Earning your online master’s in education can help you advance your career as an educator in a variety of concentrations and specializations. Many accredited schools offer online and hybrid options for earning your graduate degree in education, with highly customizable concentration options to help you meet your specific career and academic goals. These online programs offer a unique opportunity for currently employed and licensed teachers to continue their education while still working and teaching, actively applying what they learn to their current classroom practices, as well as providing the opportunity to pursue different pathways in the field of education. You can often choose to earn your online master’s in education in fields like special education, literacy, and curriculum and instruction, making it easy to find a degree that will suit your interests. Here, you’ll find a ranking of some of the best online master’s in education programs, as well as some further information on what these programs entail and how they can help you grow your career.
- Under $25,000—1 point
- Under $20,000—2 points
- Under $15,000—3 points
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US News and World Report Recognition
- Top 10— 4 points
- Top 25 —3 points
- Top 50 —2 points
- Top 75 —1 point
- Format Customizations (e.g.,
Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1
Point Per Customization Option
- Content Customizations (e.g., Minors,
Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
- 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
#20 American College of Education
Online Master of Education
Current K-12 educators seeking to expand their career options and increase their salary potential can earn their online master’s in education from the American College of Education. The affordable program, concentrated in curriculum and instruction, consists of 12 required courses completed entirely online. Students choose from a range of specialization options, including digital learning and teaching, elementary literacy, and differentiated instruction. Taught by veteran teachers, the required courses emphasize evidence-based instruction, assessment, meeting national and state teaching standards. The program holds accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
#19 University of Texas at Arlington
Online ME in Curriculum and Instruction
The University of Texas at Arlington offers three unique online master’s in education programs, focused in curriculum and instruction. Students can earn their M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with emphases in literacy studies, mathematics education, and science education entirely online. Each of these programs requires 30 credits and takes about 18 months of full-time enrollment to complete. The literacy studies concentration leads to a reading specialist certification; however, the mathematics and science education tracks do not lead to licensure. The master of education degree at UTA holds programmatic accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
#18 University of Wyoming
Online Master’s Degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and K-12 Educational Leadership
The University of Wyoming offers an online master’s in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. The program, offered through the university’s distance learning platform, aims to help educators expand their career options and grow through professional development. However, the program does not lead to state licensure. Students can pursue two different tracks: one which requires a thesis, and one that requires a paper based on a scholarly project. The program requires a minimum of 32-credit hours, including core courses in subjects such as multicultural education, research, and advanced instructional studies.
#17 Arizona State University
Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
The master’s of education in curriculum and instruction offered at Arizona State University includes a concentration and certification in early childhood education. This online master’s in education includes coursework in areas like child guidance and management, intended to prepare educators to better deal with the emotional, social, and educational needs of young children. The MEd in curriculum and instruction offers two track options: one that provides a certification in early childhood education in the state of Arizona, and one that does not. Students can choose which track best suits their educational and career goals.
#16 Kansas State University
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Online
The online master’s in education at Kansas State University includes fully-online coursework, and an in-person field experience at an elementary school in the student’s local community. Offered through Kansas State’s Global Campus, the master of arts in teaching will allow students to apply for their initial teaching license in the state of Kansas, which they can then transfer to their home state. The 31-credit program includes courses in teaching diverse learners, and social foundations in education. The program holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and special scholarships for online students are available.
#15 Bemidji State University
Online MA in Teaching
Bemidji State University in Minnesota offers online options for earning your master of arts in teaching. The online master’s in education allows students to pursue three different elective paths, based on their ultimate academic and career goals. Students can pursue an open study track that would allow them to explore multiple areas of concentration, or follow a specific area of emphasis in their elective courses. The program itself does not provide licensure, but students can choose to pursue additional certification and licensure-track coursework. The program requires a minimum of 35-credit hours.
#14 West Texas A&M University
Master of Education Online
West Texas A&M University offers an online master’s in education with the option to concentrate in curriculum and instruction, reading, or special education. The curriculum emphasizes core courses in instructional strategies, human development, and educational leadership. Students work with their graduate advisor to create 36-credit hour plan of study catered to their academic goals. To apply, applicants must have taken at least 18 undergraduate hours in education. All students must also pass a comprehensive examination during their final semester of coursework before moving onto their thesis project.
#13 St. Bonaventure University
Allegany, New York
Online Master of Science in Education Counseling
Fully accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the master of science in education school counseling at St. Bonaventure University prepares students to work as counselors in elementary, middle, and high school settings. This unique online master’s in education includes courses in abnormal psychology, multicultural counseling, and management of school counseling programs. Students take one, seven-week asynchronous course at a time, allowing them to complete the program in about 30 months. Graduates of the program often go on to work in K-12 public and private schools, with non-profits, and secondary learning institutions like colleges and universities.
Tuition per credit is $755
#12 University of Redlands
MA in Education Online
The University of Redlands offers an online master’s in education program ideal for students looking for a degree that emphasizes social justice, change, and reform in education. The 36-credit hour program offers three concentration paths in human services, leadership for social justice, and curriculum and instructional design. Coursework intends to prepare students to advocate for underserved, marginalized, and disenfranchised populations in the field of education. Students do not need to submit GRE scores to apply, and all courses are offered entirely online. The university holds regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Tuition per credit is $730
#11 Old Dominion University
MS in Education Online
For students looking to work in education administration, Old Dominion University offers an online master’s in education that leads to full licensure educational administration and leadership in the state of Virginia. This unique master of science in education program follows an emphasis in K-12 administration and supervision, with 30 required credits in courses like education politics and policymaking, educational law and ethics, and professional development. Online courses in the program are synchronous and delivered as live, regularly scheduled webinars. All applicants must be currently employed by a public or private school division.
#10 University at Albany, SUNY
Albany, New York
Online MS in Special Education & Literacy
The online master’s in education at the University at Albany SUNY offers a specialization in special education and literacy. Upon graduating from the MS in special education and literacy program at Albany, students will also hold certifications in childhood education, teaching students with disabilities at the childhood level, and literacy. This full-time 43-credit program prepares graduates to work with students with disabilities as elementary school teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers. Students complete a clinical internship in their community teaching students with disabilities, as well as a teaching seminar in the field.
#9 Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership
At the Northwestern State University of Louisiana, those who already hold a valid teaching license can earn their master’s in educational leadership in around 18 months of full time coursework. This online master’s in education prepares students to work as school leaders from the elementary to postsecondary levels. Students can complete their coursework online; however, each cohort meets on campus once per semester to discuss capstone projects. The 36-credit hour online program holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council.
#8 Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Online Master’s Degree Program in Elementary Education
Eastern New Mexico University offers a fully online master’s in education, with a specialization in special and early childhood education. This non-licensure program prepares graduates to eventually work specifically with special needs children. The program consists of 36 required credit hours, including courses in educational research, foundations of early childhood, and collaboration methods. Students often go on to pursue careers as early intervention specialists, education training consultants, and educators in head start programs. Students can opt to earn their special education license concurrently with their coursework. This program has both thesis and non-thesis options.
#7 The University of Saint Francis
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Online
The University of Saint Francis provides quality online learning opportunities rooted in Catholic and Franciscan tradition. Students can pursue an online master’s in education at Saint Francis that prepares graduates to earn Indiana state teaching licensure, as well as providing opportunities for career advancement for those who may already hold a license. Courses in the program span eight-week intervals, allowing students to complete coursework at an accelerated pace. Many students complete the program with 12 months of full-time enrollment. The program holds programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
#6 Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina
Online MA in Teaching
The online master’s in education offered at Clemson University provides current K-12 educators the opportunity to advance their careers through advanced education. Rated the number one online graduate education program by US News and World Report, the non-licensure program takes around 18 months of full-time enrollment to complete. Students can specialize in STEAM, experiential learning for early childhood, and instructional coaching. Students complete the 30-credits of required coursework asynchronously online. The curriculum strongly emphasizes pedagogy and research. Students in the online program generally already hold employment in a K-12 setting.
#5 Valley City State University
Valley City, North Dakota
Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
Valley City State University in North Dakota offers an online master’s in education ideal for current educators to increase their salary potential through earning a graduate degree, as well as offering an opportunity for earning state licensure in teaching. The 33-credit program includes an internship or student teaching, a comprehensive portfolio, and a research project. Designed to meet the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the curriculum includes courses in reading and literacy, diversity, and human development. The program holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
#4 Montana State University-Northern
Online ME Degree
Montana State University-Northern offers an online master’s in education that emphasizes a concentration in instruction and learning. Students complete coursework online, and attend four weekend residencies at the main campus in Havre, Montana throughout the course of the program to meet with their cohort and develop a strong learning community. Students take two courses per semester for six semesters, and begin and end the program as a cohort. Exit requirements include an electronic portfolio and action research project. Montana State University-Northern holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#3 University of Southern California (USC)
Los Angeles, California
Online Master of Arts in Teaching
Ranked as one of the top schools of education by U.S. News and World Report, the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California offers a fully online master’s in education. Students engage in weekly face-to-face courses delivered online, as well as valuable field experiences in their home communities. The program prepares students for a teaching license recommendation, but does not explicitly grant licensure. Depending on enrollment level, students can complete the required minimum 28 credits in one to three years. Students can also pursue concentrations in multiple and single subject teaching for middle and elementary school.
#2 Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in Education
Fort Hays State University offers a unique online master’s in education for those looking to grow their skills in incorporating technology into all kinds of learning and teaching environments. The master of science in instructional technology at Fort Hays emphasizes using different types of technology, software, and multimedia platforms in educational instruction. Students complete all coursework online at their own pace, as all classes are offered in 4-, 8-, and 16-week semesters. Courses include educational leadership, multimedia applications, and developing web-based instruction. The program partially fulfills licensure requirements in the state of Kansas.
#1 Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
Online Master’s Degrees in Elementary (M.A.Ed.) and Middle Grades Education (M.A.Ed.)
Western Carolina University offers an online master’s in education program intended for those who already hold a teaching license to grow and advance their careers. The master of arts in education at Western Carolina consists of 30 required credit hours, completed entirely online in about two years. The degree emphasizes comprehensive elementary and middle grade education, with 18 credit hours dedicated in this specialization area. Students work with an advisor to map out a course plan that best suits their needs. All students complete a comprehensive portfolio. The program fulfills requirements for students to be recommended for advanced competencies licensure in the state of North Carolina.
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