Online Master’s in Teaching Programs

Explore the most popular online master's in teaching programs, compare options, and find the right fit for your career and personal goals.
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Updated on April 9, 2024
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You may have noticed online master's in teaching programs are popular. This may have something to do with the demand. It turns out teachers are enthusiastic about learning (but that's no surprise, is it?)

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 1 out of every 4 graduate students obtained a master's degree in education (including teaching) between 2010-2021.

Online learning has also spiked since the early 2010s. Between 2012-2018, hybrid and remote-only enrollment at traditional universities increased by 29% (from 5.4 to 6.9 million), NCES reports. And that's before the COVID-19 pandemic further increased access to distance education.

As a result, search engines are full of online master's in teaching programs. With all those options, which do you choose?

Let us help you compare the most popular choices and find the best fit.

Featured Online Master's in Teaching Programs

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

Popular Master's in Teaching Online Programs

We chose to highlight the following schools based on several factors, including top position in organic or paid search results (as of April 2024), relevancy of program offerings, and categorization as a nonprofit. These programs are listed alphabetically by school and not weighed against each other in our methodology.

Popular Master's in Teaching Online Programs
School Degrees Offered Program Options Cost per Credit Required Credits Months to Complete Test Scores Requirement Licensure Track
American University MAT 1 $1,273 33 24 No Yes
Fordham University MST 5 $1,638 36-45 24-30 No Yes
Seattle Pacific University MAT, MTMS 3 $735 60-66 12-24 Yes Yes
University of Maryland Global Campus MAT 1 $524 (in-state), $659 (out-of-state), $480 (military) 30 24 No Yes
Western Governors University MAT 6 $3,975 (per term) N/A 12-36 No Yes

American University (AU)

  • Private, nonprofit university in Washington, DC
  • Online MAT program
  • 33 credits | $1,273 per credit

American University's online master of arts in teaching focuses on elementary education. The pillars of AU's program includes anti-racist pedagogy, practice-based teacher education, and cognitive-science research. Graduates meet the requirements for professional licensure to teach grades 1-6 in Washington, D.C.

Visit AU's Program . External link

Fordham University

  • Private, nonprofit university in New York
  • Online MST program
  • 36-45 credits | $1,638 per credit

Fordham University's online master of science in teaching offers five tracks, including childhood education and childhood special education. Jesuit values are the basis for Fordham's curriculum, such as acceptance, compassion, and understanding of the whole person. Graduates are eligible for licensure in the state of New York after graduation.

Visit Fordham's Programs . External link

Seattle Pacific University (SPU)

  • Private, nonprofit university in Washington
  • Online MAT and MTMS programs
  • 60-66 credits | $735 per credit

Seattle Pacific University has three online master's in teaching options, including accelerated programs lasting about one year. SPU offers endorsements in areas such as chemistry, biology, and social studies. SPU also has four routes to certification, including an option for career changers with a bachelor's degree not employed by a school district when they apply.

Visit SPU's Programs . External link

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC)

  • Public university in Maryland
  • Online MAT program
  • 30 credits | $480-659 per credit

The University of Maryland Global Campus' online master of arts in teaching focuses on secondary education. Students have many options for specialization, including English, social studies, and mathematics. Graduates become eligible for a Maryland teaching certification. An accelerated pathway is available to reduce the total coursework and speed up completion.

Visit UMGC's Program . External link

Western Governors University (WGU)

  • Private, nonprofit university in Utah
  • Online MAT programs
  • Competency-based | $3,975 per term

Western Governors University offers six online master of arts in teaching programs. Subject areas include mathematics and English at the elementary and secondary levels, as well as special education. WGU's programs are competency-based, meaning you advance through the curriculum as soon as you feel ready. According to WGU, graduates are eligible for a teacher license or certification in each U.S. state and territory.

Visit WGU's Programs . External link

What Is a Master's in Teaching?

A master's in teaching is a graduate-level degree in teaching and classroom management. Many master's in teaching programs require about 30 credits, take 1-2 years to complete, and provide eligibility for teaching certification or licensure. They often combine coursework, student teaching, and practicum experience under supervision.

Types of master's in teaching programs include:

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    Master of arts in teaching (MAT) has courses in arts and humanities.
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    Master of science in teaching (MST) has courses in scientific and technical fields.
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    Master in teaching math and science (MTMS) has courses in mathematics and science.

What do you learn in an online master's in teaching program?

The curriculum of an online master's in teaching program varies depending on the school, subject, and area of study. Generally, students take courses related to teaching, such as learning theory, curriculum development, child development, psychology, and assessment. Courses often include in-person field experiences.

Most programs offer specializations or tracks that lead to certification or endorsement in a specific area, such as special education, elementary education, or certain subjects.

Internships and practicum experiences are also common. UMGC's online MAT culminates with 80 days of full-time, on-site teaching and interning under the supervision of a certified teacher.

Program Tracks for Popular Master's in Teaching Programs

American University

  • Elementary Education


  • Secondary Education

Seattle Pacific University

  • Elementary Education
  • Special Education
  • Bilingual Education / ELL
  • English
  • Reading
  • History
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences (multiple levels)
  • Mathematics (multiple levels)
  • Math and Science
  • Humanities (middle level)
  • Health
  • Music
  • Arts (theater or visual)
  • World Language
  • Library Media

Fordham University

  • Early Child Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Childhood Education
  • Childhood Special Education
  • Childhood and Early Childhood Education


  • Elementary Education
  • Mathematics Education (Middle Grades)
  • Mathematics Education (Secondary)
  • English Education (Secondary)
  • Science Education (Secondary)
  • Special Education (K-12)

How long does a master's in teaching take?

A master's in teaching takes 1-3 years to complete. The timeline can speed up or slow down depending on several factors, including the curriculum, program requirements, and whether you study full-time or part-time.

Some MAT and accelerated MAT programs require you to take courses in a certain order, which also impacts how quickly you can complete the program.

Most master's in teaching programs use credits to decide how many credits you earn from a course. Many master's programs require about 30 credits, but some programs go to 60 or higher. More credits can mean a longer time to finish.

Accelerated programs offer a chance to finish quicker. For example, Seattle Pacific University's accelerated master in teaching math and science program lasts 15 months. But it requires a full-time commitment, with more to do in less time than a traditional master's program.

How much does a master's in teaching cost?

In 2020, an online master's in teaching cost $8,155 in average tuition and fees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Most schools charge per credit hour. Others, like Western Governors University, charge per semester.

Federal aid is available for graduate students through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants, scholarships, and work-study jobs can also help you pay for school. Many teaching scholarships and funds are open to graduate students, including:

Teacher scholarships are also available at many colleges and universities, often on a merit or need basis.

The WGU Loves Teachers Scholarship offers up to $4,000 to help pay for graduate degrees, awarding them based on academic record, financial need, readiness for online study, and other factors. Seattle Pacific University and Fordham University offer similar scholarships.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Teaching Program?

Admission requirements for online master's in teaching programs vary, but some common ones include:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from every college or university you have attended
  • A letter of intent or goal statement
  • One or more letters of recommendation

Most programs do not require previous teaching experience or a teaching license to apply. However, some programs may have additional requirements, such as standardized test scores, to measure academic skills.

For example, applicants to Seattle Pacific University's online MAT must demonstrate reading, writing, and mathematics skills by taking the Washington Educator Skills Test - Basic (WEST-B). They can also submit an accepted alternative test, such as the ACT or SAT.

Meanwhile, Fordham University's MST requires a resume, personal essay, two letters of recommendation (professional or academic), and transcripts. International applicants must submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores.

Does My Online Master's in Teaching Need to Be Accredited?

It would be best to look for a master's in teaching from a college or university with institutional accreditation. Regional and national accrediting bodies monitor and review institutions. A school with institutional accreditation means it maintains academic standards.

Programmatic accreditation is another marker of quality. Programmatic accreditors review specific programs to check if they meet standards for the field. There are two main accreditors for master's in teaching programs:

  1. Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  2. Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP)

Not every program has programmatic accreditation. For master's in teaching students, programmatic accreditation is not necessarily a deal breaker. Rather, it's a sign that a program meets standards on level with other master's in teaching programs.

Accreditation of Popular Master's in Teaching Programs
School Institutional Accreditation Programmatic Accreditation
AU Middle States Commission on Higher Education CAEP
Fordham Higher Learning Commission none
SPU Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities none
UMGC Middle States Commission on Higher Education AAQEP
WGU Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities AAQEP, CAEP

Should I Get My Master's in Teaching Online?

Generally, you should consider earning your master's in teaching online if you want to…

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    Specialize in a particular area of education (e.g., social sciences, mathematics, biology)
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    Increase your earning potential
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    Have a flexible class schedule that enables you to continue working
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    Add depth of knowledge and practical experience to your teaching skill set

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

A master's in teaching mainly focuses on preparing students for teaching roles in various subjects and grade-levels. But it can also provide skill sets for other education-related roles. The specific opportunities depend on your program, certifications, and interests.

Becoming a teacher in P-12 settings at public and private schools is one common career path. Some programs offer tracks to specialize in areas such as early childhood and secondary education or math and science.

With a master's in teaching, you could have a career in curriculum development, corporate training, or education policy. Leverage your masters for roles outside the classroom. Advocate for reforms as an education policy analyst. Or, consult with corporate leaders to enhance teaching and learning practices.

Certain educational roles require licensure, certification, or membership. For example, public school teachers must have state-issued licenses to teach. To become an education consultant, you may need membership in professional organizations such as the Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA).

Popular Jobs for Graduates of Master's in Teaching Programs
Job Title Median Salary (May 2023) Job Growth Rate (2022-32)
Secondary Teacher $65,220 1%
Corporate Trainer $61,000* Unavailable
Education Consultant $67,000* Unavailable
Career or Technical Education Teacher $63,860 2%
Middle School Teacher $64,290 1%
Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher $63,680 1%
Education Policy Analyst $68,000* Unavailable
Instructional Coordinator $74,620 2%
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics
*Payscale as of March 2024

Is a Master's in Teaching Worth It?

Average Salary for MAT-holders

$62,000 (April 2024 Payscale data)

Master's Degree vs. Bachelor's Degree

23% increase in average base salary (NCES)

It's always going to be tough to say if a master's degree in teaching is worth the investment. The answer changes depending on your career goals, financial security, and many other factors.

But there are two reasons why it can work out in your favor: increased earnings and lower unemployment.

Teachers with master's degrees usually earn higher salaries than those with a bachelor's degree.

Full-time teachers in public elementary and secondary schools with a master's degree earned an average base salary of $71,760 in 2021, according to the NCES. Teachers with a bachelor's degree earned $56,310 or 21% less.

Data also shows that having more education means less chances of unemployment. In 2022, unemployment rates decreased as a person's education increased, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Page last reviewed September 5, 2023. The programs highlighted on this page were preselected by the BestColleges Team. The review of this content by Samantha Fecich, Ph.D., does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the aforementioned programs. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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