Yes, you can earn a teaching degree online. There are online teaching degrees designed for those who are existing teachers and for those who want to become a teacher. If you are interested in a career in the K–12 education field, it is important to understand all the requirements to become a teacher, including licensing and certification requirements and anything else a state or district may require before you enroll in an online teaching program.
Each state or territory has unique requirements for becoming a teacher; all typically require aspiring teachers to:
- Having a bachelor's degree
- Completing a teacher preparation program
- Passing one or more certification exams
- Completing a background check
- Most states also require student teaching experience or some type of face-to-face field experience in the classroom.
These requirements are generally standard across states, however, some states may have additional or unique requirements. You must independently research the licensing requirements in any state in which you intend to seek licensure.
Some universities offer direct certification pathways to teaching, while others offer alternative pathways to teaching. When pursuing alternative pathway certification, it is important to examine alternative teacher certification paths based on your state's licensure requirements. Refer to Purdue Global's State Licensure and Certifications page for state-specific licensure information.
Additionally, licensing requirements for teaching grades K through 12 vary by state. In almost every state, you must enroll in a state-approved certification program that may include completing coursework, a supervised teaching internship or student teaching course, and/or passing a subject area and pedagogy exam. If you are interested in becoming a certified teacher and live in a state that is not covered by the Classroom Pathways Bundle, you must independently research and pursue certification in your state. On its own, the Master of Science in Education will not lead to certification nor will it assist you in becoming a teacher in those states.
If you are interested in teaching at a college or university, it is important that you also understand what is required as some institutions may require a graduate level degree such as a master’s degree or PhD, specific previous coursework, or experience in teaching.
See Notes and Conditions below for important information.