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Online Degrees For Teaching History: Program Options

Find out about online history teaching courses and in which degrees they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Legitimate online degree programs for teaching are rare. For students with an interest in history and seeking a fully online program, there are options that offer a bachelor's degree in American history. These programs offer insight into past and present societal events in America, historically important American literature and social issues facing the United States over the course of its history.

All prospective history teachers are required to be licensed in order to teach, so on-campus supervised teaching programs may be required at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Other on-campus visits are also required at the bachelor's level. Master's degree programs also include a thesis.

B.A. in History - Minor in Secondary Teacher Education

While most online teaching degree programs are for post-baccalaureate students, there are rare online bachelor's degree programs that offer a minor in teacher education. In such a program, an undergraduate may choose to major in history and minor in secondary education in preparation for licensure. The history curriculum covers concepts and events that impart a general knowledge of human history and helps students analyze how knowledge of the past informs our understanding of current events. Teacher training then focuses on applying this knowledge to classroom instruction.

Program Information and Requirements

Distance learners typically can obtain a bachelor's degree in history in four years. However, a teaching minor might require an additional year to complete and can only be started after the student has completed prerequisite general education courses in communications, math, natural science, humanities and social science. While all history classes are available online, teacher training students may be required to participate in on-campus programs twice a semester and complete at least 40 hours of supervised teaching at a local school.

Scheduled interactive discussion sessions may require specific software or hardware such as Webcams, Web conferencing software with audio and video capabilities, or an MP3 player. Instructors might also use blogs, discussion boards or text chats to facilitate dialog among distance learners.

Course Topics

World history coursework develops students' research skills by focusing on the analysis of historical records, sites and archival materials. Students in a teacher education program learn to prepare and present lessons, evaluate assignments and motivate diverse learners.

European Prehistory

Distance learners study the prehistory of Europe since the emergence of Palaeolithic human culture. The invention of iron tools and the development of agriculture are among developments that are addressed.

Western History

Students survey the history of Western civilization from 1660 to modern times. Key events such as the Industrial revolution and World War II are presented in light of their impacts on politics, economic development and society.

Curriculum Development

Education students learn methods of teaching and motivating diverse learners. Assignments focus on preparing history curriculum for use in student teaching internships.


M.A. in Secondary Teaching - History

A number of online master's programs are offered in secondary education. Some schools require students to write a research thesis at the end of the program. These programs typically endorse graduates for a single subject teaching credential.

Program Information and Requirements

Students typically can obtain a master's in education in 1-2 years. A supervised fieldwork component is required to gain classroom teaching experience and these components are not usually offered via distance learning.

Most online programs are asynchronous, meaning students can access them anytime from anywhere that is convenient. Real time videoconferencing or text chats may be required for some classes, necessitating appropriate technical capabilities.

Course Topics

Coursework introduces students to methods of teaching social studies at the secondary school level. Students may learn strategies for teaching in multicultural urban schools with students for whom English is a second language. They may also study different approaches to accommodate different types of learners or students with varied levels in the classroom. Distance learners develop a personal teaching philosophy that is later applied to their on-site supervised teaching practicum.

Teaching Social Studies

History is taught as a branch of social studies in some schools. Other fields of social studies include geography, political science and sociology. Distance learners study effective ways of presenting social studies in the classroom.

Teaching English through History

Teachers learn how to combine history and language arts in their curriculum. They study strategies for incorporating English exercises into history lessons in order to strengthen students' reading and writing skills.

Diverse Learners

People have preferred learning styles based, in part, on their cultural, economic and developmental backgrounds. Several systems of identifying different types of learners are presented in order to train teachers to engage and motivate students.


Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), history teachers with secondary education degrees generally work with public or private middle or high schools. They also might find employment as private tutors or with businesses that provide academic coaching. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for middle school teachers was $55,860 in May 2015, while secondary school teachers earned the median annual salary of $57,200 (www.bls.gov).

BLS data indicates that master's degree may qualify graduates to teach history at some 2-year colleges. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for postsecondary history teachers was $69,400 in 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Teaching license requirements vary by state. Generally, they include a bachelor's degree in the content area, supervised student teaching experience and passing scores on general knowledge and subject area competency exams. Prospective teachers also must undergo a criminal background check, according to the BLS.

The BLS reports that in many school systems, teachers are encouraged to pursue a master's degree in education soon after they begin teaching. Some states require graduate study for recertification, pay increases or professional development credit.

Those interested in becoming school administrators or professors at 4-year colleges might consider pursuing a doctoral degree. Online doctoral programs in education are available, but many have on-site training requirements.

Programs designed to prepare for a career as a licensed history teacher are rarely found fully online. State regulations typically require on-campus, supervised teaching programs. These hybrid programs of study may focus on world history, united states history or other historical specialties commonly taught in the school setting.


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