Best Online Education Programs

Our higher education experts at BestColleges have identified the best online bachelor's in education programs. Read on to find the best school to help you become a teacher.

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by Bethanny Parker

Published on January 31, 2022 · Updated on April 25, 2022

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A bachelor's in education is a four-year college degree that prepares students for a career in teaching or education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board at a four-year institution was $28,123 for the 2018-19 school year.

Programs at online schools usually take the same amount of time as in-person programs, but some may be accelerated to allow students to finish more quickly. Some online schools offer competitive tuition rates to attract more students.

People with a bachelor's in education most often work as elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these positions are projected to grow 7-8% from 2020-30. As of May 2020, median salaries ranged from $60,660 for elementary school teachers to $62,870 for high school teachers.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

Good teachers have strong communication skills. This includes listening as well as speaking and writing. They are adaptable, engaging, and able to empathize with their students. They also have patience and a love of learning. Many of these qualities come in handy when earning an online bachelor's in education.

A bachelor's in education degree requires around 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. You may be able to complete the program faster if you have transfer credits or you take extra credits each semester. You may also be able to shave time off the program by taking classes during the summer.

You can reach out to the admissions office at schools you are interested in to find out more about credit transfer policies and options for finishing your program more quickly.

Throughout their bachelor's in education program, degree-seekers learn classroom management skills and how to create lesson plans. They learn how to teach small groups as well as an entire class of students, and appropriate methods for teaching different grade levels. They also learn strategies for designing instruction for students with special needs and how to communicate with families.

As part of the degree program, students must participate in a culminating student teaching experience that helps them put into practice what they have learned throughout their college career. It allows degree-seekers to gain some experience teaching while under the supervision of another teacher. Student teaching experiences vary in length and are typically upaid.

Degree-seekers may specialize in elementary education, middle level education, secondary education, special education, or other areas. Programs may award a bachelor of arts (BA), bachelor of science (BS), or bachelor of education (BEd) degree. BA programs typically have more foreign language requirements, whereas BS programs have more science and BEd programs focus more heavily on education.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Online Bachelor's in Education Programs

  1. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $9765

    Located in Seattle, UW offers a fully online bachelor of arts in early care and education. Designed for students with at least 45 undergraduate credits, most students can complete the program in two years of full-time study or three years of part-time attendance.

    The program focuses specifically on young children and their families' needs, preparing students to begin a career in early childhood education, childcare, or parent support. Through an intentional teaching framework, students learn both theory and practical applications, work in early childhood service centers in their own community, and spend time reflecting on what they learn.

    UW is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $231 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 180 quarter credits (including transfer credits)
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Program Length: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: 2.0 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  2. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $9455

    Located in northern Louisiana, ULM offers an online bachelor of science in elementary education. Designed to help teachers excel in elementary school classrooms, the program includes general studies, content area studies, professional teaching methods, integrative studies, and student teaching within the student's local community.

    Students may pursue electives such as music or art education. All first-year students must take a university seminar class to help them adjust to the expectations of college.

    ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Specialized accreditation for this elementary education program is granted by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $400 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: No minimum requirement
    • Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  3. Eastern New Mexico University
    Location

    Portales, NM

    Tuition

    $10918

    Located in Portales, ENMU offers an online bachelor of science in early childhood education with an emphasis on birth through pre-kindergarten. This degree completion program requires students to hold an associate degree in early childhood education or provide transcripts showing successful completion of all 100- and 200-level coursework needed for a bachelor's degree.

    The program does not lead to licensure but can help students meet career goals in home daycare settings, private preschools, Head Start programs, and other areas. All students must complete a nine-credit practicum experience. Local students may complete the practicum at the school's on-campus child development center, if desired.

    ENMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Birth Through Pre-K
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $2,037 per semester (in-state); $3,057 per semester (out-of-state)
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits (including transfer credits)
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Program Length: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: No minimum requirement
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  4. Biola University
    Location

    La Mirada, CA

    An evangelical Christian university in La Mirada, California, Biola offers a fully online bachelor of science in early childhood. Designed for those interested in providing faith-based education, the program blends instruction in proven teaching methods with Bible classes. 

    All students complete 12 credits of integrated biblical studies and education courses and an additional 18 credits of separate theology classes. Students also learn to focus on the family as well as the child, taking classes like psychology of marriage and family. Courses last seven weeks.

    Biola is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood
    • School Status: Private
    • Tuition: $1,849 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: 3.0 minimum required
    • Standardized Tests: Waived through fall 2021

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  5. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    Location

    Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

    Located in Indiana, SMWC offers an online bachelor's in education. The program prepares students for dual licensure in both general K-6 education and K-6 special education (mild intervention).

    Designed for students located in Indiana or Illinois, the program heavily emphasizes student teaching in the final year. The program places students in diverse local classrooms in both public and private schools. Most courses follow a traditional 16-week pace or an accelerated eight-week option. Students only take two credits of open electives, but they can provide feedback on the type of teaching placement they would like.

    SMWC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Education: Kindergarten to Grade 6/Mild Intervention
    • School Status: Private
    • Tuition: $496 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: No minimum requirement
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  6. University of Missouri - Columbia
    Location

    Columbia, MO

    Tuition

    $17833

    A public university located in Columbia, Missouri, Mizzou offers an online BS in early childhood education in a mobile society. The program covers a wide variety of topics, including child development, curriculum design, and working with families. However, this program does not include basic teaching certification.

    All students take professional development courses in areas such as health and nutrition, diversity, and technology and young children. Students must also complete three practicum placements.

    Mizzou is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $388 per credit (in-state); $473 per credit (out-of-state)
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: Sliding scale depending on standardized test scores (2.0 minimum)
    • Standardized Tests: Sliding scale depending on GPA (17 or higher on the ACT 17 or 920 or higher on the SAT)

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  7. The Baptist College of Florida
    Location

    Graceville, FL

    A Christian university in Graceville, BCF offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education. The program prepares Christian educators to teach students in kindergarten through sixth grade in public or private classrooms. All students must take 12 credits of biblical foundation courses. The program allows students to choose specific subject matter courses in their own areas of interest, such as geography or Western civilization. Participants also complete internships.

    All students must present a recommendation form from their pastor as part of their application packet. BCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
    • School Status: Private
    • Tuition: $360 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 124 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: No minimum requirement
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  8. University of North Carolina - Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $17771

    A public research university in southeast North Carolina, UNCW offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education. Offered in collaboration with Watson College, Coastal Carolina Community College (CCCC), the county public school system, and nearby military installations, this degree completion program focuses heavily on local students. However, the program does not require on-campus attendance.

    If desired, program participants may tutor students at the CCCC education lab or participate in UNCW's international experiences. The program offers various concentrations, such as behavioral studies, English as a second language, and science and health. Applicants should have an associate degree.

    UNCW is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $150 per credit (in-state); $625 per credit (out-of-state)
    • Credit Requirements: 64 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: Yes
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: 2.7 minimum 
    • Standardized Tests: Not required

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  9. University of Alaska - Southeast
    Location

    Juneau, AK

    Tuition

    $8927

    Located in Juneau, UAS offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education. Designed for Alaska residents, the program includes more than 1,200 hours of hands-on, in-classroom teaching experience. 

    Courses cover a variety of subject areas, including local Alaskan culture. Students must take courses in general education fields, such as science and the humanities, but they also choose specific classes that align with their areas of personal interest. Participants complete student teaching and a professional portfolio during their final semester.

    UAS is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
    • School Status: Public
    • Tuition: $234 per lower-division credit, $282 per upper-division credit (in-state); $800 per lower-division credit, $848 per upper-division credit (out-of-state)
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: 3.0 minimum
    • Standardized Tests: 18 or higher on the ACT or 955 or higher on the SAT (for students with a 2.5-2.99 GPA)

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

  10. Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    A private university in Denver, Colorado, Regis offers a fully online bachelor of arts in elementary education. Designed for working professionals, the flexible program allows participants to keep their job until their final-semester student teaching placement.

    The program follows an eight-week course schedule, with start dates available six times throughout the year. Students may follow either an elementary education track or a dual-enrollment track that includes special education. Both tracks lead to initial licensure.

    Before beginning student teaching (typically in the last year of the program), students must pass the appropriate Praxis exam. To prepare students for their student teaching experience, the program features field experiences throughout each year.

    Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


    Program Snapshot

    • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education or Dual-Track with Special Education
    • School Status: Private
    • Tuition: $475 per credit
    • Credit Requirements: 120 credits (elementary education); 132 credits (dual track)
    • Degree Completion Program: No
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Format: Online

    Admission Requirements

    • GPA: No minimum requirement
    • Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT optional

    Contact the School

    Request more information about this program.

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Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Best Online Early Childhood Education Programs Best Online Elementary Education Programs Best Online Special Education Programs

Courses in an Online Bachelor's in Education Program

Educational Foundations

This course covers educational theory with an emphasis on politics, philosophy, ethics, and history. Students study the history of American education and teachers' legal roles and responsibilities.

Introduction to Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

By the end of this course, students will be able to evaluate important issues in teaching, demonstrate the skills and personality traits of effective teachers, and plan clear, standards-based lessons and assessments.

Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning

This course focuses on strategies for integrating technology into the classroom to support digital learning experiences, creativity, and student engagement. Prospective teachers learn to use technology effectively in their classrooms.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology gives degree-seekers an overview of the principles and theories of psychology that relate to education. Students explore how children learn, how to motivate them, and how they develop psychologically.

Managing Engaging Learning Environments

This course presents practical and theoretical principles and research to help prospective teachers learn to make decisions regarding classroom layout so as to provide positive behavioral reinforcement.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

While admission requirements vary slightly from one school to another, they are also very similar. Whether you want to attend a college or university, online or on campus, you'll need to fill out an application, pay an application fee, and prove that you've graduated from high school or have a GED diploma. There may be other requirements, such as essays, test scores, or letters of recommendation.

Application

Although each school has its own application, there is another option for those who are applying to multiple schools. The Common App allows candidates to apply to many schools simultaneously, cutting down on the amount of time you'll need to spend filling out apps. Unfortunately, you'll still have to pay the application fee for each school.

Test Scores

Many schools require test scores from college entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT. Some may require minimum scores for admission, while others require you to take additional courses if your scores are too low. These extra courses don't typically count toward the credits needed for your degree.

Letters of Recommendation

You will probably need to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. If you have recently graduated from high school or are about to graduate, ask teachers who know you well. You can also ask a counselor, coach, club advisor, or even the high school principal. If you have work experience, you should ask your supervisor at work.

Essays

Many schools require you to write short college application essays. They need to convey to the admissions team that you are a dependable candidate with a positive attitude. Your essay must establish your unique strengths as a candidate and convince the admissions team that you deserve a spot on campus.

Official Transcripts

You'll probably have to provide your official high school transcripts or a copy of your GED diploma. If you have attended college previously, you'll need to submit your official college transcripts as well. Your new school will use your transcripts to determine whether any of your previous credits transfer to your new program.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Education Degree?

Career Outlook

While the demand for teachers may not be as strong as for some of the most popular college majors, the BLS reports the projected growth rate for elementary to high school teachers as average. As of December 2021, there were over 90,000 results for "teacher" on Indeed.

Payscale salary data from December 2021 shows an average base salary between $52,000-$55,000 for those with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and $63,000 for those with a BS in education.

See where a bachelor's in education degree can take you. Learn more about teaching careers.

Career Paths

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach students how to socialize with others their own age and observe students to determine their strengths and weaknesses. They develop lesson plans based on requirements for the district, build relationships with families, and engage in professional development. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be certified in the state where they teach.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers assess their students' abilities and plan how to teach them the required subjects. They create lesson plans, grade assignments and tests, and talk to students' families. They prepare students for state-mandated standardized tests. They usually teach students in grades 5-8. Middle school teachers need to be certified in the state where they teach.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

High School Teachers

High school teachers usually teach a specific subject, such as science, math, or English. They plan lessons, create assignments and tests, and grade assignments and tests. They may also sponsor clubs and help mentor students in college and career readiness. High school teachers need to be certified in the state where they teach.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers

Adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers create lesson plans designed to help adult students learn English or gain their high school equivalency credentials. They help their students develop strong study skills and find community resources. Adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers need to be certified in the state where they teach.

Median Annual Salary: $55,350

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers help students develop skills that will help them qualify for specific jobs after graduation. Subjects may include auto mechanics, carpentry, horticulture, graphic arts, and other career-oriented areas of interest. Career and technical education teachers show students how to use tools and equipment safely. They need to be certified in the state where they teach.

Median Annual Salary: $59,140

Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Teaching Careers Special Education Careers Educational Leadership Careers

Continuing Education

Some teachers may decide to go back to school for a master's degree. They may want to get into school administration or earn a higher salary. Examples of education master's degrees include a master's in adult education, a master's in early childhood education, a master's in education, a master's in educational administration, or a master's in educational leadership.

Some might also consider a master's in educational psychology, a master's in educational technology, or a master's in health education.

A doctoral degree is often required for teachers who want to teach at the college or university level. Examples of doctoral degrees for education majors include a doctorate in education, a doctorate in special education, or a doctorate in educational administration.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

Cost

According to NCES, the average tuition and fees at a four-year college or university were $16,318 per year in 2018-19. That's $65,272 for four years, and that doesn't even include room and board. Whether you will be attending on-campus or online, to calculate the true program cost you should also factor in room, board, transportation, textbooks, and lost income from not being able to work.

Program Format

Before choosing an online bachelor's in education, consider whether the program is synchronous or asynchronous and whether it follows a full-time or part-time schedule. Synchronous programs require students to log in at specific times for live lectures. Asynchronous programs allow more flexibility. Some schools have accelerated programs that allow students to finish faster than the typical four years.

Location

If you're looking for an online bachelor's in education, you may not think location matters, but you need to make sure you will be able to complete your student teaching locally even if you are attending classes online. You also need to check to make sure your state's licensing board accepts the program.

Accreditation

There are two main types of accreditation: regional and national. Credits from colleges with regional accreditation are more likely to transfer from one school to another if you change schools. You are also eligible for federal financial aid if you attend a regionally accredited school. National accreditation is not common for bachelor's in education programs.

Student Support

Before deciding on a school, think about what student services you might need and check to see if the school offers them. Many schools offer academic advising, tutoring, mentorship, career services, and internship placement services. Even if you're attending school online, you should have access to online student services.

Bachelor's in Education Programs Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bachelor's in education worth it?

If you want to be a teacher, a bachelor's in education is definitely worth it because it opens the door to your dream job. However, keep in mind that the average annual salary for someone with a bachelor's in education is lower than average salaries in other fields such as business administration and computer science. Also consider the cost of the degree when deciding whether a specific school is worthwhile. Some schools cost considerably more than others.

What can I do with a bachelor's in education?

A bachelor's in education, along with state certification, opens up a variety of teaching jobs. You could teach at the kindergarten, elementary, middle school, or high school level. You could also teach adult education or career and technical education. In addition, getting a bachelor's in education is the first step toward administrative jobs such as school principal or superintendent. Teachers who want to become administrators may benefit from going back to school to earn a master's in education or even a doctorate in education.

Are education majors in demand?

According to the BLS, the demand for elementary, middle, and high school teachers is average, with the amount of jobs for these educators projected to climb 7-8%. The BLS projects that the demand for career and technical education teachers will grow by 5% in that same time period, which is lower than average. The demand for adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers is projected to fall 5% from 2020-30. The BLS projects 111,500 new jobs for kindergarten and elementary school teachers between 2020 and 2030, 44,800 jobs for middle school teachers, 78,200 jobs for high school teachers, and 9,800 jobs for career and technical education teachers. The number of jobs for adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers is projected to fall by 2,400.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in education?

According to the BLS, teachers earn a median salary of $55,350-$62,870 per year, depending on the type of teaching they do and the students' age. Teachers who want to earn more money often earn a master's degree to get a slight pay increase. This also helps them qualify for administrative jobs such as school principal or school superintendent. Some states offer different levels of teacher certification that may also be tied to your earning potential. To move up to a different level, you may need to complete additional coursework or professional development opportunities. Those with advanced degrees in education and at least five years of work experience may qualify for jobs as elementary, middle, and high school principals. According to the BLS, these professionals earned an annual median salary of $98,490 as of May 2020.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in education?

High school teachers earn slightly more than teachers at the middle and elementary levels, with a median salary of $62,870. In addition to teaching classes and grading assignments, they also help students prepare for standardized tests. Middle school teachers earn a median of $60,810 per year and typically teach students in 6th-8th grade. They perform the same duties as high school teachers but work with younger students.

Feature Image: FatCamera / E+ / Getty Images

If you love education and want to become a teacher, going back to college for a teaching degree can set you up on an exciting and fulfilling career path. Find out what questions to ask when searching for high-quality online schools, and get expert tips on how to determine the quality of an online program. Saving for college isn't easy. Learn key money-saving hacks, such as earning college credit in high school and opening a college savings account.

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