Online teacher certification is a means to fulfill the post-secondary educational requirements set forth by a government that will allow one to teach children in a school system. With the exception of student teaching, classes are taken over the Internet and financial aid may be available. There are several different options for earning online teacher certification based on the level of post-secondary education completed and professional goals. These options include earning a bachelor's degree concurrently with certification, earning a certificate only, and earning a master's degree in conjunction with a teaching certificate. Whether one enrolls part-time or full-time determines the how long it will take to complete the program.
A teaching certificate is also known as a credential or a license depending upon the location in which it is being earned. The online teacher certification program that one ultimately decides to "virtually" attend should be vetted or accredited by the proper authorities. Financial aid in the form of loans or grants may be available to offset some of the costs. In the United States, for example, if the online certification is earned in a subject with a critical shortage of teachers, some education costs may be reimbursed under certain criteria.
An online teaching certificate may be earned at the same time as a bachelor's degree. One can major in early childhood, elementary, or special education and graduate with a degree as well as a teaching credential. Single-subject teaching certificates may be earned by those working towards a bachelor's degree in one of the sciences, math, a foreign language, history, or other academic area. A complete bachelor's degree and license may take four years or more to complete.
Sometimes those working in other fields decide that they want to teach instead. If they have a bachelor's degree, it might be possible for them to enroll in a post-bachelor's online teacher certification program without having to quit their day job.
Many teachers earn more than one teaching credential. Sometimes this is to earn a pay raise. In other circumstances, the teacher may want to make a lateral career move and/or teach a different subject. The teacher can continue to teach during the day and work online on the additional certification at night. The program may take one or two years to complete.
Those with a bachelor's degree in another field, and who want to earn a master's degree plus teacher certification, may be able to do so via the Internet. Master's degrees may be earned in elementary education, special education, a single-subject, reading, or several other specialties. These programs may take two years or more to complete.
The entry requirements for online teacher certification programs vary from one institution to the next. Many require a grade point average of at least 2.5. Graduate-level programs may require prospective students to take the Miller's Analogies Test, the Graduate Record Examination, or another entrance test. In general, earning a credential by going to school online is a good way to become a teacher or further a teaching career.