A Master's in Online Teaching may seem like a pretty new graduate degree, and that's for good reason: it is. Online education, especially for working professionals, is fast becoming the most popular way of earning a graduate degree in America. It makes sense that the education field would then need to prepare professionals in this area.
If a professional wishes to become an online educator, the best way to do that is through, ironically, an online degree program, such as the ones listed below. These programs provide a freedom that traditional schools can't; students most often choose when and how they study. And with online programs becoming more affordable than traditional programs, professionals are starting to see that online teaching programs are a great alternative to a campus-based program.
Research conducted for this ranking was made possible by the use of the National Center for Education Statistics. Using the College Navigator database, schools were considered based on their degree offerings. From an initial pool of 180 schools, 10 were ultimately chosen based on in-state graduate tuition rates. These are listed below.
Ranking Low-cost Online Teaching Master's
10. University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota
Online Master of Science in Technology for Education and Training
The University of South Dakota confers a Master's in Online Teaching that is perfect for educators interested in advancing their careers into the online education space. The Master of Science in Technology for Education and Training was created with an instructional systems approach while focusing the curriculum on learning design. This prepares students to use new and emerging educational technologies to the best of their ability in a variety of settings, including universities, colleges, businesses, and even in the government. This is a degree that is 100 percent conferred online by utilizing asynchronous courses. While there is an internship required for completion of the degree, this can be conducted in a student's own community. Other requirements for this degree include 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Emerging Technologies in Teaching and Training, Systematic Design of Instruction, and Distance Learning Systems and Design.
9. Northern Arizona University
Online Master of Education in Educational Technology, Adult Learning and Training Emphasis
Educators interested in a Master's in Online Teaching online program may find that Northern Arizona University is the perfect choice for them. This degree is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and is nationally recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education. The program is conferred entirely online, but students who live close to campus can opt into the hybrid format if they so wish. Courses are delivered asynchronously and in the traditional 16-week format; the degree can be completed in as little as two years with full-time study. The faculty of this program are all in-service or post-service professionals who have years of experience working in the field, ensuring that students are delivered an up-to-date education from industry experts. Students can expect to complete in 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone portfolio, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include College Teaching, Designing Instruction, and Contexts and Methods of Technology in Adult Education.
8. North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina
Online Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
North Carolina State University confers an online teaching master's online degree that comes with a variety of options for both educators and online learning professionals. This is a 100 percent online degree that offers three different emphasis areas: Digital Leadership, Digital Design, and Digital Inquiry. Students can choose from either earning a Master of Education or a Master of Science distinction for this degree; both are conferred online and the main difference between the two for students is that the Master of Science requires a thesis whereas the Master of Education degree does not. While students will choose one emphasis to focus on, the curriculum is designed to require students to take at least one course in all three emphasis areas in order for a well-rounded approach to their degree. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project or thesis, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Online Collaborations in Education, Teaching and Learning with Digital Video, and Research Applications in Curriculum and Instruction.
7. University of Arkansas
Online Master of Education in Educational Technology
Educators who attend the University of Arkansas are met with an exceptional online Master's in Online Teaching. This program is delivered 100 percent online and was created to be completed in as little as 18 months with full-time study. It is also one of the highest-rated non-thesis programs in this major in the country. Students will be met with an asynchronous curriculum that focuses on technology and education, curriculum and instruction, and research projects. They will also have access to the school's online library and tutoring services, enabling them to find the resources they need should they ever require assistance. To earn this degree, students will be expected to complete 34 credit hours of coursework, a portfolio project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Foundations of Educational Technology, Instructional Design Theory and Models, and Principles in Visual Literacy.
6. Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Online Master of Education in Educational Technology
Texas A&M University offers the Master of Education in Educational Technology, a program that was built to prepare working professionals to become curriculum and instruction designers for distance and online programs. Delivered 100 percent online, students will have access to both asynchronous and synchronous courses, a tutoring center, online library, and online bookstore. They are also taught by in-service professionals who have years of experience in the field of online teaching. This, combined with a curriculum that enables students to choose over half of their own courses, makes it a great choice for educators interested in earning a master's degree. Students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive exam in order to graduate. Sample courses include Measurement and Evaluation in Education, Integrating Technology in Learning Environments, and Graphic Communication and Interface Design.
5. University of North Texas
Online Master of Science in Learning Technologies
Students who attend the University of North Texas will find an online Master's in Online Teaching that will suit their needs.This degree is delivered 100 percent online with asynchronous and synchronous courses that follow the eight-week format; students can complete all the necessary requirements . There are nine tracks within the degree itself, including Instructional Systems Design, Teaching and Learning with Technology, and Evaluation and Research. Students will find a curriculum based on the study and analysis of new and emerging technologies designed to deliver instruction in a variety of educational settings. All professors are in-service professionals as either educators or researchers. This program requires 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Foundations of Learning Technologies, Analysis of Research in Educational Technology, and Technology Based Learning Environments.
4. Texas Tech University
Online Master of Education in Educational and Instructional Technology
Online education professors will find that the online teaching master's degree offered by Texas Tech University to be one of the most comprehensive degrees available in the field. This degree is offered entirely online and delivers its courses asynchronously as well as synchronously. The EDIT Master's program, as it is referred to by the school, has a unique approach to the curriculum. The program of study is divided into three phases: foundational knowledge, creation and evaluation, and implementation. As the student progresses through this degree plan, they apply what they have learned from the previous phase to the current phase. Students can expect to complete 39 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Foundations of Instructional Technology, Authoring Systems for Educational Software, and Planning and Developing Instructional Media.
3. Jacksonville State University
Online Master of Education in Instructional Technology
Jacksonville State University offers an online Master's in Online Teaching that is a great choice for students who wish to learn about the various aspects that inform this field. This is a 100 percent online program that features asynchronous and synchronous courses as well as an eight-week format. Students can reasonably complete all the requirements for the degree in two years of part-time study. The curriculum focuses heavily on instructional technology and its applications in the classroom, giving students the chance to learn not only how to study a virtual classroom, but also how to design curriculum and solve problems for the classroom. It is a great choice for professionals interested in becoming distance education teachers. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework as well as a comprehensive exam for graduation. Sample courses include Psychological Principles of Learning, Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning, and Digital Literacy in the Classroom.
2. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Online Master of Education in Instructional Technology, Distance Education Emphasis
Professionals interested in having a career in distance education will find a great program at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. This school's online Master's in Online Learning comes with an emphasis in distance education, which has been designed specifically for educators and instructors who work in the field. This program is held entirely online for the duration of the degree plan; the only time residency is required is when students do a formal presentation of their portfolio at campus prior to graduation. Courses are asynchronous and follow the 16-week format. Students can complete this degree in as little as two years with full-time study. Along with the portfolio, this degree's graduation requirements include 27 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Online Teaching Tools, College Student Learning and Development, and Diversity in Higher Education.
1. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
Online Master of Arts in Education, Instructional Technology
East Carolina University confers a cheap online teaching master's degree that was designed specifically for working adults. This degree is 100 percent online and is delivered asynchronously in an 8-week format, making it possible for students to complete the degree in about two years with part-time study. Students should also note that this degree will prepare students to sit for North Carolina licensure as a computers educator. This program is taught by experienced professionals in the field of online teaching and provides students with a current curriculum that is analyzed every year to ensure that it is preparing students for the field once they graduate. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a portfolio, an internship, and a comprehensive written and oral exam. Sample courses include Digital Literacy for 21st Century Classrooms, Administration of School Technology Programs, and Selection and Integration of Multimedia for K-12 schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are My Career Options for an Online Master's in Online Teaching Degree?
An online Master's in Online Teaching is a versatile degree that can lead to various career options. Most students think that working as a college instructor or as a GED online teacher are the only pathways, but the truth is far more freeing than that. With the Internet playing such a large role in Americans lives, it has become clear that online education will develop in all sorts of sectors and industries, not just education.
Online teaching professionals can work as teachers and instructors in P-12 schools, colleges, and universities. They can also work as a school's technology coordinator or consultant; this is possible because they hold a graduate degree that has seen them work with technology enough to provide the expertise needed.
These professionals can also work in education but outside of the traditional classroom. For example, a person with this degree can choose to become a course developer, instructional designer, or curriculum coordinator for businesses and professional organizations that utilize professional education programs to help their employees advance to new positions. They may also work as evaluators for licensing and credentialing bodies, ensuring that online coursework and examinations leading to a fair assessment of an applicant's knowledge.
It is also possible to work for the military and business sectors as a professional developer. This sees professionals work alongside industry professionals, military members, and the government to develop new educational programs that will help their employees become better prepared for any new issues and concerns that may emerge in the near future. It's an incredible opportunity for any online educator to move into creating and implementing their programs.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The average salary range for a professional with an online Master's in Online Teaching ranges between $40,000 to $75,000. This range includes positions that require additional or professional training apart from a graduate education, the area of America in which employees work, freelance and contract work, and varying levels of work experience.
Online teachers who work as teachers in the school system typically make around $40,000 a year, depending on the cost-of-living in their area. College and university professors who also work as online teachers make between $75,000 to $90,000 a year. It is important to remember that only professors make this much money; online teachers who do not work as full-time professors tend to make freelance wages based on how many courses they are teaching. This can range from $1,500 to $2,000 a course.
Teachers and instructors who work outside of the educational field often work in business. They make around $60,000 to $75,000, depending on whether they are an online instructor or a manager of a full professional educational program. Salaries can also fluctuate depending on a professional's expertise in the particular field that they are teaching.
What are the Various Disciplines of Online Teaching?
Online teaching encompasses some very specific disciplines which find themselves under the main discipline of education. Curriculum and instruction, literacy, psychology, sociology, the design of an educational program, and educational research are all found under education. They are extremely important to education overall, but take center stage in the field.
Technology is the other major discipline in online teaching. As new technologies emerge that make it easier for people to learn various skills and concepts online, understanding computer science, educational technology, information technology, programming, virtual classrooms, the psychology of the online learner, and more is becoming critical. Everything from virtual portals to how e-textbooks are designed is influenced by the technology available to the online teachers who utilize them.
There are other disciplines as well, such as leadership, adult education, professional education, business, cognition, memory, and more. Each one plays a small but important role in designing and implementing online curriculums and study plans.
Is a Teaching License Required for Online Educators?
A teaching license is not required for all online educator positions. To work in a P-12 school, college, or university in the United States, educators are required to hold licensure within their state. This is mandated by law, so for professionals who would like to work as distance education or online teachers, this is a necessary step.
For professionals who work in the business or government industries as professional education trainers, teaching licenses are not important. This is because teaching licenses are meant for those working in schools, not those who work in adult professional settings.
Online trainers who work with adults on a one-to-one basis also do not require teaching licensure. They are considered tutors who perform their duties through the internet. Again, because they do not work for or at a school, teaching licensure is not required.
There are certifications and credentials that a professional can earn in order to work in various settings, such as healthcare or business, but these too are voluntary. They can be a great help to those who wish to advance rapidly, but as of now, they are simply used as a way to distinguish well-prepared candidates who adhere to a professional organization's guidelines from their non-credentialed peers.
Online teaching is the way of the future. With more employers encouraging their employees to study while working full-time, it has become necessary to prepare more educators for this brand new way of continuing a working professional's education. A Master's in Online Teaching can help pave the way for any educator to either expand their opportunities or advance in their current career; the only thing they need to do is apply for a program.