You’ve gone through all of the hard work of earning your online teaching degree, and now you’re ready to enter the classroom and make a difference in the education of others. This means that you are entering the job hunt for a teaching job, but having received an online degree might pose some complications to this process.
What We'll Cover
To get a teaching job with an online degree, there are several steps to follow and resources to use. Keep your eye on the Human Resources Department/Teaching Vacancies section of school websites, and make sure your ‘Statement of Educational Philosophy’ is clean and polished.
Read on for more tips on how you can quickly obtain a teaching job with an online degree just as easily as any graduate that obtained their degree in-person.
How to Get a Teaching Job with an Online Degree
There are several tips that will help you get a teaching job with your online degree. These range from where to look for job postings to elements of your application, and finally, interviewing skills that will ensure you get that perfect teaching job in no-time.
Where to Look for Teaching Job Postings
Sometimes the hardest part of getting a job is finding the vacancies so you can even get your foot in the door to apply and potentially interview for the position. If you’ve finally obtained your online teaching degree but constantly struggle to find job postings, this could significantly hinder the job hunt process and drag it out longer than you’d like or can even afford.
Luckily, there are several places you can search and resources you can utilize that will help you find teaching vacancies quickly and keep you updated on when a potential job has been posted.
The first place you should search for a potential teaching job is on the school websites of schools in your area or districts you are willing to relocate to for work.
Typically, schools with their own websites will list various resources for their students, parents, and community members. On this website, there should be a tab or link labeled “Human Resources Department/Teaching Vacancies,” where the school will post any open teaching positions accepting applications.
If you can’t find this tab or listing on the website, feel free to call the school directly and ask them if they have any immediate vacancies or perceive having an open position in the near future. This will help you cross potential schools off your list or find vacancies more quickly.
The internet is a fabulous tool filled with opportunities. One of the best places to search for potential employment with an online teaching degree is teaching-focused websites.
These websites are specifically tailored towards individuals seeking employment and educational facilities seeking to fill positional vacancies. Some examples of these websites include Schoolspring.com or Educationamerica.net, or TeachingJobs.com.
One of these website’s benefits is that they don’t limit the postings to jobs in your immediate area. Although you could filter the listings to suit your preferences, these sites will post teaching jobs that need to be filled nationwide. Therefore, if you aren’t picky about where you want to live to teach, this is an exceptional resource for you.
Common Employment Websites
Employment websites have expanded significantly in the past decade and have made job hunting a much more efficient and stress-free process. Some of these websites, such as LinkedIn, have even added elements of social media to help potential employers and employees connect, which promotes networking.
The most beneficial employment websites for an individual with an online degree searching for a teaching job would be:
Each of these sites will post job vacancies that reflect your qualifications and interests and personalized to your specifications. This means that you can limit your job hunt radius to the town or city where you live, or you could expand it to various states or even nationwide.
You can also add filters that will help you find jobs that fit your needs faster. These could include salary if the position is part-time versus full-time, required experience level, and many more.
Once you have the proper filters and job title in place, be sure to use the setting that allows the site to send you notifications whenever a job is posted on the site that meets your specified criteria.
Prepare Your Job Application
This step should arguably be performed before you search or apply for jobs, but some elements of your job application might change depending on the position. Nevertheless, your job application materials are essential to obtaining a job as a graduate with an online degree.
Your application materials are the first thing potential employers will look at before they contact you and well before you can speak to them face-to-face. This means that whatever is written about you in your application has to be unique enough to entice your potential employer to pick you out of the pile as a serious candidate.
Depending on the position, there are potentially three elements of your application the employer will request:
- A resume
- A cover letter
- Your Statement of Educational Philosophy
We will discuss the importance of each of these elements so you can ensure they are as efficient and appropriate as possible and ensure you end up sitting in that interview chair.
Your resume is essentially the cliff notes version of yourself that your potential employer will most likely glance at first. This is so they can determine that, as a candidate, you have the proper qualifications and experience necessary for the position.
It is vital that you create a clean and concise resume that demonstrates you have what it takes to fulfill this position. Information on your resume should be timely (preferably within five years of the application) and relevant.
Remember, your resume is not an opportunity to depict all your life achievements and experiences. You want to ensure everything on this brief piece of paper is specific to the position. This might require you to have numerous copies of different resumes depending on the position.
For example, if the position is for a high school history teacher and your online teaching degree is supplemented with a history concentration, this is worth mentioning. Do not mention that you were the President of the virtual chess club at your college. Although you might be proud of this achievement, it does not add anything to your application.
However, some individuals opt to add a section of their interests at the bottom of their resume for a personal touch, and so, you may add your affinity for chess here.
If the potential employer deemed you qualified for the position and approved of what they saw on the resume, then they will most likely move on to your cover letter. Not all positions will request a cover letter. Some might swap this application element out for your Statement of Educational Philosophy, but it never hurts to have a cover letter draft handy.
The cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate to the employer that you aren’t just a name on a piece of paper; you are a human being that would be an exceptional asset to their team. Some employers might offer cover letter prompts they want their applicants to answer, but frequently it is a clean slate for you to fill.
Similar to the resume, your cover letter should be entirely relevant to the position and your journey as a potential educator. This is the time to expand on an experience that demonstrates why you are passionate about this field, why you are a good fit for this school and position, and how you intend to make a difference.
Again, it never hurts to have a skeleton of a cover letter that discusses these key points, and then you can edit and alter them as necessary so they are appropriate to the position. This prevents you from writing a completely new cover letter for every application.
Your Statement of Educational Philosophy
The importance of this document can’t be understated. Your Statement of Educational Philosophy should detail your core values and beliefs as an educator in a concise but thorough manner that spans a maximum of two pages.
Your potential employer will read this document to determine if you are a good fit for their school as an educator if your philosophies align with their own.
Before writing this piece, you need to reflect deeply on why you want to be an educator, what motivates you to pursue this profession, what values you prioritize, and what you will refuse to compromise for the sake of yourself and your students. Once you have these answers clear in your mind, it’s time to start writing the statement.
Depicted below is an example format of a Statement of Educational Philosophy. There is no specific format for this document. The ultimate goal is to depict your motivations as an educator, your goals, and how you can achieve them.
|Introduction||Open by clearly why you are passionate about teaching and what motivates you to pursue this career. Ex. The belief that every child deserves an education|
|Body||Progress into your body paragraph by clearly stating your goals as an educator. It is vital that these goals are achievable through some form of assessment. Ex. Hands-on experience should be incorporated into every child’s educations (assessable by writing such activities into teaching plans)|
|Body||After stating your goals as an educator, you must support these beliefs and their achievability by describing the methods to ensure their success and fulfillment.Ex. Use of projects (group or individualized), testing, participation, incorporating elements of your methods in daily learning.|
|Conclusion||Discuss your goals to grow as an educator throughout your profession. Discuss present goals you might be facing as an educator, how you have developed up until this point, and how you hope to continue to develop.|
Have Your Interview Down
Whether you attended college in-person or online, one element that will be consistent in your attempts to find a teaching job is that you will undoubtedly be interviewed if the school is interested in you as a potential candidate.
Therefore, to get ahead of the game and ensure you set yourself apart from the other candidates, it is essential that you have practiced potential interview questions and have your answers ready.
Start by writing down some common teaching interview questions such as:
- Why did you decide to become a teacher?
- How do you keep your students engaged and motivated?
- How would you handle a consistently disruptive student?
You can easily search the most common teacher interview questions to create a more comprehensive list. Once you have your questions, answer them as thoroughly and personally as possible. Be sure to add reflections of yourself and your unique qualities in your answers to set you apart.
Now that you have your answers to these common questions memorized, it is time to practice them so they look and feel natural rather than rehearsed. Try sitting in front of a mirror and watch yourself as you respond to each question. Some things to look out for will be if you are smiling, if you are holding a professional but relaxed position and if you frequently fidget as you speak.
Conducting a constructive mock interview with a friend or family member is another excellent option. Have them ask you questions you’ve practiced, some curveball questions you haven’t practiced, and request they provide supportive but honest feedback of the experience.
With a clean and personable interview, you should leave that potential job confident that you made a positive and impactful impression.
What to Do Before Searching for a Teaching Job
Before you begin searching for a teaching job with your online degree, there are some things you might want to reflect on to ensure you apply for positions that are appropriate for you, your passions, and your experience level.
Below is a list of steps you should take to help you determine if a position aligns with your interests and qualifications before you apply.
Steps to Ensure a Job Posting is Right for You
Consider Your Degree
As you increase in age and educational level for teaching, positions will require higher degrees from their educators. At the lowest educational level of preschool, teachers are required to have their Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. A Bachelor’s degree can carry an educator through the high school level, but once you enter collegiate education, it is required that you have at least a Master’s degree, if not a Ph.D.
When considering what level of education you would like to teach, be sure that your academic credentials align with that level’s requirements before you start to pursue any position.
Consider Your Interests
Once you have determined which levels of education are suitable for your online degree, it is best to consider your interests as an educator in terms of what age-range and subject you prefer. This is arguably something that should have been reflected upon and pursued throughout your college education, but it is important to reiterate it here.
When searching for a teaching vacancy, filtering your interests might help weed out options and speed up the process. Therefore, contemplate what level of education you are passionate about teaching. If it is preschool or middle school, you might be required to have a general knowledge of various subjects to sufficiently fulfill your positional requirements.
Comparatively, if you prefer older students or a specialized subject to teach, you are best suited to high school or collegiate levels.
Consider Your Work-Related Preferences
As you search for a position, consider what work-related elements are important to you and might sway you towards one position over another. Some examples might be if you prefer to work in an urban school versus a suburban school.
School size is another important factor because it could reflect how large your class size will be and how many faculty members work for the school. If you are a history teacher at a small suburban middle school, you are likely the only history teacher for that grade level. Whereas, if this were a large urban middle school, there might be multiple history teachers for different groups of students within the same grade level.
Consider Your Realm of Teaching
As an individual with an online degree, you might have an affinity for online learning. So, it is entirely possible that you could apply for positions as an online educator. It is important to consider all the potential options for employment and whether you are willing and prepared to tailor your teaching style to that specific realm.
If you are the type of teacher that truly enjoys interacting with students and having a physical realm for teaching, then you would most likely thrive in a traditional in-school setting.
Are Online Teaching Degrees Legitimate?
Yes, online teaching degrees are legitimate as long as they were obtained through an accredited program. It is becoming progressively common for individuals to obtain the degrees online rather than through the traditional on-campus setting. Although there was certainly a stigma around online degrees regarding their credibility, nowadays, most employers will recognize an online degree as a credible form of education.
In the end, your degree is certainly important to prove that you have the proper credentials to be an educator, but it will only take you so far. Potential employers will take your degree much more seriously when supported with relevant experience.
Finding a teaching job after obtaining your online degree isn’t that much different from obtaining your degree on a collegiate campus. Both are credible forms of education that demonstrate you received the proper education to be an efficient educator.
To ensure you nail that perfect teaching job, make sure you know exactly what drives you as an educator and what you prioritize in a teaching position and environment. Then, create an exceptional portfolio with clear, concise, and polished materials such as a resume, cover letter, and Statement of Educational Philosophy.
Once the employer has seen these materials and heard your well-versed and personalized interview, you’ll be standing before a class in no time.