“How Can I Make Money as an Online Teacher”?
Question: Hey Marc: I’m trying to find ways to make money as an online teacher or instructor. Do you have any ideas, suggestions or recommendations”?
TM Flagstaff AZ
Thanks for the question!
You CAN make money in online education.
I taught an online course recently and received $150 for three hours of work.
Actually, it took a more than three hours of work. There was some prep work and research. But it was a lot of fun and super easy to do. And I’m still getting traffic to my other ventures.
Online education is growing like wildfire!
And the best part is….
There are several ways to grab your share of the online education cash flow.
This week I’ll focus on becoming an online instructor. But there are many ways to make money in this market.
The first thing people usually say to me is “I’m not qualified”.
That’s what S.E. said to me during lunch last week in Camden Maine.
Steve is a graphic designer.
He works for a large specialty publisher with print and online products.
Steve’s been honing his craft for more than 20 years. He’s a great teacher.
I sent him links to 9 online instructor opportunities he could look into.
He checked them out and told me two companies are interested in his services.
Customized Education is Fastest Growing Segment on the Internet
The reason online education is growing so fast is money.
But actually it’s the lack of it!
Here’s what I mean…..
People often weigh the pros and cons of traditional schools versus online or distance education.
There’s nothing to compare when it comes to cost.
The cost of online education is only a fraction of what you’ll pay to attend a “traditional” school.
Master’s Degree in 14 Months
Online education is changing the way people learn.
The other advantage is speed.
Online education can slash the amount of time it takes to get a degree.
For example, it can take up to four years to earn a Master’s degree at a traditional college or university.
You can earn a Master’s Degree online in as little as 14 months.
No……I’m not talking about a “Cracker Jack Diploma” (the kind you find inside a box of Cracker Jacks). I’m talking about an accredited degree accepted anywhere in the world.
On top of that, traditional schools require students to be in the classroom at specific times every day.
That is one of my beefs with public or government sponsored schools. It seems like a training ground for jobs in the Industrial Age.
Public schools are like an assembly line.
Everyone glides into the classroom on a conveyor belt at exactly 7:00 AM.
The bell rings, and everyone mounts the conveyor belt for the next class.
What happens when a student wants to spend more time in class studying, researching or exploring something exciting?
That’s unacceptable….get on the conveyor belt!
Time and your physical location are irrelevant with online schools.
A student can work at his or her own pace!
My daughter is a sophomore in high school. Yesterday she said, “The teachers are too slow. They’re always repeating things for the kids who don’t understand or don’t want to learn. The teachers spend too much time disciplining kids too”.
We tried to talk our daughter out of going to the public high school.
But the biggest problem at public schools is students are taught as a group, not as individuals.
There is no customized or personalized learning. It doesn’t fit the government “model” of education.
Granted, some kids go to college for more than education.
People go to college for camaraderie, the sports, a new adventure and to get away from mom and dad.
And don’t forget the parties! Parents should visit college campuses unannounced to see how their money is spent.
Traditional colleges and universities are nervous because students prefer the Internet for their education.
Granted, some colleges and universities have started to embrace the Internet and distance learning.
The cost of a college course today is ridiculous.
More than 85 percent of the tuition paid to schools goes to tenured professors, administrators, management, overhead, taxes, sports, and fees, etc.
One thing colleges and universities could do is lower the cost of their courses. You would think in the current climate and economy they would do this.
But no…most colleges are increasing tuition and course fees!
16 Million Students and Climbing!
There were more than 16 million students enrolled in distance and online learning programs in the United States at the end of 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The demand for online teachers, instructors, and tutors is skyrocketing too, according to Ken White, author of the Online Teaching Guide.
Help Wanted: Web-Savvy Entrepreneurs and Teachers!
Online education offers exciting opportunities for Web-savvy entrepreneurs and for people who can teach.
I recently accepted an assignment as a guest instructor for a distance learning program called Understanding Internet Search Engines. I was paid $2,500 for about six hours of work.
It’s true, most colleges and universities have steep academic requirements for online instructors.
The good news is you don't have to work at top colleges and universities to make money as an online instructor.
But traditional schools may be an option worth considering.
The way people are learning has changed
The “classroom model” of instruction for the past 300 years is dying a slow painful death.
My neighbor is a retired (tenured) professor from Columbia University. He makes six figures tending his flower beds, playing his banjo and sipping cold Chardonnay.
But he said, “The days of tenure of coming to a close. The schools can’t afford it any more”.
Thank God his golden parachute is safe!
Anyway, the point is….online and digital instruction is available in the “cloud” now. Cloud computing is here. It simply means the “cloud” or network covers everything.
You can access the “cloud” from anywhere with multiple devices like a netbook, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Desktop PC, TV, Blackberry or disposable laptops.
Watch how kids teach themselves today….they jump to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or niche forums like Programmers Heaven.
On top of that, online education is intertwined with online gaming… much to the chagrin of “old world” tenured professors and teachers.
We homeschool our kids. My oldest son was homeschooled until his Junior year in high school.
He received his high school diploma online, as well as certification in four programming languages. Most of his learning came by way of online gaming! He secured his first paying “gig” online as well.
The 17 fastest growing online schools with web-based curriculum:
What the Heck is Distance Learning?
Distance learning gives people the option of earning college credits off-campus, via television, the Internet, satellite classes, web-conferencing, videotapes, DVDs, correspondence courses, and other means.
Today, most major colleges, universities, and technical school have distance or online learning divisions.
And hundreds of online "virtual" learning centers are being launched every month.
How to Make Money as an Online Instructor
There are basically two ways to make money as an online instructor.
- You can apply for positions or projects at established colleges, universities, and learning centers. To do that, you submit your application to the Human Resources Department (which can usually be done at the school's website).
- You can teach as a freelance instructor. If you decide to go with this approach, you may have to forgo some of the benefits and perks that on staff teachers usually enjoy -- but you will have more freedom and flexibility.
Do I Need Academic Qualifications?
Granted, most conventional colleges and universities require an academic background or qualifications in order to teach online courses.
But many do not!
I mean yes….you need to be qualified in a particular area in order to teach the subject and GET PAID.
This goes without saying.
But hiring process has changed.
Here’s a funny story…
A friend of mine stumbled upon an advertisement at an online college for an “Internet savvy entrepreneur with bricks and mortar expertise.”
Just for the fun of it I applied. But rather than submit my colorful academic qualifications (which are non-existent because I’m a college reject and drop-out), I submitted a powerful sales letter and a list of my dismal business failures!
But to be fair I included a brief overview of more than 30 business start-ups I launched.
On top of that, rather than submit the information online, I sent it to the appropriate person in a FedEx NextDay letter!
I was retained for the project within three days.
I realize some higher education centers, colleges, and universities require specific academic qualifications, and this doesn’t change with online instruction.
But the fact is you have (or can develop) specialized knowledge and the demand in this area is growing like wildfire!
Some online learning centers and distance learning programs compensate instructors on a "per student" basis.
For example, the University of Phoenix compensates instructors $40 to $150 per student per course. And there can be anywhere from 5 to 75 students registered for each course. (Course lengths vary, but are generally from one to six weeks.)
Let’s do the math . . .
If you teach 20 courses a year (two per month, with summers off) with 32 students per course, and you are compensated $80 per student, you would earn $51,200 per year.
But let’s say you’re only willing to teach 10 courses per year, with only 20 students per course, and you only receive $50 per student. Fine – that’s still $10,000 a year doing something you love.
As you can see, this is an exciting opportunity and a great way to make a living (or a nice chunk of extra money).
OnlineLearning.net is another great resource. You'll find links to course catalogs, instructor forums, teaching resources, and job postings.
More Ways to Make Money as an Online Instructor or Teacher
1. Become an online researcher.
2. Start your own online college, course search engine, or virtual learning center.
Starting an online college could be a substantial undertaking. But people are going online in droves to improve and enhance their education. And as an Internet-savvy entrepreneur, you can't afford to ignore a trend like this.
One way to launch an online college or learning center would be to specialize and target a specific niche. For example, you could start an online college that specializes in network security, encryption science, or Web development.
Another angle might be to create a search engine that provides exclusive "how to" articles like this one: www.howstuffworks.com. You could charge a monthly fee, or micro-payments for specific "how to" articles.
A course search engine also has potential. The idea is to populate a search engine with thousands of online courses from hundreds of colleges, universities, and online learning centers around the world. Students could search for a course by title, keyword, phrase, or popularity.
This search engine would be free to users. Entering into partnerships with the colleges, universities, and learning centers would generate your revenue.
You could also offer "enhanced listings and links" to those that want to be featured "foremost" in the search results. It would be similar to the Google AdWords model.
Another angle on this idea would be to purchase these courses in bulk from the individual institutions and then re-sell them to students at a profit.
Remember, these courses would be stored in a database for easy online access by students.
It’s simply a matter of re-selling information that's already been developed. eLearners.com offers more than 6,300 online courses that can also be downloaded.
Now that’s what I’m talking about!
The potential for online and distance learning is substantial.
Online education and distance learning is a hot rising trend and very profitable market.
“The King of Business Opportunities”
The fastest you get started the easier it will be.
So, apply at the University of Phoenix or one of the other online schools or resources I mentioned in today’s issue.
If you Google online education you’ll find thousands of resources. There are hundreds of opportunities for online instructors at Monster.com too.
A New Market
Edutainment is the combination of “education” and “entertainment.”
Online instruction and distance learning often incorporates both of these areas into the education process.
In other words, in order to make education and instruction more entertaining colleges are integrating high definition video, PowerPoint presentations, online tutorials, TV, movie clips, texting, live Internet, and teleconferencing into the presentations.
The more you can integrate these applications and resources into your presentations the better!
You could also start your own online college! Granted, this strategy would take some research but entrepreneurs are doing it as we speak.
You could also offer or re-sell courses (or certification) of other institutions. This would be an affiliate type arrangement. You can check out the Education Portal for ideas.
Another approach would be to offer small courses (or certification) free of charge, and full length courses for a fee.
Online Instructor “Jobs” Too
I prefer approaching the online education market as an entrepreneur or freelance contractor.
For me, there are too many restrictions in a conventional “job”. I also think the money is often better when you work as a freelancer.
But sometimes a traditional job in this market will get your foot in the door.
A job can be a perfect fit for some people. Here are some resources for online instructor jobs: