The Best Online Master’s in Education Programs

Earning an online master’s in education (MEd) degree can open the door to a higher salary, new teaching opportunities, and the chance to branch out beyond the traditional classroom. Designed for candidates who already hold teaching certification, the MEd focuses on education philosophy, advanced teaching methods, and educational technology training.

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Education is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but if you want to expand your job opportunities and earn a higher salary, you need more than just your bachelor’s degree. An online Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree can help you achieve both of these goals, and let you earn your degree while maintaining your full-time job at the same time. If you have already graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education and hold a state-issued teaching license, you might be a perfect fit for an M.Ed. program.

An M.Ed. prepares graduates to become leaders in or out of the classroom … Many pursue careers as school counselors, educational specialists, principals, or professors.

The curriculum for a Master’s in Education program will teach you educational philosophy, advanced teaching methods, and familiarize you with new classroom technology. In addition to standard classroom learning, you’ll also complete practicum sessions in real-life classrooms (student teaching) and submit a master’s thesis during the latter stages of your program.

Learn more about what you can do with an M.Ed. and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE M.ED. PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY TEACHING CAREER?

M.Ed. programs are designed to create educational leaders in and out of the classroom. Many degree holders become school counselors, educational specialists, and senior faculty members. The M.Ed. will also prepare students who plan to earn a doctoral education degree and pursue senior roles, such as school superintendents or professors of higher education. M.Ed. students can enhance their career prospects by earning a specialized master’s degree in areas like educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, special education, or speech and language pathology. They may also choose to concentrate on a specific educational level — such as early childhood or adult — or an academic subject, like math or social studies.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATION WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online degrees are designed for flexibility and convenience. Today’s technology allows you to access lectures, readings, and other course materials using your home computer or a smart mobile device. However, online courses are just as challenging and demanding as traditional classes; students must devote several hours per week for each course in order to receive favorable grades. Many schools allow students to choose between completing their degree entirely online or through a hybrid program with online and on-campus components. Most M.Ed. programs require a commitment of at least two years, although some accelerated options may be completed in 18 months or less.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN EDUCATION?

Earning your M.Ed. is one of the best ways to advance your career in education. In many states, simply having your master’s degree in education will automatically increase your pay. In addition, a master’s degree is a requirement for more advanced teaching and education administration jobs.

With your Master’s in Education you can qualify for jobs as a lead teacher, curriculum developer, instructional designer, school counselor and education administrator. Some colleges and universities also hire teachers with their M.Ed. to teach classes at the college level.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATION PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online M.E. programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online master’s in education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific M.Ed. requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Johns Hopkins University 80.13 4/5 92% Baltimore, MD

Although its School of Education wasn’t formally established until 2007, this Baltimore university has a century-long history of community engagement through education. As early as 1947, Johns Hopkins has offered flexible, part-time programs to working individuals in surrounding urban communities. An early pioneer in women’s education, the School of Education today grants over 500 degrees every year through traditional, online, and hybrid programs, including several online master’s of education tracks.

Students earning a master’s of education online can select from three programs offered in a fully-online format: education in health programs (MEHP), education studies, and technology for educators. Each concentration is a collaborative effort between the School of Education and another department or organization, such as the International Society for Technology and Education. However, all are built around one core curriculum. Program lengths range from 33 to 39 credit hours, and most students graduate in approximately two years. Some programs have highly specific prerequisite conditions for acceptance, such as the educational studies track, which offers two additional concentrations for members of Teach For America and TNTP. Current corps members and alumni of Teach For America may select the first concentration, which focuses on leadership in education. The 39-credit TNTP program takes approximately two years to complete, and is open to TNTP fellows from any state who are teaching in a school at the time of application. Focused on evidence-based teaching in the medical field, the MEHP concentration is available exclusively to individuals who hold an advanced degree in health-related professions.

Although tuition for most of Johns Hopkins’ online courses is significantly less than their traditional counterparts, fees for the MEHP tend to be higher. All distance learners, however, are eligible for (and encouraged to apply for) financial aid and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: School administration and supervision, reading, technology for educators, gifted education, and educational studies
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: $840/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33-39 credits
Field education requirements: Practicums and seminars

Program Length
Program length: 1-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: April 1; spring: October 1; summer: February 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Current CV/resume must be included with application

Contact
School phone: 1 (800) 468-6548
Admissions email: soe.admissions@jhu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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2 University of Georgia 75.80 3/5 81% Athens, GA

Founded in 1785, this Athens, Georgia institution is the oldest chartered state university in the country. Today, offering over a dozen undergraduate majors and nearly one hundred graduate programs, it’s also one of the largest. Known for its comprehensive distance learning programs, UGA offers eight master’s in education online programs that focus on several subfields of adult and childhood education. Learning tracks include instructional design, human resources, middle grades education, workforce education, and educational psychology. Students on the educational psychology track can select an additional area of focus in applied cognition or gifted and creative education, depending on their personal career goals.

The university’s application requirements for an online master’s of education are highly dependent on the program, as are criteria for graduation and coursework delivery modes. Coursework is typically completed through Athena, UGA’s online course management platform. The majority of courses require applicants to hold an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, along with strong GRE scores. Length of degree programs ranges from 33 to 37 credit hours, with some requiring a practicum component. Many classes are delivered in a cohort format via eLearning Commons, the school’s online education platform. While all programs are 100% online, the learning, design, and technology curriculum offers students an incentive to attend an annual department-wide conference on campus.

Online students at UGA pay the same tuition fees as their traditional counterparts, regardless of residency, and may apply for financial aid. UGA also accepts corporate payment plans, and extends financial assistance to military personnel and veterans.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Adult education; educational psychology; learning, design, and technology, instructional design and development; middle grades education; reading education; workforce education
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $629-$638/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33-37 credit hours

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1-3 years
Program start dates: Summer, fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: July 1; spring: November 15; summer: March 1
GPA: 2.6 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: 2-3 years

Contact
Department phone: (706) 542-6446 Department email: oasis@uga.edu Social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook

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3 University of Central Florida 71.95 3/5 65% Orlando, FL

With over 64,000 students enrolled every year, this Orlando institution is one of the largest universities in the United States. Boasting ten regional campuses in addition to the Orlando campus complex, the student body includes individuals from 153 countries and all 50 states. For the past 20 years, UCF has also extended its online education program to students around the world. Offering more than 60 fully-online degree and certificate programs, including five online master’s degrees in education, UCF has earned a reputation for providing some of the best accredited online programs in the nation.

At UCF, students can earn an online master’s of education in applied learning and instruction, career and technical education, educational leadership, exceptional student education, or instructional design and technology. Degree programs vary in length from 30 to 45 credit hours, depending on concentration. Some programs offer thesis as well as non-thesis options for completion, while all students must pass a comprehensive examination before graduation. Admission requirements also differ between program concentrations. Some, such as the exceptional student education track, are designed for those who have already received teaching certifications, while others are interdisciplinary and offer room for curriculum customization.

Taught using a cohort model, UCF’s online courses consist of web-based instruction and collaboration, streaming digital video, or a combination of both. The university offers distance learners assistance through a variety of online resources, including career services and access to UCF’s digital library. The school waives campus resource fees for online students, who are also eligible to apply for financial aid and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Performance; School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
Program name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: In-state: $327/credit hour; out-of-state: $1,152/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: July 15; spring: December 1; summer: April 15
GPA: Minimum 3.0 minimum over final 60 undergraduate credits

Contact
School phone: 1 (855) 903-8576
School email: online@ucf.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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4 Michigan State University 68.71 3/5 79% East Lansing, MI

Founded in 1855 in East Lansing, Michigan State University was originally conceived as an agricultural college. Today, MSU offers more than 200 programs of study, including numerous online and hybrid degree programs designed with busy people and working professionals in mind. Ideal for classroom teachers, school administrators, coaches, and adult educators, MSU’s College of Education offers a fully-online master’s of education program for those who want to take their career in education to the next level.

This 30 credit hour program offers six concentrations in literacy education, P-16 school leadership, science and mathematics education, special education, technology and learning, and sport leadership. Instead of completing a thesis, students are required to participate in a capstone seminar, in which they develop and exhibit an online portfolio prior to graduation. Courses are taught in an accelerated cohort format, with lectures and coursework delivered through Desire2Learn, MSU’s online learning portal. Most students are able to earn their degree in around two and a half years, taking one to two courses per semester.

While residents of Kentucky may not apply to MSU’s online master’s programs in education, the school offers a flat tuition for distance learners in and out of state. Additionally, students enrolled in at least five credit hours of courses are eligible to apply for financial aid and scholarships. Although the program does not confer graduates with teaching certification, individuals seeking licensure can apply for a recommendation or endorsement through the School of Education. Faculty advisors are available to assist students with the certification application process, as well as with many academic and financial aspects of the online master’s program. Students are assigned an academic advisor upon acceptance to the program.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Arts in Education
Available concentrations: Literacy education, P-12 School and postsecondary leadership, science and mathematics education, special education, sport coaching and leadership, technology and learning
Accrediting body: NCACS
Tuition: $699/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: June 1; spring: October 1; summer: March 1
GPA: Minimum 3.0

Contact
School phone: (517) 355-1825
School email: onlineed@msu.edu
Social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook

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5 University of South Carolina-Columbia 68.54 3/5 72% Columbia, SC

For 200 years, the University of South Carolina has offered comprehensive, affordable degree programs from its campus in Columbia, the state's capitol. A top research university renowned for its innovative approaches to learning and study, USC has always been at the forefront of online education development. The school currently offers six online graduate degrees, including an online master’s of education in teaching and another program for educational administration.

Both 36-credit programs take two years to complete. However, the two programs vary widely in focus, curriculum, and application requirements. Designed for certified South Carolina educators interested in becoming school principals or other administrators, students enrolled in the M.Ed in educational administration program must complete at least three years of teaching experience prior to completion. Coursework emphasizes legal and managerial aspects of school administration. While neither program offers certification, the M.Ed in teaching is intended to prepare those seeking an accredited online master’s in education for National Board Certification exams through professional development. Teaching program applicants may provide proof of professional experience in lieu of GRE scores, and are required to complete a capstone seminar prior to graduation.

Coursework for both programs is taught by the same USC professors that teach on campus, and is delivered through the university’s elearning portal in a variety of models, including pre-recorded video. Students do not need to be present online at designated “class times.” Like their traditional counterparts, out of state distance learners at USC pay higher tuition fees, but all students are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Teaching, educational administration
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: Program cost: In-state: $18,022; out-of-state: $19,939

Delivery
Format: Online (teaching concentration), hybrid (educational administration concentration)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: South Carolina teaching certification (educational administration concentration only)
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum (educational administration concentration only)

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: July 1; spring: September 15; summer: April 1
GPA: Minimum 2.5 (educational administration concentration only)
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: 3 years (educational administration concentration only)

Contact
Department phone: (803) 777-0169
Department email: bellq@mailbox.sc.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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6 University of Dayton 66.15 5/5 78% Dayton, OH

This Catholic research university offers traditional and online master’s of education programs with numerous unique features. M.Ed. candidates at Dayton can choose to participate in the Lalanne Program, where they live in a faith-based community of fellow educators while teaching in an urban Catholic school. The regionally accredited university is also one of the few to offer an International Dyslexia Association-accredited online master’s in education. Applicants can select from multiple non-licensure programs, including early childhood, leadership, literacy, technology-enhanced learning, and interdisciplinary educational studies. Several certification programs are also available, including proficiency certification for teachers of French, German, and Spanish.

Taught in an accelerated, asynchronous format, each 30-credit program can be completed entirely online, although most graduate students choose a hybrid course plan. Regardless of concentration, core courses emphasize foundational concepts in early, middle grade, and adolescent education. Students may be required to produce a thesis, complete a practicum, or both, depending on the concentration. The university also offers several digital professional development seminars and programs a year, by which students can earn course credits. Applicants to most programs must submit GRE scores, and international applicants must have obtained the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Tuition at Dayton is the same for in and out of state distance learners. Lalanne Program participants receive a significant discount. In addition to federal financial aid, some students may wish to apply for graduate assistantships. Though limited in number, these on-campus positions can help both online and traditional students pay for their degree by working in one of several departments in the School of Education and Health Sciences. Monthly installment payment plans are also available.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education and Health Sciences
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Early childhood leadership and advocacy, interdisciplinary educational studies, literacy, teacher as leader, technology-enhanced learning, transdisciplinary early childhood education, educational leadership (Catholic school leadership, leadership for educational systems)
Accrediting body: NCACS
Tuition: $620/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 16 credit hours (core courses), plus concentration-specific electives
Field education requirements: Required by some concentrations

Program Length
Program options: Full-time, part-time
Program length: 1-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Applicants to the teacher as leader concentration must have a valid teaching license

Contact
School phone: (937) 229-3146
School email: info@udayton.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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7 California State University-Fullerton 63.87 2/5 51% Fullerton, CA

CSUF’s College of Education is the only university teacher preparation institution in Orange County accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Offering one hybrid and six fully-online master’s of education programs, the school is known for its academic rigor and emphasis on community outreach. CSUF is also renowned for its commitment to diversity, and was one of the first institutions to be included in the AACTE Network’s initiative to increase teaching certification among black and Hispanic men. 66.7% of students in the Ed.D. program come from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

CSUF offers online master’s of education programs in educational technology, reading education, special education, instructional design, elementary instruction, and secondary education. An MS in educational leadership is also available as a hybrid program. Students on an elementary curriculum and instruction track can further specialize in one of six concentrations, including diversity, math and science, and professional inquiry and practice. Those in the secondary education program may select an optional concentration, although these courses are typically offered in a hybrid format. Degree program lengths, credit requirements, and course formats vary according to concentration, with most of the master’s in education online programs taking between one and two years to complete.

While most schools offer a non-licensure master’s of education online, those enrolled in CSUF’s literacy and reading track will complete coursework required to earn specialized credentials. Coursework in the special education concentration is also designed to prepare students for preliminary credential programs, and may confer added authorizations upon eligible students.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Educational technology, educational leadership, elementary curriculum and instruction, secondary education (high school & middle school), instructional design and technology, reading education, special education
Accrediting body: WASC
Tuition: $6,738/academic year

Delivery
Format: Online (reading education concentration is hybrid)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 29-30

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1-3
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 over last 60 undergraduate credits
Work experience: 3 years of teaching experience

Contact
Department phone: (657) 278-3411
Department email: edelgradprograms@fullerton.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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8 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 63.80 3/5 65% Baton Rouge, LA

It might not be obvious from this Baton Rouge institution’s name, but Louisiana State University offers two world-class online master’s in education programs. Highly regarded for its affordable and academically rigorous online courses, the university has made these degree programs available to graduate students around the world. 100% of graduates with an online master’s in education from LSU pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

LSU’s 36-credit higher education administration program is designed for individuals seeking leadership positions in the field of education. Through 12 seven week courses and an internship, students acquire the knowledge and management skills necessary to succeed in a variety of educational venues and administrative positions. Students in the educational leadership program gain the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience they need to become effective educators as they complete the 39-credit program, including an in-classroom internship. Most earn their master’s of education online in around a year and a half. Coursework is completed through Moodle, LSU’s online learning platform, and additional resources are available 24 hours a day through the school’s GROK knowledge base.

Applicants for both programs are required to hold a combined GRE score of 297, or two years of work experience with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Additionally, applicants to the educational leadership program must present a valid teaching certificate, proof of current employment at a school, and two years of teaching experience. While tuition fees vary between programs, distance learners are eligible to receive federal financial aid.


Program Overview
Department: College of Human Sciences & Education
Program name: Master of Arts in Education
Available concentrations: Higher education administration
Accrediting body: SACSCOC
Tuition: $451/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: Minimum 15 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
School phone: (225) 578-2331
School email: chseinfo@lsu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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9 Purdue University-Main Campus 63.68 3/5 70% West Lafayette, IN

Notable for its Nobel prize-winning faculty members, this university in West Lafayette, Indiana counts astronaut Neil Armstrong among its alumni. With over 500 research labs and institutes, Purdue has built a solid reputation as one of the best schools for science, engineering, and math in the United States. In recent decades, the university has extended its academically rigorous degree programs into the world of digital learning. Current offerings include two MSEd programs for those who want to earn their master’s of education online.

Students in the 33-credit MSEd in learning design and technology program learn to combine cutting-edge techniques in multimedia design with classic and emerging pedagogical theories as they develop a portfolio for later use in the workforce. This fully-online program is open to individuals from all educational and professional backgrounds, although applicants must complete a telephone interview with an admissions advisor. The MSEd in special education program offers a curriculum aligned with EdTPA, an assessment organization that ensures educators are teaching effectively and to standard. Emphasizing intervention and teaching techniques for severely disabled students, this program prepares future educators to assess and support students with special needs through appropriate instructional programs. Several tracks are available, including a master’s only option and a master’s with special education licensure.

Both online master’s of education programs are taught asynchronously through a virtual classroom interface. Coursework is identical in rigor and subject matter to that of traditional classes, and instructors are the same faculty members who teach on campus.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Learning design and technology, special education
Accrediting body: NCASC
Tuition: In-state: $329/credit hour; out-of-state: $650/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credit hours

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Varies (contact an admissions counselor)
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Professional letters of reference are required

Contact
Department phone: (765) 494-2341
Department email: education@purdue.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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10 Indiana University-Bloomington 62.32 3/5 75% Bloomington, IN

One of the top public universities in the world, IU Bloomington is known for its rare book collections, specialized language and cultural studies programs, and hosting the annual Little 500 bike race. Distinguished alumni include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, violinist Joshua Bell, and John Mellencamp. Currently, IU offers more than 100 fully-online degree and certificate programs, including five 36-credit online master’s of education programs. This regionally accredited university strives to meet the hallmarks of quality distance education defined by its accreditors.

Distance learners seeking a master’s of education online at IU can choose from degree programs in literacy, culture, and language; instructional systems technology; adult education; educational leadership; and special education. Students enrolled in the special education program can select from five concentrations: early childhood, instructional strategies, autism, intense interventions, and behavior specialists. Graduation requirements and degree lengths vary between programs, and may include capstone projects, portfolio workshops, or hands-on experience in the field. The literacy, culture, and language program includes an elective thesis option. Educational leadership students with two or more years of teaching experience can earn an Indiana principal’s license upon program completion.

Online learners have digital access to IU’s renowned libraries, and can download software, including Adobe and Microsoft products, free of charge through the school’s IUware service. Courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system, although format varies between programs and individual courses. The school charges a $30 distance education fee per credit and online students are eligible to apply for financial aid and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Educational leadership; instructional systems technology; special education; literacy, culture, and language education
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: In-state: $490/credit hour; out-of-state: $574/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credit hours

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: March 1; spring: November 1
GPA: Minimum 3.3 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (812) 856-8500
Department email: educ@indiana.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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11 University of Missouri-Columbia 62.21 3/5 71% Columbia, MO

Mizzou Online, the online education master's degree gateway to the school, offers 16 master's programs. Program disciplines include special education, early childhood education, gifted education, library sciences, English language learners, technology, and more. The school offers art education and educational leadership programs, both require on-campus visits. The master’s in autism will teach students to identify early characteristics of autism in children, how to provide support in multiple environments, and how to promote and enhance social competence. Possible careers include school counselor and special education teacher. Degrees range between 30–37 credits. Most of the programs are semester-based, with 4-week, 8-week, or 16-week sessions. Students typically finish in two or three years. Not all programs lead to licensure. The College of Education offers a variety of scholarships for students. Online graduate students pay in-state tuition regardless of residency. Mizzou's online courses are developed and taught by on-campus academic departments.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Autism education, early childhood education, early childhood special education, early childhood special education - autism, English education, gifted education, learning systems design and development, literacy education, mathematics education, mental health practices in schools, online educator, positive coaching, social studies education, teaching English to speakers of other languages, technology in schools
Accrediting body: HLC, TEAC
Tuition: $12,495-$14,160

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30-34 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: July 1; spring: November 1; summer: April 1
GPA: Minimum 3.0 over your final 60 undergraduate credit hours
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (573) 882-2121
Department email: TeacherEducation@missouri.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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12 Appalachian State University 61.18 3/5 66% Boone, NC

Located in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian State offers five online master's in education programs: educational media, curriculum specialist, higher education, elementary, middle grades, and reading education. The educational media program has three tracks: instructional technology specialist/K-12, online learning and professional development, and new media literacies and global perspectives. The curriculum specialist program follows a cohort-model with two classes per term, including summers; it can be completed in two-years. Applicants must hold a valid teaching license. The higher education program has two tracks available: adult and developmental education and community college and university leadership. The reading education has one, pre-arranged face-to-face meeting. Online instruction includes synchronous class meetings and asynchronous coursework. Distance students have access to the same financial aid as on-campus students. Veteran's Administration Education Benefits are available. Appalachian State enrolls about 18,000 students and offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Program Overview
Department: Reich College of Education
Program name: Master of Arts in Education
Available concentrations: Curriculum specialist, educational media, elementary education, higher education, middle grades education, reading education, special education
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: In-state: $267/credit hour; out-of-state: $925/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online, hybrid (elementary education and middle grades education concentrations)
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36-39 credits
Field education requirements: Internship (elementary education and middle grades education concentrations)

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 1
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: North Carolina A-level teaching license required for most concentrations

Contact
Department phone: (828) 262-2000
Department email: RCOEMarketing@appstate.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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13 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 61.08 3/5 66% Knoxville, TN

The College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at Tennessee offers five online master's in education programs. Programs include a 36-credit educational administration degree with the option of obtaining a K–12 licensure certificate. This program includes an internship. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 and 3.2 for prior graduate work, hold teacher or school-related licensure by program completion, have three years of experience working in schools, and complete the interview process. Students complete a professional portfolio as a capstone project. The program requires one face-to-face on-campus session per summer. The MSEd in psychology degree has two concentrations for online learners: adult education or applied educational psychology. This program includes a comprehensive exam. The school also offers an online teacher education program for those interested in science, technology, engineering, or math. This program does not require a valid teaching license.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Educational administration, instructional technology, education psychology, teacher education - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Accrediting body: SACSCOC

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33-36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Varies, depending on concentration
GPA: Minimum 2.7
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Department phone: (865) 974-2201
Admissions email: admissions@utk.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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14 The University of West Florida 60.34 3/5 45% Pensacola, FL

West Florida offer four online master's in education programs: curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, reading, and instructional design and technology. Within the curriculum and instruction program, students can concentrate in elementary, middle level, or secondary education. This program consists of leadership and investigative classes. Students in the instructional design and technology program can focus on human performance technology or distance learning. Applicants must have earned a GPA of at least 3.0 on bachelor's degree. Online restrictions apply in Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, North Carolina, and New Hampshire; be sure to check state authorizations. Students in Minnesota can’t enroll in online programs at University of West Florida. Out-of-state students can apply for a tuition waiver for the out-of-state portion of tuition.

UWF was founded in 1963. The school has student population of 13,000 and an average class size of 40 students.


Program Overview
Department: Teacher Education and Educational Leadership
Program name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership Certification online
Available concentrations: Curriculum and Instruction
Tuition: Program cost: $14,745

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: Year round

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Work experience: 3 years of teaching experience

Contact
Department phone: (850) 474-2745
Admissions email: gradadmissions@uwf.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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15 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus 59.92 4/5 79% Pittsburgh, PA

The school of education at Pittsburgh offers four online master's education programs: elementary education, english and communications, mathematics, and secondary social studies. There is a hybrid special education program with a concentration in vision studies program that combine online and face-to-face classes. The 36-credit elementary and english courses do not have any specific prerequisite requirements. Math and social studies applicants should have a related undergraduate degree. Social studies requires an instructional certificate. All applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their teacher certification programs. Online learners go through a virtual orientation familiarizing themselves with Courseweb, the online learning management system at Pitt Online. Online courses are between 12–15 weeks long in the fall and spring, and 6-week courses in the summer. Online programs are delivered asynchronously and all students are eligible for financial aid. The school has over 9,000 graduate and doctorate students.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Elementary education, English and communications, mathematics education, secondary social studies education
Accrediting body: MSACS, CHE
Tuition: In-state: $877/credit; out-of-state: $1,468/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
School phone: (412) 648-9499
School email: online@pitt.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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16 Lindenwood University 58.39 4/5 41% Saint Charles, MO

Located in St. Charles, Missouri, Lindenwood offers an online master's degree education. Students can choose to specialize in educational technology, teaching english for speakers of other languages (ESOL), higher education, or a non-certification program in character education. All four online programs require 33 credits to complete and are research and project based. The ESOL program requires a valid Missouri teaching certificate. Online coursework is delivered through the learning management system, Canvas, which offers 24/7 technical support. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA with 24 transferable credit hours. Applicants who do not meet those requirements will require further evaluation. Online learners at Lindenwood receive the same financial aid options as on-campus students. Distance learners have access to the Tutors and Writing Center. The center helps students revise rough-drafts, gather information for papers, organize an outline, and develop a thesis statement.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Educational Technology
Available concentrations: Character education, English for speakers of other languages K-12, higher education
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $4,320/nine credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Applicants must hold a valid teaching certificate
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0
Work experience: Applicants must hold a valid teaching certificate

Contact
School phone: (636) 949-2000
School email: academicservices2@lindenwood.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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17 University of Hawaii at Manoa 57.89 3/5 56% Honolulu, HI

Hawaii's school of education offers inquiry and field-based programs to preservice and in-service teachers. The 30-credit master’s of education online master's degree at UH Hilo at Manoa is designed for licensed teachers throughout Hawaii and in select areas of the countries of the Pacific Rim. The program follows a cohort model and can be completed in two-years with four semesters and two summers of classes. Designed as a generalist and interdisciplinary degree, this program is for working teachers who don’t want to enroll in a specialization. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be eligible for an initial Hawaiʻi basic license. International applicants must provide verification of financial status. As a research-heavy program, this degree culminates with a master's research project. Courses are offered through a primarily distance-based learning format. The school was established in 1947 as public liberal arts and science university.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Education
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: In-state: $479/credit hour; out-of-state: $1,097/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Field education requirements: Teaching seminar

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall: March 1; spring: October 1
GPA: Minimum 3.0 over final 60 undergraduate credits
Work experience: Applicants must display eligibility for an Initial Hawai’i Basic License to teach

Contact
Department phone: (808) 932-7446
Department email: sehna@hawaii.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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18 University of North Dakota 57.88 3/5 52% Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota offers several online master education programs. The 34-credit educational leadership degree is a hybrid program that combines online coursework and face-to-face classes, which are held in Bismarck. This program takes 1–2 years to complete and includes a one-semester practicum. The 35-cred English language learner program requires 90 hours of practicum experience and takes over two years to complete. The reading education, students can choose between an M.Ed or MS. This 32-credit program is entirely online and takes over two years to complete. The Instructional Design degree combines education, psychology, and communication, and requires 34–36 credits to graduate. This program is fully online and offered in a synchronous format. The school also offers 32-credit MS degrees in elementary education and early childhood education. Online students at University of North Dakota pay in-state tuition regardless of residency. Most programs start in August, January, or June, except for the reading education program, which only begins in August.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education & Human Development
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Counseling with a K-12 school emphasis, early childhood education, educational leadership, elementary education, English language learner education, instructional design and technology, reading education, special education
Accrediting body: HLCNCACS
Tuition: In-state (& educational leadership concentration): $320/credit; Minnesota reciprocity agreement: $407/credit; out-of-state: $855/credit

Delivery
Format: Online (except master of education in educational leadership)
Instruction style: Asynchronous (except instructional design & technology)

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 32-50 credits
Field education requirements: Varies, depending on concentration

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Varies, depending on concentration
GPA: Varies, depending on concentration

Contact
School phone: (701) 777-2674
School email: UND.info@und.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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19 University of Houston-Clear Lake 57.50 3/5 40% Houston, TX

Houston-Clear Lake takes pride in its student-centered programming. Online students in the Master of Science in educational management program can earn certifications or co-certifications in principal, reading, special education, or master technology. This program is taught in eight-week terms and can be completed in 15 months. Online learners take a mix of professional and administration core classes, including school law, applied statistics, and technology courses. Graduation requires a capstone culminating experience project. This online, 30-credit degree can be completed entirely online or in a hybrid format with some face-to-face class time. Online coursework is delivered through Blackboard. Financial aid and scholarships are available for online master’s education learners. UHCL offers online students access to advising procedures and technical support. The school’s New Teachers Online provides recent graduates with help and assistance from faculty.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program name: Master of Science in Educational Management and Principal Certification
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: In-state $286/credit; out-of-state $485/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 15 months

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75-3.0
Standardized tests: GRE (waived for applicants with minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0)
Work experience: Valid Texas teaching certificate required

Contact
School phone: (281) 283-7600
Department email: admissions@uhcl.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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20 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota 56.97 3/5 62% Winona, MN

Saint Mary's offers three online master's in education programs. The learning design and technology program focuses on instructional theory, strategic planning, and learning design. This program can be completed in 20 months but doesn’t admit transfer or elective credits. The educational leadership degree is designed for education professionals looking to enhance their research, management, and training skills. It’s a 33-credit program that can be completed in two years. The special education master's degree is 36 credits and provides guidance on how to teach with an inclusive approach. Online learners who live and work in Minnesota can earn a Minnesota special education license in a specific learning disability, emotional or behavioral disorders, and/or autism spectrum disorder. Students pursuing a certification will have face-to-face requirements. All online learners at Saint Mary’s receive an iPad with productivity apps and the learning platform. Online classes begin in the spring, summer, or fall. Students can transfer a maximum of six credits into special education and educational leadership programs.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts, Master of Education
Available concentrations: Master of Arts - educational leadership, special education; Master of Education - learning design and technology
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $510/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Department phone: (507) 457-6622
Department email: bkube@smumn.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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21 California State University-Fresno 56.94 2/5 48% Fresno, CA

Cal State-Fresno's school of education and human development offers a 30-credit online master's degree education designed to help teachers make curricular decisions about reading education and instruction that meets the needs of learners with varying backgrounds. Students in this program can take an advanced reading and literacy leadership specialist credential or a reading and literacy certificate. The program follows a cohort model, it culminates with a project, thesis, or comprehensive exam, and can be completed in five semesters. Online students can transfer up to nine credits from previously attended university programs. Applicants must have a minimum 2.75 GPA in their undergraduate work and have fulfilled the equivalent of a writing competency. Most students at Fresno State are eligible for financial aid. All coursework must be completed with five-years. Courses include literacy process and practices, teaching the language arts, language issues in reading, and educational statistics.


Program Overview
Department: Kremen School of Education & Human Development
Program name: Master of Arts in Education
Available concentrations: Reading and language arts
Accrediting body: CSBE, WASC
Tuition: $6,738/academic year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 units

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: Undergraduate Writing Competency (or equivalent)

Contact
Department phone: (559) 278-0285
Department email: kremenschool@csufresno.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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22 Webster University 56.93 4/5 64% Saint Louis, MO

Webster offers five online masters education programs: communication arts, education and innovation, special education, teaching English as a second language, and educational technology. The 33-credit communication arts program is a hybrid program that focuses on language, literature, and media. Students can choose between eleven emphasis areas--only the emphasis portion of the classes are online--the rest of the program must be completed at the St. Louis campus. The education and innovation program is offered entirely online. Students in this program may select an emphasis area or graduate certificate. Emphasis areas include global sustainability and positive behavioral interventions and supports. The 36-credit special education degree has emphasis options, including applied behavior analysis, emotional and behavior disorders, and severe developmental disabilities. This program does not lead to initial certification. The 33-credit ESL program has two tracks: adult education or K–12 ESL, which offers an optional certification. The 33-credit educational technology program explore multimedia such as print, graphics, sound, video, and the web.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Arts, Master of Educational Technology
Available concentrations: Master of Arts - communication arts, education and innovation, multimodal literacy for global impact, special education, teaching English as a second language
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $290/credit

Delivery
Format: Online, hybrid (education and innovation concentration)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Varies, depending on concentration
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Field education requirements: Varies, depending on concentration

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum 2.5

Contact
Department phone: (314) 246-8007
Department email: soe@webster.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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23 Azusa Pacific University 56.01 4/5 63% Azusa, CA

Azusa Pacific offers four online education master's degree. The MA.Ed school librarianship program is offered in conjunction with the online Teacher Librarian Services credential. The 36-credit program can be completed in a year and a half. The 30-unit art education master's degree is a low-residency program that requires two, one-week summer intensive practicums at APU’s main campus in Azusa. The special education program includes emphasis in autism spectrum disorders. It requires 42-45 units, which can take between 18-24 months to to complete; this program does not lead to a teaching credential. Applicants must have proof of Certificate of Clearance. The 36-credit online MA TESOL is for students interested in language acquisition theory, grammar, pronunciation, intercultural communication and sociolinguistics, language assessment, and language-development research. Most programs at Azusa require a minimum 3.0 GPA for undergraduate work for applicants.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Education
Available concentrations: Master of arts - educational leadership, educational technology; Master of arts in education - school librarianship, special education
Accrediting body: WSCUC
Tuition: $637-$698/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (educational leadership concentration only)
Credit requirements: 30-45 credits
Field education requirements: Varies, depending on concentration

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 (2.5-2.9 minimum GPA will be considered with additional demonstrations of competency)
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Department phone: (626) 815-6018
Program director email: kbacer@apu.edu: Kathleen Bacer
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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24 Arizona State University-Tempe 55.80 3/5 58% Tempe, AZ

There are five master's in education online programs at Arizona State. The education technology program prepares students to design, develop, and evaluate learning technology in formal and informal educational settings. The educational leadership/principalship degree is designed for aspiring principals and leaders. It prepares teachers for principal or supervision certification. The curriculum and instruction program offers two specializations: gifted education or autism spectrum disorders. The gifted education program provides the coursework required for a K-12 endorsement. Online students enrolled in the early childhood education can take the certification or endorsement options. This program includes a practicum, which must be completed in person. Applicants must have maintained a 3.00 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. This school offers flexibility with its start dates, including options in March. Faculty include five Nobel Laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and three MacArthur Fellows.


Program Overview
Department: ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Applied behavior analysis, autism spectrum disorders, early childhood education, gifted education, educational leadership, educational technology
Accrediting body: HLCNCACS
Tuition: $565/credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30-36 credits
Field education requirements: Varies, depending on concentration

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0

Contact
School phone: 877-326-6744
Admissions email: gradenrollment@asuonline.asu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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25 SUNY at Albany 55.56 3/5 64% Albany, NY

The education online master's programs at SUNY Albany include childhood, early childhood education, reading, and curriculum development and instructional technology. The part-time childhood and early childhood education programs are designed for certified teachers and include practicum requirements. The reading program includes a practicum in the fall semester; it does not lead to teacher certification. It can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. The 30-credit curriculum development and instructional technology is for students interested in instructional design and technology. This program culminates with a master's thesis project and includes an option to complete a 15-credit program leading to a certificate in online learning and teaching. Graduate applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate work. The school is located in Albany, New York, and enrolls over 17,300 students yearly.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master of Science
Available concentrations: Curriculum development and instructional technology, childhood education, early childhood education, reading
Accrediting body: MSCHE
Tuition: In-state: $453/credit; out-of-state: $925/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 29-30 credits
Field education requirements: Variable, depending on concentration

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 30 credit hours
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0
Work experience: Varies; some concentrations require New York State teacher licensure

Contact
Department phone: (518) 442-3300
Department email: graduate@albany.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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With an online master’s in education, students receive the same quality education as on-campus students with added flexibility. It’s important to note the similarities and differences between programs before applying.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATION

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Curriculum and Instruction An online master’s program in education focuses on the theory and practice of lesson design, delivery, and assessment in the context of today’s rapidly-changing educational climate. Coursework emphasizes development of instructional practices, curriculum design in reference to common core standards, and self-examination of teaching methods. Instructional coordinator, principal, teacher trainer, and additional opportunities with government agencies and non-profits.
Bilingual Education An online master’s degree in education with a concentration in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) provides skills for working with ESL/bilingual students in K-12 schools. A typical program focuses on language pedagogy and acquisition theory, as well as strategies for managing the unique issues bilingual students face. Teaching ESOL in K-12 schools or other informal environments.
Adult Education A master’s in education online program with a concentration in adult education focuses on research on lifelong learning. The program focuses on teaching techniques to train adult learners for success in the workplace. It’s an option for students who love teaching but want to move out of the classroom and into the corporate world. Corporate trainer, career educator, and post-secondary instructor.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATION

When selecting an online master’s degree in education, it’s important to remember that curricula offerings will differ from school to school. Students should always keep their personal career goals in mind when researching a program. There are a number of general courses that online master’s in education programs tend to offer which are listed below.

  • Cognition & Learning: An investigation into the conditions that influence learning and how the learning process occurs. Students become better educators, equipped with the knowledge of how to enrich their classroom’s learning environment.
  • Media Literacy: Students focus on ways of applying technology and teaching new media literacy skills in the classroom. Through exploring the education advantages and problems that digital content can present, students prepare to incorporate technology into their job as a K-12 educator.
  • Strategies of Classroom Supervision: Students learn techniques for managing behavior and promoting self-direction and autonomy in the classroom. Strategies for supervising or coaching other teachers are also covered. This course is suited for students with teacher leadership aspirations.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATION?

An online master’s degree in education is meant to be completed in two to three years (30 to 45 credit hours). Many universities are flexible in terms of how many credits need to be taken per semester in order to accommodate working professionals. A large number of programs also offer options for additional certifications or licenses that could add extra time.

Another factor that influences the duration of a program is whether or not it is taught in a cohort or individual format. Cohort programs have students complete coursework together with a small group of their peers, and they may only begin the program at certain times of the year. Individually paced program allow students more freedom. They are able to take as many credits per term as they desire, sometimes finishing the program faster than average. Students should keep their own learning style in mind when selecting a cohort or individually paced program.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN EDUCATION PREPARES FOR

  • School Counselor License: Students who want to work one-on-one as a mentor to students in the K-12 school system have the possibility to get licensed as a school counselor. The licensing process differs from state to state but generally includes the completion of an internship with an experienced counselor and an examination.
  • Principal/Administrative Certification: Educational leadership graduates may be interested in completing the certification process to become a school principal. Candidates are, on average, required to complete a practical internship demonstrating their abilities as an administrator in a school. Performance is assessed along the way and a final examination may also be required.

When selecting a school for an online master’s in education, pay attention to the school’s accrediting body. Accreditation is a guarantee that a school adheres to academic standards and that a degree earned there will be recognized by employers. School accreditation comes in either regional or national accreditation form. Regional accreditation is more popular as it is generally considered to be more prestigious. The credits earned at regionally accredited schools are commonly accepted when transferring from colleges. Nationally accredited schools have merits of their own, such as relaxed admittance policies and lower costs, but students should check that an M. Ed. from a nationally accredited school will make them eligible to receive an educator’s license in their state.

When looking for an accredited online master’s in education, students should focus their search on schools accredited by bodies such as the Distance Education and Training Council or an education specific accreditation agency, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

The two organizations that also play a major part in accreditation are the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Both organizations ensure that schools adhere to the highest standards of academic excellence by certifying the quality of accrediting agencies. If a school has an accreditation that is DOE or CHEA certified, it’s a good sign that a degree earned there will be recognized. Check the DOE’s and CHEA’s websites for a list of all accredited schools.

Job Placement: M.Ed. vs Bachelor of Education

Although a bachelor’s degree can help you obtain entry-level teaching positions, the employment rates are much more favorable for teachers who receive a master’s. A recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that professional educators with a graduate degree faced a 1.9% unemployment rate. By comparison, the unemployment rate for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and some professional experience is 3.9%, and 5.4% for recent graduates without experience.

Education Specialty Unemployment Rate for Recent College Graduates (%) Unemployment Rate for Experienced College Graduates (%) Unemployment Rate for Graduate Degree Holders (%)
General Education 6.0% 4.1% 2.4%
Elementary Education 4.8% 3.4% 1.7%
Physical & Health Education 3.7% 2.2%
Special Needs Education 4.5% 2.0%
Language & Drama Education 4.2% 2.2%
Art & Music Education 3.7% 2.2%

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)

Earning a Living

In addition to higher job placement rates, teachers who earn a master’s degree usually qualify for a higher salary bracket than those who complete their education with a bachelor’s degree. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), 96% of the 112 major school districts in the U.S. pay teachers a higher salary if they hold a master’s degree, and the National Center on Education Statistics found that teachers with a master’s earned a median salary of $57,831 during the 2011-12 academic year; teachers with bachelor’s degrees earned a median salary of $46,343 during the same timeframe. Below, you’ll find a graph illustrating the salary differences between teachers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees over the course of their respective careers.

Source: The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

As the graph shows, first-year teachers with a master’s degree earned approximately $6,750 more per year than their colleagues. The pay gap between these two groups increases incrementally over time. After 15 years, teachers with a master’s earn roughly $10,000 more annually, and those with 20 years in the field will make 20% more than bachelor’s holders with identical experience. On top of increased earnings, teachers with a specialized master’s degree in education can transition easily into senior or administrative positions. Using data from PayScale, the table below features the median annual salaries for master’s-holding teachers in seven different educational professions.

Professional Title Median Annual Salary
Elementary School Teacher $49,506
High School Teacher $51,785
Special Education Teacher (Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary) $46,876
Middle School Teacher $52,075
Head Teacher $48,607
Instructional Designer $61,019
School Counselor $50,128

Source: PayScale

Regardless of specialization, the best online Master of Education degree programs prepare prospective teachers for classroom success and career advancement. Jobs for educators at the kindergarten/elementary, middle school, high school and postsecondary levels are expected to rise from 6% to 13% between 2014 and 2024 — and teachers with advanced degrees will be strategically positioned to fill this growing demand.

While there are many specializations available, the goal of any campus or online master’s in education program is to graduate competent, experienced educators. Experts expect that jobs for educators from the Pre-K to the community college level will climb steadily over the next decade, increasing 12% by 2022. Teachers with advanced degrees will be strategically positioned to take advantage of this growing demand.

Career Opportunities

Based on their specialization, teachers with a master’s degree may pursue roles in a number of different areas. They can remain in K-12 classrooms, work with special education students, or pursue principalship positions. Below are a few of the employment opportunities available for teachers with an M.Ed.

K-12 Principal: Principals at elementary, middle, or high schools monitor all daily operations within a school. They must oversee the school’s curriculum, faculty, finances, administrative functions and educational resources. Most principals began their careers as teachers, later earning a master’s in educational leadership or administration; principals in public schools are required to earn state licensure.

High School Teacher: High school teaching positions are available to candidates with a bachelor’s degree. However, many schools will give preference to candidates with a master’s degree in their subject field. In addition to educational prerequisites, public high school teachers must earn a license in the state where they plan to teach.

Postsecondary Teacher: Although a Ph.D. will be required for most postsecondary teaching positions, candidates with a master’s degree in education may qualify for roles at community colleges and other two-year institutions.

Postsecondary Administrator: Administrative roles at the college or university level include deans, registrars, student administrators, and faculty researchers. Most of these positions can be attained with a master’s degree, though advancement in some areas may require a Ph.D.

Training & Development Manager: Professional training and development managers create programs for corporate employees across different industries, and may supervise a staff of training specialists. These corporate education positions usually require a master’s degree.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
K-12 Principal $90,410 6%
High School Teacher $57,200 6%
Postsecondary Teacher $72,740 13%
Postsecondary Administrator $88,580 9%
Training & Development Manager $102,640 7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different educational approaches is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for professional educators. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • The National Council on Teacher Quality: This organization works to create policies that improve the quality of classroom education and the work environments for professional educators.
  • The National Educational Association: Working to improve public education from preschool to graduate-level studies, the NEA provides resources on current regulations, strategies for securing financial support and tools for creating high-quality lesson plans.
  • The Association of American Educators: Serving members in all 50 states, this non-union organization seeks to create tools and resources that increase student achievement and positive classroom outcomes.

Despite the relative affordability of online master’s in human resources programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Master's of Education Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Michigan State University East Landsing, MI
3 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
4 University of Georgia Athens, GA
5 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
6 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
7 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
8 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville Knoxville, TN
9 University of Massachusetts - Amherst Amherst, MA
10 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
11 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
12 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
13 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
14 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
15 Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN
16 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
17 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
18 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
19 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO
20 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY
21 The University of Arizona Tuscon, AZ
22 California State University - San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA
23 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
24 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
25 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC