Imagine your classroom is full of students. You are at the front of the room, marker in hand, about to wax eloquent on the whiteboard. Whether your students are unruly or listening intently, the most important thing is that you are imparting knowledge and making a difference in their lives.
Here is the question: How do you get to that classroom with an online teacher certificate?
For many professionals, teaching might be a second career. For others, family commitments or personal life challenges can make it difficult to complete a traditional in-person degree. Fortunately, online options do exist to become a teacher.
Below, we’ll cover the basics of how to get your teacher online certification.
Can I Get a Teaching Certificate Online?
Requirements for teachers and teacher certification (e.g. licensure or credential) vary widely by school and by state. Colleges and universities offer teacher programs that prepare teacher candidates with the professional and content knowledge they deem necessary for the classroom. And while public schools require state licensure, private schools often do not.¹
Ultimately, it is up to the individual student to determine if or how they will meet their own state’s teaching certification requirements.
Many people wonder, can you get your teaching certificate online?
The answer is yes. But, there are some things to consider. Let us explain.
Most baccalaureate programs require teacher preparation programs to include a classroom practicum in order to graduate. This experience enables students to apply professional theory to a real-life setting, and for many states, this in-classroom experience is required as a part of a teaching certificate.
Master’s programs do exist that meet that requirement in an online environment. These programs might not immediately come to mind when you think of teaching, but they are nonetheless essential. Online teaching certifications are often graduate programs in specialty areas such as reading education, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), or special education.
How To Earn a Teaching Certificate Online
In general, all schools will require prospective teachers to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. This degree might be in education or in the content area that they will be teaching. Public schools will require teachers to have state certification. Additionally, public high schools in some states also require teachers to obtain a master’s degree.¹
Below are some common teacher certification requirements.
Teaching Certificate Requirements
The first step in obtaining a teacher certification is to complete a bachelor’s and/or master's degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program. In addition, you may need to complete some sort of student teaching experience or practicum. This is generally a culminating course, and it could take place in a classroom or online as a case study.
After completing your degree, you may also need to pass a knowledge and skills test, like the Praxis, as well as a background check. The background check will be conducted through the state department of education where you hope to teach, and it will include FBI background clearance as well.
Depending on the type of teaching license you are pursuing (such as a reading specialist), some states, like Kansas, may allow you to submit your teacher certification application through an online portal, directly to the state’s department of education.
Other licenses will require your application to be approved and sent by your college or university. In that case, applicants may need to include their official college transcripts showing degree completion from an accredited teacher preparation program.
Where to Get Your Teacher Certificate Online
If you’re hoping to pursue a career in teaching, you’ll need to look for a program that holds both national and regional accreditation. For national accreditation, you can check the U.S. Department of Education’s website. For regional accreditation, make sure your school holds accreditation that is approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Another special accreditation to look for is the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This non-profit, non-governmental organization accredits institutions that prepare excellent teachers and educators. Top colleges and universities will hold CAEP accreditation, in addition to national and regional accreditation.
Pursue Excellence in Teaching with an Online Certification Program
If you’re ready to pursue excellence in teaching, consider earning an online master’s degree that also leads to teacher certification. The University of Kansas School of Education and Human Sciences offers several different online options taught by top-ranked faculty, including online master’s degrees, certificates, and licensure programs. Learn more about what KU can help you achieve today.
1. Retrieved on July 11, 2021, from bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm