Best Online Master's Programs 2022

Updated November 14, 2022

Earning a master's degree can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top online master's degree programs.

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Online Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree can lead to more opportunities in today's competitive job market. Graduate degree-holders can also qualify for high-paying careers. According to Payscale data from Dec. 2021, master's degree-holders earn an average salary of $78,000 per year. Comparatively, Payscale reports that bachelor's degree-holders earn an average annual salary of $65,000.

Professionals with a master's degree often become leaders in their field. Master's degree-seekers learn about theories that guide practices and write a thesis. Virtual learning allows learners to earn an advanced degree conveniently. This guide covers the steps to earning an online master's degree.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's Degrees

  • How many years is a master's degree?

    Most full-time students earn a master's degree in about two years. Part-time learners may need four years.

  • What's the difference between a bachelor's degree and a master's degree?

    Bachelor's programs take longer than master's programs. Bachelor's curricula focus on entry-level information, while master's students gain a specialized view of their subject.

  • Can I get a master's degree in a field unrelated to my bachelor's degree?

    Yes. Many master's programs accept students with a bachelor's degree in any subject. Learners pursuing a master's degree in a field unrelated to their undergraduate studies may need to take prerequisite courses.

Featured Online Masters Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Best Online Master's Programs 2022

#1 Best Online Master’s Programs 2022

Regent University

  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The main campus of Regent University, a private, nonprofit, four-year or above institution, is located in Virginia Beach. Students can enroll in one of 41 master's programs, with the option to pursue online study for 37 master's programs. The online modality proves beneficial for out-of-state students and degree-seekers from other countries.

For example, the MA in clinical mental health counseling ranks competitively, providing premier education to students interested in the counseling field. Students benefit from virtual participation, and gain access to institutional resources such as academic advising and faculty collaboration, through the online modality. Counseling students benefit from general educational courses and advanced classes specific to the field, in preparation for careers in clinical counseling.

While completing master's coursework, students can also pursue experiential learning opportunities such as internships, to experience working in the counseling field. Working professionals benefit from the flexibility of the online program, with options to study part time without interrupting their employment. The program offers flexibility across its curriculum so learners can pursue a degree at their own pace. Students should discuss their career goals with their faculty advisors to ensure their schedule suits their needs.

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,220
Out-of-state
$17,220
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
86%
Students Enrolled
10,365
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s Programs 2022

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking to advance your career without sacrificing your schedule? Consider enrolling in East Carolina University's online master's degree in clinical counseling. The college provides in-person master's programs through its main campus in Greenville, while maintaining 41 online master's programs, reaching 13,890 online students worldwide. The college's master's in clinical counseling offers a robust online education to students worldwide, providing enrollees with the skills needed to succeed in the field.

Upon enrolling, students connect and collaborate with colleagues and faculty members via virtual classrooms. The program curriculum, which consists of general education and advanced coursework, prepares students well for the counseling field. Students hoping to modify their course schedule can discuss class options with faculty and academic advisors.

Though the cost of graduate degrees can vary, students can pursue a variety of internal and external funding opportunities made available by the institution. Given the school's accreditation status, enrollees can also benefit from federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Master’s Programs 2022

Fort Hays State University

  • Hays, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For students seeking a flexible, accessible degree in clinical counseling, the online master's program at Fort Hays State University is an attractive choice. The college's impressive master's programs extend to remote study, throughout 10 programs, such as the master's in clinical mental health counseling.

The college provides students with a robust online community, proving supportive for nontraditional students and working professionals. Students are paired with a faculty advisor, who can guide them on research opportunities, internships, and other learning opportunities relevant to the counseling field. The college's 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio enables these professional connections.

Most students can apply for financial aid opportunities, such as internal scholarships and fellowships, or external federal aid. Students can speak with the financial aid office to discuss further funding opportunities. Of all students, 96% receive some form of aid, with the average student paying $12,108 after receiving aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,990
Out-of-state
$14,070
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
15,908
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Master’s Programs 2022

West Virginia University

  • Morgantown, WV
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

West Virginia University is a Public, four-year institution located in Morgantown, West Virginia. The college offers flexible educational options to learners from all walks of life, boasting 87 total master's programs, with 18 master's programs available online. This modality allows students across the country and the world to study at this college.

For example, the master's in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling ranks competitively, providing premier education to students interested in the counseling field. The online program provides learners with a robust online community, connecting students with institutional resources throughout their studies. In the counseling program, students take advanced coursework that complement their career trajectory, while satisfying general educational requirements.

Students also have the opportunity to pursue internships and other experiential learning opportunities, in preparation for a career in counseling. Students with careers in counseling-adjacent fields will find the online master's in mental health counseling to be an attractive option to advance their education without disrupting their work. Learners will find the program to be flexible and accommodating, allowing study at any pace. Students can further customize their education in consultation with faculty and academic advisors, and they can receive postgraduate guidance through career services.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,976
Out-of-state
$25,320
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
26,839
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Why Get a Master's Degree Online?

Master's degree-holders often earn more than people with a bachelor's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a master's degree earn a median weekly income of about $1,545. Bachelor's degree-holders earn a median of $1,300 per week.

In addition to qualifying holders for higher salaries, a master's degree can lead to more job opportunities. Graduate students learn the reasoning and theories that guide practice in their field. They also conduct research to fill in industry knowledge gaps.

Busy students often pursue an online master's degree. The flexibility of online learning allows students to continue working while earning their degree.

How Much Does a Master's Degree Cost?

The exact cost of earning a master's degree depends on a few factors. For example, private institutions tend to charge more than state schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate students paid an average of $19,792 in tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year. However, graduate students attending public institutions paid an average of $12,410 for the same academic year.

Online learners often pay discounted tuition rates and are exempt from paying campus fees. They may also save on commuting costs. The following section highlights additional fees for online students.

Additional Online Master's Student Fees

Many online programs charge a virtual classroom fee. Online students may need to pay for an upgraded video conferencing platform, such as Zoom.

Online students should also budget for books. Learners can save money by purchasing used books, renting materials, or choosing digital versions. Online students also need to purchase and maintain a quality computer, and they need high-speed internet access.

Careers in some fields, such as education and medicine, require certification or licensure. These credentials require additional fees.

Available Online Master's Degrees

Students earning an online master's degree build upon foundational industry knowledge. In addition to practical applications, degree-seekers explore theory and research. Students learn to think critically and make decisions based on best practices. Many master's programs feature lecture-based courses and research assignments. Learners also complete a thesis.

With many options to choose from, graduate students can find a master's degree to fit their career goals. The following list highlights a few noteworthy options. Program availability varies by school, so learners should research their prospective institution for more information.

  • Education

    Professionals in the education field can pursue a master of arts in teaching or a master of education. The latter highlights theory and research. Learners think critically about the state of education. A master of arts in teaching emphasizes practice. Students specialize in an area such as math or English.

    The BLS projects employment for education professionals to increase 10% from 2020-2030. A master's in education qualifies graduates to become high-earning teachers, administrators, and college professors.

  • Nursing

    Registered nurses can pursue a master's degree to become nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners diagnose and treat ailments, and they write prescriptions. The curriculum covers topics including medical ethics and pharmacology.
  • Information Technology

    A master's degree in information technology explores new uses for technology. Degree-seekers explore computing processes and gain problem-solving skills. Graduates often become computer and information research scientists, who earn a median salary of $126,830 per year, according to BLS data.

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