Online teaching master's programs provide students with the knowledge and skills to deliver online instruction in corporate and school settings.
Earning a master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for in-demand careers as K-12 teachers and instructional coordinators. Additionally, many districts offer higher salary schedules for instructors with master's degrees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers earned a median pay of over $61,000 per year in 2018. BLS projections also indicate a 4% growth rate for the profession from 2018-2028. This degree can also lead to opportunities outside of the classroom, such as corporate trainer or education consultant.
Our list ranks the top online master's programs for teachers to help students find the program that best aligns with their professional goals. This page also explores specialization options, career paths for a master of teaching degree, and how to choose the right program.
Featured Online Schools
Top Online Master's in Teaching Programs
Georgia Southern offers a master of arts in teaching, elementary education certification. It targets students without current teacher certifications or who hold nonrenewable certifications.
Core courses include literacy instruction and teacher leadership. Students can select from concentrations including elementary, middle grades, and special education. While fully online, the program requires supervised field experience and a three-day on-campus orientation.
In addition to a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (2.5 minimum GPA), applicants must submit passing scores on the GACE Program Admission Assessment and a letter of intent. They must also qualify for a Georgia pre-service certificate or provisional certificate.
Harding's online master of arts: excellence in teaching degree provides continued instruction for professional educators. Christ's character and examples, along with a deep love for God and individuals, form the university's instructional foundation. The school boasts reduced tuition of $115 per credit hour, a 22% reduction.
The 35-credit program consists of core courses and flexible hours. Cores include technology applications, instructional strategies and assessment, and education law and values. Spirituality and the educator is also required.
Applicants must submit a resume, current valid educator license, official transcripts, and three recommendation letters.
JSU's master of science in education offers many of the concentration options leading to eligibility for dual certification.
All enrollees take basic requirements such as introduction to graduate education and technology, research in education, and survey of exceptional children and youth. Students then select program majors, such as early childhood education, elementary education, and reading specialist.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions. Education certification may be required, depending on the major program.
VSU offers a master of education in curriculum and instruction in accomplished teaching. Top graduate faculty from three accredited colleges teach this collaborative program, which focuses on research skills and enhancing classroom instruction by applying educational theory to practice.
The 36-credit program includes multicultural studies, a framework for teaching, enhancing student performance, and professional decision-making. Graduates will be eligible for Georgia's new curriculum and instruction (level 5) certification.
Requirements for admission include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (cumulative minimum 2.75 GPA) and a valid level 4 or higher teaching certificate.
Clemson's master of education in teaching and learning helps advance the professional standing of PK-12 educators within 18 months.
Program requirements include cultural diversity in education, research, curriculum theory, and assessments. Students participate in a capstone and may personalize their curriculum through effective and reflective teaching, experiential learning for early childhood, or STEAM specializations.
Applicants must be employed in an education setting and submit unofficial transcripts (3.0 minimum GPA), a current resume, three recommendation letters, and a personal statement. Test scores may be required.
The 36-credit master of arts in teaching - special education K-12 offered through A-State prepares educators to assess and teach exceptional-needs students.
Studies focus on literacy assessment, advanced methods of teaching, and positive behavior interventions, culminating in a special education internship. Participants completing the first six credit hours may earn provisional licensure in Arkansas.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (cumulative 2.75 GPA), submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions, and obtain a mentor educator.
Columbus State's online master of arts in teaching targets career-change candidates who bring an educational background in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or a related field. Teacher certifications include math, biology, chemistry, or physics.
The curriculum focuses on transitioning into teaching and enhancing student learning. It finishes with student teaching and educational research methods.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in a related field, with a minimum 2.7 GPA. Those interested must also complete the GACE Program admission test and submit official transcripts from other schools attended.
Biola University's master of arts in teaching may be completed online or through a blend of on-campus and online courses. Designed for current and aspiring teachers, the program emphasizes effective and impactful classroom performance.
The curriculum includes core and capstone requirements. Classes include literature reviews, culture and intercultural instruction, and philosophy values. Students can choose from eight concentrations, such as special education, early childhood, and curriculum and instruction.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and submit transcripts showing a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
Liberty offers a fully online master of arts in teaching. Its Christ-centered program covers theoretical best practices and methodologies that students put to use with a teaching internship.
The curriculum includes education philosophy, instructional strategies, behavior management, and tests and measurements from a biblical perspective. Students select from elementary, special, or secondary education specializations.
Applicants must hold a nationally or regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit official college transcripts.
UND's 100% online master of science in teaching and leadership qualifies graduates to teach in K-12 classrooms or serve in educational leadership roles.
Required courses for the 30-credit program include models of teaching, differential instruction, action research, and multicultural education. Students select from three tracks, dependent on previous educational-specific studies and/or degrees rewarded.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit transcripts from previously attended institutions, GRE scores, recommendation letters, and an essay.
USW's master of science in education - online teaching focuses on building skillsets for teaching in a virtual environment.
Requirements for the 36-credit program include current educational trends, developing an online curriculum, and eLearning technologies. A capstone project concludes the coursework.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 minimum GPA and submit a personal essay, professional resume, and two recommendation letters.
UNCG offers a master of education in birth-kindergarten interdisciplinary studies and education and development. The program prepares students to assume leadership roles in education while developing effective, engaging programming for young children aged birth to five.
Requirements for the synchronous program include family-centered early childhood practices, educational research methods, early childhood education advanced curriculum, and mentoring young children. The program also requires a practicum and professional portfolio.
Applicants must present a professional statement, resume, official transcripts (3.0 minimum GPA), and three recommendation letters.
SFA's master of education in teaching and learning guides participants to serve a growingly diverse student population. Virtual class meetings supplement online courses.
Core courses for the 36-degree program include power and pedagogy, education data analysis, and family and community engagement. Participants select from specializations in ESL/bilingual, online teaching, or gifted and talented. A capstone completes the degree requirements.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and submit transcripts showing a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and a 2.8 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
NSU's master of arts in teaching in early childhood education prepares educators to work with young children, their families, and their communities.
Geared toward those seeking alternate certification, the program consists of courses and a practicum, which addresses National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards. The 39-credit curriculum also includes early childhood-focused coursework and a one-year teaching internship.
Requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university (minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA), Praxis Core passing score, and recommendation letters.
Concordia offers a master of education in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). The 36-credit program meets Nebraska's English as a Second Language Endorsement and TESOL International Association Standards.
Coursework includes second language acquisition theories, language and culture, assessment, and a practicum.
Applicants must submit transcripts from previously attended institutions, a letter of intent, and a resume.
The 100% online master of education degree offered through UMO targets students with a Level A teaching license to obtain a Level M Licensure. Graduates obtain knowledge appropriate for National Board Certification applications.
Course requirements include diversity, teaching and learning theories and methods, and advanced literacy development. Students also focus on a practicum and licensure in early childhood education, elementary, or special education specializations.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution (minimum 3.0 GPA) and submit three recommendation letters and an essay.
DeSales offers a master of education degree. Small groups lead to quality interaction with mentors and field-educated professors.
Core courses for all specializations include foundations of education and advanced psychology of learning. Specialized courses fulfill requirements in early childhood, TESOL, higher education, or secondary education concentrations. The degrees include field and student teaching experiences.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit a teaching certificate, if applicable. Other submission requirements include official transcripts, a personal statement, and recommendation letters.
Boise State's masters in teaching in special education leads to both a master's degree and certification recommendation for the Exceptional Child Generalist teaching license. The program emphasizes collaborative online activities and discussion.
Program coursework includes special education law, positive behavior supports, special educators mathematics, and family systems.
Applicants must prove a bachelor's degree (minimum 3.0 GPA), a passing score on the Praxis test, and two recommendation letters.
NAU offers a master of arts in teaching - teaching science with certification. The program targets teachers with science degrees looking to teach science at the secondary school level. The curriculum consists of synchronous courses and onsite fieldwork, and/or student teaching.
Coursework for the 34-credit program includes science methods, science assessment usage, adolescent teaching strategies, and English immersion methods.
Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution (minimum 3.0 GPA) and submission of transcripts, two recommendations, a resume, and a personal statement.
Concordia's master of arts in teaching provides an initial education license for K-6 grade levels. The 2.5-year, 42-credit synchronous program prepares students to teach in Minnesota schools pending passage of MTLE tests.
Coursework includes learning and teaching psychology and content methods for teaching science, math, social studies, and literacy. A capstone completes the degree.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (cumulative 3.0 GPA). Other submission requirements include official transcripts and an essay.
The master of education in science education offered through Lesley teaches trained educators and curriculum specialists to integrate STEM education into learning and assessment strategies. The program may be studied for Massachusetts Professional Teacher Licensure or as a non-licensure program.
Requirements of the 33-credit program include life science, science classroom assessments, science education research, and curriculum design.
Applicants pursuing licensure through the program must hold a Massachusetts Initial Teacher License in either elementary or middle school. Additional submission requirements include transcripts, two recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a resume.
UWA offers a master of arts in teaching or master of education with Alabama teaching certification.
The 46-credit program is divided into professional courses (online) and field experience. Online classes include education foundations and planning, language arts teaching methods, and educational research techniques.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree (minimum 2.75 GPA) or master's degree (minimum 3.0 GPA) from a regionally accredited institution. Submission requirements include official transcripts.
CUC's master of education in teaching and learning provides current educators with an increased understanding of curriculum, instruction, and assessment theory. Participants also learn to apply diversity understanding to instructional practices.
The 30-credit curriculum covers learning theory fundamentals, multiliteracies studies, curriculum technology integration, and student learning assessments. A capstone completes the experience.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and pass the Test of Academic Proficiency. Additional submission requirements include transcripts, an objective statement, a writing sample, an essay, and two recommendation letters.
With its main campus in Pasadena, California, Pacific Oaks offers two online master's education programs. The elementary education program combines theory, practice, and academic requirements for the California Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. The special education focus trains participants on teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities.
Both programs comprise 43 credits and field experience and can lead to additional certification.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, resume, personal statement, transcripts, and California Basic Educational Skills Test scores.
NYIT's childhood education, master of science targets working educators interested in furthering their understanding of child development and education.
Coursework includes curriculum design, education diversity, and early childhood, childhood, and adolescence education. NYIT also requires student teaching and a capstone. Participants may add a bilingual extension.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA). Other requirements include two recommendation letters, teaching certification, personal statement, and GRE or MAT scores.
Online Master's in Teaching Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
What Is an Online Master's in Teaching Degree?
An online master's in teaching degree provides advanced training in pedagogy, classroom instruction, and student assessment. Many current teachers enroll in online master's programs to strengthen their instructional skills and increase their earning potential.
An online learning format appeals to working educators who require a flexible learning environment. Many online master's degrees for teachers use an asynchronous format, which allows graduate students to complete coursework around their teaching schedules. Programs often let teachers take a full-time load in the summer while taking fewer classes during the school year.
During an online master's degree in teaching, graduate students improve their classroom management techniques and learn about effective instructional design and educational technology. After completing their master's degrees, graduates can advance into leadership roles in teaching.
Choosing an Online Program
Prospective graduate students should consider several factors when evaluating online master's programs for teachers. Aspects like program length, instructional method, and cost can help educators narrow down options and find the right fit for their goals and needs. Learn more about how to choose an online degree below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Teaching Program?
Many master's programs for teachers let teachers customize their degrees to align with their career goals and interests. For example, within teaching master's programs, graduate students may focus their training by choosing a specialization or pursing particular electives. This section explores common classes and specializations available master of teaching programs.
Master's in Teaching Curriculum
Classroom teachers must create lesson plans that meet their district's educational standards. To help, instructional design courses explore learning theory and the process of developing effective teaching materials. Graduate students learn about relevant software, instructional methods, and design approaches. Many classes culminate with each student designing a practical curriculum.
In this course, enrollees learn about designing lesson plans and assessing student achievement. The course may cover student-centered learning methods, collaborative learning processes, and integration of assessment into the learning process. Coursework also delves into performance-based assessment, analyzing prior assessments, and using portfolio assessments to improve learning outcomes.
Classes in multicultural education explore the diverse cultural values, backgrounds, and attitudes found in America's school children. Graduate students research cultural groups and multiculturalism, learning culturally responsive instructional strategies. Educators learn to create multicultural classroom environments that welcome and support all students.
Master's in Teaching Specializations
A graduate student with an elementary teacher specialization trains for roles in K-5 classrooms. They teach several core subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics. Elementary teachers may also teach science, social studies, and languages. This specialization prepares educators to teach young learners and qualifies them for an elementary education endorsement on their teaching licenses.
A secondary education specialization prepares educators to teach grades 6-12. In addition to studying pedagogical techniques and assessment methods, secondary educators take classes in their subject areas so they can pass licensing exams. Some may also teach advanced placement courses, which can require a master's degree.
With technology playing an increasingly important role in education, a specialization in educational technology prepares graduate students for high-demand fields. During this specialization, learners explore the design, implementation, and evaluation process for introducing technology into the classroom. Graduates can work as K-12 technology coordinators, distance education specialists, and instructional designers.
A master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for many careers in the education field. For example, a master of teaching program with a secondary education specialization prepares graduates for careers as middle school or high school teachers. Current teachers who earn their master's degrees can increase their salaries and advance into leadership roles.
A master's in teaching degree can also lead to instructional coordinator, education consultant, corporate trainer, or educational technology specialist careers. Note that some careers may require a special license: For example, administrative positions in education often require school administrator licenses.
High school teachers educate students in subjects like English, U.S. history, and the sciences to prepare them for college or the workforce. They create lesson plans, instruct students, and grade assignments and exams to assess student knowledge. Outside of the classroom, high school teachers communicate with parents and work with administrators to meet curriculum standards.
Successful high school teachers must be patient and resourceful. Public school teachers need a teaching license and must pass an examination in their subject area, though the rules for private school teachers vary. A master's degree meets the requirements for a teaching license.
Instructional coordinators work at the administrative level to help schools develop and implement curricula. They create educational material, train teachers to meet teaching standards, and assess curriculum effectiveness. Instructional coordinators also analyze test data from students to determine any needed changes to teaching techniques or curriculum materials.
Strong analytical, decision-making, and communication skills help instructional coordinators thrive in their roles. These coordinators must each hold a master's degree, and most positions require classroom experience. In some schools, an instructional coordinator may need a teaching license or an education administrator license. A master's degree meets the requirements for both licenses.
Middle school teachers prepare students for high school in several core subjects, with each teacher specializing in a subject, like language arts, the social sciences, or the physical sciences. Educators design lesson plans to meet district standards and assess their students' abilities through assignments and exams. They also identify learning challenges and help their students improve throughout the year.
Middle school teachers need strong communication skills, resourcefulness, and patience. Public middle school teachers must hold a license with at least a bachelor's degree and passing scores on a teaching test. Rules vary for private school teachers. Master's degrees can help middle school teachers increase their earning potential.
Teaching Professional Organizations
Professional organizations help teaching students transition from their programs into the workforce. Many organizations offer professional development resources, host conferences with networking opportunities, publish current educational research, and maintain job boards to help members find career opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
A master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for classroom positions or roles as instructional coordinators, education consultants, and corporate trainers.
The median pay for high school teachers exceeded $61,000 per year in 2018. Typically, teachers with master's degrees earn more than those with bachelor's degrees.
A master's in teaching degree can prepare educators for leadership roles, and many schools pay master's degree-holders higher salaries, making the degree worth it for many educators.
A master of teaching degree focuses on classroom instruction and student-centered roles in education, while a master's in education prepares graduates for administrative and consultation roles.
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