How to Become a Certified Teacher Online

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So, you're interested in becoming a teacher, but you would rather attend school from the comfort of your home. Fortunately, there are numerous universities that offer online teacher certification programs that can provide you with the flexibility and convenience that you are looking for. If you are motivated, self-disciplined and ready for the challenge, then you can surely become a certified teacher online in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Verify your state's teacher certification requirements. Before you enroll in an online teacher certification program, you should take time to learn about the specific criteria needed to become a certified teacher in the state where you plan to teach. You can learn about your state's teaching requirements by contacting your local Department of Public Instruction (see Resources below).

  • Choose an appropriate school to attend. There are a variety of universities that offer online teaching programs and you can learn more about these programs by simply visiting each school's website (see Resources below). Be sure to contact the schools directly if you have any questions or concerns about their online teacher certification programs. Also, before choosing a school, make sure that its teaching program meets the required accreditation and curriculum standards for the state where you plan to work.

  • Enroll in the correct courses. Your academic counselor or adviser can help you select the proper courses to take based on your teaching goals. For instance, if you plan to teach on the elementary level, more than likely your major will be elementary education and you will take courses such as mathematics, social science, art, literature, music, physical science and professional education courses (such as psychology of learning and teaching methods). However, if you prefer to teach on the secondary level (middle school or high school), then you will probably major in the field in which you plan to teach (like English or biology) and take the appropriate professional education courses as well. Please keep in mind that in addition to your major coursework, you must also take the required core curriculum classes.

  • Complete the mandatory internship. Even if you take your classes online, you must still complete a supervised student teaching internship at an approved school. During the internship, you will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with students and assist the classroom teacher with important duties, such as administering tests and grading papers. The student teaching internship is usually one to two semesters (depending on your state's requirements).

  • Pass the appropriate examination. In order to teach in a public school setting, you must pass the state's teacher certification examination that is administered by the State Board of Education (SBE). You are only required to take the test that is relevant to the grade level and subject area you are going to teach. The purpose of this examination is to test your English, reading and writing skills and to ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and training needed to succeed as a classroom teacher. You can learn more about this exam by contacting your local Department of Public Instruction or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (see Resources below).

Tips & Warnings

  • Please keep in mind that if you choose to take online classes, you must still follow a class schedule and submit your assignments in a timely manner. As with traditional classes, you will receive a course syllabus and calendar at the beginning of the semester/quarter, outlining the due dates for your assignments.

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