Teachers who decide to further their education by earning an online master’s can choose between a Master in Teaching (MAT) or a Master in Education (M.Ed.) program. While there’s some overlap in the content each degree covers, the two are inherently different. Which one an individual chooses depends on his or her career ambitions. Teachers who want to continue in the classroom usually pursue a MAT, while those who would like to move into leadership and administrative roles pursue M.Ed. degrees. The following guide breaks down the various online master’s in education options, and looks at some of today’s best online degree options across the country.
More and more teachers are moving their advanced educations online. Why? Traditional colleges and universities have made great strides to infuse their online programs with the same academic rigor as their campus-based ones. Combined with the flexibility of the virtual classroom, and online (and hybrid) solutions just make sense. The schools below have online master’s in education programs with award-winning faculty, great resources and the flexibility that students need. Let’s see which institutions made the list of the Best Online Master’s in Education Degrees for 2015.
For a more in-depth breakdown of our criteria and scoring system, please visit our methodology page.
|SCORE: 98.08||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Arkansas||Type: Public|
This university offers online graduate level studies in six areas of education, with two programs dedicated to training special education teachers in grades pre-K-12. All degree options are 18-20 months in duration and require 30 or 36 credit hours.
The online master’s programs in education are designed for current teachers seeking career advancement through additional training. Depending on the programs, concentrations include curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and gifted and talented.
Online courses at Arkansas State University are enhanced with Live-Text, an online platform that hosts student portfolios, assignments, projects, and lesson plans.
|SCORE: 97.73||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Nebraska||Type: Public|
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Office of Online & Distance Education offers many online master’s programs in education to prepare existing and aspiring teachers for the elementary, middle, or high school classroom. The school even offers less-common options such as deaf education, visual impairment, and German language education.
Online courses are taught by the same professors as on-campus courses, and students have access to faculty advisors who can assist with course selection to meet personal and career goals. Career services are also available, including phone or Skype consultations and access to the Nebraska Alumni Association after graduation.
|SCORE: 97.71||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Georgia||Type: Public|
Georgia State University offers six online master’s degree programs in education for both aspiring and current educators. The online Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) allows for initial teaching certification, while the other degree options are geared toward teachers looking to increase their mastery of the art of teaching or to conduct research in an academic setting. GSU’s online programs are available to students in 35 states. Graduates learn how to become effective researchers as well as engaging teachers who are experts in their field?whether it be mathematics, reading, or technology. GSU provides some flexibility in scheduling and course offerings, allowing students to take classes that are relevant to personal interests and career aspirations.
|SCORE: 97.57||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Wisconsin||Type: Public|
The University of Wisconsin’s online master’s-level education and teaching degrees cover a variety of areas including professional development. Certain courses use a blended delivery model and incorporate in-person summer sessions. For example, the program for teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students requires sign language classes that are not available online. Students in this program complete teaching experiences in their own geographic areas as well as a summer school session in Milwaukee.
For its online courses in education, the University of Wisconsin uses real-time audio conferencing, video conferences, discussion forums and other e-learning technologies. Through eCampus, adults gain access to resources like the student union, digital catalogs, recorded lectures, upcoming course assignments and their test scores.
|SCORE: 96.73||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: New Mexico||Type: Public|
Students of New Mexico State University seeking an online master’s degree in education can choose from different areas of emphasis. Available courses include pre-kindergarten educational practices, technology in the classroom, curriculum development and school leadership. Some degrees are designed for K-12 teachers in New Mexico or other individuals with professional experience.
Online classes begin in the spring or fall semesters. While master’s-level studies may include some in-person participation, most distance learning classes use the Canvas system, which allows for online lectures, discussions and homework assignments. Students can take an orientation via the Internet to become familiar with the course management system.
|SCORE: 96.59||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: New York||Type: Private|
Concordia Online Education offers distance master’s degrees through its three founding institutions?Concordia University, Nebraska; Concordia College-New York; and Concordia University ? Portland. Distance degree options are offered for multiple grades and subject areas, including early childhood education, ESL, and reading. The Nebraska campus offers online graduate degrees designed for current educators and the special education graduate program is designed for teachers seeking special education certification in grades K-12.
The Portland campus offers licensure and non-licensure education programs. A curriculum and instruction program is offered with 19 concentrations, and a special education certification program prepares teachers to work with students with moderate to mild disabilities.
|SCORE: 96.31||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: North Carolina||Type: Public|
North Carolina State University offers Master of Education degrees that students can earn completely online. Each is tailored to a specific area, whether it’s working with learners in the early grades or with adults.
The science education program is designed for teachers of grades 6-12. Students learn new teaching techniques for this subject matter, and they can pick a particular area, such as middle school or thesis research. Similarly, the technology education program focuses on instructional technology, though it puts an emphasis on the requirements of the state of North Carolina. For example, classes to earn the North Carolina Master Teacher Advanced Licensure are required.
|SCORE: 96.21||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Alabama||Type: Public|
Dubbed “the friendliest campus in the South”, this university provides educators with eight online Master of Science in Education degree options, giving those in the field numerous opportunities for career advancement. Depending on the program, requirements range from 30 to 37 credit hours, and prepare graduates for leadership positions in their field of study. Students learn about curriculum theories, inclusion with a commitment to diversity, using technology in a variety of classroom settings, and also learn how to collaborate with peers within their own school and beyond. Some programs offer teacher licensure and/or endorsement in the field.
|SCORE: 96.18||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
LU Online, Lamar University’s distance learning program, has numerous master’s in education degrees?including accelerated options?to prepare students for leadership roles in the field. Students graduate with the experience and background necessary to become school principals, instructional designers, professional school counselors or teacher-mentors. Coursework covers essential concepts such as how to implement research-based instructional strategies, motivate students, assess traditional and technology-based projects, lead groups of teachers, and implement effective instruction for maximum student achievement. Programs start throughout the school year, allowing students to get started on their degree right away. Classes are five weeks long and are administered completely online.
|SCORE: 96.15||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Alabama||Type: Public|
More than 10 master’s degrees in teaching and education are offered online by the University of West Alabama. Programs feature a choice of specialization including different age groups of learners or a specific subject like physical education. Several degrees share requirements such as coursework in technology and special education. Graduation may require 15 hours of field or classroom experience — the curriculum differs depending on whether or not students are aiming for state certification.
UWA Online has five sessions a year, and courses generally take eight weeks to complete. The Blackboard Learning Management System, a remote exam proctor application, official school email and video conferencing are tools used to connect students and instructors.
|SCORE: 95.91||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Virginia||Type: Private|
Liberty University’s online master’s degree programs are designed to prepare students for today’s highly competitive job market by providing them with the right skills, expertise, and knowledge. In the field of education, the college has two online master’s options?a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.), both of which have a range of concentrations to meet students’ various career goals. Its Master of Arts in teaching has four specializations and is designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and have no teaching experience. The Master of Education, on the other hand, is for current, practicing teachers who would like to further their career in the field. The M.Ed. has 15 specializations from which to choose. Liberty’s online courses are eight weeks long and allow students to complete coursework at any time. This provides the maximum flexibility for busy working adult learners.
|SCORE: 95.75||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
Stephen F. Austin State University’s six education programs supply a range of choices for an online master’s degree, including specializations in particular content areas. Graduates from the educational leadership degree can apply for principal certification. This program is 30 hours or 18 hours for those who already hold a master’s degree.
SFA Online’s instructors are specifically trained to teach online classes. Classes are taught via the Desire2Learn platform, and technical support is provided. There are also video tutorials on specific class elements including discussions and quizzes, so students are familiar with them before classes begin. Online students have access to services such as a digital library, counseling and academic advising.
|SCORE: 95.74||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Iowa||Type: Public|
At the graduate degree level, several education online programs are offered through the University of Northern Iowa’s virtual learning platform. Fully online degrees are available in areas such as elementary education, instructional technology, and physical education. Other programs are a blend of virtual and in-person courses. Adult learners who wish to enroll in an online master’s in education program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. To access courses related to their master’s level education/teaching major, students log into MyUNIverse, which is a digital database. Support services offered include program advising, technical support specialists, print and electronic textbooks, and access to the school’s virtual library.
|SCORE: 95.44||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Arkansas||Type: Public|
The University of Arkansas has six Master of Education degrees that can be completed online. Each program is offered through the university’s College of Education and Health Professions and has unique requirements. For example, the Master of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development Education requires students to complete a master’s-level statistics course at the University of Arkansas before graduation. While the program can be completed in two years, students have up to six years to meet all graduation requirements. Another potential option students have is the special education degree. There are four areas of focus to choose from, and the degree takes about two years to complete.
|SCORE: 95.06||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
The College of Education & Human Development at Texas A&M University offers several online master’s degrees in different areas related to teaching. Students may be responsible for field work in schools in addition to their online coursework.
Graduate students participating in online programs are admitted through the same process as on-campus applicants. Each program may have specific requirements in addition to standard application materials such as official academic transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume and a statement of purpose. All students are held to the university’s Aggie Honor Code, and the university expects online students to have a reliable computer, be comfortable using technology for classwork, and be able to communicate clearly online with peers and instructors.
|SCORE: 94.78||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Delaware||Type: Private|
Distance learning master’s degrees in teaching and education from Wilmington University focus on areas including school leadership, literacy and the role of technology in the classroom. Some programs incorporate online courses — for example, a research-based seminar — with a practicum in a school setting. To complete blended programs, adults take virtual courses and also attend on-campus classes.
Graduation requirements vary depending on the specific program, however, it generally takes from 33 to 35 credits for a master’s degree. Online students use tools like Blackboard, video conferencing and WebCampus to interact with instructors or download course catalogs, upcoming class assignments, registration forms and their academic records.
|SCORE: 94.62||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Tennessee||Type: Public|
The Office of eLearning at East Tennessee State University is home to a number of online master’s degrees in education. Depending in the specific degree, these options are administered either 100 percent online or ?mostly online?, meaning that students will need to attend a limited amount of on-campus meetings and/or classes, but a majority of the program can be completed online. Prospective students are advised to contact East Tennessee State University directly for more information on hybrid options. For online master’s degrees that are fully online, such as the Master of Education in Educational Leadership, distance learners will be part of a cohort group that will progress through the program at the same time.
|SCORE: 94.34||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Private|
Christian college Dallas Baptist University has a selection of online master’s degrees in education and teaching. While the degrees do not lead to licensure, they are designed for educators who are seeking advanced knowledge and skills in the field of education. Graduates are prepared for positions as administrators, curriculum specialists, and instructional leaders.
A Master of Arts in teaching program is available with a specialization in distance education, which prepares graduates to teach or design online courses and programs. This is a partially online program that requires 21 hours of on-campus courses.
Online classes are hosted by the Blackboard platform, and online students have access to Dallas Baptist University’s extensive library resources.
|SCORE: 94.14||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: West Virginia||Type: Public|
Online master’s degrees in education at MUOnline are designed for certified teachers who wish to grow professionally in the field. The school has three degree options in education, as well as five specialization areas to prepare students for additional licensures in subject areas following state-mandated examinations. These distance learning degree programs follow the same academic calendar as Marshall’s traditional on-campus programs, with fall and spring terms lasting 15 weeks and the summer term lasting 12 weeks. Marshall also offers a variety of graduate certificate programs for students not yet ready to commit to a full master’s degree program.
|SCORE: 93.91||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: North Dakota||Type: Public|
The University of North Dakota’s Education and Development Department offers seven online master’s degrees that prepare adults to teach at the early childhood, elementary, secondary, or corporate levels. Instructional design and technology, for example, is a graduate program that targets public and private school educators as well as corporate trainers. The semester-based courses are comprised of virtual classes, each generally at three credits. Should adults decide to enroll in non-semester based courses, they can start classes at any time. However, they must complete all associated assignments within nine months of their enrollment date. Self-paced courses do not qualify students to receive financial aid. Students have nine months to finish self-paced classes. Semester-based courses, on the other hand, must be completed within three months, and meet the school’s financial aid qualifications.
|SCORE: 93.76||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: West Virginia||Type: Public|
West Virginia University administers its distance learning master’s degree programs for teachers and educators through the College of Education and Human Services. Fully online programs include fields like instructional design and school health education. Blended programs such as those in literacy and sports education use video and audio conferencing as well as on-campus instruction.
Program requirements may include licensing exams like the PRAXIS. Adults must complete 36 credits to complete most of the programs. Course descriptions, test scores and class assignments are accessed through systems such as WVU Online, MIX and eCampus. An online orientation to virtual education is offered for new students.
|SCORE: 93.76||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
The University of Texas Arlington confers two master’s degrees in education through its distance learning platform. Supervisory skills are taught via the educational leadership program. The curriculum and instruction degree path offers specialties including math, literacy and science. The literacy program features courses such as multicultural literature for children and teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Graduation requirements differ: for example, the math track uses a research project rather than a thesis. The literacy concentration includes a practicum, with a choice of specialization. The minimum credit hours required for the master’s level programs is generally 36, and individual courses can typically be completed within five weeks. Online library access, video conferencing and email are resources available to virtual learners.
|SCORE: 93.22||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Alabama||Type: Public|
The School of Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers numerous degrees that adult learners can earn completely online. Admission requirements vary, depending on the program of choice. For example, students interested in early childhood and elementary education need to submit test scores for the Miller Analogies Test or Graduate Record Exam. Students in that program are prepared to become leaders in education and learn skills in collaborating and mentoring.
UAB Online students take the same classes as students on campus, and all distance courses go through a quality assurance process. Online students have access to many UAB services, such as technical support, career development, and financial aid.
|SCORE: 93.12||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: California||Type: Private|
Faith-based college Azusa Pacific University has more than a dozen master’s programs via distance learning for teachers seeking advanced education and certifications. These programs are offered fully online, but many include an off-site internship component to qualify students for certifications. Depending on the program, the university estimates that its online master’s degree options in education can be completed in 15 to 24 months. Courses have minimal system requirements and include assignments, discussion forums, and real-time conversations with peers and instructors.
In addition to online master’s degrees, the college also offers a number of education-focused graduate certificates through distance learning.
|SCORE: 93.08||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Georgia||Type: Public|
Students at Kennesaw State University have several choices when it comes to an online master’s degree in teaching. Offered through the university’s Bagwell College of Education, KSU’s online Master of Education options utilize a cohort model and focus on helping students become master teachers in their field and affect student learning and instruction at their home school. Degrees are designed for candidates who already hold a valid and renewable teaching certificate and allow graduates to pursue a specialization area. Depending on the degree, some of the available endorsement certification opportunities include reading, teacher leadership, educational assessment, and instructional technology. Most students graduate within 18 to 24 months and students should expect to spend about six to nine hours per week completing coursework for each three-credit class.
|SCORE: 92.57||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Wyoming||Type: Public|
The University of Wyoming’s online master’s degrees in education and teaching are offered through the Outreach School. Web-based courses focus on areas like learning theories, child and adult development, instructional design and media literacy.
Some blended programs, like the educational administration track, combine teleconferencing and online courses. Courses for the curriculum and instruction major or the special education concentration are held online, via audio or video conferencing, and face-to-face during intensive class sessions. Distance learning students use WyoWeb to access exam scores, transcripts and course catalogs. Should students require academic support, they can log into eTutoring, a tool that connects them with advisors.
|SCORE: 92.34||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Ohio||Type: Public|
The University of Cincinnati offers fully online Master of Education degrees in a range of subject areas. Five graduate certificates are available as well, and in some cases credits earned for a graduate certificate can be transferred towards a master’s degree.
The online graduate programs are designed for working teachers who are looking to advance their career as well as career changers who do not have a background in education. Most of the programs can be completed in two years, and all are completely online, with no on-campus visits required.
Distance learning courses at UC are delivered through the Blackboard Learning Management System. Students work with small cohorts that are guided by a facilitator. Distance learners can participate in discussion sessions, complete group projects, and form peer and professional support systems.
|SCORE: 91.98||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Kansas||Type: Private|
At Baker University, practicing teachers can pursue an accelerated graduate program in education to enhance their skills and become exemplary educators as well as increase their earning potential. Composed of 36-credits of coursework, this online degree emphasizes immediate application of skills by enhancing students’ teaching methods and techniques and also keeping them up-to-date on changes and developments in education.
In addition to core coursework, the program also incorporates electives from four concentration areas. Students can choose to take electives in technology, multicultural classrooms and student diversity, curriculum and instruction, or generalist.
Online classes are delivered through the Moodle platform, which includes assignments, exams, discussion groups, and other distance learning tools.
|SCORE: 91.93||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Hawaii||Type: Public|
At the University of Hawaii Manoa, students have a few different master’s degree options within the field of education. These programs take about two years to complete and are designed for students not local to Manoa, such as those living on neighboring islands or in the mainland United States. Foreign students are also welcome.
Most students in these programs hold or are pursuing certification. However, the school also accepts applicants who are not pursuing certification and wish to teach in non-school settings, for example, with developmentally disabled adults or in workplace education.
Online courses are administered through the Laulima learning management system. Students are expected to participate regularly in online collaborations, interacting with classmates and the instructor and providing meaningful contributions to class discussions.
|SCORE: 91.82||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Washington||Type: Public|
Central Washington University offers online graduate degree programs in education and online certificate programs for current licensed teachers. Although the graduate programs are not teacher licensure programs, they do prepare students to work in administrative positions within education. For physical education teachers and administrators, the university offers online hybrid graduate programs in physical education and athletic administration.
|SCORE: 91.72||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: California||Type: Private|
To help educators and administrators enhance their expertise and knowledge, the School of Education at Biola University offers numerous Christ-centered online master’s degree programs in education and teaching. In addition to qualified and diverse faculty, online learners also have access to top experts in the field, allowing them to get the most out of their graduate studies. While online graduate programs usually attract experienced teachers, the university notes that their teaching and education degrees can also work for those new to the field or who wish to make a career change.
Online graduate classes at Biola are asynchronous, yet highly interactive. Classes are managed and delivered through the Canvas Learning system.
|SCORE: 91.66||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Massachusetts||Type: Public|
Offered through the Graduate School of Education, UMass Lowell has online master’s degrees for educators in a range of areas; however, two of these distance programs are only open to Massachusetts teachers who have an initial or professional teaching license. Others are open to prospective teachers nationwide.
Distance courses at UMass Lowell include instruction and interaction through a variety of methods, including email, chat rooms, readings, and web resources. Students may also participate in site-based projects or online group projects. All web courses are taught by UMass faculty and the university’s Graduate School of Education holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
|SCORE: 91.64||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Alaska||Type: Public|
Students of the University of Alaska Southeast have several options for online graduate degrees in education. One master’s degree program focuses on offering culturally sensitive services for children with disabilities, while others zero in on teaching methodologies for different school subjects or grade levels.
In the educational technology pathway, University of Alaska Southeast students learn skills in leadership, electronic learning environments and digital citizenship, with 33 credit hours required in courses such as instructional design. Another alternative, the program for elementary school teachers, ends in a capstone experience consisting of student teaching and portfolio preparation. Students earning this degree take foundation and major courses ranging from math methods in K-8 classes to classroom management and discipline.
|SCORE: 91.36||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Nebraska||Type: Public|
Chadron State College offers a variety of fully and partially online education master’s degrees for licensed teachers and non-licensed students. Degree options are available in a range of education-related areas such curriculum and instruction, administration, and school counseling. Some programs mandate that applicants hold a bachelor’s degree in education or have completed a teaching certification program, while others only require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Additional entrance requirements may include a minimum 2.75 grade point average for undergraduate courses, submission of transcripts and GRE scores, and attendance of an orientation/interview before the end of the first semester.
|SCORE: 91.18||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Kansas||Type: Public|
Pittsburg State University, also known as Pitt State, offers seven education-related master’s degrees online. Courses are generally delivered over the Internet using the Canvas learning management system. A practicum may be required — for example, one program includes classroom experience working with English language learners.
Another master’s degree program has a special education emphasis for professionals other than licensed teachers who work with children with disabilities. Candidates should have one year of experience as a para-educator and be employed as such while earning their degree. A separate master’s program offers a special education degree for teachers, and applicants need a valid teaching license or certificate for admission.
|SCORE: 91.09||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Georgia||Type: Public|
Columbus State University’s online master’s degrees in teaching and education are offered both fully and partially online. Students can choose to earn a Master of Education or a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.).
As an example, an online master’s degree in curriculum and instruction is available, which qualifies students for teacher certification in the state of Georgia. The degree expands on students’ professional experience and delivers advanced studies in teaching and education research.
Another option is the graduate teaching program in which students work towards certification in secondary mathematics or science.
|SCORE: 90.88||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Louisiana||Type: Public|
The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers online master’s degrees in education for students looking to teach at the elementary or secondary level, in both general and special education. Applicants must have taken the GRE and completed a bachelor’s degree, though it can be in a field outside of education.
These distance learning programs, which range from 36 to 42 credits, can be completed in as little as 14 months. However, most students take up to 20 months to finish their requirements, and have three years to finish their degree. Depending on the area of study, curriculum may cover child psychology, reading and literacy, classroom management and organization, and inclusive classrooms.
|SCORE: 90.24||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Ohio||Type: Public|
Kent State University’s College of Education, Health and Human Services is home to six unique online master’s degree options in teaching. Additionally, its College of Arts has a Master of Music degree specifically for choral, instrumental, and general music teachers. Some of these distance learning teaching degrees provide flexibility in format, often allowing students to choose between a master of arts, which requires a thesis, or a master of education, which includes up to six credits for an internship or practicum experience. Classes include those from the philosophy, sociology, and communication departments, giving students the opportunity to build a broad educational background. Depending on the degree, graduates may be qualified to add endorsements to their current teaching certificate.
|SCORE: 90.19||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Montana||Type: Public|
Montana State University offers online master’s teaching degrees, including specializations in areas like music, natural sciences or research as well as particular grade levels. These programs are designed for educators who want to become master teachers, scholars, researchers or curriculum specialists in educational agencies.
Online classes are structured to give full-time professionals flexibility if they wish to continue working while pursuing a higher degree. Some programs allow graduates to earn additional certifications or endorsements beyond the traditional teaching certificate. Most coursework is delivered online, however some field work experience and face-to-face time may be required during summer sessions.
|SCORE: 90.16||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Ohio||Type: Public|
At Cleveland State University, online master’s teaching degrees meets the requirements for certification or teaching endorsement in the state of Ohio. The curriculum is taught by licensed educators and prepares future teachers to work with students with a diverse set of talents and abilities, in areas such as educational technology and gifted education.
Online classes utilize live instruction and self-paced learning, including interactive videos, online lectures, and face-to-face meetings via video calls. Online classrooms mimic their campus-based counterparts and courses are taught by the same CSU faculty.
|SCORE: 90.1||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Minnesota||Type: Private|
Students at Martin Luther College can pursue a Master of Science in Education or a simultaneous master’s degree and post-baccalaureate licensure (for MLC graduates from 1970 to 2001). Students in the Master of Science program can choose from four emphases or a double-emphasis. If students choose to do a double emphasis, only one degree is conferred; however, the second emphasis is indicated on official transcripts. Students must complete capstone projects in two different categories: curriculum development, field project, internship, thesis, or comprehensive exam. Aside from required practicum experience for some programs, all coursework can be completed 100 percent online.
|SCORE: 90.03||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Georgia||Type: Public|
Four online master’s degrees are conferred by the University of West Georgia for teachers and educators. Attendance requirements vary: the music and reading tracks are fully online, while the early childhood education program has an initial on-campus orientation in addition to online courses.
The tool that the university uses to connect students with their classmates and professors is MyUWG, a portal that houses emails sent to and from instructors, upcoming class schedules, exam scores and recorded video lectures. CourseDen – D2L is an application that allows students to complete courses associated with their master’s degree online. From 30 to 36 semester hours are required to complete the degrees. A minimum undergraduate 2.7 GPA is needed to enroll in certain specialties.
|SCORE: 90||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: North Carolina||Type: Public|
At the University of North Carolina Wilmington distance learners can choose from four online master’s degrees in education. These options are offered through the Watson College of Education and lead to a Master of Education or a Master of Science degree. Coursework covers a variety of topics including research, curriculum, and diversity in the classroom, and most students complete their programs with a capstone project.
Learners can choose to attend part or full time, and can earn their degree within two years, if pursuing a full-time course load. The university notes that online courses require the same time commitment as their on-campus counterparts.
|SCORE: 89.79||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Kansas||Type: Public|
Practicing teachers have several opportunities to further their careers and education with Emporia State University’s three online master’s degrees. These programs help prepare graduates for leadership roles in schools and the education field. Students gain background in brain-based learning, developing assessment, inclusive learning, and educational law. Some programs allow students to earn National Board Certification or become an Effective Practitioner as part of their coursework. Graduates are also eligible for certification and licensure in their area of study. While students can take coursework online, some programs do require clinical experiences at a school setting.
|SCORE: 89.72||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Georgia||Type: Public|
The University of Georgia offers eight master’s degrees in education that can be completed through online study. Students can choose from a variety of specializations including middle school education, educational psychology, and workforce education, to name a few.
Courses may be synchronous, where students have to log on at a specific day and time, or asynchronous, which allows students to complete coursework at any time of the week. Many of the degree options are offered on-campus as well, giving local students the option of completing a hybrid program, with some on-campus and some online courses.
Programs range from 31 to 37 credits. Curriculum varies, depending on the area of study, but examples of courses include learning environments design, teaching online courses, and creativity and cognition.
|SCORE: 89.69||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
Texas Tech University has Master of Education degrees that can be earned completely online. The curriculum and instruction program requires 36 credit hours and offers the option of completing the degree with or without a thesis. Students learn skills in curriculum theory, design, development and more. The instructional technology degree includes 39 credit hours and a final exam at the completion of the program. Students are exposed to key concepts through research, term projects, class presentations and group discussions. Those in the special education program complete 36 hours of credit. Students can choose from multiple areas of emphasis, including deaf education and applied behavior analysis.
|SCORE: 89.49||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: California||Type: Private|
National University has a range of online master’s degree programs for teachers, and they vary based on a student’s state of residence. For example, students in Nevada who wish to earn their master’s degree in teaching online must already have a license in that state. Additionally, students may be able to waive one class if they already have National Board Certification. The curriculum for this degree offers classes such as meaningful learning with technology, program design, teaching models and applications of research.
Master’s in teaching programs from National University usually require an internship in the classroom in addition to lectures, readings, presentations, quizzes and more interactive elements of online courses. Students and instructors can interact via email, chat and discussion boards.
|SCORE: 88.91||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
Four online Master of Education degrees are available from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, with specializations within the distinct programs. One option emphasizes leadership in school settings, while others focus on pedagogy and may include both a teaching practicum and research projects.
Online classes are taught via Blackboard, and class discussions, quizzes and assignments are accessed through this course management platform. The university offers resources and tutorials for getting acquainted with distance learning. Online students have access to tutoring in multiple subjects over the Internet. Students can also find help via the online writing lab or submit offline questions.
|SCORE: 88.9||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Indiana||Type: Private|
An evangelical, Christian university, Indiana Wesleyan offers several master’s-level education degrees for those in the field who wish to further their careers. The curriculum in IWU’s distance learning programs was specifically developed for the online format; however, the rigor and end degree is identical to on-campus classes. Students delve into constructivist approaches to teaching and learn how to become leaders and mentors in a classroom or other work setting, with some providing the coursework necessary for licensure or endorsements. These programs do not follow the traditional school year schedule; instead, distance learners can begin coursework throughout the academic year. Most of the university’s education online master’s degrees can be completed within 24 months.
|SCORE: 88.79||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Florida||Type: Public|
The University of Florida offers three online Master of Education degrees for prospective and current teachers, as well as several specializations.
Programs are 36 credits, and can be completed in two years if a student takes two classes each semester. Although they require no campus visits, some programs mandate that students complete field placements, such as student teaching, in a Florida school. Coursework focuses on technology in education, leadership in schools and communities, and research-based curriculum and instruction methods.
UF’s e-Learning courses use Sakai or Canvas online course management systems. Distance learners have access to the Help Desk, online library, and academic advising.
|SCORE: 88.43||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Mississippi||Type: Public|
Mississippi State University provides four online teaching degree programs for students who wish to earn a master’s degree and a non-degree, graduate-level program for those seeking initial teacher licensure. Graduates can consider teaching careers at the community college level or in a secondary or middle grade setting. Scholarships may be available through the Teacher Education for Rural Middle Schools program, where students must agree to teach in one of MSU’s partner districts for three years. Online students at MSU take an Internet-based orientation to prepare them for the rigor of these classes. Some programs such as the community college emphasis are not completely online as occasional meetings on the main campus may be required.
|SCORE: 87.7||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Mississippi||Type: Public|
Master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi include specialized studies like the programs for teachers of music or foreign languages. Programs for special education offer a range of subjects, such as working with gifted children or those with learning disabilities. An option for educational administrators requires 36 semester hours, and applicants to the program need a minimum of three years of classroom teaching at the K-12 level.
Video conferencing, official school email and discussion forums are tools used to deliver virtual courses. Even fully online programs often require a teaching practicum for real-world experience. For teachers of adult learners, one degree program centers on designing and managing workplace learning, with a blended or hybrid delivery model consisting of face-to-face and web-based instruction.
|SCORE: 87.47||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Arizona||Type: Public|
Through ASU Online, Arizona State offers a broad assortment of online degrees and certificates in teaching and education. At the graduate level, available degree options are Masters of Education in five areas as well as a Master of Arts option, all through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Each degree is designed to give online learners the knowledge and tools necessary to be effective educators and academic leaders.
Online classes are delivered through a course management system and optimized with add-ons such as Google Apps and Zaption, an interactive video platform.
|SCORE: 87.3||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
At Angelo State University, there are five online graduate programs that can be completed in about 24 months. Not all degree options lead to licensure, however.
The university does offer a teacher certification program to prepare students to take state licensing exams and become academic advisors, principals, teachers, and superintendents in Texas. Additionally, there are online graduate programs available to students seeking positions as guidance counselors or administrators. The guidance counselor program qualifies students to take the Texas Counseling Exam.
Online students access their courses through Blackboard and have access to resources such as an online library database and academic advising.
|SCORE: 87.21||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Michigan||Type: Public|
Central Michigan University’s Global Campus has a number of teaching and education master’s degrees available through distance learning. Such programs are designed for practicing teachers and for those working in education administration. However, select programs are applicable to non-teachers as well. Curriculum focuses on increasing existing education knowledge through intensive studies in research, measurement, and evaluation. Depending on the degree, concentrations are available in curriculum and instruction, training and development, teacher leadership, and more.
Courses are delivered completely online through Blackboard, although live online sessions may be required in some courses.
|SCORE: 87.11||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Arkansas||Type: Public|
Online students at the University of Central Arkansas have numerous master’s degree options in education. Through the College of Education, educators can choose from master’s degrees emphasizing classroom teaching, administration, technology, or initial licensure. As an example, the Master of Arts in Teaching degree is designed to help professionals and recent college graduates become teachers. As such, students complete 36 to 39 credits over five semesters, learning skills needed to become a middle school or high school teacher.
UCA Online students have many university resources at their fingertips, including technology help, library resources, disability support, and online tutorials for technology and the library. Distance classes take place on the Blackboard platform as well as all class discussions, lectures, and homework assignments.
|SCORE: 86.27||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Texas||Type: Public|
The University of North Texas offers a variety of semester-based online master’s degrees in education. The school also offers accelerated graduate education/teaching programs. Elementary education courses are designed for adults who are interested in teaching at the K-12 levels. Should students desire to supervise classroom educators, they could enroll in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership. A minimum of 30 semester hours is generally required to graduate. Blackboard and MyUNT are used to allow students and instructors to interact during virtual classroom sessions. Adults majoring in master’s teaching and education distance learning programs also access EagleConnect to email instructors and classmates.
|SCORE: 85.99||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: Indiana||Type: Public|
Indiana University offers a variety of online teaching master’s degrees for those looking to move forward in the education field. Students have the opportunity to choose a career-focused track, which allows them to take classes geared toward their personal interests and professional goals. Graduates also become eligible for certifications and additional licensure that is specific to their program of study. Coursework, in combination with past professional experience and/or fieldwork, helps prepare students for more advanced roles such as teacher leader, traditional or adult school administrator, educational researcher, curriculum writer, and more.
|SCORE: 85.97||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: South Dakota||Type: Public|
South Dakota State University has two master’s degrees in education available online. Students in the curriculum and instruction program do not need to have teaching experience or a certificate. The South Dakota Teaching Certificate requires 18 credits and can be earned in conjunction with the master’s degree. Applicants to this program can choose to focus on education at the early childhood, elementary, secondary, adult or post-secondary level.
Students interested in leadership options can turn to the educational administration track. Applicants need three years of teaching experience and a valid certificate, and the degree is designed to meet the state’s requirements for principalship endorsement.
|SCORE: 85.97||Academic/Career counseling: Yes||STATE: South Dakota||Type: Public|
Students looking to earn an online master’s degree in education can take advantage of a few different options at the University of South Dakota. There are advanced academic options available to help educators transition into administrative positions such as superintendent, pre-K-12 principal, or higher education administrator and instructor. There is also a distance degree to help students further develop their knowledge and implementation of technology in the classroom.
Resources to help students throughout their online program include digital library services, testing services, a writing center, and online orientation. Through Desire2Learn, the university’s course management system, students can view exam scores, connect with instructors and classmates, and download recorded lectures.
|Career Goal||Master in Teaching||Master in Education|
|Increase your earning potential as a teacher|
|Expand your knowledge of teaching|
|Specialize in a teaching area|
|Move into an administrative position|
|Work in higher education administration|
|Affect education policy|
|Become a school counselor|
|Manage education programs at organizations|
Online master’s in teaching programs generally center on enhancing practical skills and teaching subject-specific information and position students to earn initial teaching certification. Teachers with MAT degrees tend to be more marketable and earn more than teachers who have comparable experience, but have a bachelor’s degree.
In contrast, online master’s in education programs focus on understanding and critically evaluating the practice of education. While M.Ed. students learn useful approaches to classroom instruction, they also investigate more broadly the theory and practice of teaching. Teachers who are ready to take on more responsibility or want to move into administrative roles will decide to complete a Master of Education degree. Those who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in education will need a M.Ed. as well.
Some teachers who complete a M.Ed. choose to stay in the classroom, but still have the option to become administrators later in their careers. Like a MAT, a M.Ed. prepares teachers for initial certification. Beyond that, however, M.Ed. degree holders also work in a variety of roles and settings, such as:
Online master’s in education degrees usually fall into one of three broad areas:
Curriculum and Instruction is the field in education that researches, develops and implements changes in the curriculum. It focuses on how students learn and on finding the best ways to educate. At the master’s level, curriculum and instruction majors participate in educational research. Degree programs generally require a number of core courses, electives that allow for specialization, and some sort of culminating capstone-type project, seminar, or practicum. Typical core requirements can include a combination of the following courses:
Counseling degrees are for those who wish to become guidance counselors. Persons who aim to become school psychologists or mental health counselors need to be licensed mental health professionals and will require different education credentials. Degree programs generally require a number of foundation courses, electives that allow for specialization, and internship or practicum experience. General core requirements may include a combination of the following:
Educational Administration majors prepare students to become principals or higher level school administrators. Coursework focuses on educational law, building and community issues, and faculty leadership, and a capstone project is usually required. Required foundation courses can include the following:
A variety of concentrations are available within the three general content areas. For example, online M.Ed. candidates can choose to specialize in the following:
For those who wish to lead the distance education enterprise within educational, business, government, and non-profit organizations.
A new concentration that prepares professionals to bridge the gap between research related to brain, cognition and behavior, and the practical problems found in schools.
For students interested in careers in administration in a college or university or in policy and planning at a higher education association or agency.
Prepares graduates to teach and run training programs related to medicine, public health, nursing and other health professions.
For persons who wish to focus on teaching adults, including literacy, high school equivalency, ESL, and parenting education.
Teaches students how to directly apply technology for teaching, learning and curriculum development.
There are various options for earning a Master of Education degree online. These programs offer flexibility, as students generally learn on their own time, when it’s most convenient for them. When completed on a part-time basis, online M.Ed. programs also allow teachers to continue to earn an income while working toward an advanced degree.
While students work at their own pace when enrolled in an online teaching master’s program, they should still expect to dedicate a number of hours each week to their online studies. Time spent will depend on the course length, intensity, and assigned workload, but colleges can offer a good estimate of how much time students are expected to spend on each course. Earning an online master’s teaching degree takes an average of two to three years.
Here are some frequently asked questions about earning a M.Ed. online:
While the majority of online M.Ed. programs are very reputable, many being offered by major universities, some aren’t. The best way to ensure a program is on the up-and-up is to check whether it is accredited. An accredited online college has been assessed by an independent agency and found to meet basic quality standards.
Colleges are proud of their accreditation and tend to display it prominently on their websites and marketing materials. But just as some schools are phony, so are some accreditation agencies. Students should make sure the program they are considering is accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.
Absolutely. Online M.Ed. programs offer as wide a variety of concentrations as their classroom-based counterparts.
Most M.Ed. degree programs have some sort of internship or practicum requirement. Students generally work on a one-on-one basis with professors to develop and implement their practicum or capstone projects. If an internship is required, online M.Ed. programs typically work with students to locate opportunities close to where the student lives.
Whether classroom-based or online, students should only consider Master of Education degree programs offered by accredited institutions. An accredited college is one that’s been assessed by an independent agency and found to meet basic quality standards. Only accredited colleges and universities qualify for federal financial aid funds.