New Series: How to Make Money Online: #1 Teach for an Online University

New Series: How to Make Money Online: #1 Teach for an Online University

Photos and Text by Emily Benson-Scott

Telecommuting on the French Riviera

For the last few years, job hunting has been a strangely pleasurable experience, largely due to being able to enter the euphonious word “remote” in the job search category. Imagine telling your employer ten years ago, “Yes, I will work for you, but only if I can set my own hours, take as many weeks of vacation as I want, have permanent three-day weekends and work from anywhere in the world.” In today’s world, as opportunities to make money online increase exponentially, you can actually make those demands. So far, as extreme telecommuters, we’ve managed to make money online working from a castle in Italy, a stone cottage on the French Riviera, a Swiss chalet in the Alps, and all over the U.S.–from a snorkel boat in the Florida Keys, a praline shop in Savannah, Central Park in New York City, and a rim cabin overlooking the Grand Canyon.

Each week, I’ll be discussing a different way of making money online. Here’s one that’s been fairly reliable for us:


A. What You Need to Get Started

For the most part, to teach online at a college level, you need a master’s degree in any field from any university. My degree is in creative writing, which allows me to teach a variety of courses, ranging from English literature to writing and composition. You do not need a master’s in education, which, incidentally, is often required for teaching kindergarten in the brick and mortar world. All you need is to apply to any program in any subject and get your degree. It is fairly easy to get into most online schools, and who better to pitch your online master’s to than an online university. It’s an investment up front, but you’ll make your money back pretty quickly, since you can teach for multiple schools at once. You could get your master’s in any subject you’re passionate about and likely find teaching opportunities in those fields. Philosophy? History? Homeland Security? Theology? Massage Therapy? I still haven’t figured out how this last option is possible yet, but believe it or not, you can even get an online degree in massage therapy and teach it remotely.

B. What Online Schools Pay You

The best schools to work for are the ones that pay roughly $1,000 per month or over $2000 for an 8 week course. Ashford University and DeVry University, the two schools I work for, pay around that amount. The University of Phoenix, South University, and Norwich University are also good places to try.
How much money you make will depend on how many schools you work for. For one class, you’ll spend about 10-12 hours per week.
Most people work 40 hours a week. If you taught four classes you’d be making close to $50,000 a year. To get that many classes consistently may require working for four or more different schools so get ready to blanket the virtual world with a polished resume.

C. Where to find Online Teaching Jobs

There are lots of job hunting search engines you can browse. For teaching we recommend Higheredjobs. Here’s the link to online jobs so you can get started browsing right away:

D. What You Have to Do once You’re Hired

For the for-profit schools mentioned above, the classes and curriculum are all canned, so you don’t have to come up with materials to teach. All you have to do is login to discussion threads and respond to student posts about a subject. The threads are meant to simulate classroom discussion, sort of like Facebook for college students.
You will have to grade these threads along with their papers using ready made rubrics. For most schools, at the beginning of the course, you will virtually “meet” the students in an online introduction forum. Sometimes they post pictures, and their life stories are often unusual and fascinating. I’ve taught students serving in the military in Afghanistan, along with disabled veterans who would have a difficult time attending traditional universities. Some of my students are single mothers working two jobs who again, would have difficulty commuting to campus and finding childcare.

E. Where You Can Work

Anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. We’ve encountered people doing this in Thailand, Scotland, France, Vienna, Nepal, just about everywhere.
Right now I’m “discussing” MacBeth with my online students from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stay tuned for next week’s magic method of making money online!

My Office in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin#nofilter

6 thoughts on “New Series: How to Make Money Online: #1 Teach for an Online University

  1. So, so interesting! Get the feeling most students prefer using technology and not the traditional 3x a week classroom time.
    Having a lovely time with your Uncle Bill & Aunt Pearl in walk/bike/run friendly Eugene!

  2. Greetings, Ms. Benson — I finally got around to reading this blog (a few days later) — thanks for the “nod” to Massage Therapy!  ha ha!  That made me laugh!  I’m still trying to figure out how to teach that long-distance and/or online!  Broadview University offered an Associates Degree in “Massage Therapy,” so I got that in 2010.  But as I looked around the Internet for majors for my Bachelor’s, all I could find was “Business-this” and “Business-that” (ie. “Business Management,” etc), and I didn’t want to do THAT.  I finally found that Ashford offers a Bachelors in “Complementary & Alternative Health” — that’s probably the closest I’m going to get to Massage Therapy!  And as for a Masters degree, I’ll probably have to resort to something dry & boring like “Healthcare Administration”… sigh… Shauna K. p.s. I hope you have solved your “Unlimited Wi-Fi” debacle!  😉

    1. Hi Shauna,
      Thanks for commenting! That actually clarifies a lot for me:) I didn’t realize Ashford was unique in offering complementary and alternative health and that one could get a more “hands on” associates first. Sounds like you’ve got things all lined up for a fulfilling future career!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *