Now that we’re nearing summer, you might have more time to think about professional development and licensure requirements. In-person options don’t work for everyone’s schedule, so online professional development opportunities can be especially useful.
If you’re looking for a free, online way to meet your professional development goals or requirements, you have plenty of options. We’ve rounded up 10 for you to consider, along with a brief overview and the requirements for completing each one.
Of course, you’ll want to check to make sure any options you choose meet your state or district’s specific licensure requirements before you proceed.
1. PBS TeacherLine
Through PBS TeacherLine, you can choose 15-, 30-, or 45-hour courses, which are generally available for continuing education credits. You can even earn graduate-level credit through university partnerships. Each course is self-paced and can be completed around your own schedule.
Coursera is a learning resource that partners with universities all over the world to provide free and accessible courses. You can find plenty of professional development courses specifically for teachers, including:
- Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing
- Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms
- Motivating Gen Z Learners: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know
If you’re looking for professional development focused on social-emotional learning, check out TeachingTolerance. Their professional development section includes tons of webinars and self-guided learning resources on topics like diversity, leadership, and empathy in the classroom.
LearnersEdge offers free on-demand webinar recordings on a wide variety of topics, from mindfulness and mental health awareness to reading and writing. After you’ve finished the webinar, you can receive a certificate as needed for your specific professional development requirements.
Canvas has a collection of online, self-paced professional development options for teachers—many of which are free. Here are a few example courses to give you a sense of what this resource offers:
- The Art and Craft of Remote Teaching
- Safe & Resilient Schools: Mental Health
- Supporting Girls in STEAM
6. Learning for Justice
Learning for Justice has an archive of webinars on improving equity and access in schools that are available on demand. Here, you can learn about topics like How to Be an Ally in the Classroom and Responding to Hate and Bias at School.
If your district allows webinars to fulfill professional development requirements, this can be a great option.
Whether you’re a STEM teacher or just learning more about the scientific side of teaching, SciLearn offers webinars focused around the neuroscience of learning. A few recent sessions include:
- How to Rewire the Brains of Struggling Learners
- Engaging All Students with Poverty in Mind
- Developing Executive Function from Kindergarten Through High School
8. National Education Association
The National Educators Association (NEA) holds live webinars and maintains a website of archived webinars for teachers looking to fulfill their professional development credits. The organization also hosts a podcast called School Me, and while it’s not eligible for credits, it does offer tons of bite-sized “life hacks” for educators.
9. Sanford Inspire
Webinars are a quick and convenient way to fulfill professional development hours online, but if you’re looking for a more hands-on option, try completing one of the free professional development courses from Sanford Aspire. After finishing the course and passing an assessment, you gain a professional development certificate which you can then submit to your district and potentially redeem for credit.
10. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) website has a large archive of webinars for teachers, as well as live webinar options for ASCD members. Like other webinar options on this list, each session can be redeemed for an hour of credit if it meets the specific requirements for your license renewal.
The slogan of SimpleK12 is “professional development in your pajamas,” and they offer educational webinars to watch at home. Although some webinars are only available for site members, many others are free to the public.
12. Library of Congress
The Library of Congress offers build-your-own professional development modules on subjects like Understanding Copyright and Primary Sources and Inquiry. These are designed for educators interested in presenting their own professional development course for their colleagues, which you can then submit to your district to request licensure credit.
Additionally, there are online webinars and workshops that can potentially fulfill one hour of professional development.
13. Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM
The arts and humanities are a vital way to teach children creativity and critical thinking. Through the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM, you can access free toolkits and audio trainings on bringing arts into the classroom—several of which can be redeemed for professional development hours.
Holding both live and on-demand webinars, edWeb can easily fit into your schedule. Because of the range of topics, the webinars can be great free professional development for both teachers of early elementary students and teachers in older grades.
15. Facing History
Facing History provides both free and paid courses, webinars, and video professional development options on challenging bigotry in education. If you’re unable to attend an event in person, there is also an archive of on-demand webinars and workshops.
16. SHAPE America
If you’re a health or P.E. teacher (or you just want to learn more about health education), this resource is for you. SHAPE America is a website run by the Society of Health and Physical Educators that includes plenty of free webinars on K-12 health education. A few examples include:
- Ideas for Equitable and Accessible Teaching in Health and Physical Education
- No-Cost Digital Resources to Support Social, Emotional and Physical Wellness
- Trauma Sensitive Practices in Health Education
17. TeachersFirst Workshops
Many of the options on this list are self-guided or pre-recorded, but if you’re looking for an interactive professional development option, TeachersFirst might be more your speed. These free, live workshops are each approximately 90 minutes long and scheduled after school hours for teachers with a busy workday.
ShareMyLesson offers a wide variety of short professional development sessions geared toward teachers, administrators, and parents recorded from their 2019 virtual conference. You can watch these sessions on your own time and receive one hour of continuing education credit for each, provided they meet your specific licensure requirements.
19. KQED Teach
Through KQED Teach, you can take courses on digital media to help you get the most out of educational technology in your classroom. Whether you want to learn how to make a teacher blog, detect online misinformation, or even try your hand at video production, you’re sure to find a course that fits your interests.
20. EdWeek Special Education Webinars
For special education teachers, EdWeek offers live and recorded webinars on professional development in education. After watching a webinar, you can receive a certificate verifying one hour of professional development. Recent webinar topics include:
- Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
- A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
- Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective