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Online Teaching Job Search

Updated on May 15, 2014

What You Need to Get Started Teaching Online

Before you begin your job search, here are some things to think about:

Online education is a demanding profession that is often a 24x7 job. While it is incredibly flexible (you can work from anywhere you have an internet connection!) it's also an "always on" job that rarely offers vacations or days off. If you love to teach, and enjoy the flexibility of working from anywhere in the world, this may be a great profession for you!

If you want to begin your job search as an online professor, here are some tools for your online teaching toolkit you will need to get started:

  • Curriculum Vitae (not a resume! This is very important! I will write about the differences below)
  • Cover letter geared towards online education
  • Letter of references (many job sites require you to upload them)
  • 3 to 5 references, with most of those having a doctorate or professors themselves
  • A passion for education!
  • Unofficial transcripts scanned into PDF format, separately.

Perhaps just as important - what you do not need. There are lot of misconceptions about what you need and do not need to get an online teaching job. You do not need:

  • Certification in a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard
  • A teaching credential
  • Experience (though it helps get jobs, so the first is the hardest to get)
  • A certification in online education
  • A doctorate (it is preferred but not always required, in fact more than 40% of the jobs we find and send as job leads do not require a doctorate)

Infographic: Steps to an Online Teaching Job

Jobs in Academia

Jobs in Academia
Jobs in Academia

Curriculum Vitae - What Is It Exactly?

A curriculum vitae (commonly known as a CV) is a very long, very detailed resume that is used for academic purposes. The online education market and job search is more competitive than ever. The more detailed your CV, the greater the chances you will land your first (or fifth) online teaching position.

Here are some sections that your CV should include:

  • Contact information including LinkedIn and Social Media Professor Pages
  • Teaching Philosophy Statement
  • Unique Attributes
  • Articles
  • Quotations/Cited-In
  • Publications
  • Media Spots
  • All experience you have in education (if you don't have any, don't worry. More on this later!)
  • All of your work and professional experience
  • References (at least three) with full contact information
  • Details on every course you've taught, including university name, title, dates, topic of the course and the course description
  • Learning Management System (LMS) experience
  • Areas of Expertise (both those you have 18 graduate hours in and your professional expertise)
  • Committee Work
  • Community Service
  • Military Service
  • Consulting Jobs
  • Entrepreneurial experience
  • Certifications
  • Education
  • Educational Training

With a resume, we are given a specific piece of advice: "be sure it isn't more than a couple of pages." Not true with a CV! This should be a comprehensive view of your work and life experience. I recommend starting off with contact information, and then moving into your philosophy statement, and then following with attributes and experience. I recommend closing the CV with references. It is not generally acceptable to write our common "available upon request" when you write a CV.

If you need help with CV services, we offer a lot of help: CV reviews, CV writing and CV templates!

CV Writing for online teaching and academic job positions requires modifying your existing resume or CV into a document that represents all of your professional, academic and community achievements in one comprehensive document. You should not worry about the length of the CV Document, but about how detailed and comprehensive it is.

I recommend listing unique attributes next and then following up with your experience, professional experience, education and the other items relevant to your online teaching career listed in my 21 items blog post. You may want to review the post "21 Things Your CV Needs for Online Teaching Jobs" for that list of items. Try to be as thorough as possible. I recommend adding 5 to 8 attributes that make you stand out from other candidates. Don't worry if this isn't in the area of online education. Military experience, leadership experience, expertise, learning management systems, education, community service and more all make a difference. Just like your teaching philosophy (which I will cover more in depth next week) it is important to really try to dive into what unique skill set you bring to your teaching career. Essentially this is an overview of "why hire me?"

As you move through the rest of the CV, check out the infographic. This covers a lot of what you should be thinking about, including presentations, ways you've advanced your expertise in an area, your dedication to lifelong learning, community service, military service, areas you have 18 graduate hours in, learning management systems, citations in articles or publications, media, scholarly publications, professional publications, residencies and colloquium attendance or presentations, extended education and more.

The infographic below presents the basics of CV Writing. This is hardly all-inclusive, but gives you a good starting point and perhaps a fresh look at the process. One of the benefits to working off of a thorough template or with a CV Writing professional is that often clients discover they have far more experience and items to list than they thought! They just weren't sure what to include. Sometimes the brainstorming process is very important and leads to a far better, more thorough CV.

CV Writing Inforgraphic

Highest Degree Completed

If You Already Teach Online, What Is Your Highest Degree Completed?

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Teaching Philosophy Statement for your CV

A teaching philosophy statement, whether standalone or integrated into your CV, is essentially a statement indicating what your theory of education is, what model you follow, why education is important to you, and then how this is put into practice in your course room. There are two types of teaching philosophy statements. The first is the longer philosophy statement that is often a full page.

I recommend starting the first paragraph with an introduction to your philosophy and beliefs about education. You can integrate theory about instruction into this initial paragraph if you like. In the second paragraph, you can elaborate more on your teaching style, how education has influenced you and why you find it valuable to others. A good thing to ask yourself is, "if someone came to me asking if they should pursue an education, how would I answer and why?" Remember you should be writing this in first person and do not feel as though you have to leave emotion out of it. Showing passion for education is good in my opinion and I have seen it positively correlated with getting teaching jobs. Next, if you are comfortable, I suggest explaining a bit about why and how education has played a role in your own life. Personal stories and examples can help convey the meaning and value of education to you. You should also elaborate on what you find most important to students. Is it engagement? Is it retention? Is it leading by example? Feel free to explain as many of these elements as you feel comfortable doing. Finally, you should wrap it up with a paragraph identifying how a dean, should he or she visit your online classroom, would see evidence of your philosophy carried out into the class. Essentially the first element is theory, the second is practice and the third is application.

This is of course the longer version of the philosophy, which is often uploaded as a separate document into human resources job application systems. However, I highly recommend also integrating the teaching philosophy statement into your CV, as the very first thing after your contact information. Not only does this show that you "get" education and the requirements today, but it will help you convey a message to deans or human resources professionals as soon as they review your CV. It will also bump up the keywords for searching, which is important (particularly so when there is a job pool where thousands of candidates may apply and you want to stand out among them). The version on your CV will be a shorter, more concise version of the longer teaching philosophy statement. When I write teaching statements when writing CVs for clients (which can also be used as the entire comprehensive philosophy statement - they do not need to be different) I write two paragraphs. The first paragraph is theory and practice (why the client wants to teach, what his or her methodology or theory of education is, and if the client is comfortable, a little bit of personal information that explains the value the client places on education). I am sure to use accurate keywords that describe my client, such as "retention focused" or "highly engaged with learners" or "strong communicator in the classroom". The second paragraph is all about evidence! How would the boss/dean/manager who is logged into my client's course see evidence of the theoretical components taking place in class? Would the dean see my client highly engaged in discussions? Sharing experience? Providing thorough feedback and ways to improve?

The teaching philosophy statement should convey your passion and dedication to the profession, and thoughtfully identify ways in which others will see evidence of your beliefs in the classroom.

Doctorate Required? Or Not?!

One of the most common questions I am asked in our Facebook teaching group is whether or not a doctorate is required to teach online. The short answer is no.

I have created a chart below that will help you see what you can - and cannot - generally teach without a doctorate. It is certainly easier to get jobs with a so-called terminal degree. You are credentialed to teach more, have 18 graduate hours from usually two degrees (your masters and doctorate) counting towards the magic number, and some schools require a doctorate for accreditation. There are certainly many programs you can teach in without one though. Most of our clients at The Babb Group looking for online teaching work do not have terminal degrees and after six months, almost all have found a job teaching online using our services. (After the first one, the rest are much easier!)

Teaching Jobs = Persistence + Tools + Leads

What You Can Teach by Degree (Generally Speaking)

Can Teach
Cannot Teach
Doctoral, Masters, Bachelors
Masters, Bachelors, Associates
Some Bachelors, Associates
Masters, Doctoral
Teaching Credential
High School
College Courses without Degree

You May Have More Experience Than You Think

You may be thinking - okay, this is an interesting job. I want to teach others, I have the time, I love flexibility, and the money sounds pretty good ($1,000 to $5000 per course, varying by degree, length of the course, university and discipline). But, I don't have any online teaching job experience. How am I going to get any?

Think back to your very first job.. walking in with resume in hand and perhaps nothing more than babysitting jobs and your high school diploma (or may not even that yet!) in hand. Changing careers really isn't any different.

First you need to package your materials like an educator would. In my first section I talked about what you need to bring to the virtual table before applying to jobs. Your CV, teaching philosophy, references, transcripts and cover letter. Remember do not submit a resume!

Then, think about the experience you do have. Have you trained people at work? Were you the go-to person in your department when other employees couldn't figure out Excel? List that in the educational experience section, and describe in your teaching philosophy statement how your experience doing the above has given you the passion (and patience!) to train or teach adults.

Next, consider guest lecturing at a local college. Most professors are talking for hours at a time and would gladly let you do some of that for them! Once you have guest lectured, keep doing it and list it on your CV as experience.

Another option to get experience (and be paid!) is to develop an online course. If you aren't already teaching you could use a site like Udemy to create content, publish your course, earn residual income from people who take your class and list both the course creation and the course teaching (you will be teaching, answering questions and commenting in your course) in your educational experience section.

Try to think grass roots here. What can you do to show you are an educator at heart?

I'm Ready To Apply - Where Can I Find Leads?

As I noted earlier most of our clients apply to 80 to 120 jobs to get their first position. This may sound daunting, and it can take a few months. But once you have your first job, the rest are far easier.

You can find online teaching jobs on our web site at The Babb Group (you can sign up for verified job leads), you can find them on sites like Indeed, Monster and HigherEdJobs, and you can find them on networking forums such as our Facebook Site, our ExclusiveEDU group and our Yahoo Group.

Don't be shy! Jump right in, introduce yourself, let other professors know what you are looking to do and you will find a very friendly group. Remember at one point we all had no teaching jobs! We were all "newbies!"

Online Teaching

How Long Did It Take You to Land Your First Teaching Job?

See results


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    Post Comment

    • kellielandi profile image

      Kellie Landi 

      4 years ago from Not anwhere in particular but somewhere....

      I really enjoy this article as someone who would like to work from home as a teacher and writer.

    • GreenPrince profile image

      Prince Edike 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      I love the tips you exposed . This is a wonderful hub for online teachers-to-be.

    • ratnaveera profile image


      4 years ago from Cumbum

      It is a great article with detailed information which would be certainly helpful for those who want to become an online teacher. Of course it needs good experience and qualification to get that job. Thanks for this great Hub! Babb Group! Voted Up!


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