The goal of this ranking is to present you with a rundown of the best affordable online master's in education degree programs available in 2015.
Although plenty of teachers enjoy satisfying careers after earning a bachelor's degree, attending a graduate program in education can open up many more doors within the field of education. For example, if you want to work in higher education or education leadership, as an expert in curriculum design or the use of technology, or with specific student populations (such as the learning disabled) you will probably to acquire a master's degree in education. Of course, teachers' salaries are notoriously low compared to the difficulty of their jobs, so most don't have a lot of extra time or money to devote to additional schooling.
Fortunately, online programs can be both affordable and flexible – two buzz words for adult professionals considering going back to school. The following ranking is devoted to the top, affordable online master's degrees in education.
We determined the ranking by first analyzing the results of numerous other websites that rank online education programs, including U.S. News and World Report, BestCollegeReviews.org, GetEducated.com, and BestColleges.com. From this analysis we were able to determine all the schools that appear on top rankings two or more times – and there were over 40 that made this list! Next, we collected information from College Navigator regarding the tuition and fees for graduate programs at each school and determined the 10 most affordable options. The most expensive of these schools is only $11,500 a year – an indication that all the online colleges below will accommodate even the tightest budgets.
10. Eastern Kentucky University
Online Master of Arts in Education
Eastern Kentucky University easily earns its place on this list – and not just for its affordable tuition rate. Students can choose from a multiplicity of specialization options within this online masters in education, including Instructional Leadership, Gifted Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Literacy P-12, Library Science, and Special Education. Students who are interested in the last category can further concentrate in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders, or Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education. EKU's experienced professors challenge students to improve their skills and expand their knowledge across a breadth of subjects, and the rigorous curriculum pushes the program onto top ranking lists by both U.S. News and Get Educated.
Tuition & Fees: $11,520/yr
9. College of St. Scholastica
Online Master of Education
The College of St. Scholastica is another U.S. News-approved online master's in education degree program that is available 100% online. The 33-credit curriculum includes six different concentration options: Educational Technology, Computer Science Education, Online Instruction, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, Literacy Instruction, and Professional Studies. All but the last of these concentrations come with a certificate to prove your expertise in the associated area. The Professional Studies concentration, however, is built on a specific combination of electives and is interdisciplinary in nature but does not offer a certificate. But regardless of concentration, the base of the program is focused on helping future teachers be successful by improving student outcomes and connecting with young learners in the classroom.
Tuition & Fees: $10,980/yr
8. Lamar University
Online Master of Education in Education Administration and Technology Leadership
Students who are less interesting in manning the front lines in the classroom might consider a degree from Lamar University. Here, the online masters degrees in education include options in Education Administration and Technology Leadership. The 36-credit hour administration track is for students who seek leadership positions in schools, for example as principals, deans, or college administrators. Coursework focuses on decision making, management and operation principles, organizational leadership, and instruction for student achievement, among other topics. Alternatively, the technology track can help you learn how to "implement technology-based projects" and use high-tech developments to improve the curriculum in schools.
Tuition & Fees: $10,922/yr
7. Regis University
Online Master of Education (with added Endorsements)
Regis University's School of Education is chock full of degree options for future educators – many of which are available online. You can earn an M.S. in Adult Education and Training or one of numerous M.Ed. degrees, which feature specializations in Elementary Education, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, and Secondary Education. Many of these programs offer initial licensure or come with added endorsements in reading and special education. Impatient students can also choose the accelerated version of any one of the online masters degrees in education and graduate in significantly less time.
Tuition & Fees: $10,224/yr
6. University of Nebraska Kearney
Online Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction
One of the best online graduate education programs out there – according to U.S. News and Get Educated – the University of Nebraska Kearney is as reputable as it is affordable. The program consists of 36 credit hours of coursework and is focused primarily on curriculum and instruction topics. Students choose UNK primarily to study instructional methods and ways to design curriculum for the benefit of learners at multiple grade levels. Outside of the core curriculum you'll also be able to choose a concentration in one of seven areas: Reading/Special Education, Elementary Education, Instructional Effectiveness, Early Childhood Education, Secondary Education, English as a Second Language, or Transitional Certification.
Tuition & Fees: $9,449/yr
5. Cedarville University
Online Master of Education
Cedarville University is the epitome of convenience when it comes to earning your master's degree in education online. Courses are organized in eight-week segments (all online!) that make it easy for working professionals to keep up with coursework without slacking on the job. Faculty advisors are on duty to help students stay on track from day one, from deciding whether to attend part- or full-time to picking out a topic for their capstone project. As Cedarville is a Christian university, the curriculum also incorporates religious topics and has a "Christ-centered" focus – an attractive feature for aspiring educators who value service-oriented thinking and compassion for others.
Tuition & Fees: $9,270/yr
4. Western Governors University
Online M.S. or M.A. in Education
The Teachers College at Western Governors University is a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in earning a master of education online. The college houses both M.S. and M.A. degrees in a plethora of different specialties, including Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Design, Learning and Technology, Special Education, and Education Leadership – to name a few! You can also earn a subject specialization in Math or Science and pick from various age ranges (e.g. PreK-12 or K-6). Western Governors University also supports multiple Preparation Endorsement Programs for graduate students who are interested in either Education Leadership or English Language Learning. With this kind of variety and affordability, it's no wonder NCTQ has ranked this university among the best in the country multiple times.
Tuition & Fees: $6,790/yr
3. Fort Hays State University
Online Master of Science in Education
Fort Hays State University is a serious contender on this list, and not just because their tuition and fees fall in at less than $7,000 a year. Students will find programs in Higher Education Student Affairs, JROTC Instructor Prep, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Reading Specialist, Library Media Specialist, and Transition to Teaching (with an alternative certification). You'll combine 18 core credit hours with an additional 15-18 credits in your specific area of interest in addition to completing an "action research project" while you get hands-on training in an actual school environment. What's more, all of the philosophies, principles, and practices you'll learn about at FHSU are associated with the prestigious National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, so you can rest assured that these online education master's programs are up to snuff!
Tuition & Fees: $6,564/yr
2. Valley City State University
Online Master of Education Program
Learn what it means to be an educator in the 21st century and to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population at Valley City State University. This school's contemporary masters in education online helps currently practicing teachers gain the additional skills they'll need to improve classroom performance and become leaders at their institutions. Available concentrations include English Education, Teaching English Language Learners, and Elementary Education. In its aim to stay current with the times, VCSU also offers concentrations that specifically address the growing role of technology in the classroom, from Library and Information Technologies to Technology Education (with additional emphases in Career and Technical Education, Elementary STEM, and Secondary STEM).
Tuition & Fees: $6,251/yr
1. American College of Education
Online Master of Education
There are certain advantages to attending a school that focuses entirely on one field, and the American College of Education exemplifies all of these benefits. The list of M.Ed. degrees available here are simply too many to name, but they include programs in Bilingual Education, Education Technology, Health and Wellness Education, English as a Second Language, and Instructional Design and Technology, amongst many other both traditional and unique options. And incredibly, ACE is preparing to launch a whopping twelve new master of education programs – including Literacy and Teacher Leadership – that will only bolster the college's stellar reputation. Best College Reviews and Get Educated both place ACE near the top of their best online masters degrees in education rankings, and the school's extreme affordability makes its appeal even greater!
Tuition & Fees: $5,562/yr
This concludes our ranking of the best affordable online master's in education degree programs.