The long and winding road to an online teaching career.

The best time to look for work is when you already have a job. This is when you make your plans.  Planning to leave the face to face classroom for virtual work takes preparation as well.

Finding a job is so much more than shooting resumes out via email.  Certainly the a good resume is part of the picture, but it's just one tool of many you need to sharpen as you work toward a career change. 

Be prepared!

I went back to school and got a certificate in online teaching and learning as well as a Masters Degree in Education with an emphasis on distance learning. I could see the future coming and I loved the work. I taught part time for Connected University and held on to my classroom job.  I chased grants and learned to both design and teach online. I believed hard work, dedication, and setting goals would change my world.  Eventually I took the leap to full time online employment. Despite my preparations,  it took me several years to learn the ropes.

I wish I knew then, what I know now.

I recall attending a conference just after I left the 'security' of the classroom and a traditional job.  I was at the conference to learn and to network, but I really didn't know what I was doing.  An educational sales rep took pity on me and briefly schooled me. 
  • Get a business card.
  • Establish a web presence.
  • Network with decision makers.
  • Join and participate in professional groups.

I did all that and more. Over the first few years of my career, working with dial up modems from a small mountain town, I learned project my work and experience across the country using the Internet.

The first year as a consultant and online teacher involved a lot of trial and error.  I remember sending out hundreds of reasonably crafted and targeted emails with resume.  The silence was deafening.  The offers were few, far between, and underpaid.  It was very discouraging. But that's what it took for me to realize I needed to reach out to the people I knew and truly network. My Eureka Moment came when I reconnected with some great teachers I'd met via ISTE.  After that door open to more opportunities than I could have imagined.

To prepare for an academic online teaching career I recommend reading Make Money Teaching Online.


The book helps you get organized and set goals. When I read this book I didn't learn anything new. I did see  much of what I'd learned by trial and error and hard knocks laid out chapter by chapter.  If you are just getting started, or if you are stalled and wondering how to grow your academic career, read the book.  It's filled with solid advice.  Follow the advice and you'll be better prepared when opportunity comes your way.

Have you got questions or advice? If so, share them.  Sharing what you know is part of learning and growing in the 21st Century.

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Tags: e-learning jobs, online teaching

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