Online Teaching Blog

Best practices, tips & tricks, and career advice—served up fresh

Get Started Teaching Online: Step by Step

Get Started Teaching Online: Step by Step

by Dani Babb
December 17, 2015

People decide to become online educators for endless reasons. The opportunity to share your expertise, remain relevant and current in your field, earn extra money, have a flexible job while taking care of family and countless other reasons make online teaching a viable and intriguing job or career for many professionals.

From stay at home parents to busy professionals looking for side work; from faculty who want to solely teach to retiree’s looking for extra meaningful work, the path to getting your first teaching job can seem daunting. In this article, we lay out the specific steps and tools and resources to help you achieve your goal.


Since 2005, we have been helping educators find jobs teaching online – and get started in their new career. A common misnomer is that to get an online teaching job, you must be a teacher by trade or have specialized educational training. You do not. Thousands of clients have used our services or our free resources to get started teaching online, whether one class for fun and extra money, or as a second/third/fourth career as Adjunctpreneur®

So what is required to teach online?

  • A Masters degree
  • Experience in your field
  • Passion and commitment to educating others
  • Internet access and a good computer

What will you gain?

  • An opportunity to share your knowledge
  • The chance to stay sharp in your field
  • Extra income
  • Incredibly flexible work
  • The ability to say “no!” to work you don’t want

Want to learn more? Join our Facebook group and learn about what others who have chosen to start teaching online are doing to earn extra income and enjoy sharing their experience.

We know, getting started can feel a bit overwhelming. So here is a step by step guide to getting started. You can also check out our blog for specific articles on every one of these steps!

  1. Get your CV in order. You will need an academic CV, not a resume, to get started. Applications are often keyword driven and your CV needs a teaching philosophy statement, as well as a way to explain how your experience has prepared you to be an incredible instructor. You can do this on your own with our free article and infographic, purchase a CV review where we give you tips to create a CV, use our template, or have us write your CV for you.
  2. Write your cover letter. This should be generic enough for you to apply to a lot of positions but quickly customizable for special jobs or cold-calling a dean or hiring manager. We offer a cover letter writing service if you choose to have us do it. In your cover, be sure to mention your degree and how your experience will help you be a stellar educator. Don’t forget to mention you are technologically savvy!
  3. Get your materials together. Common items on employment applications are 3 letters of recommendation, copies of unofficial transcripts for all of your degrees, and your CV. Have your paperwork ready and track your applications and HR website login information for quick updates and re-applying.
  4. Job leads! You can use the big job boards, like higheredjobs and indeed. The problem with the big job boards is how many applicants you are likely competing against. If you found the job so easily, so did hundreds or thousands of other people competing for the same position. We always recommend subscribing to their job agents and applying to those jobs, but recommend you also apply to jobs that aren’t so easily found. We have a team who scours employment and HR web sites of 4000+ colleges every year to send you job leads that are not advertised on big boards. This means less competition and a greater chance your CV will be seen by the dean. We have job leads for less than 40 cents per day we send to your email directly, 3 to 4 times per week and support just about every specialization. We can also create a custom search just for you, which also includes the standard job leads. If you want to add even more to your search, we can find hiring manager names/email addresses for you through our custom contact service, allowing you to “cold call” a dean (our clients report great results!)
  5. Network. Whether it’s only through the free Facebook group and LinkedIn, be sure you are networking. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and change your headline to make it clear you are open to being an online professor. If you need help, we have a variety of social media options available to make your life easier. We have a LinkedIn review, and we create or update social media profiles for you. Yes, most likely a dean will Google you before he or she even calls or emails.
  6. Apply like crazy and don’t worry if you do not meet every single requirement. On average, it takes 80 to 120 applications per interview. Deans send interview emails on average 2 to 3 months after you apply. Don’t be discouraged if you send out 20 applications and you haven’t gotten a reply yet – this is normal. If you hit 3 months and 120 applications without an interview, you may want to have your CV professionally reviewed, if you haven’t already. The job requirements are often “nice to have” wish lists by deans or HR, not necessarily strict requirements. In fact, about 70% of our clients’ report being hired by a job that they “officially didn’t fully qualify for but applied to anyway”. 

If you prefer to read these steps in thorough detail, Dani Babb’s book (both the first and second edition) are available on Amazon in Kindle and paper format.

Welcome to the world of online ed!