30 Best Master’s in Education Degree Programs of 2021

30 Best Master’s in Education Degree Programs of 2021

A master’s degree in education is an excellent way to advance your career. Whether you’re planning to pursue a doctoral degree, increase your earning potential, or simply advance your skills, a master’s degree can help you get there.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in education, training, and library careers are growing at an above-average rate, and median salaries for these jobs are above average for all industries. And with a master’s degree, you’re eligible for even higher-paying jobs.

If this sounds like the right path for you, we’ve created a list that represents the top 30 best master’s in education degree programs from accredited colleges and universities.

Accredited Online College Programs

Best Master’s in Education Degree Programs of 2021

  1. Utah State University
    Location

    Logan, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Utah State University's Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services offers several master's in education degree programs, including the M.Ed. in elementary education, instructional leadership, and secondary education. All master's programs are designed to prepare students for careers in education or entry into a doctoral education program.

    • Graduation rate: 57%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: GPA of 3.0 over the last 30 credits taken prior to application, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose
    • Program website
  2. Indiana University
    Location

    Bloomington, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Indiana University's School of Education offers a wide number of master's, specialist, and doctoral degree programs. Individuals interested in earning a master's in education may choose from one of twenty areas of study–from early childhood education to elementary education. Teaching licensure is also available. Admission to the top-ranked programs may be competitive. Indiana University is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, in the most recent edition of Best Education Graduate Schools, Indiana ranks #28–tied with University of Maryland and University of Colorado.

    • Graduation rate: 78%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, undergraduate GPA of 2.75, personal statement, two letters of recommendation
    • Program website
  3. University of Kansas
    Location

    Lawrence, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Kansas offers several master's in education degrees designed to prepare students and teachers for various leadership roles in education. From curriculum and instruction to special education, the School of Education offers rigorous courses that delve deep into each topic discussed. Students apply classroom content to the classroom while gaining hands-on work experience. University of Kansas is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national university. Also, the School of Education ranks #15 for best graduate education institutions in the country.

    • Graduation rate: 62%
    • Estimated years of completion: 2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, personal statements, letters of recommendation, resume
    • Program website
  4. University of Texas
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Texas College of Education offers research-driven experiences for graduate students in pursuit of a master's in education degree. There are five general departments that each offers their own master of education degrees. These departments include curriculum and instruction, educational administration, educational psychology, kinesiology and health education, and special education. Depending on career goals, students may tailor their studies to fit their interests. Some of the M.Ed. programs include cultural studies in education, early childhood education, higher education leadership, and special education. University of Texas is a nationally ranked institution, and its College of Education is ranked #10 by U.S. News and World Report among the best graduate education schools.

    • Graduation rate: 80%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, resume
    • Program website

  5. Arizona State University
    Location

    Tempe, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University creates teachers and educational leaders who have the knowledge needed to take action and improve education. Eleven master's in education degrees are offered, including curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, educational technology, higher and postsecondary education, and secondary education. Many of the degrees offered also provide teacher certification opportunities. For master's with teacher certification programs, a copy of the fingerprint clearance card is required. According to U.S. News and World Report's most recent publication of Best Graduate Education Schools, ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranks #14 in the country.

    • Graduation rate: 66%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, resume
    • Program website
  6. University of Wisconsin
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Master's of education degrees in curriculum and instruction, K-12 leadership, and special education are just some of the areas of study available to students at this top ranked school. All master's in education programs are designed to equip students with the advanced skills necessary to work as leaders in the field of education or enter doctoral research programs, which are also offered at the institution. University of Wisconsin is a top-ranked national university. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the School of Education as the 4th best graduate education school in the nation.

    • Average tuition cost: $6,098 - $12,761 per semester, depending on residency and credits per semester
    • Graduation rate: 85%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume
    • Program website
  7. University of Colorado
    Location

    Boulder, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The School of Education at University of Colorado is ranked #28 by U.S. News and World Report as a best graduate education school. Five graduate programs are offered in curriculum and instruction, educational equity and cultural diversity, educational foundations and policy, learning sciences and human development, and research and evaluation methodology. Graduate students work in small groups and collaborate with faculty members who are education scholars with years of experience.

    • Graduation rate: 70%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, personal statement, three letters of recommendation
    • Program website
  8. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology offers several M.Ed. programs that equip students for leadership roles in education. Some of the programs include the master's of education in early childhood, English and integrated language arts, hearing impairments, mathematics, and vision impairments. Most of the master's in education programs also offer specializations so that the students may tailor their degree to suit their interests or career goals in teaching. Admission can be selective, as The Ohio State University is a top-ranked research institution. According to the U.S. News and World Report's best graduate education schools list, Ohio State's College of Education is ranked #18 in the country.

    • Average tuition cost: $896.5 per credit hour
    • Graduation rate: 80%
    • Estimated years of completion: 1-2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, GRE score
    • Program website
  9. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The education school is particularly known as a leading institution for equipping teachers who want to make a difference in urban and multi-ethnic environments. Several different programs are available to choose from, including the two-year graduate program and the IMPACT program. UCLA also offers a more rigorous four-quarter master's of education in urban teaching. Fees for each term will vary depending on your resident status. The program offers a variety of courses, all focused on making your transition to being an educator seamless. According to U.S. News and World Report's most recent publications of Best Graduate Schools for Education, UCLA ranks #11 in the country.

    • Average tuition cost: $17,486 - $32,588 per year, depending on residency
    • Graduation rate: 93%
    • Estimated years of completion: 2 years
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GRE score, three letters of recommendation, professional work experience
    • Program website
  10. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Florida's College of Education is one of the top-ranked graduate education schools in the country. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report have ranked the institution and its education programs. In fact, the College of Education ranks #30 among the top graduate education schools–tied with University of Pittsburgh and Utah State University. A total of 17 M.Ed. programs are available in areas of study like curriculum and teaching, early childhood education, educational technology, and elementary education. Within many of the M.Ed. programs, subspecialties are offered so that students may tailor their degree to highlight specific interests or meet career goals.

    • Graduation rate: 87%
    • Estimated years of completion: 4-6 terms
    • Admissions requirements: Bachelor’s degree, GPA of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume
    • Program website

  • Our Methodology, Explained


    Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.































    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 20%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 40%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 15%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%

    A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master’s in Education Degree Programs


  • Is a master’s degree valuable for teachers?

    In general, yes. Nationally, an advanced degree is a factor for increasing pay to teachers in more than 145 school districts across the U.S. Not only will you see an increase in earning potential and available career paths, you’ll also grow both personally and professionally. 


  • What can I do with a master’s in education degree?

    There are many jobs available to someone with a master’s degree in education. Many of the same jobs are those you can do with a bachelor’s degree, such as an elementary school, middle school, or high school teacher. You can also qualify for other jobs such as a school principal, instructional coordinator, or counselor.


  • Would I get paid more with a master’s in education?

    As with most occupations, teachers with a master’s degree can expect to earn more than a teacher with the same level of work experience with a bachelor’s degree. On average, a teacher with a master’s can earn an additional $2,760 in their first year.


  • What are the different master’s degrees in education?

    There are several different types of master’s degrees in education, including a Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.), Master of Arts in Education (M.A. Ed.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T), and Master in Teaching (M.I.T.).


What Can I Expect From a Master’s in Education?

When pursuing a master’s degree in education, you’ll take your undergraduate education to the next level. You’ll learn advanced techniques and strategies for curriculum development, instructional methods, and more. You’ll learn to utilize various software and technological tools while also enhancing your interpersonal and active listening skills.

To graduate with a master’s degree in education, you’ll generally need between 30 and 36 credits, which take between one and two years to earn. You may also take longer to earn your degree if you plan to continue working full-time, or take an online program for even more flexibility. At the end of the program, you may be required to complete a capstone or thesis.

What Are the Benefits of a Master’s in Education?

Increased earning potential

In many school districts, teachers earn more when they have a master’s degree. Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics, a teacher with a master’s degree earns an average of $61,250, while a teacher with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of just $48,650.

More job opportunities

By earning a master’s degree, you’re opening yourself up to new potential job opportunities. Some jobs, such as school principal and instructional coordinator, are available only to those with master’s degrees.

Enhanced skills and knowledge

Not only will you have more job opportunities and earning potential, but you’ll also grow as a teacher. If you continue to stay in the same role you had before earning a master’s degree, you’ll still bring a new level of skill and knowledge to your students.

The Admissions Requirements for Masters in Education

Admission requirements may vary slightly depending on the school you attend, but you can expect a few standard requirements at all masters in education programs.

First, you’ll generally need a bachelor’s degree in education and work experience in the field. You may also need a minimum undergraduate GPA, as well as a GRE or GMAT score. Finally, you’ll be expected to provide letters of recommendation and a personal statement or statement of purpose describing why you’re pursuing your master’s degree in education.

Types of Master’s Degrees in Education

There are five primary types of master’s degrees in education. There are plenty of similarities between them, which may help you to reach your career goals. However, it’s important to understand the differences so you can choose the specialization that best fits your professional aspirations. 

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

A Master of Education program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of educational careers, often in a school district administration or as an instructional coordinator. While you can pursue this degree if you plan to continue teaching, it may not be best suited for that career path.

Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.)

A Master of Science in Education is a type of master’s degree designed to help build leadership skills to prepare graduates for a career in educational leadership. Because it is a Master of Science degree, there may be a stronger focus on STEM subjects.

Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.)

Similar to the M.S.Ed., the Master of Arts in Education is designed to help current educators advance into leadership positions. The education component of the Master of Arts option will be less centered on STEM subjects. As a result, it may be better suited to teachers in subjects such as English and History.

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.)

A Master of Arts in Teaching is a degree for current teachers or those who plan to become teachers. Program participants may already have a bachelor’s degree in education or transition from another field. The program will be focused on classroom instruction and educational theory.

Master’s In Teaching (M.I.T.)

This type of master’s degree is specifically designed for people who wish to become teachers but who don’t have a bachelor’s degree in education and who don’t have work experience teaching. This type of degree prepares someone to be an educator and often meets teacher certification requirements, allowing someone to begin teaching.

Career and Salary Outlook for Education Graduates

There are plenty of job prospects for someone with a master’s degree in education. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for someone in the education, training, and library field is $52,380, more than $10,000 higher than the national median salary. And for many jobs in the field, salaries can range from $60,000 to $80,000.

The education field is also growing quickly. Employment in the field is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2019, which is faster than most occupations.

Here are some of the highest-paying jobs in the education field:

JobsMedian Annual SalaryGrowth Rate
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal$98,4904%
Instructional Coordinator$66,9706%
High School Teacher$62,8704%
Special Education Teacher$61,4203%
Librarian and Library Media Specialist$60,8205%
Middle School Teacher$60,8104%
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher$60,6604%

Similar Industries

Top 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Degrees 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Private Non-Profit Colleges 30 Most Affordable Master’s in K-12 Education Online From Public Universities

Certifications and Licenses

Every state requires that individuals obtain a teacher’s license before they can teach in a public school. Educators are licensed at the state level, and each state has its own requirements for licensure. In general, educators must have certain education credentials, such as a bachelor’s degree in education. Additionally, they may have to pass an exam to prove competency.

Depending on the type of educator you plan to be, there may be additional requirements. For example, some states may require a teacher to be licensed in their subject area if they teach older students. Special education teachers usually require a separate type of licensure.

Many states have reciprocity agreements, meaning your teaching license in one state allows you to teach in another. This is often the case with neighboring states.

Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid for Master’s in Education Students

A master’s degree can be a significant financial investment. Luckily, there are many scholarships and other financial resources available to those pursuing a career in education.

Federal TEACH Grant
Who Can Apply: This program provides aid to students completing or planning to enroll in course work needed to begin a career in teaching. Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who agree to complete four years of qualifying teaching after graduating can apply. 
Amount: $4,000

Nancy Larson Foundation College Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Junior, senior, and graduate students who have declared an elementary education major can apply for this sponsored scholarship. Established by author Nancy Larson, her foundation of the same name encourages and supports prospective teachers.
Amount: $1,000

AFCEA Educational Foundation Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing an education degree in a STEM field are eligible to apply. The foundation is committed to supporting STEM education and has provided more than $2 million in scholarships a year.
Amount: $1,000 – $3,000

Additional Resources

How Long does it take to Complete an Online Master’s in Education? Do Online Master’s in Education Require Practicums? How Can Teachers Benefit from a Master’s in English?

Erin Gobler picture

Erin Gobler

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Erin Gobler is a freelance writer who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and Criminal Justice Degree Schools, among others. Her work has been published on sites like Fox Business, Rocket Mortgage, and The Balance.

Additional Resources

See All Posts
What is a TEACH Grant?

What is a TEACH Grant?

August 4, 2020   |   Staff

What is a TEACH Grant? If you're interested in becoming a teacher, it's a way to get money for school. The grant will pay a good portion of your tuition...

What Concentrations are Available for Online Ed.D. Programs?

What Concentrations are Available for Online Ed.D. Programs?

April 8, 2021   |   Staff

The field of education is full of opportunities at all knowledge levels, and obtaining an online Ed.D. in the appropriate concentration area only broadens the options for a talented educator....

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.