A special education degree may be exactly what you need to advance your career. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find the time to attend classes in a traditional setting. An online teaching certification is a great way to get the education you need on your own schedule and budget.
There are an incredible variety of online teaching certification programs available from a broad selection of highly respected learning institutions. Some programs are online branches of brick and mortar schools while others are strictly online. The available programs range from elementary education to special education degrees and beyond, usually with options to continue on to earn master’s degrees or additional certifications.
Online vs. Traditional
Getting an online teaching certification is of course different from earning a teaching certificate at a brick and mortar learning institution for obvious reasons. An online teaching certification program allows you to complete coursework from just about anywhere, anytime; usually at a much lower cost. However, it’s the similarities between the two types of certification processes that might surprise you:
- Field experience and student teaching. Even though the bulk of the coursework is done online, online teaching certification programs still require field experience and student teaching.
- Interaction with faculty and other students. You won’t be meeting face-to-face with your instructors and fellow students on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean you won’t interact at all. Not only can you interact in a variety of ways online (email, chat, video conference, etc.), you will also meet in person during classroom observations and field experiences.
- The highest standards. Online doesn’t mean cut-rate. The quality of the education you receive online adheres to the same high standards as the best traditional schools. As a bonus, online teaching offers students a front-row seat to the latest innovations in the field of education.
Strategies for Success
With the freedom an online program provides, it’s easy to get off-track. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your online learning experience:
- Set and stick to a regular schedule. That might mean alternate Tuesdays at midnight and Saturdays at seven at night, but whatever it is, make an appointment with yourself and keep it.
- Use your resources. Online teaching certification programs often come with fantastic organizational and educational tools, as well as ways to get help through your instructors. Those resources are there for a reason. Use them.
- Participate. Join discussion forums and online chats. Get to know your fellow students. These are great opportunities to network and enrich your learning experience.
- Don’t procrastinate. While it might be tempting to let your work go until the last minute, don’t. Leaving everything until the last minute is never a good idea.
Managing expectations and keeping these tips in mind will ensure your educational experience is as rich as if you had attended a brick and mortar school.