Our Top 8 Online Teaching Degrees

A college education is starting to look a lot different than it did a decade ago: Technological advances now make it possible for students, regardless of where in the world they live, to earn a respected and recognized college degree online.

Because of the convenience and flexibility of learning online, some experts believe that online education will eventually become the first choice for earning a college degree. But, some disciplines lend themselves better to an online teaching degree program than others. Some of the most popular online disciplines include:

English

Whether you are pursuing an English degree that focuses on literature or on writing, you'll find that English is an ideal discipline to study online. English curriculum generally requires a lot of reading and writing, and there's not the same hands-on work that a biology degree with lab work, for example, requires.

In place of in-classroom lectures, instructors often post their lectures in written format, allowing you to easily read that week's lecture at your own convenience. You typically discuss your reading assignments in a chat room or on a message board, allowing you even more of an opportunity to have your voice heard than in a traditional classroom.

Among those universities that offer online degree programs in English are The University of Illinois and Indiana University.

Business

Teachers who want to earn an online teaching degree with a focus in business will find that online programs are usually the same as their in-classroom counterparts except you enjoy the convenience of doing your class work off-site. Lectures are handed out to students in written format or are shown using video technology.

A business degree generally requires students to work with each other on different projects. Online programs allow students to work together via email, chat, message board, and even video, making it more convenient than trying to come up with an acceptable time for all students to meet at the university or another location. Check out Boston University and Colorado State University to get started on your online business degree search.

Computer Science

Many computer science degrees focus on a combination of theory and hands-on learning, making it an ideal discipline in which to earn an online teaching degree. Some programs, like the Online Masters Degree in Computer Science at Drexel University, offer the same courses to their traditional students as their online students. Instead of working at a university computer lab, however, you'll be able to work from home, your office, or elsewhere.

Education

Educational theory, the foundation for your role as a teacher, works well in an online setting where you will either meet with your classmates at a set time or you will engage in discussions on a message board. Learning in an online classroom is now akin to learning in a traditional classroom. Programs that use video allow for live interaction, for example. However, an online education degree generally cannot be 100 percent online. Most require you to put your knowledge into practice with student teaching.

The University of Phoenix and Penn State University are two popular options for online teaching degrees.

Healthcare

Healthcare is expected to grow by more than three million jobs between now and 2018. Specializations such as medical billing and coding and nursing lend themselves well to online education. Medical billing and coding generally focus on hands-on computer work while nursing is ideal for those RNs who want to earn a bachelor's degree or a master's degree online. U.S. News & World Report asserts that Drexel University has one of the largest online nursing graduate degree programs in the United States.

Communications

Much of the field of communications - journalism, public relations, and marketing - is now centered online. More people get their news from online news sources than from newspapers, for example (thus, the reason many newspapers are now opting for online editions only.) As a result, earning an online teaching degree in communications will allow you to experience real world communications in an online setting.

Journalism courses often require students to get out there and find stories, interview sources, and write articles - all on a deadline. Instead of a school newsroom, you'll work in a virtual newsroom.

Clarion University and Chatham University offer online masters degrees in communication as well as a range of online programs in other disciplines, including education.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

At one time, teachers went overseas - to Prague, Korea, or China - to gain the hands-on experience necessary to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Increasingly, however, overseas schools are requiring students to have official training in TESOL. If you want to add TESOL to your credentials, your best bet is to opt for a masters in TESOL. In addition to taking the necessary courses with online TESOL degree programs, you can also get hands-on experience teaching students online. Many tutoring companies hire TESOL tutors to help their students.

The University of Southern California and The University of Cincinnati are two of the traditional universities that offer online graduate degrees in ESL.

History

History coursework generally consists of reading, reading, and more reading, making it ideal for an online degree program. As with other online programs, discussions take place either on Blackboard or Moodle, the virtual classroom used by most universities. Because most universities offer students ready access to their online library, history students can also do their research for papers completely online. Ashford University, and The University of Illinois both offer online history degree programs.

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