Ask Dr. Diane: How to Become an Online Professor

Ask Dr. Diane:  How Do I Become an Online Professor?
Today’s Question:  One of my goals is to teach for an online university. Is a Masters enough or do I need a PhD? What can I do to enhance my chances? Do I need teaching experience or does work experience with education qualify me?

These are all very good questions.  A lot of these questions are answered in a book by Dr. Danielle Babb called Make Money Teaching Online.  Dr. Dani gives some great advice.  She was on my doctoral committee and she really knows her business.  I highly recommend getting a copy of her book. 

There are some schools that allow you to teach with a Masters.  Some schools do prefer a PhD – especially for teaching higher level courses.  I think the best site to find online teaching jobs is  Your best bet to enhance your chances of getting accepted is to apply for actual jobs that are listed on sites like Higheredjobs as well as through other sites like  I have seen the University of Phoenix on Monster but not on Higheredjobs – so it is important to look at several sites to find all of the jobs out there. It is good to have online teaching experience but not all schools require it.  They like to see that you have real world working experience which is helpful when you are participating and sharing in the classroom.    

0 thoughts on “Ask Dr. Diane: How to Become an Online Professor

  1. Diane,

    Could you write a bit more about application/interviewing process for an online instructor position?
    Interviews are, as I can imagine on the phone. Also, what kind of interview questions one might expect? Could you suggest any materials that cover this specific topic?I will graduate with my PhD next year and I am very interested in teaching online.


    1. Hi Barb,

      The application process is very much like it is with other positions. You find a job through a site like higheredjobs, send in a resume, and then receive notification if they are interested. Usually they approve you for a training course based on your resume. You must then take the training course and if you pass that, then you officially have the job. That does not guarantee that you will receive many classes (sometimes you won’t receive any). It is based on how busy the school is at the time. There aren’t any interview questions. Sometimes they will ask for you to send a one page paper about your philosophy of teaching. If you have taught online previously, you should be fine.

  2. Thank you for the information. I have a Masters and have applied to so many Colleges and Univ with no site of an opportunity because so many want experience. The brick wall is getting higher. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Hyacinth,

      Obtaining the initial online teaching job can be tricky. You might have to start at a less known school in order to get some experience. Sometimes it is easier to get in if you apply for introductory level courses. The problem is that the schools are all cutting back right now. There aren’t as many job openings as there were in the past. I would go to individual school sites and apply if you can. The best job listings that I have found are on, but schools like the University of Phoenix have job listings on Monster. Good luck.

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