Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Ready to step up your education career? Find out which online master's in education programs are the best fit to help you advance in your field.
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Updated on June 28, 2023
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“A master's degree earns you a seat at the table in different areas and at different levels. You become a trainer of trainers, you are making more money, you could even apply for a different job because of the certification, or degree, you earn. Your professional journey broadens, and your options become more varied.”

Dr. Kasey Johnson, Lead Faculty, Ottawa University School of Education

Sound like the career moves you want to make? Here's what you should do next:

  • Explore this page to decide whether a master's in education is right for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online programs as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for your schedule, budget, and career goals.

What Is a Master's in Education?

  • What the Degree Is About: The degree focuses on improving your skills as an educator with advanced theories and practices, including instructional theory and behaviorism.
  • What You Need: Though some programs don't require it, you often need a bachelor's degree. You may also need some teaching experience.
  • Career Path: The degree prepares you for more specialized jobs with higher pay, including teaching, administration, curriculum development, and education policy.
  • Keep in Mind: There are three types of a master's in education that you can get:
    • Master of education (M.Ed.) is broadly focused.
    • Master of science (MS) in education is science or research-based.
    • Master of arts (MA) in education is arts and humanities-based.

Read More:

Featured Education Master's Degrees

The Best Master's in Education Online Programs

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#1 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
36-60

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The online master's degrees in education from Liberty University can help you advance your career as an educator. Liberty's master's in educational studies programs offer a nonlicensure track designed to strengthen basic knowledge. Liberty's program has nonlicensure, add-on endorsement, and advanced licensure options.

To gain acceptance to LU's online master's degree program, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited program with at least a 2.5 GPA. To apply, you must submit official college transcripts along with your admission application and application fee.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$14,791
Out-of-state
$14,791
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,935
Out-of-state
$7,935
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
93,349
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Southern Utah University

  • Cedar City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $355
Out of State | $355

Credits to Graduate
33

School Information
School Accreditation | Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

SUU's online M.Ed. is designed for educators already in the workforce looking to improve their skills. The program requires you to complete and present a practitioner research thesis.

Admission requirements for the online master of education at SUU include sending official transcripts from all colleges attended and completing the program orientation. You must also hold a 3.0 GPA or higher calculated off your most recent 60 semester hours of coursework.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,006
Out-of-state
$19,822
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,574
Out-of-state
$23,784
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
12,582
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#3 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

McKendree University

  • Lebanon, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $525
Out of State | $525

Credits to Graduate
31-33

School Information
School Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

MU designed its master of arts in education in curriculum design and instruction for working teacher's looking to advance professionally. Courses you might take include multicultural education and character development in education.

For admission into MU's MAED in curriculum design and instruction, you need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. You must also submit a resume or CV, a personal statement, and three professional references.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$31,100
Out-of-state
$31,100
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,324
Out-of-state
$9,324
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
2,200
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Eastern New Mexico University

  • Portales, NM
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $303
Out of State | $303

Credits to Graduate
36

School Information
School Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

The online master's in education from ENMU will help you strengthen your curriculum and instruction knowledge and prepare you to work with various students. For the master of special education, you can specialize in early childhood or general special education. For the M.Ed., you can specialize in secondary education or education administration.

To apply to the MAED program from ENMU, you must submit a graduate school application and transcripts from each school you previously attended.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,074
Out-of-state
$6,114
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,351
Out-of-state
$7,110
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
5,266
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Minot State University

  • Minot, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $390
Out of State | $390

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

MSU designed its M.Ed. the program for the practicing classroom teacher. You can concentrate in art, business, cognitive science, or curriculum and instruction. Other concentrations include English, reading, secondary mathematics, or special education.

To apply to MSU's master of education program, you need a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Or, you must have at least two years of experience in education or a related field. You must also hold a 2.75 cumulative undergrad GPA, or your GPA from your most recent 60 semester hours must be at least a 3.0.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,691
Out-of-state
$6,691
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,731
Out-of-state
$8,731
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
2,920
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#6 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

University of West Alabama

  • Livingston, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $429
Out of State | $429

Credits to Graduate
34

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The online M.Ed. programs from UWA offer many options, including special education, elementary education, and high school education. You can also focus on physical education or early childhood education. You can earn a master's-level professional certificate through each program.

For acceptance into an online M.Ed. program from UWA, you must fill out an online application and submit your transcripts. You can transfer up to nine graduate semester hours toward your master's degree.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,100
Out-of-state
$18,200
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,678
Out-of-state
$13,356
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
5,734
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Tusculum University

  • Greeneville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $480
Out of State | $480

Credits to Graduate
30-31

School Information
School Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

TU's master of arts in education is a 12-month program for licensed K-12 classroom teachers. You can choose between curriculum and instruction and special education concentrations. 

To gain admission into TU's MAED program, you need a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. You must also submit passing scores on the GRE (score of 285 or above), Miller's Analogy Test (score of 400 or above), Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam, or the Praxis II Content Area Exam.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$25,350
Out-of-state
$25,350
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,200
Out-of-state
$7,200
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
1,664
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
79% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

University of Wisconsin-Stout

  • Menomonie, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $414
Out of State | $894

Credits to Graduate
30

School Information
School Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

With the online education MS from UW-Stout, you can earn a reading teacher license. You can also earn a professional certificate in instructional design, elementary or middle school instructional strategies, or mathematics specialist. 

UW-Stout's MS in education requires you to hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Keep in mind: You must apply to the general graduate school as well as the specific program and submit transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,014
Out-of-state
$14,981
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,155
Out-of-state
$15,465
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
7,970
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

California State University-Bakersfield

  • Bakersfield, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online |  Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $450
Out of State | $450

Credits to Graduate
30

School Information
School Accreditation | WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission

The online M.A. in education from CSU-B gives you the option to earn a leadership in educational technology certificate. You can also complete an added authorization in reading and literacy while completing your degree.

For admission into CSU-B's online M.A. in education, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year school with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or better in your last 60 semester units. You also need a valid teaching credential. You must submit a statement of purpose and an official transcript for every college attended.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$16,680
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
11,745
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#10 Top Online Master’s in Education Programs 2023

Baldwin Wallace University

  • Berea, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
34-42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The MA in education from Baldwin Wallace University allows you to specialize in literacy, mild/moderate educational needs, and school leadership. Other specializations include leadership in technology for teaching and learning, as well as science teaching.You can also exchange or add extra teaching licenses throughout the program.

To meet admission requirements for the MAED program from BWU, you must submit all official college transcripts. You'll also need to send two letters of recommendation.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$34,504
Out-of-state
$34,504
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,191
Out-of-state
$11,191
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
3,399
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Why Should You Get a Master's in Education?

Want to be a better teacher? A school leader? Someone others look to for guidance and policy decisions? Then the next step is a master's degree in education.

“When I entered the teaching force a few weeks after graduating [with my M.Ed.], I did so with an entirely different perspective than I had the previous year. I looked at the field of education holistically. … I also felt empowered to make [a] change and see things how they could be, not just how they were.”

Mindy Kay Smith, M.Ed., Ohio University

Benefits of a Master's in Education

  • Hone communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Get teaching experience through a practicum or internship.
  • Learn how to use educational technology (EdTech).
  • Connect with other education professionals.
  • Prepare for teaching licensure.
  • Tailor curriculum to a specific education specialization.
  • Enhance potential for higher salaries and leadership roles.
  • Prepare for a variety of education careers — not just teaching.

Reasons to Get Your Master of Education Online


“Online is the best option if you do not have the time to spend in a classroom because of personal obligations. To be successful, you must have excellent time management skills, be an effective communicator, and know how to collaborate with classmates virtually.”

Charesha Barrett, M.Ed., Cleveland State University

Read More: Sounds Great! Show Me BestColleges' Sponsored Programs

How Much Does an Education Master's Degree Cost?

Average Total Cost of a Master's in Education | 2015-16

Public Institution

$55,200

Sources: NCES, NCES Data Lab

Average Total Cost of a Master's Degree

Public Institution

$22,015

Private Nonprofit Institution

$29,198

Private For-Profit Institution

$19,530

Sources: NCES, NCES Data Lab


“[One] key consideration in choosing a master's in education is truly determining if it is aligned with a student's career aspirations. Is the degree required for career goals? Will the degree be worth the investment in time and money? Many adult learners must weigh the benefit of the investment personally and professionally.”

Dr. Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Senior VP and Executive Dean of the School of Education, Western Governors University

Read More:

How Long Does an Online Master's in Education Take?

You'll finish your master's in education degree faster or slower depending on whether your schedule is full time or part time.

A full-time graduate student, taking a minimum of nine credits per semester, will finish a master's in education in 1-2 years. Full-time students may also qualify for accelerated programs that take 12-18 months.

A part-time graduate student, taking fewer than nine credits per semester, should finish in 3-4 years.

“Be sure you understand how many hours the program requires. Most are 36 credit hours, but some are 30 hours and others can be as much as 72. This impacts financial aid, graduation, and the amount of energy required to complete the program.”

Dr. Kasey Johnson, Lead Faculty, Ottawa University School of Education

Average Length of M.Ed. Program

1-2 years (Full Time)
3-4 years (Part Time)

Total Course Credits Required

30-36 credits

How Much Money Will I Make With an Education Master's Degree?

You may make between $61,000 and $66,000 to start. Whether your pay is higher or lower depends on various factors, including your type of degree, field, and experience level.

Average Base Salary, M.Ed.

$61,000

Source: Payscale

Average Base Salary, MS in Education

$64,000

Source: Payscale

Average Base Salary, MA in Education

$66,000

Source: Payscale

How to Consider Your ROI

When considering the investment it takes to get a master's in education, it's important to have an idea of what you'll get in return. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Will your starting salary cover student loan payments, rent, and groceries?
  • Will you be able to meet your life goals as well as your career goals?

Read More:

What Jobs Can You Get With a Master's in Education?

A master's in education can lead to many in-demand careers, including school principal, administrator, curriculum consultant, and other leadership positions.

And here's more good news: Your degree opens the door to jobs outside the education setting, too.

“Of course a master's degree in education can lead to opportunities in an educational setting. However, students tend to underestimate how the degree can support a career in other industries and career paths, like EdTech, learning and development, human resources, [and] project management.”

Dr. Emmanuela Stanislaus, Instructor, Florida International University's MS in Higher Education Administration Program

Here are 10 popular jobs for master's in education graduates, including how much they pay and how much they're expected to grow over the next decade:

10 Popular Master's in Education Jobs
Job Median Salary (May 2021) Job Growth Rate (2021-31)
Elementary, Middle, or High School Principal $98,420 5%
Postsecondary Education Administrator $96,910 7%
Instructional Coordinator $63,740 7%
Education Consultant $63,000*
*Accurate as of August 2022
Unavailable
High School Teacher $61,820 5%
Training and Development Specialist $61,570 8%
Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher $61,350 4%
Middle School Teacher $61,320 4%
Education Policy Analyst $61,000*
*Accurate as of August 2022
Unavailable
Corporate Trainer $58,000*
*Accurate as of August 2022
Unavailable
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale

Read More: Top 7 Master's in Education Careers That Aren't Just Teaching

Is an Education Master's Degree Worth It? Grads and Instructors Weigh In

The graduates and instructors we spoke to agreed that a master's in education leads to better opportunities, better pay, and greater impact — though you need to be mindful of the reasons why you want it.

They also say the degree helped them reach specific career goals, which varied depending on their values.

What Grads Are Saying

“A master's in education gives a teacher a far wider perspective on how the system works and how students learn. A graduate with a master's in education becomes a problem-solver who can zoom in and out of a problem, seeing it at both micro and macro levels.”

Mindy Kay Smith, M.Ed., Ohio University

“[A master's in education] has served me well. … I'm a more creative problem-solver, a more empathetic product builder, and a stronger collaborator because I have spent time deeply understanding the problems and people in my industry.”

Lisa Jiang, MA in Education, Stanford Universit

“My master's degrees helped me get more leadership positions in education and helped me attain committee roles with the Ohio Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, I am able to provide professional development at the collegiate level because of my two graduate degrees.”

Charesha Barrett, M.Ed., Cleveland State University

What Instructors and Administrators Are Saying

“I think that it is worth it to pursue a master's in education. Having said that, I think that it is important for students to be strategic if and when they decide to pursue it. Go through the exercise of asking yourself why you want to pursue the degree. What opportunities will a master's degree open up for you, and will it be enough to support your lifestyle?”

Dr. Emmanuela Stanislaus, Instructor, Florida International University's MS in Higher Education Administration Program

“I consider a bachelor's degree to be like an appetizer when it comes to education. You just get a little taste and you don't have the full understanding of what it means to be an educator. After being in the classroom, having exposure to systems and structures, individuals pursuing a master's degree begin to ask better questions, challenge inequitable practices, and gain confidence in using their voice to advocate for research-based approaches to supporting students and programs.”

Dr. Kasey Johnson, Lead Faculty, Ottawa University School of Education

“Earning a master's degree in education will help graduates be a part of a group of professionals who have the credentials, licensures, and industry-relevant skills and knowledge that current employers seek.”

Dr. Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Senior VP and Executive Dean of the School of Education, Western Governors University

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Education Programs

What can you do with a master's in education?

You can go after more advanced jobs with higher pay. Graduates have tons of jobs to choose from, including career counselor, school superintendent, and school principal. You could also work as an education program director, a policy analyst, an education researcher, or a training and development specialist.

Even if you don't change careers after earning your master's in education, you may qualify for a raise. Many school districts pay slightly higher salaries to teachers with master's degrees.

What do you learn in an education master's program?

You'll learn theories and practices to become a better educator. You can choose different academic concentrations and specializations, from being a school principal to developing a curriculum. Other majors include administration, counseling, classroom technology, and school psychology.

How much money can I make with a master's in education?

You can typically expect to make around $60,000-$66,000 per year with a master's in education, according to data from Payscale. Many degree-holders work as elementary school teachers, high school teachers, instructional designers, and special education teachers.

Teachers generally earn far less money than those in upper management positions, like school principal and education administrator, which can rake in closer to $100,000 per year.

What's the difference between a master's in education and a master's in teaching?

A master's in education is a broader degree with more options for majors, including administration, curriculum development, education policy, and teaching. In contrast, a master's in teaching mostly focuses on teaching and classroom management.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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