Over the past few years, the work-at-home job market has exploded. Even before COVID-19 forced companies to rethink their stance on remote working, one Gallup survey revealed 43% of Americans worked from home at least occasionally.
The field of education is no exception. Although traditionally we think a typical day of an educator involves teaching students inside physical classrooms, there is also a market for virtual teaching jobs in Texas.
In addition to schools that offer online-based instruction, some school districts are solving their teaching vacancies by hiring virtual teachers.
What does this mean for you as an educator? If you have your teaching license or are working toward your Texas teacher certification and are intrigued by the idea of using technology to teach students, you may want to check out virtual teaching jobs in Texas.
Here are the top 6 questions you may have about these teaching jobs in Texas with certification requirements.
Online teaching looks different for every school or organization. However, for the most part, it involves teachers and their students on their computers in their own respective homes or offices.
Teachers will typically spend part of the day teaching using live streaming video through platforms like Zoom, Google Meets or an organization’s own customized video service. Students and teachers will log on to the digital environment at a certain time each day.
Virtual experiences may also include learning pods where students receive more individualized instruction or instruction in smaller groups. Depending on the grade level, a student may hop to different classrooms and have more than one teacher. For example, high school students may have one teacher in a virtual classroom who will teach a foreign language, and then hop over to another classroom for a science lesson.
In other words, if you’re a high school educator, you may teach your core subject throughout the day, but have several different classes that come and go.
In other programs, students learn through a self-paced program. As a teacher in this type of environment, you may have more opportunities to work one-on-one with students when they need assistance working through a difficult subject or lesson.
In any of these environments, you will be responsible for maintaining logs that track student contact and attendance. While many assignments completed by the student will be graded by an online program, you may still be required to evaluate assignments such as writing, speech and others.
Special education programs cover a wide variety of impediments to learning, but are designed for students who are mentally, physically, socially and/or emotionally delayed.
As a virtual special education teacher, you will have many of the same responsibilities as a special education teacher instructing students in person. For example, you’ll likely need to develop curriculum, work one-on-one or in small groups with students, and record the students’ progress throughout their time in the program.
Particularly in public schools, if students do not yet have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), you’ll need to work with them to develop a plan that addresses their specific needs.
Depending on the program for which you teach or your grade level, you may have just a few students, or you may have an entire classroom.
You can read more about how special education teachers are needed in the state in our article, What Are The Most In Demand Teaching Jobs In Texas?
Yes, in order to teach in an accredited online public school in Texas, you must be certified. You must also be certified to teach when working for a specific school district that offers online curriculum.
Companies like Proximity Learning and Edmentum, which hire online teachers to staff their contracts with school districts across the state, also require that their teachers be certified to teach.
However, in the state of Texas, certification is not required for private schools. While private schools may require that teachers are highly qualified, each accrediting agency can define what “highly qualified” means, according to the U.S. Department of Education. It’s important to note that while a private institution may develop its own standards, they must be “higher than those for the Texas state teacher certification.”
While certification is not required for private schools, should you decide to teach in a public school system someday, regardless of experience, you will need to become certified. Considering the standards you must meet to teach at a private school are at the same level or at a higher level than earning a Texas state teacher certification, you may be better off in the long run getting your certification now.
One of the best places to start job hunting for a virtual teaching job is by checking out the Texas Education Agency’s Virtual School Network. On this site, there is a list of accredited online schools for grades 3-12. These schools provide 100% virtual instruction to students across the state, and are a good starting point when searching for potential open positions.
You can also go directly to the sites of companies that hire online teachers to staff their contracts with school districts, like Proximity Learning and Edmentum that we discussed above.
Although it may not be the most efficient way to job search, hiring sites like Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and iHire Elementary Teachers may offer job postings for online teaching positions.
Finally, online sites like TeacherJobFairs.org list upcoming virtual job fairs for educators throughout the country, including in Texas. Virtual job fairs can be a great opportunity to learn not only about jobs in the state, but also opportunities around the world in which you can utilize your teaching license.
Yes! As more school districts have offered opportunities for remote learning due to COVID-19 restrictions, additional resources have become available to help educators transition to virtual teaching.
If you are interested in a virtual teaching position, these resources can be helpful to you as well and offer professional development opportunities that will make your resume stand out from the pack.
Organizations like Global EdTech Academy, Share My Lesson and the Friday Institute all offer professional training for educators. You can read more about these opportunities, as well as a few others, in our article, Ideas For Teacher Training To Help With Remote Learning.
To become certified to teach virtually, you must follow the same path as any other aspiring educator in the state. To earn certification in Texas, you must first determine the path you need to take toward earning your license.
Your path toward certification will likely begin in one of these three ways:
If you already have your bachelor’s degree, but it is not in education, you may not want to re-enroll in college and pursue a second bachelor’s degree. Instead, enrolling in an alternative teacher certification program will help you achieve your goals more quickly and is available to you as long as you meet the criteria found in our article, How To Become A Teacher With A Texas Alternative Certification Program.
Once you are enrolled in a program, you must:
To earn your standard certification, you must also pass the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility (PPR) test. This certification exam is one of the final steps you will take to earn your standard certification. You can read more about this step in our article, How To Pass Your PPR Exam.
Although the requirements are the same for alternative teacher certification programs, not all are created equally. Make sure the program you choose meets your needs, will work with you on an individualized plan and supports you every step of the way.
Our article, How To Spot The Best Online Teacher Certification Programs, breaks down what you should look for in a program to ensure you accomplish your goal of becoming a virtual teacher.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.