Work at Home as an Online Teacher

Online Teaching
••• Getty/Cultura

Online teaching is a constantly evolving and expanding career field that offers opportunities for a wide range of educators with full- and part-time options. Since it is such a wide-open field, narrowing down the information to the particular teaching experience you have is an important step.

What kind of jobs are there for an online teacher?

Online teaching and education-related jobs are probably best divided by grade level, and then further subdivided by subject matter and job function.

Level is a pretty clear distinction, e.g., elementary, middle and high school, college (undergraduate and graduate). For the most part, the grade level in which you have experience and certification will narrow your job possibilities to that area. Subject matter, too, will narrow your search. A math teacher in the real world will not find a job as an online teacher in social studies, though there is more crossover in this since teachers often have skills in various subjects.

Where you will find more flexibility is the job function. Classroom teachers may find work actually teaching online, but they can use their teaching experience to leverage other types of jobs in online education.

Who hires online teachers?

  • Colleges—both fully online and place-based universities—hire various members of the faculty; not only instructors, adjunct professors, department heads, etc., to work remotely from home, they hire course developers, instructional designers, subject matter experts, writers and editors to develop the online course material.
  • School districts are offering online education opportunities to their students more and more often. And with that, there is a growing market for K-12 educators to work remotely.
  • Tutoring companies hire educators to provide tutoring services to clients around the world. These jobs may be employment positions, independent contracting or entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Language education companies, as well as school districts, online colleges, and tutoring companies, seek education professionals who are fluent in two or more languages to teach foreign languages and ESL.
  • Test preparation and scoring is another field for teachers to work from home, but these tend to be part-time and/or temporary positions.
  • Private companies (both for-profit and non-profit) service colleges and school districts by developing online education tools for them. These companies offer both actual teaching jobs and those in curriculum and course development. In addition, some large corporations hire those with teaching experience to develop training materials.
  • Adult education websites provide a platform for entrepreneurs who create their own educational offerings and courses.
  • Academic book publishers will often hire teachers with writing and editing experience.


What are the requirements to become an online teacher?

There are so many ways to teach online, so there is not one specific set of requirement. That said, there are some general guidelines. At a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and teaching experience are almost always required. The only exception might be the adult education websites in which people develop and sell their own courses.

At the college-level, a master’s is required for instructors (who are often simply facilitators of the online course), but often a PhD is needed for jobs like adjunct professor or subject matter expert. Master’s degrees are often preferred for course developers and instructional designers.

At the K-12 level, teaching certification (which typically means a master’s degree) is usually required for jobs that involve actual instruction as opposed to curriculum writing or scoring. That certification would need to be in a particular state potentially, depending on who is doing the hiring. Tutoring positions at the K-12 do not necessarily need certification, but experience and a bachelor’s degree are needed for the reputable companies.