Best Online Education Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/19/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: CAEP, CEA, MACTE, NCATE
Average Tuition: $26,613
Alumni Salary: $34,880

An online bachelor's degree in education is designed to prepare students for teaching roles in and outside of the classroom. Programs are available in a variety of subjects and include both licensure and non-licensure options. Students pursuing an online bachelor's in education benefit from being able to choose the best program for their individual needs instead of being limited to those available near them. Online education degrees also provide flexible program formats, which allows students to balance other responsibilities while pursuing their degrees.

From working in K-12 classrooms to adult basic education programs, many people find teaching to be a rewarding career choice. Annual salaries for public and private school teachers are fairly consistent, with median pay falling between $60,000 to $63,000 for elementary through high school teachers. Those interested in the education field may also pursue careers in areas such as administration, education policy, public health, or fitness education. The following is a rankings list of the best online degrees in education.

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Online Bachelor's in Education with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Education Badge

The top online bachelor’s degrees in education based on return on investment have 10-year ROIs ranging from $222,000 to $488,400. These ROIs use median alumni salary and debt one year after graduation to project what earnings might look like a decade after completing an online bachelor's degree in education. The national average ROI for a bachelor's in education is $319,700; the top six online programs have ROIs above this average, making them strong choices for a bachelor's in education.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 Bellevue University $12,750 $50,465 $25,000 $488,400
# 2 #2 University of Massachusetts - Amherst $11,700 $37,503 $25,000 $355,000
# 3 #3 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee $24,213 $37,691 $27,500 $353,800
# 4 #4 Oregon State University $14,310 $37,790 $29,000 $352,900
# 5 #5 Southwestern Assemblies of God University $15,469 $36,848 $27,500 $345,100
# 6 #6 Western Governors University $6,450 $35,584 $17,425 $344,600
# 7 #7 Arizona State University $17,186 $33,382 $23,000 $315,000
# 8 #8 Webster University $21,750 $33,604 $25,000 $314,800
# 9 #9 Liberty University $13,650 $29,225 $24,574 $305,400
# 10 #10 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater $11,130 $32,186 $22,000 $304,000
# 11 #11 SUNY Empire State College $10,943 $32,094 $23,250 $301,500
# 12 #12 St. Petersburg College $12,773 $33,077 $35,073 $296,800
# 13 #13 Wilmington University $11,811 $29,995 $22,694 $280,500
# 14 #14 Bay Path University $12,000 $28,598 $19,635 $270,000
# 15 #15 Southern New Hampshire University Online $9,600 $27,552 $26,000 $251,300
# 16 #16 Central Methodist University $8,060 $25,452 $16,000 $242,100
# 17 #17 The University of Arizona Global Campus $15,300 $25,661 $32,938 $222,000

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Education Rankings Details

#1

Bellevue University

Bellevue (NE)
  • 10-Year ROI: $488,400
  • Median Salary: $50,465
  • Annual Tuition: $12,750
  • Median Debt: $25,000

Bellevue University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education and an online Bachelor of Science in Adult Education. The Public Health Education degree requires 120 credits, while the Adult Education degree requires 127. In both programs, students learn core education concepts and teaching techniques, including how to develop and implement educational plans/curriculum... and how to apply best practices to a classroom or other informational setting. Students in the Public Health Education degree program also have the option of entering a secondary teacher education program with health education or a health and physical education endorsement, preparing them to teach health and/or physical education to students in grades 7-12.

Students at Bellevue University access their classes through the Blackboard learning management system. Active duty military members and their spouses receive a tuition discount. Many students at Bellevue University utilize the school's financial aid program. All students have access to Bellevue's Career Services office, and specialized career counseling programs are offered to students who have served in the military.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and most programs have multiple start points during the year. Applicants can submit their applications and any required documentation online. Students at Bellevue have access to IT support, peer tutoring, writing center support, library access, and more.

Cost per Credit: $425
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 24%
Financial Aid Recipients: 84%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 7,352

#2

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Amherst (MA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $355,000
  • Median Salary: $37,503
  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The online Bachelor of Arts in Children's Learning and Development from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst (UMass - Amherst) gives students the academic knowledge and skills necessary to develop a teaching career. The school’s University Without Walls degree-completion program enables working adults with some experience to design a curriculum that meets their unique goals... and interests. The 120-credit degree includes online courses in multicultural learning, educational methods, managing behaviors, child psychology, special education, and management of nonprofit organizations.

Students at UMass - Amherst complete coursework asynchronously through the Moodle learning management system, where they can access lectures, assignments, and examinations. The school offers various scholarships, including the Chancellor's, Director's and Dean's Scholarships to incoming students with particularly strong academic and personal backgrounds. The Community Scholarship and Award is offered to low income and/or first generation in-state applicants, as is The Flagship Award.

Interested students should submit their admission applications online. Early decision applications must be received by November 5, regular decision by January 15, and transfers by March 15. Distance learners have access to library resources, tutoring, technical support, and more.

Cost per Credit: $390
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 82%
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
Average SAT Scores: 1190 - 1390
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,217

#3

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $353,800
  • Median Salary: $37,691
  • Annual Tuition: $24,213
  • Median Debt: $27,500

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's online Bachelor of Science in Community Engagement & Education (CEED) program offers specialty areas of study in child care, child and family services, community-based organizations, policy and leadership, community leadership, and youth work. Students in this 120-credit program from the School of Education explore the causes and consequences... of inequality in schools and urban communities and learn strategies for addressing and resolving these challenges. Leadership and entrepreneurship principles help students who wish to pursue careers in community-based nonprofits, government agencies, schools, and other public service sectors. Graduates of the CEED program have established careers in politics, case management, teaching, and in the nonprofit and government sectors, among other fields. Others have gone on to graduate schools.

Canvas, the virtual learning platform, provides web-based access to course content, class discussions, and assignments. The degree can be earned fully online, or in a hybrid format of online and classroom attendance. Students can receive up to 42 credits for previous professional and technical experience, including military experience and technical degrees. School of Education students can apply for annual scholarships ranging from $500 to full tuition. In the 2020-2021 school year, over $350,000 in scholarships were awarded.

Applications can be submitted online. Counselors with Veterans Success on Campus (VSOC) help to ease the transitions of veterans from military service to school. Other services for online students include online tutoring, career services, library resources and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $807
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 72%
Financial Aid Recipients: 78%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,527

#4

Oregon State University

Corvallis (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $352,900
  • Median Salary: $37,790
  • Annual Tuition: $14,310
  • Median Debt: $29,000

The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with a pre-education concentration at Oregon State University (OSU) is an online degree program designed to prepare students to pursue teacher certification programs in elementary education. Students are required to complete 180 quarter hours (120 semester hours) in general education and interdisciplinary major coursework.... The curriculum may be tailored by the student to include classes in such areas as child development, history, fine arts, elementary mathematics, and children’s literature.

Applicants transferring from an accredited college or university must have completed at least 24 quarter hours (16 semester hours). Students can consider fully online and hybrid formats of both remote and face-to-face education delivery. Students access and complete coursework synchronously through Canvas, the university’s virtual learning platform. The Liberal Studies degree program can be used to prepare for a teaching licensure program.

Applications can be submitted online. Four start dates are offered each year, and courses are delivered in four 11-week terms. Support services for remote learners include coaching, tutoring and access to library resources and the online OSU Learning Center.

Cost per Credit: $318
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 180
Graduation Rate: 67%
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
Average SAT Scores: 1080 - 1320
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,999

#5

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Waxahachie (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $345,100
  • Median Salary: $36,848
  • Annual Tuition: $15,469
  • Median Debt: $27,500

The online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) develops student proficiency in teaching pedagogy from preschool through the 6th grade. SAGU provides instruction on designing and implementing elementary-school level classwork that adheres to state certification in Texas and other states. SAGU is a religious university, and... all students at the school must show evidence of a born-again experience as defined by Biblical scripture. All students must meet the expectation of having accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, and must strive to exhibit a Christian lifestyle.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University uses Blackboard for online teaching and coursework, streaming media, video, and PowerPoints to accompany lectures. Most content is asynchronous, but some requires face-to-face remote interaction. Although courses have varying formats, all courses utilize a digital chat room or message board to create a dialogue among students and instructors. Online students can apply for academic scholarships, and the school also provides missionary and ministry grants.

Applicants should use the online platform to apply. In the application process, a student will need to provide a personal recommendation from a minister, although students who are ordained ministers with a recognized denomination do not need to provide this character reference. Online resources include library services, career resources, and technical assistance.

Cost per Credit: $499
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 45%
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 918 - 1103
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 739

#6

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City (UT)
  • 10-Year ROI: $344,600
  • Median Salary: $35,584
  • Annual Tuition: $6,450
  • Median Debt: $17,425

Western Governors University (WGU) offers online Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education, Special Education (K-12 or mild to moderate), Special Education and Elementary Education (dual licensure program), as well as Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics education (middle grades or secondary) and science education for middle-grade students. These degree-completion programs... allow students to study full-time or part-time. Most graduates complete their degrees within 30-42 months. Before graduation, students are required to undergo classroom observation, and student teaching, and must create a professional portfolio. At the end of WGU's education programs, students are prepared to undergo the testing required for a teaching license in their state.

Coursework at WGU is provided in an asynchronous learning environment. Students are assigned papers, projects, and tests or other assessments to prove course competency. At WGU, students can transfer credits from other schools. Many students at WGU receive financial aid. Online students have access to WGU's Career Services and Professional Development office, and can network with the school's large alumni community.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. New courses begin on the first of each month. Applicants can submit their information and send any required documentation online. Students who take classes online at WGU have access to library resources, e-textbooks, learning communities, and more.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 21%
Financial Aid Recipients: 72%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 98,630

#7

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
  • 10-Year ROI: $315,000
  • Median Salary: $33,382
  • Annual Tuition: $17,186
  • Median Debt: $23,000

The online Bachelor of Arts in Education in Educational Studies program at Arizona State University is for students who wish to work in education administration, policy making, or similar fields of education outside of the classroom. The 120-credit program consists of 41 classes and three internships. The focus of coursework is on the social and economic factors that affect access... to education and on innovations toward improving the quality of education in more challenging environments. A 120-credit online Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Health Promotion is also available. Coursework, which includes some type of capstone project, is designed to give students real-world experience in applying concepts and theories. Graduates will be prepared to help people in their communities address health issues, such as stress and obesity.

Instruction is delivered asynchronously, with online classes designed to encourage interaction among students and faculty. Professors facilitate learning through a variety of virtual instructional tools. Tuition aid and scholarship resources are available, and about 80% of the student body receives some sort of tuition assistance.

An application form can be completed online. Remote support is available, such as online tutoring and access to library resources and career services.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 54%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 1091 - 1301
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33,410

#8

Webster University

St. Louis (MO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $314,800
  • Median Salary: $33,604
  • Annual Tuition: $21,750
  • Median Debt: $25,000

The online Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies from Webster University provides students with a solid understanding of classroom instruction and the principles of modern education. This degree gives participants a pathway to K12 certification, focusing on formal classrooms in addition to greater community education. The program requires 36 credit hours that count toward the... 120-credit hour graduation requirement.

Online students at Webster take classes asynchronously and in-person using the WebNet+ online program delivery platform, connecting students to professors in a live course environment. Residents of Missouri who are seeking a first bachelor's degree can apply for the Access Missouri Grant, requiring a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester. The Access Extra Scholarship Grant provides up to $2,000 in tuition funding and opens on March 1. TEACH grants worth up to $4,000 per academic year are given to undergraduate students who want to teach in-need subjects at qualified schools after graduating.

Applicants must create an online profile to apply to Webster University. Approximately three business days after submitting an application for admission, the university determines admission and will contact applicants via email or phone. Online student resources include academic advisor counseling and online library access.

Cost per Credit: $725
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 58%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
Average SAT Scores: 1010 - 1250
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 303

#9

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $305,400
  • Median Salary: $29,225
  • Annual Tuition: $13,650
  • Median Debt: $24,574

Liberty University offers a range of online degrees in education, including Bachelor of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education: Interdisciplinary Studies, Elementary Education: Interdisciplinary Studies, and Special Education: Interdisciplinary Studies. Aspiring teachers may also want to pursue one of several Bachelor of Education degrees, specializing in a particular age... group or subject matter, such as math, English, science, or social studies. The Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees typically take three and a half years to complete. Liberty University is a Christian institution, and applicants are required to submit a 200-400 word statement of faith as a part of the application process.

Online students at Liberty University use the Blackboard learning management system to access online course materials. Liberty offers a variety of scholarships, such as the Liberty University Online scholarship, which is available to Canadian students, children of first responders, and veterans. Students whose family household income falls below $35,000 may be eligible for $5,000 a year in tuition aid.

Applicants can submit their applications online. Students who take online classes at Liberty have access to university email, discounts on technology, the library's article database, and more.

Cost per Credit: $390
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 140
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1040 - 1260
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092

#10

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Whitewater (WI)
  • 10-Year ROI: $304,000
  • Median Salary: $32,186
  • Annual Tuition: $11,130
  • Median Debt: $22,000

The online Bachelor in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is designed for professionals who are already working in education or with individuals with disabilities. Coursework for the 180-credit hour degree is offered in three- and eight-week sessions, and all admitted students start with a cohort in the fall semester. Students will have an opportunity... to practice and implement the knowledge and skills obtained from their classes through internships. The curriculum prepares students to meet the requirements for a teaching license in the state of Wisconsin.

Students who attend online courses at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater use the Canvas learning management system to access course materials. The school provides a number of financial aid resources, such as the Academic Excellence Scholarship award for $2,250 per year. Only Wisconsin high school seniors with high GPAs are eligible, and they must be nominated by their teachers or guidance counselors. Another program is the Wisconsin Grant for Study Abroad, which provides some funding for undergraduate participants who meet certain criteria and would like to participate in a foreign study program.

Applicants must complete an online application for admission to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Online students have access to career counseling, library and research assistance, and a technology support helpdesk. Academic advisors are also available to help students meet academic expectations and learn to use the school’s systems and resources.

Cost per Credit: $371
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 62%
Acceptance Rate: 70%
Financial Aid Recipients: 76%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 504

#11

SUNY Empire State College

Saratoga Springs (NY)
  • 10-Year ROI: $301,500
  • Median Salary: $32,094
  • Annual Tuition: $10,943
  • Median Debt: $23,250

The online Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies from SUNY Empire State College provides students with the foundations needed for teaching. Instruction involves education topics, including learning theory and social responses, in addition to applications such as classroom technologies or curriculum planning. The 120-credit hour degree allows students to pursue New York teacher... certification in several fields, including both adolescent and middle childhood education, in subjects such as math, science, Spanish, or language arts.

SUNY provides asynchronous online classes for students on the Blackboard platform. With a large number of scholarships available, online students have many options for reducing the cost of their education. The Excelsior Scholarship covers the entire cost of tuition for students who have taken out qualifying loans, while the Carey Gabey Scholarship covers the full cost of attendance, awarded annually to five low-income students who have demonstrated academic excellence.

Students must complete an online application, with rolling deadlines for each admissions period (fall, spring, and summer). Admittance of online students is dependent on location capacity as well as available mentors in the requested academic areas. Enrollees gain access to tutoring, writing assistance, career guidance, library resources, and other services.

Cost per Credit: $353
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 24%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,754

#12

St. Petersburg College

Clearwater (FL)
  • 10-Year ROI: $296,800
  • Median Salary: $33,077
  • Annual Tuition: $12,773
  • Median Debt: $35,073

The online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from St. Petersburg College provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to become licensed elementary school teachers. In addition to a degree, graduates also earn an endorsement in Reading and ESOL instruction. Graduation requires a grade of C or higher for 120-credit hours of coursework.

Online students at St.... Petersburg College take classes asynchronously through MyCourses. The college offers a variety of types of financial aid, and automatically matches students with qualifying scholarships once they complete the online Foundation Scholarship Application. High school students with a track record of academic success, for example, can apply for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, which provides a set amount of financial aid per credit hour for both the fall and spring semesters, recurring each year. Each year, the St. Petersburg College Foundation disburses more than $2 million in scholarships.

Students can apply to St. Petersburg College by filling out an online application. Library and tutoring services are available to online students on Saturdays as well as weekdays.

Cost per Credit: $426
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 33%
Financial Aid Recipients: 73%
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 10,306

#13

Wilmington University

New Castle (DE)
  • 10-Year ROI: $280,500
  • Median Salary: $29,995
  • Annual Tuition: $11,811
  • Median Debt: $22,694

The online Bachelor of Science in Education Studies degree program is designed to prepare graduates for non-licensure (non-teaching) careers in education. Students tailor their instruction to meet their academic and career goals through coursework in learning theory, psychology, development, assessment, evaluation and teaching strategies. Concentrations can be chosen in early childhood... education, elementary education (K-6), middle-level education (Grades 6-8), or skilled and technical sciences, with specialized coursework for each track. Students complete 120 to 122 credit hours in seven- or 15-week remote-learning terms. Students transferring from an accredited college or university can transfer up to 90 credits.

The learning experience of online students is through the Canvas learning management system. With this web-based technology, students can synchronously participate in class discussions and later post assignments and receive faculty and classmate feedback. Students and alumni can take advantage of the Focus2 self-assessment tool to gain a sharper understanding of the career direction that fits their skills and instincts.

Applications can be filled out and submitted online and at any time, due to the school’s rolling admissions policy. Six start dates are offered yearly, and classes start every eight weeks. New remote students benefit from the Online Student Navigators, who are available by chat, email, or phone to provide guidance throughout the online learning experience. Access to remote advising and tutoring is also available.

Cost per Credit: $381
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 21%
Financial Aid Recipients: 63%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,064

#14

Bay Path University

Longmeadow (MA) (and 1 other)
  • 10-Year ROI: $270,000
  • Median Salary: $28,598
  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Debt: $19,635

Bay Path University offers an online Bachelor of Arts Liberal Studies - Education Studies degree program. This program is offered through The American Women's College and requires 120 credits. The program focuses on early education, special needs development, and developing adult education programs. Both internships and practicums are offered to assist students in gaining hands-on... experience. Prep courses are also available for students who will be taking state exams for certifications and licensing requirements.

Canvas is the online learning tool used by Bay Path University. Students have access to all of their learning materials through this system, and are able to submit assignments and communicate with faculty. Incoming students may be able to transfer credit from previous schools. The university offers the Trustee's Leadership Development Scholarship as well as the Town of Longmeadow Scholarships. Military discounts are available to active duty personnel and their spouses. There are many career resources available, including interview prep, salary negotiation, and career exploration.

Applications are filled out online and must be submitted before February 24 for the spring term. Rolling deadlines are offered for fall courses with the final date to accept financial aid awards set at May 31. Online students have access to tutors, research tools, and other materials they may need.

Cost per Credit: $400
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 54%
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
Average SAT Scores: 960 - 1170
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 870

#15

Southern New Hampshire University Online

Manchester (NH)
  • 10-Year ROI: $251,300
  • Median Salary: $27,552
  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Median Debt: $26,000

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education with multiple concentrations, including one for a community health specialist. This degree program requires the completion of 120 credits. The program provides education skills that will allow the graduate to assist in educating the public on various health and wellness programs.... SNHU has an internship team that helps students find suitable internships to meet their needs. The university also offers certification and licensure prep courses to help students get ready for state exams.

SNHU uses BenchPrep as an online learning management system. Students can access all of their educational projects and lessons on this platform. The university offers multiple scholarship options to students who are pursuing a degree. Military discounts are available for active duty personnel and their spouses. Students can transfer up to 90 credits per degree program from accredited degree program or school. Guidance counselors and advisors are on hand to discuss career options and match students with field experience opportunities.

SNHU students apply for their degree programs online. The registration deadline is February 27. Students have access to online tutoring as well as many different online clubs and organizations.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Financial Aid Recipients: 77%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 86,849

#16

Central Methodist University

Fayette (MO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $242,100
  • Median Salary: $25,452
  • Annual Tuition: $8,060
  • Median Debt: $16,000

Central Methodist University (CMU) offers a 120-credit online Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies. The degree program offers concentrations in elementary education, early childhood education, middle school education, secondary education, and special education. The focus of the degree program is to provide the necessary skills future educators will need to be effective at... communicating lesson plans and ensuring comprehension for all levels of education. Internships are offered, as well as fieldwork opportunities that will allow for hands-on experience. Certification and licensure prep courses are offered for students who will be taking their state exams after graduation. The school has a religious affiliation with the Methodist Church.

CMU uses the Canvas online learning management platform. The school offers merit-based scholarships and military discounts. Students are allowed to transfer credits to the CMU degree program if they are from an eligible degree program or university. The school offers many online and career services resources that can be used while attending the university as well as after graduation.

Applications for enrollment are submitted online. There are no deadlines for the online degree programs. Online resources include access to tutors and other professionals, as well as study guides and student forums.

Cost per Credit: $260
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 930 - 1100
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,734

#17

The University of Arizona Global Campus

San Diego (CA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $222,000
  • Median Salary: $25,661
  • Annual Tuition: $15,300
  • Median Debt: $32,938

The University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) offers several online Bachelor of Arts degrees in education, including Education Studies, Instructional Design, Early Childhood Education (with infant and toddler care specialization option), Early Childhood Education Administration (with infant and toddler care specialization option), Early Childhood Development with Differentiated Instruction..., and Library Science and Media. In each of the education programs at UAGC, students take core education classes, and can also select an emphasis on which to focus their elective credits. Students gain real-world experience through classroom observation and student teaching. These 120-credit programs allow students to take one five-week course at a time, allowing them to work on their degree for just a few hours each week.

Students use the Desire2Learn system. Classes are asynchronous and consist of readings, discussion boards, digital materials, writing assignments, communication with professors, and more. Students can transfer credits from previous coursework. Many students at UAGC receive financial aid. If students do not participate during the first week of their first class, they are not charged. Online students have access to career services specialists, as well as the opportunity to join the school's alumni association upon graduation.

Classes start on a rolling basis, and students can apply and submit their documentation online at any time. Online students have access to librarians and writing assistants, as well as the Office of Student Access and Wellness.

Cost per Credit: $510
School Type: For-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 8%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 26,914

Overview of Online Bachelor's in Education

Online bachelor's degrees in education give undergraduate students the foundation necessary to work in public and private schools or behind the scenes in education roles outside of the classroom. While some education majors pursue teacher preparation programs that lead to certification for K-12 public schools, others earn their degree in general education that can lead to roles in education advocacy, policymaking, community education, nonprofit work, and other areas in the field.

Online teaching degrees that meet teacher certification requirements are available in elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, special education, and other focus areas. Students interested in working in public schools will need at least a bachelor's degree and teacher certification to qualify

Online teaching degrees that meet teacher certification requirements are available in elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, special education, and other focus areas. Students interested in working in public schools will need at least a bachelor's degree and teacher certification to qualify.

Bachelor's programs in education that don't lead to teacher licensure typically offer a broader understanding of the field and may cover a wider array of topics, such as instructional design, education policy, or adult education.

Bachelor's degrees, whether on campus or online, usually require around 120 credits to graduate, although program lengths may vary depending on the school. Education majors will usually take half of their classes in liberal arts, humanities, and other general education requirements. The other half of their credits will focus on core education classes, such as curriculum development and instruction methods.

Many students choose online degrees for the flexibility they provide. Distance education offers a range of benefits — it makes it more convenient to fit classes around work, family, and other responsibilities, and opens up a variety of degree concentrations and programs that students may not have access to in their local area.


Can You Become a Teacher With an Online Degree?

Yes, teaching degrees are widely available online and are designed to prepare students to work with learners of different age groups, abilities, and educational needs. Employment data shows education is a top industry for graduates of popular online colleges with strong salary outcomes.

top industries for online students
Data from Burning Glass Technologies

However, it's important to make sure any program you're interested in will meet teacher certification requirements in your state.

Teaching Licensure and Certification

Each state has different requirements in order to qualify for teacher licensure, which is necessary to work in K-12 public schools in all 50 states. Private schools don't usually require teacher certification but may have other requirements. The most common pathway to teacher certification is through a teacher preparation program at the bachelor's level. However, some teachers earn their bachelor's degree in a different field, then complete a certification program. Others enroll in master's programs leading to certification.

Each state has different requirements in order to qualify for teacher licensure, which is necessary to work in K-12 public schools in all 50 states. Private schools don't usually require teacher certification but may have other requirements.

Some online teaching degrees will qualify you for licensure across the country, while others only meet requirements in certain states. Students in online teaching programs also need to complete classroom hours to graduate and qualify for licensure. Most online colleges help students get placed with a school in their area to complete student teaching requirements.

States typically have a list of approved teacher preparation programs to help you choose one that meets certification requirements. Most teachers also need to take a state-approved test, such as the Praxis or another alternative, to earn certification. You can learn more about your state's teacher certification requirements by visiting the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification website.

Other Types of Credentials

Aside from getting your teaching certification, you can also earn supplementary credentials online to signal to school districts and other future employers that you have training in a specific area. Options include:

  • Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)
  • Reading and literacy
  • English Language Learners/English as a Second Language (ELL/ESL endorsement)
  • Adult basic education (ABE)

Pursuing additional certifications may require further education and testing, but can help you shape your teaching career while you're still in school or after you've entered the workforce.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Teaching Degree Online?

Bachelor's degrees are designed to be finished in three to four years of full-time study, but it's not uncommon for students to take longer to graduate. Students who enroll part-time will also take longer to finish their program. However, many online degree programs offer accelerated options to allow you to complete your degree sooner. Accelerated programs may have shorter terms, squeeze more classes into each semester, or include summer quarter as part of the program.

Students who already hold a bachelor's degree in another subject don't necessarily need to get a second bachelor's degree to become a teacher. Some colleges offer teacher preparation programs that qualify you for licensure at a much faster rate than a four-year degree. Check requirements in your state and choose a state-approved certification program to ensure your education will qualify you for teacher licensure.

Are Online Teaching Degrees Respected?

Online degrees are generally respected as long as they're from an accredited university. In fact, many well-known and reputable colleges offer fully online programs.


In a 2019 survey of HR leaders conducted by Northeastern University, 61% reported that they view online credentials equal in quality to those completed in person.

Our research shows education is a top industry for some of the most predominant online colleges — many graduates with online degrees become teachers, college instructors, administrators, or work in other education roles.

Student outcomes data — which includes retention and graduation rates, median starting salaries, and median student debt — can help you gauge the quality of an online degree and help you find the program that best fits your needs. This information can be found on the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard website.


Choosing an Online Education Program

When it comes to choosing an online degree, there are a few different factors to consider for education majors.

Career goals

If you want to become a teacher, you'll need to make sure an online program meets state licensure requirements in your area. Check that your program meets the academic requirements, is accredited, and includes enough student teaching hours to become a licensed teacher in the state in which you want to teach.

For education majors who want to work outside of the classroom, finding a degree program that matches your career goals is also critical. Some focus on education and society and may offer leadership, education policy, or equity concentrations. Others emphasize teaching for specific groups, such as adult basic education, coaching, or community education.

Program structure

One of the biggest differences to consider when choosing a program is whether a school offers synchronous or asynchronous online courses. Students who need a more flexible schedule may choose asynchronous classes, where they can watch pre-recorded lectures, complete coursework, and participate in class discussions through forums when it's convenient for them. For those who prefer a more structured learning environment, synchronous courses might be a better option. These online classes follow the traditional classroom model and meet virtually for live lectures and group discussions during a regularly scheduled time. Some programs offer a hybrid structure that combines the two modes.

Cost and Return on Investment

A significant number of students choose online degrees because they're more affordable. While tuition is a top factor in choosing a university, we also include the median debt, median starting salary, and 10-year ROI for each school on our ranking list to help students figure out which college will help them maximize their investment. Choosing an affordable option might be best for you in the short term. However, if the most affordable college also has a lower median starting salary, high median debt, and low 10-year return on investment, it might pay off in the long run to choose a school with stronger alumni outcomes and a slightly higher tuition rate. Students should weigh all of these factors when deciding where to enroll.


While tuition is a top factor in choosing a university, we also include the median debt, median starting salary, and 10-year ROI for each school on our ranking list list to help students figure out which college will help them maximize their investment.

Accreditation

Choosing an accredited school means you'll be able to use federal financial aid to help pay for college, if you qualify. It also means your education meets academic and industry standards and helps you qualify for teacher licensure, more job opportunities, and graduate school.

Specializations for Teacher Certification Programs

Future educators choosing a teacher licensure program have a wide range of specializations available based on their personal interests and career goals. Some students may focus on a specific grade range, such as elementary, middle, or high school. Others may specialize in teaching methods, such as Montessori or Waldorf, or work with specific groups of students.

The following concentrations offer a few examples of what students may choose to specialize in. For more online degree options leading to certification, see our list of accredited online teacher licensure programs.

Early Childhood Education
Preschool and kindergarten teachers, daycare employees, and other childcare providers work with young learners to facilitate social, emotional, and cognitive development in a safe and healthy learning environment. Students will learn about literacy for young children, ethics and professional responsibilities for early childhood educators, language development, and teaching diverse learners.
Elementary Education
This concentration is popular among teaching programs and prepares future educators to work with students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Common courses for elementary education majors include teaching methods for science, math, reading, and social studies, lesson planning and assessments, teaching for diverse learners, and educational technology in the classroom.
Secondary Education
Those who plan to work with high school students typically follow a degree path for a specific subject, such as biology, history, or English. Students learn how to develop a curriculum, write and give assessments, and devise methods for classroom engagement and management at the high school level. Secondary education majors also take specific classes in their chosen subject, such as Shakespeare or British literature for future English teachers, or lab safety for the sciences.
Special Education
Teachers with expertise in special education are in high demand in school districts across the country. In addition to traditional teaching methods, future educators in this field study behavioral support strategies, instructional planning for learners with exceptionalities, individualized education plans, andeducation technologies for mild to moderate learning disabilities.
Physical Education
Similar to a clinical manager, an assisted care facility administrator is responsible for ensuring patient care and safety, setting goals and objectives, establishing policies and procedures, generating and monitoring budgets, and managing staff and the facility. Both of these roles may require licensure to work, so graduates should check their state's licensing requirements before applying for one of these positions.

Non-Licensure Specializations

From health and fitness programs to community education, there are many different careers available to education majors interested in working outside of the K-12 classroom. Non-licensure programs are typically offered as general education degrees, interdisciplinary studies programs, or degrees in educational studies. These programs can give students a solid understanding of education and learning needs and may prepare them for careers in adult education, nonprofit work, training and development for businesses, and other areas. Below are some specializations in educational studies that might offer non-licensure tracks.

Instructional Design
Whether you're interested in training and development for businesses or working with a nonprofit, an instructional design concentration can help you develop the skills you need to plan and facilitate education programs. Instructional design majors may study education technology, instructional design for e-learning, contemporary issues in the field, and programs for adult learners.
Public and Community Health Education
Students in public health education programs learn about different issues that affect community health across the country. Lectures may cover nutrition, exercise, stress management, substance abuse, health advocacy, socioeconomic factors that impact health, and planning and implementing wellness programs.
Educational Leadership
Although this is typically reserved for graduate programs, some colleges offer educational leadership concentrations at the bachelor's level that prepare students to work in administrative roles for nonprofit organizations, education advocacy, daycare programs, and other areas outside of K-12 schools. Educational leadership concentrations may have a focus on equity, education policy, or social justice in education. Degrees with an educational leadership concentration can also prepare students for master's and doctoral programs in the field.
Adult Education
This major is also more common for graduate programs, but some bachelor's degrees offer concentrations in adult education, career preparation, or skilled and technical instruction. In addition to traditional education courses, students may learn about instructional methods for various levels of education, different skills and careers, or community engagement for adults in the workforce.

Accreditation for Education Degrees

Prospective students should verify that the online teacher education programs they are considering are accredited before they apply. Students must be enrolled in accredited programs to qualify for federal financial aid and must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited school to be accepted into most graduate programs. Most states also require a degree from an accredited college or university to obtain a teaching credential or license.

Students must be enrolled in accredited programs to qualify for federal financial aid and must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited school to be accepted into most graduate programs.

To earn accreditation, a school's academic programs, faculty members, and student services must be evaluated for academic rigor and proven to meet standards of excellence. In addition to earning accreditation for the entire institution, a school can be accredited for individual degree programs, often by professional organizations, to ensure the programs are meeting industry expectations.

Accreditation of teacher education programs may be conducted by one of two authorized agencies: the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Searchable databases of accredited education programs are available on the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation websites.


What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Education?

Education majors who are passionate about learning have a range of career opportunities available to them. Many students enroll in an online education program to pursue a job as a teacher. Careers in early childhood education, elementary, middle, or secondary education may immediately come to mind, but teachers with training in special education, physical education, and other speciality areas are also necessary.

Those who don't want to earn their teaching credential may consider careers outside of the traditional classroom, working with adults, English language learners, or the public. Some students also pursue jobs in education policy or advocacy. This list includes some potential career options open to those with a bachelor's in education. All salary and job growth data is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Preschool Teacher
Median Annual Salary: $31,930
Job Growth Rate: 18%
Preschool and early childhood educators work with children under five years old to facilitate cognitive, social, and emotional development. They design curricula and activities that meet the education needs of young learners and may work in childcare facilities, Head Start programs, public schools, private companies, or nonprofit organizations. Although preschool teachers earn less than the national average with a median annual salary of $31,930, they have a bright job outlook. The BLS projects a rapid growth rate of 18%, with 86,400 new jobs expected through 2030.
K-12 Teacher
Median Annual Salary: $60,660 - $62,870
Job Growth Rate: 7-8%
Teachers in the K-12 school system may work with elementary, middle, or high school students in public or private schools. Educators need teacher certification to work in public schools. Median annual salaries range from $60,660 for teachers in elementary education to $62,870 for those in secondary education. Jobs for K-12 teachers are expected to increase by 7-8% through 2030, although the BLS notes that the need for teachers may vary depending on the school district.
Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language Teacher
Median Annual Salary: $55,350
Job Growth Rate: -5%
Adult basic education, adult secondary education, and ESL teaching can be rewarding career paths for educators who want to make a difference in someone's life. Nearly one in five American adults are illiterate, a statistic that ABE teachers work to reduce. Those who work with adults might teach reading, writing, math, or English as a Second Language, which can, in turn, help people get jobs, enroll in school, or enhance their lives in other ways. Others may work with adults to help them get their GED. Adult education and ESL teachers earn a median salary of $55,350. However, the need for educators in this field is projected to decline by 5% through 2030.
Training and Development Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $55,400 - $73,690
Job Growth Rate: 11%
Education majors who don't plan on getting teacher certification may pursue a career in training and development. Professionals in this industry create and lead educational programs to train employees at different businesses and organizations. Median annual salaries for this job range from $55,400 to $73,690, and BLS data projects the need for training and development specialists to grow by 11% through 2030.
Fitness Trainer
Median Annual Salary: $40,510 - $42,160
Job Growth Rate: 39%
Students who earn their degree in health education may be interested in a job as a fitness trainer or instructor. Professionals in this industry are in high demand with a projected job growth rate of 39% through 2030, much faster than the average of 8% for all jobs. Fitness trainers earn a median salary of $40,510 per year, although those who work in fitness and recreational centers tend to earn slightly more with a median of $42,160.

Next Steps in Your Education

A bachelor's in education can also open the door to graduate programs for careers in instructional design, administration, and educational leadership.

Online master’s degrees in education are often used to earn a teaching credential and state teaching license. Current teachers may also use these programs to advance their understanding of teaching skills or gain experience in a specialized area. Master’s programs are available in such fields of study as education technology, elementary teacher education, special education, literacy, teacher leadership, administration, and adult education, among others.

Online doctoral degrees in education, or Ed.D. degrees, are usually aimed at students who want to work in higher-level education policy or administration roles. These degree programs require students to perform in-depth research into a particular area of education, such as learning sciences and education technology or race and language in education.


How Much Does an Online Education Degree Cost?

We manually research tuition rates each year to provide students with the most accurate information when choosing a college. Our research on 150 schools with online programs shows that the median annual tuition for an online bachelor's degree in education is $12,540. The full range of tuition rates for this sample of schools is $4,785-$31,800. Students with previous college experience may be able to transfer credits to reduce their total costs.


Our research on 150 schools with online programs shows that the median annual tuition for an online bachelor's degree in education is $12,540. The full range of tuition rates for this sample of schools is $4,785-$31,800.

Prospective students should be aware of a few other expenses that are unique to becoming a teacher. To earn teacher certification, students usually have to take a series of Praxis exams, which can range in price from $150 to $270, and they must pay a certification application fee, which varies by state from about $50 to $200.

Most states also require teaching majors to complete one or two semesters of student teaching, during which they will work full-time in the classroom without pay. Because this is one of their graduation requirements, students typically have to pay tuition during their student teaching experience.

Financial Aid For Online Education Students

Several types of financial aid are available to students enrolled in accredited, online education degree programs. Scholarships and grants are preferred because they do not have to be paid back. Some students may also be eligible for military discounts, partnership discounts, or work-study programs.

Student loans are less desirable because they have to be repaid with interest, but may be a smart choice if they're the only means of getting a college education. In general, federal and state student loans have lower interest rates than private student loans.

The best and easiest way to apply for financial aid is through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. If you qualify for aid, any school you apply to will send you an offer with information on the grants, scholarships, and loans you are eligible to receive. Students can contact the financial aid officers at the college they would like to attend if they have any questions about the FAFSA process or their financial aid packages.

Online education majors may be able to take advantage of several other financial aid programs. Students who are committed to going into teaching may qualify for up to $4,000 per year through the federal TEACH Grant program. There are also a number of private scholarships for teachers, which may require separate applications from the FAFSA. Some of these opportunities include:

Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Open to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students, this program provides scholarship funding for 1,000 students each year. Preference is given to applicants majoring in education.

Nancy Larson Foundation Scholarships

This program awards several scholarships annually to college juniors and seniors who are studying elementary education.

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship

Available at select schools across the U.S., this program provides funding for students who plan to teach STEM subjects in K-12 schools.

The Phi Delta Kappa International Education Foundation

This program provides scholarships of $500-$5,000 to 100 education students each year. Applicants must be members of one of these organizations: Educators Rising, Educators Rising Collegiate,  Pi Lambda Theta, or PDK Association.


Is an Online Education Degree Worth It?

A bachelor's degree is required to earn teacher licensure, and at least a bachelor's degree is necessary for education administrators, instructional designers, and other careers in the field. Before deciding whether to pursue a degree in education and whether to enroll in an online program, prospective students may want to weigh some of the benefits and drawbacks to these career paths.

Potential Benefits

  • An education degree can lead to many careers. A bachelor's degree in education gives students valuable knowledge about the educational process and helps students develop useful communication and instruction skills. These abilities are essential for teachers in the classroom, but can also lead to jobs in education administration, policy, advocacy, or teaching roles outside of the classroom.
  • Teachers earn above-average salaries. According to the BLS, K-12 teachers earn median annual wages of $60,660 to $62,870, which is higher than the mean salary of $41,950 for all occupations.
  • Online education programs offer flexible schedules. Students who are earning their education degrees online can arrange their school schedules to fit with work and other commitments.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Teachers don't always get the resources they need. Due to budget constraints, many schools lack sufficient teaching tools, such as current textbooks, education technology, or paper. Some teachers say they spend $500-$1,000 of their own money each year on school supplies for their classrooms.
  • Teachers work long hours when school is in session. After putting in a full day in the classroom, many teachers devote evenings and weekends to creating lesson plans, grading homework, and consulting with students and parents. However, teachers on a traditional schedule get a two-month summer break, while those on year-round schedules get three three-week breaks each year.
  • Some online programs are geared toward a specific state's requirements. Students who want to enroll in an online teaching program should confirm that the programs they're interested in are designed to prepare them to meet their own state's credentialing criteria
  • An online degree may not be right for all students.While many students prefer the online learning experience, others may work better in a face-to-face setting. It's important to consider your personal learning style when deciding whether to enroll in person or online.

When making such an important decision, students also need to factor in their own personal circumstances. Financial resources, work obligations, and family commitments all play a role in determining whether an online education degree is the right choice. After examining all of the variables, individuals can make informed decisions about the potential value of this degree.

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