Just as more there’s more opportunities for learning online, all those classes need qualified instructors to share their knowledge with undergraduate and graduate students.

If you’re already in the teaching field or pursuing an education career, working as an online instructor or online teaching assistant can put your skills and know-how to good use. Working remotely also can provide flexibility, if you are still pursuing an advanced degree, and you will be learning what it takes to connect with students virtually today.

As you get started by searching online for “online instructor” or “online teaching” jobs, you’ll also want to look at job openings at universities and community colleges in your town, your alma maters, and for-profit online universities.

Generally, you’ll find that major universities require online instructors to have the same type of advanced degrees as traditional classroom instructors: a doctorate degree in the field. If you’re pursuing your master’s degree or a doctorate, one opportunity is to work as a teaching assistant for an online instructor.

Online classes offered by community colleges or online-focused schools often seek adjunct professors to work on a part-time basis, by teaching one or two courses a semester. Those schools are typically looking for online instructor job candidates to have a master’s degree, at least, in that specific field.

Job openings and other reports about online adjunct positions note that average pay per course for an online instructor is $1,500-$1,700. Some adjuncts work for multiple schools, so that they can earn enough to be teaching full time.

Three recent job listings for part-time online adjunct professors reflect what type of skills and education is required to get the jobs:

Campbell University, a private school based in North Carolina, is hiring part-time adjunct faculty members to teach online courses in psychology, accounting, English, and business for undergraduates, and requires a doctoral degree in those disciplines.

Northeastern State University, a public institution in Oklahoma, is seeking faculty to teach hybrid and online classes in a variety of subject areas. Instructors need a master’s degree to teach undergraduate students and doctorate degrees to teach graduate-level courses.

Ross College Online, which offers an associates degree in medical assisting, is hiring individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree and previous online teaching experience for courses in areas such as psychology, nutrition, pharmacology, and medical law and ethics.

There are some rare cases where adjunct professors may only hold a bachelor’s degree, but they are working professionals brought on by colleges because of their success in a certain industry and the lessons they can share with students.

You can also find work as an online high school teacher, and a bachelor’s degree may be all that is required to be an online instructor.

In addition to meeting degree requirements, working as an online instructor requires knowing how to communicate online. You’ll need knowledge of specific technology that schools use as well as general strong written communication skills, since there is little to none face-to-face contact with students.

Colleges are seeking online instructors who can provide the same quality education experience for students that they have offered in the classroom. With the right degrees and skills, it could be a good fit for you.

Which college degrees provide better job security?

A new study from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce implies that your degree choice can have a big impact on keeping a job. According to the findings, risk of unemployment for recent graduates varies considerably depending on their major.

You can check out the full report, Hard Times, College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal, but here are some of the takeaways we’ve gleaned from it:

– Specializing is great, but develop skills that can be applicable in a number of ways. Case in point: The highest unemployment rate in the study was for architecture graduates (13.9 percent), a direct reflection of the struggling real estate market, and there’s little work outside of that industry. On the other hand, those with financial or computer expertise can transfer those skills to work for most any corporation or organization.

– Now might be a good time to get that advanced degree you’ve been mulling over. The overall unemployment rate for people with graduate degrees is just 3 percent.

– Look for ties to strong industries. Recent graduates in Engineering, the Sciences, Education, or Healthcare are tied to stable or growing sectors, and therefore, offer opportunities with the most staying power (with just a 5.4% unemployment rate).

On the bright side, any degree is still better than not having one at all. Recent bachelor’s degree earners have an 8.9 percent unemployment rate, while job seekers with just a high school diploma are at 22.9 percent, and high school dropouts are at 31.5 percent.

-Dawn Papandrea

It’s Always a Good Time to Update Your Resume

Robyn Tellefsen | September 21, 2011

Apparently, we’re nearing the end of Update Your Resume Month – as designated by Career Directors International – but you don’t have to rush around to meet a fall deadline. While back-to-school season is an ideal time to start fresh with a clean, crisp resume, it’s never too late to get this all-important document up to snuff. Review these tips (and more here) for your resume revamp.

>> Take note of where you’ve been.
When it comes to professional development, nothing is ever wasted. Maybe your boss made you go to a bunch of conferences, or you just decided to attend a few workshops and events on your own. Whether you loved ‘em or hated ‘em, they’re still worth listing on your resume. Include the title, date, and location of the event, the sponsoring organization, and the specific sessions you attended. If the training was relevant to your current career focus, list it closer to the top of your resume instead of the bottom.

>> Take note of what you’ve done.
Unless you’re stagnating at work (time for a job hunt?), chances are you’ve accomplished something in recent months. Special projects, cost-savings initiatives, leadership roles, and new business are all worthy of inclusion in your resume update. The more specific you can be about what you accomplished, the more relevant it will be. If you won an award or received a specific honor, list the exact name and date. If you’re drawing a blank, start saving all those “attaboy” emails in a separate folder to remind you what to include in your next resume update.

>> Think beyond work.
Yes, there is more to life than work… and your activities outside your job can actually benefit you on the job! Volunteer work marks you as a contributing member of society, and the leadership roles you take in nonprofits or industry groups can help you hone skills that are useful in your career. So don’t dismiss your work in the community watch program or at church as separate from your professional life. It’s all connected, and your involvement in outside activities reveals important aspects of your character and your commitment.

>> Consider what you want.
Now it’s time to think strategically. Spend some time evaluating your current career goals, and then peruse your resume to see if it reflects those objectives. Add a focus statement at the top of your resume to clarify who you are and what you do, and then review your resume to see if each item is relevant to your stated focus. If you have concerns about an item’s relevance, try using targeted keywords to rephrase the description so that it connects to the rest of the document.

>> Commit to ongoing updates.
Updating your resume feels overwhelming if you only pull it out when you’re looking for a job. Do yourself a favor: don’t let your resume gather dust while you plug away in your current position. Take a few minutes at the end of every month to review any new accomplishments and skills, and record them on your resume right then and there. If you think of your resume as a living document, always ready to be modified, it’s much more likely that it will be an accurate reflection of your true skills and abilities. And when the next job opportunity arises, you’ll be ready for it!

-Robyn Tellefsen

Sorry, Penelope Trunk, We Disagree

Let me preface this post by saying that I think Penelope Trunk is pretty cool. She’s the founder of Brazen Careerist and two other startups, and her career advice is always fresh and fun – if not a bit irreverent. But in one of her recent posts, she basically says that graduate degrees in the humanities are useless. Here’s why she’s wrong:

>> Employers still look for graduate degrees when hiring.
Even if a graduate degree is not required for entry into a particular field, many employers still say that, given the choice between a candidate with a master’s degree and one without, they’ll hire the one with the degree. A recent New York Times article confirms this notion, calling the master’s degree a “sorting mechanism.” Plus, plenty of non-science professions (e.g., teaching, clergy, psychology) do require graduate degrees just to get in the door, and that trend will continue. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers that require first professional or master’s degrees are expected to grow by about 18 percent each; those that only require on-the-job training are expected to grow by 8 percent each.

>> Graduate degrees can get you promoted.
Trunk’s post seems to be directed at students who have never worked a day in the real world, but one doesn’t need to get a graduate degree in a vacuum. Many students go to grad school while they’re working – with the blessing (and even the tuition assistance) of their employer. When grad school is directly applicable to your field and can help you do better on the job, everyone benefits. Workers who are committed to self-improvement will always be in greater demand than those who are resting on the laurels of old accomplishments.

>> You can make more money with a graduate degree.
In a conversation about making a living with graduate education, it would be shortsighted not to mention the salary potential of advanced degrees. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2008, the median annual earnings of young adults with a master’s degree or higher was $55,000. That’s 20 percent more than bachelor’s degree holders earned ($46,000). And for those who say you have to take grad school debt into account, remember that there are lots of ways to do grad school on the cheap (fellowships, scholarships, teacher assistantships, etc.).

>> You do need a graduate degree in order to teach.
Teaching jobs may not be easy to come by these days – especially at the college level – but they are out there. And you can’t get in without an advanced degree. Maximize your employability by choosing your school and program wisely, and making good connections once you’re there. Given a choice between two grad schools, go with the one that has the best reputation in your field, one with a high employment rate for graduates of your program.

>> Education is never a waste of time.
Even if none of the above points were true, and grad school didn’t enhance career prospects, I’d still make the case that education is valuable for its own sake. Grad school gives you an opportunity to focus your attention and delve deeply into a topic, to do research and consider new possibilities, and to gain philosophical understanding. Not only are these kinds of activities helpful in your career, they make a difference in your life as a whole. And we are whole people, not career robots. Anything you can do to challenge yourself and broaden your perspective – including grad school – is inherently worthwhile.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to grad school. While there are certainly “wrong” reasons to go to grad school, there are plenty of “right” reasons, too. Be selective in your search, and you’ll be amazed at the doors that a graduate degree can open.

-Robyn Tellefsen

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