Most Affordable Online Master's In K-12 Education Degrees

A ranking of the best online master's in K-12 education degrees. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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An advanced degree studying K-12 Education is the next step for educators who want to gain more teaching knowledge or become an administrator.

Best Online Master's in K-12 Education Badge

They say that the making of the next generation has a lot to do with the education system and the teaching students receive starting from a young age. Those who feel passionate about impacting young people through school may wish to pursue an advanced Master’s degree in K-12 Education. This degree is ideal for those who have some knowledge or experience in education, and who want to advance their career further in the field.

Students in this degree will take a variety of courses to prepare them for the challenges in education that lie ahead. Because most programs follow a liberal arts or interdisciplinary curriculum, students will not only take courses in education but also in subjects relating to youth and adolescence. Furthermore, students will get to participate in residencies or internships to gain more teaching experience.

Top 10 Best Online Master's in K-12 Education Degrees

#1 Clemson University Clemson, SC
#2 American Public University Charles Town, WV
#3 Colorado State University Global Aurora, CO
#4 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#5 Minnesota State University, Mankato Mankato, MN
#6 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
#7 Capella University Minneapolis, MN
#8 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
#9 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
#10 Western Colorado University Gunnison, CO
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What type of Master's in K-12 Education should you get?

Because the goal of getting a Master’s in this subject is to teach after graduation, a program that leads to state licensure in addition to the degree is ideal. If obtaining licensure is not a huge component of the program, check to make sure the coursework and/or required internship hours at least fulfills some requirements for the license.

An online degree may be best for already working adults who cannot make the time commitment to attend traditional on-campus classes. Because most of these programs do require teaching experience, many students wish to continue teaching throughout getting their Master's. Online classes are usually not only more affordable, but quick to complete.

Check out College Choice’s overall Best Online Colleges and Universities.

How much money do people make with a Master's in K-12 Education?

According to PayScale, the average salary of those with a Master's in Education degree is $55,000. Elementary school teachers make a median salary of $50,522, middle school teachers make $52,054, and high school teachers make $53,585. Teachers also receive benefits such as retirement, vacation days, and healthcare.

Those with a Master's do on average make more money that educators with just a bachelor's. Those with a Master's can also move beyond teaching and advance to other positions such as administration, curriculum developer, or principal. Salary will range based on a person’s state, economy of the surrounding area and school district, and years of teaching experience.

What can you do with a Master's in K-12 Education?

While the most common career after completing this degree is general teaching, other career paths are available. One could become a principal or administrator in the school or school district, a special education teacher, or school or career counselor. Some Master's offer specializations in K-12 Education that can further direct one’s career.

What are the requirements for a Master's in K-12 Education?

A bachelor's degree from an accredited university is required for this program with a competitive minimum GPA recommended of 3.0 or higher. In addition, most schools require some teaching experience that will be verified either through submission of a teaching certificate or resume. Submission of GRE scores, recommendations, and personal essays are also required.

A typical curriculum may include teaching theory courses, psychology, behavior analysis, instructional technology, etc. Depending on the specialization (if applicable), students may need to take extra courses in a particular area. Those who wish to teach a specific subject upon graduation should also make sure they take courses pertaining to that subject.

What are the best online Master's in K-12 Education?

College Choice has ranked the 10 best online Master's in K-12 Education based on two overarching factors: institutional excellence and student return on investment. Institutional excellence was decided based on a variety of factors, such as graduation rate, institutional reputation, endowment size, and student-to-faculty ratio.

Student return on investment was based on financial aid, average student indebtedness after graduation, tuition costs, and expected career for graduates. Data was collected from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, PayScale, individual college websites, and the U.S. News & World Report.


See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Clemson University

    Clemson, SC




    Clemson University was founded in 1889 and is a science-and-engineering-oriented school. Ranked as the #23 best public national university, Clemson is an affordable school that boasts a high graduation rank. Its 1,400-acre campus is located in South Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Clemson works hard to promote valuable partnerships with the state, having an estimated $1.9 billion economic impact yearly.

    Program Features

    Clemson’s online MD in Teaching and Learning is a flexible program for those with teaching experience who want to advance in their degree.

    • Completion Time: 18 months
    • Specializations: STEAM, Experiential Learning for Early Childhood, Instructional Coaching
    • Sample Courses: Advanced Early Childhood Education Curriculum, Transdisciplinary Teaching


    This program is ranked #1 in the nation for online graduate education programs according to the U.S. News & World Report.

  2. American Public University

    Charles Town, WV




    The American Military University was founded by a retired Marine Corps officer who wanted to private distance learning programs to military learners. In 2002, AMU joined with the American Public University System. As an online school that works to promote higher education to former and active military members, all courses are highly affordable and flexible. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report ranked AMU’s online bachelor’s programs among the best in the nation.

    Program Features

    The online M.Ed. in Teaching degree at AMU combines different methods and theories to develop effective teaching skills.

    • 36 credit-hours
    • $350 per credit-hour
    • Monthly start dates


    This program has eight different concentrations, such as: Elementary Reading, English Language Learners, or Online Learning.

  3. Colorado State University Global

    Aurora, CO




    Colorado State University Global is the university’s 100 percent online school. All programs are career-focused with working individuals in mind. Established in 2007, CSU-Global was the first online state university in the nation. Today over 18,000 students are enrolled at both the undergraduate and graduate level. CSU-Global is also proud to be transparent and affordable with no tuition rate increases in the past six years.

    Program Features

    Through CSU’s online school, students can earn their MS in Teaching and Learning quickly in order to move up in their career.

    • Ability to earn teaching license through TeacherReady program
    • Completion Time: 9 months
    • 2-5 hours of weekly field experiences


    The Rural Colorado Scholarship is available for those in this major who are also trying to earn their teaching certificate. This scholarship is worth $6,000.

  4. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA




    Liberty University is a non-profit, private Christian university. It was founded in 1971 in the state of Virginia. Its liberal arts curriculums prepare students to be leaders of faith. Currently Liberty offers 250 online degrees to students around the globe since the mid-80s. All online courses use the Blackboard learning system where students can communicate with other classmates and have access to over 750,000 books and journals.

    Program Features

    Liberty’s online M.Ed. program will give educators the skills they need to succeed in the K-12 environment.

    • Completion Time: 2 years
    • Specializations: Administration and Supervision, Math Specialist, and Reading Specialist
    • $415 per credit-hour


    This program may be good for people who have taken other education courses, as up to 50 percent of the program hours may be transferred.

  5. Minnesota State University, Mankato

    Mankato, MN




    Minnesota State University Mankato was founded in 1868 with only 27 students. Today over 15,000 students are enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate level. MNSU is located 85 miles southwest of Twins Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Due to its metropolitan area, students can experience the richness of living in a city. MSUM is also committed to diversity and inclusivity, becoming more accessible to different populations through its $1.5 million worth of scholarships available.

    Program Features

    MNSU’s online MA in Teaching follows its Graduate Teacher Licensure program for those who immediately want to teach in the state of Minnesota.

    • Co-teaching experience throughout entire program
    • 7-week courses
    • One-on-one mentorship


    Students will earn a Master’s degree and licensure with this program, with the licensure having more than 15 concentration options.

  6. Oregon State University

    Corvallis, OR




    With over 150 years of history, Oregon State University is among the top 1 percent of universities in the globe. OSU is a public research institution with a almost 32,000 students enrolled. Out of any other university in the state, OSU has received the most research funding. Inside the classroom, the university makes teaching a priority. OSU’s online bachelor’s degrees have been ranked among the best in 2018 by the U.S. News & World Report.

    Program Features

    OSU’s online MA in Teaching is a hybrid licensure degree program that gives teachers the skills needed to manage a classroom.

    • 52 credit-hours
    • Completion Time: 2 years
    • Work and receive a stipend while you learn


    This online program partners with the Beaverton School District, giving students the chance to experience what it is like in an actual classroom environment.

  7. Capella University

    Minneapolis, MN




    Capella University is an online institution with its headquarters located in Minnesota. At Capella, the adult learner is priority, with several different learning paths that make getting an education flexible. Students can either choose from FlexPath, where they pay per session and engage in self-paced learning, or GuidedPath, where they pay per credit. Affordability and continuous support is what makes the Capella experience unique.

    Program Features

    The online MS degree in Education with a specialization in K-12 Studies at Capella trains future elementary or secondary teachers.

    • Capstone project
    • 10 courses
    • Sample Courses: Personalized Learning: Instruction and Assessment, Digital Citizenship and Technology Applications


    Scholarships are available for new students, even at the graduate level.

  8. Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA




    Old Dominion University was founded in 1930 by the College of William and Mary. Today ODU has six colleges, including the School of Education which houses its online Master’s in K-12 Education. ODU Online is dedicated to the adult learner who may choose to work or do other activities while pursuing an education. With over 30 years of distance learning, over 14,000 graduates have completed an online degree since its beginning in the 80s.

    Program Features

    ODU Online’s MS in Education with a focus on Educational Leadership – Administration & Supervision K-12 is for those who wish to analyze and improve learning outcomes.

    • 30 credit-hours
    • 120 internship hours
    • For experienced teachers


    This is a cohort-based program that leads to licensure in the state of Virginia.

  9. University of the Cumberlands

    Williamsburg, KY




    The University of the Cumberlands was founded in 1888 by a group of Baptist Ministers with the mission of creating servant leaders. Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the school has a little over 1,400 residential undergraduates and almost 400 online students. Due to its rich 125-year history with the Baptist Church, UC is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive Christian education. Online students receive the same support given just as any other on-campus student. In addition, online programs offer real-world experience to promote career readiness.

    Program Features

    UC’s MA in Education degree offers different concentrations to allow those to specialize in a specific area of K-12 education.

    • Specializations: Literacy Specialist, School Counseling, Teacher Leader
    • Opportunity to be recommended for licensure
    • $315 per credit-hour


    This program is highly interdisciplinary, with coursework taken in English, Art, Business, and other fields than just Education.

  10. Western Colorado University

    Gunnison, CO




    Western Colorado University is a liberal arts school that is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. As a small school, students are given individualized attention. In 2017, Forbes named Western one of America’s Top Colleges. The university is also a highly affordable school, with 100 percent of students considered for merit aid. About 80 percent of all enrolled students receive some form of financial aid.

    Program Features

    Through Western’s online MA in Education, graduates can obtain their teaching or principal license within a quick time frame.

    • Completion Time: 2 years
    • Emphases: Teacher Leadership, Reading Leadership, K-12 Online Teacher Leadership, Educational Administration
    • Residency and internship programs


    The teaching license requires 27 credit-hours of coursework, while the principle license requires only 25 credit-hours.

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