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Educators with a master's degree work as school principals, instructional coordinators, and lead teachers.

They can also pursue opportunities as superintendents and higher education administrators. In these roles, educators take on leadership roles in schools and improve student learning outcomes.

Earning a master's degree in education increases a teacher's earning potential and offers career advancement opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school principals earn a median salary of over $95,000 per year and college administrators make over $94,000 per year. Many practicing teachers choose an online master's in education program to continue working while earning a graduate degree.

Top Ten Online Master's in Education Programs

Table of Contents

This list ranks the best online education master's programs to help prospective students identify the right program for their career goals.


This page also covers how to choose the right master's program, career paths for graduates with a master's in education, and common salaries for educators with a master's degree.

The Best Online Master's in Education Programs

1
University of Southern California
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4

Michigan State University 

East Lansing, MI

About this school

One of the largest universities in the U.S., Michigan State University is a public research institution that serves more than 50,000 students each year. Its College of Education offers several distance learning options, including a popular, online master's in education. Nearly 1,000 educators worldwide have earned this degree since its inception in 2001.

The master of arts in education offers several concentrations:

  • Special education
  • Sport coaching and leadership
  • Technology and learning
  • P-12 school and postsecondary leadership
  • Literacy education
  • Science and mathematics education

Regardless of their concentration, all students take classes on topics like classroom and behavior management in the inclusive classroom, language diversity in literacy instruction and assessment, and program planning and evaluation in postsecondary contexts.

All online master's in education students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Applicants must submit transcripts, a goal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Applicants typically learn of their admissions status within 4-6 weeks after submitting an application.

5

University of Arizona 

Tucson, AZ

About this school

Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is a public research institution that enrolls over 45,000 students each year. The school offers diverse online and on-campus programs, including an online master of education in teaching and teacher education. The program prepares students to work as middle and high school educators and qualifies graduates to pursue secondary teacher certification.

The 36-credit program uses a cohort model, meaning students take classes with the same group of peers throughout the program. Full-time students can graduate within one year. Learners study topics like literacy in a multicultural school, educational tests and measurements, introduction to special learning needs, and alternatives in the secondary classroom. Students must also take a content methods course in science, math, world languages, social studies, or English.

The school accepts applications until January 31 each year, with new cohorts typically beginning in May. Application requirements include an accredited four-year degree, a background in content and curriculum, a 3.0 GPA or higher, an updated resume, and an application fee.

6

Purdue University-Main Campus 

West Lafayette, IN

About this school

Founded in 1869, Purdue University is a public research institution that educates more than 43,000 students annually. The main campus offers online master's in education programs in applied behavior analysis, curriculum and instruction, learning design and technology, and special education.

The applied behavior analysis program requires 30 credits and covers topics like verbal behavior and social communication, behavioral consultation and systems change, and single-subject research design. The 30-credit, online MS in education in curriculum and instruction allows learners to choose from five concentrations:

  • English language learning
  • Gifted
  • Educational technology
  • Math
  • STEM

The online MS in education in learning design and technology requires 35 credits and covers topics like human performance technology, introduction to e-Learning, and learning systems design. The 31-45-credit online MS in special education allows learners to choose from six concentrations, all built around different licensure options.

Applicants must submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Online students gain access to a writing lab, library services, tutoring, and the Academic Success Center to support their studies.

7

University of Utah 

Salt Lake City, UT

About this school

Established in 1850 as the state's flagship institution, the University of Utah serves nearly 33,000 students through online and on-campus undergraduate and graduate programs. UOnline offers a unique, online master of arts in teaching with a concentration in fine arts that exists primarily online, though students must visit the Salt Lake City campus during two 12-day summer intensives.

Administered by the College of Fine Arts, the program features 30 credits, which full-time students can complete in 18 months. Learners take classes on topics like socially engaged arts making, music and dance materials and methods, and community-based arts teaching. Learners culminate the degree by designing and implementing an arts teaching project. Students need a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Applicants must have at least one of the following qualifications for admission:

  • A bachelor's degree focused on a specific art form;
  • State arts endorsement for theatre, dance, visual arts, film, or music;
  • A cognate education degree appropriate to teaching the arts; or
  • Ample arts teaching experience.

Applicants must also submit a statement of purpose, a resume, two letters of recommendation, an arts teaching portfolio, and a current background check.

8

University of Missouri 

Columbia, MO

About this school

The University of Missouri is the flagship campus in the University of Missouri System and the largest higher education institution in the state. Established in 1839 as the only college west of the Mississippi River, the school educates more than 30,000 learners annually. The College of Education offers online master's in education programs with 19 specialization options, including art education, early childhood special education/autism, gifted education, mental health practices in school, online education, and school counseling.

Most of these concentrations require 30-36 credits, although the master of education in educational, school, and counseling psychology requires 60 credits and a practicum. Students take fully online courses and study foundational topics, including developmental aspects of human learning, inquiry to learning, and diversity issues in schools.

Missouri residents and students who qualify for the Midwest Exchange enjoy a tuition discount. Approximately 75% of learners at the University of Missouri receive some type of financial aid.

9

University of Kansas 

Lawrence, KS

About this school

In addition to its central campus in Lawrence, the University of Kansas maintains several satellite campuses throughout the state as well as an online learning division. The school offers online master's in education programs with concentrations like curriculum and instruction, educational administration, secondary special education and transition, and sport management.

All of these programs require 30-36 credits that students can complete in two years. Classes are taught in eight-week blocks to accommodate working educators. Core courses include school resource management, differentiating curriculum and instruction, student engagement in school and community, and family and interpersonal collaboration in education.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

10

University of Massachusetts-Amherst 

Amherst, MA

About this school

The flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts System, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst serves more than 30,000 learners each year. Students can pursue diverse online degrees through UMassOnline, including many online master's in education programs designed to meet the career aspirations of a diverse student body.

Master of education students can choose from 12 areas of study, including vision studies, science education, curriculum and instruction, education administration, instructional design, reading and language, and school counseling.

The vision studies programs require 37 credits and take approximately two years to complete. The rest of the programs, save for the school counseling option, mandate 30-36 credits and take approximately 18-24 months to complete. The school counseling program requires 60 credits, including internship and practicum requirements, and takes 3-4 years to complete.

Some degrees require learners to visit the Amherst campus for short-term clinical training. These requirements usually take place at the start of the summer to accommodate working educators. The programs use a cohort model, meaning students take courses with the same group of peers throughout the program.

All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Applicants must submit a statement of interest and intent, three letters of recommendation, and a resume. All candidates must also participate in a personal interview with a faculty member.

11

University of Georgia 

Athens, GA

About this school

One of the oldest public higher education institutions in the country, the University of Georgia began offering degrees in 1785. Today, the school hosts about 38,000 students through on-campus and online programs. Its College of Education offers multiple online master's in education programs.

Master of education students can choose from focus areas like educational psychology; learning, design, and technology; learning, leadership, and organizational development; middle grades education, reading education, and workforce education. Most of these programs require 33-39 credits and take 2-3 years to complete.

Regardless of their focus area, all master of education students take classes on topics like foundations of human development for education, applied educational assessments, program and curricular development, and classroom management in culturally responsive classrooms.

Admissions requirements include an accredited bachelor's degree, a cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher, a statement of purpose and goals, and three letters of recommendation. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

12

University of Cincinnati 

Cincinnati, OH

About this school

The University of Cincinnati is the oldest higher education institution in Cincinnati and the second largest in Ohio, serving more than 46,000 students each year. The school's online programs are designed for working professionals, offering asynchronous coursework to accommodate busy schedules.

Students seeking an online master's in education can choose from six fully online focus areas:

  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Educational leadership
  • Instructional design and technology
  • Literacy and second language studies
  • Medical education for healthcare professionals
  • Special education

Several programs offer additional concentrations to help learners specialize. Most students graduate within one year of full-time study, though part-time study options also exist. Students can begin on one of three start dates per year.

Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit a statement of academic and professional goals, a cover letter, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Applicants with lower GPAs may need to submit GRE scores.

13

Texas A&M University 

College Station, TX

About this school

Texas A&M hosts the largest student body in the state, serving nearly 70,000 learners through online and on-campus degree programs. Its College of Education and Human Services offers many online master's in education programs. Some programs are fully online, while others are 50%-85% online.

Fully online programs include educational administration, educational technology library science, curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, reading, and counseling with a student affairs emphasis. Partially online programs are in special education and the art of teaching.

Regardless of concentration, all students take courses on classroom management for teachers, diversity and equity in education, differentiated instruction, and problems and issues in education. Most programs require 30-36 credits and take 1-2 years to complete.

Courses use an asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Online learners have access to 24/7 technical support, and Texas residents receive a tuition discount.

14

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 

Baton Rouge, LA

About this school

Established in 1853, Louisiana State University is a public research institution that hosts nearly 32,000 students through campus-based and online classes. Students with classroom teaching experience can pursue an online master's degree in education with a concentration in educational leadership.

The 39-credit program takes about 15 months to complete. Learners study topics like administration of school personnel, ethics and educational leadership, understanding and applying research in education, and best practices of principal leadership. Students must also complete an internship and an independent study program.

All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also need three letters of recommendation, a valid teaching certificate, current school employment, two years of teaching experience, and evidence of leadership potential.

15

George Mason University 

Fairfax, VA

About this school

One of the newer institutions in this ranking, George Mason University was established in 1957 as a public research institution. GMU hosts about 25,000 students through a variety of online and on-campus degree programs. The school's online learning division, Mason Online, offers online master's in education programs in a variety of areas, including special education, assistive technology, literacy leadership for diverse schools, and advanced studies in teaching and learning.

Some of these programs exist fully online, while others feature a hybrid format. All master's in education programs include core courses on topics like education and culture, how students learn, inquiry into practice, curriculum design, and educational change.

All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree and submit a goal statement, official transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

16

Indiana University-Bloomington 

Bloomington, IN

About this school

The flagship institution of the the Indiana University System and the largest school in the state, Indiana University in Bloomington hosts more than 40,000 learners annually. Considered a public ivy, IU offers rigorous degrees and competitive admissions. The school offers a variety of on-campus and online programs, and educators can choose from several online master's in education programs, including specializations like adult education, instructional systems technology, and literacy, culture, and language education.

These programs require 30-36 credits. All of the programs feature fully online formats except for the adult education program, which is 80%-99% online. All programs feature core courses on topics like legal perspectives on education, instructional issues in language education, classroom management and behavioral support, and instructional and performance technologies foundations. Online courses feature instruction by the same faculty members who teach on campus.

In-state learners receive a tuition discount. Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.7 GPA. They must also submit official transcripts, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. Some programs require GRE scores.

17

University of Alabama 

Tuscaloosa, AL

About this school

Established in 1820, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is the oldest and largest institution in the University of Alabama System, hosting about 40,000 learners each year. The school's online division, Bama By Distance, offers a variety of online master's in education programs, including specializations in educational leadership, elementary education, higher education administration, secondary education, and instructional technology.

Most of these programs are fully online, though some require students to visit the Tuscaloosa campus for short intensives. Credit requirements vary by program, but students can complete most programs in 18-24 months. All programs require students to participate in a practicum to gain experience in the field.

Applicants need a bachelor's-level teaching certificate and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

18

American University 

Washington, DC

About this school

Established in 1893, American University is a private research institution that serves more than 14,000 students through its undergraduate and graduate degrees. Its School of Education offers a fully online master of arts in teaching with concentrations in elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, and english for speakers of other languages.

Many students already work as classroom teachers, and they can continue teaching full time while enrolled. They can also use their current jobs to meet student-teaching and practicum requirements. Classes use a synchronous format but take place during hours suited to teachers' schedules.

Applicants do not need previous experience as educators but they most hold a bachelor's degree and demonstrate an interest in pursuing a teaching license. The program has a 100% job placement rate for graduates. Applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher can bypass the Praxis CORE application requirement. The department offers several scholarships and partnerships, including a new partnership with the Peace Corps.

19

North Carolina State University 

Raleigh, NC

About this school

Part of the North Carolina Research Triangle, North Carolina State University is a public research institution that hosts around 35,000 learners each year. Students seeking an online master's degree in education can choose from many concentrations, including adult and continuing professional education, clinical mental health counseling, community college teaching, health professions education, and learning design and technology.

Most programs use fully online formats, but a few include some on-campus requirements. All programs feature a cohort format, meaning students take courses with the same group of peers throughout the program.

Some programs, particularly those focused on developing counseling skills, require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores. All applicants must submit three letters of recommendation and a goal statement. North Carolina residents receive a tuition discount.

20

Auburn University 

Auburn, AL

About this school

Auburn University is a public institution that serves 23,000 students each year. The school's College of Education offers a variety of online and on-campus programs to meet diverse student needs. The college's online M.Ed. programs include degrees in administration of elementary and secondary education, adult education, agriscience education, business and marketing education, and music education.

Save for its administration of elementary and secondary education program, all master of education programs at Auburn University use fully online formats. Graduation requirements for each program vary, with programs like the clinical rehabilitation counseling degree requiring more credits and a longer practicum than others.

Students can begin classes during the fall, spring, or summer. Admission requirements include GRE scores, official transcripts, a clear background check, a current resume, a statement of intent, a valid teaching certificate, and contact information for three professional references.

21

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR

About this school

The Beaver State's largest school, Oregon State University educates more than 31,000 learners each year. The institution's Ecampus provides a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs, including two master's in education online programs: adult and higher education and college student services administration.

The adult and higher education program requires 45 credits and allows working professionals to graduate within two years. Learners study topics like leadership development and human relations, instructional strategies for adult learners, and adult learning and development. Students must also complete an internship. Graduates can work in workforce development, community education, and postsecondary education.

The college student services administration program comprises 54 credits and takes three years to complete while studying part time. Required classes include organization and administration of college student services, programs and functions in college student services, and research and assessment in higher education. Learners also complete an internship to gain practical experience in the field.

Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least one year of related work experience. They must also submit three letters of recommendation and transcripts. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

22

University of Nebraska Lincoln 

Lincoln, NE

About this school

The oldest and largest public research institution in the state, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln serves nearly 26,000 students each year through a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learners seeking an online master's degree in education can select from several focus areas, including educational administration in P-12 school leadership; special education and communication disorders with various specializations; and teaching, learning, and teacher education.

While most programs have fully online formats, the educational administration and visual impairments specializations include on-campus requirements during the summer. All programs require 36 credits and take 18-24 months to complete. Students in every program must complete an internship and choose from a final project or exam to culminate the degree.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a goal statement.

23

University of Mississippi 

University, MS

About this school

Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi is the largest university in Mississippi, hosting more than 24,000 students across 15 academic divisions. Students can choose from a variety of online programs, including an online M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in elementary education. The program teaches graduates to apply research-based skills and techniques to help elementary students grow and develop.

This 30-credit, online master's in education includes 45 hours of field-based clinical work and a culminating capstone project. Most students graduate from the program within five semesters -- less than two years. Learners can also pursue education master's degrees at Ole Miss in early childhood education, educational leadership, higher education, or teaching.

All online programs use a mostly asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations. Enrollees can start in the fall, spring, or summer. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in education or a related field with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their final 60 undergraduate credits. They must also submit GRE scores.

24

University of South Carolina-Columbia 

Columbia, SC

About this school

The state's flagship university, the University of South Carolina, offers over 1,000 online courses and more than 25 online master's degrees. During the school's online M.Ed. in teaching, students learn how to develop programs for pre-K-12 classrooms.

The 30-credit, online master's in education includes 15 credits of core courses and 15 credits of specialization courses. All learners take core courses on topics like multiculturalism and educational leadership. They also complete an action research project that involves designing a curriculum that caters to their specializations. Students can choose from specializations in literacy and reading, project-based learning, or multicultural contexts in education.

In addition to this teaching degree, students can pursue fully online master's degrees in educational administration or educational technology, both of which comprise 36 credits.

Learners can begin on one of five start dates per year. Classes primarily run asynchronously, though some courses may feature synchronous sessions. Applicants need a bachelor's degree. They also need to score in the top 50th percentile on the GRE, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, or have three years of education experience. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

25

Washington State University 

Pullman, WA

About this school

Founded in 1890, Washington State University has offered online programs since 1992. Today, the school offers more than 40 online programs, including 12 online master's degrees. The online Ed.M. in special education provides graduates with the required state endorsement for special education licensure. Learners study evidence-based teaching strategies that address topics like social skills, behavior management, and academic improvement.

The 37-credit online master's in education includes courses like the education of exceptional children, methods in intensive educational support, and prevention and remediation for reading problems. Students culminate the degree with a directed study or comprehensive examination. Courses feature a mostly asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Students typically graduate within two years of full-time study. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students can transfer up to half of the degree's required credits, provided they hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

26

Drexel University 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

Founded in 1891, Drexel offers over 150 online degrees and certificate programs. Distance learners looking to advance their education careers can choose from online master's degrees in areas like global and international education, higher education, mathematics learning and teaching, special education, or teaching, learning, and curriculum.

While requirements vary by program, most of the school's online education programs comprise around 45 credits and include core, concentration, elective, and research courses. Additional requirements may include a capstone course, practicum, and/or thesis. Several of the programs allow students to choose a concentration to tailor the degree to their interests and goals.

Online education classes typically run through four 10-week, annual quarters and use mostly asynchronous formats. Applicants for all programs need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

27

University of Maine 

Orono, ME

About this school

Founded in 1865, University of Maine offers over 500 online courses and a variety of online degrees, including more than 20 master's degrees. Distance learners can choose from online master's degrees in education, with specializations in special education or curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

Requirements vary by program, but the degrees typically require 33-36 credits of core, action research, and capstone requirements. Some programs offer concentrations that allow students to customize the degree to their interests. In some cases, learners can pursue certification in lieu of a concentration.

Online classes at UMaine typically run throughout the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Learners can complete 30 credits per year, often graduating within 18 months. All applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some programs may require applicants to hold a valid teaching license.

28

Kansas State University 

Manhattan, KS

About this school

Founded in 1863 with just 53 students, Kansas State University now enrolls more than 22,000 students each year. The school offers over 100 online undergraduate and graduate programs, including more than 30 master's degrees. The online MS in curriculum and instruction combines theory and research to examine education trends, practices, and developments.

The 31-credit, online master's in education includes courses in curriculum, diversity, educational technology, and teaching and learning. Enrollees also complete research and scholarship components, which may include a master's project, report, or thesis. Students dedicate the remaining courses to one of the following specializations:

  • Learning skills/school improvement
  • Mathematics education
  • Reading specialist
  • Teaching civics and government
  • Educational technology
  • English as a second language

The program uses flexible, asynchronous courses. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergraduate credits to qualify.

29

San Diego State University 

San Diego, CA

About this school

Founded in 1897, San Diego State University is one of the oldest schools in the California State University system. The school offers more than 50 online programs, including an MA in educational leadership. Designed for teachers and administrators, the online MA equips graduates with the skills and knowledge they need to integrate the latest teaching trends and technologies into their program plans and strategies.

The online master's in education includes a variety of courses on leadership, such as visionary leadership, school improvement leadership, and organizational systems and leadership. Students also take specialized technology courses, like leading through technology and tech architecture. The program gives learners the option to take a specialized study course, which can replace a maximum of six core credits.

Online classes at SDSU run asynchronously. Students join the program as part of a cohort, typically beginning in the summer semester. In general, full-time students complete the program in less than one year. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.85 GPA.

30

DePaul University 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Founded in 1898, DePaul University hosts more than 22,000 students through 300 programs annually, including more than 50 online programs. The online M.Ed. in educational leadership examines educational policy, management, and service coordination.

The online master's in education requires 48-52 credits, including 36 core credits. Students take courses on topics like school law, data-driven decision-making, and effective leadership of schools. Students can tailor the degree to their interests with specializations; options include Catholic leadership, higher education, physical education, and principal license concentrations.

Most programs have clinical internship and thesis requirements. All students need a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. Learners can start the program in the fall, winter, spring, or summer semester, and full-time students typically graduate in 2.5 years.

Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree. Some specializations also require students to hold a valid teaching license.

31

University of Arkansas 

Fayetteville, AR

About this school

Established in 1871, University of Arkansas offers more than 21 online master's degrees, including a variety of online master of education programs. Graduates can pursue advanced teaching and administrative positions in elementary and secondary schools. Master of education students can major in areas like adult and lifelong learning; community college leadership; educational equity; human resource and workforce development education; and special education.

These programs typically comprise 33 credits and include core courses in research, psychology of learning, and schools and society. Students dedicate the rest of the credits to their concentrations. Online students may complete an optional internship to gain practical experience in the field.

Online programs feature mostly asynchronous courses, and students typically graduate within two years. Learners can start the program in the fall, spring, or summer semester. They can also take classes during intersessions. Applicants need a valid teaching license and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students with lower grades may need to submit GRE scores.

32

University of South Florida 

Tampa, FL

About this school

Founded in 1956, University of South Florida hosts 50,000 students every year through its undergraduate and graduate programs. Professional teachers looking to advance their careers can choose from online master's degrees for educators with specializations like career and technical education; gifted education; learning design and technology; autism spectrum disorder and severe intellectual disabilities; and foreign language education.

Requirements vary by program, but most programs comprise 30-36 credits and take around two years of full-time study to complete. Students typically take core courses on topics like psychological foundations of education, education research, and curriculum and instruction. Some programs may require students to complete an internship or practicum to gain experience in the field.

Classes use a mix of asynchronous and synchronous formats. Students can begin classes in the spring, summer, or fall. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and two years of professional experience. Students can transfer up to 12 credits into the programs.

33

Kent State University 

Kent, OH

About this school

Kent State University offers more than 30 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, including a variety of online master's in education programs. Education students learn how to design and apply research-based practices for educational programs to maximize student learning. KSU offers M.Ed. majors in evaluation and measurement, special education, educational psychology, and educational technology.

These online master's in education programs comprise 30-33 credits. Students complete a mix of major credits and research- and education-related electives. Some programs include thesis and non-thesis tracks. Several programs also offer concentrations that allow students to tailor the degree to their interests and goals.

Admission requirements vary by major, but all programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some programs require a valid teaching license. In addition to master's in education degrees, KSU offers a variety of online education certifications.

34

Loyola University Chicago 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago enrolls over 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Loyola offers more than 45 online programs, including 21 master's degrees. Educators can advance their careers through an online M.Ed. in international higher education or an M.Ed. in language, culture, and curriculum.

The 36-credit M.Ed. in international higher education program includes courses in educational policy analysis, comparative education, and multiculturalism for social justice in higher education. Students also complete an internship at an approved local site and culminate the degree with a capstone portfolio. In addition to online components, the program includes a two-week session in Rome and a one-week session in Vietnam.

The 30-credit M.Ed. in language, culture, and curriculum includes courses on social justice and multilingual learners, literacy and bilingualism, and applied linguistics for teachers. Students also complete an English language learning practicum and culminate the degree with a comprehensive portfolio.

Classes in both programs offer asynchronous and synchronous delivery formats. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

35

West Virginia University 

Morgantown, WV

About this school

Founded in 1867, West Virginia University offers over 50 online undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can choose from several online education master's programs that teach students how to develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs. These programs include specializations in advanced elementary education, higher education administration, instructional design and technology, and literary education.

The programs comprise 30 credits and include advanced training in discipline-specific topics. Some programs include certification opportunities and electives that allow learners to customize their training. Students often need to complete a capstone project to apply theoretical training to a practical setting. Students in all programs need a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.

Many of the online courses at WVU combine asynchronous and synchronous formats. Admission requirements vary by program, but most require a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Some programs require a valid teaching license for admission. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

36

University of North Texas 

Denton, TX

About this school

Founded in 1890, University of North Texas hosts more than 78,000 students annually through its programs, which include more than 40 education disciplines, many of which feature online learning options. UNT students can pursue an online master's in education in areas like curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, higher education, special education, or teaching for specific grade levels.

Most programs comprise around 36 credits, including 12-15 credits of core training and 12 credits in a specialization. Some programs also include an internship to give students practical experience in the field. Learners can also take electives to customize the degree to their interests and goals.

Most programs feature eight-week, asynchronous courses. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit GRE scores. Applicants with a 3.3 GPA or higher may be exempt from the GRE requirement.

37

University of Wyoming 

Laramie, WY

About this school

The University of Wyoming offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, including diverse online offerings. The school offers four online master's in education programs that help educators advance their careers, with emphases in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, special education, or online instructional technology.

These online master's in education programs comprise 32-41 credits, usually split between core and emphasis credits. Most programs include an internship or practical capstone component, and some programs include a thesis option. The programs feature a mix of asynchronous, synchronous, and blended course delivery options.

Applicants to most programs need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA, but applicants to the special education program need a minimum 3.25 GPA. Some programs require applicants to have a valid teaching license.

38

University of Louisville 

Louisville, KY

About this school

Founded in 1798, University of Louisville hosts more than 22,000 students annually. The school offers over 266 programs, including 40 online programs. Students seeking an online master's in education can choose from two majors: special education or teacher leadership.

These online master's in education programs require 30-36 credits. The teacher leadership program divides courses into teaching expertise, specialized expertise, and beyond-the-classroom sections. The program also offers endorsement, specialization, and certification options. The special education program includes courses in research, advocacy, action, and moderate-to-severe disabilities. Both programs include a practicum component to give students experience in the field.

Students can begin during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. They also need a valid state teaching license or a statement of eligibility from another state.

39

Virginia Commonwealth University 

Richmond, VA

About this school

Founded in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University offers a variety of online programs, including 15 online graduate programs. Distance learners can pursue an online master's in education with majors in educational leadership, reading, or special education.

The programs comprise 33-37 credits, including core courses, research, and an internship or externship. All programs also include a focus on diversity and universal education. Some of the programs offer additional concentrations that allow students to customize the degree to their interests and goals. All students need a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

Programs begin in the fall, but some offer additional start dates in the spring and summer. Classes typically run asynchronously, though some may offer synchronous sessions. Applicants generally need a bachelor's degree and a valid teaching license, but special education applicants can pursue licensure while already in the master's program. Educational leadership candidates also need two years of professional experience.

40

Texas Tech University 

Lubbock, TX

About this school

Founded in 1923, Texas Tech University offers many online courses, certifications, and programs, including several from its education division. The school offers an online master's in education with majors in curriculum and instruction; educational leadership; higher education administration; instructional technology; and special education.

All of the online master's in education programs comprise 36 credits of core and major coursework. Some education programs allow learners to choose a concentration to futher tailor the degree to their interests. Classes typically begin in the fall and summer, though some programs offer starts in the spring as well. Most programs follow a cohort model, meaning students take classes with the same group of peers throughout the program.

While online programs typically run asynchronously, some classes may require synchronous sessions. Furthermore, some programs may require on-campus summer sessions or orientations. Applicants need a bachelor's degree. Some programs require additional materials, such as teaching licensure or professional experience.

41

Hofstra University 

Hempstead, NY

About this school

Founded in 1935, Hofstra University offers eight online master's programs, including an online M.S.Ed. in special education with an emphasis on international perspectives. The program trains educators to teach a variety of age groups, including children, adolescents, and adults. The program also examines learning disabilities.

The 31-credit, online master's in education program includes courses in three areas: research, inclusive education, and nature and needs of disability. Learners take courses on topics like autism spectrum disorders, developing positive classroom communities, and assessment and diagnosis. The program does not lead to licensure in New York but may qualify graduates for licensure in other states.

To graduate, learners must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and complete all requirements within five years of beginning the program. Online learners take seven-week, primarily asynchronous courses. Students can take up to four courses each semester to accelerate their training. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

42

Georgia State University 

Atlanta, GA

About this school

Georgia State University enrolls more than 53,000 students across six campuses and online. For more than 50 years, the school has been dedicated to teacher education. The school offers more than 100 education-related programs and certifications, many of which feature online options. Students can choose online, education-related master's degrees in areas like teaching English to speakers of other languages; health and physical education; instructional design and technology; and science education.

Primarily designed for working educators seeking to advance their careers, most programs comprise around 36 credits, including core courses, electives, major classes, and practical components. The programs feature mostly asynchronous classes, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Students can start the programs in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Admission requirements vary by program, but all programs require a bachelor's degree. Some programs require applicants to have a minimum 2.5 GPA or initial teaching licensure.

43

Saint Joseph's University 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

Founded in 1851, Saint Joseph's University offers more than 15 online programs, including eight online master's degrees. Current and aspiring education professionals can pursue an online MS in education in one of the following majors: secondary education with online accelerated teaching certification; special education; teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing P-K-12 certification; or educational leadership.

These online master's in education programs comprise 30-36 credits of core, elective, and major courses. Most programs also include an internship that allows students to apply theoretical training to a major-specific setting. Some programs offer education certifications that students can earn in conjunction with the degree.

Online students can begin classes during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Online classes are mostly asynchronous, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Applicants to all programs need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some programs feature additional application requirements.

44

Clemson University 

Clemson, SC

About this school

Founded in 1889, Clemson University hosts more than 25,000 students through online and on-campus programs, including 20 online graduate programs. The online M.Ed. in teaching and learning helps current K-12 educators advance their careers. Graduates can pursue positions as teachers, curriculum specialists, and department chairs.

The 30-credit, online master's in education includes core courses on topics like contemporary issues in assessment, cultural diversity in education, and classroom-based research. The program also includes a capstone project that synthesizes degree knowledge and skills. Education students can choose from the following specializations to tailor the degree to their goals and interests:

  • Science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics
  • Experiential learning for early childhood
  • Instructional coaching

The education program starts every summer, and enrollees complete one course at a time. Classes run asynchronously during 7.5-week sessions in the spring and fall and five-week sessions in the summer. Typically, students complete the degree within 18 months.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA or a score in the top 50% of the GRE or MAT. Applicants should also have some relevant professional experience.

45

University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, ND

About this school

Founded in 1883, University of North Dakota hosts more than 13,000 students through over 250 programs every year. The school's distance-learning division, established in 1911, offers more than 120 online programs, including 30 education-related programs. Students can earn an online master's in education in one of the following majors:

  • Special education
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages
  • Reading education
  • Instructional design and technology
  • Elementary education

The programs typically comprise 32-34 credits, including major, elective, and core courses. Many programs also include a practical component, which allows students to apply their training to a real-world, major-specific setting. Some majors, like special education, offer specializations that students can use to tailor the degree to their interests.

Students can choose from self-paced, 3-9-month classes or traditional, semester-based classes. Students can begin the programs during the spring, fall, or summer semester. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, though some programs require a higher GPA and a teaching license.

46

Florida International University 

Miami, FL

About this school

Established in 1975 with the largest opening enrollment in U.S. history, Florida International University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, including more than 100 online programs. Students can earn online master's degrees with focues like curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, higher education administration, music education, and special education.

The programs comprise around 36-39 credits and include core courses in educational research, curriculum design, and student evaluation. Most programs also include an action research project, which encourages learners to apply their training to a practical setting.

Most online courses at FIU run asynchronously. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and some programs also require a professional teaching license.

47

University of Dayton 

Dayton, OH

About this school

Established in 1850, University of Dayton hosts more than 11,000 students through over 130 undergraduate and graduate programs. Online students interested in an MS in education can choose majors in areas like early childhood leadership and advocacy; educational leadership; interdisciplinary educational studies; literacy; and technology-enhanced learning.

Requirements vary by program, but each major includes core, major, and elective courses. Learners study core topics like diversity, leadership, and curriculum design. Programs may also include thesis, practicum, or action research project requirements. To graduate, all learners must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The programs feature flexible, asynchronous courses, and learners can take a maximum of six credits each semester. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit GRE or MAT scores. Some programs feature additional application requirements. Students can transfer up to six credits toward the program.

48

East Carolina University 

Greenville, NC

About this school

Greenville, North Carolina

A leader in distance education for more than 70 years, East Carolina University offers over 100 online programs, including more than 35 graduate degrees. Students interested in an online MA in education can choose from specializations like adult education, art education, instructional technology, mathematics education, reading and literacy education, and special education.

Requirements vary by program, but most programs comprise around 39 credits of core, major, leadership and communication, and research classes. Some programs feature concentrations that allow students to customize the degree to their interests and goals.

Students can begin most programs during the spring, fall, or summer semester. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.7 GPA and submit GRE or MAT scores. Applicants with a GPA over 3.3 or significant professional experience can bypass the standardized test score requirement. Most programs also require applicants to have a valid North Carolina teaching license.

49

George Fox University 

Newberg, OR

About this school

Established in 1891, George Fox University is the oldest Christian university in Oregon. The school offers more than 10 online graduate programs, including an online master of education with specializations in educational leadership, English for speakers of other languages, reading, and special education.

The online master's in education typically requires 30 credits, though the special education specialization requires 45 credits. Students take core courses on topics like curriculum and assessment, action research, and foundations of educational practice. Classes feature a flexible, asynchronous format. Depending on the specialization, some degrees lead to licensure or endorsement.

Students can begin during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also need a valid teaching license or a letter explaining how the degree will help them meet their career goals.

50

Mercer University 

Macon, GA

About this school

Mercer University is the oldest private university in Georgia and enrolls nearly 9,000 students at all academic levels each year. Its Tift College of Education provides an online M.Ed. in elementary education. Mercer's program comprises 30 credits and supports currently certified pre-K-5 educators. The degree emphasizes the development of leadership skills, student advocacy, research skills, and pedagogical best practices.

Graduates who already possess Level 4 certification in elementary education qualify for Level 5 certification; they can also seek an endorsement in autism, English for speakers of other languages, mathematics ECE (K-5), STEM, or reading. The online version of this program accepts new students twice annually and takes approximately 12-16 months to complete, depending on a student's enrollment schedule.

Classes are delivered in eight-week sessions and learners can participate in face-to-face meetings with faculty, although these are completely optional. Topics commonly covered include culturally and educationally responsive pedagogy, teaching strategies and classroom management techniques for active learning, school philosophy and teacher leadership, and contemporary curriculum practices.

Applicants must provide a completed online application, an application fee, a certificate of teaching eligibility, and sealed college transcripts. Those with GPAs of 3.0 or lower must submit GRE scores. Applicants to the online program pay the same rate per credit regardless of where they live. There are also faculty, technology, and miscellaneous fees.

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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Master's in Education Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following programs based on academic quality, course offerings, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation. We also considered the overall quality of the school's online programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a master's in education?

A master's degree in education prepares graduates for roles like principal, lead teacher, superintendent, and higher education administrator.

What is a master's degree in education?

A master's degree in education teaches graduate students about educational research, instruction techniques, and educational administration. The degree can lead to career advancement and increased earning potential.

What jobs can you get with a master's in education?

Many jobs in education require a master's degree, including school principal, school administrator, and higher education administrator.

How long is a master's in education program?

Graduating from a master's program in education generally takes two years for working educators, but some programs offer an accelerated, one-year master's degree.

What Is a Master's Degree in Education?

A master's degree in education prepares graduate students for leadership roles in the classroom and in educational settings. Master's programs for teachers emphasize classroom management techniques, educational research, and educational technology. Master's programs for administrators train future principals and school administrators in the management and leadership skills required for their roles.

Prospective master's students can choose to earn an MA in education or an M.Ed. While both degrees prepare students for advanced roles in education, an MA track typically emphasizes research, while M.Ed. pathways focus more on practice. It generally takes full-time students two years to earn a master's in education.

Online Master's in Education Programs

An online master's in education program may appeal to working educators seeking career advancement. The flexible, accessible learning environment means teachers can attend a top program without quitting their job or relocating.

By choosing to earn an online master's degree in education, teachers can advance their careers while working full time.

In an online program, graduate students complete coursework requirements at their convenience. Some online programs offer courses with an asynchronous format, meaning there are no set course times. Other programs use a synchronous format, where students meet for class at scheduled times. Many synchronous programs set meeting times in the evenings or weekends to fit a teacher's schedule.

By choosing to earn an online master's degree in education, teachers can advance their careers while working full time. Nevertheless, an online learning environment requires a self-motivated approach. Many programs offer online advising and career support to help online learners.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Education?

Earning a master's degree in education helps teachers advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Many roles in education require a master's degree, including administrative positions like school principal and higher education administrator. Teachers with a master's degree often earn higher salaries and take on leadership roles in their schools.

While a bachelor's degree meets the requirements for a teaching license, roles like instructional coordinator, lead teacher, principal, and superintendent often require a master's degree.

While a bachelor's degree meets the requirements for a teaching license, roles like instructional coordinator, lead teacher, principal, and superintendent often require a master's degree. Teachers can also strengthen their classroom skills by pursuing a master's degree.

An accredited online master's degree in education meets the requirements for a school administrator license in every state. Prospective master's students can explore different career paths with an education degree for more information on the roles that require a master's degree in education. After completing a master's in education, some individuals choose to further advance their careers by earning an online doctorate in education.

Choosing an Online Education Graduate Program

Prospective education graduate students should consider several factors when choosing an online program. In addition to weighing the total cost of a master's in education, students should also consider the program's curriculum, the length of the degree plan, and any on-campus requirements.

By researching the following factors, educators can find the best online master's degree in education for their career goals and needs.

Program Cost

The associated with earning a master's in education varies. In general, public, in-state schools charge the lowest tuition rates, but some programs offer a flat rate for all online learners, regardless of residency.

Transfer Policies

Educators with prior graduate-level credits should review a program's transfer policies to see if they can lower the cost of their degree and shorten the length of time required to complete the program by transferring in credit.

School Size and Type

In addition to considering the benefits of public versus private schools, some students prefer a program that offers smaller class sizes, while others prefer a larger cohort of education graduate students.

Program Length

The length of a master's in education degree track can vary depending on the total credits required, internship requirements, and the program's enrollment options.

On-campus Requirements

Online master's in education programs may incorporate on-campus requirements, while others offer a fully online curriculum where students meet field experience requirements locally.

Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements

Programs with a stronger research focus may incorporate a thesis requirement, while master's programs for teachers may require a certain amount of teaching experience for admission.

Accreditation for Online Education Degrees

Educators considering a master's degree should always choose an accredited school. Colleges and universities that hold regional accreditation meet the highest standards for educating students. Accrediting agencies review schools to determine whether they meet accreditation standards. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation reviews accrediting agencies and maintains a database of accredited schools.

Colleges and universities that hold regional accreditation meet the highest standards for educating students.

In addition to regional accreditation, programs can hold specialized, programmatic accreditation. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits master's programs. CAEP evaluates education programs in terms of student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and graduation requirements. Programs must regularly undergo review to maintain their CAEP accreditation.

The best online education master's programs hold CAEP accreditation. Programmatic accreditation benefits students in several ways. In many states, only accredited education degrees meet the requirements for an educator license. Employers may also prefer to hire educators with an accredited degree.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Education?

Earning a master's degree in education generally takes two years, although some programs offer an accelerated, one-year master's degree. Several factors can influence the length of a master's in education degree track, including a student's enrollment status and graduation requirements. For example, many programs incorporate field experiences, but the length of an internship can vary depending on the program.

Master's programs for teachers generally require a more extensive practicum, while programs with a school administration or higher education focus often require less field experience. Many master's in education online programs design the degree plan for working educators, prioritizing flexibility around a teacher's schedule.

Courses in an Online Master's in Education Program

While earning an online master's degree in education, graduate students take courses designed to strengthen their teaching and/or administrative abilities, depending on the program.

Classroom Management

Classroom management courses explore best practices in classroom and behavior management. Participants learn strategies for managing student behaviors, organizing classroom space, and time management. Graduate students also examine regulations and laws governing teachers in the classroom.

Technology in Education

This course explores the relationship between pedagogy and technology, methods to promote information literacy, and theoretical frameworks for understanding how students learn with computer-based technology.

Issues in Education

Many programs include a course on current trends and issues in the field, including the role of technology in education, data-driven decision-making, school inclusiveness, and demographic shifts that impact education.

Educational Research

In this course, students explore methods and procedures for conducting research in education, including how to evaluate research reports. With a focus on qualitative and quantitative research, the course prepares graduates to apply current research in education.

Teaching Math in Elementary School

Graduate students in this course learn research-based strategies for K-5 mathematics instruction, including best practices in assessment and learning. The course introduces several different content standards, and students may complete field experiences to enhance their training.

Master's in Education Jobs

Earning an online master's in education prepares graduates for a variety of roles in education. Teachers with a master's degree move into leadership roles and often earn higher salaries. A master's in education also leads to opportunities as an instructional coordinator, a school principal, or a school administrator.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators -- also known as curriculum specialists -- oversee the curriculum and teaching standards for schools or districts. They create educational material designed to meet curriculum standards, work with teachers and principals to implement the curriculum, and analyze data on its effectiveness. Instructional coordinators train teachers about new content and technologies and recommend different teaching techniques.

Some instructional coordinators specialize in certain grade levels or subjects, including special education or English as a second language. Instructional coordinators working in public schools may need a license.

Median Annual Salary

$64,450

Projected Growth Rate

6%

School Principal

School principals oversee daily operations and long-term planning for their school. They manage teachers and staff, coordinate the school's curriculum, and promote a productive learning environment. K-12 principals work with instructional coordinators and teachers to develop and implement curriculum standards. They observe teachers to evaluate performance. Principals also manage the school's budget, analyze data on student achievement, and set academic goals for the school.

In most states, principals at public schools must hold a license, which generally requires a master's degree in education. Additionally, principals often need prior experience as a teacher before advancing to the administrative level.

Median Annual Salary

$95,310

Projected Growth Rate

4%

School Administrator

School administrators oversee student services at K-12 schools and at colleges and universities. They may manage the admission process by determining how many students to admit and recruiting prospective students. School administrators also work in student affairs, where they manage a school's advising services and promote student activities. At the college level, school administrators oversee residential life, manage athletic programs, and lead multicultural centers.

Most school administrators hold a master's degree, such as a master's in education. Some employers prefer candidates with prior experience in education or administration -- particularly for managerial positions.

Median Annual Salary

$94,340

Projected Growth Rate

7%

College Professor

College professors teach undergraduate and graduate classes in their subject area, including in education. They create a syllabus to organize the course, design lectures and assignments, and assess student learning through papers and exams. In many institutions, college professors also conduct research in their specialty and publish their results in academic journals. They often sit on academic committees and advise students.

While professors do not need a teaching license, many tenure-track positions require a doctorate. However, a master's in education may meet the requirements for positions at some community colleges.

Median Annual Salary

$78,470

Projected Growth Rate

11%

High School Teachers

High school teachers educate students in a variety of disciplines, including language arts, social studies, mathematics, and the sciences. They design and adapt lesson plans to meet student needs and assess student abilities through assignments and exams. High school teachers draw on classroom management and leadership techniques to oversee their classes and act as a leader within their school.

In public schools, high school teachers must hold a teaching license or certificate for their grade level. A master's degree in education meets the qualifications for a teaching license. In many districts, educators with a master's degree earn a higher salary.

Median Annual Salary

$60,320

Projected Growth Rate

4%

Education Membership Associations

Professional organizations help graduate students and educators build their professional skills and advance their careers. The following organizations connect educators with professional development resources, research opportunities, and networking activities.

National Education Association

Founded in 1857, NEA represents about three million members, including preschool teachers, postsecondary education administrators, principals, and K-12 teachers. The largest professional employee organization in the U.S., NEA advocates for public education and for educators. NEA offers lesson plans, classroom management tools, and teaching strategies to support educators.

National Association for the Education of Young Children

NAEYC connects educators and administrators with research, support, and professional development tools. NAEYC offers in-person and online training, hosts the Professional Learning Institute, and runs an annual conference to keep educators current in the field. The association also publishes a peer-reviewed journal.

American Council on Education

ACE represents over 1,700 colleges and universities. The council promotes effective public policy and innovative practice in higher education by offering professional learning resources, a fellowship program, and regional summits. ACE also provides student support resources, including mental health support and information for post-traditional learners.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

NCTM dates back to 1920. Today, it is the world's largest mathematics education organization. The council offers classroom resources for math teachers at all levels. NCTM also publishes research, offers professional development resources, and hosts an annual conference with networking opportunities.

Education Commission of the States

ECS provides research and resources on education policy issues, from early learning to postsecondary levels. The commission tracks state education policies and publishes research on funding, affordability, and workforce development in education. ECS resources can help education students and professionals make informed decisions about their profession.

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