How to Get a Teaching Degree Online Fast in 2024

Hello everyone,

So, you want to become a teacher, but you don’t have the time or flexibility to attend a traditional university program full-time?

Getting a teaching degree online may be the perfect solution for you.

Online programs allow you to study on your schedule from anywhere with an internet connection.

And many are designed for students to earn their degree faster than through campus-based programs.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about obtaining your teaching certification through an online program in an accelerated timeframe.

I’ll explain the different types of online teaching degrees, how quickly you can complete them, admission requirements, costs, and steps to get started.

Let’s dive in!

What is an Online Teaching Degree?

An online teaching degree is just what it sounds like – a degree program that allows you to take all your courses online instead of in-person on a college campus.

The curriculum and requirements are generally the same as campus-based programs, but the coursework is delivered virtually through learning platforms, video lectures, digital materials, online discussions, and more.

While some programs are 100% online, others have a hybrid or blended format requiring a limited number of in-person components like student teaching.

But the majority of the coursework can still be completed remotely on your schedule.

Benefits of Getting Your Degree Online

There are many advantages to pursuing your teaching certification through an online program, including:

Flexibility – Study anytime, anywhere that works for your schedule
Accelerated programs – Many offer faster completion times
No relocation required – Avoid moving costs by staying local
Lower costs – Online programs often have reduced tuition/fees
Study at your own pace – Move more quickly or slowly as needed

Plus, online learning is an excellent option for students who need to balance coursework with work, family, or other responsibilities.

Let’s look at some of the most popular and accelerated online teaching degree options.

Types of Fast Online Teaching Degrees

Bachelor’s degree in education – Completion time: 3-4 years

If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, this is the fastest route to becoming a certified teacher at the elementary, middle, or high school level.

Online bachelor’s in education programs cover teaching theory, instructional methods, classroom management, and student teaching requirements.

Many accelerated programs enable completion in 3 years or less.

Master’s in teaching/education – Completion time: 1-2 years

A master’s degree is required for teaching at the college/university level in most subjects.

It’s also an option for current teachers or those with an existing bachelor’s seeking advanced certification.

Accelerated online master’s in teaching can often be finished in just 12-18 months.

Alternative Teacher Certification – Completion time: 1 year or less

For those with an existing bachelor’s in any field, alternative or accelerated certification programs allow you to become a teacher in 1 year or less.

This fast-tracks, non-degree route involves online education coursework and in-person student teaching. It leads to initial certification to teach grades K-12.

No matter which paths you pursue, be sure to choose an accredited online program to qualify for certification and ensure your degree will be recognized.

What Do You Need to Get into an Online Teaching Program?

Admission criteria varies, but here are some common requirements for online teaching degree programs:

Bachelor’s Degree in Education Programs
– High school diploma or GED
– Minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA
– Transcripts
– Application + Fee

Master’s Degree Programs
– Bachelor’s degree (education or approved major)
– Minimum 3.0 GPA
– GRE/MAT Scores
– Letters of Recommendation
Teaching Certificate (for some programs)

Alternative Certification Programs
– Bachelor’s degree
– Transcript
– Minimum GPA (often 2.5-3.0+)
– Background check

Along with academic requirements, most teacher preparation programs have non-academic criteria such as essays, professional experience, and basic skills tests in reading, writing, and math.

Application processes can take 1-3 months, so plan ahead for your preferred start date.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of an online teaching degree can vary widely depending on the college, program level, delivery format, and any federal/state financial aid you receive.

In general, here are some ballpark cost ranges:

– Online bachelor’s degree in education: $30,000 – $60,000+
– Online master’s in teaching/education: $12,000 – $40,000+
– Alternative Teacher Certification Programs: $3,000 – $15,000

Public universities tend to have lower tuition than private colleges.

You may also find tuition discounts for fully online programs compared to on-campus degrees at some schools.

To help cover costs, be sure to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to access loans, grants, and other forms of financial assistance.

Scholarships and tuition reimbursement from your school district may also offset your out-of-pocket expenses.

Earning Your Degree Faster

If you want to become a teacher as quickly as possible, look for online programs with accelerated options to expedite your timeline, such as:

-Year-round, flexible scheduling
-8-week or 10-week course formats instead of full semesters
-No mandatory breaks between terms
-Credit for prior learning/work experience
-Self-paced, competency-based learning

For example, Western Governors University (WGU) offers an extremely flexible, self-paced bachelor’s in education where students with adequate transfer credits can complete remaining requirements in just 1-2 years.

Similarly, their master’s in teaching allows students to complete courses as quickly as they can demonstrate mastery.

Overall, accelerated bachelor’s degrees aimed at adult students can potentially be finished in 2-3 years, while accelerated master’s programs range from 1-2 years.

Alternative certification routes are often the quickest path at 6 months to 1 year.

Be prepared to devote significant time and effort to complete your coursework and requirements efficiently.

It helps to have a study schedule, take full course loads if able, transfer the maximum number of eligible credits, and work with an advisor to create a personalized fast-track plan.

How to Apply

Ready to take the first step?

Here’s a quick overview of the application process for online teaching degree programs:

1. Research accredited programs meeting your criteria (grade level, time to completion, cost, etc.)

2. Visit program websites to review specific admission requirements

3. Prepare transcripts, test scores, recommendations, and any other required materials

4. Complete program application(s), essay(s), and submit with fee

5. Apply for federal/state financial aid via FAFSA

6. After acceptance, complete any additional pre-admission requirements (background checks, etc.)

7. Get advised on fastest path, transfer credits, etc. Plan your schedule accordingly.

8. Enroll in your first courses! Work closely with an advisor to ensure you stay on-track.

Need help finding legitimate, accredited accelerated online teaching programs?

Check trusted directories and ranking sites like Teaching,, and, which vet programs for quality, affordability, and flexibility.

While an expedited path isn’t easy, motivated individuals can realistically earn their teaching degree online in 1-3 years.

Thousands have done it already to launch their careers faster.

If you’re willing to put in the hard work, why wait any longer to reach your teaching goals?


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