How to Earn by Teaching Online

Three Methods:Teaching College Courses OnlineOffering Teaching Services as a K-12 EducatorConsidering Other Opportunities

Opportunities to teach online exist for educators working in a variety of settings, from K-12 education to the corporate realm. In addition, you may put your education skills to work providing resources that help others teach. Some opportunities require specific educational credentials, while others rely upon experience or specialized expertise.

Method 1
Teaching College Courses Online

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    Research your options. Traditional brick-and-mortar universities, nonprofit online universities, and for-profit institutions all offer online course content. Determine which institutions offer teaching opportunities relevant to your field of expertise.
    • Remember that many colleges and universities now offer multiple educational tracks. Research opportunities in "traditional" subject-area departments, but also remember to look for adult degree completion programs and other special instructional tracks. Programs geared toward working adults are more likely to involve online course offerings.
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    Consider your credentials. Most online college instructors are part-time adjuncts. Typically, you'll need to hold a master's degree in your field of expertise. While full-time online teaching positions are uncommon, those that do exist often require applicants to hold a doctorate or have significant experience in high-demand career areas such as healthcare or accounting. Determine whether you meet basic requirements prior to applying for a position.
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    Compare opportunities to ensure you're maximizing your earning potential. The pay range for online courses varies. While most institutions pay adjunct instructors per course, occasionally you'll find an institution that pays a "per head" fee, or even one that holds instructors accountable for students completing the course.
    • Instructional terms fluctuate wildly from institution to institution. Pay careful attention to length of term when comparing your opportunities. For standard per-course pay, divide total compensation by the number of weeks you'll be teaching so you can better compare pay rates among institutions.
    • Assess how many students you feel comfortable teaching at one time. Note the structure and expectations of each course; grading 20 essays is considerably more time-consuming than grading 20 multiple-choice exams.
    • Note whether instruction will be asynchronous (not dependent upon your presence during a certain time slot) or synchronous (in real time).
    • Many schools limit the number of courses or credit hours an instructor can teach at any one time. Consider teaching at more than one school simultaneously if you wish to "override" this limit.
    • Some online programs use an established curriculum, while others require you to develop your own course content. If you are required to develop your own course, you should be paid more than if you are asked only to teach. Understand what rights you're giving to the institution if you do write and develop a course. Often the institution will then retain rights to the finished course.
    • Note which online platform the institution uses. Are you already familiar with the software, or will you require training? Some colleges require you to attend unpaid training sessions if you need to learn new software. Limiting your teaching load to colleges using the same online platform may save you time and resources.[1]
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    Consider obtaining an online teaching certificate. Some schools of education now offer Master Online Teacher (MOT) certificates signifying your expertise in online instruction. Community colleges and four-year universities offering online instruction often partner with these institutions for MOT training. An MOT certification may help you establish your credentials as an online educator.[2]
    • Note that MOT certificates may also be useful for high school instructors.

Method 2
Offering Teaching Services as a K-12 Educator

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    Apply to teach at a virtual school. Many states and localities now offer public online instructional services. You may also find opportunities through charter schools and private educational institutions. Certification requirements for virtual teachers are typically equivalent to requirements at their brick-and-mortar counterparts, whether public or private.
    • Online teachers are generally required to be certified in the state where they are teaching, so note where job postings are located even in situations where you'll be able to work from home.[3]
    • Consider Master Online Teacher (MOT) certification to improve your credentials as an online educator.[4]
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    Sell lesson plans or other classroom materials. K-12 educators are increasingly eliminating the "middle man" of learning-supply retailers by offering lesson plans and other classroom teaching materials for sale through online marketplaces.[5] Teachers who create this curriculum earn money from their work, and teachers buying the materials often benefit from lower prices.
    • Familiarize yourself with your district's ethics policies before posting material for sale. Some districts have enacted policies preventing teachers from selling materials developed on district time.[6]
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    Write and edit educational content. Assessment institutions (ACT, the College Board) and educational service providers are in continual need of material ranging from assessments to study guides and test preparation materials.[7]

Method 3
Considering Other Opportunities

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    Develop a course for a Web-based teaching platform. Platforms such as Udemy offer models that allow you to post your own course content and then keep a significant percentage of revenues. Professional credentials are not required -- but to create a useful course, you'll need to have expertise in your chosen field. #*Consider where you have marketable expertise. Instruction in high-demand skills such as Web development or corporate communication can be especially lucrative, but well-designed courses in subjects ranging from animation to yoga have performed well.
    • Plan to put significant time and effort into creating a good course. One successful Web development instructor, for example, created over 220 video lectures for a single course.[8]
    • Maintain realistic expectations. While stories proliferate of instructors receiving $400,000 or more for a course, most instructors who post content on Web-based teaching platforms can expect earnings in the four-figure range.[9]
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    Teach English online. English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is in consistently high demand. Many freelance English teachers take advantage of Skype to offer one-on-one English instruction. Others use virtual classroom software to reach larger audiences.
    • ESL curriculum is widely available online if you'd prefer not to develop your own lessons.
    • Network with other English language instructors. Developing these connections enables you to benefit from others' support and wisdom.
    • Maintain a dynamic online presence to ensure those in need of English instruction can find you.
    • If you prefer to work for a larger English-language instruction service, perform an online search for reputable companies. Compare pay rates to ensure you aren't accepting substandard pay from an unprofessional institution.[10]
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    Provide online subject tutoring. Search online for tutoring companies in need of employees with your expertise, or consider freelance tutoring via tools such as Skype. See How to Tutor Online for more detailed advice.
    • You may also consider using a Web-based teaching platform to develop your own larger-scale tutoring service. While you'll need to develop your own content, you will keep a larger percentage of profits.[11]
    • If you are a talented musician or a visual or performing artist, consider using a patron-funded sharing site to post online tutorials. Companies such as Patreon offer a platform for artists to share their material with "patrons." Patrons fund these artists' creative efforts in exchange for enjoying the artists' content. [12][13]
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    Offer foreign language instruction. Consider freelancing via Skype, developing your own tutoring service via a Web-based teaching platform, or signing on with one of the many companies offering foreign language training online.
    • Consider how you might tailor your services. If you have worked in financial services, for example, and are fluent in Mandarin Chinese, consider targeting your advertising to individuals and businesses in the financial services industry who are seeking Mandarin language instruction. If you have a background in agriculture and speak Spanish, offer language lessons for farmers seeking better communication with their workers.

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