How to Be a Online College Professor

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If you have ever considered teaching as a career or, in particular, teaching at the college level, you may want to consider the possibility of becoming an online college professor. The teaching profession has undergone a number of changes over the years and the most recent trend is towards increasing online education. Online college professors have the advantages of schedule flexibility, decent pay and the ability to teach exclusively from home.

1 Obtain your degrees

Obtain your degrees. The minimum qualification at most colleges and universities to teach on campus is a master's level degree. Teaching online college courses is no different. You will need a master's degree related to the field in which you plan to teach. To increase your chances of landing a faculty position, you should ideally obtain a doctorate degree in your area of expertise. Most college professors obtain a Ph.D., but there are a number of other doctorate degrees like the Ed.D. which can also qualify you to teach as an online professor.

2 Apply for teaching positions

Apply for teaching positions. You can start your job search by applying to local schools or, if you are willing to relocate, you can start to apply to schools nationwide. Most schools are not offering full-time faculty positions for online teaching unless they are colleges that are primarily established for the purpose of distance education. The "Chronicle of Higher Education" is a good place to start looking for full-time faculty positions at colleges and universities. You can also look on the job board. is a website primarily devoted to online education and a number of colleges and universities post their online job openings on the site's job board. Keep in mind that full-time positions for online professors are rare. You should be prepared to teach as an adjunct professor and possibly teach a class or two on campus in order to get your foot in the door. If you only want online classes, you may find yourself teaching exclusively as an adjunct instructor.

3 Be to teach at more than one school

Be available to teach at more than one school. Because faculty positions are few and far between, many college teaching professionals are moving away from teaching as full-time faculty members at one college or university in favor of teaching for several schools at a time as an independent contractor. This is becoming increasingly easy to do with the proliferation of online courses being offered by many colleges and universities. Many professors are giving up on the dream of obtaining tenure at a university simply because of the politics often involved in the process. Tenure-track positions are also limited as far as income goes, whereas income from teaching online is only limited to the number of classes you can line up each semester.

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.