Best Online Education Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/22/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: CAEP, CEA, MACTE, NCATE
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Certificate
Average Tuition: $25,932
Average Salary: $65,109

From instructing elementary school children in a broad range of fundamentals to educating middle school and high school students on a specific subject, many people find teaching to be one of the most intellectually stimulating and rewarding career choices. Annual salaries for public and private school teachers, as well as special education teachers, are fairly consistent, with most salaries falling between $45,000 and $50,000. However, amounts can vary widely depending on location, years of experience, and degree level earned. The following is a rankings list of schools offering online degrees in education. Check out the best online schools offering education degrees.

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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
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,052

#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: 80%
Acceptance Rate: 58%
Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
Average SAT Scores: 1200 - 1390
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,224

#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: 83%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,603

#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: 86%
Average SAT Scores: 1080 - 1310
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 5,306

#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: 50%
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 950 - 1130
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 727

#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: 29%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 88,921

#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: 66%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
Average SAT Scores: 1091 - 1298
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,353

#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: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 54%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 1008 - 1243
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 327

#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: 49%
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
Average SAT Scores: 970 - 1200
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 32,610

#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: 58%
Acceptance Rate: 70%
Financial Aid Recipients: 80%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 496

#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: 94%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,170

#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: 28%
Financial Aid Recipients: 74%
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 10,068

#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: 25%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 4,665

#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: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 63%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 886

#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: 52%
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Financial Aid Recipients: 75%
Accreditation: NECHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 76,929

#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: 41%
Acceptance Rate: 71%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Average SAT Scores: 950 - 1130
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,590

#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: 91%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 28,701

Online Education Degree Overview & Career Information

Online certificates and associate degrees in education can provide an introduction to the field and preparation for later college-level work. These degrees cover general liberal arts topics, as well as courses in curriculum design, child development, and instructional methods. Stand-alone undergraduate certificates are usually available in early childhood education areas, while certificates that are part of bachelor’s degrees cover a wider range of topics, such as education policy or adult education.

Bachelor’s degrees in education are the minimum requirement to teach in public elementary and secondary schools. Online degrees are available in elementary education, early childhood education, secondary education, and special education. In general, half of the credits in bachelor’s degrees in education are in the education major core, while half are in liberal arts topics like natural science, social science, communications, and math.

Online graduate certificates and master’s degrees in education are often used to earn a teaching credential and state teaching license. Current teachers can use these programs to advance their understanding of teaching skills. Master’s programs and certificates are available in specializations such as education technology, elementary teacher education, special education, literacy, teacher leadership, administration, and adult education.

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

Online Associate Degrees in Education

Individuals who are interested in starting careers in education may choose to start out with an associate degree. Associate degree holders in education are generally qualified to become teaching assistants. Those who wish to advance in their field may need to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree.

Program Requirements

Most two-year degree programs in this area are offered at community or junior colleges and require the completion of at least 60 credit hours. Applicants should possess a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment.

Curriculum

Students in associate degree programs in education can chose from many different areas of specialization. The most common concentrations are early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, and special education. Some students may also choose to specialize in a particular subject, such as math or biology. Regardless of the area of interest, students will learn about classroom management, curriculum development, and best practices for working with school staff and parents. Coursework typically includes topics such as education fundamentals, education technology, education psychology, and child development and growth. In addition to classroom learning, students in these programs may be required to complete internships or externships in order to graduate.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Education

Depending on the state and grade level the student intends to instruct, the bachelor's degree may be sufficient to launch a teaching career. In some states, secondary school teachers are required to complete graduate training. Private schools set their own standards for teachers, and a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for employment in certain schools. Prospective teachers should investigate their state's teaching licensure procedures to understand the rules that apply to them.

Program Requirements

Students in an online education bachelor's program study a broad array of curriculum and instructional techniques. Education bachelor's students specialize in a particular grade level or subject area. These programs require about four years of full-time study and include 120 credit hours of coursework. Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent.

Curriculum

Core classes in the education program explore the structure of public education, major topics and issues in public education, cultural effects on student achievement, education around the world, and the political state of education. Other classes explore curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and teaching techniques. To earn a four-year degree in education, students also take a number of general courses in math,biology, the arts, and the humanities.

The upper-division coursework in the bachelor's program is centered around the student's particular focus area in education. Possible specializations include elementary education, special education, middle school, or secondary education. Students specializing in secondary education also take coursework in a particular teaching subject area, such as math, science, or English. Teaching-oriented bachelor’s degrees require that students complete teaching labs or practicums, as well as an internship.

Online Master's Degrees in Education

An online master’s degree in education includes study in teaching theories and instructional techniques. Individuals with no teaching experience can use the master's to earn a state teaching credential; current teachers can use the program to broaden their skills or become education leaders.

Program Requirements

Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree. Online master’s degrees in education usually have a core of five to eight required classes, along with electives the student can choose. Students can expect to complete an average of 30 credits in two years to earn the degree.

Curriculum

The courses in the master’s program depend on the type of training the student is seeking. Some programs are entry-level degrees, aimed at individuals with no previous teaching experience. These programs cover the theory of education and instructional techniques for a particular grade level or subject. These degrees also include teaching practicums and internships that help students master hands-on teaching skills. Other master's degrees are aimed at current teachers who want to deepen their understanding of a particular subject area or gain leadership skills. These programs may focus in areas like special education, technology in education, reading and literature, or curriculum and instruction.

With a master’s degree in education, a graduate can continue or launch a career in educational leadership, teaching, or education lobbying and development. Administrators typically need experience in teaching or the education system in addition to a master's degree.

Online Doctoral Degrees in Education

Students in online education PhD programs usually conduct original research in a particular area of education theory or practice to help prepare them to lead transformative change in the field of education.

Program Requirements

These programs require completion of 70-90 credit hours and take four to five years to complete. Applicants to these programs typically need a bachelor's and master's degree, along with a strong education-based resume.

Curriculum

The curriculum varies between programs, but courses generally provide reading, discussion, and writing forums for students on topics like education finance, the achievement gap, and education reform. Students also choose an emphasis area, such as elementary education, mathematics education, science education, special education, school administration, or educational technology, and take courses focusing on topics in that field. One of the most important components of a doctorate in education program is the dissertation. Students choose an original topic and an advising professor, then read extensively about their topic, and conduct their own research.

Graduates of these programs often become professors in universities and colleges, teaching classes in general education, teaching, education policy, education administration, and educational psychology and counseling. Professors of education also participate in research studies, often with the goal of publishing their findings in academic journals; they may also advise graduate students as they write their theses and dissertations. Some graduates will work in education policy and reform, while those who studied education administration can become principals, headmasters, deans, superintendents, or employees for state and national departments of education.

Online Certificates in Education

Online certificates in education are available in a variety of focuses, from teacher certification to school leadership or educational policy. These programs typically take a year or less to complete and are comprised of 6 to 10 courses. Applicants need an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree, depending on the focus and level of the certificate. Some programs also require previous experience working with children or teaching, as well as a clear criminal background check.

The coursework in the education certificate will vary, depending on the program’s goals. Many programs are designed to certify teachers in a particular subject area, such as elementary or secondary education. These programs discuss instructional abilities and teaching theory. Some programs are aimed at experienced educators and discuss education administration and leadership topics, such as human resources issues and professional communication techniques. Other certificates are useful for seasoned teachers who want more knowledge in a particular teaching area, such as teaching students with disabilities or using educational technology.

The career opportunities available after completing an education certificate will depend on the graduate’s previous education and experience. Many use the certificate to take a state licensing exam, either to become a kindergarten-through-12th-grade teacher or a school principal. Education certificates can also be useful for teachers interested in moving into policy or research roles in local, state, and federal governments. Other programs are used by practicing teachers to deepen their curriculum and cement their role in their current school.

Why Is Accreditation Important When Choosing an Online Education Degree?

Attending an accredited school is one of the best and most important decisions a student can make. Accreditation is a designation awarded to a school for complying with a set of academic and personal support standards. Students who need financial aid, want to earn certification or licensure as a teacher, attend graduate school, or transfer credits must attend an accredited school. All individuals seeking a teaching credential must attend an education program that is recognized by their state’s board of education.

To ensure that students receive a high-quality education, they should choose an online degree program that is accredited by either one of the six primary regional accrediting boards, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, or an accrediting board specializing in education programs. Examples of these programmatic accrediting agencies include the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Students can check any school's accreditation status online through the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) websites. For more information about accreditation, please visit our comprehensive accreditation hub.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

Education graduates who plan to become teachers or administrators (e.g., principal or superintendent) in a public school district will need to follow the proper procedure to become licensed before they can begin working. Each state has its own set of licensing or certification standards for educators and administrators, so students should check their state’s department of education website for requirements. In general, educators and administrators must earn an accredited degree, have professional experience, and pass at least one competency exam to become licensed.

Specific details about licensing and certification requirements for public school teachers can be found in our guide to teaching degrees. The licensing process for public school principals is more rigorous than the process for obtaining a teaching certificate, as administrators are expected to have advanced leadership skills and knowledge about operating a school or school district. To become a principal, most states require candidates to have a master's degree from a regionally accredited school, a teaching certificate, and at least three years of teaching experience.

Principals must also complete a principal preparation program or internship to develop their leadership skills and their knowledge of how to improve students' educational experiences. Other requirements often include passing an exam to demonstrate basic reading, writing, and math skills, passing a state-based educator standards exam, and submitting to a criminal background check. Some states have different levels of principal certification, starting with an initial "residency certificate" and advancing to a "professional certificate" after two years of experience as an employed administrator. Some states break down their certifications even further for elementary and secondary school principals, while other states have the same requirements for both academic levels.

To become the superintendent of a school district, some states require that applicants have a current principal or teaching license and a certain number of years of experience in each professional role. Superintendents may also be required to complete a superintendent preparation program as well as an accredited master's degree program with a superintendent focus before they can take a licensing exam. After passing the exam, they may be eligible for an initial superintendent certification for a certain number of years before renewal.

What Specializations Are Available in the Field of Education?

Students majoring in education can select a specialization to focus their studies on a specific area or age group. The general education track prepares students for non-teaching jobs in related roles, such as educational policy and educational support.

  • Early Childhood Education: This track prepares graduates to work with preschool-aged children and their families. Students may complete fieldwork as part of their degree and take courses in language development, early childhood development, and behavior management.
  • Elementary Education: Students in the primary or elementary education track learn teaching strategies and classroom management for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Students must complete a teaching internship to graduate. Coursework can include psychology, humanities, social sciences, natural and physical sciences, and mathematics.
  • Secondary Education: This track focuses on working with children in grades six through twelve. In addition to completing a teaching internship and general education classes, students will take teacher preparation courses and select a content area. Content areas include biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, music education, or physical education.
  • Special Education: The special education track prepares graduates to teach students with various learning or developmental disabilities. Students may need to complete an internship in a special needs classroom and take courses on assessing, communicating, and instructing learners with disabilities.

Online Education Administration Degrees

Educational administrators are the leaders of schools, colleges, and other types of educational organizations. They are the leaders and guides in the educational field, either working intimately with students or with the larger community. School administrators work at state and federal levels and help develop state policies that affect education. Administrators can also be school superintendents, principals, or principal support staff.

Students who are seeking entry-level administrative positions in a school district office or at state or federal levels may wish to start with an associate or bachelor's degree in education administration, while those with more professional experience and who hope to work as a superintendent or hold a position as an education administrator at the state or federal level should consider a graduate degree or certificate in education administration.

One-year education administration or education leadership graduate certificate programs are available for students who are currently earning or have already earned a master's degree. They are typically designed for education professionals who would like to advance into a career as a school leader or school district leader. Associate and bachelor’s degrees in educational administration give a broader and more in-depth liberal arts experience. An undergraduate degree program in early childhood education administration provides students with an understanding of the education industry, helps them gain advanced organizational management skills and trains them in the theories of child development.

Graduate degree programs provide highly advanced education in education administration. A master’s degree program in educational leadership offers aspiring principals, deans, and other administrators an opportunity to further develop their professional skills and prepares them to effectively manage the way a school operates. Educational leadership doctorates introduce current educators to advanced theories in educational psychology, educational leadership and public relations, school law, and leadership ethics.

Online Instructional Technology Degrees

Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in today's classrooms. Everyone from kindergarten through graduate school is enjoying the benefits of computers, presentational technology, and new programs in the classroom. Some of the best teachers in today's classes are skilled at incorporating new forms of technology to enhance student learning, whether it be computer programs, tablets, or podcasts. Technology has become so important in today's classrooms that there are entire degree programs dedicated to creating new ways of including technology in one's teaching style. Both current and aspiring teachers can benefit from learning about instructional technology in a formalized degree setting. 

Instructional technology degrees are usually earned as graduate degrees. Most people who become interested in this field are already educators or educational leaders, such as vice principals or curriculum developers. Students who are choosing instructional technology paths are interested in becoming better at their jobs, learning to take their techniques and skills in new directions. This makes the masters degree or the masters of education degree very popular. Students study computer programming, the teaching of computer programming, introducing students to technology, using technology paired with written literature and traditional teaching methods, and training other teachers to use technology in their classrooms. 

Associate degrees and bachelor's degrees that feature an instructional technology option are more likely to be degrees in education or teaching with an instructional technology specialization option. Students will study teaching techniques, curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and classroom management, all while learning about how they can use technology to enhance their teaching skills. Some schools require that students who are applying for master's in instructional technology already have official teaching experience. Doctoral programs may even require curriculum development or teacher leadership experience.

Traditional degree programs in instructional technology revolve around group discussion, helping students build ideas off of one another. This is not easily done through online programs, so instructional technology students will be asked to complete a lot of reading and writing assignments. Many online programs (as well as some traditional programs) require that all students be full-time, licensed teachers. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Education Degrees

Besides teaching in schools, what can I do with an online degree in education?

An online degree in education can be leveraged into other career paths, especially when coupled with several years of experience. The skills that professionals gain in elementary and secondary education prepare them for other careers as well. These include corporate training or postsecondary teaching, as well as fields that involve interacting with people, such as sales, life coaching, and counseling. Some of these options may require additional education.

What kind of degree do I need for a job in education administration?

A bachelor's degree in education can be the stepping stone to a career as a school principal or other high-level administrative positions. In some cases, certified and experienced teachers go on to earn master's degrees in educational leadership or education administration in order to become school administrators.

How much can I expect to earn as a teacher?

Annual salaries for public school teachers and special education teachers at all levels—primary or elementary school, middle school, and high school—are fairly consistent. Salaries typically range from $33,000 to $75,000, and the averages for all of these positions fall between $45,000 and $50,000, according to PayScale. There is a similar range for private schools, where salaries are dependent on the individual school's funding. The National Council on Teacher Quality reports that teachers with master's degrees may earn up to $7,350 more per year.

Do I have to have a degree in education to become a teacher?

Students who have earned bachelor's degrees in subjects other than education can still become elementary and secondary teachers without returning to school to pursue a second bachelor's or a master's degree. The solution is an alternative certification program that quickly gives students the essential skills to pass the certification exam and succeed at teaching in a classroom setting. Many professionals who are seeking a career change into teaching will find they can complete an alternative certification program online.

What professional associations are available for education professionals?

Professional associations for educators are available at the state, regional, and national levels. Below are several of the largest national associations for teachers and the greater community:

  • National Education Association (NEA): The NEA has over three million members, including educators, students, parents, and activists. The association aims to provide quality public education to all students.
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT): Founded in 1916, the AFT includes teachers, paraprofessionals, faculty and staff, government employees, and healthcare professionals. They promote equal economic opportunity by advocating for high-quality education, healthcare, and other public services for all students.
  • The Association of American Educators (AAE): The AAE is the largest non-union organization in the nation. Their mission is to empower and support educators by providing them with benefits, services, scholarships and grants, and professional resources.
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