Earn a Top Online Teaching Certificate

Holland Webb
Updated June 14, 2024
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Earning a teaching certificate online has become a popular option for aspiring educators. Distance learning offers the same level of education as on-campus programs with added scheduling flexibility and program accessibility.

This guide offers information on online teaching certificates, including details on available pathways, tuition costs, and distance courses.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Did You Know…

Twenty-six percent of teachers have more than 20 years of teaching experience.

Why Get an Online Teaching Certificate?

Online teaching certificates fall into three categories: programs leading to teaching licensure, graduate certificates, and professional certificates.

If you hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching field, an alternative certification program can help you complete the requirements for licensure as a teacher in your state. While some programs offer the didactic component online, you must complete your student teaching or other practical training in a brick-and-mortar classroom.

A graduate certificate usually requires 12-18 master’s-level credits and can help current teachers pursue additional certifications. Some graduate certificates lead to initial teaching licensure. Professional certificates may help you learn new skills but do not lead to initial licensure or add-on certifications.

Other benefits of an online teaching certificate include:

  • Technical Skills: Learning online can develop your own technical know-how and ability to integrate technology into your classroom.
  • Flexibility: Online learning brings education as close as your kitchen table, office computer, or favorite coffee shop.
  • Financial Savings: Online teaching certificates allow you to save on commuting and relocation costs.

Select the Right Online Teaching Certificate

Decide what kind of online teaching certificate you need before choosing a program.

  • Are you looking for initial state licensure as a teacher through an alternative certification program? Be sure your program qualifies you for licensure in your state.
  • Do you want a graduate certificate to help you qualify for additional teaching certifications? The university must hold institutional accreditation. Ideally, the program has also received programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
  • Do you need a free or low-cost professional certificate to sharpen your skills? You may want to consider cost and professional value as a return on your investment.

Did You Know…

About 36,000 teaching positions are unfilled.

Discover Top Online Teaching Certificate Programs

Many schools offer online teaching certificates. Each program focuses on a different area of education, beginning with the most basic, all-inclusive certificate for general teaching and working into more in-depth programs.

Most programs require students to hold bachelor’s degrees for admission and aim to advance the knowledge of working teachers.

Alphabetical List of Popular Online Teaching Certificates
ProgramOffered ByLengthCostOutcome
Certificate in Content Area InstructionAmerican College of Education18 credits$5,100Graduate Certificate
Online Educating Multilingual Learners Graduate CertificateArizona State University15 credits$555/creditGraduate Certificate
K-12 Online Teaching Undergraduate CertificateKansas State University12 credits$394/creditUndergraduate Certificate
Undergraduate Certificate in Earth Science EducationLiberty University18 credits$390/creditUndergraduate Certificate
Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Teaching and LearningNorth Carolina State University12 credits$526/credit (resident)
$1,635/credit (non-resident)
Graduate Certificate
Doctoral Certificate Educational ResearchNorth Greenville University15 credits$510/creditDoctoral Certificate
Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design and TechnologyPurdue Global University20 quarter credits$420/creditGraduate Certificate
Certificate of Graduate Studies in AutismRegent University12 credits$250/creditGraduate Certificate
Online Graduate Certificate: Deaf Education (Pre K-12)University of Tennessee15 credits$700/credit (resident)
$775/credit (non-resident)
Graduate Certificate
Post-Master’s Certificate in Curriculum, Instruction, and AssessmentWalden University20 quarter credits$645/quarter hourGraduate Certificate

Explore MOOCs and Free Teaching Certificate Courses

People looking to learn online without spending a great deal of money to do so can look to massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other free teaching certificate courses. These courses might end with a diploma or graduate certificate, or simply a certificate of completion. Some can fulfill professional development requirements.

No-Cost Online Teaching Certificate Courses
CourseOffered ByLengthOutcome
Early Childhood Crisis and TraumaAlison3-4 hoursCertificate
Teaching Special Needs EducationAlison3-4 hoursCertificate
An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM TeachingCoursera8 weeksCertificate
Uncommon Sense Teaching SpecializationDeep Teaching Solutions42 hoursCareer Certificate
How to Use ChatGPT in EducationedX1-4 hoursN/A
Google Certified Trainer CourseGoogle20-21 hoursCertificate
Google Workspace for EducationGoogle5-6 hoursN/A
Online Learning Design for Educators SpecializationMacquarie University55 hoursCareer Certificate
Become an Awesome Instructional DesignerUdemy1 hourN/A
The Magic of Storytelling: The Gateway to LiteracyUdemy2 hoursN/A

Questions About Earning a Teaching Certificate Online

Can you get a teaching certificate online?

You can get a teaching certificate from an online alternative teacher certification program, but you must complete classroom training hours in person. Some schools also offer online degrees leading to initial licensure, but you need to complete student teaching experiences in an approved, brick-and-mortar classroom.

Which online course is best for teaching?

Online courses on platforms such as edX, Google, and Coursera help current teachers improve their classroom leadership, management, and instructional skills. A few alternative certification teacher programs, such as the American Board, allow you to pursue licensure online. However, you need to complete in-person teaching hours to earn licensure through these programs.

Which certificate is best for teaching?

To become a public school teacher, you need a state-issued teaching license, which requires you to complete a qualifying teacher-preparation degree or an alternative certification program. Some schools offer graduate certificates in teaching, which can also qualify you for licensure in selected states.

How can I become a teacher?

To become a teacher in a K-12 public school, you must hold state licensure. Typically, you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree leading to initial licensure to meet your state’s requirements. However, if you hold a degree in another field, you may be able to pursue an alternative certification program.

Are MOOC certificates worth anything?

A MOOC certificate can help verify your skills and interests but does not hold the same value as an academic degree or certificate. You cannot become a teacher with a MOOC certificate, and you cannot use a MOOC certificate in place of a master’s degree or doctorate.

Shape your future with an online degree

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