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How to Earn an Online Teaching Graduate Certificate

written by: Laurie Patsalides•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 12/7/2011

Online teaching is one of the fastest growing professions. This is because of the increasing numbers of students obtaining online degrees. Here is a guide to get you started to becoming a qualified online teacher.

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    Increasing Your Options

    Teaching online is different from teaching in a traditional classroom. Without face-to-face interactions, the demands to teach well are higher. If you are interested in joining the ranks of online teachers, but want to be better qualified before you apply, then earning a graduate certificate will help you to get started in the field.

    In general, an online teaching certification can help someone already teaching online improve his or her craft, or it can further add to someone's credentials to gain entrance into the online teaching environment. For example, a person holding a Master's degree or even a PhD could obtain a graduate certificate to hone in on specific skills desired by a company or college to teach online, especially if he or she wanted to learn how to manage an e-learning environment. This certification may also be suitable for anyone desiring to work at the collegiate or business level. Likewise, it can even be useful if you wish to teach e-courses at the elementary through high school level and want instruction as we will see from the descriptions below.

    It is difficult to find information on just how much an online professor makes, because income per semester will vary by college and by level of degree. I think it is safe to say that the range can be anywhere between $600-2300 per course, so possessing this added certification to your portfolio will eventually pay off. Again, this is just from peeking around at other websites, so please do not quote these numbers.

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    Places to Learn

    In keeping with the demands for more qualified online teachers, many universities are opting to provide the certification. As with any program, they vary a little from one another by what is offered.

    A general overview of each program is provided. Visit the college's website for more information about the specifics of the courses and application process. They are listed in alphabet order, so no precedence is put on one over another. If you know of another not listed here, please let me know. Also, be sure to check the school's site as degrees and certification programs frequently change or become obsolete.

    Boise State, Ed Tech (9 credit hours) offers a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching. This program offers flexibility because it offers courses for K-12 teachers or for teachers of adult learners. Follow the course pathway that best suits the age group you desire to teach. You need a minimum of 3.0 for a grade-point average and need to submit a 500 word personal statement of your goals. You can opt to apply these courses toward a Master's degree.

    Boston University Online (16 credit hours) offers a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Technology. Here you will take a course in K-12 online education as well as learning the discipline of e-course delivery and instruction. These too may be transferred toward a Master's degree.

    Roosevelt University, Chicago (15 credit hours) offers several graduate certificates related to online teaching. This one is geared toward those who currently teach and want to transfer to an online teaching role. Be sure to check with the college on this specific requirement. A resume is also required.

    Thomas Edison State College (12 credit hours), Graduate Certificate in Online Learning and Teaching. Here you take four courses to prepare. You will learn theory and culture, technology, instructional design and communication in an online course. Likewise, these also transfer toward a Master's degree.

    University of Illinois Global Campus (16 credit hours) offers a Graduate E-learning Certificate. There are four courses for study which can be obtained in one year. Here you will learn the foundations of teaching online as well as having a choice of three courses to tailor your learning to your specific needs.

    All of these choices are from well reputed colleges with accreditation, so do your homework to find the right school and program for you. With this list you certainly have a variety of choices to best suit your educational and professional needs.

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    An Added Bonus

    If you are opting for a specific position, be sure to check with the school or business where you desire employment to make sure they accept the graduate certification. I say that so you know that I am not guaranteeing you a position by taking this certification! The fact remains, after earning this certificate you will be better prepared to develop, deliver and assess a high quality e-course, which if you are serious about entering the field, will be well worth the investment.

    Laurie Patsalides, M.S.Ed., researched these certifications to help set you on your way to online teaching.