How To Become an Online Teacher

Updated December 8, 2022

Online teaching is a growing educational practice for all kinds of teachers. It allows more flexibility, enhanced networking opportunities, and faster information sharing. While teachers typically work in schools or tutor students at home, becoming an online teacher can also be a viable option. In this article, we describe how to become an online teacher, explain the skills you need, and discuss frequently asked questions about teaching online.

How to become an online teacher in 5 steps

Online teachers provide lessons and feedback to students across various educational levels through a digital platform. Follow these steps if you feel online teaching is a career path you want to pursue:

1. Choose a subject that interests you

Online teachers typically focus on a specific area, such as statistics, math, or art. First, decide on a subject you're passionate about and find out what you enjoy teaching. For example, if you enjoy classical music, consider teaching music online. The subject you choose impacts what educational program you'd get into and your job options. Also, consider whether you want to teach for an organization, private school, or public school. Where you work can impact whether you need a teaching licence.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

Next, complete your bachelor's degree. While you may earn a degree relating to the subject you want to teach, degrees in education are also acceptable. Alternatively, you may choose to study as a double major. For example, some teachers earn double degrees in education and another field that interests them.

Related: 20 Education Degree Jobs (With Duty and Salary Information)

3. Gain teaching experience

During your undergraduate, seek opportunities to teach others and start developing your soft skills, such as communication and interpersonal skills. You may participate in student teaching programs to gain practical experience as a teacher. For example, many people tutor students at tutoring centress. As an online teacher, having experience teaching digital lessons can give you a competitive edge. Consider volunteering at a neighbourhood high school as a substitute teacher to gain more work experience.

Related: Essential Teaching Skills and How to Develop Them

4. Engage in continuing learning

Consider earning a master's degree or doctorate, especially if you want to work in post-secondary school positions. For example, if teaching college math interests you, having a master's degree or doctorate in math, statistics, or related fields may be an educational requirement of the college or university. Earning an advanced degree and completing training programs can also make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers. For example, attending workshops can help you become proficient with conferencing software.

Related: How To Learn Skills Online and Which To Learn

5. Apply for online teaching positions

Look for online teaching opportunities on job posting sites and ask your network whether they know of open positions. If you want to work for a private school or public school, visit the school's career page on its official website and search for opportunities. Regardless of where you want to work, prepare your resume and outline your teaching skills, experience, and educational qualifications in it.

Related: 9 Online Teaching Jobs (With Salary and Qualifications)

What skills does an online teacher need?

Here are the top skills you need to succeed as an online teacher:


As an online teacher, knowing how to convey ideas and concepts for students to understand is important. For example, developing verbal and written communication skills can help you write effective emails and have video lessons. Effective communication also involves showing empathy to students, especially those getting familiar with the online platform.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Time management

When teaching a subject online, it's important you watch the time because online platforms typically don't have reminders to signify the end of a class. Practice prioritizing your teaching tasks and starting online classes early to make sure you cover lesson plans. Also, consider using time tracking and daily management software to create teaching schedules and avoid distractions.

Read more: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions


Working as an online teacher requires you to write lesson plans and evaluate student work. Having critical-thinking skills enable you to complete these teaching tasks successfully. For example, knowing how to think critically can help you create age-appropriate assignments for students.


As an online teacher, you can expect to track and maintain student records, learning progress, and assessments. Showing excellent organizational skills helps you navigate these tasks successfully. Develop and use your organizational skills by creating a to-do list for each online subject you teach and prioritizing tasks on it.


Online teachers need a basic understanding of the online platforms they use to teach. Being technologically literate helps you troubleshoot any technical issues that may occur during lessons. For example, internet connectivity issues may affect your class, requiring you to temporarily stop your camera feed, since a camera feed uses more bandwidth. Understanding educational technology can also help you track student grades and attendance and communicate with parents or colleagues effectively.

Read more: Computer Literacy in the Workplace: What You Need To Know


Leadership skills are abilities for directing others to reach a shared goal. Showing well-developed leadership skills help you manage your online classroom, monitor students, and ensure students reach their academic goals. Hone your ability to motivate others by taking leadership courses online and attending leadership workshops.

Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples


Unlike in-person teachers, online teachers rely only on audio and video feeds to determine student participation. Being creative helps you find ways to instruct your classes and keep students engaged. For example, you may split lessons into fun sections and use stories to catch students' attention.


Teaching online requires you to be prepared for changes and adaptable. For example, a technical issue may occur, requiring you to adjust your lesson plan. Anticipating changes and having contingency plans can make you more flexible. A contingency plan is a pre-defined course of action to take if something impacts your initial plan.

Related: Essential Teaching Skills and How to Develop Them

FAQs about becoming an online teacher

Explore the most common questions about teaching online:

What is the average salary for a teacher?

According to Indeed Salaries, the national average salary for a teacher is $23.27 per hour. Your salary may vary depending on your teaching experience, the hiring school or organization, and your skill set. Consider negotiating higher pay with your potential employers if you feel you can add more value as an online teacher.

How long does it take to become an online teacher?

It takes four years to complete a bachelor's degree. You also need at least one year of teaching experience. Pursuing advanced degrees, such as a master's degree or doctorate, typically takes an additional one to five years, depending on the educational program.

What are the benefits of teaching online?

Online teaching can be rewarding to students and teachers. Some benefits of online education to teachers include:

  • Online teachers can work from anywhere, including their homes.

  • Many online platforms enable teachers to pre-record lessons and upload or post the video in advance.

  • There's a wide range of online resources that teachers can use to educate.

  • Online teachers don't grade students manually, which may free up more time during their workday.

  • Online teaching makes connecting with students easier.

What subjects can you teach online?

As an online teacher, you can teach any subject. Examples of classes you may take include chemistry, music, and studio art. Online teachers can educate young children, teenagers, and adults.

Related: How to Teach English Online and Build a Successful Career

What is an online teacher's typical workday like?

Online teachers typically have a functional routine when working nine-to-five workdays. They start their day by meeting teaching partners to review lesson plans. Shortly after, they hold their first class and go over the concepts in the subject. They typically ask students for feedback and answer student questions. After classes are over, they respond to emails or calls from colleagues, teaching supervisors, or students. They may also set up individual classrooms to discuss student concerns before spending time grading assessments. Before the workday ends, they typically hold meetings with supervisors and review their plans for the next day.

Is online teaching a good side job?

Online teaching makes for a good side job. A side job is a job that generates additional income. There are multiple opportunities to teach online, and many positions provide attractive pay. As an online teacher, you may also have the option to choose when to work.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

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