Online Teaching Certificates

Online Teaching Certificate programs could provide current educators with the skills and knowledge to pursue additional state or regional credentials.

Teacher education programs could involve coursework in a specific subject, instructional methods, and fieldwork.

written by Rana Waxman

Online Teaching Certificates

If you plan to teach while you work to advance your own education, an online teaching certificate may be a convenient option.  Whether it is live streamed or pre-recorded, online courses are often accessible night or day. Any location with Internet access could turn into a classroom or library.

Types of Online Teaching Certificate Programs

There are a variety of online teaching certification programs that students could choose from based on their goals and state certification requirements. Typically, teachers must fulfill the education and practicum hours required by their education board to apply for a license, endorsement or letter of eligibility (after graduation).i Whatever type of online teacher credential programs you consider, it is recommended you first get more information on certification requirements in your state.ii Then, look for a program that could help you work towards these goals.

Certificate in Teaching Program Online

Post-Bachelors Online Teaching Certification: Post baccalaureate teacher certification online programs are often intended for students who lack a bachelors degree in education and do not have their initial teacher license. These programs might include a period of supervised student teaching, which is typically required by most states.iii

Post-Masters Online Teaching Certification: Other online teacher education programs could be designed as post-masters programs. Usually, these are intended to help licensed educators work towards a secondary state certification or endorsement. In these programs, teachers could refine their expertise in a single content area and might learn how to present this information in their classrooms.

Online Graduate Certificates in Physical and Coaching Education

Online graduate certificates in physical and coaching education could help students prepare to fulfill state certification requirements. In most cases, state high school athletic associations require coaches to be certified or at least complete mandatory education Students might also find online graduate certificates to prepare them to teach health education.

Course of Study

Students who pursue an online teaching certificate in health education could take courses that explore various issues in school heath, along with instructional methods. Health issues could cover things like behavior lifestyle motivations and wellness concepts. Below is a general example of the types of courses one could study in a program of this nature.

  • Lesson Plan Development in Health Education
  • Applied Risk Behavior
  • Instructional Strategies in Human Sexuality Education

After candidates have successfully completed their program, they may have to pass a state exam such as the Health Education Praxis II Content Test.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for each school and program could vary. In most cases, applicants to a secondary education program must already possess a teaching degree (certification/licensure) in another subject before they apply. If someone already possesses an elementary licensure and wants to add health education, there may be extra requirements and coursework.

Online Graduate Certificate in Reading and Literacy

An online graduate certificate in reading and literacy could help current teachers instruct youths and adults in remedial education or English as a Second Language. Literacy teachers need a solid grasp of human behavior, performance and adaptive classroom strategies.vii To develop their skills, some might work towards a second endorsement. To add a P-12 Classroom Reading Endorsement to a teaching license, students are typically required to pass a Praxis test in their state or region.

Course of Study

Students who pursue a Classroom Reading Endorsement (P-12) might work to broaden their expertise and knowledge base as part of a Master of Education program, or as a stand-alone endorsement. Coursework could be designed to help teachers assist their students with various aspects of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Some examples of the topics that could be covered in a reading endorsement certificate program are as follows.

  • Advanced Reading Methods
  • Measurement and Diagnosis of Literacy
  • Language Acquisition

Admission Requirements

With the variety of schools and programs, admission requirements could vary. Some programs could be suitable for current teachers and/or those who have completed their student teaching. Applicants are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree and a valid initial teacher certification to be eligible for enrollment in the Classroom Reading Endorsement (P-12) program.

Online Graduate Certificate in Teaching Math

An online graduate certificate in teaching math could help students work towards the credentials required to teach collegiate mathematics courses. Coursework might count towards a concentration as part of, or in addition to, a masters degree. In some states, teachers might need extra credentials to instruct advanced placement or early college courses.viii

Course of Study

A Graduate Mathematics Certificate could cover both technical math courses and methods of communication and analysis. Math teachers need to be skilled critical thinkers who have a solid grasp of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.ix Possible topics of study could draw from the examples below.

  • Linear Algebra
  • Abstract Algebra
  • Advanced Calculus
  • Real Analysis
  • Statistical Methods
  • Geometry

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements could vary by school and program. Typically, students are presumed to have earned a bachelors degree. In some schools, this needs to be a bachelor’s degree with a Mathematics major. Or, the applicant may need to be state certified to teach Mathematics at a secondary school level. They might also need to have a background in topics such as linear algebra, calculus, abstract algebra, real analysis, geometry and statistics.

Online Graduate Certificate in Teaching Science

An online graduate certificate in teaching science could explore a single topic such as biology, or an overview of a several areas (e.g. physical sciences). Students could work to master the content material, as well as prepare to pursue any state credentials necessary to teach it. Some programs of this nature are designed to prepare graduates to teach college level courses.

Course of Study

Students who pursue a Graduate Biology Certificate might use the certificate as part of, or as an add on to their masters degree. Biological science teachers could need a solid grasp of chemistry and biology. This could include knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, and behaviors with each other and the environment. They also need to be able to analyze and synthesize scientific knowledge in biology, think critically, and communicate to a variety of learners.x Some of the topics that could be taught in this type of program might draw from the examples below.

  • Biological Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Systems Biology
  • Genetics
  • Human Physiology
  • Microbiology

Admission Requirements

A graduate certificate in teaching biology could require applicants to have a bachelors degree and undergraduate courses in intro biology and intro chemistry, along with lab work in each area. Each program and school is likely to have its own admissions requirements, so contact specific schools to learn more.

Online Superintendent Letter of Eligibility Programs

In some states, principals who want to work to become superintendents are required to pursue extra education.iv This might require successful completion of graduate coursework and an internship with a final project. Graduates might also need to successfully pass an exam such as the PRAXIS 6021 School Superintendent Assessment (SSA) and meet any other state or regional requirements.

Course of Study

Students who pursue a letter of eligibility for Superintendent could take courses that are designed to prepare them to lead a district within the K-12 school system. Superintendents are the CEO’s of schools. They might have to put a school board’s vision into action and make day-to-day decisions about policy, staff, educational programs and resource allocation. As managers, they are often in charge of principals and other personnel, and may be able to hire, fire, and supervise.v While not a comprehensive list, below is a sample of topics students might explore in their program of study.

  • Labor Relations
  • Educational Technology
  • Policy Analysis
  • School and Community Relations
  • Finances

Admissions Requirements

Admission requirements for a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility are likely to vary by school and region. In some cases, applicants could need a bachelors and masters degrees (e.g. Master of Education). Additional material might include administrative experience, and an essay that might reflect your philosophies as they relate to student achievement.


When surveyed, 21% of Superintendents reported they had a post-masters certificate.v

Accredited Online Teacher Certification Programs

Accreditation is a type of quality assurance that requires an external peer review. Moreover, to maintain their approved status, the institution or program must undergo a similar review on a periodic basis. Some online teaching certification programs are accredited through a regional agency such as the Higher Learning Commission and by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP’s scope is to accredit educator preparation programs that lead to certification/licensure at the bachelors, masters, post-baccalaureate and doctoral levels.

It is up to the state in which an applicant seeks licensure to decide whether to accept a program – even if it is offered in an accredited school. This is a good reason for each student to first check with their state to verify acceptance of a program before applying to it.

Teacher Certification and Licensure

The requirements for teacher certification and teacher licensure are determined by state departments of education. Licensure is the process by which a government agency grants a license to an individual who has met certain requirements. Certification is the process by which an individual with certain credentials is recognized. The state department of education in the state where you wish to teach is a great resource for more information.

Why Work Towards Teaching Certification Online?

Many of today’s universities recognize that graduate students could also be mid-career or have family and other duties that take a full-time on-campus teaching certificate off the table. In some cases, they provide the same coursework, just through web-based programs. While you may be alone at your desk, many programs keep students connected to one another and to their instructors. To help you stay on track, some programs may have online discussion boards where you might have to comment on assigned reading. Plus, you may have to take part in supervised fieldwork in your local area, which could provide the chance to broaden your professional network, or meet a new teacher mentor.

Structure and Format

There is no uniform structure and format for online teaching certification programs. Sometimes, online courses are asynchronous. This means classes and coursework can occur anytime and anywhere, as long as you meet set deadlines. An online program could have some type of synchronous requirement as well. This could mean students must log in at predetermined times of day possibly, at their preferred time.

Online Resources

While there is no uniform structure for online teaching certification programs, schools may spell out the details, and/or provide some type of orientation ahead of class start dates. Some schools provide library instruction and may have references and document delivery systems. This could give students access to any on-campus library collections or resources. Also, in addition to e-books and online journals, some universities take part in interlibrary loan services. 

When a school does have a primary physical campus, online students could have access to the facilities, and in-person student services. So, you could either look for online teacher certification programs in your state, or check to see what is available locally.

Give Your Skills a Boost

Students in online teaching certificate programs may have to read, write, and actively listen to recorded coursework. This could be a great way to boost these key teaching skills.ix

Take the Next Step to a Teacher Certificate Program Online

There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher”.xi Inspired and motivated? Easily review an extensive list of available Online Teaching Certification programs with the on-page menus. Filter by subject to read about paid programs in that category. Then, make a choice and contact the school directly. Take the next step now!

[i]| [ii] | [iii] | [iv] | [v] | [vi] | [vii] | [viii] | [ix] | [x] | [xi]

Find Schools