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Best Affordable Online Master’s in Education

Best Affordable Online Master’s in Education

Getting a master’s in education can create new and interesting opportunities for anyone with a drive to teach or work within a variety of elementary and secondary school settings. But, like so many degree programs in the modern era, cost can be a huge problem. That’s why we’ve ranked the very best in affordable online master’s degree programs in education. 

Americans across the board are more educated than ever before, with about 21 million master’s degree holders across the nation. That’s 13.1% of adults over age 25 in 2018 versus just 8.6 percent in the year 2000, according to the US Census Bureau. Although these degree holders are spread across a variety of fields, over 20% hold a master’s in education. This type of degree allows educators to move into administrative positions, take on different types of responsibilities, and earn more competitive salaries.

See Also: 10 Best Master’s in Industrial Engineering

Master’s in Education for Teachers

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, public school teachers surveyed during the 2015-16 school year were quite an accomplished group. Among elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide, 57% held a post-baccalaureate degree. It’s important that educators like you continue to learn and grow in order to better serve your communities and student populations, there’s no doubt about it, but you also deserve to get the biggest bang for your educational buck.

Finishing that online master’s in education not only gives you a great sense of accomplishment, it can make you a better teacher. Being exposed to the latest thoughts and philosophies in teaching can help you fill in gaps that you may have struggled with during years of field work or you may simply find new and better ways to apply the techniques you were already using in your classroom. It’s a big investment, though, which is why it helps to save all you can while still learning a lot.

See Also: Best Affordable Master’s Degree Programs

M.Eds for Aspiring Principals and Administrators

Of course, teachers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from an online master’s in education. If you’ve ever considered a move into administration, having additional education can only help your case. Depending on your district, a master’s in education may not be strictly necessary, but having the specialty training that goes with an educational administration track will prepare you for all that may come your way.

Getting that additional degree online and affordably makes it easier to achieve your dreams of working for an entire school or district’s population of students, rather than just a classroom-full. Educational administrators can help shape the future of education on a larger scale for students at many different levels of educational achievement and attainment.

Online education provides a lot of flexibility for people who are already working in their field, but are seeking to expand their knowledge base. These programs are administered through fully-accredited colleges and universities and, you may be relieved to know, there’s nothing different about the quality of learning between an online degree and a seated degree.

Common Application and Admission Questions

So you’re ready to look into the best affordable online master’s in education? You probably have a lot of questions before you jump in. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Below you’ll find some of the most commonly asked questions for degree seekers and answers that should help you get started in the right direction.

How Long Does an Online Master’s in Education Take to Complete?

Because you’ll generally be working at your own pace, your program length will depend heavily on how many courses you’re able to complete each term. However, most online programs will take about two years to complete, just like in a seated university environment. A few schools will offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months.

Will I Need to Take the GRE?

The pre-admission testing process varies widely from school to school, but most graduate programs do still require that incoming students take either the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the lesser-known Miller Analogies Test (MAT). The MAT measures your problem solving abilities using a battery of comparisons, as opposed to the GRE which is more of a general knowledge test. If the school you want to attend will accept either, it may be worth it to take both as practice exams and then choose the one you completed the most successfully as your entrance exam.

Can I Attend an Out of State School?

One of the greatest benefits of an online education is that you can easily complete a degree from a school in another state. The programs are literally designed to make this easier, down to the smallest details. Since your tests will be proctored, for example, you can arrange for that in your own city or through an online service provided through your school. Any teaching hour requirements you may need will have to be secured in the classroom, but one local to you.

Will My Certification Transfer?

No matter where your online school is located, most online master’s in education can offer a certification that will transfer to any other state. This is because most states in the United States of America practice certification reciprocity. This means that for most states, it doesn’t matter where you earned your certification, it will transfer to the state where you’re working with little red tape. If you’re unsure if a certificate will transfer between the state of the school you’re considering and the state where you intend to teach, reach out to individual admission offices for definitive answers.

What Do I Need to Apply?

Application requirements will vary between schools and programs, but for most you’ll need the following:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official graduate entrance exam scores
  • Official transcripts from prior schools
  • Proof of valid teaching license
  • Application fee or fee waiver

Some schools may not have this many requirements and others may have different requirements, so always check with the admissions department before you begin your application. Allow as much time as possible for your application to be completed, as it may take some time to collect all of this material or for official transcripts to arrive at the school you want to attend.

What About Financial Aid & Scholarships?

Choosing an affordable online Master’s in Education is just the first step. The next is figuring out how you’re going to pay for it. An affordable degree program is still a lot more than nickels and dimes, but the good news is that you don’t have to go digging in your couch (and all the neighbor’s couches, too!) to come up with funding. Most students need some form of financial aid.

Student Loans

The reality is that student loans are the financial cornerstone of most educational funding, so we’d be remiss to not discuss them. First time graduate students may be surprised to find that they can borrow up to $20,500 yearly in unsubsidized Stafford loans to finance their education. At the graduate level, subsidized loans are rarely offered, but you should be able to borrow more than enough to pay for tuition and books without trouble. Aggregate limits on Stafford loans for anyone at the graduate level is $138,500, which also includes your existing undergraduate debt.

Stafford loans do not require a credit check or underwriting in the same way that private sector student loans do. You wouldn’t be in a position where you’d need a co-borrower or to provide any collateral. Your education is your collateral, making these loans readily accessible to most borrowers.

Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants

There are many scholarships, fellowships and grants available to people seeking a master’s in education. Some, like the TEACH grant, are meant to help bring more high quality educators into schools that are economically or otherwise disadvantaged. Others, like post-baccalaureate Pell Grants, help students who still have financial need despite their employment earn additional accreditation in education to improve their base pay as an educator.

In addition, particular disciplines may offer fellowships or grants for specific subject matter. For example, the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation offers up to $150,000 for up to five years of tuition assistance and stipend support to people who hold a bachelor’s in math, science or engineering and intend to teach high school level science or math. 

Grants and fellowships are also available exclusively for minority and female students wishing to pursue degrees in education, but are generally offered at your university or local level. There are a number of solid search engines that specialize in graduate school grant funding, these will help greatly expand your search for funding.

Applying for Aid

Every student should start their financial aid process by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will let your university better understand your educational picture and offer appropriate supportive aid when needed. Although some aid is based on your GPA alone, a great deal of aid is also need-based. The FAFSA helps your student aid department determine how your need compares to other students at your school.

When applying for private scholarships, fellowships and grants, you’ll need to follow the instructions to the letter. When an essay is required, remember to keep your focus on how meeting your educational goals will help others, not just how this will help your own picture. Many students fail to treat application essays much the same as resume cover letters and miss out on aid they would have otherwise been excellent candidates for.

How Much Can I Make With a Master’s in Education? 

No one goes into education for the income alone, but many people in the field do extra educational work in order to increase their earning potential over time. Although some districts will pay for all or some of a master’s in education, many educators and administrators must foot the bill themselves. In those situations, especially, it’s important to know that you’ll be able to earn back what you’ve invested.

Potential Earnings With a Bachelor’s in Education

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NTCQ), an organization that monitors teacher income and supports teachers in other aspects of their careers, first time educators with a bachelor’s degree earn a median of $40,000 to $44,900 nationally. The very top earners can receive compensation of over $55,000 yearly, but these are generally limited to high cost of living areas or very high demand fields with too few teachers to fill much needed positions.

The NCTQ report indicates that by their fifth year, these same bachelor’s degree holders haven’t seen a significant improvement in their income, with the median group earning only slightly more than during year one. The median group can expect to earn $45,000 to $49,999 yearly after five years, with the top earners earning $60,000 or more. However, the vast majority of educators in the NCTQ report earned between $40,000 and $49,999 even after five years of working in the classroom.

Increased Income for Educators With a Master’s Degree

The NCTQ also examined how much teachers earn with a master’s in education when compared to their bachelor’s holding coworkers. First year teachers with a master’s degree were found to earn an average of $2,760 more; at the peak of their careers, master’s degree holders may make an average of $7,358 more each year.

That may not sound like a lot, but consider this is the average across classroom educators only, who may come from districts with some fairly wide income variations. Our own findings of income for all master’s in education holders may tell a slightly more exciting story.

Of our top 10 best affordable online master’s in education programs, mid-career salaries averaged $119,350 yearly, with the lowest reported program’s mid-career income at $73,700 and the highest at $143,600. When we looked at our top 100 favorite programs, the average didn’t drop much for mid-career salaries, with average earners still bringing in $102,432.

Earning More with a Master’s in Education

Holding a master’s in education gives you more opportunities to earn more, whether or not you intend to stay in the classroom. This is because most districts recognize the time and effort you put into your profession and realize that you’re bringing a great deal more to the table as you gain more specialized knowledge.

The master’s in education also gives you more opportunities for working in administrative positions or within subjects that are harder to fill. You might even qualify for an entry level university position or a teaching job at your local community college, which would never be possible with a bachelor’s alone.

What Are the Best Affordable Master’s in Education Degrees?

We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of Master’s Programs Guide utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following five aspects:

25% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school

25% Graduation Rate: Number of students who start at the university and actually finish there

20% Earnings Potential: Average mid-career salary of school alumni

20% Selectivity: The number of students who apply versus the number who actually get accepted

10% Online Graduate Offerings: The number of programs offered online in each department

At Master’s Programs Guide, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals.

Check out our ranking of the best affordable online master’s in education!

#1. Texas A&M University – College Station

MEd / MS in Special Education

As a student of Texas A&M’s Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY), you’ll be learning from some of the strongest educators in the field. Not only has EPSY gained national recognition for its academics and research programs, its focus on diversity, technology and international activity fuel powerful and influential opportunities for those who have chosen to study there since 1969.

Program Overview

Successful students in the MEd / MS in special education program at Texas A&M – College Station are professionals who are currently working in or have recently worked in education or administration. If you have a background in education, behavior, disability or related fields, this may be the additional training you need. This is a degree that will prepare you for either working in the field or pursuing additional graduate level work.

You can expect to spend two years pursuing this 36 credit hour degree. A few examples of classes you may choose to incorporate include:

  • SEFB 618: Applied Behavior Management in the Classroom
  • SPED 609: Educating Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • SPED 620: Bilingual Special Education
  • SPED 632: Transition Education and Services for Individuals with Disabilities
  • SPED 642: Prevention, Support, and Intervention for Students with Emotional and Behavior Problems

Your fellow students will be general and special educators, administrators, counselors, therapists, registered behavior technicians and behavior coaches, all professionals like you who want to expand their knowledge base to better serve their diverse student populations. 

Application Process

If you’ve done significant work with persons with disabilities, those of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, or have a strong interest in behavior analysis, this may be a great program for you. You’ll have to meet the standards set forth by Texas A&M’s College of Education for program admission, but you do not need to complete the GRE for the MEd / MS in special education. 

You can pay your application fee and apply online through the Texas A&M EPSY website or through the portal at The name you apply under must match the name on your passport. If you choose to not pay the $65 application fee online, you’ll need to contact the Graduate Admissions Office and do that over the phone. International student application fees are $90.

Other Online Master’s in Education Options at Texas A&M – College Station

Texas A&M – College Station offers five online master’s degrees within EPSY. Those are:

  • Bilingual education (MEd / MS)
  • Educational technology (MEd)
  • Educational psychology – specialization in creativity and cognition (MEd)
  • Educational psychology – specialization in school counseling (MEd)
  • Special education (MEd / MS)

Of these, only educational psychology – specialization in creativity and cognition requires GRE transcripts. If you’re test-adverse or simply don’t have the time to study for and complete the exam, you still have plenty of opportunities for learning at this school.

Our top of the best affordable online master’s in education, Texas A&M’s MEd/MS in special education, will cost about $19,118 net price. It’s a great value, especially considering you can do all your coursework from home or after your teaching day is over, however it fits into your schedule.

#2. Liberty University

Online Master’s in Education (MEd)

Liberty University, founded in 1971 by the Reverend Jerry Falwell, is a highly accredited Christian liberal arts institution, with 17 schools and over 100,000 students worldwide. The school’s home campus is in Lynchburg, Virginia, but online students are as welcome on the premises as seated students and are encouraged to participate in a variety of social and educational events throughout the year.

Liberty University also offers in-person intensive study sessions throughout the year, which can be used to fulfill various degree requirements or fill knowledge gaps for online students.

Program Overview

Liberty University has been doing distance learning since 1985, starting with correspondence courses and adopting technology as it became available. The master’s in education is meant to help working teachers complete or increase their education while remaining in their own classrooms. 

The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), so you don’t have to worry that your accreditation will fail to transfer or be useful after graduation. You can choose from four advanced licensure tracks:

  • Administration and supervision
  • Math specialist endorsement
  • Reading specialist endorsement
  • School counseling

In addition, add-on licensure in curriculum and instruction in gifted education or early childhood education are available to Liberty University master’s in education students. Courses are taught as flexible, eight-week sessions, allowing you to graduate in as little as 18 months.

Application Process

You can apply for admission to this program without official transcripts or a pre-admission test score if you’re a native English speaker. Just fill out the online application or call the admissions office to get started. If you don’t have your official transcripts ready, prepare to submit an unofficial transcript that confirms you have received or are about to receive a bachelor’s in education. 

Unofficial transcripts should include the following:

  • Name of previous school or schools
  • Cumulative GPA
  • List of completed courses by semester
  • List of earned credit by semester
  • Degree name and date of graduation, if applicable

You will still need to submit an official transcript, but it can follow behind your application.

If your first language isn’t English, you will also be required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an approved alternative test, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or International Test of English Proficiency (iTEP).

Other Online Master’s in Education Options at Liberty University

In addition to degrees with licensure, Liberty University offers several options for teachers who already hold a license and are seeking to reach their career goals faster. They’re also excellent choices for teachers looking to work within private school settings or work in educational administration. These programs only require 30 credit hours and still result in a master’s degree.

You have the option of pursuing a non-licensure specialty in educational leadership, instructional design and technology, or one of many curriculum and instruction programs. Tracks within non-licensure curriculum and instruction include, but aren’t limited to, educational technology and online instruction, history, leadership, special education, and urban education.

#3. California State University – Fresno

Master’s of Arts in Education – Reading/Language Arts

Since opening in 1911 as Fresno State Normal School, California State University – Fresno has been dedicated to creating passionate educators and other community leaders. Today, California State University – Fresno’s Kremen School of Education and Human Development’s primary goal is to help educators and administrators reach their full potential in culturally diverse settings. 

Program Overview

California State University – Fresno got its start as a college dedicated to training the best teachers in California and still holds tight to that goal within the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. It already educates more California primary and secondary teachers than any other in the state, but through its online programs, including the Master’s of Arts in education in reading/language arts, is now finding ways to achieve those goals well beyond state borders.

The reading/language arts program gives teachers the additional credentials they need to excel in reading literacy or to expand into this area professionally. Depending on what you want to achieve with this program of study, you can choose to complete a project, thesis or comprehensive exam as your culminating experience. 

Educational sessions are eight weeks long, allowing distance learners to focus more closely on one subject at a time. You can take up to two classes per term, skip terms as needed and do classroom work at a time that best fits your schedule. Unlike many online courses, you will be required to log into live sessions, but most of the classroom work is more flexible.

This program requires completion of 30 units prior to graduation, including a clinical or field experience. You’ll also have the benefit of attending courses like:

  • LEE 215: Language Issues in Reading
  • LEE 224: Assessment and Development of Reading Abilities
  • LEE 278: Literacy Process and Practices
  • ERE 220: Research in Education
  • ERE 268: Educational Measurement and Program Evaluation

Additional credentials and certificates are available with this degree option, including California reading/literacy leadership specialists credential and the California reading/literacy added authorization (certificate).

Application Process

The application for the Master’s of Arts in education in reading/language arts isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you take it one portion at a time it’ll go by quickly. First, most students will need to complete the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), or California State University – Fresno’s own Upper Division Writing Exam (UDWE). International students will also need to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Students should submit official or unofficial transcripts demonstrating a GPA of at least 2.75, along with proof of application to California State University – Fresno. An additional program application to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development will also be required, along with a statement of purpose and three letters of recommendation.

Students seeking credentials will be required to submit proof of a passing score on the CBEST, along with a copy of a valid multiple subject, single subject, education specialist or pupil personnel services credentials.

#4. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

MEd in Elementary Education

Graduates of the Cato College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte learn from some of the best in their field. Not only do the exemplary in-house educators have experience in the field, they’re heavily invested in moving research in education forward. A product of the post World War II education boom, UNC Charlotte has grown from offering a few night classes into a premier research institution set on a 1,000-acre campus. 

Program Overview

Experienced teachers can expand their educational accreditation in a flexible online classroom setting while still receiving exceptional support from the highly decorated faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s MEd in elementary education program. Depending on the concentration area you choose, you can realize substantial career development in just 30 credit hours.

You can choose from these practical areas of study:

  • Academically or intellectually gifted (AIG)
  • Anti-racism in urban education (ARUE)
  • Elementary mathematics
  • Literacy
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education

Upon graduation, students are prepared for teaching jobs in elementary and pre-K schools, holding program administration positions, leading schools as principals or assistant principals, among many others. You’ll also be eligible to apply for a doctoral program created to prepare you for one of many leadership roles.

Because the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a school focused on research, students are encouraged to complete a significant research-based capstone project under the guidance of experienced faculty. Your own classroom or school can serve as an excellent source of reliable data for work that can be used for presentation at teaching conferences.

Application Process

Although you can take up to six hours of coursework before being officially admitted to this program, you should start on your application as soon as possible. Not all who apply will be accepted because there simply isn’t enough staff to provide the one on one support it demands. This makes it a high demand program with a lot of competition every year for the limited seats. Check the requirements outlined below before starting your application for your very best shot.

Potential students should be aware that they need to be actively teaching full time in order to complete Phase II and Phase III of this program. However, you don’t need to be a full-time student in order to take advantage. You’ll need to have already finished a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and hold a teaching license in any state, but you can start the program as a new teacher.

Your application should be accompanied by test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), transcripts showing your final undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and proof of licensing.

This particular program places a high emphasis on choosing students it feels are most qualified and able to complete all of the requirements involved. Although GPA and test scores will figure into that significantly, your statement of purpose should be given a lot of attention, too. Your reasons for enrolling in graduate school may be sufficient to overcome concerns about less than optimal GPA or borderline test scores.

#5. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Master’s of Education in STEM Education – Science Concentration

Located solidly within the North Carolina Research Triangle, North Carolina State University at Raleigh was destined to become a premier STEM research institution. Its roots were in agriculture and engineering, but today students and facilities work together to innovate in ways that change the world for the better.

At North Carolina State University at Raleigh, education—and creating superior educators—is a driving force behind ever-changing and expansive online master’s of education programs. By responding quickly to a world in flux, this school stays ahead of educational trends, helping to fill needs as they emerge across the country.

Program Overview

The Master of Education in STEM education – science concentration is an exciting new program offered by North Carolina State University at Raleigh (the first full graduating class enrolled in Fall 2019). It shares core coursework with other areas of concentration within STEM education, but the majority of the 30 hours you’ll spend in this degree speciality program will be dedicated to science education.

Upon completion, you’ll be eligible to apply for professional licensure to expand your teaching certifications or move into areas like conservation science or school administration. Beyond the core curriculum, you’ll be able to explore courses like:

  • BCH 553: Biochemistry of Gene Expression
  • FOR 501: Dendrology
  • MEA 582: Geospatial Modeling
  • NTR 515: Comparative Nutrition
  • PHY 552: Comparative Reproductive Physiology and Biotechnology

Most students do complete this program in about two years attending full time; part-time students typically graduate within four years. Both will have to complete 30 credit hours of program-approved courses to satisfy their degree requirements.

The Master of Education in STEM education – science concentration online program is backed by the Course Quality Program at NC State. This initiative is based on the nationally recognized Quality Matters (QM) program that establishes high standards for online and blended courses at universities across the country.

Application Process

Because the program is designed for teachers already working in Grades 6 – 12 or other community educators, some educational experience is assumed and a bachelor’s degree in either science or science education is required.

Students will need to submit proof of their degree, along with three references, a statement of purpose and transcripts that demonstrate at least a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies. This particular program does not require pre-admission testing, though other education degrees at this school do. When applying online, potential students will choose their concentration before being re-routed to concentration options.

Other Online Master’s in Education Options at North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Educators exploring programs in STEM education, but aren’t necessarily interested in the science concentration, have a few options at North Carolina State University at Raleigh. Online specialities include engineering and technology, as well as mathematics and statistics. All three STEM education concentrations share core courses, which could be helpful for students who may be on the fence about their particular area of study, allowing them to ease into the right online program.

Additional online master’s of education programs at this institution include: adult and continuing professional education, agricultural and extension education, college counseling and student development, community college teaching, and health professions education.

#6. Appalachian State University

Master’s of Arts in Elementary Education

Founded in 1899 as a college for future teachers, Appalachian State University continues to lead the pack in educational excellence. The university has been recognized several years running as the national leader for graduates who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT), a credential that takes years to complete and demonstrates graduates have achieved the absolute pinnacle of educational excellence. Naturally, the teacher education programs at Appalachian State University also continue to be recognized among the top education programs in the nation.

Program Overview

Designed for both teachers who are actively teaching in elementary schools and those who wish to transfer into this setting, the Master of Arts in elementary education at Appalachian State University takes a multifaceted approach to the learning environments of younger students. 

This online program takes about two years to complete on a full-time basis, requiring a minimum of 39 credit hours, including 12 hours of teaching field courses. Students enrolled fully or partially online will follow a rolling schedule that may take a longer time period to complete, depending on where in the cycle they are accepted.

A few of the required courses for most online students include:

  • SPE 5045: Advanced Topics in Diversity
  • C I 5130: Recent Trends and Issues in Education
  • LSA 5585: Teacher Leadership and School Improvements
  • C I 5591: Advanced Curriculum Design in Elementary Education
  • C I 5630: Instructional Technology

Students without teaching experience in grades K – 6 will also be required to complete C I 5900: Internship / Practicum, which can cause them to exceed the minimum of 39 hours for graduation.

Students that complete this program successfully will be ready to take on additional responsibilities within the schools where they’re already working, including administrative roles, and address an ever-changing school environment with a great deal of agility.

Application Process

Applicants to the Master of Arts in elementary education must hold a teaching license, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be in elementary education. Potential students who hold other types of teaching licenses will need to take and pass the NES Foundations of Reading and Praxis 7803: Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics CKT exam prior to graduation.

In addition, many students will be required to submit a pre-admission Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score. This can be waived for applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or greater. Other requirements include:

  • Official transcripts showing all coursework and completed degrees
  • Resume
  • Three references
  • Completed application form
  • Application fee

Out of state students should check that their state will accept or reciprocate accreditation from North Carolina before applying for this program. It grants education credentials only for the state of North Carolina, but the admissions department can help you determine what additional steps you will need to take to ensure your work is properly credited.

It may feel like there are a lot of application requirements for this program, but no thesis or comprehensive exams are required prior to graduation. The primary goal of these thorough applications are to select students who will excel and apply what they’ve learned to real-world classroom settings.

#7. William Woods University

Master of Education (MEd) in Teaching and Technology

William Woods University has a long history, reaching back to the years just after the Civil War. Founded in 1870 as a school for orphaned girls, the school grew until it finally achieved recognition as a college in 1914. The school exclusively trained teachers for generations, until additional liberal arts programs were added in 1972. Williams Woods University has devoted its 150 years to providing education that prepares people from all walks of life for successful careers.

Program Overview

William Woods University’s Online Master of Education in teaching and technology is designed to meet the needs of both classroom and corporate educators, combining education courses with the latest in research and technology to create a program unlike any other. Small classroom sizes, which have always been vital to success at William Woods University, continue to help post-baccalaureate students achieve their goals.

Students in this program are a diverse bunch, with widely ranging interests, work experiences and backgrounds. This versatile program allows these very different people to follow their own dreams, with many graduates pursuing work as:

  • Instructional technology experts
  • Classroom educators
  • School principals
  • District administrators
  • Superintendents

Core courses include classes in instructional design, multimedia production integration and a capstone project in teaching and technology, for a total of 30 credit hours for graduation. All students are required to take EDU 543: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape as their first course (when available) and may be asked to repeat it before taking other courses if they do not achieve a grade of B or higher.

Application Process

Anyone interested in the Online Master of Education in teaching and technology will need to submit official transcripts from all former colleges and universities attended prior to William Woods University, and a GPA of 2.5 is required for admission. In addition, students will need to fully complete a specific program application (pay close attention to all instructions). 

For students who have already received certification in the Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies (eMINTs) program, up to nine hours of credits may be granted toward degree completion, depending on your specific certification. Ask about these additional credits if you feel you may qualify.

Other Online Master’s in Education Options at William Woods University

William Woods University offers a range of additional study opportunities for educators seeking to expand on their degrees. If you’re not certain which degree will best help you achieve your goals, reach out to an admissions counselor for one-on-one support. Currently, the programs available online include:

  • Master’s of Education in administration
  • Master’s of Education in athletics / activities administration
  • Master’s of Education in curriculum & instruction
  • Master’s of Education in equestrian education
  • Master’s of Education in STEM

These programs each have their own requirements for admission, so it’s important to check with the school directly before applying. Many will request that you show or demonstrate experience with very specific kinds of work, for example, the equestrian education program needs proof of your experience working with horses.

#8. University of Texas at Arlington

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction – Literacy Studies

Whether you’re looking for an online program that’s practically in your own backyard or you just want to study at one of Texas’s premier Carnegie Research institutions, University of Texas at Arlington brings crucial elements of education together in one place. Over 60,000 students, both online and off, can’t be wrong about choosing this university to help start or build on to their education. It’s great for the working teachers of Texas, but can also be used to expand the knowledge base of teachers from across the country.

Program Overview

If you’re looking for a 30 credit hour program that’s fully online and doesn’t require a thesis, the Master of Education in curriculum and instruction – literacy studies may be the right program for you. Students will complete coursework recognized by the International Literacy Association, which helps support the highest quality in teacher education.

This degree offers two certifications: reading specialist and English as a second language. The reading specialist certification has to be completed first, but students who pass this certification also have the option of sitting for teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) certification.

The program is intense and tightly focused, but will give you the opportunity to enroll in courses like:

  • LIST 5326: Pre-Adolescent & Adolescent Literacy
  • LIST 5354: Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults
  • LIST 5345: Content Area Reading and Writing
  • LIST 5325: Understanding Literacy Research
  • LIST 5346: Teaching the Writing Process

Students holding teaching licenses in the state of Texas will be able to complete all certificate options within 30 credit hours, but those from other states may need to do additional work to achieve full certification. These students, however, can request a memo that serves as proof of their degree completion if they wish to attempt certification in a different state.

Currently, students from all but 14 states are eligible for enrollment. Those excluded areas are: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Washington, DC.

Application Process

If you’re licensed to teach in a state other than Texas, the Master of Education in curriculum and instruction – literacy studies at University of Texas at Arlington may require additional applications and effort, but students applying from within Texas or who intend to teach in Texas need only complete the online application and submit transcripts and two letters of recommendation for the program. 

Before applying to this program, be aware that out of state students will be limited in what they can immediately accomplish with their degree. Although the degree itself can be granted, awarding full certification is a cumbersome process.

Students seeking certification will be required to complete all practicums on Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved sites, there are no exceptions. The university can’t recommend out of state students for certification, nor can it recommend them for Texas certification exams. Staff and faculty are also not able to complete out of state form requests for students seeking certification, licensure or endorsements in another state, based on TEA guidelines.

#9. University of the Cumberlands

Master of Arts in Education

Founded in 1888 as the Williamsburg Institute, then later dubbed Cumberland College after Williamsburg acquired Highland College in 1913, University of the Cumberlands has a rich history of providing quality education to students from across Appalachia. Today, the school reaches even further to connect online education opportunities to students across the globe, along with the seated courses that earned it the reputation it enjoys today.

Program Overview

University of the Cumberlands’ Master of Arts in education program is designed for licensed teachers who are looking for additional education or certification to achieve career goals. The online courses offered are flexible and allow working educators to plan their education around their classrooms. Both full time and part-time students are welcome to pursue certification in areas like:

  • Literacy specialist
  • School counseling
  • Teacher as leader

Upon program completion, graduates looking for a change in scenery can pursue careers as curriculum and assessment directors, instructional designers, and special education teachers, among others. 

Program length varies based on certification area, but many can be completed with as few as 30 credit hours. Students pursuing a school counseling specialty must earn 45 credit hours prior to graduation. Teacher as leader certifications are available for a variety of disciplines, including English, math, and social studies.

Courses for the literacy specialist track include:

  • EDOL547: Diversity in a Multicultural Society
  • ENOL531: Writing Instruction for the Content Areas
  • REOL630: Diagnosis of Reading and Writing Problems
  • REOL633: Literacy Leadership
  • EDOL647: Teacher Leader in the Professional Learning Community

Students choosing any of the teacher as leader specialties will have to complete area-specific training, as well as the following courses:

  • EDOL630: Research Methods
  • ADOL653: Assessment of and for Student Learning
  • EDOL643: Best Practices for Coaching and Mentoring Teachers
  • EDOL647: Teacher Leader in Professional Learning Communities

Counseling students must complete a range of courses in human development, counseling, as well as both a practicum and an internship, but can then earn the Ed.S school counseling degree with only five additional classes.

Application Process

Most students are required to hold a valid teaching license before applying to the Master of Arts in education program, with the exception of those applying to the school counseling specialty track. 

A fully completed graduate application and application fee, as well as official transcripts and three letters of recommendation must be submitted by all students. The admissions office asks that you wait for an accepted graduate application before sending any additional documentation to prevent mismatched paperwork.

In addition, some students should provide additional test scores. School counseling applicants without valid teaching licenses are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Passing scores for the GRE are 150 for verbal, 143 for quantitative and 4.0 in analytical writing. Miller Analogies scores of 400 or greater are considered adequate for this program.

All school counseling students will also complete the Praxis examination. In addition, Non-native English speakers will need to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

#10. California State University-Fullerton

Master of Science in Education, Secondary Education Concentration

With some of the best online master’s in education programs in the nation, according to US News and World Report and the number two program for education in the state of California, there’s a lot to love about the Master of Science in education, secondary education concentration at California State University-Fullerton. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight, this school has been excelling at online master’s programs for educators since 2002. 

Between its world-class online education programs and its dedication to promoting diversity in both seated and online courses, California State University-Fullerton has become a model for what today’s post-secondary education should be.

Program Overview

Meant to help secondary level teachers already in the classroom expand their skills and upgrade their knowledge base, the Master of Science in education, secondary education concentration is a modular degree flexible enough for students both in-state and out. Students can choose from several culminating experiences, including:

  • Comprehensive examination
  • Research projects
  • Thesis
  • Comprehensive curriculum project
  • Academic article publication
  • Submission for National Board Certification

Although the program can be completed 100% online, local students or those spending significant time near campus can also opt for a hybrid format that offers 49% of classroom content entirely online and the balance partially online.

Students attending the fully online program will be required to complete EDSC 501: Introduction to Graduate Studies, which is worth one credit unit. The entire concentration program consists of 31 units, which include courses like:

  • EDSC 504: Advanced Proficiency in Educational Technologies
  • EDSC 506: Graduate Studies in Secondary School Writing
  • EDSC 536: Curriculum Theory and Development
  • EDSC 522: Family, Community, and Professional Partnerships
  • EDSC 524: Assessing Student Learning

Unlike many online programs, six units of electives are left to the student to choose with their graduate program advisor. Additionally, students can also select an emphasis in either teacher induction or teaching foundational mathematics beyond the general secondary education concentration.

Application Process

Student hopefuls for California State University-Fullerton’s Master of Science in education, secondary education concentration program must have a fully executed application on file within the stated filing period for the term they wish to attend and their fees must be paid in full. In addition, they must provide the following:

  • Proof of teaching license
  • Current resume
  • Transcripts showing a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • An approved major

All applicants must also submit a 500-word statement of purpose that explains their interest in the program. The goal of this statement is to give the school a better idea of what you will be like as a student, what kind of academic interests you may have, and your current role as an educator. Emphasizing how you can better help others with your degree will also go far to secure your position in the program.

Students whose first language is not English and did not graduate from an institute where English is the primary language used must also complete either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE).


#11. San Diego State University

Location: San Diego, California

Degree: MA in Educational Leadership

Net Price: $14,568


#12. Northwestern College

Location: Orange City, Iowa

Degree: Master of Education

Net Price: $24,269


#13. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, Illinois

Degree: Master of Education

Net Price: $15,829


#14. University of Alabama

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Degree: MA in Elementary Education

Net Price: $20,465


#15. Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Degree: Master of Science in Education – Educational Studies

Net Price: $27,868


#16. University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Degree: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Net Price: $12,999


#17. University of Georgia

Location: Athens, Georgia

Degree: MEd in Reading Education

Net Price: $15,539


#18. West Texas A & M University

Location: Canyon, Texas

Degree: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction

Net Price: $13,325


#19. University of Central Florida

Location: Orlando, Florida

Degree: MEd in Exceptional Student Education

Net Price: $13,016


#20. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Location: Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Degree: Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with a Specialization in Elementary Math and Science Education

Net Price: $4,319 



Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor