A bachelor’s degree in education prepares future educators to teach K-12 students and set them up for success. Teachers enjoy the intrinsic rewards of building relationships, taking part in a community, and contributing to students’ growth. They also benefit from a steady job market.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in education, training, and library occupations will grow 5% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. To secure one of these positions, prospective teachers must complete at least a bachelor’s degree in education and obtain state licensure.
What Is Education?
Since nationwide compulsory education began in 1918, every state across the U.S. has needed teachers to educate its youth. The education field now encompasses various roles, including classroom teachers, administrators, librarians, and curriculum developers. Education professionals can work in K-12 schools, education centers, universities, and curriculum and instruction organizations.
Educators play a major role in children’s growth and development at all ages. Teachers instruct and nurture students, while instructional coaches and administrators ensure that school environments operate smoothly. Educators need compassion, patience, and flexibility to manage classrooms effectively and meet the needs of diverse students and families.
Prospective education professionals can begin their careers by pursuing online education degrees. These programs typically cost less than on-campus options and may allow enrollees to graduate more quickly. Keep reading for an overview of what to expect from online bachelor’s degrees in teaching.
Why Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Education?
Earning a bachelor’s degree in education opens doors to several rewarding career paths. Most positions in education require at least a bachelor’s degree with an active state teaching license.
Education professionals benefit from a growing job market, fulfilling work, and opportunities for increased salaries and promotion with experience.
The education industry experiences continual growth. In fact, the BLS projects an increase of 441,000 jobs in education, training, and library occupations from 2019 to 2029.
Many educational professionals enjoy helping students meet educational goals. Working with children demands a considerable emotional investment, but teachers reap the benefits of nurturing student relationships and aiding in development.
Many educational professionals with bachelor’s degrees begin their careers in the classroom. Teachers may then advance to instructional coaching and administrative leadership roles. However, teachers may need both classroom experience and a master’s degree to qualify for managerial positions.
Best Education Degrees
Accredited Online College Programs
Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.
What to Expect From Online Education Programs
Education programs prepare prospective teachers to educate students effectively and compassionately. Bachelor’s degrees in education typically take 4-5 years, depending on the student’s program, pacing, and concentration. Enrollees who wish to learn at their own pace should consider online education programs, which may offer accelerated options and part-time enrollment.
Education degrees feature classroom and experiential learning opportunities. After finishing a teacher preparation program, candidates must typically complete edTPA. This exam provides a performance-based, subject-specific assessment of a candidate’s ability to plan, instruct, and assess student learning.
Online teaching degree candidates must demonstrate academic achievement and dedication to the education field. Many education programs require a minimum 2.75-3.0 GPA and completion of prerequisite or introductory coursework. Some schools seek applicants with volunteer teaching experience.
Applicants generally provide admission documents, including transcripts, resumes, recommendation letters, and statements of purpose. Many online education programs accept transfer credits and AP exam credits. Fingerprinting and background checks remain mandatory in most education programs.
Learn More About the Application Process
Education programs comprise multiple grade levels and areas, so teacher candidates must choose a concentration early in their major. The most popular concentrations include elementary, secondary, and special education.
Elementary EducationElementary education encompasses the early formal schooling in grades K-5. Elementary teachers instruct students in social and emotional behaviors as well as core subjects like reading, writing, math, and science. Elementary education students may pursue specializations such as literacy, STEM, and special education.
Secondary EducationSecondary education includes middle and high school grades 6-12. At the secondary level, teachers must specialize in areas like English, math, science, history, or music. Secondary education students must complete college coursework in their content area and pass subject-specific state exams.
Special EducationSpecial education teachers develop skill sets to meet learners’ individual needs. These teachers craft education plans to best support children with disabilities in any grade level. Special education teacher candidates may focus on topics like ASL, autistic spectrum disorders, or visual impairment.
Popular Education Courses
Education program requirements typically comprise core courses, elective options, and mandatory field experiences like practicums and student teaching. These requirements vary by state, school, and concentration, but some courses remain consistent across programs.
Students pursuing an online education degree may complete the following courses and experiential learning requirements:
Classroom ManagementStudents in this course learn to apply behavior interventions, set routines and procedures, and create successful learning environments. The course may offer a general approach to classroom management best practices or focus on specific grades or content areas.
AssessmentCore studies in assessment cover methods to measure classroom learning. Assessments come in various forms, including national exams, state benchmark tests, and daily classroom quizzes. In these courses, candidates implement formative and summative assessments to measure their students’ progress.
Student TeachingEssential to any education program, student teaching prepares degree-seekers for real classroom instruction. Though duties and required hours vary by state, student teachers collaborate with advisors and teachers to create lesson plans and instruct students in specific content areas.
What Are the Requirements for a Career in Teaching and Education?
How Much Will an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), full-time undergraduate students paid an average of $35,331 in tuition and fees, room, and board during the 2019-20 school year. This average reflects all degree-granting four-year universities, but costs can vary widely based on the school’s public or private status.
The NCES also reported an average total cost of $25,487 at public institutions and $53,217 at nonprofit institutions. Since these figures include on-campus fees, online students typically pay less than on-campus enrollees. Other factors that impact educational costs include location and student residency status.
Budget-conscious students should consider pursuing a public, online education degree. Remote learning can cost less per credit and help students save on commuting expenses and building fees. Online learners may also qualify for financial aid like scholarships, grants, and loans. Follow the links below to learn more about financial aid options.
Choosing the Right Online Education Bachelor’s Degree
Our ranked list of the best online education programs provides a good starting point for your school search. Prospective students should also consider the following factors.
Independent accrediting agencies assess postsecondary programs for academic quality and rigor. Regional and national agencies accredit entire institutions, while programmatic accreditors evaluate individual programs. Recognized by the Department of Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) reviews teacher preparation programs.
Prospective teachers can pursue numerous concentrations within the education field. Learners with a specific content focus in mind should determine that potential programs offer that specialization.
Online education degrees often cost less than on-campus programs. However, not all online programs offer the same tuition rates or financial aid opportunities. Students hoping to save money should thoroughly research different program options.
Why You Should Get Your Teaching Degree Online
Many education students face obstacles in balancing coursework and field experiences with work obligations. However, online learning permits a greater amount of flexibility and more opportunities for self-paced learning.
Though in-person field experiences remain mandatory, many online programs offer asynchronous studies, allowing students to complete most requirements outside of regular teaching and working hours.
Accrediting agencies are responsible for identifying in-person and online programs that meet educational standards. Students can rest assured that NCATE-accredited programs offer quality, online bachelor’s degrees in education.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What bachelor’s degree is best for teaching?
Prospective teachers should pursue a bachelor’s in education. Potential concentrations include elementary, secondary, and special education.
Q. Is getting an online education degree worth it?
Online education degrees offer flexibility and the opportunity to set an individual learning pace. Accredited online education degrees are held in the same regard as on-campus degrees.
Q. How long does it take to get an online teaching bachelor’s degree?
Many students complete an online education degree in four years. However, remote learners may pursue accelerated or part-time options.
Q. What can I do with an online bachelor’s degree in education?
An online bachelor’s degree in education prepares learners for careers as teachers. This degree also acts as a stepping stone to pursue graduate degrees in the field.
Q. Is teaching a good career?
Teaching careers offer rewards like relationship building, positive job growth, and potential for career advancement through experience and further education.
The Best Online Education Programs 2021
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
UW offers a 180-credit bachelor of arts in early care and education. Nontraditional learners with college credit can apply. Full-time students can complete the degree entirely online in two years. Part-time learners take three years. Students explore academic theory and innovative practices to improve child development. They learn how to apply the latest early childhood education research in the classroom.
The bachelor's in education program covers early childhood curriculum. Learners study child observation and assessment. They also explore family and community engagement. Students develop a professional portfolio during their senior project. All enrollees complete a practicum at their current job or a local early learning school.
Enrollees pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires at least 45 transferable quarter credits and a 2.0 GPA.
Founded in 1908, Biola is a Christian college located in southern California. Students can complete the school's 120-credit BS in early childhood in 24 months. The program enrolls both first-year and transfer students. Learners study child development and how to observe and assess young children. A class focuses on effective classroom management strategies. Students complete a series of courses to satisfy a Bible requirement.
Enrollees complete a practicum. The program features seven-week asynchronous courses. Success coaches guide students through this bachelor's in education program. Learners can graduate sooner by transferring up to 70 credits from an accredited college. They can also earn credit for work or volunteer experience.
Admission requires high school and college transcripts.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
ULM offers a BS in elementary education. The degree trains teachers to educate students in grades 1-5. The 120-credit program enrolls first-year students and those who have already completed some college credit. The curriculum includes general education coursework such as history and math.
The major explores behavior and instructional management in the classroom. Enrollees develop teaching methods for subjects such as science and math. Students learn assessment principles and practices. A course focuses on differentiated instruction and behavioral support. Learners develop teaching skills by co-teaching in an elementary or secondary classroom. They deepen their knowledge during directed teaching in the elementary education classroom.
Enrollees can complete 12 additional credits of early childhood education coursework to meet early childhood education certification requirements. The program runs online using accelerated eight-week sessions. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires all school transcripts.
North Carolina Central University
NCCU offers a fully online BS in early childhood education. The four-year degree prepares educators to teach children from infancy through age five. Students learn how to meet the needs of children with typical development and those with a disability.
The major explores child development theories and how to guide behavior in young children. Enrollees learn how to develop programs for infants and toddlers. They complete a preschool and kindergarten practicum in their junior year. Enrollees complete directed classroom teaching during their senior year. NCCU can develop a personalized plan of study for licensed teachers and those pursuing a second degree.
NCCU also offers a 60-credit BA in elementary education. This online program enrolls bachelor's degree-holders who want to work as teacher assistants or teachers. Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA.
Virginia Beach, VA
Regent is a private Christian college located in Virginia. The school's 120-credit BS in early childhood education (ECE) trains teachers to provide high-quality education. The program blends ECE best practices with a Christian worldview. The fully online program does not lead to licensure.
Students learn how to guide young children in early learning settings. They also learn how to create and implement ECE programs. A course focuses on teaching methods for subjects such as math and science. Enrollees explore problems teachers may encounter in students with special needs. Learners gain hands-on classroom experience during a practicum.
Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Military students receive discounted tuition. Applicants submit all school transcripts.
Regis offers a BA in elementary education that leads to initial licensure in elementary and special education. Students can keep working until their student teaching placement in the final semester. The online curriculum explores education foundations. Enrollees study linguistics and language. The teaching methods sequence examines behavior management and intervention. Students learn how to teach subjects such as reading, math, and science.
Enrollees must pass the PRAXIS exam and complete 200 field hours before student teaching. Students need 800 hours of fieldwork and student teaching experience for licensure. Regis partners with about 100 local schools for student teacher placement.
Students can transfer up to 81 credits into the 123-credit bachelor's in education. The program uses eight-week terms. All students pay the same tuition. Applicants submit official college transcripts. They also complete an interview and criminal background check.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
SMWC is a Catholic liberal arts college in Indiana. The school offers an online BS in education. The program leads to licensure for K-6 general education or K-6 special education. Veteran educators teach the 120-credit curriculum. Students can complete the program entirely online. Some courses allow for on-campus participation.
The curriculum includes general education courses that students may transfer. The major explores topics such as growth and development and educational psychology. Students learn how to teach subjects such as math and science. A course explores assessment and intervention practices in special education.
Students get hands-on experience during field experiences. Learners participate in student teaching during their final semester. Small classes promote personalized learning. The program uses eight-week sessions. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission to the bachelor's in education program requires high school and college transcripts.
ECU offers a BS in education for first-year and transfer students. Only North Carolina residents can enroll in the online program. The 120-credit program includes general education coursework.
A professional studies core explores the needs of exceptional children. Enrollees also explore diversity in the classroom and technology in education. Students learn early intervention strategies and how to develop the infant and toddler curriculum. A course focuses on how to guide children's behavior. Enrollees learn how to teach math, science, and social studies. They complete internships and practica at approved locations across the state.
North Carolina residents pay the most affordable tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.7 GPA. Applicants also need a passing score on the Praxis Core for upper-division coursework.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
UNCW offers a BA in elementary education in partnership with Coastal Carolina Community College (CCCC). The degree leads to licensure to teach grades K-6. Students complete general education courses at CCCC. They then transfer an associate degree to UNCW. Students complete upper-division coursework fully online.
Coursework covers number and algebraic reasoning. Learners also study literature in elementary school. Enrollees complete a classroom management seminar. The program offers various concentrations, including early childhood education. Students complete field experiences throughout the program.
UNCW partners with many public schools throughout southeastern North Carolina.
Drexel's bachelor's in elementary education prepares students for teacher certification in Pennsylvania. The degree leads to preK-4 elementary or preK-4 and special education licensure.
Students specializing in preK-4 explore topics such as child development and early intervention. The special education specialization teaches students how to modify a curriculum and provide remedial instruction. Enrollees learn how to use technology to address learners' needs. Pennsylvania certification requires 12 consecutive weeks of full-day student teaching.
Interstate reciprocity agreements allow graduates to qualify for certification in other states. Some learners pursue this online education program for non-teaching roles. Graduates receive two years of post-program support, including coaching and professional development. Students can transfer up to 90 quarter credits. Admission requires a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students need a minimum 2.5 GPA.
A Christian college in Virginia, LU offers more than 700 programs. LU's BS in early childhood education requires 120 credits and takes 3.5 years to complete. The degree does not lead to teacher licensure in Virginia.
The curriculum includes general education coursework in various disciplines. Students complete biblical studies exploring the Old and New Testaments. The major examines the exceptional child and wellness in the early childhood setting. Enrollees learn instructional teaching methods for math and reading. They also develop classroom management expertise. A practicum provides hands-on teaching experience.
LU's program uses eight-week terms. Military students receive discounted tuition. Learners receive free electronic textbooks and can transfer up to 75% of coursework from another college. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.
K-State's bachelor's in elementary education leads to an initial teaching license in Kansas. Students can enroll as first-year or transfer students. The fully online curriculum requires general education subjects in several areas.
Pre-professional coursework explores teaching as a career and provides an early field experience. The professional core develops learners' teaching skills in subjects such as science and math. Participants learn classroom management skills. Enrollees can use 15 credits for a minor or certificate that enhances their bachelor's in education.
Students complete a yearlong teaching internship at a local accredited elementary school. K-State observes and evaluates students' teaching skills in real time using video technology. Online students receive support through advising, coaching, and tutoring. Enrollees pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Boiling Springs, NC
Gardner-Webb offers a degree-completion BS in elementary education. The program leads to North Carolina class A teaching licensure for K-6. Students can choose a non-licensure track. Gardner-Webb offers a 61-credit online curriculum with a major and minor. Enrollees must transfer general education and other requirements to graduate.
The program provides an introduction to effective teaching and learning. Students explore literacy and language arts for K-8. They learn teaching methods for math, science, and social studies. Enrollees complete a professional education minor that includes a student teaching component. Students can choose an optional concentration in exceptional children. This concentration allows them to explore critical issues and laws about students with disabilities.
Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires all college transcripts.
University of Missouri-Columbia
Mizzou's bachelor of science in human development and family science runs fully online. The program focuses on early childhood education in a mobile society. Enrollees explore young children's needs and how to create environments to address them.
Participants learn how to develop curriculum for young children. Other topics include working with families, supervision in early childhood settings, and technology and young children. Students gain classroom experience during three practica.
Enrollees can choose self-paced or semester-based courses. Multiple colleges teach the program through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. Students can transfer up to 85 credits. All learners pay the same tuition. First-year students submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a 2.5 GPA.
SFU offers bachelor's degree-completion programs in early childhood education. Students can pursue a BA or BS. Nontraditional learners with some work experience and college credit can apply. The BA does not lead to initial teacher certification. Students can use the degree to work in programs such as Head Start. The BS leads to Pennsylvania preK-4 teacher certification.
Both programs require 128 credits. Students can enroll full time or part time. All enrollees complete common courses such as educational psychology and early childhood teaching methods. Students in the BS complete 15-16 weeks of student teaching.
Learners can transfer up to 90 credits. Learners without prior coursework can begin the program with SFU's AS in early childhood education. All enrollees pay the same tuition. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.