By GSH Staff
In this ranking, we present the top 10 best online master's in education degree programs.
Graduate degrees in education are a popular choice for online learners. In many cases, students earn a B.S. or B.A. at a "traditional" school, and then eventually enroll in an online college to earn advanced credentials while continuing to work full-time. Perhaps the biggest draw for graduate programs is the increased salary potential; depending on the subject area, teachers with advanced degrees can make $5,000-$10,000 more a year!
See the end of the article for details about the ranking methodology.
Ranking the Best Online Master's in Education Degree Programs 2015
10. University of Georgia
Online Master of Education
The University of Georgia makes this online master's in education list for both its breadth of programming options and stellar online resources. Whether you want to major in Adult Education or Educational Psychology, the University of Georgia has what you need. Other academic options cover gifted and creative education, organizational development, instructional technology, digital literacy, and even workforce education. The university also offers a wide range of technological resources online, including live streaming audio and video and an interactive learning management system. And if a master's degree isn't enough for you, UGA also offers a specialized Ed.S. in Educational Psychology/Gifted and Creative Education.
Tuition: $8,088/yr (In-state) $23,388/yr (Out-of-state)
9. Pittsburg State University
Online M.S. in Education, Educational Leadership, Educational Technology, Reading, Teaching
Pittsburg State University's school of Graduate and Continuing Studies covers a range of online master's degrees in education, from School Health and Leadership to Special Education and ESOL. Programs are available at the certificate, M.A., M.S., and Ed.S. levels, allowing students to pursue everything from Autism Spectrum Disorders to General School Administration through curricula that range from six to sixteen classes. Many of these advanced degrees require students to complete practicums and learn how to conduct research, ensuring that you will feel adequately prepared for work in any field of education. The average undergraduate GPA of PSU applicants is above a 3.5, suggesting that admittance is beyond competitive.
Tuition: $5,690/yr (In-state) $15,110/yr (Out-of-state)
8. University of Nebraska at Kearney
Online Master of Arts/Master of Science in Teaching
The "e-Campus" at the University of Nebraska at Kearney provides distance students with a selection of more than 30 degree programs, more than half of which fall under the category of education. From K-12 Curriculum and Instruction to Student Affairs, UNK's master's in education online programs cover both administrative and instructional topics. You will also find specific teacher training degrees, including Music Education, Special Education, Biology, Reading, and Physical Education. You'll also enjoy distance education at this university because of its comprehensive online learning tools, which include simulations, virtual labs, and tablet/mobile apps.
Tuition: $5,196/yr (In-state) $11,400/yr (Out-of-state)
7. Concordia University at Wisconsin
Online Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education
Although the Wisconsin campus of Concordia University places 7th on this list of top programs in masters in education online, remember that CU also has many other satellite locations around the country. Many of these campuses offer high caliber teaching and instruction degrees, but CUW stands out for its especially wide coverage – from Educational Leadership to Learning Disabilities. CUW also offers an M.S. in Education that allows aspiring teachers to concentrate in one of seven subject areas, such as literacy, counseling, and educational technology. Concordia's programs cover three of the four main educational subcategories: teaching, counseling/psychology, and administration, all of which have been designed by certified instructional professionals.
6. Texas A&M University at College Station
Online M.Ed./M.S. in Bilingual Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, School Counseling, Public School Administration, Educational Technology
Texas A&M University's College of Education and Human Development offers a distinguished selection of M.Ed. degrees to qualifying students. Although you'll have to earn nearly a 3.4 in undergrad to have a good chance of being accepted to TAMU's program, the hard work is worth it. Online master's of education options at this university include Educational Psychology – Creativity and Innovation, Bilingual Education, Educational Human Resource Development, and TESOL Curriculum and Instruction. Texas A&M's selection of online learning tools is impressive as well; you'll benefit from software-based readers, simulations and online labs, smartphone applications, and live-streaming lectures.
Tuition: $5,741/yr (In-state) $14,429/yr (Out-of-state)
5. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Online Master of Arts in Adult Education, Teaching, Student Affairs, Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Special Education
Northwestern State University of Louisiana is another top public school with an "e-Campus" branch of its main university. Through "eNSU" you can attain an advanced graduate degree in Adult Education, Student Affairs, Educational Technology Leadership, Gifted Education, Early Intervention, Professional Teaching Standards, School Librarian, and much more. Northwestern State offers more unique online master's in education degrees than any other school on this list, most of which cover teaching/instruction and administrative topics. Post-graduate and add-on certifications further increase the number of options for aspiring teachers attending NSU. The overall low tuition rates at this university provide an added appeal to budget-conscious master's students.
Tuition: $5,738/yr (In-state) $16,526/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Emporia State University
Online Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Physical Education
If you're looking for a master's in education online that is both affordable and comprehensive, consider Emporia State University. The school offers an impressive number of graduate programs online, including about a dozen that are related to teaching and school administration. In addition to degrees in Early Childhood Education and Educational Administration, ESU also offers a Curriculum and Instruction program with concentrations in Effective Practitioner, Instruction, and National Board Certification – all of which focus on PreK-12 education. Distance education students at Emporia also enjoy access to a surprising selection of learning tools, including the virtual writing center, "SmartThinking" online tutoring, and online mathematics and reading labs.
Tuition: $5,448/yr (In-state) $16,994/yr (Out-of-state)
3. University of Northern Colorado
Online Master of Arts in Teaching, Educational Psychology, Science Education, American Sign Language, Special Education, Dance Education, Educational Leadership
The University of Northern Colorado's "Online and Mostly Online" master's in education programs include many unique topics that you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere. You could study Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, Sign Language, Geography Education, Gifted and Talented Instruction, Educational Psychology, Dance Education, and even Principal Licensure. These degrees cover three of the four essential areas of graduate education programs: teaching, counseling/psychology, and administration. UNC students who opt for the "extended campus" experience the same rigorous coursework and talented professors that others enjoy on campus, but with generous added flexibility. This university is also one of the more selective on this list, bringing in students with an average 3.6 undergraduate GPA.
Tuition: $8,996/yr (In-state) $17,640/yr (Out-of-state)
2. American College of Education
Online Master of Education, Elementary Teaching, Secondary Teaching
It's no surprise that the American College of Education makes it into the #2 spot on this online master's degree in education ranking, given that the entire school is dedicated to helping teachers reach their professional goals. M.Ed. programs include Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Health and Wellness, Instructional Design, and Teaching English Learners, to name a few. You might also consider augmenting your studies with a subject-area certificate or continuing on to an Ed.D. or Ed.S. specialist degree. ACE is also proudly adding 12 new graduate education programs to its repertoire for the fall of 2015, which will cover Teacher Leadership, Early Childhood Education, Online Learning and Teaching, Elementary/Secondary Literacy, and much more. These 12 new programs will increase ACE's selection of education graduate programs to about 30 in total, which could easily boost its ranking for 2016!
1. Old Dominion University
Online Master of Science in Education
Old Dominion University is another online option that offers graduate degrees outside of what you'd normally expect to see. Whether you want to major in Community College Teaching, School Librarianship, or STEM education, ODU has you covered. It's also the only university on this list to offer programs in all four main areas of education: teaching, counseling, administration, and research/policy. And when it comes to online learning, Old Dominion University exceeds expectations. Certified instructional designers lend their expertise to all courses and help craft online tools that help students learn. These resources include smartphone and tablet applications, virtual simulations and labs, software-based readers, and real-time lectures that your master's in education online courses to life.
Tuition: $7,948/yr (In-state) $23,200/yr (Out-of-state)
It can be difficult to determine the best online master's degrees in education with 100% accuracy, but there are certain factors that we think can help people get pretty close. Remember that everyone is different, so some of the categories we considered in our ranking may not be important to you, while something we neglected is. But either way, this ranking of the top 10 schools should give you a useful starting point in your search for comprehensive, accredited, selective institutions. We determined our ranking as follows:
Tuition (Weighted 10%): We determined tuition information from the values reported at College Navigator and scored schools based on the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates. Note that tuition only includes the cost to take courses per year, and does not consider miscellaneous fees or potential scholarships. We only weighted this category 15% because, while we understand that tuition concerns are important, we did not want affordability to be the primary focus of this ranking.
Undergraduate GPA (Weighted 15%): In order to acquire an understanding of schools' selectivity, we collected data regarding the average undergraduate GPA of students admitted to the graduate program in education, as reported by U.S. News.
Delivery Modes (Weighted 20%): Also based on data from U.S. News, this category refers to the number of online resources a school offers its distance education students. Each school received points for offering live-streaming video/audio, software-based readers, online labs, virtual simulations, tablet/mobile phone applications, and recorded audio/video features, among other tools. This category also considered whether or not schools' hired certified instructional experts to design their curriculum.
Number of Programs (Weighted 30%): This category is just what it sounds like – it reflects the number of individual online graduate programs in education that each school offers. We counted every program, including unique specialization options, separately. We gave this and the final category the most weight because they focus on master's in education program data more specifically than the other factors.
Categories of Study (Weighted 30%): According to U.S. News, graduate programs in education can focus on one of four categories: teaching, counseling/psychology, administration/leadership, or research/policy. The best schools offer a range of degree programs that cover multiple categories, and potentially all four. As such, we gave schools points based on the number of these four main topics that their online degrees incorporate.
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This concludes our ranking of the top 10 best online master's in education degree programs.