Online Bachelor's in Education

Bachelor’s in education programs cover all of the basic, foundational skills of K-12 education. Online teaching programs draw from interdisciplinary coursework in management, education, leadership, and subject areas like math and reading. Students typically declare which grade levels they intend to teach at the beginning of their program. Degrees are typically offered in elementary or intermediate education, with specializations like special education, adult education, or literacy. There is ample opportunity for movement and professional development within the field, regardless of a student’s initial stated goals.

Online teaching programs draw from interdisciplinary coursework in management, education, leadership, and subject areas like math and reading.

Certified teachers are in high demand, making teaching an excellent career choice for those seeking stable employment in a meaningful field. According to the Economic Policy Institute, there is a shortage of 110,000 certified K-12 teachers, particularly in high-poverty schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a minimum 8% growth rate in employment for elementary and high school teachers. A bachelor’s in education is the minimum degree required to become a teacher; a state license is also necessary. Licensed teachers work as educators, tutors, counselors, and administration, with additional opportunities available for advanced degree holders.The following guide outlines what you can expect from an online teaching degree, and further details career options.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Education Program?

Online teaching degree programs prepare graduates for certification as an educator. Curriculum, formats, and the requirements for graduation vary by program. Prospective students should always carefully review program subject matter and requirements.

Curriculum for an Online Bachelor’s in Education

Curriculum in online teaching programs can vary, depending on the degree. Elementary education coursework differs from an intermediate education program. Schools employ a variety of approaches to the curriculum as well. Some sample courses are listed below.

Introduction to the Educational System

This course introduces the structure of the American educational system. Students learn how schools, districts, and state education systems are organized.The curriculum also provides an overview of teacher responsibilities and expectations.

Planning and Assessment

Students gain experience in lesson planning, curriculum development, and completing effective student assessments, while developing assessments that inform instructional styles. Projects include developing a one-year lesson plan with instructional units and behavioral objectives.

Classroom Management

This course examines instructional styles, materials, and methods of managing a classroom. Students develop instructional and leadership skills, while forming a supportive classroom environment. The course often culminates in creating a classroom management plan.

Learning Theory

Learning theory provides an overview of management methods and communication styles. Future educators learn how to tailor classroom instruction to a diverse set of learning styles, with emphasis often placed on experiential learning. Students examine case studies and learn how to apply specific tools to a variety of learning styles.

Learning and Literacy

Students learn strategies for teaching reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in an integrated approach. Emphasis is placed on developing skills that increase student comprehension, and improve student response to textual and visual learning. Coursework in elementary education includes methods for teaching spelling.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor’s in Education?

Students typically earn their online bachelor’s in education in 3-4 years, although the time required varies depending on program specifics and student needs. Factors include whether you attend full- or part-time, class schedule, and special requirements, such as preparing for certification. Prior credit can reduce the time to graduation, while completing prerequisites could increase your time.

Program structure also impacts time to graduation. Some programs offer coursework on an individualized pace, allowing students to customize program length to their needs. Cohort programs, by contrast, follow a predetermined schedule with students completing coursework together. Many accredited teaching programs require students to complete an internship, thus requiring more credits than the typical 120-130 credits for a bachelor’s degree.

Is Online Learning Right for Me?

Online learning can provide a flexible degree option for students with existing commitments, such as employment or childcare. Online programs typically do not have set class times and deadlines are provided in advance. Online learners will need excellent time management skills to balance their coursework along with their other commitments. Since interactions with students and instructors occur online, self-motivation is essential to completing coursework on time. Online teaching programs that prepare you for certification can be very demanding, so students need tenacity and discipline to succeed.

Education Certification

Requirements for licensure vary between states, but generally include the completion of an accredited teaching degree, a background check, and passing scores on certification exams.

Educators typically require licensure in the state they teach. Requirements for licensure vary between states, but generally include the completion of an accredited teaching degree, a background check, and passing scores on certification exams. You may need additional certification to work in a specialized field such as special education or speech and language. Additional professional development opportunities are available through professional organizations in the form of continuing education, seminars, and conferences.

Teachers moving states typically benefit from state reciprocity agreements. These allow teachers to work on a provisional license while they complete new requirements. The specifics of each state’s reciprocity agreements differ, so be sure to do your research when considering a move or career change.

Education Careers

Graduates of the top online teaching programs pursue a variety of career paths from kindergarten to adult education. Creative, patient individuals may enjoy working as an elementary school teacher, while potential high school teachers are resourceful and thrive in challenging situations. Educators wanting to help disadvantaged students find opportunities in special education or adult learning programs, where they work closely with individual students.

High School Teacher

Description High school teachers educate students in the 9th-12th grades, typically specializing in one subject area. They teach multiple, unique courses to different grade levels each day. High school teachers plan their own lessons, administer standardized exams, and supervise students. They also communicate with parents, and work with a variety of educators and paraprofessionals to meet student needs.
Median Annual Salary $60,320
Projected Job Growth Rate 8%

Special Education Teacher

Description Special education teachers work with students who have mental, physical, emotional, or learning disabilities. They tailor Individualized education programs, and typically work in small groups or one-on-one settings. Some teachers are integrated into the general classroom, where they work with classroom teachers and provide specialized support. Special education teachers possess patience and compassion for their students. Advanced degree holders may become instructional coordinators, or lead program development.
Median Annual Salary $59,780
Projected Job Growth Rate 8%

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Description Elementary teachers hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Instructors may teach several subjects, or specialize in a few areas and share classes with other teachers. Elementary school teachers’ responsibilities include teaching proper behavior and social interaction, evaluating student learning, and helping students overcome challenges. Earning an advanced degree can lead to careers in school counseling or administration.
Median Annual Salary $57,980
Projected Job Growth Rate 7%

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Description Teachers in adult and high school equivalency diploma programs work with students age 16 or older to address basic education and job skills development. Students come from diverse educational backgrounds, so teachers must be ready to adapt their teaching methods. They also provide instruction in all subject areas necessary to prepare students to take the high school equivalency diploma exam. A bachelor’s degree and certification is the minimum requirement for this career.
Median Annual Salary $53,630
Projected Job Growth Rate -5%

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Description Postsecondary education administrators provide oversight in a specific area of a college, such as student affairs, financial services, or admissions. Responsibilities vary, but typically include a combination of student outreach, support services, and administration. To be successful, administrators need excellent interpersonal and organizational skills. Candidates with prior experience in education and administration are particularly desirable, and these careers typically require candidates hold a master’s degree.
Median Annual Salary $94,340
Projected Job Growth Rate 10%
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