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Traditionally, a student would need to enroll in a brick and mortar college or university in order to enroll in teaching degree programs, but since the advent of the Internet, it has become possible to earn online teacher degree programs without ever setting foot on campus. Various types of online teacher degree programs exist, and the offerings can vary depending on the region of the world in which the student lives and intends to teach. Generally, the basic degree program a candidate must complete in order to become a teacher is the bachelor's degree.
The candidate can earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education, secondary education, or even adult education. Online teacher degree programs that allow a candidate to earn a bachelor's degree will generally take four years to complete if the student is taking classes full-time. The student can choose to focus on various types of teaching, and in some cases, he or she may choose to narrow the focus down to a specific subject as well; for example, one might choose online teacher degree programs for teaching math at the secondary level. Another student might choose a program that prepares him or her to teach English at the elementary or primary level.
Many school districts throughout the world will require new teachers who have completed a degree program and certification requirements to continue their educations to earn master's degrees. It is possible to find online teacher degree programs that allow the candidate to work on a master's degree either full- or part-time, and the new teacher can use the opportunity to hone his or her expertise even further. Some teachers, for example, may choose to earn a master's degree in early childhood education, or even in special education. If the teacher's future goals include becoming a school principal or other administrator, he or she may earn a master's degree in education administration instead.
When taking online teacher degree programs, the teacher generally has two options: asynchronous or synchronous classes. Asynchronous classes allow for scheduling flexibility, as the student will be able to work on class assignments at his or her own pace throughout the course of a semester. Synchronous courses require the student to be online to attend class at the same time as all other students enrolled in the course. While asynchronous classes offer more flexibility, synchronous classes offer more direct contact with teachers and students, and more guided education.