and science. Many rely on play, games, and other methods to keep students engaged. Most kindergartens operate for six or seven hours a day, though some programs may be half-day, and teachers typically prepare teaching materials outside of school hours.

Elementary Education

Elementary school teachers typically instruct one class of students in a variety of topics, from reading and math to science and art. Some elementary teachers specialize in a subject, such as music, physical education, or art.

Middle School Education

Middle school teachers specialize in a subject area for grades 6-8, such as art, language arts, social studies, foreign languages, or science. They may teach multiple classes of students each day, sometimes at multiple grade levels.

Secondary School Education

High school teachers specialize in a subject area for grades 9-12, including science, mathematics, health, social science, civics, and language arts. They may also teach advanced classes where students can earn college credit.

Postsecondary Education

At the postsecondary level, professors educate future teachers, perform research, and publish academic scholarship. They may educate both undergraduates and graduate students pursuing degrees in teaching.

Special Education

Special education teachers work with children who have disabilities, as recorded in an individualized education program, known as an IEP. Teachers are responsible for modifying instructional material to meet the needs of students.


Median Salary For Teaching Specialties
Kindergarten Teacher $40,129
Elementary Teacher $43,835
Middle School Teacher $49,554
Secondary School Teacher $48,053
Postsecondary Professor $87,755
Special Education Teacher $45,336

Most teaching positions require a state-issued teaching license. In addition to licenses, teachers can earn a variety of teaching certifications, including certificates in specific areas that can improve career opportunities. The following list is not exhaustive, and students can visit the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards — which offers 25 certification areas — for more information on available certifications.

Art, Early and Middle Childhood

To earn a certification in art for early and middle childhood, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, three years of teaching experience, and a teaching license. Applicants must prepare a portfolio demonstrating proficiency in three areas and pass a content examination on art and teaching methods.

English Language Arts, Adolescence and Young Adulthood

The high-school level certification in English language arts requires teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, three years of teaching experience, and a teaching license if required by the state, as well as a portfolio showing proficiency in teaching. Applicants must pass a content examination on language arts and teaching methods.

Health Education, Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

In addition to meeting the requirements for general certification, which include a degree, teaching experience, and a graded teaching portfolio, teachers must demonstrate their content proficiency in personal health, environmental health, and interpersonal skills.

Music, Early and Middle Childhood

The elementary and middle school certification in music requires applicants to meet degree and teaching experience requirements, pass the portfolio requirements, and demonstrate content proficiency in music theory and history, performing techniques, and instrumental or vocal abilities.

Physical Education, Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

To earn a certification in physical education, applicants must pass a content exam in exercise science, motor development, and physical wellness in addition to meeting the general requirements, which include teaching experience, a degree, and a graded teaching portfolio.

Social Studies–History, Adolescence and Young Adulthood

The high-school level certification in social studies and history requires applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree, demonstrate three years of teaching experience, and pass a teaching portfolio review. They must also pass a content exam covering instructional strategies, world history, and social studies.

World Languages, Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

In order to earn the certification in world languages, applicants must meet the general requirements for teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree, and a graded teaching portfolio. In addition, they must pass a content exam covering writing and speaking knowledge of the chosen language.

Earning a Teaching License

In most states, teachers must hold a valid teaching license to apply for teaching positions. Each state sets its own requirements to earn a teaching license, so it is important to check the requirements in your state. Typically, a teaching license requires applicants to do all three of the following: complete a teaching degree from an approved teacher education program, including online teaching degrees; pass a content test as well as a teaching skills test, such as the Praxis exams; and pass a background check.

In order to earn a teaching license, prospective teachers must complete a student teaching practicum, which is typically included as part of the degree. Each state sets their own requirements for the length of student teaching, but all state-approved teacher education programs meet the requirement. However, some online teaching degree programs may not lead to licensure, so it is important to research each prospective program before enrolling.

Each state sets their own requirements for the length of student teaching, but all state-approved teacher education programs meet the requirement

After earning the teaching degree and passing all required tests and a background check, if required, applicants must apply through the state’s Department of Education to earn a teaching license. The total cost of the exams and the license can reach $500, and certification must be renewed on a regular basis.

License Reciprocity

A teaching license earned in one state may not necessarily transfer to another state. In nearly all cases, teachers who hold a valid license issued in one state must apply for a new license if they want to teach in another state. While some states offer full reciprocity for licensed teachers, others require out-of-state teachers to complete additional training, pass state-specific assessments, or provide evidence of teaching effectiveness.

Because each state sets its own qualifications for earning a teaching license, not every out-of-state license meets the requirements. Since the process can be complicated, it is wise for teachers who are planning to move to check the guidelines for reciprocity by state for more information.

Substitute Teaching Licensure

Substitute teachers may not be required to hold a teaching license. Each state sets its own educational and licensing requirements for substitute teachers, which may require a high school diploma, some college, a college degree, or even a valid teaching license. Prospective substitute teachers must check the requirements for their state.

While most graduates with a degree in teaching pursue careers in the classroom, many other career paths are open to those who earn a teaching degree online. Teachers may move into administrative positions, which can be more lucrative than teaching positions. Some of these careers — such as principals and instructional coordinators — require teaching experience, and others — like school librarian — may require an advanced degree in another field. Finally, a doctorate in education prepares students for a career in postsecondary education.

Principal

School principals work in elementary, middle, and high schools managing school operations, overseeing teachers, and coordinating curricula. This role typically requires a master’s degree and teaching experience.

Adult Literacy Teacher

Adult literacy teachers teach adults basic skills such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They may also help adult learners earn a high school equivalent diploma.

School Librarian

Librarians work in elementary, middle, and high schools, helping students find information and conduct research. School librarians with a background in teaching typically need a master’s degree in library science.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee curricula and teaching standards, develop instructional materials, and coordinate the implementation of these materials. They are also responsible for assessing the effectiveness of instruction. They typically need a master’s degree and teaching experience.

Professor

Postsecondary teachers, also known as professors, instruct students at the college level, conduct research, and publish scholarly materials. Typically, professors must have a doctorate in their field.

Best Jobs For Teaching Majors by Salary Potential
  Entry Level Mid-Career Experienced Late-Career
School Superintendent $104,000 $120,000 $109,000 $129,000
Academic Dean $79,000 $84,000 $93,000 $107,000
Postsecondary Professor $60,000 $71,000 $86,000 $99,000
Education Program Director $51,000 $57,000 $63,000 $70,000
High School Principal $78,000 $82,000 $87,000 $93,000
The Best States for Teaching Careers
Click Here to View The Full List of States
State Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Alabama 102,910 $22.35 $46,490
Alaska 21,460 $29.89 $62,160
Arizona 138,750 $21.95 $45,670
Arkansas 74,080 $21.42 $44,560
California 990,420 $29.76 $61,890
Colorado 144,710 $25.23 $52,480
Connecticut 125,420 $30.88 $64,220
Delaware 25,080 $25.84 $53,470
Florida 417,640 $23.74 $49,370
Georgia 261,120 $23.17 $48,200
Hawaii 42,590 $24.86 $51,710
Idaho 41,300 $20.20 $42,010
Illinois 373,290 $27.64 $57,480
Indiana 160,400 $23.08 $48,000
Iowa 101,590 $24.54 $51,040
Kansas 89,190 $21.45 $44,620
Kentucky 103,960 $24.29 $50,520
Lousiana 108,480 $21.84 $45,430
Maine 39,360 $23.34 $48,540
Maryland 169,360 $30.50 $63,440
Massachusetts 235,890 $31.28 $65,060
Michigan 236,510 $26.26 $54,630
Minnesota 164,560 $25.96 $53,990
Mississippi 75,450 $20.57 $42,790
Missouri 160,540 $24.15 $50,230
Montana 27,510 $20.29 $42,210
Nebraska 57,760 $24.00 $49,910
Nevada 53,520 $23.37 $48,610
New Hampshire 44,280 $24.94 $51,870
New Jersey 307,080 $28.21 $58,680
New Mexico 52,400 $24.37 $50,690
New York 691,770 $31.67 $65,870
North Carolina 266,340 $23.24 $48,330
North Dakota 22,550 $23.81 $49,520
Ohio 317,620 $26.38 $54,880
Oklahoma 93,040 $19.48 $40,520
Oregon 103,930 $27.62 $57,450
Pennsylvania 338,260 $26.81 $55,760
Rhode Island 33,470 $28.55 $59,390
South Carolina 114,000 $22.66 $47,130
South Dakota 24,170 $20.29 $42,210
Tennessee 151,460 $22.80 $47,410
Texas 739,040 $23.93 $49,780
Utah 84,850 $24.34 $50,630
Vermont 26,710 $23.43 $48,720
Virginia 240,180 $27.04 $56,240
Washington 182,060 $25.73 $53,510
West Virginia 41,470 $21.90 $45,540
Wisconsin 164,820 $24.29 $48,230
Wyoming 20,230 $23.19 $48,230

Tal Thompson Fifth Grade Teacher

Tal Thompson, or Tall Tal, is a fifth grade teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tal began his teaching career in 1998 in Michigan. Through the years, he taught in Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, and now South Carolina. He is the proud father of two amazing boys and has been married to his best friend, Ann, for 18 years. Working with kids and being an educator has always been Tal’s passion. Tal received his elementary education degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1997. Later, he received his master’s in mathematics from Walden University.

In 2015, Live with Kelly and Michael chose Tal as a Top 4 Finalist for America’s Top Teacher. He also became a National Board Certified Teacher that year, and in 2016, he received the South Carolina Citizen Education Elementary Teacher of the Year Award. Tal’s success derives from his ability to connect, push, and cultivate confidence within his students.

Describe your philosophy of teaching.

I believe that we are a very unique industry. We don’t measure success with financial currency. We have a different bottom line. It’s human currency. Our bottom line is kids. I believe the role of a teacher has changed tremendously in my career. We are no longer the “givers of knowledge.” We are facilitators of experiences. Empowering students is my goal everyday. I want to have students direct their learning in authentic and relevant ways. I provide unique and engaging experiences for them to showcase their talents and to develop critical thinking skills. Every student should be more self confident and value their role in this world after coming through my class. Grow our kids, grow our currency, change the world.

What skills are essential to teaching?
  • Relentlessness – If you’re in education, you love kids. That won’t always be enough. You will need to have a drive in you that refuses to let kids down. You will need to be relentless in cultivating an environment that makes you seek the best version of every kid that crosses your path.
  • Focuse – It is real easy to get caught up in the negativity and drama that surrounds education and also the teacher’s lounge. You must stay focused on the goal: kids. Whatever it takes to make kids the focus is your job. They deserve the best version of you as well. That version does not let outside noise interfere in their education.
  • Forgetfulness – Kids mess up. A LOT! You need to make every day a new day. When they have that mistake, work towards equipping them with the drive to improve and grow. The next day… FORGET! Start each day with excitement and love. Some days will be harder than others. They are kids and they mess up. As a teacher, you get to help them find their way. What a job!
  • Growth – Don’t let the speed of our world go faster than you. Be up to date in your growth as a teacher. Constantly work towards improving yourself and your craft. Reach out to others and ask for help. If a teacher inspires you, get in that room as much as possible. Learn from them and let that inspiration help you grow.
What are some ways to keep students engaged with the material and interested in learning?

I believe that cultivating an engaged and empowered set of students is my goal. Therefore, my job as a facilitator of experiences needs to be intentional and purposeful. Engaging kids is my passion. A worksheet can deliver information. An immersive room transformation can inspire a student and open the door for more rigorous activities. It’s not about making a cute classroom or a Pinterest-worthy lesson. It’s about making relevant and exciting opportunities for kids.

I also believe that standards are not how we teach. It is what we teach. I want to find authentic experiences for kids to explore and think. Do they need to learn area, perimeter, and volume? Design and create a town based on those standards. Get tools and supplies in kids’ hands and let them create a three-dimensional town with roads and landscapes that allow mathematical application, creativity, and a solid understanding on how this skill is relevant! That’s engagement and that’s fun. They will love it!

Is it important to choose a teaching specialty? What tips do you have for students who aren't sure which focus they would like best?

I am an elementary teacher but I have taught middle school and high school as well. I think there are a couple questions to ask yourself when making decisions about specialities and focus:

  • What age group inspires me?
  • Which age group do you connect with the most?
  • Which age group brings me joy?

Thirty years and 180 days in each year is a lot of time. You need to choose the group that inspires you to jump out of bed and work with. You need to choose the group that your connection level can make the biggest impact. You need to find the group that will make you smile and laugh as often as possible.

What makes teaching an exciting career opportunity right now?

You get to equip the future. Your role is so important. Every kid that enters your door has the potential to do great things. You can develop difference makers. You can inspire kids to see the world in all of its flaws and then desire to be a catalyst of change. You can be an agent of change. Kids need mentors and role models more than ever. You can be a hero to a kid who may not have previously had one.

What does continuing education look like for you?

I look for experiences and programs that are on the cutting edge. I want programs that are looking at what is coming and trying to meet those needs. I want a program that is taking risks with their philosophy and programs that challenge the status quo.

What software do you think every teacher should learn?

That is a tough one because in three months, it will change. That being said, Google products are the key right now. They can make your life so much easier and the apps that hook into Google are plentiful and almost always free. Teaching collaboration skills in a 21st century style works best within Google.

How important is networking and what are some easy ways to stay connected to other teachers in your community?

As fast as the educational landscape changes, networking is essential. Trying to be the expert in everything is impossible. You need branches that extend to your experts. Twitter is a game changer. I collaborate with people from New Zealand and Australia often. I learn from educators all over the world. Twitter is not a show-off platform. It is a place to connect and grow. Get a weekly schedule of three to five edu chats and be religious about attending. Read and learn. Chime in and inspire. Make a name for yourself in this profession and use that name to inspire and grow.

How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements and technology in the teaching world?

This is a real challenge. That being said, my district, Albemarle County Schools, has an amazing technology department and a layered team of instructional coaches. They are constantly learning, sharing, and presenting. Just last month we had a virtual reality, hands-on professional development. Twitter is also huge for this need. People are constantly sharing tools and tricks.

What are some practical tips to prepare for an interview?

I’m gonna answer this one in bullet points

  • Reek of positivity.
  • Make sure that everyone in that room knows about your work ethic.
  • Be well versed in collaboration techniques in the classroom and in a staff.
  • Speak of your thirst for continued growth.
  • Be ready to discuss how behavior management will be effective in your room.
  • Mention all your extra talents that may be useful to the school (coaching, drama, etc.)
  • Make sure they have a solid feel for your personality.
How should students prepare for student teaching?

Take it seriously. It is your only chance to get real experience before you have your own class. Ask questions all the time. Ask to take over as much as possible. Ask to watch other teachers and learn from them. Someday, you will come into a class and set your bag down. It will just be you. You need to be as ready as possible. This job is the most important profession there is. Let student teaching make you as ready as possible!

The moment you walk in that school, you are interviewing. Wow the staff. Wow the administration. They may just hire you or write the most glowing letter of recommendation ever!

What do you find most rewarding about teaching?

If you do this job right. If you treat it as a calling. If you come to school every day with the intent to inspire and cultivate future greatness, you will fall in love with the process. I love getting a new set of kids every year and starting the process. I love goal setting for every kid on how I/we can push them towards greatness. I love working with kids to embrace struggle and allow failure. I love seeing kids start to take risks and eventually value risk taking. The process is what drives me. What I find the most rewarding is being a part of every kid’s journey towards believing in themselves. When they believe in themselves, they start to see a greater version of themselves. When they see a greater version, the growth becomes exponential and their thirst for greatness is contagious. That is what I love!


Many scholarships are available for teaching majors at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level, including for online teaching degrees. These scholarships provide funding to earn a degree in education, and some require recipients to teach in certain areas or fields as a requirement of receiving the award. TEACH Grants, for example, provide funds for students who plan to teach in high-needs fields in low-income areas, and the award converts to a loan if graduates do not meet the teaching requirements.

Teaching Scholarships for Associate Degree Students

TEACH Grant

Who Can Apply: Students who plan to become teachers in high-needs fields in low-income areas can apply for TEACH Grants, which are operated independently by each state. Associate degree programs are eligible if they are acceptable as full credit toward a bachelor’s program. If recipients do not teach for four years in a high-needs field in a low-income area after graduation, they must repay the award amount as a loan.
Amount: Up to $4,000 per year

Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF) Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Graduates from Ventura County, California, high schools who are pursuing an associate degree in education can apply several VCCF scholarships.
Amount: $800 to $2,500


Teaching Scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Future Journalism Teacher Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Journalism Education Association sponsors up to five scholarships each year for advanced undergraduates who plan to teach journalism at the secondary level.
Amount: $1,000

Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Phi Delta Kappa offers more than 30 scholarships to prospective teachers. Applicants must be a member of one of the following organizations: PDK International, which is a professional association for teachers, Educators Rising, a free organization for teachers in training, or Pi Lambda Theta, which is an honors society for preservice and current educators.
Amount: $500 to $2,000

Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars (CSDIW) Native American Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Enrolled tribal members who plan to teach Native American students can apply for the CSDIW Native American Scholarship. Applicants must prove a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Amount: $5,000

Ron Brown Scholarship

Who Can Apply: African American high school students planning to earn a four-year degree in a public service area, such as teaching, can apply for the Ron Brown Scholarship, which provides $10,000 per year for four years.
Amount: $40,000


Teaching Scholarships for Master’s Degree Students

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) STEM Teacher Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The AFCEA offers scholarships to students pursuing a graduate degree in order to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) at a U.S. school in grades K-12. Applicants must prove a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Amount: $2,500 to $5,000

Arkansas Association of Special Education Administrators (AASEA) Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The AASEA Memorial Scholarship is open to Arkansas residents who are studying to become special education teachers.
Amount: $2,000

Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Federation for the Blind offers the Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship for blind students who are pursuing graduate degrees in the education of blind or visually impaired students. Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation and proof of legal blindness.
Amount: $2,500

Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: Current middle school or high school English teachers who want to pursue a graduate degree can apply for this scholarship, offered by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Applicants must work in a public educational institution and be a member of NCTE.
Amount: $500


Teaching Scholarships for Doctoral Degree Students

Doctoral Student Award

Who Can Apply: The National Association for Gifted Children offers awards to doctoral students who have demonstrated their commitment to gifted education through research, publications, and service.
Amount: Varies

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research

Who Can Apply: AERA offers minority dissertation fellowships to doctoral students who are researching dissertations in education. Applicants must belong to racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in higher education.
Amount: $20,000

Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

Who Can Apply: The National Academy of Education offers up to 35 fellowships per year to doctoral students in education whose research focuses on the history, theory, analysis, or practice of education.
Amount: $27,500

Inspire Our Future Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Doctoral students pursuing degrees in educational leadership, secondary education, or special education can apply for this scholarship offered by Teacher.org.
Amount: $500


General Guides

  • Teaching Resources: We have compiled a collection of the best academic journals, websites, and open courses available to those in education.

Teaching Software for Students

Many teachers are responsible for creating quizzes and assessments, keeping detailed gradebooks, and maintaining student portfolios, sometimes for more than one hundred students. Teaching software makes it easy for teachers to manage these tasks both in the classroom and after school hours. Fortunately, earning an online teaching degree integrates technology directly into the degree curriculum.

As classrooms continue to become more reliant on technology and student demands for online and technology-driven teaching grow, teachers need to be aware of the latest software programs that help students and teachers. These tools also help teachers communicate with parents and individualize instruction around student needs.

  • Gradekeeper: Teachers can enter assignments and scores into Gradekeeper and the software will compute grades, print reports, and send email progress reports. It can even make seating charts, turning complicated tasks into simple jobs.
  • QuizFaber: QuizFaber allows teachers to create multimedia quizzes as HTML documents, making it simple for teachers without a background in coding to quickly create and score quizzes for any class material.
  • Seesaw: Teachers can use Seesaw to keep digital portfolios of student work, which allows teachers of all grade levels to comment on student work, communicate with parents, and individualize instruction.
  • Google Classroom: Google Classroom incorporates other Google services so that teachers can easily create, distribute, and grade assignments paperlessly. The free web service allows students and teachers to share files.
  • Teach Learn Lead: Teach Learn Lead connects early career teachers and provides a community forum for teacher collaboration and support on a variety of topics, such as technology in the classroom, professional development, and classroom management.

Professional Teaching Organizations

Millions of teachers and teachers-in-training join professional organizations in order to network with other teachers, search for job opportunities, or apply for members-only scholarships. Professional organizations help members stay up-to-date on innovations in teaching practices through their research and publications, and they often provide support for continuing education. Graduates who earn teaching degrees online can continue to build a professional network by joining a professional organization.

Many professional organizations offer membership benefits, including liability insurance and legal services. Teachers who join a professional organization also have a voice in shaping public policy and advocating for educators.