There can no longer be any doubt that deep cuts to public education funds causes many educators to lose their teaching jobs. Of course, not all teachers fall victim to layoffs, but the remaining educators are suffering salary freezes and benefit reductions. The generally accepted wisdom about the direction of a career as a teacher indicates that the traditional classroom is disappearing as a vehicle for professional achieve and personal prosperity and is quickly being replaced by the digital classroom on the Internet. In fact, for academics with earned graduate degrees, a doctorate or master degree, the best way to begin and continue earning a real living form teaching is to learn how to construct a manageable online teaching schedule.
Despite the continual negative news about budgetary stress at colleges, state universities and community colleges the reality is that post-secondary student populations are growing with each semester. This should not be a surprise since new and returning college and university students realize that their best option during this long economic crash is to gain as much knowledge as possible in order to increase their chances at a decent job when the economy eventually turns up. Of course, as more students enroll in college, the physical pressure on the traditional academic landscape increases far beyond the financial capabilities of the available budgetary funds. To put is in simple terms it is much more cost effective to offer online college courses than it is to build new physical classrooms. This means that academic administrators are turning to online college degree programs as a real solution to the need for an affordable way to meet the educational needs of post-secondary students. This ongoing transition off of the physical campus and into a digital academy represents a genuine career opportunity for struggling veteran academics, recent graduates and laid-off corporate employees with a graduate degree and the required computer skills to quickly and efficiently navigate in and out of academic websites and the software platforms the schools’ use to deliver online college courses to their enrolled students.
It is possible for an online professor, an academic with an earned graduate degree teaching for online bachelor degree programs, to survive this economic downturn while peers in physical college and university classrooms are suffering teacher payoffs and salary reductions. Granted, it will be necessary to earn a master degree or doctorate to teach at the post-secondary level of the academy, but the abundance of funding available means it possible for a high school teacher with a bachelor degree to complete the courses required for a master degree and then start applying for online instructor positions with online college degree programs.
As more downward economic pressure is applied to traditional college and university budgets, the more motivated academic administrators are to deploy online degree programs. The reason for this effort on the part of the various college and university administrations is that offering online college courses to new and returning students is simply less expensive than continuing to maintain physical classrooms. The advantage this transition of the actual academic structure offers the prospective online professor is that there will be more opportunities to teach online with each passing semester.
Needless to say, the focus required to move off of the physical college or university campus and into a full time online teaching schedule is severe. It is vital to understand how technology is impacting the delivery of post-secondary academic instruction in order to actually take advantage of it as an online college professor. The quality of instruction on the Internet versus the same instruction in a physical classroom is a hotly debated pedagogical issue, but in no way does this debate slow down the administrators as they field additional online college courses each semester in an effort to cope with diminishing budgets. This means that teaching online for educators qualified to offer instruction at the post-secondary level is actually about the economics of public school teaching as a career choice.
There is a difference between the finances of public education and the pedagogy of public education, and while there is enormous merit in the discussion of the quality of instruction in a digital form when compared to that on a traditional university campus the issue of how a teacher makes an actual living must come first because without an actual income that providing a real living the debate over instructional quality falls flat for a lack of input from academics forced to make a living in some other sector of the economy.
The best approach to an online teaching career is to start identifying the academic websites of community colleges, technical schools, four year state universities and colleges and for-profit colleges and learn how to navigate the faculty application sections inside each school’s website. On the first page of the college or university digital presence is a link that will lead to the section of the website that permits the submission of evidence of academic achievement, transcripts of graduate school work, and documentation of classroom experience. While it will take some time to learn how to submit the required information as each college, community college or state university can and often does have their own interface, there will be a point where the application process for possible online adjunct teaching jobs becomes quick and sure.
It should be understood that the prospective online college instructor will have to make several hundreds of applications within these faculty sections in order to secure even six or seven online teaching jobs simply because of the increasing competition resulting from mass teacher layoffs. Additionally, there is competition from graduate degree holders in corporations that have found themselves unemployed as a result of the economic crisis during the last five years. It would not be an exaggeration to say that if you, an academic wanting to teach online for online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs, want to construct a viable online teaching schedule there are many others that want to do the same.
It is patently obvious that the traditional role of the educator as state employee is a relic of the past. There is no going back now since the cost-effectiveness of online learning programs can no longer be ignored by academic administrators. The number of online degree programs will only grow in the coming decades and the need for technically prepared online adjunct instructors will only increase as the growth of student populations in colleges, universities and for-profit schools continues to swell.
Interestingly, the actual math involved when considering online teaching job openings opens up an entirely new viewpoint for the career educator when compared to the traditional state education position that has been the mainstay for many decades. On average, a given community college, four-year college, state university or for-profit college will pay an online adjunct with a graduate degree about two thousand dollars to teach an online college course. Yes, since each school can decide independently how much to pay online college professors the pay for a single online class can slide up or down by as much as five hundred dollars. The important thing to know is that while the average pay for teaching online is positively impacted by the actual length of the online course.
Many for-profit colleges now offer their enrolled post-secondary students online courses that last from five to eight weeks in duration. Traditional colleges and universities, by contrast, offer their students earning an online bachelor degree or online master degree online classes that last sixteen weeks in duration. Obviously, if an eight week online class pays an average of two thousand dollar and a sixteen week online course pays the same two thousand dollars the advantage of the eight week online college classes is an extra two thousand dollars for the same teaching work during the same sixteen week traditional semester. The alert online adjunct instructor will immediately recognize the economic value of repeated eight-week online teaching positions with for-profit colleges and those traditional academic institutions that are just now beginning to offer online classes that are far shorter than the traditional length.
This sort of calculation is vitally important for prospective online teachers to employ when applying to online college degree programs. Further, the change in viewpoint will alter the perception of how post-secondary education works for the educator. The simple fact is that the schools would prefer to hire many online adjunct instructors at a relatively small amount of pay for each online class than to commit to yearly salaries for tenured professor that will balloon as benefit costs skyrocket and the inevitable increases for state employees are applied across the board. While there may be some initial hesitation on the part of new graduate to accept this new economic model for teachers at college and universities, but there is also the inherent freedom in this model that allows the intellectual with a master degree or doctorate to engage higher education as an academic entrepreneur that can decide when and where to pursue an online teaching career.