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Best 10 Master’s in K-12 Education in 2021

April 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

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For those individuals with a career objective to transform and impact young learners, a Master’s in K-12 Education degree program is a smart academic pathway to make direct changes within a school district or community.

Master’s in K-12 Education degree programs provide a comprehensive, holistic education regarding the best practices in K-12 education, plus the opportunity to gain refined skills in the field at the graduate level. The reality is, depending on the student’s selection of a K-12 specialty, the degree holder can continue to focus on teaching in the traditional classroom or choose to work at the administrative or supervisory level.

In addition to mandatory Master’s in Education program coursework, a graduate program will provide various opportunities to further develop one’s educational experience that prepares you for the next level of your career. Additional opportunities include –

As you begin to research the various degree programs, be certain that the target school/program has received regional/national accreditation. K-12 Education degree programs may also hold specialized academic accreditation, which is critical for those wishing to pursue professional licenses and certain leadership roles in the educational arena.

In the United States, the CAEP (The Council for Education of Educator Preparation) is the primary accreditation agency that grants programmatic accreditation to those Master’s K-12 Education degree programs that meet its defined criteria. CAEP programs apply five practical standards to their accrediting process, which include –

  • Practical knowledge.
  • Clinical/practicum experience.
  • Program impact.
  • Recruitment.
  • Ongoing/continuous improvement.

Master’s in K-12 Education degree programs are offered in a variety of academic degrees. Among the most popular are –

  • An MS degree – a Master of Science in Teaching, Special Education, or Education
  • An MA degree – a Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education, or Education – focuses more on teaching applications
  • A M.Ed. degree – Master of Education in a variety of topics and specialties which tends to focus on educational careers outside the classroom in the areas of curriculum design or administration, for example.

Best 10 Master’s in K-12 Education

1. Oklahoma State University (OSU – Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma)

The Education & Human Sciences College at Oklahoma State University (OSU) offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in K-12 Teaching, Learning & Leadership that is considered among the best Master’s degree programs. OSU’s MS in K-12 Education is available entirely online, on-campus (in Tulsa and Stillwater), or a hybrid combination of both. Classes for this degree include educational advocacy and culturally responsive teaching in special education and secondary school, among others.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 230.45 for Oklahoma residents, $360 for Online Nonresidents, $ 876.40 for nonresidents on campus – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 36 credit hours.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Oklahoma State University – 18 to 1.

2. Minnesota State University (MSU – Mankato, Minnesota)

Minnesota State University offers a Master of Science degree program (MS) in Teaching & Learning that is available 100% online. Minnesota State University’s K-12 Education degree program offers these certificate options – Instructional Media for the Classroom, Learning Communities & Leadership, Educational Technology in the Classroom, and Culturally Responsive Teaching. Degree candidates enrolled in MSU’s graduate education degree can opt to complete the degree with a thesis, an alternate plan paper, or a creative project.

  •  Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 444.10 for Minnesota residents, reciprocity status is available for North Dakota and Wisconsin residents – – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 34 credit units for each graduate completion requirement selected.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Minnesota State University – 22 to 1.

3. The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss – University, MS)

The Education School at the University of Mississippi offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program in K-12 Educational Leadership (EDLD) that is available online or campus-based on regional sites in Tupelo, Southaven, Grenada, and Booneville. Degree candidates enrolled in Ole Miss’s Master’s K-12 Education degree program complete coursework in instructional leadership, data-informed leadership and ethics and professional norms for education leaders, plus a 400-hour internship, to name a few.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 484.25 for Mississippi residents, $ 1,288.25 for nonresidents – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 30 credit hours.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for the University of Mississippi – 16 to 1.

4. Harding University (HU – Searcy, AR)

Harding University’s Cannon-Clary Education College offers a Master of Education degree program in K-12 Special Education that prepares educators to serve the educational needs of students with all abilities. Harding University’s K-12 Education degree program offers students eight years to complete the graduate degree. Coursework for Harding’s graduate K-12 education degree includes research methods, literacy and diversity, characteristics of students with exceptionalities, and foundations in special education, to name a few.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 515 for all students – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 35 credit hours, of which 29 hours must be completed at Harding University.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Harding University – 15 to 1.

5. Shawnee State University (SSU – Portsmouth, Ohio)

Shawnee State University offers a Master’s Education degree program in K-12 Intervention Specialist that offers working licensed educators who wish to expand their credentials. Classes for Shawnee State University’s Master of Education Degree (M.Ed.) for a K-12 Intervention Specialist include assessment and instructional planning, classroom management & behavioral interventions, and accommodations and technologies, plus an internship, among others.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $516.75 for Ohio Residents, $ 1,219.64 for nonresidents – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 33 to 36 credit units depending on the exact path of study, with an additional credit hour required for those students seeking national board certification.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Shawnee State University – 15 to 1.

6. Bethel University  (BU – St. Paul, Minnesota)

Bethel University offers a Master of Arts degree program (MA) in Education K-12 with a number of relevant academic tracks that include – Educational Leadership, Classroom Management Strategies, International Baccalaureate, Special Education, and Work-based Learning, to name a few. Students enrolled in Bethel University’s Master’s in K-12 Education degree program is available entirely online.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 535 for each concentration – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 32 to 33 depending on selected concentration.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Bethel University – 11 to 1.

7. Auburn University (AU – Auburn, Alabama)

Auburn University’s Education College offers an Education degree program with its Master of Science or Master of Education in Collaborative Teacher Special Education, K-12. These Education degree programs from Auburn University offer two academic tracks – the professional-studies (PS) pathway with a clinical studies requirement or a teaching field  (TF) pathway – with one-third of the program completed in the field. Each of the graduate degrees in education is available online or on-campus.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 560 for all on-campus students, $ 630 for online students – – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 33 credit hours for PS or traditional degree.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Auburn University – 20 to 1.

8. The University of Alabama (UA – Huntsville, Alabama)

The University of Alabama (‘Bama) offers a Master of Arts degree program (MA) in Special Education that also provides a Class “A” professional certification for an educator for exceptional children. Available traditional Class “A” certifications from the University of Alabama Master’s in degree program include collaborative education, early childhood, autism, gifted/talented and severe disabilities as defined by the Alabama State Board of Education.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 615 for Alabama residents, $ 1,550 for nonresidents – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements -33 credit hours.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for the University of Alabama – 19 to 1.

9. Widener University (WU – Chester, PA)

The Health & Human Services College at Widener University offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program in K-12 Educational Leadership that prepares degree candidates for rewarding careers in education leadership and school administration. Widener University’s K-12 Education degree program is typically completed in one to two years, on average and available online or with hybrid delivered coursework.

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $800 for all students – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required n meeting program requirements – 33 credit hours.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Widener University – 15 to 1.

10. Barry University (BU – Miami Shores, FL)

Barry University’s A. Dominican School of Education offers a nationally ranked Master’s degree program with its Master of Science (MS) degree program in Elementary Special Education, K-12 (ESE) that can be finished entirely on the school’s distance learning platform or on the school’s sunny South Florida campus. Classes for this degree include an introduction to exceptional children, educational assessment of students with exceptionalities, and educational management of students, plus a teaching internship or relevant practicum, among others. 

  • Tuition fees per credit unit – $ 990 for all students – 2020 to 2021.
  • Credit units required in meeting program requirements – 30 credit hours.
  • The Student to Faculty Ratio for Auburn University – 20 to 1.

Our Ranking Methodology

At BestValueSchools.org, we developed the above list of K-12 Education degree programs to help current and potential educators looking for the best academic graduate degree programs to propel their professional and career opportunities.

Our methodology for this Master’s Education degree program analysis includes data and information that has been extracted from these reputable sources –

  • Each institution of higher learning’s college or programmatic website or catalog page.
  • The College Navigator Website (NCES) – that is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor and/or the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when applicable.

The above-noted Education degree programs offer current or prospective teachers a cross-section of available graduate K-12 degree options from both public and private colleges and universities.

These ten Master’s K-12 Education degree programs are ranked, with the most cost-effective degree programs listed first.

The tuition data used to formulate the basis of the analysis is disclosed as ‘per credit’ fees, which allows students to compare schools on similar terms.  The total cost of any program included in our analysis can be calculated by multiplying the required number of credits by the cost per credit for the specific program.

Do you have concerns regarding one of the Master’s in K-12 Education degree programs noted above?

Would you like to update the information included in our analysis of graduate degrees for K-12 education programs? Please reach out to BestValueSchools.org with the information that needs updating.  

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