Have you been considering an online teaching career? This style of educating offers a host of benefits to teachers and students alike. You enjoy the flexibility of working from home, and you save a ton of money and carbon emissions on your commute. Students can arrange their schedules around other activities like extracurriculars, and they save money if they’re beyond the K-12 stage. These are only a few of the advantages!
However, given the multiple benefits of online learning, jobs in the field are notoriously competitive. How can you get your foot in the door? How do you make yourself stand apart from the hundreds of other candidates? Once you’ve held one online teaching position, it becomes considerably simpler to get others. Taking the first step is the hardest, so rest assured that your path will get less rocky in time.
If you’re ready to switch to online teaching, here’s how to give yourself a leg up on the competition. Follow these tips, and you’ll enjoy an exciting new career in no time!
Update Your Resume
To break into the online teaching field, you need to update your resume. However, this entails more than merely using an online resume builder or downloading an improved Word template. You need to demonstrate both hard and soft skills applicable to the position.
When you teach online, you don’t have to report to a building by the time the bell rings. Depending on the structure of your arrangement, you may not have assigned hours at all. However, the work still needs to get done, and your employer doesn’t want to send countless emails to find out where you are.
Teaching online means you’re free from administrators dropping by your classroom in the flesh. However, you do need to cultivate a positive online persona. Now is not the time to engage in flame wars on social media. Evaluate and clean up your online presence.
3) Computer skills:
It seems evident that you’d need strong computer skills to teach virtually. Still, your lead or mentor doesn’t want to spend hours showing you the basics. Obtaining a certification beyond proficiency in Microsoft Office demonstrates that you know to master new programs.
How do you show that you have what it takes? The best way is to gain experience in what employers need the most.
Get Virtual Experience
Since you need to demonstrate both reliability and computer skills, it’s beneficial to get virtual work experience. Such positions count even if they’re not directly related to teaching. Fortunately, you can find a ton of online side gigs with a quick search of Indeed or another popular job platform. Even if you’re doing customer service, you’re indicating that you show up for work on time without a boss hanging over your head. You also establish basic proficiency in mastering new software.
Learn Classroom Software Platforms
Some virtual schools use proprietary software and hold specialty training for virtual educators to assist in mastery. However, you can improve your chances significantly by learning some of the most popular connectivity and learning programs. Many colleges and K-12 schools use Blackboard or Canvas to educate. When it comes to the live classroom meetings, some schools use Adobe Connect, while others use Blue Jeans or GoToMeeting. Gaining proficiency in one or more of these platforms makes your resume stand out.
Work Your Network
The simplest way to break into online teaching is to network with somebody already in the field. But what if you don’t have many — or any — friends in the profession? Consider these avenues.
1) Join alumni groups:
You can find groups for your university on major social career networks like LinkedIn.
2) Membership in professional organizations:
You can join groups such as the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education or the Online Learning Consortium.
3) Adjunct teaching networks:
Websites such as Adjunct Nation allow you to connect with other educators who work on a part-time or online basis — or both.
Sign Up for Flexible Job Searches
You don’t have to spend any money to launch your online teaching career. However, you can facilitate your search by making a small investment in search engines that cater to flexible and virtual work. Two of the best virtual job networks to join are Flexjobs and Virtual Vocations. Both platforms enable you to tailor your search any way you like and see extensive use by major employers.
Depending on your degree level, you can also find virtual teaching jobs on sites catered to higher education. Occasionally, you’ll discover community-based teaching posts on government job boards as well. Finally, investigate your local district’s website. Many schools now offer limited virtual classes and tutors for students who must remain absent from the traditional classroom for a variety of reasons. Some state juvenile corrections facilities also offer e-learning if you enjoy working with that population.
Consider All Teaching Avenues
Many teachers grow frustrated in their online job searches because they focus primarily on K-12 teaching. The competition to break into schools like Connections Academy can prove rigorous. However, online public schools, or even universities, are not your only option. Consider the following possibilities, as well. They can pad your income as a side hustle, or grow into full-time careers.
1) Virtual Tutoring
Do you enjoy working one-on-one with struggling students? If so, virtual tutoring may be the ideal position for you. A ton of websites recruit virtual tutors, so consider signing up for one or more. Some sites require you to work a set number of hours per week, while others allow you to log in on an as-needed basis. Most, however, do have minimum requirements for the number of hours you must clock in weekly. Online tutoring helps you gain experience, but it is also a rewarding career in itself. It can make the perfect side hustle if you’re currently working a 9-5.
2) Foreign Language Learning
Do you keep unusual hours? If you’re a chronic insomniac, teaching English as a foreign language online might be the ideal fit. Why? When it is daytime in many Asian countries, it is nighttime in the U.S. Such positions generally operate on a part-time basis of approximately 10-20 hours weekly, although it is possible to find work that is closer to full-time. If you’re a night owl, investigate this option.
3) Corporate Training
Did you ever wonder how software companies, such as Apple and Intuit, train their new hires on how to provide support? They generally hire trainers to oversee this aspect of onboarding. Breaking into corporate training can prove challenging, as many companies prefer to hire from within the organization. However, if you are trying to switch to a virtual trainer position within a business that you work with currently, talk to your HR representative. Alternately, you can get your foot in the door by getting hired for a different position and transitioning later.
4) Design a Course
How many times have you seen exciting classes appear in your social media feeds? Sites such as Udemy enable you to design and teach courses in any discipline you can imagine. If you genuinely can instruct Underwater Basketweaving 101, such sites are the place to do so. The downside of such formats is that you need to invest considerable time upfront in designing the class. The plus side, however, is that you continue to reap a residual income every time somebody enrolls.
You can also find websites like Outschool that cater to homeschool students and parents. Such platforms combine the best of both worlds. Once you design the bones of your course, you’ve finished the hard work, other than updating the content occasionally. However, you still get to interact live with your learners during in-person sessions.
Finally, if you’re experiencing little success because you’re new to the teaching field, consider investigating volunteer opportunities to pad your resume. Many local community colleges have classroom aide volunteer programs where you can apply. Some K-12 schools accept parent volunteers if you have a child enrolled there.
Start Your Career Teaching Online in the New Year
Teaching online offers an opportunity to earn a lucrative income or a little side cash from the comfort of home. Plus, you enjoy the pleasure of helping students achieve their dreams. Take these tips and embark on your virtual educator career this year.