Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01
Enrolling in online master’s in K-12 education programs is a flexible route for full-time working teachers to deepen curricular pedagogy anytime after the bell rings, on weekends, or even during lesson planning breaks. According to Poets & Quants, education master’s are the second-most popular offerings that represent 23.6 percent of graduate degrees for 178,062 yearly graduates. The Midwestern Higher Education Compact reports that 48 percent of the 3.2 million public U.S. teachers are master’s-trained. Currently, the ASHA lists 32 states plus the District of Columbia that require a master’s within five years of education licensure. Increasing K-12 teacher responsibility has persuaded many nationwide to hit the books for advanced courses online. Rejuvenating one’s burned out classroom tactics could also help avoid the 8 percent teacher turnover rate published by NPR. Public universities usually offer the best values for K-12 education master’s online programs that improve instruction skills for any subject and grade.

Methodology

The Grad School Hub staff headed to the U.S. Department of Education’s NCES College Navigator website to hunt down cheap online master’s in K-12 education programs that stretch every dollar of teachers’ humble pay. We searched for advanced degrees available wholly via distance learning in “general education.” This wasn’t cut and dry because the database lacks a distinct K-12 category, so Google was accessed to find missing online degrees without grade-specific concentrations. Next, we removed any of the 47 schools that weren’t public, i.e. Western Governors University and Gwynedd Mercy University. Regional accreditation was a necessity for each teachers college, but those with Council on Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval were recognized as A+ choices. We then recorded the 2016-17 average graduate tuition data for in-state residents. In descending order, the 30 most inexpensive public master’s in K-12 education online programs billing under $12,500 are detailed below.

Ranking Low-Cost Online K-12 Education Master’s

30. Oregon State University

Online Master of Education (Ed.M.) Program in K-12 Education

Corvallis, OR

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,150 per year

Budgeting $1.1 billion annually, Oregon State University is the Beaver State’s largest public, sun-grant Pac-12 research institution established in 1868 that’s enrolling 4,458 post-grads from 100 countries and employing 1,079 full-time faculty for 280 academic programs in Corvallis, Bend, and the eCampus. OSU is named America’s 130th best education school by the U.S. News & World Report, 87th best public college in Forbes, and 106th top choice on the Social Mobility Index. Since 2015, the CAEP-accredited College of Education directed by Dr. Toni Doolen has offered the non-licensure Online Master of Education (Ed.M.) Program in K-12 Education. The 45-credit curriculum is authorized in most states, excluding Kentucky, for four specializations in Advanced Science and Math Education, Social Justice Education, English to Speakers of Other Languages, or Free-Choice Informal Learning.

29. Slippery Rock University

Elementary Education: K-12 Reading Specialist M.Ed. Online

Slippery Rock, PA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $11,592 per year

Participating in Troops to Teachers, Slippery Rock University is a public, civic-engaged master’s PASSHE member purchased by the Commonwealth in 1926 that’s serving 1,257 post-grad Lions from 41 states both online via D2L Brightspace and at the 611-acre Pittsburgh Metro campus. SRU is applauded for America’s 224th best online education courses by the U.S. News & World Report, 137th best value in Washington Monthly, and 269th top public education on Niche. Ranked in the top 15 percent by College Factual, the CAEP-accredited College of Education confers an Elementary Education: K-12 Reading Specialist M.Ed. online. The 33-credit, practicum-embedded program coordinated by Dr. Suzanne Rose focuses on instructional coaching with literacy endorsements. Other Slippery Rock options include the Special Education: Autism M.Ed. and Elementary Education: K-8 Math/Science M.Ed. Online.

28. University of Hawaii at Hilo

Online Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Hilo, HI

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $11,496 per year

Enrolling 3,539 Vulcans each 16-week semester, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is a public, coeducational branch opened in 1941 that’s endowed for $180 million within the PacWest to provide international study on the 755-acre campus below Mauna Loa and online via Blackboard. UH-Hilo is deemed America’s most diverse college by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 337th most liberal school on Niche, and 92nd top liberal arts university in Washington Monthly. Headed by Dr. Diane Barrett, the School of Education accepts $50 applications from post-grads with minimum 3.0 GPAs for the Online Master of Education (M.Ed.). The 30-credit, cohort-based degree builds on baccalaureate study with K-12 courses like School Curriculum, Technology in Education, and Action Research. Videoconferencing is also available for Hilo’s Master of Arts in Indigenous Language & Culture Education.

27. Western Kentucky University

Master of Arts in Education – Teacher Leader Online

Bowling Green, KY

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $11,400 per year

Gifting $85.77 million in annual financial aid, including the $395 Kentucky P-12 Educator Tuition Discount per credit, Western Kentucky University is a public, coed teaching institution of Conference USA that’s enlightening 3,066 post-grad Hilltoppers in Bowling Green, Glasgow, Elizabethtown, Owensboro, and online. WKU is America’s 231st best public university on Forbes, 38th most affordable value by WalletHub, and 228th top master’s college in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited College of Education and Behavioral Sciences has four start dates for the Master of Arts in Education – Teacher Leader Online. Managed by Dr. Tanja Bibbs, the 30-37 credit program splits into multiple specializations for Biology Education, Elementary Education, Gifted Education & Talent Development, Literacy Education, Middle Grades, Secondary Education, and Special Needs before the action research capstone.

26. University of Montevallo

Online Alternative Master’s in Collaborative Education

Montevallo, AL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,936 per year

Founded as the Alabama Girls’ Industrial School in 1896, the University of Montevallo is a public, high-impact liberal arts COPLAC member of the Gulf South Conference that’s endowed for $19.9 million to serve 3,033 Falcons on its 160-acre Shelby County campus and via eLearning on Canvas. Montevallo is placed for America’s 445th safest college on Niche, 111th highest bachelor’s to Ph.D. completion in Washington Monthly, and 143rd most focused teachers school by College Factual. The College of Education led by Dr. Charlotte Daughhetee extends beyond Wills Hall for the Online Alternative Master’s in Collaborative Education. Non-teaching post-grads can apply until July 15th, November 15th, or April 15th to pursue K-12 or 6-12 special education certification. Additional online opportunities include the Master’s in Deaf and Hard of Hearing P-12 or Master’s in Art and Music Education P-12.

25. University of Northern Colorado

Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education MAT Online

Greeley, CO

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,774 per year

Affiliated with nearly 33 percent of State Teacher of the Year recipients, the University of Northern Colorado is a public, research-intensive innovator founded in 1889 that’s endowed for $82 million to teach 2,374 post-grad Bears that “Wisdom is Eternal” on the 260-acre Central Campus and Canvas. UNCO is judged for America’s 150th best online graduate teaching by the U.S. News & World Report, 157th best faculty in Washington Monthly, and 197th top value tuition on WalletHub. Adhering to Quality Matters standards, the CAEP-accredited School of Teacher Education confers the Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education MAT Online. Organized by Dr. Dana Walker, the 30-credit curriculum embeds three practicum credits into courses like Second Language Acquisition. Other K-12 programs include the Science Education MA Online and Teaching American Sign Language MA Online.

24. James Madison University

Online Master’s of Education in Reading Education (M.Ed.)

Harrisonburg, VA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,648 per year

Hosting the Content Teaching Academy every June, James Madison University is a public, civic-oriented SURA member founded in 1908 by the Virginia General Assembly that’s budgeting $549 million annually to instruct 22,667 Dukes on its historic 721-acre Bluestone campus and on Blackboard. JMU is celebrated for America’s 46th most affordable value in Money magazine, 29th best public education on Forbes, and 17th best Peace Corps volunteer-producing university. Sixty full-time faculty in the CAEP-accredited College of Education run 80+ programs, including the Online Master’s of Education in Reading Education (M.Ed.). The 33-credit, non-thesis curriculum is completed 100 percent off-campus with a practicum in teachers’ own districts for learning school-wide, K-12 literacy strategies. Check out the Online Educational Technology M.Ed. and Mathematics Education M.Ed. programs too.

23. University of Alaska Southeast

Master of Arts in Teaching Online

Juneau, AK

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,324 per year

Partnered with the Alaska System for Early Education Development Program, the University of Alaska Southeast is a public, four-year “Last Frontier” branch created in 1972 that’s offering financial aid like the $7,500 PITAAS Grant to 3,765 students engaged in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and online. Alaska Southeast is recognized for America’s 262nd most selective admission on Niche, 151st best graduation rate in Washington Monthly, and 398th most ethnic diversity by College Factual. Chaired by Dr. Deborah Lo, the CAEP-accredited School of Education launched the Master of Arts in Teaching Online for pursuing K-12 initial certifications. The 51-credit curriculum admits cohorts with minimum 3.0 GPAs into courses like Classroom Management and Discipline before the student-teaching term. Online post-grads also access the Master of Education in Reading Specialist and Master of Education in Math Education K-8.

22. Auburn University

Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Music Education K-12

Auburn, AL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $9,072 per year

Known for its Truman Pierce Institute since 1982, Auburn University is a public, polytechnic sea-grant RU/VH hub endowed for $646 million that’s welcoming 4,707 post-grad Tigers into 140+ majors at its 427-building campus within the “Loveliest Village on the Plains” or online through Blackboard. Auburn is designated America’s 30th best education college on Niche, 98th top research university in Forbes, and 306th best institution overall by Times Higher Education. The CAEP-accredited College of Education accepts certified teachers into the Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Music Education. Overseen by Dr. Nancy Barry, the 30-credit, full-time program lasts 12 months from July to July with courses like Advanced Survey of Exceptionality and practicum. Other Auburn K-12 programs include the Online M.Ed. in French Education, M.Ed. in Library Media Education, and M.Ed. in Collaborative Special Education.

21. Clemson University

Master of Education: Teaching and Learning PK-12 Online

Clemson, SC

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,826 per year

Linked to 106,609 LinkedIn alumni, including three Greenville County Teachers of the Year, Clemson University is the Palmetto State’s second-largest public, sea-grant ACC research center founded in 1889 that’s endowed for $621 million to instruct 4,807 post-grads in Clemson and online via Canvas. Clemson was congratulated for America’s 15th best internships by the Princeton Review, 127th best salary potential on PayScale, and 73rd most faculty awards in Washington Monthly. Ranked #1 by the U.S. News & World Report, the CAEP-accredited College of Education provides the Master of Education: Teaching and Learning PK-12 Online under Dr. Deborah Switzer. The 30-credit, pedagogical-focused program immerses certified post-grads in STEAM, Early Childhood, and Instructional Coaching tracks. Clemson Tigers also consider the Online Masters for Science Educators in Biological Sciences.

20. University of Missouri-Columbia

Online Master of Education in Learning, Teaching & Curriculum

Columbia, MO

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,462 per year

Occupying the 1,262-acre Francis Quadrangle campus with the well-known Hook Center for Educational Leadership, the University of Missouri-Columbia is the oldest public higher institution west of the Mississippi that’s budgeting $2.2 billion to serve 7,053 post-grad Tigers. Mizzou is acclaimed for America’s 21st best value tuition on WalletHub, 75th highest research expenditures in Washington Monthly, and 75th best teaching degrees by Niche. Reporting an average 25 percent salary jump, the CAEP-accredited College of Education has the Online Master of Education in Learning, Teaching & Curriculum on Canvas. The 33-credit, non-licensure program directed by Dr. Kathryn Chval incorporates tracks for K-12 Literacy Education, English Education, Social Studies Education, and Mathematics Education. Other online Mizzou possibilities include the Special Education General M.A. and Technology in Schools M.S.

19. University of Alaska Fairbanks

Master of Education in Special Education K-12 Online

Fairbanks, AK

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,436 per year

Attracting 10,490 Nanooks with a mean GPA of 3.3, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a public, land-grant UArctic Consortium member founded in 1917 that’s generating $106 million in research expenditures and employing 562 faculty for courses from Nome to Dillingham and online via Blackboard. UAF was noticed for America’s 53rd best graduation rate in Washington Monthly, 314th best faculty credentials on Niche, and 185th top online teaching programs by the U.S. News & World Report. Accredited by the CAEP since 2011, the School of Education grants the Master of Education in Special Education K-12 Online. The 36-credit, non-licensure curriculum organized by Dr. Steve Atwater takes 24 months with virtual courses like Culturally Responsive Collaboration. Fairbanks confers the M.Ed. in Online Innovation and Design or M.Ed. in Elementary Education too.

18. Ball State University

Online Master of Arts in Mathematics Education (K-12)

Muncie, IN

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,386 per year

Conducting K-12 outreach with its Center for School Innovation, Ball State University is a public, Mid-American doctoral institution established in 1918 by Francis Palmer that’s endowed for $192 million with 1,245 academic staff and teaching 22,513 Cardinals on Blackboard Learn or in the Muncie Metro. BSU was named America’s 93rd best education school on Niche, 172nd top state-funded university in Forbes, and 187th best college by the U.S. News & World Report. Bestowed a 2017 Insight into Diversity HEED Award, the Teachers College has an asynchronous format for the Online Master of Arts in Mathematics Education (K-12). The 30-credit, NCTM-aligned curriculum coordinated by Dr. Ann Leitze spans two years with three concentrations for Elementary, Middle, and Secondary teachers. Online students also choose the M.A. in Technology Education, M.A. in Special Education, and more.

17. Concord University

Master of Education (M.Ed.) Program Online

Athens, WV

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,600 per year

Running the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center with Marshall and Bluefield State, Concord University is a public, four-year liberal arts institution opened in 1872 that’s seen enrollment jump from 70 to 2,834 within 18 academic programs accessed by Blackboard or the 123-acre rural Mercer County campus. Concord is recognized for America’s 258th most conservative students on Niche, 43rd most focused teacher education by College Factual, and 216th best graduation rate in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited Department of Education chaired by Dr. Richard Druggish has a Master of Education (M.Ed.) program online. Accepting $50 applications year-round, the 36-credit degree offers content specializations for Reading Specialist, Special Education, or Educational Leadership and Supervision. There’s also the Online Master of Arts in Teaching: Physical Education PreK-Adult and Art Education PreK-Adult.

16. University of South Dakota

Online M.A. in Educational Administration: PreK-12 Principal

Vermilion, SD

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,516 per year

Granted its eighth Pacemaker Award in 2011, the University of South Dakota is a public, research-based MVFC member established in 1862 that’s endowed for $213 million to serve 9,971 Coyotes in 286 academic programs at its 216-acre Vermillion campus and online with the Learning Resources Network (LERN). South Dakota is deemed America’s 43rd best online graduate education school by the U.S. News & World Report, 200th top university in Washington Monthly, and 370th best college on the Social Mobility Index. The CAEP-accredited School of Education houses an Online M.A. in Educational Administration: PreK-12 Principal for scholar-practitioners ready to lead. Overseen by Dr. Diana Messick, the 32-credit, practice-based curriculum requires a minimum 300 GRE score to enter courses like School Law and the administrative internship. Another USD option is the Online M.S. in Technology for Education and Training.

15. Southern Utah University

Online Master in Education (MEd)

Cedar City, UT

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,280 per year

Logging over 141,300 community service hours annually, Southern Utah University is a public, civic-engaged liberal arts college opened as the Branch Normal School by Milton Bennion in 1897 that’s grown to instruct 892 post-grad Thunderbirds atop its 129-acre Great Basin campus and online. SUU is crowned America’s 307th best teachers college on Niche, 249th most popular education school by College Factual, and 332nd best research institution in Washington Monthly. Named for Kids! Foundation founder Beverley Taylor Sorenson in 2013, the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Human Development grants the Online Master in Education (MEd) with or without the Admin License. The 36-42 credit program directed by Dr. Shawn Christiansen has eight K-12 concentrations from Gifted and Talented to Reading and STEM before the digital thesis submission. Canvas courses also work for the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Online Teaching or Master of Music Education (MMEd).

14. Jackson State University

Master of Arts in Teaching – Elementary & Secondary Education Online

Jackson, MS

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,141 per year

Once affiliated with the American Baptist Home Mission until 1940, Jackson State University is the Hospitality State’s fourth-largest public, master’s RU/H institution that’s grown by 11 percent this decade to educate 9,811 Tigers in Jackson, Madison, Holmes, and online through Canvas. JSUMS was designated America’s 15th best historically college by the U.S. News & World Report, 312th best student life school on Niche, and 201st top teacher preparation value on College Factual. Open for admission until May 1st, November 1st, or May 31st annually, the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Human Development grants the Master of Teachers in Teaching – Elementary & Secondary Education Online. The 36-credit, internship-included program run by Dr. Chandar Lewis has two Grades 4-6 and 7-12 tracks with distance courses like Planning School Curriculum for novice teachers. Other JSUMS opportunities include the M.S. in Science Teaching and M.S. in Early Childhood Education Online.

13. University of Texas at Arlington

Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Arlington, TX

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,141 per year

Recognized as the #1 fastest-growing public, coeducational RU/VH school by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Texas at Arlington enrolls 41,993 Mavericks with a $145 million endowment in the Sun Belt Conference from its 420-acre campus near Six Flags Over Texas and online via Blackboard Learn. UTA was ranked America’s 220th best research university on Forbes, 53rd best graduate teaching school online by the U.S. News & World Report, and ninth most military-friendly college by Victory Media. Headed by Dr. Teresa Taber Doughty, the College of Education launched the Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. The 30-credit, 18-month program admits TExES certified teachers into seven-week courses for Literacy Studies, Mathematics Education, and Science Education options. Don’t overlook UTA’s Master of Education in Leadership & Policy Studies Online either.

12. Bemidji State University

MS in Elementary & Middle Level Mathematics Education Online

Bemidji, MN

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,986 per year

Hosting an Education Minnesota Teachers of Tomorrow chapter, Bemidji State University is a public, teaching-oriented MNSCU system constituent formed in 1919 that’s budgeting $95 million to enlighten 6,396 Beavers from 44 states in Beltrami County, at its partner Liaoning University, and online via D2L Brightspace. Bemidji is declared America’s 223rd best online graduate education provider by the U.S. News & World Report, 156th best value on College Factual, and 415th top master’s institution overall in Washington Monthly. The College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology houses an HLC-accredited Professional Education Department with an MS in Elementary & Middle Level Mathematics Education Online. Chaired by Dr. Timothy Goodwin, the 34-36 credit program deepens instructional techniques in courses like Math Pedagogy Planning with two 80-hour practicum blocks. Other BSU students earn the MAT in Online Instruction and M.S. in Special Education.

11. University of Wisconsin-Stout

Online Master of Science Degree in Education

Menomonie, WI

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,878 per year

Given the 2001 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the University of Wisconsin-Stout is a public, polytechnic WIAC research institution named for Senator James Huff Stout that’s endowed for $47 million to enroll 1,258 post-grad Blue Devils in 26 programs on the 124-acre Eau Claire Metro campus and online through Desire2Learn. UW-Stout was chosen for America’s 299th top value in Money magazine, 107th best online teaching degrees by the U.S. News & World Report, and 142nd best public education on Niche. Touting 99 percent job placement, the School of Education confers an Online Master of Science Degree in Education. The 30-credit, non-licensure program led by Dr. Tony Beardsley has concentrations for Reading and Literacy, E-Learning and Online Teaching, Instructional Design, or Mathematics Specialist. There’s also an Online Master of Science in Career and Technical Education.

10. California State University-Bakersfield

M.A. in Education: Curriculum and Instruction Online

Bakersfield, CA

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,738 per year

Endowed for $23.9 million, California State University-Bakersfield is a public, coeducational Central Valley branch funded by Governor Brown in 1965 that’s attracting 1,248 post-grad Roadrunners in Bakersfield, Lancaster, and online through Blackboard Learn. CSUB is designated America’s third best college for social mobility by The New York Times, 12th top master’s institution in Washington Monthly, and 10th best value by Kern Economic Development Corporation. The School of Social Sciences & Education awards the M.A. in Education – Curriculum and Instruction Online for Preliminary Credential holders with minimum 3.0 GPAs. Directed by Dr. Kristina LaGue, the 30-credit curriculum nurtures professional development in K-12 courses from Teaching for Diversity to Writing Assessment. Other cheap Cal State Online programs include Humboldt’s M.A. in Education General and San Marcos’ M.A. in Educational Administration.

9. University of Colorado Denver

Online Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Studies P-12

Denver, CO

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,714 per year

Known for its Kempe Center for Prevention of Child Abuse, the University of Colorado-Denver is a selective public, doctoral AAHC research hub founded in 1912 that’s enrolling 18,900 Lynx with 67 percent admission at its Downtown and Anschutz Medical campuses or online. CU Denver is named America’s 266th most diverse college on Niche, 241st top university in Times Higher Education, and 72nd most impactful research institution by the CWUR. The School of Education and Human Development utilizes Canvas for its Online Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Studies P-12. Led by Dr. Rebecca Kantor, the 36-credit, CAEP-accredited program equips licensed teachers with a median GPA of 3.4 for differentiating learning environments. Denver cohorts also pursue the Online Master of Arts in School Library Technologies and Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education.

8. University of North Alabama

Master of Arts in Education Online

Florence, AL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $5,598 per year

Home to a Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society chapter, the University of North Alabama is the oldest public, coeducational Southern teachers college established in 1872 that’s endowed for $34 million to employ 365 faculty and train 7,457 Lions at the 130-acre Muscle Shoals Area campus and online. UNA was selected for America’s 163rd best public school on Niche, 182nd best buck in Washington Monthly, and 254th most popular teacher preparation by College Factual. Managed by Dr. Donna Lefort, the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Human Sciences delivers the Master of Arts in Education Online in two years. The 36-credit, non-thesis curriculum builds upon Class B licensure for Collaborative/Special Education with exceptional needs children at all levels. North Alabama Lions might choose the Online Education Specialist in Elementary Education or Instructional Leadership too.

7. Chicago State University

Online MSEd in Physical Education (Grades K-12)

Chicago, IL

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $5,580 per year

Publishing the Illinois Schools Journal, Chicago State University is a public, diverse teaching institution opened as Cook County Normal School in 1867 that’s endowed for $5.1 million with Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarships for 3,578 Cougars roaring at the 161-acre “Windy City” campus and online Moodle classroom. CSU is deemed America’s 134th most selective college on Niche, 162nd best value by WalletHub, and 281st top master’s university in Washington Monthly. Reaffirmed by the CAEP in 2014, the College of Education nurtures healthy lifestyles with the Online MSEd in Physical Education (Grades K-12). The 34-credit, non-licensure program organized by Dr. Sarah Buck leads to a thesis or capstone project after scientific courses like Principles of Group Exercise. Another of CSU’s Illinois Virtual Campus options is the MS in Education Technology & Performance Improvement Studies.

6. Southern Arkansas University

Master of Education in Gifted and Talented Education K-12 Online

Magnolia, AR

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $5,022 per year

Called the Third District Agricultural School until 1951, Southern Arkansas University is a public, polytechnic four-year college of the Great American Conference that attracts 1,484 post-grad Muleriders to its 1,418-acre Louisiana border campus and eLearning platform. SAU is applauded for America’s 275th highest master’s research expenditures in Washington Monthly, 291st best online graduate education by the U.S. News & World Report, and 428th safest college on Niche. Following Council for Exceptional Children standards, the CAEP-accredited College of Education confers a Master of Education in Gifted and Talented Education K-12 Online in 18 months. The 30-credit, scholar-practitioner program directed by Dr. Carla Bryant includes practicum and education research focused on teaching high-ability students. Other online opportunities include SAU’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction or Master of Education in Library Media.

5. University of Texas at El Paso

Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with Concentration in Bilingual Education

El Paso, TX

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,497 per year

Ranked #1 by The Hispanic Outlook, the University of Texas at El Paso is a public, Mexican-majority doctoral institution opened in 1914 that’s endowed for $217 million to educate 3,177 post-grad Miners at its 366-acre, dzong-style Lennoria Mesa campus and online through Blackboard. UTEP is America’s 113th most affordable choice on WalletHub, 60th best financial aid provider in Washington Monthly, and 291st top public school by Niche. Dedicated to “Scientia et Humanitas,” the CAEP-accredited College of Education has prepared over 8,500 teachers since 2002, including with the Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. The 36-credit, non-thesis option chaired by Dr. William Robertson prepares instructional specialists in two concentrations for Bilingual Education and Early Childhood Education. Hybrid courses are available for the M.Ed. in Reading Education and M.Ed. in School Counseling too.

4. University of North Carolina Wilmington

M.Ed. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision Online

Wilmington, NC

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,448 per year

Presenting $45.1 million in annual financial aid, including the Ann Royer Corley Education Scholarship, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is a public, civic-engaged sea-grant school established in May 1949 that’s enrolling 16,487 Seahawks at its 660-acre “Port City” location and over the Internet. Given a Silver Star rating, UNCW is honored as America’s 188th coolest school by the Sierra Club, 194th best online teaching college on the U.S. News & World Report, and 282nd best academics on Niche. Partnered with 146 schools, the CAEP-accredited Watson College of Education grants the M.Ed. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision Online via Blackboard. The 36-credit program arranged by Dr. Amy Garrett Dikkers gives K-12 teachers add-on endorsement power for curriculum design. Also check out the Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of School Administration Online.

3. New Mexico State University

Online Master of Arts in Education: K-12 Online Teaching and Learning

Las Cruces, NM

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,088 per year

Linked to 58,032 LinkedIn alumni like educators Jorge Gardea-Torresdey and Mark W. Spong, New Mexico State University is a top-tier public, research WAC member that’s budgeting $621 million to serve 14,852 Aggies at its 900-acre Mesilla Valley campus with the Arrowhead Center and online via Canvas. NMSU stands as America’s 214th best online graduate education school on the U.S. News & World Report, seventh best Hispanic college in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and 89th best economic payoff by Brookings Institution. Founded in O’Donnell Hall in 1968, the College of Education awards the CAEP-accredited Online Master of Arts in Education: K-12 Online Teaching and Learning. The 33-credit, two-year curriculum headed by Dr. David Rutledge unlocks Level III certification after courses like Critical Digital Literacy and online practicum. Other MA Education online concentrations are Early Childhood and Education Administration.

2. Eastern New Mexico State University

Master of Arts in Education Online

Portales, NM

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $3,934 per year

Partnered with the National Institute for School Leadership on the NMLEAD Project, Eastern New Mexico University is a public, Hispanic-serving doctoral learning hub legislated in 1927 that’s budgeting $63.4 million to educate 6,027 Greyhounds across the Llano Estacado in Portales, Ruidoso, Roswell, and online via Blackboard. ENMU is ranked America’s 440th hardest college on Niche, 95th best teacher education value by College Factual, and 294th best master’s completion school in Washington Monthly. Housing the Child Development Center, the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Technology directed by Dr. Penny Garcia offers the Master of Arts in Education Online. The 33-credit, instruction-based degree leads to K-12 endorsements in the Education Technology, Elementary Education, Career and Technical Education, Pedagogy and Learning, Reading/Literacy, Secondary Education, or Special Education track.

1. Fort Hays State University

Online Master of Science in Special Education

Hays, KS

Website

Average Graduate Tuition: $3,398 per year

Home to the Olliff Family Educational Symposium, Fort Hays State University is our list’s cheapest public, multi-site teaching institution opened in 1902 and endowed for $91 million to expand beyond its 42-building Big Creek campus with the Virtual College that serves 5,800 adults from 27 nations. FHSU is named America’s 23rd most veteran-friendly college on LendEDU, 107th top teacher preparation value on College Factual, and 208th best school by the Social Mobility Index. Chaired by Dr. Jim Barrett, the College of Education was CAEP accredited in Fall 2017 for its Online Master of Science in Special Education K-12. The 12-course, portfolio-building curriculum uses Blackboard courses for licensed teachers seeking High-Incidence Disabilities or Gifted Education endorsements. Other FHSU online options include the Master of Science in Reading Specialist Education and Master of Science in English Speakers of Other Languages.

Other Master’s in K-12 Education Online Degree Offerings

Western Governors University (Private)

Online Master of Science in Special Education K-12

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,500 per year

Gwynedd University (Private)

Accelerated MSEd Teacher Certification Track Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $11,772 per year

Central Michigan University

Online Master of Arts in Education, Reading and Literacy K-12

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,232 per year

University of South Carolina-Columbia

Master of Education in Teaching Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,398 per year

Averett University (Private)

Online Master of Education in Special Education K-12

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,495 per year

Regent University (Private)

M.Ed. – Master of Education Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,726 per year

University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s Degree in Education

Average Graduate Tuition: $12,790 per year

Lynn University (Private)

Educational Leadership: School Administration K-12 M.Ed. Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $13,050 per year

Coastal Carolina University

Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning and Teaching

Average Graduate Tuition: $13,320 per year

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Master of Education in Science Education Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $13,524 per year

Capella University (Private)

Online Master of Science in Education: K-12 Studies

Average Graduate Tuition: $14,526 per year

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Master of Education in Global Studies in Education Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $15,267 per year

Michigan State University

Online Master of Arts in Education P-12

Average Graduate Tuition: $16,764 per year

DeSales University (Private)

Master of Education M.Ed. Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $19,560 per year

University of New England (Private)

Online Master of Science in Education MSEd

Average Graduate Tuition: $19,936 per year

University of Pittsburgh

Master of Education (MEd) in Social Studies Education Online

Average Graduate Tuition: $21,748 per year

Drexel University (Private)

Online MS in Mathematics Learning and Teaching K-12

Average Graduate Tuition: $32,184 per year

Careers Options

Picking a K-12 education master’s online over brick-and-mortar programs gives asynchronous access to curriculum that qualifies teacher leaders for virtually all careers in public, private, charter, and parochial schools. The biggest benefit of K-12 education majors is their varied application in wide-ranging disciplines from reading to mathematics and physical education. Accredited online schools generally meet state licensure requirements. For example, the Connecticut State Board of Education created the Distinguished Educator Designation for master’s grads with 5+ years of experience. The Nebraska Department of Education even offers a $5,000 salary bonus for Cornhusker State master’s holders in the Master Teacher Program. Teachers can join the Association of American Educators (AAE), the largest non-union organization founded in 1994, for access to networking events and the Jobs Bank. Here are five sample careers where online K-12 education master’s graduates make the grade:

Elementary Teacher- Following the footsteps of Ms. Frizzle and Miss Crabtree into the U.S. News & World Report’s #2 best teaching job lets online master’s in K-12 education graduates train students during their most formative years. Elementary teachers create multi-subject lessons, build moral character, read children’s literature, identify learning challenges, supervise teaching aides, prepare for standardized tests, and coordinate field trips.

Science Teacher- Business Insider reported that the United States ranks just 25th among OECD countries for PISA science test scores, which means science teachers are needed to boost achievement. Specializing in STEM after an online K-12 education master’s involves teaching subjects like biology or physics, leading hands-on experiments, modeling the scientific method, caring for lab equipment, planning science fairs, and keeping progress reports.

Bilingual Educator- Online master’s in K-12 education post-grads could qualify for the TEACH Grant by choosing this high-need field to teach ESL students English and native speakers another language like Spanish. Bilingual educators differentiate communication strategies, plan dual-language instruction, perform literacy tests, set learning targets, evaluate speaking/writing progress, facilitate home-school collaboration, and celebrate diverse cultures.

Music Teacher- Instrumentally inclined graduates with online K-12 education master’s degrees could pursue CNN Money’s 54th best job showing children how to carry tunes on pitch. Music teachers plan age-appropriate arts curriculum, nurture aural skills like harmony, introduce new genres, select song repertoires, deliver vocal coaching, evaluate performance, rehearse for recitals, direct choirs, oversee school band equipment, and assign grades.

Autism Specialist- The National Health Interview Survey found that one in 45 school children are diagnosed on the ASD spectrum, so autism specialists are needed to address the prevalent developmental disorder. Having a K-12 education master’s online could help identify at-risk children for early intervention, develop child-specific curriculum, establish IEP goals, create class routines, reinforce behavioral change, and liaise with general teachers.

How Much Can Online Master’s in K-12 Education Graduates Earn?

Finding cheap online master’s in K-12 education degrees is vital because Fortune lists several teaching specialties among the 15 worst paid careers with median income from $48,700 to $55,000. These figures are significantly below the average master’s wage of $69,732 on SmartAsset. According to the Brookings Institution, the mean master’s educator pay bump is just $4,176 by the fifth year. An overall average wage of $48,000 was figured by the Department of Labor for America’s education workforce. In May 2017, teachers made $59,020 in elementary, $59,800 in junior high, $61,420 in secondary, and $60,090 in special education classrooms on average. High schools with career and technical education teachers give a mean salary of $59,480. A master’s in K-12 education online also opens doors for school principal jobs with median pay of $102,390 on Salary.com. Other high averages are $87,592 for curriculum specialists, $93,467 for international education directors, and $154,717 for superintendents.

Job Outlook

Hiring prospects after a master’s in K-12 education online for teachers not yet employed are good as the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 9 percent. By 2026, America will need 888,900 new education jobs fulfilled to avoid critical shortages. The 10-year outlook for elementary teachers is lower at 7 percent for total employment of 1.68 million. Eight percent jumps are expected for kindergarten, middle, and high school teachers. The slowest growth of 4 percent is estimated in career and technical education. The highest growth of 11 percent is projected for curriculum specialists with 17,200 new jobs. While the Center for Public Education (CPE) reports more hard-to-fill vacancies, the number of college students choosing to teach dwindled to 4.2 percent in 2016. Education Week highlighted Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Nevada as hiring hotspots. Online master’s in K-12 education programs give the ultimate location flexibility to chase dream job offerings imparting wisdom in young minds.

See also: 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in K-12 Education Online

Additional sources:

Poets & Quants
Midwestern Higher Education Compact
NPR
NCES College Navigator
Council on Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP)

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our list of the 30 most affordable online K-12 education master’s for 2018.