Distance Education has become a common household term this year and will see a significant enrollment increase for years to come. Online education provides students with flexibility so they can meet their personal and professional obligations while earning their degree. Teachers with an online education degree can work with students of all ages as well as more options for work environments. They can work in public, private, or university settings as instructors.
Table of contents
Online Teaching Degree Overview
Students seeking to earn a degree for teaching in an online format have some different factors to consider before they enroll in a program. Some programs award an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate. Knowing what you are seeking and what you plan to do with your degree will influence what program you should enroll in. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for educators of elementary and secondary schools. There are many options for online degrees in elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, and special education. Online Graduate certificates and master’s degree’s in education are also available for students seeking to gain licensure, increase their teaching or technology skills, or even those seeking administrative positions.
Some schools even offer online doctoral degrees. These programs will require students to perform research within the field of education. A doctoral degree would advance one’s opportunities in administration and university-level teaching positions.
The average salary for high school teachers in the United States is $61,060 a year with those holding advanced degrees earning an average of $75 per year.
Finding an affordable program that offers the same quality instruction as in-person instruction can be challenging if you don’t know exactly what to look for. Looking at the quality of the curriculum, cost, options for specializations, and placement opportunities are factors to consider when choosing an online teaching degree. Below are some of the top online teaching degrees currently offered by accredited schools across the United States.
|Michigan State University
|East Lansing, Michigan
|John Hopkins University
|University of Georgia
|University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, California
|Utah State University
The Best Schools For Online Teaching Degree Programs!
Michigan State University
As one of the top research institutions in the country, Michigan State University has been educating students and providing key research for over a century. Michigan State offers several education degrees at the Master’s level. Whether students are seeking roles as educators or administrators, there are specific degrees to advance both careers. Some of the degrees offered include Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Analysis, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Special Education, Master of Arts in Education Technology, and more.
Different programs will yield different outcomes, some lead to certificates and licensure. Similarly, some programs will require internships or practica for graduation. Students attending online can fulfill these requirements within their communities. Each program has its unique requirements for admissions so be sure to contact the school for requirements regarding specific programs you desire to apply for.
John Hopkins University
As one of the top research institutions and the first of its kind in the country, John Hopkins University has led the way in providing quality online education and resources for students around the world. Educators seeking to advance their careers need to be aware of requirements before enrolling in any education program offered at John Hopkins. The doctoral program requires students to hold a master’s degree from an accredited university. Students must also be able to provide their GRE scores, be practicing educators, and have a minimum of 36 graduate-level credit hours. Those seeking this route will prepare and defend their dissertations. Students can specialize in urban leadership, instructional design in online teaching and learning, technology integration, and more. Students should make themselves aware of any state-specific requirements as well.
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia has a rich heritage as an institution that prepares learners and trains educators. As the nation’s first public university, the University of Georgia has set the standard for public higher education. The College of Education was the first to offer online programs and degrees from the University of Georgia. Currently, there are eight online Masters in Education programs available in the following areas: workforce education, educational psychology gifted and creative education, applied cognition and development, science education, middle grades education, reading education, learning design, and technology, learning leadership, and technology. Each master’s program has unique admissions requirements that students must meet before enrolling. Contact the school to learn more specific information on admissions criteria for the program of choice.
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California has designed one of the top online teaching models for educators in the country. Many students earn their degrees entirely online. USC provides an excellent graduate degree program for educators seeking to advance their careers. The curriculum prepares students to become excellent educators for the K-12 educational system. Students can choose one of two routes, a multiple subject teaching for elementary or a single subject teaching for secondary schools. Students can also include additional credentials to their education such as special education, gifted education, ESL, and Bilingual teaching. These are in addition to the core courses of the base curriculum. To enroll students must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
Utah State University
Utah State University offers one of the most affordable online advanced degree options in the country. With an entirely online, fully accredited Master of Education in Technology and Learning Sciences, students can advance their careers with two years of online courses. This degree is designed for teachers, staff, and administrators. Since technology is contributing to the way the education is delivered and understood a degree in technology and learning sciences helps educators understand how it changes the landscape of learning and how to adapt. Participants in this program learn how to integrate, implement, and evaluate technology into their teaching or administrative roles. USU also offers various online resources to help every virtual student succeed.
University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
Distance education is nothing new to the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, this institution has been offering distance learning for decades before online education was ever an option. Now UI offers over 90 degree-granting programs entirely online to serve the needs of students across the country. The University of Illinois offers several excellent master’s level and doctoral level education degrees. At the master’s level students can pursue any of the following: curriculum and instruction, diversity and equity in education, foundations of e-learning in higher education, global studies, learning design, and international education and leadership. At the doctoral level, students can enroll in one of the following: diversity and equity in education, foundations of e-learning in higher education, global studies, or learning design. Among these programs, students can also specialize in bilingual, digital learning, or perspectives and practices.
Texas A&M University
As the first institution for higher learning in Texas, Texas A&M University has had experience educating the next generation of teachers both on-campus and online. Distance learners have access to many of the same services that on-campus students do such as career advisors, writing center, academic advisors, technical assistance, and a 24/7 help desk.
Currently, Texas A&M offers one online Masters in Education degree in curriculum and instruction. This is a fully online program that builds a foundation with courses in theory, content area, and methodology courses. Students also have options to specialize in one of the following areas; STEM, reading and literacy, graduate teacher certification, and urban education.
University of Iowa
As the oldest institution for higher learning in the state of Iowa, The University of Iowa teaches thousands of learners every year. Students seeking degrees in education can choose between a Master of Art in Education Policy and Leadership or Master of Art in Teaching and Learning. These courses are designed for teachers, administrators, and principals at the K-12 level. If students are seeking principal licensure they must also complete clinical hours required for that certification. Within these two degrees, students can also choose to specialize in specific areas such as gifted and talented, Science technology engineering math, or English as a second language. These are elective tracks that students can enroll in if they choose to.
University of Pittsburgh
Through the University of Pittsburgh’s online degrees, many students across the country have earned Master’s degrees to advance their careers. Students seeking a master’s degree in education have two options available through Pitt’s online catalog. Students can either enroll in a Master of Education in Elementary Education or a Master of Education in English Education.
A Master of Education in Elementary Education includes an elementary education for K-12 levels that prepare students for classrooms as well as administrative positions. The other track, English Education prepares students to teach English at elementary or secondary levels. Curriculum courses in theory and practice in teaching writing, the psychology of learning, and development for education. Students need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be considered for these programs, they do not have to hold a bachelor’s in education.
The early mission of Purdue University was to make education accessible and affordable to as many learners as they could. With online curriculums now available this vision has been fulfilled to a much larger extent than ever before. With a global campus now available to students anywhere that had internet. Purdue offers degrees and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels through their online classrooms. There is currently four Master of Science degrees available online including applied behavior analysis, special education, curriculum and instruction, and learning design and technology. These programs take between 18 to 22 months to complete depending on how many credits students take at a single time. Each program has specific requirements for admissions, please contact the school of education to gain access to information for programs you want to apply for before doing so.
Ohio State University
Ohio State University has one of the most expansive online learning networks of institutions for higher learning. Ohio State offers multiple degrees and certificates that students can earn entirely online at the cost of a resident student. Their online programs and courses are designed to be as flexible as possible with options for part-time and full-time attendance as well as rolling admissions deadlines. Ohio State offers one of the best online associate degrees in early childhood education.
The degree is recognized and fully accredited in every state except Colorado. Out-of-state learners should still check with state authorizations guidelines and requirements. Ohio State offers a Master in Learning Technology Program online as well. Students will need to see what requirements are before applying for the master level program, the associate’s degree requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
University of Missouri
The first public institution for higher learning west of the Mississippi River, The University of Missouri was founded on providing affordable quality education to all who enroll and continues that legacy today to students throughout the country. Access to quality education has never been easier with the multiple online offerings in advanced degrees. Mizzou offers both undergraduate and graduate-level education degrees with various specializations. The bachelor’s level courses include human learning, digital media, learning spaces, and a capstone course. Mizzou offers several online Master’s degree options, these courses do not prepare students for teaching license as the bachelor’s degree does. Some master’s degree offerings include autism education, early childhood education, Elementary education, English Education, Gifted, Positive Coaching, Social Studies, and many more. Every program has separate admissions requirements and outcomes, please contact the school for more specific information regarding individual programs.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers a unique cohort style Masters in Education program that enables students to start and work together throughout the program. The program takes only one year to complete and requires students to participate in teaching internships throughout the year. These internships do have to take place in Arizona, Phoenix-area schools. The program is 36 credit hours with courses including learning theory in education, content area literacy in multicultural schools, and English immersion. While students are required to participate in internships at select schools the rest of the curriculum is online. Students that complete this program will earn an Arizona teacher certification at the secondary level. Other Master’s degree programs include global Students can also enroll in undergraduate programs in education and early childhood education.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has had a long reputation of graduating top scholars and is home to many prestigious scholarships. UMASS has an enviable reputation with tens of thousands of students applying for admission every year and only a limited 5,000 enter as freshmen. With so many desiring to earn their degrees at UMASS, the online degree programs have expanded significantly in recent years to provide the same quality education that on-campus programs provide. Currently, UMASS is offering two online degrees in education one is a master of Science in Science Education and the other is an Education Specialist in Science Education. Both tracks prepare students to become the educators needed to fill the gap of well-educated science instructors. These degrees and all of the required courses are entirely online. All applicants must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and fulfill all of the other admissions requirements as outlined by the school.
University of Tennessee-Knoxville
As the flagship university of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville has been educating students since 1794 when it first opened as a public institution for higher learning. The University of Tennessee offers more than 900 programs for students to choose from. Alongside the campus, education is the university’s online programs that are part of the Vols Online, the institution’s distance learning department. Through partnering with the university’s Colleges of Education, Health, and Human Sciences they can offer three Master’s Degree programs. These degrees include Educational Leadership and policy studies, Instructional Technology, Education Administration, and Educational Psychology and Counseling. Each of these three programs is awarded a Master’s Degree in Science. To apply for either of these programs students must fulfill requirements found at the UT Office of Graduate and International Admission.
University of Utah
Distance learners of the University of Utah will see and experience a very personal educational experience with access to student services such as tutoring, mental health counseling, a comprehensive writing center, and technical support. Through their UOnline catalog, students have access to undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. The graduate degree track is a master in arts fine arts teaching. Students must have a bachelor’s degree or teaching degree. Both licensed and unlicensed art teachers are accepted into the program.
The program is entirely online except for intensive 12-day residency during the summers where students must be on campus. Students will take online courses that include art-making, community-based arts teaching, art teaching project design, and art teaching project implementation.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University is Oregon’s largest institution for higher learning. Every year more than 32,000 students enroll with nearly 7,500 of those students enrolling online. One of the benefits of attending Oregon State Online is the cost, there are no additional out-of-state fees for online-only learners. OSU is on a quarter term schedule that lasts 11 weeks as opposed to a semester schedule like many other colleges. Students seeking to advance their careers through education have a few different options through OSU, online Master Degrees, and hybrid Master Degrees as well as an online Doctoral Degree. The Master of Education in College Student Services Administration is delivered entirely online as well as the Master of Education in Adult and Higher Education. The Master of Arts in Teaching is a hybrid of online as well as required on-campus participation. The Doctorate Programs are also hybrid programs with a blend of online and on-campus delivery methods.
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University provides a very tailored educational experience with all of the same support that traditional on-campus learners receive. LSU’s online programs include tutoring, concierge teams, academic coaching, technical support, a career center, and access to student health services. Online students are taught by the same award-winning professors that teach the courses on campus. The online degrees that LSU offers in education are at the graduate level and include a master of education in educational leadership. Graduates of this program can advance their careers into administration and principal positions. Other specializations include Educational Technology and Higher Education Administration.
Applicants must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and meet program criteria for enrollment.
The University of Kansas has expanded from a single building housing 55 students to now comprising 5 campuses across the state of Kansas. The institution has grown significantly over its years and continues to grow as it now educates students across the globe through their online education programs.
Currently, the University of Kansas offers eight online Master’s degrees in education. There are two special education degrees, one specializing in autism the other in high incidence disabilities. There are three curriculum degrees, one focusing on instruction, another on TESOL, and the last focusing on instruction and reading. Other degrees include sports management, secondary special education, and transition as the last educational administration. Each of these programs can be completed within two years and is delivered asynchronously. Be aware that some programs require internships to be completed before graduation, all of the internships can be completed at the professional’s current school. It is important to know what career path you are planning to go down as the degree is highly specialized to specific career paths.
St. Joseph’s College of Maine
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph’s College of Maine is a private Roman Catholic Liberal Arts Institute. Students that enroll in distance learning enjoy many of the same amenities that on-campus students receive such as tutoring, IT services, and Student support services. Currently St. Joseph’s College offers a Master of Science in Education entirely online with multiple areas of concentration for students to choose form. These concentrations include adult education and training, school educator, health care educator, Catholic school leadership, and school leadership. Each concentration offers a unique curriculum that is entirely online and will provide specific career pathways. The leadership concentration follows guidelines set by the Interstate School Leaders Consortium Standards which allows graduates to advance their careers in administrative paths.
West Virginia University
West Virginia University has wisely build student services right into their online programs to ensure the success of the students that enroll. Online learners have access to enrollment coaches and academic advisors throughout their educational careers. The online programs are taught by the same award-winning faculty as the on-campus courses and the tuition for most online courses cost the same for resident and non-residents alike. With so many benefits for online students attending West Virginia University, it isn’t surprising that they are rated among the top institutions to enroll in for advanced education. Currently, there are four Master of Arts Degrees in Education available.
These degrees include literacy education, advanced elementary education, instructional design and technology, and higher education administration. While every program can be completed entirely online there are options for some programs that allow students to participate in on-campus courses should they choose to.
Each program has its admission requirements so be sure to know what they are before applying.
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is one of the few institutions that offer online bachelor level degrees in education.
With a robust online offering and excellent student support, even virtual students experience a personalized education. The online programs focus on flexibility so working professionals, parents, or those serving in the military can complete their education. If students have already earned an associate degree in early childhood education or development they can apply for the online Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education. This particular program is designed for education for children from birth to age 5. The two-course options in this degree are social-emotional development and physical cognitive and language development. UC also offers several online Master’s Degree Level programs including curriculum and instruction, special education, educational leadership, literacy, and more. Each of these programs has unique courses and other elective courses to allow students to specialize in various areas.
Auburn University has expanded from a small institution for higher learning in Alabama to become an expansive online institution that offers numerous degrees through online and hybrid models. The hybrid models require students to attend some on-campus courses while the rest remain online. Currently, there are 11 such options for students seeking to earn their Master’s degrees. Students can either earn a Master’s in Education or a Master in Science through the many degree options. A few of the options include special education, adult education, early childhood education, music education, agriscience education, reading education, and more. Some of these programs offer other specializations within the degree to allow for a more personalized education pathway for each student. Each program has specific application requirements, please refer to the site to get the most up-to-date information.
New England College
A smaller liberal arts college, New England College is a private institution for higher learning that enrolls close to 4,000 students per year. All of the programs are founded in the liberal arts tradition with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. The program for a master’s in education can be pursued by students with and without teaching certificates. While most programs can be completed entirely online there are a few that will require students to attend courses on-campus or attend in-person meetings on campus or in the area. Online students have 13 concentrations to choose from, a few of those are story-telling, STEM, special education, school principal, literacy, educational leadership, and many more. Applicants will need to submit transcripts and resume.
George Fox University
A private institution, George Fox University was founded on principles of spiritual, academic, and professional growth. A smaller institution that serves approximately 4,000 students, the faculty to student ratio is a low 14 to 1, which enables faculty to mentor students throughout their educational career. The online Master’s in Education program allows students to remain practicing professionals while earning an advanced degree. The master’s degree will allow them to enter leadership roles and administrative roles within the education system. The program is designed to give students a foundation in core courses such as curriculum and instruction. While the second half of their courses are designed to allow students to choose a concentration among special education, reading, educational leadership, and English as a second language.
Those desiring to become principals will need to take the educational leadership route, that will enable them to become licensed in the state of Oregon.
Earning a degree online has never been more available than now, with many fully accredited and specialized programs now is an excellent time for educators to advance their careers.
Whether students are seeking to earn licensure or advance their career into administration or leadership roles or just desiring to be a more educated teacher now is the time to find the best online teaching degree. Most programs take two years or less and provide increased opportunities upon graduation.
Schools were ranked according to a matrix of programs available, cost, and graduation rate.