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Teaching Psychology Online: What You Need to Know

The right teaching strategies and expertise can help you succeed as an online psychology teacher.

Around 6.3 million undergraduate and graduate students took at least one online course during the 2015–2016 school year, and the trend is only headed upward.1 Clearly, there’s a lot of demand for online learning. This also means there’s a demand for teachers who know how to teach online, including in the subject of psychology.

If you’re considering teaching psychology online, you may be wondering how to become a teacher with the right teacher credentials and which teaching strategies can help you succeed in the classroom. Here are a few tips that can help you along.

Teaching Psychology Online: What You Need to Know

Earn a Post-Master’s Online Teaching in Psychology Certificate

If you hold a master’s in psychology, you’re well on your way to qualifying for online teaching. What you should do next is enroll in a post-master’s online teaching in psychology certificate program. Unlike a graduate-level psychology degree program, a post-master’s certificate program requires you to take only a handful of tailored courses, giving you the ability to gain the skills you need faster and for less money.

In a post-master’s online teaching in psychology certificate program, you’ll likely take courses in educational psychology, teaching of psychology, principles of instructional design, and instructional design for online course development. And taking these courses can be quite convenient, since you can earn your post-master’s certificate online.

In an online certificate program, you can complete your coursework from home, on a schedule that works for you. Plus, learning online will give you firsthand experience with online education and how online classes work. It’s a great choice if you want to teach psychology online.

Strategies for Teaching Online

Whether you’re teaching in an online degree program or are simply offering a single online course for a campus-based university, there are a number of teaching strategies you should embrace. These include:

  • Use the Right Content

    In an online course, students don’t attend class in the traditional manner. Instead, they log on to a learning management system (LMS) at whatever time of day works best for them. Then, they read/watch/listen to materials and complete assignments. For your students to get what they need from this form of class, you have to give them content that engages and educates.

  • Communicate Expectations

    Don’t assume your students already know what you expect from them. Some student may have never taken an online course before (this is particularly common when teaching in an adult education environment), while others may have only limited experience with online learning. But even if the entire class has recently been in an online psychology degree program, you still need to take the time to communicate exactly how you will conduct the class and exactly how you will evaluate the students. This can prevent confusion and ensure that every student has the best chance to excel.

  • Be Available

    You won’t see your students face-to-face, but you will be able to interact with them. And that interaction shouldn’t stop at posting class content and moderating discussions. You should make sure you’re readily available on e-mail and through your LMS so you can better teach and mentor students.

  • Evaluate Yourself

    Once a course is complete, you need to take the time to look at your performance as a teacher and determine where you succeeded and where you may have fallen short. Your online university or online learning center will likely have its own way of evaluating you, but nothing beats introspection. Consider where students struggled more than you expected and what you can change to help your next class avoid such issues.

Teaching online takes work. But with the right education and teaching strategies, you can make an online teaching career in psychology a reality.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Post-Master’s Online Teaching in Psychology Certificate program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,