Online Teaching Blog

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Steps to Getting Your First Online Teaching Job

Steps to Getting Your First Online Teaching Job

by Dani Babb
May 04, 2014

This is the beginning of a multipart series on getting online teaching jobs, particularly if you are a new educator, a recent graduate or just do not have a lot of online teaching experience. The infographic below shows the general process that faculty must go through to get online teaching jobs.

In the coming weeks we will outline our 13 steps towards finding your first online teaching job and developing this into the start of your online teaching career. Consider this very first post an overview!

These simple steps will make a daunting task a bit easier; breaking it down into components you can tackle every day to achieve your goal. As the co-author of Make Money Teaching Online, a lot has changed since 2007 when we wrote the book published by Wiley. Many of the principles are still the same; however the market and the ways in which a faculty member finds work is a bit different than it was then.

All candidates looking for online teaching jobs will usually go through a very similar process to get their first position. Landing the first job is by far the hardest; after that, getting new teaching positions becomes much easier because you can show your experience.

But first let me put some rumors to bed. I hear almost every day that you need a doctoral degree to teach. This is absolutely not the case; in fact most of our clients do not have doctoral degrees (and yes, they get work!) and many of us began teaching with our masters. Even positions that advertise “doctorate required” will sometimes hire someone with a master’s degree. I tell my clients to apply to everything; doctorate required noted or not. Is it true that having a doctorate makes your work to get a job a bit easier? Yes that is true. Not having a doctorate does not eliminate your chances to teach. Another rumor: if you have no experience it’s too late now. Absolutely not the case and more on that later in this post.

In general from my experience, you can expect to apply to 80 to 120 positions to get your first job. If you apply to all of our Babb Group job leads and the leads you find elsewhere, this will take between 5 to 7 months on average. Some faculty land their first job in weeks; others can take far longer. Some of it is timing and your discipline (the more unique or niche the discipline the more likely you will be hired more quickly when a job pops up). The key is to be consistent and apply often and to have your educator package completed and available.

So what exactly is the educator package? This is what we call a package that you will need to apply to jobs. I will be elaborating on all of these areas far more thoroughly in posts that follow. In general, the educator package will include: your CV, a cover letter, unofficial transcripts, 3 letters of recommendations, your statement of teaching philosophy both in the CV and as a separate file, and 3 references in your CV and in a separate file. When you have these documents available, reviewed and fine-tuned, you are ready to begin applying to teaching positions. If you are having trouble with your CV or cover letter or just want someone to review it, we have options available for our clients.

Your teaching philosophy should have at least two parts. In the first part or paragraph, I recommend that you identify what your theory of education is. Why does education matter to you? Why do you want to teach? How are you qualified to do so? How do you engage students? In the second paragraph, my recommendation is to explain how a Dean or faculty reviewer would see evidence of your philosophy in the classroom. How do you put into practice what you believe and how would someone else see it? Take some time to think through this and write it thoroughly and elaborately. Try to keep it to 2 to 3 paragraphs.

The next most common question I am asked: “I have no experience. What do I do? Will anyone hire me?” Short answer: yes they will and yes you have options. First, not every job will require experience as an online educator. We all had to start somewhere and it was with no experience! However, chances are you have something you can add to your CV in the teaching experience section. Here are some examples: guest lecturing at a local college, teaching others in the workplace, being a workplace leader and teaching others how to use a new technology, software, master a new process etc., or even creating a course on a system like Udemy which will give you both course development and teaching experience (and you will be paid!) If you enjoy on ground lecturing, chances are just about any college educator at a local community college would be happy to give you a platform for an hour or two. List this in your teaching experience section.

Dr Dani BabbNext week I will continue to add to this and elaborate on getting that very first online teaching position. To be sure you do not miss the next post "Creating a CV for your first online teaching job" and the rest of the series and valuable information subscribe to our newsletter