Considering an online master's in education? Many teachers pursue a master of arts in education or a master of science in education to improve their career opportunities. Some districts offset the cost of education for currently employed teachers and may offer higher pay for teachers with a specific number of graduate credits.
Education professionals pursue a master's degree for a variety of reasons. Professionals with a master's degree in education (M.Ed.) can qualify for administrative positions and additional education licenses. Master's in education programs typically emphasize advanced teaching methods, educational technology training, and education philosophies.
The Best Online Master’s in Education Programs
Online Master’s in Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the following programs based on academic quality, course offerings, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation. We also consider the overall quality of the school's online programs.
1. University of Florida
As one of 12 schools in the State University System of Florida, the University of Florida in Gainesville has offered educational programs for more than 160 years. Additionally, UF online provides learners with access to more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certifications.
Designed for working educational professionals, UF’s online master of education program includes 36 credits that learners complete in roughly two years. Classes prepare students to work with individuals, groups, and in educational administration settings while building advanced knowledge of public school finance and organizational structures. Students take courses in educational leadership, public school law, communication in education, and data-driven decision making.
Participants also complete a supervised practice in school administration during one of their last two semesters. This practicum allows learners to work alongside a certified principal and gain at least 150 field experience hours. The on-site supervisor and a university supervisor evaluate the learner upon practicum completion.
Participants can begin the online master of education program at UF during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Class sizes of 10-15 students allow learners to work closely with their peers and instructors as they pursue their degrees.
Applicants to UF’s online master of education must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution. Interested students must submit transcript information demonstrating a GPA of at least 3.0 in upper-division coursework and their GRE scores.
The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
2. North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
With more than 34,000 undergraduate and graduate students, North Carolina State University -- located in Raleigh -- provides instruction in science, technology, management, the humanities, and education. Founded in 1887 as an agriculture and engineering school, NC State maintains educational relationships with other schools across the state and holds connections with many government, industry, and nonprofit partners. Additionally, NC State online offers more than 350 classes with over 90 degree, certificate, and licensure programs.
NC State’s online master of education program focuses on science education. Designed for current middle and secondary school science teachers, this online master’s in science education degree also includes coursework beneficial to community college instructors and informal educators, including museum and zoo professionals.
The online master’s in science education comprises 36 credits. Full-time students typically graduate in two years, while part-time learners can earn their master’s in education in 3-4 years. Students take 12 credits of coursework in advanced methods in science education, foundations of science education, and technology tools for science teaching. Participants also take classes in areas like middle school education, special populations, and educational technology.
Applicants to NC State’s online master’s in science education program must hold a bachelor’s degree in science or science education. Admission recommendations include a GPA of 3.0 or above and at least two years of teaching or instructional experience. Students benefit from at least 24 credits of undergraduate science, engineering, and/or science-related coursework.
North Carolina State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
3. Johns Hopkins University
As America’s first research university, Johns Hopkins University traces its origins to 1876. With a main campus in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins also offers more than 260 academic programs at campuses in Italy, China, and throughout the greater Baltimore area. Over 24,000 full-time and part-time students pursue on-campus and online degrees and certificates in the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, education, business, and international studies.
Johns Hopkins offers an online master’s degree in education in collaboration with the Teach for America alternative certification program. As an accelerated master’s in education degree for those working at high-need schools around the U.S., the curriculum of this online master’s in education-educational studies builds advanced competencies to enhance those efforts. Active members and alumni of Teach for America can waive nine of the 39 credits required for graduation.
Learners complete coursework with a cohort of other teachers, building professional networks while collaborating and exchanging experiential learning information with peers. Participants receive mentorship and supervision from school of education experts as they learn to meet the needs of underserved student populations.
This online master’s in education-educational studies degree complies with Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium standards and aligns with Teach for America teaching as leadership rubrics.
Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Its school of education is also accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
4. University of Georgia
With a main campus in Athens, the University of Georgia provides more than 37,000 students with access to undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Education programs include specialist in education degrees in 10 fields, three online teaching endorsements, and an online master of education in reading education.
UGA’s online master of education in reading education emphasizes new and digital literacies. Designed for current teachers and literacy education professionals, the online program incorporates coursework from the school’s department of language and literacy education.
This 36-credit degree includes nine credits of specialized classes in integrating digital resources into the classroom, new literacies, and popular cultures. Students also take one course in reading instruction principles and practices before participating in a practicum in reading instruction and assessment. Learners complete 18 credits of elective classes and a three credit capstone course before taking a final exam.
Teachers from preK through grade 12 can enroll in UGA’s online master of education in reading education. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and apply through the graduate school. Applicants with GPAs of 3.0 or above, strong GRE scores, and at least two years of teaching experience receive preference. Applicants also need to submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and a resume.
The University of Georgia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
5. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Established in 1880, the University of Southern California now offers academic programs to more than 47,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional learners. USC’s two Los Angeles campuses cover more than 300 acres, providing a home to 23 colleges, schools, and academic divisions.
USC’s online master of arts in teaching offers learners two tracks. The standard online master’s in teaching (MAT) track delivers advanced coursework to K-12 teachers. Participants choose from concentrations in multiple subject teaching, secondary English, secondary mathematics, secondary science, and secondary social science. Learners complete coursework in four categories, developing competencies in educational theory, teaching strategies, language and literacy, and practical applications.
Additionally, the school offers an MAT track with a teaching English to speakers of other languages focus. This degree helps learners develop skills to instruct non-English speakers in public and private schools and at postsecondary institutions. Participants also learn to work as curriculum developers, English as a second language program directors, and educational consultants.
Learners in both MAT tracks complete field experiences and capstone coursework. During a subject-specific practicum, students observe and implement educational theory and techniques under the supervision of mentors. Learners also collect summative materials to construct a portfolio.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a preferred GPA of 3.0 or higher. Application materials include two letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, and registration/results from at least one California Subject Examinations for Teachers subtest (or a similar exam in another state).
The University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). USC’s school of education maintains accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
6. Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University in South Carolina began as an agricultural college in 1889 and became a coeducational institution in 1955. Although its main campus sits on 1,400 acres near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson extends research and educational opportunities throughout the country. Clemson’s almost 19,000 students enroll in more than 80 undergraduate and over 110 graduate programs each year.
Clemson’s online master of education in teaching and learning offers three concentrations. Learners can complete specialized coursework in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM); experiential learning for early childhood; or instructional coaching.
The STEAM specialization offers an interdisciplinary approach for working with K-12 learners. Alternatively, experiential learning for early childhood participants develop knowledge and skills to support education through play-based learning, family and community engagement, and insight into overall curriculum design. Finally, the instructional coaching concentration trains learners to transition into instruction or curriculum specialist positions; students pursuing this option need at least three years of professional teaching experience.
All degree specializations include core coursework in curriculum theory, learning, and motivation; classroom-based research; and diversity in education. Students also complete a capstone project to demonstrate program competencies.
Students can earn this master’s in teaching and learning degree in 18 months. Applicants to the program should hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit GRE or MAT scores, a personal statement, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.
Clemson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
7. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, based in Tampa, functions as one of three schools within the USF system. Founded in 1956, the university also includes campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, although each institution maintains autonomous accreditation. The USF system also holds membership in the State University System of Florida.
USF’s online master of arts in physical education includes two tracks: one for current teachers and one for learners without teaching credentials. Both tracks include 30 credits of coursework to build knowledge and skills in physical education instruction. Core classes include foundations of educational research and foundations of measurement. Other required courses in instructional design and content, analysis of research and teaching, and clinical supervision allow students to participate in experiential learning exercises and activities.
Elective classes in grant writing, sports psychology, and sport in society help build an overall understanding of the role physical education plays in the lives of children and adults. Most classes include project-based assignments, and all students complete a comprehensive exam at the end of the program. Learners without teaching credentials must arrange to complete projects that involve working with children at an approved location.
Applicants to USF’s online master’s in physical education program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Learners must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA in previous upper-division undergraduate coursework.
The University of South Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
8. Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, broke ground in 1871 and awarded its first degree four years later. Currently, more than 43,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students study at the West Lafayette campus -- one of several Purdue locations throughout Indiana. Additionally, Purdue Online offers doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate degrees, as well as certificate and professional development programs.
Purdue’s online master of science in education in special education includes several degree tracks. Students can pursue a master’s-only track, initial special education licensure, additional special education licensure, or special education intervention credentials. The master’s-only pathway consists of 31 credits and no practicum requirement, whereas the initial licensure track includes 36-45 credits, student teaching, and a practicum requirement. Additional special education licensure includes 32-41 credits and practicum requirements.
All students enrolled in Purdue’s online master’s in education program complete coursework in special education curricula development and implementation; intervention strategies and research; social, legal, and ethical issues in special education; and identification, evaluation, and assessment of exceptional individuals. Learners also study the use of technology in the classroom, online learning, and transitional practices in special education.
Participants can earn Purdue’s online master’s in special education in as few as 20 months. Applicants must submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement as part of their application. Additional admission requirements include a telephone interview with an admissions adviser, GRE scores, and an application fee. Students must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Applicants with cumulative GPAs of at least 3.0 on previous postsecondary coursework may receive an exemption from the GRE requirement.
Purdue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Purdue’s college of education holds accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
9. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, founded in 1867, operates as a land-grant university and educates more than 47,000 students. Extensive library collections and expansive facilities function as part of the school’s 15 colleges and instructional units. UI also heads the University of Illinois System, which boasts campuses in Chicago, Springfield, and online.
The online master of education degree at UI includes two primary tracks: curriculum and instruction and education policy, organization, and leadership.
Learners pursuing a master of education in curriculum and instruction can focus on general education, bilingual and bicultural education, or digital learning. This track blends theory, research, and practice into curriculum building and pedagogical coursework. Bilingual and bicultural education students explore teaching strategies to best meet the needs of multicultural learners while gaining instructional competencies in English language instruction. The digital learning emphasis provides students with information about creating and implementing digital learning environments in formal and informal educational settings.
Alternatively, the master of education in education policy, organization, and leadership option allows students to concentrate on diversity and equity in education, education administration and leadership, global studies in education, human resource development, or learning design and leadership. All specializations include interdisciplinary coursework, providing learners with an understanding of policy and practice as these relate to critical issues in education.
UI’s online program includes weekly video sessions. Students must attend these synchronous events and interact with instructors and fellow students. Coursework also includes project-based activities.
UI offers flat tuition rates for its online master of education programming. Applicants must submit a personal statement, resume, three letters of reference, and an application fee. To gain admittance, students need a minimum 3.0 GPA over their last two years of undergraduate study.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. University of Central Florida
In addition to its 1,415-acre main campus in Orlando, the University of Central Florida occupies 10 regional campuses throughout the state. More than 68,000 students currently attend undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs at UCF, and many take at least some coursework online. Founded in 1963, UCF now offers more than 220 degrees to on-campus and online learners.
UCF’s online master of education in exceptional student education includes 33 credits of coursework. Learners complete classes in research fundamentals, instructional strategies, organization and collaboration in special education, and methods of behavioral management. Degree seekers also take part in a supervised teaching practicum. During the practicum, participants spend up to 40 contact hours observing and teaching exceptional students.
Ideal for educators currently certified to work with special education students, UCF’s program builds advanced skills in curriculum development and academic coaching. The degree emphasizes equity; differentiated instruction; and information access in exercises that encourage collaboration, experiential learning, and education best practices.
Participants can choose a thesis or a non-thesis option. Non-thesis students complete a research report and an additional six credits of elective coursework. All students complete a culminating comprehensive exam to demonstrate knowledge, educational standards, and research applications.
To apply to this program, prospective students should submit proof of current Florida teaching licensure, a residency classification form, GRE or GMAT scores, and an application fee.
The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This master of education program also holds programmatic accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
11. University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
As the state’s flagship university, the University of Utah in Salt Lake City serves as one of the oldest institutions west of the Mississippi River. Founded in 1850, the university now offers more than 100 undergraduate and over 90 graduate degrees and programs.
The U’s online master of arts in teaching fine arts degree includes 30 credits of coursework, and participants can complete the program in two years. Offered through the school’s college of fine arts, the program emphasizes pedagogical knowledge and skills applicable to fine arts instruction. Students complete 18 credits of content to support two 12-day summer residencies on the university’s main campus. The remaining 12 credits consist of online classes completed during the fall and spring semesters. Students also focus on areas of fine arts teaching theory and practice during three teaching practica at local or regional partners.
This program offers licensed educators the opportunity to enhance their current skills and advance in the field. Professional artists, arts education scholars and researchers, curriculum designers, directors, and arts advocates can also benefit from enrolling in this program.
Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in a specific fine art; a state endorsement in art, dance, theater, film, or music; a cognate education degree appropriate to arts teaching; or a requisite amount of arts teaching experience to apply. Application materials include a statement of purpose, a resume, two letters of recommendation, an arts teaching portfolio, and a successful background check.
The University of Utah is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
12. Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Texas A&M University in College Station promotes excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and service to almost 70,000 learners at its main and branch campuses.
Learners can complete an online master’s in special education at Texas A&M by earning a master of education or a master of science degree. Both degree tracks include 36 credits of coursework best suited for individuals with solid backgrounds in education, behavior, disability, and related fields. Students complete the program in two years along a sequential degree plan that begins during the summer.
Required courses include applied behavior management in the classroom, applied behavior analysis, and experimental design. Learners also study education for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, intervention and support for students with emotional and behavioral problems, and ethics and professional conduct in special education. Many of the classes in the program prepare students to pursue certification through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board or for Texas A&M’s applied behavior analysis graduate certificate.
Applicants need not hold a teaching certificate to apply to the online master’s in special education program, although experience working with persons with disabilities and/or with culturally diverse groups strengthens admission chances. Application materials include an application fee, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.
Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
13. George Washington University, GW Online
Washington, District of Columbia
With three campuses in the greater District of Columbia metropolitan area, George Washington University provides undergraduate and graduate programming to more than 28,000 learners. Chartered by an act of congress in 1821, GW partners with governmental, international, and corporate agencies to offer students experiential learning and research opportunities. GW also offers four online master of arts in education specialties.
Its master of arts in educational leadership and administration program prepares education professionals to build and implement curricula and instruction techniques while motivating teachers and building learning communities. Alternatively, the school’s master’s in educational technology leadership track trains education professionals to effectively use technological tools to improve learning in a variety of settings.
GW’s online master’s in secondary special education and transition services builds competencies to work with at-risk and disabled youth populations, showing teachers how to help individuals transition into the workforce, postsecondary education, and/or independent living environments. Finally, the master of arts in special education for culturally and linguistically diverse learners teaches K-12 educators to meet the needs of students affected by diversity and exceptionality issues. This online program also leads to teaching licensure.
GW’s online master’s in education specialties degrees include 30-36 credits that learners can complete in 18-24 months. These tracks also incorporate internships into the curricula, giving learners opportunities to work alongside mentors in their respective fields.
Applicants to GW’s online master’s in education specialties programs must submit GRE or MAT scores and an application fee, although learners with exceptional GPAs may qualify for standardized test waivers.
George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The school’s master’s in education programs hold accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
14. San Diego State University
San Diego, California
Founded in 1897, San Diego State University currently provides academic programs to more than 36,000 learners. SDSU offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, over 75 master’s degrees, and 23 doctoral programs.
SDSU’s online offerings include a master of arts in educational leadership with a specialization in preK-12 education. Designed for teachers and administrators currently working with students, this master’s program includes coursework that can be completed in as few as 12 months.
Classes cover organizational and systems leadership; school improvement; communication, problem solving, and decision making; and professional learning and growth leadership. Students also take seminars in educational administration and leading through technology to explore the many facets of classroom, school, and district leadership.
Coursework includes project-based activities and field experiences to build knowledge and skills through interactions with peers and mentors. All classes in SDSU’s online master’s in educational leadership program emphasize technology in education. Students complete coursework in a cohort, entering and progressing through the degree track in lockstep with the same group of learners.
Applicants must submit GRE scores, a statement of leadership philosophy, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.
San Diego State University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
15. American University
Washington, District of Columbia
Chartered by Congress in 1893 and affiliated with the Methodist Church, American University in the District of Columbia offers interdisciplinary, international, and interactive academic and research programs to more than 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students. As a private institution, AU boasts an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, providing personalized instruction to all learners.
AU’s online master of arts in education comprises 33 credits that learners can complete in under two years. Through a curriculum based in multidisciplinary approaches to teaching, students accrue 600 classroom hours while completing six credits of student teaching across two semesters. During the first semester, learners participate in a practicum, observing a classroom two times a week. In the final semester of the program, participants work in a classroom five days a week, applying and growing their practical teaching skills.
Through coursework in foundations of education, effective teaching for diverse students, special education, and theories of educational psychology and human development, learners explore the fundamentals of education practice. Classes in mathematics, science, reading, and social studies teaching build competencies in specific subjects by offering learners access to the latest research and instructional techniques.
AU’s online master’s in education program meets teaching licensure requirements for elementary education in Washington, D.C. Applicants this program do not need prior experience in education.
American University is regionally accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). It is also recognized by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, and its online master’s in teaching program is approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
16. Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
Located in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State University functions alongside 16 other state schools within the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian provides educational programs to more than 19,000 students at its main campus, satellite locations, and online.
Appalachian offers online master of arts degrees in educational media, curriculum specialization, elementary education, middle grades education, and reading education. Learners can also pursue a master of arts in higher education, a master of school administration, and online education specialist programs in higher education and educational administration. Programs include 30-39 credits of coursework related to educational fundamentals and degree-specific topics.
All of Appalachian’s online master’s degrees in education and education specialist programs offer working educators knowledge and skills to build upon their experiences and advance their teaching and instructional competencies. Online curricula may blend synchronous evening classes with asynchronous courses.
Middle grades education learners concentrate their studies on language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies. The higher education master’s degree includes community college and university leadership or adult and development education concentrations, while the educational media program offers specializations in instructional technology for K-12, online learning and professional development, and new media literacies and global perspectives. Programs in school administration, curriculum specialty, elementary education, middle grades education, and reading education lead to licensure or certification in North Carolina.
Applicants to these online master’s in education programs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Interested students should submit GRE or MAT scores, an application fee, a resume, and three references.
Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
17. Florida International University
Florida International University opened its doors in 1972 to more than 5,600 learners. FIU -- based in Miami -- currently offers educational programs to almost 60,000 undergraduate, graduate, and nondegree students.
FIU offers a 36-credit online master of science in special education with an autism endorsement. Learners complete coursework in advanced theory in special education, practices for working with culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners, and instructional technology to build competencies applicable to the classroom.
Seminars and classes in supervision and leadership, issues and trends in special education, and foundations of educational research allow learners to explore and apply qualitative and quantitative data while discussing their findings with peers and instructors. Additionally, coursework in assessment, curriculum, and instruction culminates experiential-learning exercise.
With an additional autism endorsement attached to the degree, learners study assessment strategies, instructional technologies, and behavioral management techniques for working with students on the autism spectrum.
Applicants to FIU’s online master’s in special education program need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in upper-division coursework). Application materials include a resume, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and an application fee. Other eligibility requirements include holding a valid teacher certification in exceptional student education or a letter of eligibility for this certification. Students also need access to K-12 students or K-12 instructors to complete projects throughout the program.
Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This special education program holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
18. The University of Alabama
Established as a seminary in 1820 and based in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama now provides academic programming to almost 40,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
Designed for working professionals, the online master of arts in elementary education at UA comprises 30-36 credits. Students complete required coursework in educational research, evaluation of classroom learning, elementary school curriculum, and guiding pupil learning, in addition to field specialty classes. Learners can specialize in one or two areas, choosing from subjects like language arts, literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies. Classes combine online instruction with practicum experiences in the classroom. Potential elective classes include instruction technologies and working with exceptional children and youth.
UA offers flat tuition rates to all online learners regardless of residency. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a current teaching certificate in elementary education or the equivalent. Students must have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA over their last 60 credits. Learners must also submit GRE or MAT scores. UA accepts applications to its online master’s in elementary education program year round.
The University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). UA’s master’s program in elementary education holds approval from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
19. University at Buffalo
Buffalo, New York
Founded in 1846, UB is a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and holds membership in the Association of American Universities. UB serves more than 31,000 learners through three New York campuses and an extensive distance education division.
Students enrolled in UB's online master of education program can pursue degrees in education and technology, English education, literacy education studies, math education studies, music education, and science and the public.
Ideal for working educators and individuals with instructional technology experience, the master's in education and technology explores technological approaches to classroom instruction. Additionally, the English, literacy, math, and music education programs help working educators build and strengthen theoretical knowledge and practical skills in their respective fields. Finally, candidates pursuing a science and the public degree learn to educate diverse audiences through activities, debates, and community programs. This major emphasizes original research and scientific literacy.
Each of UB's online education degrees require 30-33 credits. Full-time students can graduate in two or three semesters, while part-time learners earn their degrees in four or five semesters. None of these online master of education degrees confer New York teaching certification.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Along with an application fee, candidates should provide two letters of recommendation.
UB is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). UB's teacher education program holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
20. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
UNL began as a farm-based campus in 1869. Today, the university maintains multiple regional, extension, and innovation campuses across the state. With almost 26,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, UNL fulfills its mission to provide teaching, research, and service excellence to on-campus and online learners alike.
The university offers two special education degrees online at the master's level: a master of arts and master of education. Both programs feature specializations in early childhood special education, education of the deaf and hard of hearing, and visual impairments. Candidates who select the visual impairments concentration must attend several in-person summer courses. Students complete 30-36 credits of classes and choose from thesis and non-thesis options. The non-thesis master of education in special education requires candidates to pursue a minor. Learners can also focus on informal study areas, such as autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and severe disabilities.
UNL's master's in special education programs build knowledge and skills through a combination of classroom, clinical, and research activities. Both programs culminate in a comprehensive exam that features oral and written components.
Applicants must submit GRE scores, a statement of personal and professional goals, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.
UNL is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commision (HLC). Teacher education programs at UNL are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
21. California State University - Fullerton
Part of the California State University system, CSUF held its first commencement in 1960. Today, the university offers more than 110 undergraduate and graduate degrees and numerous credential and certificate programs, including an online master of science in education. Distance learners can choose from a variety of specialized academic tracks, including educational technology, educational leadership, literacy and reading education, elementary education, secondary education, special education, and instructional design and technology.
The educational technology program uses a cohort model and takes around 16 months to complete. Combining theory and practice, students learn about different strategies for integrating new technologies into lessons. The online master's in educational leadership emphasizes postsecondary administrative methods. Consisting of 30-31 credits, the literacy and reading, science, and special education concentrations help working teachers enhance and strengthen classroom practices. Students pursuing an instructional design and technology degree learn to develop and implement curricula that emphasize emerging technologies.
All candidates take classes in advanced educational technology proficiency, educational research, curriculum theory and development, and instructional assessment and analysis.
Individuals applying to CSUF's online master's in education programs must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Prospective students should also provide proof of teaching licensure and records documenting successful teaching experience.
CSUF is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The university's education programs are accredited by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
22. Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Located on 5,200 acres in East Lansing, MSU extends educational opportunities to all 83 Michigan counties and reaches over 40,000 learners through more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Faculty deliver coursework through traditional, hybrid, and online formats.
In addition to master's programs in education technology; higher, adult, and lifelong education; and teaching and curriculum, MSU offers an online master of arts in special education. Designed for working teachers, this online master's in special education degree covers the skills needed to teach K-12 students with disabilities. Core classes include assessment of students with disabilities, classroom and behavior management, collaboration and consultation in special education, and technology and literacy for students with disabilities.
In addition to the 30-credit program, learners may pursue two optional six-credit endorsements. Students who earn a learning disability endorsement explore research-based experiential learning theories and instructional techniques. Alternatively, the autism spectrum disorder endorsement focuses on the methods, tools, and educational practices used to teach students on the autism spectrum. MSU's online master's in special education also includes a practicum or internship experience, with additional clinical hours required for each optional endorsement. The program culminates in a comprehensive examination.
Applicants to online master's in education programs need not submit GRE scores, but they must hold a valid teaching license. Other required materials include three references, a statement of professional or personal goals, and a resume.
MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and its education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
23. Mississippi College
Affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, this Clinton-based institution offers private, coeducational programs on campus and online. MC's 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate offerings include an online master of education in special education.
Ideal for working educators, this online special education degree presents preschool-, elementary-, and secondary-level instructional strategies for meeting mildly and moderately handicapped students' cognitive, psychological, and social needs. The curriculum incorporates faith and multicultural themes with advanced topics in research and theory, curriculum development, individualized programming, and organizational procedures. The 30-credit program features 10 seven-week classes and can be completed in as few as 10 months.
Prospective online master's in special education candidates must hold a standard five-year teaching license in an elementary or secondary subject area. Along with a copy of their license, applicants should supply professional test scores. Once admitted, learners must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for the program's duration. Students who enter their final term with a 3.75 GPA or better receive an exemption from the program's comprehensive exam. MC offers flat, per-credit tuition rates for all students, regardless of their residency status.
MC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Its school of education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
24. Brandman University
While based in the city of Irvine, California, Brandman maintains 25 campuses throughout California and Washington. The school also boasts a strong distance education division. Brandman's online programs provide working adults with flexible, affordable opportunities to advance their personal and professional goals.
Brandman offers online master's in education programs in six areas: education, curriculum, and instruction; education and instructional technology; teaching and learning; leadership; elementary education; and special education. Students pursuing a master's in special education can choose from five additional specialization areas, each of which requires 30-36 credits.
The online special education advanced methodologies track covers strategies for teaching students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities. The autism concentration trains candidates to meet the needs of learners on the autism spectrum, while the behavior analysis concentration introduces cutting-edge intervention methods and tools. In the special education in early childhood track, educators explore strategies and techniques for teaching infants and toddlers with disabilities. Finally, students who select the teaching and learning special education concentration learn to advocate for students with disabilities.
Prospective students should submit two letters of recommendation and a current teaching credential or documentation demonstrating that they have completed prerequisite coursework. Applicants must also meet GPA requirements.
Brandman is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Its school of education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
25. University of Massachusetts - Amherst
The flagship institution of the University of Massachusetts, UMass Amherst traces its origins back to 1863. Located on a 1,450-acre campus 90 miles from Boston, UMass Amherst serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers over 110 associate and bachelor's degrees, almost 80 master's programs, and 48 doctoral programs on-campus and online, including an online master of education in science education.
This multidisciplinary program integrates coursework from the university's college of education, college of natural sciences, and school of public health and health sciences. The 41-credit curriculum combines pedagogical courses, such as investigating science classrooms; STEM education theory; and science education online with science-specific classes in biology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, and geoscience. Candidates may also take courses in nutrition and entomology. During a capstone course, participants compose and present a portfolio demonstrating how they have mastered science education teaching practices.
This program is ideal for elementary and middle school teachers who want to strengthen their skills in science instruction, as well as for individuals who wish to pursue a general science teaching endorsement at the elementary or middle school levels. Learners who have already earned a master's degree may also pursue an education specialist in special education degree.
Applicants to UMass Amherst should submit a resume, two letters of recommendation, and a statement describing their goals. The school uses a rolling admission process.
UMass Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
26. Indiana University - Bloomington
Founded in 1820, IU Bloomington is one of seven campuses and two regional centers that comprise the Indiana University System. IU Bloomington's 42,000 learners enjoy access to more than 23 thematic, academic, and living learning centers and over 200 research centers and institutes.
IU Bloomington's online education master's programs include MS degrees in special education; literacy, culture, and language education; adult education; education leadership; and instructional systems technology.
The 36-credit master's in literacy, culture, and language education is intended for current English and language arts instructors, ESL teachers, and foreign and world language educators. Foundational, inquiry, and substantive courses address instructional issues in language education, strategies for education inquiry, legal perspectives on education, and curriculum development. Students can tailor the program to meet their professional goals and interests through 15 credits of elective coursework. Candidates complete a literacy, culture, and language education capstone course in their final semester.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher. Applicants with GPAs under 3.0 must also submit GRE scores. All applicants should provide a personal statement and two letters of recommendation with their online application.
IU Bloomington is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The university's school of education holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the North Central Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NCCIHE). The school also holds membership in the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).
27. Columbia International University
Columbia, South Carolina
Founded as a Bible college in 1923, this South Carolina institution remains true to its roots and continues to emphasize scripture in the classroom. With an average class size of 17 students, CIU offers an intimate academic environment that combines faith and scholarship.
CIU students pursuing an online master of education can specialize in educational administration or instruction and learning. The educational administration track emphasizes management techniques, strategic planning, and leadership skills. Alternatively, students who select the learning and instruction concentration focus on curriculum design and development. Most candidates earn their online master's in education in 2-4 years.
Each program introduces scripturally-based educational theories, practices, and tools. Learners develop research, problem-solving, and assessment skills as they strengthen their communication and collaborative abilities. Education administration candidates complete coursework in institutional advancement, law and personnel, and instructional supervision. Students in the learning and instruction track take advanced classes in differentiated instruction, designing instruction for understanding, and instructional models and strategies.
Along with an application fee, prospective students should provide two references. Learners must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution earned with an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or above. Applicants should also submit a current teaching certificate or proof of completing at least two years of experience in classroom teaching or education administration.
CIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). CIU's education programs are endorsed by the Higher Education Approval Program (HEAP) of the Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI).
28. Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York
This private research university has provided academic programming since 1870. Today, Syracuse offers over 200 undergraduate majors and more than 200 graduate and professional programs through 13 schools and colleges.
Syracuse's web-based degree offerings include a master of science in mathematics education. Emphasizing pedagogical theory and practice in mathematics instruction, this online master's in education can be completed in around 15 months. The curriculum corresponds to the National Council of Teachers for Mathematics educational guidelines and meets the requirements for New York State teacher certification in mathematics for grades 7-12.
Over the course of 38 credits, candidates explore learning and teaching methods, curriculum development strategies, student assessment, and data-driven instruction. Classes stress experiential learning and focus heavily on simulated classroom experiences. Learners also complete two full-time student teaching practica at the middle school and high school levels, one of which takes place at a high-need institution. Some students may qualify for study abroad opportunities and fellowships.
While teaching licensure is not required for admission, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics earned with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Candidates with degrees in other areas may gain admission if they have completed at least 33 credits of undergraduate mathematics coursework. Other application materials include GRE or MAT scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal essay, and experience working with youth populations.
Syracuse is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
29. University of South Carolina - Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
One of eight schools in the University of South Carolina system, UofSC provides almost 35,000 learners with undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.
UofSC students pursuing an online master's in education can earn an M.Ed. in teaching one of three specialized tracks: literacy and reading, project based learning, and multicultural contexts in education. These 30-credit degrees can be completed in as few as 18 months. Core M.Ed. classes include professional education development, ideas and issues in teaching, and action research. Each concentration includes 15 credits of specialized coursework. The program culminates in a capstone seminar, during which students complete a final research project.
The school also offers a master of education in educational administration online. The 36-credit, two-year master's in educational administration curriculum includes courses in school leadership, school personnel administration, finance, and instructional supervision. Learners may specialize in elementary- or high school-level educational administration.
Applicants to the educational administration program should hold an accredited bachelor's degree, have previous teaching experience or teaching licensure, and submit GRE or MAT scores. Prospective master's in teaching candidates must also meet GPA and GRE/MAT requirements.
UofSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Its educator preparation programs hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
30. University of Pittsburgh
Pitt educates nearly 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students while maintaining a low 15-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. Small class sizes provide both on-campus and distance learners with individual attention and opportunities for collaboration.
All four of Pitt's online master's in education degrees require 36 credits of coursework. The English and communications program focuses on fundamental theories, research, and specialized content, while the online mathematics education degree provides prospective math teachers with advanced knowledge and skills. Current instructors pursuing an online secondary social studies education degree explore theories, practices, and research in social studies education.
Finally, individuals who obtained their teaching certificates at Pitt can join the school's online master of education in elementary education program with advanced standing; these individuals only need to complete 18 additional credits to graduate. Learners who hold a graduate degree in education from another institution may also apply up to 12 advanced credits toward the M.Ed. program. Graduation requirements differ considerably between these four education programs.
Prospective students with teaching credentials should provide proof of licensure or certification. First-time applicants to Pitt must also supply two letters of recommendation.
Pitt is regionally accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and holds membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).
31. Ball State University
Founded as a teaching school in 1918, this Muncie, Indiana, institution now houses seven academic colleges. BSU's extensive degree catalog reaches more than 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students, both on campus and online.
Students interested in earning master's degrees in education online can enroll in several programs at BSU, including tracks in coaching education, curriculum and educational technology, educational administration and supervision, educational philosophy, and secondary education. Candidates may also pursue online master of arts degrees in elementary education, special education, mathematics education, and adult and community education. In addition, the university offers a 36-credit master's degree in educational administration and supervision for licensed principals with at least two years of professional experience.
The 30-credit online MA in elementary education focuses on curriculum development and delivery. Students take classes in human growth and development, elementary-level reading instruction, education in a diverse society, and discipline and classroom management. Coursework imparts methods for building family and community partnerships while training teachers to support learning through technology. Learners may also pursue a specialty within the program, focusing on autism, computer education for teachers, human development, or response to intervention.
All applicants must submit GRE scores, and candidates applying to the educational administration program must pass a state-mandated leadership assessment.
BSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school's teaching college holds accreditation from the Council for the Association of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
32. Webster University
Saint Louis, Missouri
Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Webster maintains campuses on four continents, including 60 locations across North America. The university offers six web-based MA programs in education and innovation, special education, multimodal literacy, communication arts, educational technology, and teaching English as a second language. Students may also pursue online educational specialist master's degrees in educational technology, educational leadership, and school systems superintendency and leadership.
Requiring 33-36 credits, Webster's online master of arts in special education introduces core topics in global citizenship, program development and organization, assessment and evaluation, and professional and ethical practice. Candidates also explore research and inquiry methods and collaborative practices. Students may choose to specialize in one of six areas: applied behavior analysis, emotional and behavior disorders, inclusive education, mild and moderate disabilities, positive behavior interventions and supports, or severe developmental disabilities.
The online master's in special education features thesis and non-thesis tracks. The 33-credit non-thesis option requires 24 credits of special education coursework. Thesis students complete a total of 36 credits, including six credits of field research and thesis composition.
Program applicants must hold a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum GPA of 2.5. All prospective students should submit a formal essay and a letter of recommendation with their application.
Webster is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Its school of education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
33. University of Arkansas Global Campus
Founded in 1871, this Fayetteville institution holds the distinction of being the state's first public university. Today, UA's 345-acre campus is home to 10 colleges and schools that provide 28,000 learners with access to nearly 240 degree and certificate programs.
UA's flexible online master of education in physical education allows educators to earn an advanced degree while maintaining their current jobs. The 33-credit program takes two years to complete and includes coursework in physical education curriculum development, motor learning, project implementation and data analysis, and sport psychology.
Students take a capstone course where they develop an in-depth research project on a topic in physical education and kinesiology. Participants must also pass a comprehensive final exam. During an exit interview, candidates demonstrate their mastery of degree-related concepts, principles, and practices.
Candidates pursuing an online master's degree in physical education must hold an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or a related field earned with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with an overall GPA between 2.7 and 2.99 may be admitted if they earned a minimum 3.0 GPA over their final 60 undergraduate credits or hold exceptional GRE scores.
UA is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Its office of teacher education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
34. LeTourneau University
Based in Longview, Texas, LETU was the country's first nondenominational Christian polytechnic university. Established as a technical institute in 1946, LETU was authorized to grant two-year and four-year degrees in 1989. The school also offers academic programs through campuses in Houston, Plano, and McKinney, as well as online.
LETU's online master of education in teaching and learning allows candidates to earn an advanced degree and Texas teaching credentials. This online master's program is only available to Texas residents and includes specializations in early childhood to sixth grade education, fourth to eighth grade education, and seventh to 12th grade education.
Each track requires 36 credits, including courses in theoretical applications for teaching and learning, foundations of literacy instruction, assessment and instructional planning, teaching methodologies, and classroom management. Students also complete a clinical teaching experience, applying their knowledge and skills in a supervised classroom setting. Qualified candidates and teachers seeking Texas certification complete a two-semester internship at an approved public or private school.
LETU also offers online master of education degrees in educational administration, curriculum and instruction, and teacher leadership. Learners complete one course a time, and classes last 3-7 weeks.
LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The school's teacher education program is approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and is qualified by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) to provide credentials for private Christian school educators.
35. Martin Luther College
New Ulm, Minnesota
Located in New Ulm just above the Minnesota river, MLC aims to equip teachers, pastors, and ministers with pertinent knowledge and skills to work in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
MLC boasts an affordable online master’s in education, offering a solid return on students’ investment. Serving working students, MLC’s master’s in education provides flexible coursework access through the Moodle learning management system. The program emphasizes professional growth through reflective practices, applied learning, and differentiated instruction. MLC offers four concentration areas in instruction, leadership, special education, and educational technology.
The college allows students to choose more than one specialization, and in fact encourages students to create a customized plan to meet their professional objectives. Learners also gain access to distinctive courses, including the school as a learning community, foundations of ministry, high-impact instruction, and coaching in complex situations.
MLC requires nine credits of core educational coursework, six concentration credits, 15 elective credits, and six credit hours for capstone options. The online education master’s program at MLC boasts approval from the Minnesota Board of Teaching.
MLC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
36. Texas A&M University - Central Texas
Located in Killeen, Texas A&M-Central Texas identifies as an upper-level institution, serving students completing the latter half their undergraduate degree or an advanced degree. The university offers an online master’s in education, which provides students with the educational policy knowledge and leadership skills needed to pursue advanced roles in education.
Degree candidates may select from three tracks. The curriculum and instruction and educational leadership tracks prepare graduates to fulfill roles in primary and secondary institutions. Students in the curriculum and instruction track may select from elementary, secondary, and special education concentrations. The higher education leadership track equips learners to take on leadership roles in colleges and universities.
Texas A&M-Central Texas requires 36 credit hours to graduate. Students must complete 12 credit hours of core coursework, along with 24 credit hours of elective coursework geared toward their concentration. Texas A&M-Central Texas offers additional certifications, as well, which could extend program length. Noteworthy coursework includes developing school-community partnerships, analysis of teaching behavior, and microcontrollers for educators.
Texas A&M -Central Texas’ online system provides optimal flexibility for distance learners. Online courses vary in format, but many follow an asynchronous structure, allowing students to learn the material on their own time.
Texas A&M-Central Texas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
37. Colorado State University Global
Greenwood Village, Colorado
CSU Global has offered distance learning programs since 2007. As part of the Colorado State University system, CSU Global students enjoy access to all the resources and research available through the system’s other institutions. Between all the CSU campuses, students gain access to a vast network of over 37,000 current students and 200,000 alumni.
CSU Global’s online education master’s program in teaching and learning provides students with advanced skills and knowledge regarding educational theory and research, and develops learners’ teaching and assessment strategies. Distinctive coursework includes cultural responsiveness in the differentiated classroom, theory and practice in backward design, and action research. CSU Global also offers an educational leadership specialization emphasizing modern educational leadership practices and applied strategic leadership in communities.
Other specializations include online learning innovation and design, and contemporary practices in K-12 online learning. The latter specialization includes a practicum course, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
CSU Global designs its online programs with the working student in mind. Courses follow eight-week cycles, and the school offers monthly enrollment options, allowing students to begin their degrees at their convenience. Courses typically use an asynchronous format, enabling students to study when their schedule permits. Furthermore, CSU Global provides affordable tuition rates to all students, regardless of their state of residence.
CSU Global is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
38. University of Illinois at Springfield
U.S. News & World Report has ranked UIS as a top public regional university in the Midwest each year for the past eleven years. UIS strives to maintain a student-centered school environment, emphasizing inquiry, strategic thinking, and accountability. The school also offers special electronic tuition rates, which makes UIS programs affordable to all degree-seeking online students regardless of where they live.
UIS offers an online master’s in education, which prepares graduates to become effective leaders. The program has gained recognition for exceeding educational standards and using cutting-edge technology. It targets aspiring education leaders who do not wish to earn administrative licensure, thus avoiding field requirements. UIS offers a separate pathway for prospective principals. The school also offers multiple certification programs, providing students with specialized knowledge and a competitive advantage in the job market.
The UIS online master’s degree in education requires four credits in educational research, eight credits in educational leadership, four credits in curriculum development, 20 elective credits, and a four-credit capstone project, for a total of 40 credits. UIS online class sizes do not exceed 25 students. Courses follow 15-week semesters. The career development and learning hub centers prepare students for the workforce through tutoring and supplemental instruction.
UIS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
39. Texas Tech University
An esteemed research institution situated on the southern plains in Lubbock, Texas Tech has earned recognition for its online programs in five different categories, including online graduate education programs, according to 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Texas Tech offers online education master’s programs that prepare students to fill leadership roles in multiple areas of education. Students may choose from masters of education in educational leadership, higher education, curriculum and instruction, instructional technology, and special education. They may also select a specialization that appeals to their career objectives. For instance, special education majors may specialize in educational diagnostician or visual impairment. Some specializations require additional on-campus components. Texas Tech offers most coursework online, but students seeking certifications may need to complete field experiences at local K-12 schools.
Online courses at Texas Tech follow traditional semesters, mirroring on-campus courses. To encourage meaningful relationships, some programs follow a cohort model, in which online learners progress through their degree together. Online courses typically employ asynchronous learning formats to provide working learners with flexibility. However, some courses use synchronous formats, which enable students and professors to engage with each other directly.
Texas Tech requires a one-day, in-person orientation experience at the beginning of the fall semester. The university’s College of Education holds accreditation from nine state and national agencies, including the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Texas Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
40. Arizona State University - ASU Online
ASU-Tempe offers a public, metropolitan educational experience. Since its establishment in 1885, ASU-Tempe has grown both in size and quality. The college ranks among the most innovative universities in the nation and the most prestigious in the world.
ASU-Tempe offers multiple online education master’s programs, including several curriculum and instruction degrees, with specializations in autism spectrum disorders, early childhood education, and gifted education. The school also offers a master’s in educational leadership with a concentration in principal preparation. Coursework aims to provide engaging, hands-on activities that prepare graduates to become impactful leaders. Students learn about methods of applied behavior analysis for exceptional populations, competency and performance in educational administration, modalities of learning, and emergent literacy.
While ASU-Tempe offers all coursework online, specializations leading to certification or licensure require field experiences. ASU-Tempe’s online education master’s programs require 30-36 credit hours, or up to 45 credit hours with certifications or licenses. To qualify, students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA from the last 60 hours of their undergraduate program.
Most professors at the university accommodate working students by using asynchronous coursework, which enables learners to complete assignments at their own pace. ASU-Tempe offers six start dates throughout the year. Transfer students must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA from a regionally accredited institution.
ASU-Tempe is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
41. Dallas Baptist University
Located in Texas, DBU offers a private college education experience. DBU strives to maintain quality curricula and prepares graduates for the workforce. The university accommodates students’ diverse needs through both on-campus and online program options. Class sizes remain small, due to the school’s 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
The education department at DBU offers multiple online education master’s programs that enable graduates to qualify for advanced roles in specific areas of education, including bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, teaching, educational leadership, higher education, reading and English as a second language, school counseling, and special education. Students may select emphasis areas that target student populations by age or need.
Learners should note that some programs, including bilingual education and curriculum instruction, require students to complete an in-person practicum experience at a local school. Excluding the M.Ed. in educational leadership, which requires 30 credit hours, all of DBU’s online master’s in education degrees require 36 credit hours.
DBU instructors design online courses with the working student in mind. Most classes use an asynchronous format, which allows students to access course materials at their convenience. Learners receive a syllabus outlining important dates from each instructor at the beginning of the semester. Assignments often include group discussions, projects, essays, and exams. Distance learners also gain access to academic advisers and online tutors.
DBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
42. University of San Diego
San Diego, California
Based in Northern California, USD maintains affiliation with the Roman Catholic church. According to U.S. News & World Report, USD ranks among the top 100 universities in the nation. The university also holds a Community Engagement Institution title from the Carnegie Foundation.
USD offers a highly regarded online master’s in education, which targets current professionals in the field with at least two years of teaching experience. The program emphasizes modern teaching skills, inquiry, and equity. USD offers multiple specialization options, allowing students to deeply examine niche areas. Specializations include STEAM, special education and universal design, curriculum and instruction, literacy and digital learning, and school leadership.
Students typically complete their degrees within 20 months. USD requires five core classes and 10 speciality classes. Notable courses include artistic modeling and representation in science and math education, social justice and educational equity, disability in education policy and law, engineering design process in math and science education, and instructional leadership.
USD uses the Blackboard learning management system. Most classes use an asynchronous format, meaning students can complete course requirements when their schedules permit. Students engage in discussions, complete group work, and communicate with classmates and professors through email or webcams. Professors typically provide feedback in 24-48 hours. USD prioritizes distance learner support, and students may access academic advisers and tutors both online or over the phone.
USD is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
43. University of Missouri
Known as the first public higher education institution west of the Mississippi River, the University of Missouri, commonly known as Mizzou, maintains the largest facility in the state. Established in 1839, Mizzou was also one of the first public universities to feature a school of education. Representing students from every state, Mizzou accommodates both on-campus and distance learners. Therefore, online students can access the same high-quality courses as their on-campus peers.
Mizzou’s online school of education continues to expand program options in all areas. Currently, Mizzou offers multiple online master’s in education targeting early childhood, elementary, special, and content-specific secondary education. Students may consider specializing in teaching English to speakers of other languages, technology in schools, literacy, or online education. All program options require students to complete 30 credit hours to graduate, and most students earn their degree within two years.
Mizzou offers all courses online, with no in-person requirements. Students should note that these programs do not automatically qualify graduates for certification, which typically requires field experience. Applicants must hold a GPA of 3.0 or above and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, and submit letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal data sheet that includes biographical information and career objectives. Mizzou’s online programs mirror on-campus semester structures, but most online courses use an asynchronous format.
Mizzou is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Mizzou’s College of Education is fully accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
44. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU was founded as a teacher training school in 1907. Today, ECU provides educational programming for over 29,000 students. The school has earned recognition from the National Council on Teacher Quality for its secondary education program and ranks among the top 10% of online graduate schools for its education programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.
ECU offers multiple online master’s in education degrees, which require 36-39 semester hours depending on students’ specialization or target population. Program options include curriculum and instruction, instructional technology, elementary education, middle grades education, adult education, special education, and content-specific education. Coursework emphasizes research, leadership, and communication skills. These programs thoroughly examine trends and current issues with education as a whole, along with students’ specialization areas.
All ECU master’s in education degrees require a capstone course, which may take the form of a culminating portfolio, thesis, or research project. Online master’s degrees in education from ECU do not lead to licensure, as almost all of the programs require candidates to already hold a valid teaching license. Transfer students may apply, and ECU evaluates transfer credits on a case-by-case basis.
As one of the first universities to offer degrees completely online, ECU provides a dynamic, continuously developing distance education program. Students engage in discussion forums and group work online. Most courses follow an asynchronous format, which allows students to complete work on their own time.
ECU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
45. SUNY at Albany
Albany, New York
As part of the State University System of New York, UAlbany functions as a research university, providing students with access to resources from all facilities. UAlbany’s school of education has existed since the university’s 1844 foundation, and has since developed high-quality online education master’s degrees.
Online education master’s programs at UAlbany include early childhood education and middle childhood education, which focus on target population development in all content areas. This degree does not lead to licensure, as the program expects candidates to already hold teaching licensure and wish to gain expertise in their fields. UAlbany also offers a degree in reading, which prepares educators to work with K-12 students and all other stakeholders involved in students’ development.
Each of the school’s online education master’s programs requires 36 credit hours. UAlbany also offers an online master’s in special education and literacy, which requires licensed teachers to complete 43 credit hours to graduate.
To qualify for all programs, students must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
UAlbany is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The school of education is fully accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
46. California State University - Fresno
Founded in 1911 and rebranded as a teacher’s college in 1921, Fresno State is one of 23 California State University campuses. Fresno State’s programs hold a collective 26 programmatic accreditations. In fact, Fresno State features the only early childhood master’s program in the state to gain recognition from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State offers an online master’s in education in reading and language arts. Required coursework includes literacy processes and practices, educational statistics, and research for reading professionals. Students can incorporate an optional specialist credential or authorization from the state of California into the program, which adds time to the degree. Applicants pursuing the specialist credential must hold a valid teaching license and complete three years of teaching experience by the end of the program.
Coursework for a master’s in education from Fresno State culminates in a project, thesis, or cumulative exam. Students pursuing the specialist credential must take the cumulative exam. Fresno State’s online master’s program requires 30 credits total, with the specialist credential adding 24 credits and the authorization adding 15.
Fresno State uses the Blackboard online learning management system. Coursework includes discussion posts, group work, exams, and essays. Students complete one course every eight weeks and two classes each semester.
Fresno State is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
47. Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
Located in Pennsylvania, SRU offers a scenic campus about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. As part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, SRU provides a public school experience and access to ample research resources.
SRU’s College of Education offers several graduate programs for educators, both on-campus and online. Online master’s in education options include elementary education, and secondary education in multiple content areas, including history and math. SRU also offers special education degrees in autism, applied behavioral analysis, birth to grade eight, and grades 7-12. Distinctive courses include positive classroom interventions, transition for persons with disabilities, univariate statistical methods, and elements of qualitative educational research.
All programs require 36 credits to graduate. SRU offers advanced tracks for students who already hold a valid teaching license, while those who need to earn certification may complete the basic track, which includes a 20-hour practicum experience at a local school.
Aside from field experiences, SRU offers all coursework online. SRU uses the Desire2Learn online learning management system. Courses may use synchronous or asynchronous formats, but most are asynchronous, allowing students to access and learn content at their own pace. Students engage with their peers through weekly discussion posts and group work. Other assignments include essays and exams. Students can directly reach out to professors through email or digital office hours.
SRU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The master’s in education program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
48. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
WCU emerged in 1871 as a teacher preparation school, and has since grown into the fourth-largest university in Pennsylvania, offering over 202 programs. WCU holds recognition as one of the top public universities in the North, according to U.S. News & World Report.
WCU offers multiple online master’s in education degrees, which prepare students to meet the needs of their target student population. WCU’s online master’s in special education prepares graduates to work with students with learning or behavioral disorders. Applicants to this program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and demonstrate an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above. This master’s degree requires 33 credits, and these credits may apply to a Pennsylvania teaching certification.
WCU also offers three tracks for an online master’s in early childhood education: accomplished teachers, program administrators, and applied studies in teaching and learning. Each program requires 30-33 credits, and none mandate field experience. Applicants should hold at least one year of professional experience in an early childhood facility. Master’s in early childhood education students must complete a capstone course at the end of their program. Transfer students may transfer up to six prior credits from accredited schools into the program.
WCU designs its online curricula with the professional student in mind. Most courses follow an asynchronous format, allowing students to move through coursework at their own pace. Online students also receive support through WCU’s IT help desk, online library services, and academic advisers.
WCU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
49. The University of West Florida
Based in Pensacola, UWF boasts the third-largest campus in the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1963, UWF strives to provide high-quality education and values developing innovative opportunities for both on-campus and distance learners, offering 19 graduate degrees entirely online.
UWF designs its online master’s in education curriculum to suit professionals working in educational roles who aspire to become leaders in their field. UWF’s online education master’s program offers specializations in educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, instructional design and technology, and reading education. Notable courses include organization and administration of literacy programs, foundations of management, web-based instructional tools for educators, and administration of school personnel. The school also offers a master’s in exceptional student education with concentrations in applied behavior analysis or special and alternative education.
Graduates from the curriculum and instruction and reading tracks qualify for licensure, while other tracks offer concentration areas to distinguish graduates as subject matter experts. All tracks require students to complete a culminating experience and 30-36 credit hours to graduate. Most students complete their master’s in education at UWF within two years.
UWF programs do not require in-person attendance, and most courses use an asynchronous format, allowing students to work at their own pace between deadlines. However, some courses use synchronous learning to foster student engagement and encourage collaborative experiences. UWF charges out-of-state tuition for nonresident students but offers a tuition waiver that reduces the out-of-state portion of tuition by up to 90% for qualifying students.
UWF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
50. Augustana University
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Augustana is located in Sioux Falls, one of South Dakota’s most populous cities. The school maintains deep roots in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since its establishment in 1860, the school has gained recognition as one of the best colleges in the Midwest, one of the most innovative schools, and one of the best value schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Augustana designs its online education master’s programs with working students in mind, delivering all coursework online with no in-person requirements. The education program offers five concentrations: instructional strategies, reading, special populations, STEM, and technology. Notable courses include history and philosophy of education, differentiation and diversity, and research synthesis. Augustana does not require a culminating capstone or thesis.
Education master’s programs at Augustana comprise 30 credit hours, including 21 core credits and nine concentration credits. With three start dates throughout the year, students can earn their degrees in 19 months. Augustana uses a cohort system, fostering meaningful relationships between students and faculty. The school allows students to transfer in up to nine credit hours from other institutions, which Augustana evaluates on a case-by-case basis.
Online courses use both synchronous and asynchronous learning formats. Distance learners may access digital library services, academic advisers, digital office hours with professors, and online tutors.
Augustana is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
What is a Master’s Degree in Education?
A master’s degree in education qualifies graduates for advanced positions in the field. After earning a bachelor’s degree, students can pursue an M.Ed. These programs satisfy the continuing education requirements many states place on teachers. Master’s in education programs typically offer specialization options.
Requirements for graduate education vary by state, and some programs lead to licensure and certification. Generally, a master’s degree in education prepares candidates to pursue careers as educators and education administrators. Graduate-level education coursework often examines contemporary teaching theories and explores methods for teaching diverse populations, educating underserved communities, and assisting students with learning disabilities.
Online Master’s in Education Programs
Online learning proves ideal for students who need flexible scheduling options. Online students can earn their master’s degree in education on their own schedule and without visiting campus. Most distance programs use platforms such as Blackboard and Moodle, through which learners submit papers, take exams, contribute to forums, and review course materials. Online learners often save money on housing and transportation costs.
Departments may deliver online courses asynchronously, which means learners can access and submit class assignments at any time. However, distance learners must still meet deadlines for assignments. Synchronous courses, on the other hand, require attendance at set times. Busy students who need maximum scheduling flexibility should consider programs with asynchronous courses.
Online learners need a strong work ethic and self-discipline to complete work with little supervision. Online programs that follow a cohort format, however, provide the support and structure some students need to complete degrees in a timely manner.
Online learners may need to complete fieldwork, and education departments typically approve locations near each student’s home. Learners may also consider hybrid programs, which include both online and on-campus components. Learners should only consider hybrid programs if they live near campus and can commute as necessary.
Related Master’s Programs
Education students can choose graduate programs that focus on specific areas, such as a certain grade level. Candidates may also focus their studies on administration or curriculum development. Students should research program options and choose the degree that best fits their career goals.
- The Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education
- The Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Degree Programs
- The Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degree Programs
The Advantages of a Master’s Degree in Education
Candidates who hold a master’s degree in education earn an annual average salary $6,000 higher than bachelor’s degree holders in the field, according to PayScale. World Education Services reports that lifetime earnings for education professionals with a master’s average $2.26 million, while those for bachelor’s holders average $1.798 million.
Graduates of online master’s degree programs in education can qualify for more advanced positions than bachelor’s degree holders. Instead of teaching in elementary classrooms, for example, master’s holders can impact school districts’ curricula and goals as instructional coordinators, principals, and superintendents. Graduates may also qualify for some postsecondary teaching positions.
Candidates can expand their career opportunities by earning a doctorate. For example, some colleges require assistant professors to hold a Ph.D. A doctoral degree can also lead to increased earning potential. According to World Education Services, doctorate holders in the field earn an average of 24% more in their lifetime than master’s degree holders.
The following sections provide information about available positions for master’s degree holders, along with salary expectations for each career.
|Degree Level||Average Salary|
|Bachelor’s Degree in Education||$50,000|
|Master’s Degree in Education||$56,000|
What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Education?
Professionals with a master’s in education can pursue a variety of unique roles within the field. Graduates can work as public school teachers, but they can also become administrators, work for private corporations, and start a private tutoring service. Graduates can earn certification to further expand their career options, and professionals with a master’s degree in education can also pursue opportunities outside of the field.
- Instructional Coordinators: These coordinators advise school districts on curriculum-related matters, including textbooks for students and workshops for educators. Instructional coordinators assess student needs before suggesting changes to curricula. They may also advise on teaching tactics and educational technology. These positions typically require a master’s degree, such as an online master’s in education.
- High School Principals: Principals oversee curricula in schools and ensure educators use effective teaching strategies. They also create schedules, enforce school rules, communicate with parents, and plan programs to improve faculty performance. Principals typically need a master’s degree, and they may need a school administrator license.
- Postsecondary Educators: Postsecondary educators teach classes at colleges and universities. These educators may teach multiple classes within their discipline each semester, perform research, and advise students on course enrollment. Some institutions require postsecondary teachers to hold only a master’s, while others require a Ph.D. Online master’s in education programs prepare learners to pursue a doctoral degree.
- Superintendents: Superintendents make employment decisions for school districts, such as selecting principals and deciding when to let teachers go. These professionals also help schools budget and set educational goals. Superintendents need strong communication and leadership abilities, and most schools require superintendents to hold a graduate degree.
- Postsecondary Education Administrators: These administrators may work in admissions, registration, and student affairs. They may set a limit for admitted students, help learners select courses, assist alumni with obtaining transcripts, and offer guidance on topics such as housing. Many schools require candidates for this position to hold a master’s degree.
|Job Title||Entry Level
|High School Principals||$78,000||$82,000||$87,000||$93,000|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||$48,000||$57,000||$62,000||$65,000|
Choosing an Online Education Graduate Program
Candidates pursuing an online master’s in education should research school options to find a program that meets their needs. For example, students who want to graduate quickly can explore programs with accelerated options. Prospective students should also look for concentrations relevant to their career goals. For example, aspiring elementary teachers can look for programs that offer concentrations in elementary education.
Students should also consider their budget when researching program costs. Learners can save on tuition by choosing in-state programs, since residents often pay discounted tuition rates at these schools.
Learners should search for programs that fit their goals and lifestyle. Given the number of online master’s degree programs in education, suitable options cater to all types of students.
- Program Cost: Students should consider program costs to prevent or reduce student loan debt and to ensure they can complete the program. Schools may not allow students who fall behind on tuition payments to enroll in upcoming semesters. Out-of-state online learners may pay higher tuition rates, and schools may charge a technology or distance learning fee.
- Transfer Policies: Candidates with graduate credit should consider each school’s transfer policy. For example, one school may only accept nine transfer credits, while another may accept 15 credits. Out-of-state learners can also look for schools that participate in reciprocity agreements through organizations such as the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
- School Size and Type: While public schools deliver general curricula, private schools offer education grounded in specific values. Students should determine which type of learning experience they prefer. Students should also consider school size; small schools generally offer lower student-to-faculty ratios for a more personal online learning experience.
- Program Length: Students who want to graduate quickly should enroll full time and can consider accelerated programs. Learners often complete accelerated master’s programs in two years. However, busy students can enroll part time; these learners typically graduates in 3-4 years.
- On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs include on-campus components, such as in-person orientations, labs, and classes. Distance learners should only consider these programs if they can manage the distance and frequency of campus visits.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Online education master’s programs often require a capstone experience, such as a research project, portfolio, or thesis. Courses may also involve field experience in K-12 classrooms. Online learners should ensure that they can complete these requirements locally.
Accreditation for Online Education Master’s Degrees
Accrediting agencies review programs and schools to determine whether they meet high academic standards. Only students at accredited institutions can receive federal aid, and many employers only recognize degrees from accredited schools.
Accrediting agencies should hold approval from the Department of Education (ED) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These organizations ensure that accrediting agencies meet sufficient standards for evaluating institutions and programs. The ED website and CHEA website maintain databases of accredited schools and programs.
Schools can hold national or regional accreditation. Vocational schools typically earn national accreditation, though many consider regional accreditation the more better form of accreditation. Credits and degrees earned from regionally accredited schools transfer easily to other institutions.
Programs and departments may also hold specialized accreditation, which indicates that a program prepares learners to excel in the field. Online master’s degree programs in education may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in Education?
Students typically complete an online master’s degree in education in about two years, although learners can complete some programs faster. Many programs accommodate working professionals through flexible, per-semester credit requirements.
Some online education master’s programs follow a cohort format, which involves completing coursework with a small group of peers. Cohort programs generally require students to begin the program at specific times. Because learners in individually paced programs typically enjoy more flexibility in the number of credits they take per term, they can graduate faster.
Not every education program culminates in students obtaining licensure. While many programs provide a clear path to teacher certification, licensure requirements vary depending on the student’s state and concentration area. Students should contact their state’s department of education to learn about licensure requirements.
Courses in an Online Master’s in Education Program
This class teaches students to develop and maintain positive learning environments. Students learn to use research and management theories to structure classrooms that reflect state regulations and district goals. Coursework may also address effective teaching tactics, cultural diversity, and classroom discipline.
Technology in Education
Students in this class explore technologies that prove effective in different learning environments. Coursework may cover choosing suitable technologies, introducing technology to classrooms, and assessing the impact of technology on learning. Students may also examine issues with using technology in classrooms and brainstorm solutions.
Issues in Education
This course examines social, cultural, economic, legal, psychological, and ethical dilemmas facing school systems. The class may focus on at-risk children or the impact of globalization on classrooms. Students learn various techniques for overcoming these issues.
Students learn to use and analyze quantitative and qualitative research for classroom improvement. Students practice determining a research question, gathering evidence, and creating research overviews. The course may address ethical and technological concerns for research, including software choices.
Teaching Math in Elementary School
This course covers elementary math concepts, such as addition and subtraction, and strategies for teaching these concepts to elementary children. Students explore child development and behavior during elementary years. Similar courses may address other academic subjects or examine techniques for teaching middle or high school students.
Education Membership Associations
Graduate students and professionals with an online master’s in education should consider joining professional associations. These organizations often host conferences and seminars during which members can network while furthering their knowledge of the field. Many professional associations also provide training and workshops that fulfill continuing education requirements for teaching credentials; they may also offer online job boards and tips for managing classrooms.
- National Education Association: NEA provides funding for public schools and hosts events such as the NEA National Leadership Summit and the Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly. Through the NEA website, teachers can browse tips on classroom and lesson structure and can plan a Read Across America event.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: NAEYC publishes books and periodicals on topics such as using play as a learning tool. The association hosts events, including an annual conference and a public policy forum. Members benefit from reduced insurance prices and access to digital resources.
- American Council on Education: ACE organizes annual conferences and offers a fellows program to help participants gain field expertise. Members can participate in Regional Summits to discuss educational issues with other professionals. ACE also maintains a national network that supports women in higher education.
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: NCTM members can participate in events such as annual meetings and research conferences. NCTM also delivers online seminars related to math education. Similar organizations include the National Association for Music Education and the National Science Teachers Association.
- Education Commission of the States: This organization offers symposiums, forums, and meetings related to education and policy. Website visitors can view webinars on financial aid, campus, crime, and college transfers. The website also provides resources on campus safety, curricula, and assessment.