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Skilled educators are in high demand all over the U.S. due to substantial teacher shortages and changing educational standards and regulations. By earning an online master's in education, you'll be prepared for specialized teaching roles and administrative positions, like principal and curriculum designer. These programs particularly suit career changers because they offer comprehensive and hands-on training that new teachers need to succeed in the classroom.

Graduates enjoy more career opportunities and better pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with a master's degree earn $12,000 more in average annual salary than professionals with baccalaureate credentials. They also benefit from a lower unemployment rate.

Experienced teachers and administrators can obtain their doctoral degree to access the highest leadership positions, like superintendent and educational consultant. Ph.D. and Ed.D. graduates also qualify to teach at colleges and universities. The BLS projects a remarkable 15% increase in jobs for postsecondary teachers, which translates to nearly 198,000 new positions between 2016 and 2026.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Education Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
2 California State University, Bakersfield Bakersfield, CA
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
5 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
6 Boston University Boston, MA
7 Augustana University Sioux Falls, SD
8 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
9 Martin Luther College New Ulm, MN
10 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
How We Rank Schools

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

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.

2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Education Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

Founded in 1795, UNC-Chapel Hill first established its School of Pedagogy in 1885. The university's early childhood intervention and family support (ECIFS) program uses a hybrid, part-time delivery format designed to accommodate working professionals.

Focusing on family-centered models, the ECIFS program prepares educators to work in areas with high-needs populations by emphasizing evidenced-based and research-based practices. The program offers different tracks depending on whether or not applicants already hold a teaching license. Although licensure is not required, students without licensure must complete additional requirements.

During the fall and spring semesters, students meet in person once a week. These classes meet more often during summer sessions.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support
School Status: Public
Tuition: $540/credit in state; $1,400/credit out of state
Credit Requirements: 33-36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

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2

California State University, Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Once a beet farm, CSUB now serves over 10,000 students. The university offers an online master's in education in curriculum and instruction. Requiring 30 credits, the program takes full-time students one year to complete.

The program's curriculum focuses on integrating technology into instruction and creating equity in the classroom. Students take 12 credits of core classes, 15 credits of electives, and a three-credit master's exam in curriculum and instruction.

Interested students can add additional teaching credentials to their program. A popular option is the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing-approved reading and literacy authorization. Applicants must already hold a valid teaching license.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Education - Curriculum and Instruction
School Status: Public
Tuition: $430/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum (over final 60 undergraduate credits)

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3

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Located just east of Orlando, UCF maintains the largest student enrollment of any Florida school, serving approximately 70,000 learners.

Students pursuing UCF's online master's in educational leadership are connected with a success coach who helps them throughout the duration of the program. This nonthesis program features 21 credits of administration courses, as well as nine credits of research and measurement courses. Specific classes include personnel and education related law, digital leadership and systems management, and human resource processes in education.

Graduates can pursue a variety of administrative and leadership roles, including assistant principal, college provost, and instructional coordinator positions.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $327/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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4

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

USD is a Catholic university that serves over 8,000 students who hail from all 50 states and more than 80 different countries.

USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences offers an online master of education. The 30-credit curriculum includes core courses like social justice and educational equity, qualitative methods in educational research, and cognition and learning. Additional courses cover STEAM, inclusive learning and universal design, and school leadership. Students also complete a capstone seminar before graduating.

All applicants must have two years of teaching experience. Students enroll in two classes per semester and take one seven-week course at a time. USD is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, and its master of education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education Online
School Status: Private
Tuition: $710/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 20 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE is optional

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5

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

Founded in 1867, Illinois now serves over 47,000 students. Located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, the campus is less than 200 miles from Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis.

Students in the university's online master of education program can graduate with either a master of education in curriculum and instruction or a master of education in education policy, organization, and leadership. Each of these programs offers four concentration options, including diversity and equity in education, learning design and leadership, and global studies in education.

The program features synchronous classes that typically meet once a week. The semester is split into eight-week sessions during the fall and spring and six-week sessions during the summer.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction; Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership
School Status: Public
Tuition: $490/credit
Credit Requirements: 32-36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum (during the final two years of undergrad)
Standardized Tests: GRE may be required for some concentrations

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

6

Boston University

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 88%

BU — a private university originally founded in 1839 in Newbury, Vermont — relocated to its current location in Boston in 1867. The university provides diverse programs while maintaining a student-to-faculty ratio of 8-to-1.

Students who enroll in BU's educational leadership and policy studies master's program can pursue a concentration in higher education administration online. Students complete a total of nine courses, covering topics like the history and foundations of higher education, strategic planning and implementation, and innovations in higher education.

Faculty deliver classes through seven-week modules. New students can enroll in the program at the beginning of the fall, spring, or summer term. Graduates can pursue careers in many areas of higher education, including admissions, financial aid, and alumni relations.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Ed.M. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies: Higher Education Administration
School Status: Private
Tuition: $888/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact the School

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7

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

A private university affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Augustana was founded in 1860. Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the university serves almost 2,000 students in over 100 majors.

Augustana's online master's in education is designed for students who already have a bachelor's degree and teaching license (or are eligible for teaching licensure). The program accepts applications on a rolling basis, placing students in small cohorts every spring, summer, and fall.

Students enrolled in the online master of arts in education program at Augustana are part of a "learner-designed" program, where they can either choose an area of concentration from a pre-approved list or create their own. Pre-approved concentrations include instructional strategies, reading, special populations, and technology.

No matter their concentration, learners must complete 30 credits before graduating. The program delivers coursework asynchronously and it does not include a thesis.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education
School Status: Private
Tuition: $465/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 13-16 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact the School

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8

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Located in East Lansing, MSU serves almost 50,000 students and offers over 200 programs. MSU's online master's in education program was established in 2001 and has graduated more than 1,000 learners to date. This program targets educators in various positions who are looking to advance into administrative roles. The program does not lead to an initial teaching license.

Enrolled students can pursue one of six concentration options, including literacy education, science and mathematics education, and technology and learning. Students complete a total of 30 credits before graduating, including 21 credits in their concentration, a concepts of educational inquiry course, and a three-credit capstone seminar. Students complete online coursework asynchronously.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Education
School Status: Public
Tuition: $898/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

9

Martin Luther College

New Ulm, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Owned and operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, MLC was formed in 1995. Based in New Ulm, Minnesota, the college emphasizes the importance of public ministry and offers degrees for those looking to become teachers, pastors, or other ministry staff.

MLC offers an online master's in education. The 36-credit program offers four specializations: educational technology, instruction, leadership, and special education. Core coursework covers topics like enhancing the curriculum with technology, emerging technologies in education, and teaching online. Students also complete a capstone activity, choosing from a field project, curriculum development project, thesis, internship, or comprehensive exam

Students can also pursue a dual emphasis if they take diverse electives and complete an additional capstone project. The program delivers coursework asynchronously.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Education
School Status: Private
Tuition: $315/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-39 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact the School

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10

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Webster was founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1915 as a women's college. Today, the university serves more than 12,000 students of all genders with over 50 campuses and sites across the United States. The university's main campus is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

The university first offered online programs in 1999. Students can now pursue an online master's in education and innovation. The 33-credit curriculum includes 15 credits of core classes, 15 credits of electives, and a three-credit capstone course. Elective options include classes that discuss mindfulness, leadership and innovation, and foundations of global sustainability.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Arts in Education and Innovation
School Status: Private
Tuition: $780/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

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11

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. The university houses nine schools, including the School of Education. All of Johns Hopkins' programs highlight the university's mission to remain research-based and culturally and socially conscious.

The university's master's in education program offers two online specializations: educational studies (designed to support Teach for America and The New Teacher Project participants) and digital age learning and educational technology. Students complete 30-39 credits, depending on their program and experience. Students following the educational studies pathway develop a portfolio as a capstone project.

Johns Hopkins is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Science in Education
School Status: Private
Tuition: $882/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-39 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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12

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

Founded in 1869, Purdue is based in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue Global, the university's online system, serves over 31,000 students.

Purdue offers both a master of arts in teaching and a master of science in education. The MA in teaching program does not lead to teaching licensure, instead catering to practicing educators. The MS in education program offers concentrations in teaching literacy and language, teaching students with special needs, or educational leadership.

Purdue operates on a quarter system and offers classes throughout the year. Students take one class at a time for six weeks. After completing two classes in 12 weeks, they receive a week off. Learners must attend live online classes once a week.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Online Master of Arts Degree in Teaching; Online Master of Science Degree in Education
School Status: Public
Tuition: $420/quarter credit
Credit Requirements: 45-54 quarter credits
Program Length: 15-20 months
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

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13

University of Alaska Southeast

Juneau, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

Based in Juneau, UAS was established in 1987 after Alaska restructured its university and community college system. Operating additional campuses in Ketchikan and Sitka, UAS serves over 5,000 students and offers approximately 75 degrees and certifications.

UAS students interested in education can enroll in one of three online master of education programs: educational leadership, reading specialist, and special education. The education program includes concentrations in educational leadership, reading specialist, and special education. Educational leadership students complete an internship and a research project or portfolio, reading specialist students complete a research project or portfolio, and special education students complete a practicum and a thesis.

The university maintains a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, and students receive individualized attention from professors. Faculty deliver coursework asynchronously. UAS is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Educational Leadership, M.Ed.; Reading Specialist, M.Ed.; Special Education, M.Ed.
School Status: Public
Tuition: $513/credit
Credit Requirements: 33-36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact the School

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14

George Fox University

Newberg, OR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

In 1885, George Fox was founded in Newberg, Oregon, as a school for Quakers. The university hosts several education programs online, including an online master's in education that offers four focus areas: educational leadership, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), reading, and special education. Providing flexible learning plans, the program allows students to graduate in 4-8 semesters and take courses largely at their own pace.

The program is designed for practicing teachers seeking to advance their knowledge or fulfill professional development obligations. The educational leadership, ESOL, and reading pathways require 30 credits, while the special education specialization requires 45 credits. This online program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Master of Education Online
School Status: Private
Tuition: $700/credit
Credit Requirements: 30-45 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum (over final 60 undergraduate credits)

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15

University of Minnesota Duluth

Duluth, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

UMD offers a mid-sized campus experience to students looking for the resources and opportunities of a larger university. The university offers 20 graduate degrees.

Students can obtain an online master's in education through the College of Education and Human Services. Primarily serving teachers and professionals already working in education or social service professions, the program offers part-time study and delivers coursework asynchronously.

The program is available primarily online, but also includes a face-to-face weekend session each semester. Required courses cover topics like foundations in special education and assessment of learning, while elective courses include options like indigenous peoples and the environment. The program culminates in a capstone project.


Program Snapshot

Program Name: Education M.Ed.
School Status: Public
Tuition: $693/credit in state; $1,099/year out of state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.8 minimum

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Counseling Career Guide

Explore Online Master's in Education Rankings

By accessing the comprehensive career guide, you'll have all the tools you need to learn about the opportunities available to professionals with an online master's degree in education. The guide details standard entry requirements, licensure and certification processes, and job search resources.

Counseling Career Guide