Online Master’s Degree Programs in Education

Review top master’s degrees in education and see what it takes to apply to, pay for, and graduate from your program.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

2022’s Best Online Master’s Degrees in Education

With the growing availability of online degree programs, it’s never been more convenient to advance your knowledge and career as an educator. An online master’s in education can help you meet state teaching certification requirements even if your undergrad is in a different field. For current educators, a master’s helps you hone your skills, pursue specializations, and become a more competitive candidate in today’s job market. But how do you know which programs are best? To help get you started on your search, we’ve identified this year’s best online master’s degrees in education based on important criteria like affordability, strength of student support, and program flexibility. Learn more about each school below and find the online master’s in education that’s right for you in 2022.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

1
Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 619
2
Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 59%
Online Students 658
3
Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 52%
Online Students 827
4
University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 4,488

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 53%
Online Students 5,793

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 357
7
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 83%
Online Students 767
8
University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 92%
Online Students 637
9
Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 70%
Online Students 782
10
CUNY Queens College

Queens, New York

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 6%
Online Students 361
11
Utah State University

Logan, Utah

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 697
12
University of Maryland-College Park

College Park, Maryland

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 43%
Online Students 3,214
13
Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 194
14
Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 45%
Online Students 312
15
Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 4,197
16
Youngstown State University

Youngstown, Ohio

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 68%
Online Students 266
17
Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 52%
Online Students 668
18
East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 829
19
SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, New York

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 94%
Online Students 165
20

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 3,588
21

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 50%
Online Students 236
22
Carson-Newman University

Jefferson City, Tennessee

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 168
23
University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 35%
Online Students 5,583
24
Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 45%
Online Students 276
25
Illinois State University

Normal, Illinois

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 712
26
Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 184
27

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 46%
Online Students 4,048
28
Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 103
29
Wayne State University

Detroit, Michigan

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 94%
Online Students 1,818
30

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 27%
Online Students 226
31
Ashland University

Ashland, Ohio

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 89%
Online Students 145
32
Buena Vista University

Storm Lake, Iowa

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 33
33
Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 420
34
University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 2,017
35
Black Hills State University

Spearfish, South Dakota

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 64%
Online Students 40
36
Salem State University

Salem, Massachusetts

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 357
37
University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 75%
Online Students 711
38
Harding University

Searcy, Arkansas

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 85
39
University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 2,293
40
Southeast Missouri State University

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 86%
Online Students 324
41

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 26
42
Delaware State University

Dover, Delaware

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 53%
Online Students 122
43
DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 97%
Online Students 1,108
44
Northern Michigan University

Marquette, Michigan

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 72%
Online Students 147
45
Georgia State University

Atlanta, Georgia

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 27:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 22%
Online Students 3,126
46
Purdue University-Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 40%
Online Students 3,362
47
Wayne State College

Wayne, Nebraska

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 45%
Online Students 78

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 3,385
49
University of St Thomas

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 1,231
50
University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 23%
Online Students 930
51

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 173
52
Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 3,367
53
Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 254
54
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 42%
Online Students 2,371
55
Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 22%
Online Students 561
56
Concordia University-Wisconsin

Mequon, Wisconsin

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 399
57
Arkansas Tech University

Russellville, Arkansas

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 75%
Online Students 74
58
Concordia University-Chicago

River Forest, Illinois

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 146
59
Hamline University

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 252
60
University of South Dakota

Vermillion, South Dakota

Total online programs:

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 60%
Online Students 499

Inside Education’s Online Master’s Degree

Graduate students in education programs today enjoy the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Remote students often handle various life responsibilities, including family obligations and careers, while completing their graduate education. Many colleges and universities offer online master’s of education programs with specializations for concentration areas that are conducive to distance learning, as well. You can complete majority of requirements for these degrees remotely, with any necessary hands-on training or teaching components completed in-person or partially online. In the sections that follow, we will take a closer look at the types of education master’s programs online and what you will encounter in each scenario.

Online Master’s in Education vs. Online Master’s in Teaching

edu-img

The master’s in education and master’s in teaching are often referred to interchangeably. This is not necessarily accurate and is a disservice to each discipline. The major difference between the two is that master’s of education programs typically serve students interested in careers in education administration and curriculum design. Students in teaching graduate programs are usually looking to build upon an established teaching skill set to advance their careers inside the classroom. A master’s program in teaching helps you gain practical experience and official credentials, usually in a specialized area or age group.

In many cases, both the master’s in education and master’s in teaching are available entirely online, some of which require an occasional in-person component depending on the program. Each program also takes about two years to complete. When deciding which program is the best fit for you, the most important point to consider is what you intend to do upon graduation. If you wish to expand upon your teaching career and see yourself working directly with students, perhaps a master of arts in teaching is an excellent choice. Alternatively, if you are interested in administrative positions, curriculum design, education policies, and other education-focused roles outside of the classroom, a master’s in education will serve you best.

Core Competencies of the Education Master’s

When you pursue a master’s in education, you develop a set of core competencies that help you carry out essential functions in a myriad of administrative and leadership roles in the field. Accredited online master’s of education programs typically build their curricula around standards determined by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Here are five competency areas in which you will develop mastery in a graduate education program.

Communication Skills

Working in an administrative or leadership role requires you to interact with a variety of individuals, including young students, colleagues, administrators, and parents. You will need to develop effective communication skills to carry out essential tasks on a daily basis. You will also be required to use the latest technology available to educators for those educational and administrative tasks.

Create a Strong Educational Environment

You must develop the skills that allow you to create safe environments that are conducive to learning. This includes staying up-to-date on the latest educational research and understanding local, state, and federal regulations for educational institutions. Your master’s program will help you explore the political, economic, legal, and social components of the education system.

Understanding Teaching Methods

Whether or not you work in the classroom or an administrative role, you will need to understand a wide variety of effective teaching methods and the technologies on which they rely. Today’s teaching methods are highly dependent on technology and you need a fairly in-depth understanding of instructional design, student cognition, online literacy, and educational product design.

Working with a Diverse Student Body

To be an effective leader or teacher in today’s educational system requires you to be a sensitive professional who is comfortable working with students from diverse backgrounds. It is important to recognize racism and ethnocentrism in educational institutions and battle these elements to create a safe and culturally sensitive environment for all students, employees, and administrators.

Problem Solving

A major part of working as a teacher or administrator in education is solving problems and getting creative with limited resources. In a graduate program, you will develop the necessary tools to handle budgetary, personnel, and logistical issues that professionals commonly face in educational institutions today.

Specializing Your Online Master’s in Education

One major benefit of pursuing a master’s degree is that you can develop an area of specialization. It is important to select a focus that aligns with your career goals, whether you wish to work with a certain age group of students, pursue a particular subject, or concentrate on a specific skill. The section that follows elaborates on popular specialized education degrees, from special education and education administration to concentrations in English and mathematics.

Online Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE)

The master’s degree in early childhood education prepares you for careers as an education consultant, family support worker, preschool lead teacher, early childhood services director, adjunct professor, and more. In these programs, you develop specialized skills that focus on the instruction of children from infancy through early grade school. Depending on the program, distance learners complete this program in as few as 12 months.

Online Master’s Degree in Secondary Education

The master’s degree in secondary education helps you develop the necessary instructional and leadership skills to become a teacher or school administrator. Professionals outside of teaching with this master’s degree typically seek careers as principals, instructional coordinators, educational policy developers, educational consultants, and more. Full-time remote students usually finish this degree in two year or less.

Online Master’s in English Education

These degree programs allow you to dive deeply into language development, literacy acquisition, and teaching methods. Upon completion of these programs, you will be able to implement the latest English-focused pedagogies, teach a diverse body of students at all learning levels, and assist with curriculum development. Most remote learners spend two years completing this program.

Online Master’s in Mathematics Education

You can improve your depth of knowledge and improve your pedagogical skills in algebra, calculus, geometry, and more with a master’s in mathematics education. You will learn the best teaching practices for secondary and post-secondary mathematics courses. These master’s programs help you explore current issues and research in math education to ultimately improve the quality of education can offer your students.

Online Master’s in Physical Education

If you have an interest in teaching physical education in schools or wish to become well-informed, effective sports coach, a master’s in physical education maybe you could fit for you. Graduate students who pursue this degree learn the best techniques to maximize student health benefits while maintaining a safe and fun environment.

Online Master’s in Science Education

In a science education master’s program, you will explore the latest educational theories and research to improve your pedagogical skills. Upon completion of this degree, you will be prepared to work as a STEM educator and teach classes in physics, environmental science, chemistry, biology, and more at the middle school, high school, and community college levels.

Online Master’s in Social Studies Education

Distance learners and social studies education programs typically focus on improving their K-12 social studies curricula and teaching methods. Additionally, over the span of two years, graduate students can also learn how to pursue social studies careers beyond the classroom including positions as curriculum developers, consultants, museum educators, and more.

Online Master’s in Special Education

Graduate students in special education master’s programs learn to provide educational and supportive services for students with emotional, cognitive, physical, or behavioral disabilities. These professionals typically move on to careers in public elementary and secondary schools. You may also pursue careers outside of public schools in the private sector including special care facilities.

Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction

With a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, you can improve upon a school system’s educational materials, implement new learning technologies, plan and organize teacher workshops, analyze important student learning data, and more. Ultimately, these professionals strive to create the most challenging and effective curricula so elementary and high school students can get the most out of their education.

Online Master’s in Education Administration

School administrators ensure that schools follow established educational standards, stay within their budgets, and provide students with the best teachers and education possible. Professionals with a master’s in education administration often obtain employment as principals, superintendents, admissions officers, and college deans. Most schools, colleges, and universities need multiple professionals trained in these areas to assume leadership roles.

Online Master’s in School Counseling

A master’s in school counseling prepares you for work in public and private institutions. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to guide students through emotional, social, and personal issues in addition to helping them prepare for a future career or additional education. The master’s program ensures that you receive a full range of training to be able to handle diverse and complex counseling scenarios.

Practicum & Internships

Practicums and internships provide excellent learning opportunities outside the classroom. Both opportunities allow students to learn-by-doing and receive an authentic experience of what it is like to work in their area of the field.

Practicums take place in a more structured scenario under the guidance of a trained professional, supervisor, or faculty member. Students typically spend a few hours on-site each week for practicums.

Internships are similar to entry-level jobs and usually come with a significant amount of independence and responsibilities. Internships typically require students to commit to a regular part- or full-time schedule and usually last the duration of a semester or longer.

FAQs for the Online Master’s Degree in Education