Best Online Master’s in Teaching 2021 | TheBestSchools

by TBS Staff

Updated August 12, 2022 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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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 online teaching program.

Featured Online Schools

Top Online Master's in Teaching Programs

  1. Georgia Southern University

    Statesboro, GA



    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.

  2. Harding University

    Searcy, AR

    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.

  3. Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL



    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.

  4. Valdosta State University

    Valdosta, GA



    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.

  5. Clemson University

    Clemson, SC



    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.

  6. Arkansas State University-Main Campus

    Jonesboro, AR



    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.

  7. Columbus State University

    Columbus, GA



    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.

  8. Biola University

    La Mirada, CA

    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.

  9. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA

    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.

  10. University of North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND



    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.

Online Master's in Teaching Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

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

Instructional Design

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.

Assessment of Learning

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.

Multicultural Education

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

Elementary Teacher

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.

Secondary Teacher

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.

Educational Technology

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.

Teaching Careers

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

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.

Median Salary: $61,660 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 4%

Instructional Coordinators

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.

Median Salary: $66,290 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 6%

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.

This union, founded in 1916 and affiliated with the AFL-CIO, now represents 1.7 million members. Within AFT are several subdivisions, with the preK-12 division representing both public and private school teachers. AFT also offers programs and resources to support educators' professional growth: Teachers can access classroom resources, professional learning materials, and special needs information. Founded in 1857, NEA now represents three million total educators at every level. The organization advocates for teachers on a local level, offering local branches in every state. NEA also offers practical tools and ideas for teachers, including lesson plans, teaching strategies, and classroom management tips. ED oversees the educational system at a federal level, setting policies on federal funding for education and collecting data on K-12 schools. Teachers can access valuable data and research through ED, including education statistics and report cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Teaching Program?

Earning a master's in teaching degree generally takes 1-2 years, depending on the program. Many online master's degrees for teachers also offer accelerated or asynchronous pathways.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Teaching?

A master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for classroom positions or roles as instructional coordinators, education consultants, and corporate trainers.

How Much Do You Make as a Teacher?

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.

Is a Master's in Teaching Worth It?

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.

What Is the Difference Between a Master's in Teaching and a Master's in Education?

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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