Getting your degree in education or teaching can be a great way to kickstart your career as a teacher, administrator, or leader in the education space. Maybe you’re a working professional who wants to change career paths, or you need a quicker way to finish earning your teaching credentials. If you’re looking to accelerate your pathway to becoming an educator, then it makes sense to look for the fastest education degree to help you reach your goal.
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Fastest education degree types
There are several types of degrees in education and teaching available, including:
- Bachelor’s in Education (B.A. or B.S. in Education)
- Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education (B.A. or B.S.)
- Master of Education (M.Ed.)
- Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)
The right degree program depends on your career goals and how fast you want to earn your degree. But no matter which degree type you choose, there’s an accelerated route to get you there, with many schools making it possible for you to earn your bachelor’s, master’s, and teaching licensure, or all three simultaneously, in two years or less. We’ve compiled a list of the fastest education degrees available, including bachelor’s and master’s degree options, to make your search easier.
How do I become a teacher?
Requirements for teaching depend on a number of factors, including the state where you want to teach, whether the school is public or private, and the age and grade level of the students.
- Preschool teachers usually need an Associate’s degree and education and training vary based on the state.
- Kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers usually need a Bachelor’s degree. Public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. Some states require high school teachers to earn their master’s degree at some point after the certification process and securing a teaching job.
- Principals or other administrators and education leaders usually need a master’s degree in education and teaching experience.
- Private school teachers don’t usually need licensure to teach, but most schools prefer teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree with a major in the subject they are teaching.
Why should I earn an education degree?
While you usually need a college degree in order to become a teacher, you don’t always need to earn your degree specifically in teaching or education. However, a degree in education or teaching can give you a certain advantage. You’ll not only be an expert in your subject area (like early childhood, math, or reading), but you’ll be an expert in the process and art of teaching itself – with the specific skills and knowledge you wouldn’t usually gain in a non-teaching degree program.
|1||University of the People (29 points)||Pasadena, California|
|2||Chestnut Hill College – Accelerated Adult Early Childhood Studies (25 points)||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|3||Monmouth University – Master of Arts in Teaching (23 points)||West Long Branch, New Jersey|
|4||Point Loma Nazarene University – Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Education, B.A. (19 points)||San Diego, California|
|5||Northcentral University – Accelerated M.Ed. (18 points)||San Diego, California|
Top 15 Fastest Education Degree Programs & Schools
If you’ve decided that a degree in education or teaching is the right path for you, you may need a fast or accelerated option. We’ve compiled a list of the top 15 fastest education degree programs available both on-campus and online. The list is ranked according to the estimated time to completion (fastest is best) and the school’s tuition per credit (lowest is best). Take a look at the top fastest education degrees to see which program could be the right fit for your schedule and goals.
University of the People (29 points)
University of the People offers a 100% online, tuition-free Online Master of Education that can be completed in approximately one year.
Working together with the International Baccalaureate, this program prepares students to meet the needs of IB world schools with a curriculum that focuses on education, childcare, and community leadership. Courses prepare graduates to work in a variety of settings, including private and public schools, community colleges, and more, and cover topics like human development, teaching theory, and assessment of learning.
In this 39-credit program, students can choose between two concentrations, including Elementary/Middle School Education and Secondary Education.
Chestnut Hill College – Accelerated Adult Early Childhood Studies (25 points)
Created to meet the needs of adult learners, Chestnut Hill College offers an Accelerated Adult Early Childhood Studies program to train students in the areas of educational and child psychology, curriculum methods and materials, and extensive fieldwork.
Chestnut Hill College works on an accelerated eight-week format where students can take two courses every eight weeks for a total of twelve credits per semester. Students can choose the schedule that works best for them, with classes available on nights and weekends at four campus locations, including two in Philadelphia, one at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, and another at University Center at Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown.
The major requires 60 credits in addition to core Liberal Arts, and classes include topics like Math for Teachers in Early Education, Early Literacy, Creative Art Methods, Introduction to Special Education, and Development/Early Years.
Monmouth University – Master of Arts in Teaching (23 points)
Monmouth University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) that can be completed in as little as 12 months. This 36-credit master’s degree program also offers students the opportunities to add an English as a second language (ESL) endorsement or teacher of students with disabilities (TSD) specialization and finish their degree program in 16 months.
This degree program equips graduates to teach students from kindergarten to high school age and provides at least 225 hours of field experience.
Class sizes are small and students receive rigorous, real-world experience through school visits, observation and teaching under a master teacher.
Point Loma Nazarene University – Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Education, B.A. (19 points)
Point Loma Nazarene University offers an Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Education program that allows students to earn their B.A. and become certified as teachers in as little as 16 months.
This program is ideal for students who want to teach at the elementary school level and experience extensive fieldwork at local public schools. Different credential options include mild-moderate special education, moderate-severe special education, single-subject, and multiple-subject.
Point Loma Nazarene University is a Christian institution dedicated to impacting the broader community through strong Christian values.
Northcentral University – Accelerated M.Ed. (18 points)
Northcentral University offers an accelerated path to an M.Ed. that enables students to earn their master’s degree in just one year. This 30-36 credit hour online program readies educators for leadership roles in elementary, secondary, and higher education.
Students can specialize their degree in one of 19 different professional areas, including General Education, Reading Education, Athletic Coaching, Global Training and Development, Special Education, and more.
There are several scholarship opportunities available through the Give Your All Scholarship Program, which awards two full-tuition scholarships and two $20,000 scholarships to new students.
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Newman University – Elementary Education K-6 Degree (18 points)
Newman University, located in Western Kansas, offers several accelerated pathways to teaching, including its B.S. in Elementary Education K-6 degree program. This degree can be earned in 16 months after students complete their general education requirements at community college.
Newman University offers several locations throughout Western Kansas, including Wichita, Great Bend, Liberal, Garden City, and Dodge City. Zoom classes are available for those who live an hour or more away from a classroom and need the convenience of online learning.
To provide even more flexibility for working students, classes are offered two to three nights a week, with some classes over the summer.
University of North Dakota – Accelerated B.S.Ed./M.Ed. in Special Education (17 points)
The University of North Dakota (UND) offers an accelerated B.S.Ed./M.Ed. in Special Education that allows students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in just three years.
With special education teachers in very high demand, UND has created an early childhood education program where graduates experience a 100% employment rate. This combined major and master’s program is 84 credit hours and features flexible online courses with zero on-campus requirements.
Students are required to complete 60 hours in an early childhood education setting, such as a pre-school, kindergarten, or grade one through three classroom, where they can gain real-word experience.
University of Saint Joseph Connecticut – M.A.T., Secondary Education (16 points)
University of Saint Joseph Connecticut offers an accelerated route to a M.A.T. in Secondary Education with its Reach to Teach program, a 16-month, 36-credit program where students can earn a 9-credit waiver for tuition through student teaching.
Students also gain licensure as a grade 7-12 subject teacher in Connecticut in one of the following subject areas: World Languages, General Science, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Social Studies, English, and Family and Consumer Sciences.
Courses generally start after 4 p.m. and are created to accommodate working adults.
University of Redlands – Master of Arts in Education, Learning and Teaching (MALT) (16 points)
University of Redlands offers a master’s degree program that can be completed in 16 months and prepares students to teach in a Pre K-12 public or private school setting. This degree integrates Multiple Subject (elementary), Single Subject (secondary) and an Education Specialist Teaching Credential Program into one program for busy working adults.
This program emphasizes blending teaching with practice, combining innovative in-classroom curriculum with extensive out-of-classroom experiences like student teaching and internships.
Available online, at the Redlands Main Campus and four Regional campuses, this program is accredited by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Union University – Master of Education (15 points)
Union University offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a focus in Instructional Leadership that can be completed in just 12 months.
This degree prepares educators to become leaders in their schools and districts and also helps students prepare to pass the state licensure exam. With 30 semester hours, the Master of Education with an Instructional Leadership focus is taught in a collaborative spirit, encouraging teamwork, support, and sharing of knowledge among students and faculty.
This program is delivered online and is one of several accelerated degree programs available at Union University’s School of Education.
Indiana Wesleyan University – B.S. in Early Childhood Education (14 points)
Indiana Wesleyan University offers a 120-credit B.S. in Early Childhood Education that can be completed in 24 to 36 months. This program prepares students to become early childhood educators in a variety of settings and also recommends the candidates for an Early Childhood P-3 initial teaching license in the State of Indiana.
This program includes a minor in Reading and focuses on the cognitive, physical, social and emotional needs of children from infancy through age eight, with courses emphasizing child development and learning and building strong families and communities.
Courses include Educational Psychology for Early Learners, Instructional Tools for the Teaching of Reading, Classroom Management in the Primary Grades, and STEM Concepts in the Primary Grades.
Rasmussen College – Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education (10 points)
Rasmussen College offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education that can be completed in as little as 18 months. This program is ideal for students who want an affordable, accelerated program with flexible learning options on their path to becoming an early childhood educator.
Students who earn this degree could pursue roles as preschool director, childcare administrator, lead teacher, preschool owner, or program director. This degree doesn’t certify students for licensure or certification, but does provide students with the knowledge and skills to become experts in early childhood education.
Two specialization tracks are available: Child Development and ECE Leadership, and classes are available fully online to accommodate busy professionals and their schedules.
MidAmerica Nazarene University – Accelerated Elementary Education Unified Program (9 points)
MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) offers an Accelerated Elementary Education Unified Program made to help working adults their teaching degree or teaching licensure in as little as 18 months.
This program combines online classes with in-person student teaching experiences. In addition to earning their bachelor’s degree, students become certified in both elementary education and SPED (special education). In addition to fully online classwork, instructors use vodcasts, podcasts, social networking, wikis, and other unique resources to enhance the curriculum.
The program runs with both asynchronized and synchronized learning formats each week, and meets the requirement for 64 to 67 credit hours.
University of Evansville – Accelerated Elementary Education Degree (7 points)
University of Evansville offers a 48-credit hour Accelerated Elementary Education Degree program which can be completed in as little as 3 semesters if students have completed their prerequisite classes.
This program enables students to earn their bachelor’s degree and Indiana teaching license at the same time. In addition to reduced tuition rates, University of Evansville provides extensive internship opportunities supervised by a mentor teacher and University supervisor in a real classroom.
While classes run at an accelerated pace, students can decide to extend the length of the program to better fit their schedule.
Eastern University – B.S. in Early Childhood Education (Adult Accelerated) (5 points)
Eastern University offers an accelerated pathway to teaching Pre-K through fourth grade with their B.S. in Early Childhood in Education. This approximately 60-credit program can be completed in around two years.
Available in 100% online or hybrid campus formats, this program is designed to help working adults earn their bachelor’s degree while becoming certified as early childhood teachers. In addition to allowing students to manage work and school, Eastern University encourages continued educational growth after completion of the B.S. Students can transition into one of seven of their M.Ed. programs or complete a specialist or professional program.
Students who are already teaching in early childhood education programs can also apply for the T.E.A.C.H scholarship, which covers tuition, costs of books, and more.
Want to explore more Education Degrees? Select Education in our Degree Finder tool and we’ll help you find the program that’s right for you.
Our Ranking Methodology
In order to come up with our rankings, we used a formula based on per-credit tuition rates (in-state where applicable) and estimated completion times for each program. If per-credit tuition rates were not provided by the school, per-semester tuition rates were divided by twelve for an average of twelve credits per semester. Estimated completion times for each program are approximate and may depend on whether students complete certain prerequisite courses or other requirements.
After sorting first by the completion times and then by tuition rates, we assigned points to each school and added these points together to get a final ranking score.
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