Teaching is an ideal profession for those passionate about working with children and/or adults, and who enjoy helping others develop the knowledge and skills to serve them throughout their lives. It's also an ideal career for those who enjoy a dynamic work environment and like the idea of having summers off. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.9 million teaching jobs will be added to the American economy in the next decade, making this a field in need of new talent. The expansion of online teaching initiatives also means teachers must be capable of providing distance educations.

What are the best online teaching programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Lesley University Cambridge, MA
3 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
4 Harding University Searcy, AR
5 Webster University Saint Louis, MO
6 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
7 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
8 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
9 Eastern University Saint Davids, PA
10 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Online Teaching Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Johns Hopkins University

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

Johns Hopkins provides 13 remote academic programs through its School of Education, including an online master of education with a focus on digital age learning and educational technology. With three yearly start dates and the option to enroll part time or full time, distance learners can fulfill degree requirements largely at their own pace.

The 36-credit curriculum explores topics like culturally responsive teaching, emerging issues in digital age teaching, and data-driven decision-making. Students also learn to integrate media into a standards-based curriculum. This master's program meets the best practices established in the 2017 release of the International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Educators.

Johns Hopkins accepts applications on a rolling basis. Each prospective learner must submit a 500-word statement of purpose and two recommendation letters.

2

Lesley University

Cambridge, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Lesley delivers career-focused distance education through Blackboard Learn. Students can choose from over 20 fully online programs, including a master of education in curriculum and instruction with a non-licensure elementary education generalist track. Alternatively, a candidate who has their initial teaching credentials can obtain a professional teaching license in elementary education in Massachusetts.

The 33-credit curriculum covers topics like dimensions of teaching and learning; classroom and school inquiry; and curriculum, assessment, and instruction. Students use nine elective credits to pursue specialized topics in sub-fields like literacy, general science, special education, and technology. Faculty deliver eight-week classes.

Each applicant must submit official academic transcripts, a personal statement, and two recommendation letters. However, the program does not require GRE scores. The university offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates.

3

Wilkes University

Wilkes-Barre, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Wilkes uses the Desire2Learn platform to provide more than 15 remote certificates and degrees. This catalog contains an online master of science in effective teaching designed for active classroom educators. Through a 30-credit curriculum, candidates learn to blend innovative pedagogical theories and instructional design methods to engage with diverse students.

Coursework touches on comparative foundations of education, applied research methodologies, and responsive teaching and assessment. Master's candidates can use electives to examine topics like remote curriculum development and learning communities. The program culminates with an integrative capstone seminar.

Applicants need to currently work in school settings. Admission requirements include academic transcripts and two recommendation letters. Wilkes offers several financial aid opportunities, like general merit scholarships, graduate assistantships, and Yellow Ribbon military benefits.

4

Harding University

Searcy, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Harding enrolls about 5,000 students in over 45 academic programs each year, including an online master of arts in excellence in teaching. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum or engage in hybrid learning by taking some on-campus classes in Searcy, Arkansas.

The 35-credit degree plan contains required courses like action research and instructional applications of technology. This program allows candidates to focus their training in one of five endorsement areas, including gifted and talented students, dyslexia specialists, and TESOL. Enrollees can also pursue an integrated track for early childhood/special education (birth-kindergarten).

Program applicants should possess a valid educator license and a minimum 2.5 GPA. However, candidates do not need to submit standardized test scores.

5

Webster University

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

As a leader in distance education, Webster offers more than 50 remote certificates and degrees, such as its online master of arts in education and innovation. After completing this 33-credit program, graduates can pursue leadership positions in organizational management, corporate training, and school administration.

Core classes include design thinking and creative multimedia for innovative learning. Working with a personal advisor, candidates use 15 elective credits to pursue specialized topics like restorative justice in learning communities, foundations of global sustainability, and economic choices and challenges. Participants round out their graduate training with a research-focused capstone experience.

To enroll in this online master's program, each applicant must possess a minimum 2.5 GPA. Webster powers distance education with the Canvas platform. The university provides ample financial aid, including the Grad to Grad Scholarship for alumni.

6

DeSales University

Center Valley, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Desales — located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania — enrolls approximately 3,400 students annually. Through Blackboard Learn, the school provides an online master of education in academic leadership and reform. Candidates in this interdisciplinary program self-design much of their curriculum with the guidance of an advisor, picking the courses and professional development opportunities that support their distinct career objectives.

The degree plan contains required classes in data-driven assessment and instruction, philosophy and ethics in education, and educational research. Like other master's in online teaching programs, this program ends with a capstone course.

Admission requirements include a personal statement, at least one recommendation letter, and a current resume. However, the program does not require GRE scores. The university accepts applications on a rolling basis.

7

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Regent champions accessible education, providing remote certificates and degrees in over 130 areas of study, including an online master of education in educational leadership. The Virginia Department of Education approves this comprehensive program, allowing candidates to pursue administration and supervision preK-12 add-on endorsements.

The curriculum covers program development and assessment; school law, finance, and resource management; and integrating educational technology. Candidates gain hands-on experience by completing internships and professional projects. Regent supports distance learners by providing peer mentorship, free online tutoring, and dedicated career services.

Applicants may need to undergo a 20-minute interview with the admissions department. For students who want to pursue graduate training in another education field, Regent offers master's in online teaching programs leading to special education and reading specialist licensure. Learners may also pursue an individualized degree plan.

8

Morningside College

Sioux City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Morningside — a private liberal arts institution based in Sioux City, Iowa — serves about 1,300 full-time students each year. Distance learners can pursue a fully online master of arts in teaching and select from 11 licensure and non-licensure tracks. Participants access asynchronous classes through Moodle.

Degree track options include athletic program management, professional educator, and talented and gifted education. An enrollee can also obtain an online master's degree in online teaching in a particular subject, like English as a second language or STEM education. Additionally, Morningside provides an autism education program that teaches candidates to support students across the spectrum.

Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants who do not meet this threshold may be able to enroll on a provisional basis.

9

Eastern University

Saint Davids, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Eastern University powers distance education with Desire2Learn, offering more than 80 remote academic programs. These options include an online master of education in curriculum and instruction that leads to initial teaching licensure in Pennsylvania. The dynamic curriculum engages candidates in current pedagogical theories and instructional practices through national and international case studies.

Students can follow a generalist track or take advanced classes in an early childhood education, middle-level education, or secondary education concentration. Although most coursework takes place asynchronously, candidates attend live virtual sessions as part of their student teaching seminar.

With four yearly start dates and flexible scheduling, distance learners can earn their credentials in 12 months. Each applicant must submit an up-to-date resume.

10

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Through its College of Education, UI delivers five remote certificates, degrees, and endorsements. Students can pursue an entirely online master of arts in teaching, leadership, and cultural competency, graduating in 20 months. The 33-credit curriculum contains required classes like instructional coaching for teaching excellence and issues in K-12 assessment.

Candidates can take elective classes like talented and gifted education, STEM, and English language learners. They can also delve into LGBTQ+ topics in education and develop skills related to reading diagnostics and curricular analysis/appraisal. Designed for working professionals, this master's program also allows educators to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain licensure.

Each applicant must possess an active teaching license and a minimum 3.0 GPA. This program accepts up to nine transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions.

Choosing a Program

Will This Program Provide Me With The Skills I Need To Advance My Career?

Yes! A master of arts in teaching online benefits two types of students: those who hold undergraduate degrees unrelated to teaching, but who want to gain their initial certification; and those who have an undergraduate teaching degree but would like to advance in their careers.

Do I Need Previous Work Experience To Get In?

No. Because students who pursue this degree possess a variety of academic backgrounds, previous teaching experience is not required. Students may, however, be required to take prerequisite courses before being admitted to the main degree track.

How Do I Find The Right Online Program For Me?

A master's in teaching online program offers numerous options for specialization or concentration, such as administration, curriculum design, instructional leadership, special education, or other specific subjects. Some programs let students progress through coursework individually, while others use a cohort model. Because of these factors, prospective students should identify their interests and then locate a program aligned with those needs.

Can I Work While I Complete My Online Master's In Online Teaching?

Yes. Many students within master of arts in teaching online program continue working while enrolled -- either as teachers or other unrelated roles. Many teachers begin their programs in the summer, allowing them to acclimate to the workload during a traditionally less busy time. Most programs suggest students set aside nine to 12 hours per week to study, per class taken.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Online Teaching Program?

An online master's in teaching prepares graduates to be competent and competitive educators, while providing working professionals the flexibility to manage personal and professional responsibilities alongside coursework.

Curriculum For An Online Master's Degree In Online Teaching

Master's in teaching online programs have many courses in common, but students should be aware that details can vary based on the individual school and program chosen. The courses reviewed below are provided as examples.

Educational Technology: This foundational course introduces new students to the array of educational technologies and how they can be incorporated into diverse digital classrooms. Topics include relevant software, uses of the internet, internet safety, and incorporating communication technologies such as webinars, forums, and teleconferencing.

Global eLearning: It is common to have international learners in many online classes. This course provides global perspectives of learning, considers common topics within international education, and provides future online teachers with tools to serve students unaccustomed to the American school system.

Instructional and Curriculum Design: Students enrolled in this class learn to lesson plan and develop teaching strategies for diverse communities of students. Special focus is given to ensuring that lesson plans meet performance assessment requirements.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Master's In Online Teaching?

A number of program characteristics affect the length of a master of arts in teaching online, including self-paced versus cohort learning, available concentrations, and whether the program is offered on a part- or full-time basis. Individual student factors should also be considered, including whether they have previous experience in online education.

Many master's in teaching online are offered in a cohort model, where students begin the program with a group of peers and progress through coursework together. This style is typically more rigid in its timeline since no student can move ahead or fall behind individually.

The majority of master's in teaching online programs can be completed in 12 months, but prerequisites, part-time learning, and student teaching experiences can extend a program up to two years.

Certifications And Licenses A Master's In Online Teaching Prepares For

Every state in America requires primary and secondary teachers to gain licensure from the state Board of Education. Different states have different requirements, so students should keep these in mind while completing their degree and deciding where to teach. Online college teachers aren't required to receive licensure, but they typically require a master's or doctoral degree to be qualified for employment.

Outside of required licensure, many primary and secondary online teachers complete additional certificates to build their skills and experience.

Teaching English As a Foreign Language TEFL certification allows individuals to work with non-native English speakers, whether located in a traditional school system, an online classroom, or in an international language learning institute.

Special Education Teachers aspiring to work with exceptional students can complete SPED certification to learn about current issues in the field, how to perform diagnostic assessments, and ways to serve students with behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or social disorders.

Accreditation for Master's in Online Teaching Programs

Accreditation assesses whether a school or program is serving students well, academically, financially, and personally. Regional and national accreditation are the standard assessments, while field-specific assessments focus on individual degrees or departments.

When choosing between schools that are regionally or nationally accredited, students should identify those that have gone through the more rigorous process of achieving (and maintaining) regional accreditation. National accreditation standards tend to be less labor-intensive and have lower bars for achieving a passing score. As well, students can find it difficult to transfer credits or gain certification from nationally accredited schools.

Field-specific accreditations are very common in some academic disciplines, while less common in others. Teaching has numerous accrediting agencies for the field, including the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Prospective or current students interested in learning about the accreditation process and how these agencies are held accountable should contact the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. These departments ensure accrediting groups maintain high standards, and each makes public a list of all accredited schools. These can be found on the DOE or CHEA websites.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Online Teaching Graduates

Job Placement

Comprehensive data on online teaching positions is still scarce, but data about student growth within online education shows that more teachers are needed for online learning platforms to meet increased demand. Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics is used below to highlight these trends.

     
Student participation in online primary and secondary school 2009-2010 2013-2014
Partial online enrollment 1.5 million students 2.7 million students
Exclusive online enrollment 200,000 315,000
Physical & Health Education 3.7% 2.2%
Percent of undergraduate students completing distance education 2007-2008 2011-2012
Partial online enrollment 20.6% 32%
Exclusive online enrollment 3.8% 8.4%

Source: NCES, Connections Academy

Master's In Online Teaching Salary

In addition to individual workplaces, professional experience levels impact the annual earnings of employees in the educational administration field. The next table features data from PayScale regarding expected salaries for school principals, college deans, and other administrative staff at different stages of their respective careers.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20 years)
Elementary School Principal $79,046 $72,316 $77,515 $89,000
High School Principal $85,628 $76,000 $82,000 $95,000
Assistant Principal $68,340 $66,000 $68,000 $77,000
Academic Dean $92,437 $78,000 $85,000 $122,000
School Superintendent $113,779 $100,000 $109,000 $124,000

Master's In Online Teaching Careers

The careers below show the full span of career options available to graduates of master's in teaching online programs. Though teaching roles typically require only a bachelor's degree and a teaching license, any of the managerial roles highlighted require competitive candidates to hold advanced teaching degrees.

High School Teacher

As the name suggests, high school teachers work with students in grades 9-12, teaching academic lessons and skillsets that prepare students to immediately enter the job market or into a college degree program. Responsibilities include lesson planning, student evaluation, communicating with parents, and working with individual students who need additional assistance or accommodations.

Median Annual Salary - $58,030
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Working with younger students, these types of educators often teach all main subjects within one classroom rather than rotating students and teaching a single subject. As such, they are responsible for educating students in areas of reading, math, the sciences, and social studies.

Median Annual Salary - $55,490
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal

Rather than spending their days in the classroom, principals at the primary and secondary levels oversee all of the administrative and operational frameworks to ensure teachers have the support and structure to thrive. They also coordinate overarching curriculum, manage all staff, ensure students have a safe learning environment, and communicate with parents.

Median Annual Salary - $92,510
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Instructional Coordinators

Teachers are responsible for daily lesson plans, but instructional coordinators create textbooks or other learning tools as result of student test data and research. They may also host training conferences to educate teachers on new curricula standards, mentor teachers, and develop procedures to introduce new teaching materials to the classrooms.

Median Annual Salary - $62,460
Projected Growth Rate - 7%

School Librarian

School librarians order books to complement learning plans, and work directly with students to ensure materials within the library are used appropriately. They help students find materials related to their subject area, provide training on how to use reference materials, or oversee after-school or summer reading programs.

Median Annual Salary - $57,680
Projected Growth Rate - 2%

Professional Organizations

Educating the next generation is a demanding and rewarding job, and professional organizations provide support, education, advocacy, and protection to teachers. Many of these groups offer opportunities for fellow teachers to gather at annual conferences, complete required continuing education credits, and locate fulfilling teaching positions.

Financing Your Online Master's in Online Teaching Program

Graduate school isn't cheap, and many students may be concerned about taking on excessive student debt for their education. Fortunately, teachers have many funding options available to them. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an annual form students complete to learn about federal scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs available to them -- including TEACH grants. Other funding sources include private foundations, nonprofits, and departmental scholarships distributed on the basis of need or merit.

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 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 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.