In many cases, you can become a state certified teacher with an online degree. It all depends on where you want to teach, which online school you want to attend, what kind of teacher you want to become, and how much education/experience you already have. Read on to discover how you can get started.
For first-time teachers, obtaining state certification can be a confusing process. Different states have different rules about teacher licensure – involving minimum educational requirements, standardized tests, and official paperwork. Meanwhile, state resources – like department of education websites – aren’t always user-friendly.
Teacher certification is doubly confusing for online students. Because online teacher preparation programs are relatively new, some states don’t offer clear instructions to graduates of online programs. Even when instructions are available, the physical location of online schools can create uncertainties about reciprocity rules and student teaching components.
If you want to become a teacher, and you’re considering an online bachelor’s degree or an online post-baccalaureate program, this guide will help you understand your state’s policies regarding teacher certification and online degrees. Here, you’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions about teacher certification, definitions for terms commonly used on department of education websites, and contact information for your state’s certification office. Most importantly, you can read your state’s official statement about online degrees and teacher certification.
Note 1: Unless otherwise specified, the teacher certification criteria represent state requirements for initial (a.k.a. preliminary) teaching certificates, for instructional classroom teachers. Additional criteria are eventually required in order to qualify for long-term teaching licensure. Additional criteria are also required if you are planning to pursue any type of specialized certificate – including a special education certificate, a vocational education certificate, or a school administrator certificate.
Further, if you are already a licensed educator, you’ll notice that most of this advice is not tailored to your situation. If you are a practicing teacher, interested in online studies as a route to additional teaching endorsements, an advanced level of certification, or a career move into school administration, you should consult your state’s department of education regarding program suitability and approval.
Note 2: The details of each requirement are summarized, in order to keep the sections brief. Specific details – including exact application fees, background check procedures, and other official forms – are best investigated when you’re ready to apply for certification, as these may change in the time it takes you to complete your degree program. If you’re ready to apply for a state teaching license now, you should visit your state’s department of education website, and review the full set of requirements for the particular certificate you are seeking.
Note 3: Average teacher salary data was taken from The National Education Association’s website.