5 Tips for Earning an Online Teaching Degree

Before you can sit at a desk in your own classroom and share a wealth of wisdom with students, you have to pay your educational dues as a student yourself. Technological advances have made it possible to work around a hectic schedule and receive your teaching degree online in the comfort of your home or anywhere with a reliable Internet connection and space for a laptop. Below are five tips that can help you navigate the digital road that leads to your online teaching degree.

Find Your Field
Teaching is a broad profession with individual fields that require specialized training and education. For example, the classes you'll complete for elementary teaching are different from secondary-school work. In secondary school, employers frequently require a specialty such as math, science, English, or history. The core educational requirements also differ significantly between secondary and elementary education; for example, elementary teaching emphasizes early development and child psychology. You can avoid the need for additional coursework after graduation by selecting a particular field while in school.

Leverage Life Experience
Some people point to the disadvantages of a later start in college as compared to entering directly from high school. Nontraditional students, however, bring the benefits of life experience with them to the online learning process. Perhaps it will surface as a higher degree of determination, but students who have experienced the world of work often have a greater appreciation of educational opportunity than those who have never worked for a living. Traits such as self-discipline and responsibility, which are often developed through career experience, can help make you a successful online student. Life experience will also be an asset in the classroom.

Balance School and Responsibilities
Many online students are parents with jobs and obligations that consume time and resources. You must plan to provide time for your digital schoolwork. Online education has the advantage of flexible class schedules, because classes can be accessed at any time of the day. You must, however, be able to devote the necessary attention for study. While instruction is necessary to gain the teaching skills you'll use on a daily basis, the process of learning is still an internal one. It's important to balance learning with other responsibilities so you can focus and maximize the benefits of instruction.

Study with Intention
The key to learning to dedicate an adequate amount of time. There is a different studying formula for each subject and student, but overall results will likely depend on time you're willing to invest. It can be useful to adopt a set study schedule, such as 20 hours per week, but you may need to exceed that amount to succeed. Do not be afraid to request help when needed. Online communication such as email and instant messaging offers round-the-clock access to professors who can answer your questions.

Be Flexible
Teaching as a profession can be a simple, direct path or one filled with periods of difficulty. Local conditions such as public budgets and the economy impact teachers' careers, so the key for success is flexibility. For instance, you can apply many of the secondary-school teaching skills learned in your online degree program to teaching classes for adults who are continuing their educations. A shortage of jobs in one state can occur at the same time as a shortage of teachers in a neighboring state. Career and location flexibility can make the difference between upward progress and standing still.

Last Updated: April 21, 2015