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Connections Academy Review Summary
Connections Academy hires home-based teachers certified and living in 31 US states. They offer both full and part-time roles teaching grade K-12 children, and pay around $22 an hour, though hours and salaries vary across associated schools. There are employee benefits, though the caseload can be demanding.
|Pay (per hour):||$22 on average*|
|Location / language requirements?||USA/English|
|Degree / diploma required?||Yes|
|Teaching certificate required?||Yes|
|Teaching experience required?||Yes|
|Student age (Adults/Children)?||K-12 children|
|Minimum hours (per week):||40 (if full-time)*|
Connections Academy Pros and Cons
- Always lots of open positions, both full and part-time (depending on location)
- Employed work, with associated salary reviews, bonuses and benefits
- Opportunities for professional development and advancement through CA’s ‘Career Ladder’
- Autonomy over lessons
- Low pay compared to a ‘brick and mortar’ teaching job
- Not all positions are entirely home-based
- Must be certified and live in the school’s state (not good for travelers/digital nomads)
- Potentially overwhelming student caseload
Is Connections Academy Legit?
Founded in 2001, Connections Academy is a well-established educational organization based in Columbia, Maryland, USA. Its legitimacy is reinforced by the fact that it is backed by publishing giant Pearson and accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED), while many of the 45 Connections Academy schools are also accredited by one or more of six regional accrediting organizations for higher-education institutions, as recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.
What Is Connections Academy Online School?
Connections Academy provides online tuition-free public schooling to over 100,000 grade K-12 students across 31 states, as an alternative to homeschooling. The Connections Academy program combines a teacher’s expertise with parental involvement in a flexible learning environment. The organization aims to ensure teachers deliver a ‘Personalized Performance Learning’ plan to their students, who will connect with them when necessary, completing lessons in an online school setting, while parents support them as ‘Learning Coaches’.
Here is a brief video introduction to the company:
Connections Academy Courses and Curriculum
Connections Academy delivers its own curriculum, providing comprehensive lesson plans online and in print, including several elective courses. The Connections Academy curriculum includes materials developed by leading educational institutions, alongside lessons and materials created by curriculum specialists. The curriculum for Connections Academy schools aligns with state standards and Common Core.
Here is a video discussion about Connections Academy and its curriculum:
Connections Academy Platform/Teaching Tool
Connections Academy schools use an interactive teaching tool called LiveLesson. This uses Acrobat Connect, a virtual communication system for live, online lessons and recorded sessions. Students connect to your LiveLesson classroom and participate through chat. You are able to use the tool by preparing and sharing PowerPoint presentations, leveraging whiteboard tools, Q&A, and poll questions to cover concepts and skills during the lesson. Breakout rooms can also be used for group discussions.
How Much Does Connections Academy Pay Teachers?
Due to the broad nature of schools associated with the company, Connections Academy pay scales are not standardized, though some averages have been provided through Indeed:
- English Teacher = $22.00 per hour
- Special Education Teacher = $31,941 per year
- Teacher = $40,968 per year
Connections Academy salaries are calculated with competitive-based compensation, and increases are dependent on experience and qualifications. Essentially, it will be at the connected school’s discretion. As an employee, you will be eligible for annual performance and salary reviews, with the potential of participating in the company’s performance-based bonus program.
As part of the school’s compensation structure, full-time teachers have the potential to earn a bonus each year based upon performances from the individual and the school. This bonus will increase over years of service with the organization. There is also the potential to climb Connections Academy’s ‘Career Ladder’, consisting of four levels: Coordinator Teacher, Lead Teacher, Specialist Teacher, and Master Teacher. This allows the chance for professional progression and increased pay.
More information can be found via Connections Academy’s teacher salary FAQ page.
Connections Academy Schedule and Hours
Connections Academy hours depend upon the connected school and whether the position is full-time or part-time. Some employees have reported that a typical day can range between 8-12 hours and may include weekends. However, it is important to reiterate that this will vary.
Connections Academy has stated itself that teachers work a 10-month schedule, with their associated schools typically following a similar calendar to that of local school districts (195 duty days).
Some schools offer the opportunity for you to complete these hours entirely from home, though many will require you to work occasionally from their office, depending on the given state. You can find more information here.
Connections Academy Requirements
When applying to Connections Academy, you will require a valid teaching certificate for the state you will be working and living in.
Connections Academy Technical Requirements
- Operating System:
- Browsers (latest version):
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Microsoft Edge (Windows 10 only)
- Safari (Mac only)
- Plugins (latest version):
- Microsoft Office 2007 or newer
- Alternative: LibreOffice – a free productivity suite compatible with Microsoft Office file formats
Connections Academy Hiring Process
To begin the application process, search for available positions on the Connections Academy careers page (there are usually hundreds advertised). You can filter by location, job category, and schedule, and will find an ‘Apply now’ button within the description for each listing.
The first time you apply for a position, you will be prompted to create an account with your name, email address and password. The Connections Academy application form then consists of the following details:
- Upload resume (6MB max. size, PDF, DOC or DOCX format)
- Contact Information:
- Email address (auto-filled)
- Phone number
- Work Experience:
- Job Title
- Dates From and To
- School Name
- Level of Education/Degree
- Major and Minor
- Dates From and To
- Behaviors – ‘What is your work style?’
- Motivations – ‘What gets you out of bed in the morning?’
- Licenses and Certifications
- How did you hear about this opportunity?
- Were you referred by a current employee?
- When can you start? (MM/DD/YYYY)
- Type your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card.
- Are you 18 or older?
- Are you authorized to work for any employer in the U.S. without limitation?
- Do you live in the state in which this position is located?
- Starting Salary Expected
- Have you watched the on-demand Teacher Information Session video from the Connections Academy Careers website?
- Have you been referred by an employee of Connections Academy?
- Select your highest level of education.
- Are you currently a state certified teacher? If so, please list the states in which you hold a valid teaching credential.
- In which areas/subjects and grade levels do you hold a state teaching certificate? For example, “social studies grades K-12” or “school administration”. Please also include endorsements, such as reading.
- Has any action ever been taken against your certification including being reviewed, revoked, suspended, or restricted?
- Confirm you are able to upload your resume and teaching certification(s) upon submitting this application
- Enter the name of your present or most recent employer
- Enter your last job title for this employer
- When did you begin this job (mm/yyyy)?
- When did you end this job (mm/yyyy)?
- Why did you leave this job?
- Do you have any relatives working at Connections Academy or any subsidiary or affiliate?
- Have you ever been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense?
- Are you a current employee of Pearson Online & Blended Learning?
- Were you ever employed at Connections Academy or any subsidiary or affiliate?
- Have you ever performed services for Connections Academy or any subsidiary or affiliate while employed through a temporary-help agency?
- Are you aware of any active agreements with your current or former employer(s) that include a non-compete or non-solicitation clause?
Once you have completed these assessment questions, your application will be sent directly to the Talent Acquisition Team for review by their Hiring Manager. If you pass this stage, you will then be contacted for interview.
Connections Academy Interview Process
The first stage of the interview process is a one-way, self-recorded interview conducted via HireVue. This takes approximately 45 minutes and consists of around 10 pre-set questions that you will record answers to over your webcam, along with some written components. Here is an example:
“We would like you to recall an important teaching, teaching related, or human relations incident that involved you and one or more persons. The situation may be actual or fictitious, but it should have meaning for you from a human relations standpoint. It is more helpful if you describe the thoughts and feelings of yourself and the other individuals involved rather than attempt to objectively describe the situation.
- Describe the situation as it occurred.
- What did you do in that particular situation?
- How did you feel about the situation while you were experiencing it?
- How do you feel about the situation now?
Please complete the following questions:
- Briefly discuss your attitudes, beliefs and interest in education.
- How do you as the classroom teacher work to ensure success for each student? Please include any other information you think would be helpful to us in considering you for employment such as additional work experience, activities, accomplishments, honors, etc.”
Those who pass the one-way self-recorded interview will be invited to a second, 30-minute interview with a live panel from the relevant school. Here are some Connections Academy interview questions that have previously been asked:
- Tell me more about who you are and why you decided to apply.
- How does your experience make you a good candidate for this position?
- What led you to education?
- What do you like to teach?
- Why did you choose your certification areas?
- How comfortable do you feel working in a virtual setting?
- Why do you want to teach virtually?
- What makes you a good candidate for a virtual teaching position?
- What is the advantage of a virtual education?
- How would students describe you?
- How would you build rapport with parents?
- How would you handle upset parents?
- How do you collaborate with co-workers?
- What is quality education?
- What is your teaching philosophy?
- How do you plan and modify instruction?
- How do use data to inform instruction?
- How do you engage or motivate students?
- When do you give up on a student that is disengaged?
- Who is responsible for a student’s success?
- Who is responsible for student failure?
- What is a challenge you faced when teaching and how did you overcome it?
- What is your greatest accomplishment in your teaching career?
- What’s your favorite lesson you’ve ever taught?
- What is one of your weaknesses?
- What would you do if you were a co-teacher and the other teacher you are working with doesn’t comply with IEP modifications/accommodations?
You may also be asked to submit a sample lesson plan following the interview.
Connections Academy Teacher Reviews – What Is It Like Working for Connections Academy?
The Connections Academy Glassdoor page currently has an overall score of 3.5 out of 5, with a 66% recommendation rate. There is a similar Connections Academy Indeed rating of 3.6 out of 5. These are calculated from hundreds of Connections Academy job reviews on both platforms.
Here is the summary of Glassdoor’s reviews for Connections Academy, with lots of positive mentions of the work-life balance that comes from a flexible work environment and ability to teach from home, along with the benefits of being in Connections Academy employment as opposed to the casual contract work characteristic of much online teaching. The pay is still considered low, however, compared to a ‘brick and mortar’ teaching position, remote work can be isolating, and the student caseload demanding:
Conclusion – Is Connections Academy Good?
Connections Academy is a reputable, long-established and well-backed organization that provides full and part-time opportunities for online teachers located in one of the 31 US states it serves currently. However, there are caveats to consider, in that you must be living in that state (so this is not a good option for travelers/digital nomads), some jobs still require an occasional office presence, while the home-based flexibility comes at the cost of lower-pay than a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ position (though still competitive compared to more casual online teaching companies). It is also advisable to carry out additional research on the specific school you’re applying to, as experiences can vary across these.
You can apply for Connections Academy jobs here.
A list of alternative companies can be found here.