With 65 percent of higher education institutions in 2011 making online learning "a critical part of their long-term strategy" (Going the Distance, 2011), the need for online teachers--and other non-teaching, education positions such as instructional designers--is expanding rapidly. However, the growth in the online education industry is not limited to higher education. K-12 and high school level jobs for online teachers and tutors are exploding, as is businesses' need for educational professionals in creating training materials and online courses.
Often these jobs for online teachers are work-at-home opportunities (or could eventually become work at home), and so they represent an avenue for more flexible work benefits for those in the education field.
This list provides descriptions and links out to more resources. For specific companies that hire online teachers and education professionals, see this list of online education jobs.
Online Teachers: Elementary, Middle and High Schools
While higher education gets all the buzz for its online learning growth, K-12 school systems are embracing online education as well. In 2010, 39 states had implemented some online learning for K-12 students, and in many of the remaining states some districts offered online education (Keeping Pace, 2010).
These online teacher positions are either directly through governmental entities (state, county, city or school district) or for companies that contract with school systems. In addition to the institutional jobs for online teachers, K-12 teachers can find work as in private online tutoring for students. Specifically some of the positions in online K-12 education include:
- Online classroom teachers
- Online tutor jobs
- Instructional designers
- High school instructors for foreign languages and other subjects
- Test preparation and/or scoring jobs for AP, GED, SAT, ACT
Qualifications for these online teacher jobs vary widely with some jobs requiring teaching certification or advanced degrees while others simply make a platform available for writing an online courses or for connecting online tutors with students. See this list of jobs for K-12 online teachers.
Online Teachers: Colleges
Both completely online colleges and brick-and-mortar colleges are expanding their online course offerings. For the last 8 years, the number of online enrollments has increased much more rapidly than overall higher-education enrollments (Going the Distance, 2011). In the fall of 2010, 10 percent more students were enrolled in at least one online course than the previous fall.
Naturally, this increase in enrollments means a greater demand for course development personnel to create the courses as well as online faculty to teach them. These are the two most basic categories of work in online colleges, but there are plenty of other opportunities:
- Online faculty, instructors and teaching assistants for college-level distance learning
- Writers/instructors of adult ed online courses offered at community colleges
- Online tutors for college students
- Foreign language and ESL teachers
- University-level course developers, instructional designers (ID) and subject matter experts (SME)
- Test preparation and/or scoring jobs for GRE, GMAT, LSAT, etc.
Most jobs teaching at online colleges require--at an absolute minimum--a master’s degree. Tutoring too generally requires a master’s. Instructional design jobs may only require a bachelor’s and experience. Test prep jobs usually require a high score (95th percentile and up) on the test. See this list of jobs for online faculty.
Online Jobs for Teachers: Corporations
As more companies cultivate a telecommuting workforce, they need virtual training products to give their employees the skills to succeed remotely. And it may be more cost effective for on-site employees to train virtually. To meet this need, some large companies are hiring in-house instructional designers to design training programs and sometimes online instructors, though this task may fall on existing staff. Frequently, however, these training products are designed by companies that specialize in creating them. Either way, there is a growing need for educational professionals outside the world of academia.
For-profit companies offer test preparation courses and materials for professional certification in addition to test preparation for academic tests. And many private-sector businesses contract with government and academic institutions to offer educational services. The jobs in this area include:
- Online tutors
- Adult ed, professional certification instructors
- Instructional designers
- Test preparation and/or scoring jobs for
- Textbook and test editors
Qualifications for these corporate education jobs vary. Professional experience in instructional design, training or education is usually required.
Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011
Keeping Pace With K-12 Online Learning, 2010