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Teaching Online Classes: How Much Money Do Professors Make?

written by: Daniel Brecht•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 3/14/2013

Are you interested in teaching students online? And, are you curious of how much you'll get paid? If you answered "yes," then you are about to learn what it takes to do just that, as well as how much you may earn.

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    Professors Teaching Online

    Why an online education?

    Nowadays, more and more students are enrolling in online classes. They enjoy the flexibility of being able to continue their studies at places and times more convenient for themselves. It's due to the growth of online students over the past years, that more and more schools are offering online courses in addition to on-campus classes for students. As students continue to take online courses, there's the need for more college professors who are willing to teach online.

    Why are some professors teaching online?

    Some professors teach online because they can do it at their convenience (either full-time or part-time). Other professors teach an online course because they have other jobs or have other commitments. In short, online teaching allows professors a flexible career. It can be rewarding too; for instance, being a school teacher usually has the following benefits: health and life insurance coverage, and a retirement or pension plan.

    Requirements to be an online professor...

    In order to be an online professor and teach at the post-secondary level, the person must have earned a graduate-level (Masters or PhD) degree from an accredited university, or have an advanced degree and extensive experience in a field. He/she must also meet the professional teaching standards set by state licensing boards.

    To be an online teacher, the person will likely need in-person teaching experience, have experience working in a distance learning environment, and have the requirements (e.g., PC and network connection) necessary for teaching online. Online teachers are highly encouraged to take an e-learning or e-instruction course to help learn the basics of online teaching.

    Note: it takes a lot of self-motivation and self-discipline to be an effective and efficient online student; the same holds true for a professor teaching online.

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    Job Outlook

    There are many teaching opportunities online. A great place to start a search is at's higher education job board.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), "Online Professors are in high demand as more educational institutions implement and expand online degree programs and distance learning classes." [1] And, according to reports from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the American Council on Education (ACE), they say there's an increase in average faculty salaries of 3.8 to 4.1 percent.

    Salaries/ The Pay

    The teaching profession can be a well-paying career. As an online professor, the pay is really not bad. The earnings vary as it depends on their position, the type of institution, teaching experience, and field of expertise. According to, online professors tend to make about half of what a typical faculty member makes. So the average salary one could expect from this position would be $56,210. [1]

    Here's the data provided by AAUP 2007-8's report: Average Salary and Percentage Increase by Rank

    More info

    CNNMoney reports that professors at four-year private schools make more money than at public schools.

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    Sources and Useful Web Sites


    [1] EduChoices (Average Salary of an Online Professor):

    [2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Earnings):

    Useful Web Sites

    Teacher Salary Secrets Revealed:

    Average Salaries for Teachers by State:

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    Median Hourly Pay: Postsecondary Teachers - Image Credits by PayScale

    Median Hourly Rate by Years Experience