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Teachers with a state-issued license can explore online master's in education programs to enhance their careers. Graduates may work as curriculum designers, behavior specialists, or special education teachers. Some programs offer specializations in bilingual education and digital literacies.

Most programs require a bachelor's degree and recommendation letters. Applicants may need to meet a GPA cutoff. Full-time enrollees can complete a master's in two years.

This page lists the best online master's in education programs. Read on to learn about costs, common classes, and the benefits of earning a master's in education.

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Questions About Master's in Education Programs

What can I do with a master's in education besides teaching?

Potential master's in education jobs include principal and district administrator. Graduates may also work as corporate trainers.

Do teachers with a master's degree get paid more?

Many public school districts give teachers with a master's degree an automatic raise. Teachers who advance their education further may earn even more money.

Can I complete a master's in education entirely online?

Yes. Many master's in education programs run fully online, allowing teachers to continue their careers.

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Why Get a Master's in Education?

Earning a master's in education can help experienced teachers further their careers. Graduates can use their education and expertise to guide schools or districts. The best online master's in education programs also help prepare students for doctoral programs or jobs outside the education field.

Online programs let teachers work while in school. Teachers can apply new knowledge and skills right away, helping improve student outcomes. Online programs also let learners choose from top programs nationwide. Degree-seekers can take classes without commuting or relocating.

How Much Does a Master's in Education Cost?

A master's degree costs an average of $66,340, according to EducationData.org. However, the cost varies by school and students' residency status. Learners pursuing an online master's in education from a public in-state school usually pay the most affordable tuition. Students attending private or out-of-state schools typically pay more.

Online learners save money by avoiding a commute. They also do not pay for campus housing or meal plans. Degree-seekers can explore tuition reimbursement to help make their degree more affordable. Some schools and districts pay for teachers' degrees if they agree to work in their position for a set time after graduation. Learners can also complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal grants and loans.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners should budget for expenses like a new laptop or upgraded internet connection. Many computer companies offer student discounts. Learners attending a hybrid program should also budget for commuting and parking costs.

Licensed teachers may qualify for endorsement after graduation. Earning an endorsement requires submitting transcripts and paying a fee. Fee schedules change and vary by state. Students can check a state's teacher licensure board for the latest information.

How Much Do Education Majors Make?

Master's in education jobs pay varying amounts. Instructional coordinators earn a median annual salary of $66,970, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure exceeds the annual median salary for all occupations by about $25,000. Professionals working for government agencies or K-12 schools make more than their peers at colleges or universities.

Geographic location also affects salary. Instructional coordinators living in Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Oregon make $86,390-$100,350. Workers can increase their salary potential by gaining on-the-job experience.

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Courses in a Master's in Education Program

Some master's in education online programs offer specializations. Options may include educational leadership and curriculum and instruction. Another option is instructional design. Most programs include a final-semester capstone.

See below for three common classes in a master's program with a concentration in curriculum and instruction. Please note that graduation requirements differ for other degrees. Not all curriculum and instruction programs use the same class names or academic requirements. Students should check with their prospective schools for more information.

  • The Reflective Practitioner

    Most learners take this class in their first semester. Students analyze their teaching experience and identify ways to become better educators. Degree-seekers create a growth plan they use throughout the program and after graduation. This plan features the latest proven practices. The class does not require prerequisites.
  • Differentiated Instruction

    Differentiated instruction ensures that education meets K-12 students' needs. Coursework covers modifying lessons and assessments, communicating learners' progress, and tracking growth. These requirements train degree-seekers to help their students advocate for and receive modifications. Learning outcomes include promoting differentiated instruction within a school or district.
  • Educational Research

    This class prepares students to complete research projects, pursue a doctorate, and contribute to the education field after graduation. Degree-seekers analyze the latest scholarly literature through research essays and peer discussions. Learners apply their knowledge in a final-semester capstone.

How to Become a Teacher

Aspiring teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. They can also graduate from a state-approved teacher-preparation program. Colleges and universities offer these programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Coursework includes pedagogy classes and student teaching. Degree-seekers can take classes in the content area they plan to teach.

Licensed educators perform many roles. They may sponsor student clubs, coach sports, or lead faculty teams. These tasks vary between elementary and secondary school teachers. Educators can stay current with the latest education best practices by taking professional development (PD) classes.

Licensure for Teachers

States regulate public education through teacher licensure. Rules and regulations vary by state. In California, prospective teachers apply for a preliminary license. Candidates need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. They must also complete a teacher-preparation program and pass at least one exam. Approved programs must meet specific curriculum guidelines.

Candidates who meet these requirements can apply for a single-subject license. California offers more than two dozen options, including English and health science. California teaching licenses cost $100. Licensed teachers pay the same fee to add a new credential to their license.

California teachers with an initial license earn a clear license after five years. They do so by completing 150 PD hours. Teachers select PD classes from approved providers. Many professionals complete this requirement during the summer. Upgrading a license involves submitting PD paperwork and paying a $50 fee.

Best Online Master's in Education Programs 2022

#1 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
Master of education
Website A private nonprofit institution, University of the Cumberlands offers an online master's degree in education. UC receives its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The education program gives licensed educators a chance to further develop knowledge and skills to enhance effectiveness in their role. UC offers several specializations completely online, including literacy specialist, school counseling, and teacher as leader. Students may take up to two courses every eight-week term. The program permits lapses in enrollment for no longer than one year. With registrar, department chair, and advisor approval, incoming students may transfer up to nine graduate credits from an accredited education program. Each student receives a student success coordinator and academic advisor who oversee the student's pathway to timely course completions and graduation. Tuition: $5,970 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#2 Concordia University Chicago River Forest, IL
Master of education
Website A private 4-year university located in River Forest, IL, Concordia University Chicago offers education degrees online, on campus, and in a hybrid format. Please note that the program does not provide all specializations in all formats. The master's degree in education program takes 12-24 months. Students can expect to complete 30-39 credits to earn their education degree. Courses include school age curriculum for ages 6-8, differentiation and learning theory, and using technology to build learning communities. Enrollees also study teaching social studies and school finance and business management. Students can specialize in ESL, early childhood education, and education specialist in the district. Other options include educational technology and early childhood special education. Admission for some specializations requires a short essay describing your particular interest in the program, as well as a valid teaching license. Tuition: $9,180 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#3 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM
Master of education
Website Western New Mexico University offers most of its education programs online, asynchronously. This allows students to access course assignments anytime, anywhere. Learners can get their master's degree in education in teaching, educational leadership, or school counseling. A student pursuing an education degree at WNMU might take child and adolescent counseling, substance abuse counseling, or history and philosophy of education. Other courses include legal aspects of education, teaching of reading, and theoretical models of reading. Admission to education programs at WNMU requires admission to the graduate division and to the program within the college of education. Students need to submit their transcripts from other schools, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Tuition: $595,3.5 School Type: Public, 4-year or above
#4 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
Master of education
Website A private nonprofit university located in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington University prides itself on letting students advance their education from the comfort of their own homes and devices. WU's online students enjoy access to the same support services as on-campus students, delivered in an accessible online format. These services include advising, tutoring, and library resources. Options for a master's degree in education include education studies, education (licensure), and elementary and secondary school counseling. Wilmington also offers a graduate certificate in e-learning design and technology. Expert faculty, actively practicing in the field, teach all the courses. Wilmington offers open admissions. In most cases, programs do not require standardized test scores or a minimum GPA. Students may enroll to begin coursework at any one of six start dates per year: two each spring, summer, and fall. Tuition: $8,636 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#5 Lamar University Beaumont, TX
Master of education
Website A public 4-year university with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Lamar University offers master's degrees in education. Lamar's highly reputable programs appeal to K-12 educators who work full time and wish to complete their master's in education degree on a schedule convenient to them. Students may enroll in any of the following education programs: education administration, school counseling, or digital learning and leading. They could also pursue special education, teacher leadership, or teaching gifted and talented. Most programs comprise 36 credit hours and take as few as 18 months. Some require current K-12 teaching certification and 2-3 years of classroom teaching experience. Sample courses in Lamar's education degrees include creating significant learning environments, applying disruptive innovation, and school community relations. Enrollees also study diverse learners, curriculum management, and instructional leadership. Tuition: $9,969 School Type: Public, 4-year or above
#6 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ
Master of education
Website A public 4-year university with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commision, Arizona State University offers its master's degree in education programs completely online. Education degree options include early childhood education, educating multilingual learners, and literacy education. Students can also choose from educational leadership, global education, and indigenous education. Many of ASU's education programs require 30 credit hours over 7.5 weeks. Educators interested in becoming principals or leaders in K-12 schools may opt for the educational leadership degree. The program covers courses such as the American education system, school law, and leadership in curriculum and assessment. When applying for ASU's education programs, you must fulfill requirements for both the Graduate College and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. You may need to submit the following: official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, resume, and proof of English proficiency. While matriculating to the program, you must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA to remain in good academic standing. Tuition: $6,462 School Type: Public, 4-year or above
#7 Brandman University Irvine, CA
Master of education
Website A private nonprofit university located in Irvine, California, Brandman University receives its accreditation from the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers its master's degree in education programs in a hybrid format or completely online, focusing on the nontraditional student. Working professionals in Brandman's education programs enjoy course content that they can fit around employment responsibilities. At the same time, students interact with classmates and faculty a great deal. Brandman's education degrees teach students to evaluate, use, and generate research to move the field of education forward. Enrollees also learn to apply pedagogical concepts to educational settings to meet the diverse needs of students. Students immerse themselves in theories of learning and various approaches to curriculum design and decision-making. Degree options include curriculum and instruction, instructional technology, and teaching and learning. You may need to submit official transcripts, a letter of intent, a current resume, and two letters of recommendation along with your completed application. Tuition: $19,450 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#8 St. Leo University Saint Leo, FL
Master of education
Website Some of the amazing courses you can take in St. Leo University's education programs include leadership in the development of reading programs, managing the learning environment, and principalship: theory and practice. Students can choose to specialize ininstructional design, educational leadership, or exceptional student education. Most programs at SLU require 36-42 graduate semester credits. You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 with no more than two C grades in required coursework. Students complete their education degree as a blended program that combines traditional in-person classes with a variety of delivery formats, including online options and video conferencing. A private nonprofit school, SLU receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school generally accepts transfer credit from regionally accredited institutions and on a case-by-case basis from non-regionally accredited schools. For the latter, the admissions department considers the following: educational quality; nature, content, and level; and applicability in light of the student's goals. Tuition: $8,498 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#9 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
Master of science in education
Website Consider Nova's Fischler College of Education (FCE) for your master's in education degree. A private nonprofit institution, NSU offers numerous education program specializations. You can study curriculum, instruction and technology, or elementary education. Other options include exceptional student education, Spanish language education, and science education. Courses you take may include theories and assessment of learning, teaching inquiry-based life science, and strategies for teaching calculus. Students may attend part time or full time, online or in the classroom. For admission, you must submit a completed application, pay a $50 non-refundable fee, and forward your original transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions. The admissions department accepts applications online and on a rolling basis. NSU accepts up to six semester hours of transfer credits earned within the preceding five years from the first term of enrollment in the FCE program. Students need a B or better in transfer courses, and can only apply transfer credits to one NSU degree. Tuition: $20,620 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
#10 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
Master of education
Website A private not-for-profit school, Gwynedd Mercy University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It features accelerated master's degree in education programs delivered completely online. Some of these accelerated education degrees include supervisor of curriculum and instruction, educational administration, and principal certification. In GMU's education programs, you will learn how to think and plan strategically to create an organizational vision focused on student success. You will also study the appropriate use of instructional materials. Courses cover the policies, statues, and rules that state and local agencies establish. Most programs require you to submit a completed application and fee, a current professional resume, and two letters of recommendation from a supervisor or professional contact. You also need an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. If your GPA was lower, you may still qualify for the program based on a personal interview or other factors. GMU utilizes full-time or part-time instructors, not teaching assistants, for all courses. Tuition: $11,286 School Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

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