Online master’s in education programs prepare learners for various careers. Graduates may work as teachers, school administrators, or curriculum developers. An online education master’s degree also prepares students for doctoral study.
Learners can complete a master’s in education online in about two years. Coursework varies by specialization. Enrollees may specialize in areas such as higher education or education administration. Degree-seekers typically need a bachelor’s from a regionally accredited program and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
This page lists the most affordable online master’s in education programs. Read on to learn about costs and common classes.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Education Degrees
Q. How much is an online master’s degree in education?
An online master’s degree in education costs an average of $55,200, according to EducationData.org. However, tuition varies by school.
Q. How long does an online master’s in education take?
Full-time enrollees can complete a master’s degree in two years. Part-time learners may need 3-4 years. Some accelerated online programs take just 12-18 months, depending on students’ prior coursework.
Q. Do you need a bachelor’s to get a master’s?
Yes. Master’s in education programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. Some programs only accept candidates with education-related bachelor’s degrees.
Online Masters in Education Programs
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Why Get an Education Degree?
Earning a master’s degree online or on campus helps learners develop many in-demand skills, including research and communication. Degree-holders can apply these skills in teaching, education administration, and school counseling careers. Online programs allow enrollees to continue working while earning their degree.
A master’s in education can also lead to high-paying careers. Master’s in education graduates average $60,000 annually, according to Dec. 2021 Payscale data. Bachelor’s in education graduates earn $55,000.
How Much Does an Education Degree Cost?
Degree costs vary by school. In-state public universities usually cost less than half of what out-of-state public schools cost. Private schools may cost at least three times as much as in-state public schools. Some schools charge online learners in-state tuition rates.
Online learners can apply for scholarships and grants to help pay for their degree. They also save money by not paying for campus housing or meal plans. An online format means degree-seekers can attend the most affordable program without relocating.
Additional Online Student Fees
Online students can save on commuting and parking costs. However, they may need to buy a new laptop or upgrade their internet. Some schools charge technology and graduation fees. Degree-seekers should also budget for any in-person components. These experiences may lead to travel and lodging costs.
Like on-campus students, online learners must buy class materials and books. Buying used or digital books can help save money. Students should also plan to pay for teaching licensure exams.
How Much Do Education Majors Make?
Online master’s in education graduates often work as teachers or school administrators. Teachers earn a median annual salary of $62,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top earners in this field make more than $102,000 annually. Teaching salaries vary by employer and state.
Graduates with a master’s in education may also work as school principals. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $98,490. Education administrators often hold master’s degrees focused on educational leadership or administration. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $97,500.
Courses in a Master’s in Education
Most online master’s in education programs require at least 36 credits. Learners complete core and specialization coursework. Students with a bachelor’s degree unrelated to education must typically complete additional prerequisites.
All teacher-preparation master’s programs require enrollees to complete supervised student teaching hours at approved local sites. Enrollees learn how to plan lessons and manage classrooms. They also learn how to communicate with students and their families.
Many schools offer concentrations in early childhood and elementary education. Other common concentrations include educational leadership and special education. Some programs feature specializations in health education or physical education.
See below for three common courses in online master’s in education programs. Keep in mind that classes vary by school.
Education Research MethodsThis core course explores various research methods and when to use them. Students learn how to gather data and draw inferences. They also design a research project and write a research proposal.
Instructional LeadershipThis core course teaches learners how to supervise and evaluate teachers. Coursework covers how to use resources and promote effective instruction. Students learn how to establish instructional standards and assess programs. This course emphasizes professional development to increase teacher effectiveness.
Social Justice and Education EquityThis course explores multiculturalism and social justice theory related to education policy. Enrollees learn how discrimination affects education equity. The course examines how to challenge these dynamics. Students also learn how to increase access to educational opportunities.
How to Become a Teacher
Aspiring teachers need a bachelor’s degree. Some bachelor’s in education programs fulfill teaching and experience requirements for teaching certification. Learners with unrelated bachelor’s degrees must complete a board-approved teacher-preparation program to qualify for licensure. Teacher-preparation programs usually offer at least two years of student-teaching opportunities. Students also receive feedback from a teaching mentor.
Some degree-seekers enroll in master’s in education programs to fulfill education and student teaching licensure requirements. Teacher-preparation programs should correspond to the level or subjects the educator will teach. For example, high school teachers must complete programs focused on secondary school teaching.
Licensure for Teaching
Public school teachers must receive professional licenses or certifications through their state’s education board. These certifications usually focus on a specialization such as secondary education or special education.
Students can earn these credentials by meeting education and supervised student teaching requirements. They must also pass a professional exam. These exams may cost $150-$200. Licensure fees may cost an extra $200. Costs vary by state.
Each state determines its own education requirements for teaching licensure. However, most states require applicants to complete an accredited teacher-preparation program.
Most states also require candidates to hold an accredited bachelor’s degree and at least 2-3 years of student teaching experience. In some states, learners can complete this experience at the same time as their degree. Teachers must complete continuing education every few years to keep their license current.
Most Affordable Online Master’s in Education Degrees
University of the Cumberlands
The University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, offers several convenient and flexible online teaching master's programs. The school offers programs for current teachers who want to advance their careers and for professionals in other fields seeking a career change.
The school offers an online master of arts in education with concentrations in literacy, school counseling, and teacher as a leader — as well as a master of teaching that leads to initial teacher licensure. Both programs require a student-teaching residency and 30-45 credits. Online classes span eight weeks and meet weekly at designated times, allowing students and faculty to take part in discussions.
Cumberland accepts up to nine transfer credits toward the degree. Students planning to teach in states other than Kentucky should check with their state's department of education for degree reciprocity.
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
The University of Colorado Denver allows licensed teachers to advance their careers and improve their skills with five fully online teaching master's programs. Each degree requires 30 credits and a capstone practicum or thesis.
Students can choose from master's degrees in learning design and technology, literacy education with reading and writing endorsements, research and evaluation methods, early childhood education, and STEM education. STEM education students can further personalize their studies through interdisciplinary concentrations in areas such as math or science.
These degrees do not meet the requirements for initial teacher licensure. Some programs require a valid teaching license to enroll. Students take asynchronous classes through Canvas. Students work closely with an enrollment navigator that connects them to support services, such as a 24/7 librarian, an online writing center, and a student tech guide.
Located in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington University allows students to earn a master of education online, on campus, or in a blended format. Learners can choose from specializations in school leadership, skilled and technical sciences, and elementary and secondary education.
The program requires 30-33 credits, with most students graduating in 2-3 years while they continue to work. The core curriculum covers topics like learning theory, educational psychology, and child development. Electives include personnel administration, technology and the school environment, and classroom and school culture. Courses span eight weeks.
Students can transfer up to 12 transfer credits toward the degree. All students take part in a noncredit electronic folio course that helps students save and track their progress toward degree competencies. Applicants must submit transcripts. Some programs may require work experience and a valid teaching license.
Concordia University - Chicago
River Forest, IL
Established in 1864, Concordia University Chicago is a private university that offers more than 22 education master's programs, including degrees for licensed teachers advancing their careers and students seeking initial teaching licensure.
The master's programs feature a cohort model, meaning students take courses with the same group of peers throughout the program. Most programs require 30 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Though courses are asynchronous, students enjoy frequent interaction with faculty and classmates.
Students can pursue specializations in curriculum and instruction, differential instruction, educational technology, or educational administration. Most of these degrees require a valid teaching license and classroom experience. The school also offers programs that lead to initial teaching licensure. Each program requires a capstone experience, such as a thesis or a similar professional project. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.85 GPA and submit an essay.
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida offers a variety of online teaching master's programs that help teachers advance their careers. The 33-credit programs include concentrations in autism spectrum disorder, teaching English as a second language, exceptional student education, and gifted education.
Students can also choose from master's degrees in learning design and technology, physical education, and reading education. The programs feature synchronous courses delivered through Oasis. Class discussions, group projects, and multimedia presentations enhance the learning process. Distance students complete field assignments in their current schools. Each student must pass a comprehensive exam to graduate.
Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit GRE scores, a statement of purpose, a current resume, and letters of recommendation.