There are over eighteen million students attending community colleges, four-year colleges, state universities and for-profit online post-secondary academic institutions today, and more and more of those college students require an online college instructor to lead their classes. Distance education technology has matured to the point that it would be hard to imagine a school that is not offering online college classes to its new and returning students.
In fact, it is almost guaranteed that the lower cost of offering online college classes will force colleges and universities to move as many of their undergraduate classes online as possible in the next few years. The migration from traditional, on-ground education to digitally-accessed education represents a major shift in how a college education will be earned, and it concurrently represents a major shift in how almost anyone with a graduate degree in a core area of academic study such as English, math, history, psychology or Information Technology can find ample opportunities to earn a very nice living by teaching in multiple part time online teaching positions. It should go without saying that the first step to landing an online teaching position is to become familiar with the needs of the over five thousand institutions of higher learning.
First and foremost, the schools are almost literally being overrun with new and returning college students who have become unemployed or know with relative certainty that they stand a very good chance of becoming unemployed. These students want to improve their chances of earning a decent living again when the recession lifts, and they plan on making that happen by attending college in order to earn a degree or by attending a community college in order to acquire technical training. In either case, it is absolutely necessary that they take a certain number of core college classes.
The person with a graduate degree in these core areas of study can certainly take advantage of the growing need for instructors who can use a computer hooked to the Internet to teach college students taking these requisite courses. This growing need for education professionals with technology and academic skill sets is creating a very definite career path for those seeking to become an online college instructor.
Online College Instructor Income Potential
Obviously, each school will have its own formula for deciding how much to pay an online adjunct instructor to teach a course and anyone who teaches online for any length of time will realize that there isn’t any arguing the point with the school’s administrators. The only real option for an online adjunct teaching math or English, and it is these two core academic subjects that will have the vast majority of new and returning students, is to decide if a school that pays fifteen hundred dollars to teach an online college class for fifteen weeks is a better deal than a school that pays two thousand two hundred dollars to teach the same course for eight weeks.
Much of the evaluation process for one or another school depends on the demands of the course. Eventually, the alert online adjunct instructor will learn to teach at multiple accredited online degree programs at once so that if one academic institution becomes too demanding it can be replaced by another school that is more profitable for the adjunct. In general, it is possible to make fifty to sixty thousand dollars a year through online adjunct faculty employment, and there are those online instructors who laser-focused time management skills and cutting edge technology abilities that can earn in the six-figure range, but they do not sleep at lot. Online teaching can be lucrative in a variety of ways not directly related to the actual teaching.
For example, online adjunct instruction does not require a personal vehicle and there are no public transportation, streetcars and buses, necessary to manage the online classes. The best way to quantify this economic aspect of online instruction is to add up how much money is spent driving a car to and from the various college campuses every day. If a college instructor teaches at several traditional institutions that are some distance from each other a pretty penny of the money earned from teaching is eaten up in sheer transportation costs. An online faculty member only needs a computer and an Internet connection to function in the classroom.
Today, a perfectly serviceable laptop can be had for less than four hundred dollars and almost any coffee shop of public library has free wireless Internet service. Now compare that cost of teaching online with the almost endless expense of owning and maintaining an automobile that is sure to break down from all the miles put on it driving from one campus to the next. Another economic benefit to being an online college adjunct is that of geographic mobility. This mobility is of paramount importance since it can transcend geography, which means the adjunct can move about the globe freely and still earn a living wage. This geographic mobility could become very important if and when the area I which the adjunct lives become too expensive or is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes. Thus, the income potential of online adjunct faculty employment should be measure in more than just the payment for teaching an online college class.
Online College Instructor Application Strategy
While it is true that teaching online college classes for a distance learning online college requires a minimum of a graduate degree, it is also true that one needs to be hired to teach online in order to start earning money from it. Therefore, an application strategy is quite important to the overall process, and the application strategy is one that will be ongoing since the number of community colleges and other post-secondary institutions offering online classes will only grow over time.
First, gather all the documentation you will need during the application process. This includes a cover letter that contains an expressed intent to teach online undergraduate classes since it is these classes that have the most students in them. Along with the cover letter, a resume, not a vita, is a necessary element of the process. A third and very important element is scanned in unofficial copies of all graduate transcripts. All three of these application elements should be kept in a handy place on the computer’s desktop since they need to be in motion, so to speak, at all times.
The academic job boards are always a good place to search for possible online college course to teach, but it is a better idea to apply directly to each of the over five thousand academic institutions that have web sites on the Internet. Just keep submitting applications to teach online as an adjunct and sooner or later a positive response will be generated by the effort to make contact. Keep in mind that the schools have a lot more students than teachers who can master the digital classroom and teach college materials in a professional manner. Sooner or later, it will become easier to see the outstanding opportunities that being an online college instructor for multiple colleges online offers those with graduate degrees in need of a decent living.
Many working adults who wish to go back to college but are not able to attend a local campus during the day are finding that an online college is the perfect solution. A person can work during the day and pursue their degree at night and on the weekends. But while all online colleges offer certifications or degrees in various fields, not all credits and degrees obtained online are the same. As a result, certain credits may not be transferable to other colleges, and that certification or degree that you worked so hard for may not be recognized by many employers.
The following is a list of things that you should investigate when considering enrolling in an online school:
Accreditation: All colleges, whether it’s online or a typical “brick and mortar” campus must be accredited in order for the credits obtained there to be transferable and their degrees recognized as legitimate. However, not all online colleges receive accreditation from the same organization. A nationally accredited college does not carry the same weight as a regionally accredited one. A college that is regionally accredited is the most highly regarded, and the credits and degrees earned at these schools will easily transfer to other colleges and be recognized. A college that is nationally accredited, on the other hand, is not as highly regarded, and the credits and degrees earned at it will probably have difficulty transferring and being accepted. To check what type of accreditation a college has, you can check the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website at http://www.chea.org.
Educational Support: Some online college students have found that after enrolling, they received little or no support from instructors or faculty. Thus, it would be a good idea to verify if and when your instructors and perhaps tutors will be available to answer your questions and help you succeed. Along with that, ask about the student-to-instructor ratio. The lower the number of students for an instructor, the more he or she will be able to give individualized attention.
Tuition: While many online college tuition costs are in line with local colleges, some charge tuitions that are considerably higher. Most colleges base tuition on credit hours, but some online colleges may charge additional fees, such as for the use of their software or servers. Inquire about all of the costs involved so that your bill is not a shock when it arrives. Additionally, many online colleges, just like brick and mortar colleges, will offer financial assistance, which could come in the form of student loans, grants, or scholarships. Investigate these options first, as they could greatly reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
Job Placement Assistance: Most likely your purpose in going back to college is to ultimately get a better job, so ask the college about job placement assistance. They also should be willing to share with you their most recent job placement numbers.
Attending an online college will take a lot of effort and discipline on your part. But in the end, you want to be assured that all of the time and effort you put into your endeavors will be rewarded. As you can see, not all online colleges are equal. But by investigating the above mentioned factors, you can be confident that the online college you chose was the right one for you.