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How to Become a Licensed Teacher Online

If you want a career change, and feel the call to teach, there are several online options for you. Bachelor’s degrees, graduate certificates, or master’s degrees are available over the internet and can lead to initial teacher licensure. If the school you choose is out of state, you can usually gain licensure in your state through reciprocity. If the program you choose is a non-licensure program, you may be able to obtain non-traditional licensing. Check with your state’s department of education for details.

Step One

Decide what level of education you are interested in obtaining. A bachelor’s degree is the lowest level of education needed for teacher licensure. If you already have a bachelor’s in another field, you can earn a post-baccalaureate certificate or graduate certificate in education. A Master of Arts in Teaching is another option and usually takes about two years to complete.

Step Two

Choose your school carefully. Confirm that you meet or can meet the admission requirements. Gather information about tuition and fees from the institution(s) you are considering. Make notes, especially if you have more than one program to consider. You will also want to investigate the school’s accreditation. Check your state’s requirements, and compare them to the credentials of the school. If your state requires that you attend a regionally accredited college, you will need to confirm that the college is indeed regionally accredited. Some states allow licensure for graduates of either nationally or regionally accredited schools. You may also want to consult GetEducated.com to find out how the school you have chosen ranks against others.

Step Three

Apply for admission and find financial aid. There are many types of aid for various levels of education. Federal aid is available in the form of grants and loans. You will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when you apply if you want access to federal aid. Scholarships are another possibility, but you must be patient, they are difficult to obtain due to tremendous competition.

Step Four

Register for classes and enjoy your college experience. Each school conducts online classes differently. You may be required to watch lectures in real time, watch recorded lectures and presentations or simply read. PowerPoint presentations are also quite common. Some schools call for participation in a chat room, or instant message program. Still others utilize message boards for class discussion. Assignments are usually uploaded to the school’s server. This process works like making an attachment in email. Keep in mind that licensure programs have a practice teaching component. Most include several field experiences. Often, the student is responsible for contacting the host schools.

Step Five

Graduate and obtain initial licensure. If your school is out of state, you will need to apply for reciprocal licensure in your state. Some states have specific requirements that may not have been met by your program of study. These include competency testing and state specific courses of study. You may need to complete testing and take a class or two at an institution in your state.


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