Becoming an E-Teacher: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an e-teaching career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to see if becoming an e-teacher is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming an E-Teacher

E-teachers create lesson plans, deliver information, respond to the needs of students and evaluate learner progress in an online or virtual environment. Evaluate the pros and cons to determine if becoming an e-teacher is right for you.

Pros of an E-Teacher Career
Opportunity to share your passion and knowledge with others*
Offers flexibility to work when and where you want (via the Internet)*
Variety of potential fields for employment (education, corporate training, military)**
Might have summers off*

Cons of an E-Teacher Career
Can be stressful to provide individualized instruction for large numbers of students***
Often requires non-traditional work hours (including evenings and weekends)*
Extensive education is required for many positions (master's or doctoral degree)*
Lesson preparation can be time-consuming****

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **California State University - East Bay, ***University of California - Irvine, ****University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

E-teachers, who are also known as online or virtual teachers, serve as facilitators in online environments. They provide the tools and expertise that allow students to discover information, both independently and collaboratively, within a guided learning community. Instruction is often highly individualized, and students interact with e-teachers through email, video chats, instant messages and online forums.

Public and private schools are the most common employers of e-teachers, with positions ranging from kindergarten through college, but you can also work in other industries. Online education is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate world, and a great deal of business training is now done virtually. Even military training has branched into online education, providing new opportunities for e-teachers with military expertise and experience.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

Because the field of e-teaching is relatively new, there are no available estimates for job growth and median income. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does provide job growth and income data for teachers in general, however, and these statistics are likely similar to what could be expected for e-teachers associated with traditional schools.

Between 2012 and 2022, the BLS projects that job growth for elementary and middle school teachers should be about average, at 12%. Job growth for high school teachers is expected to be slower than average, at 6%, and jobs for postsecondary teachers are expected to grow faster than average, at 19%. The BLS also reports that the median annual income for middle school teachers was around $55,000 in 2014, while high school teachers earned about $56,000; postsecondary teachers made roughly $62,000 that same year.

Education and Training Requirements

Nearly all e-teaching jobs require applicants to be licensed teachers. Most positions with elementary and secondary schools require at least a bachelor's degree and a valid state teaching license. Master's degrees are often preferred for these positions, and are generally required for any postsecondary e-teaching positions. Some postsecondary positions - especially those with universities - require a doctoral degree.

Earning a bachelor's or master's degree in education is a good first step toward becoming an e-teacher. You'll also need to obtain a teaching license in your state, which may require additional training or education. In addition, some schools - particularly colleges and universities - require all e-teachers to complete internal training courses that relate to standards and proprietary software programs.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Because most e-teaching jobs are affiliated with schools or school districts, possessing the required education and licensure will increase your eligibility. Classroom experience and knowledge of technology are also often-mentioned qualities that employers seek. Below are some actual job postings from employers from March 2012:

  • A virtual high school in Virginia needed a full-time science teacher with at least a bachelor's degree and current state teacher certification. Ideal candidates would have excellent oral and written communication skills, the organizational ability to monitor the progress of a large number of students and a strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs and database software.
  • A K-12 online education company in New York was looking for online instructors to work with small groups of students in real time via the Web. Candidates needed at least a bachelor's degree and a state teaching license, as well as at least two years of teaching experience and high proficiency using Internet, instant messaging and other computer applications. Fluency in a foreign language was preferred.
  • A Florida online training institute sought an experienced insurance instructor with previous work history in the property and casualty insurance industry. Past training or teaching experience and a state insurance license were required.
  • An online language-learning company in Utah needed part-time e-teachers to work from home teaching foreign languages to students in a virtual classroom with established curriculum. A master's degree was preferred, and all applicants had to possess a valid state teaching license, foreign language fluency and experience with online learning. Two years of foreign language teaching experience at the K-12 level was also required.

How to Maximize Your Skills

If you want to become an e-teacher, one of the most important skill sets to develop is a familiarity with technology. Taking courses in popular software applications - particularly those dealing with communications and teaching and learning - can give you an edge with potential employers. E-teachers often find themselves using Microsoft Office programs, Internet browsers, instant messaging software, email and learning delivery applications. Classroom teaching and curriculum development experience also can be beneficial.

Earn a Graduate Certificate

To further establish your abilities as an e-teacher, you may also want to consider earning a graduate certificate in online learning. Graduate certificate programs usually take less than a year to complete and are suitable for e-teachers at all levels and in all settings. Credits earned in graduate certificate programs can often be applied to a master's degree in education, which can open even more doors in the e-teaching profession. A bachelor's degree is required prior to admission to graduate certificate programs in online learning.

Other Careers to Consider

If you have a strong desire to help and guide others, but the organizational and lesson-planning facets of e-teaching don't appeal to you, consider becoming a school counselor instead. Like e-teachers, school counselors must have a state license and a master's degree for most positions, and each state has different education and training requirements for licensing, often depending on a counselor's chosen specialty area. School counselors work educational settings, helping students to make good life choices and cope with challenging circumstances. Overall job growth in the school counseling field is projected by the BLS to be 19% between 2010 and 2020, and the median annual income in 2011 was comparable to that of teachers, at about $54,000.

On the other hand, if you're drawn to the organizational and lesson-planning aspects of e-teaching but the thought of individually working with students deters you, you may enjoy work as an instructional coordinator. Instructional coordinators develop curriculum, select textbooks for classes, create lessons and lesson plans, organize complete educational programs and evaluate the progress of both programs and students. A master's degree is required to work in most jobs in this field, and a state teacher's license may also be needed. Like e-teachers, instructional coordinators often work long hours, but the BLS reports wages are high - with an approximate median annual income of $59,000 in 2011 - and job growth is strong, predicted to be about 20% between 2010 and 2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSE in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning/Higher Ed
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Concordia University Portland

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
      • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: Methods & Curriculum
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
    Bachelor's
      • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure
  • Online Programs Available
    8. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Education - Special Education and Wilson Reading System Certification
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Instructional Leadership
      • Ed.D. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Education Technology and E-Learning
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • M.Ed. - General Education
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - E-Learning
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MSE in Instructional Technology - Adult Learning/Higher Ed
  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • M.Ed. in Early Childhood
  • BS in Early Childhood
  • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

Concordia University Portland

  • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership
  • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
  • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: Methods & Curriculum

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Christian University

  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
  • Early Childhood Education, B.A. without Licensure

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership

What is your highest level of education?