Online Instructor Degrees by Degree Program Level

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Distance learning has created a demand for online learning experts. A master's degree in online teaching focuses on distance learning and creating an interactive and educational online learning experience for students. Through courses in instructional technology and design, course management and blended learning environments, students become proficient at developing courses for colleges and universities, as well as high schools. The most common program is the Master of Science in Online Teaching, and most master's programs can be completed in two years or less.

Master of Science in Online Teaching

In order to be accepted in a master's program for online teaching, applicants need an undergraduate degree in higher education and relevant teaching experience. In addition, letters of recommendation and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores may be required.

The master's degree in online teaching focuses on using technology to bridge the distance gap and to create a productive learning experience. Those enrolled will become proficient with online curriculum development and course management systems such as Blackboard. In addition, courses will discuss a variety of technologies, such as digital videos, gaming, and online communities.

Courses include:

  • Instructional design and digital video
  • Synchronous and blended learning environments
  • Distance learning ethics
  • Instructional technology trends
  • 3-D learning environments
  • Course management systems

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, employment for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 9% for the period 2019 to 2029. This much faster-than-average job growth number is attributed to the higher number of students attending postsecondary institutions. Competition for tenured positions at universities and colleges will be higher; however, there are many more opportunities for adjunct instructors

The BLS reported that as of May 2020, the median annual salary for a postsecondary teacher was $80,790. However, adjunct community college instructors are usually paid by semester only and are not salaried. High school teachers (secondary) had a median salary of $62,870 per year and the predicted growth of employment is 4%. For those interested in working for businesses, the BLS reported training and development specialists had a median salary of $62,700 annually and can expect a 9% growth in employment for the period of 2019-2029. Training and development managers' median income is $115,640.

Master's degree programs in online teaching train various skills used to create effective online courses. Graduates from these programs may go onto careers working for postsecondary and secondary educational institutions as well as businesses that train employees online.

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