Top Online Education and Teaching Degrees

Make a difference in the lives of young people! Online degree programs in early childhood, K-12, higher education, or a specialized concentration can put you on the path to a satisfying career in teaching.

There is a great demand for teachers at all levels created by rising student enrollment in schools and colleges across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To meet the shortage of teachers, the Department of Education has introduced initiatives making it easier for aspiring teachers to earn their degree in teaching:

  • The Transition to Teaching initiative can help you prepare to teach middle or high school classes in two semesters and obtain the necessary teaching certifications.
  • For those with strong academic or professional qualifications can participate in the Teacher Quality Partnership Program (TQP). The program partners with several state agencies preparing teachers to serve in high needs’ areas through residency programs, mentoring and stipends.
  • A number of grants, funding programs, and government-initiated loan forgiveness programs are designed to encourage more people to enter teaching professions.

Prospective students wanting to enter a teaching profession can look forward to emerging trends in technology that may change the way they teach and interact with students. While traditional learning methods are still being used, teachers are also learning to use virtual labs, virtual reality, games and simulations to teach students. Riveting trends such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in the practical classroom may enable students to hold a 3D digital heart in their hands and watch a historic battle take place through immersive reality. This can be an exciting time for teachers to enter the field of education. If you have good communication skills, an online education degree may help you begin a career in teaching.

Whether you are a high school graduate, a teacher who already holds a job, or someone looking to switch careers and enter the teaching profession, an online education degree program, can offer the flexibility you need. Online education programs allow you to balance work, family and other commitments.

Not all online degree programs are directed towards teaching in a classroom and can extend to include topics like curriculum design and educational administration. The sections below list some of the different online education programs you may be able to pursue.

Be sure to click on the buttons under each of the sections below and explore the range of online education degree programs.

Consider carefully our list of top online colleges for education presenting you with college options that can offer you the best online experience as a distance education student.

It is important to note here that due to the nature of the teaching profession, you may need to attend supervised teaching sessions before a group of students. Your college may arrange these events for you.

Watch this success Story: Busy Technology Director Turns to Online Option to Earn PhD

“Before earning her online PhD in technology and leadership, Dr. Dani Babb worked as an associate professor at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health in Southern California. When she decided to advance her career by pursuing a doctoral degree, she found that an online education not only worked best for her learning style, it also best suited her busy work life. But studying technology in an online format can be challenging. Learn about how Dr. Babb overcame those challenges to earn her online PhD in technology.”     — Dr. Dani Babb
Online Education Degree Programs in Early Childhood

Early childhood teachers may play an important role in the lives of young children. According to studies by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the World Bank, children who receive a high quality early childhood education are more likely to reach higher educational attainment, make more money over their lifetimes and generally live healthier lives. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for early childhood educators and childcare workers is expected to grow as people realize how important the early years are.

Click on the buttons below to find jobs you may be eligible for after earning a degree, the career outlook, and salary information related to early childhood education degree programs.

Online Education Degree Programs in Specialized Concentration

Teachers are needed in various settings — from corporate offices to sports fields. The variety of online teaching degree programs may allow you to pursue any special interests you might have. For example, you may be able to help non-native English speakers learn English or teach children about the joys of sports and fitness.

Clicking on the buttons below allow you to explore data-driven information that can help guide you to a career path in education that is right for you.

Online Education Degree Programs in Administration and Curriculum Design

Just like any organization, how a school is run can have a direct bearing on its overall success. School administrators manage the various activities conducted in a school — from scheduling classes, developing curricula to coordinating budgets. Depending on the size of the school or educational institution, you may wear many hats or focus on one aspect of administration or a particular subject.

By clicking on the buttons below, you can find detailed information on jobs related to degrees in administration and curriculum design, including their job growth rates, salaries, as well as coursework you may need to take.

Online Education Degree Programs in General Teaching

Online teaching degree programs can help you learn the many methods used to teach a variety of subjects to students of varying ages. Many online elementary teaching degree programs and nearly all secondary education programs require students to pick a secondary field in which to major or minor. Middle and high school teachers are typically required to specialize in teaching a particular subject.

Explore online teaching degree programs and find answers to questions like: What jobs can I qualify for with this degree? What coursework would I need to take? What kind of salary can I expect with a degree in teaching? Click on the buttons below for such information and more.

Education degrees can range from associate to doctoral degrees with each level varying in length and depth of study. We ranked the top ten colleges offering online education programs by degree levels in order to present you with the best online college options. We’ve used criteria that are important for online students, in particular, as part of our methodology. You’ll find factors like how many of the degrees awarded in a college were via distance education, financial aid available to students, career counseling and placement programs. Be sure to take a detailed look at our methodology listed at the bottom of the page.

Top Colleges for Online Associate Degrees in Education

An online associate degree in education can be the first stepping-stone toward a career as a teacher, program assistant or education administrator. An associate teaching degree may work well for individuals who want to explore the field of education before choosing a specialization. An associate degree may qualify you to work in as a preschool teacher or as a teacher’s assistant in K-12 education. The employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow at 10 percent according to the BLS. Online students studying full-time can typically earn their associate degree in two years.

Top Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education

A bachelor’s degree is the basic qualification for most jobs at the elementary through high school level. Students of online bachelor’s degree programs in education can typically choose a concentration. This may be in the form of a subject they wish to teach or a particular aspect of education they want to specialize in. Bachelor’s degree programs in education typically take full-time students four years to complete.

Top Colleges for Online Master’s Degrees in Education

Students seeking online master’s degrees in education usually choose at least one specialization and may focus on a particular level of education, such as adult education or elementary, middle or secondary school. Some states require middle and high school teachers to obtain a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification and obtaining a job. Master’s degrees in education often focus more on educational theory and can be available completely online. Master’s degrees typically take between one to two years of full-time study to complete.

While many individuals with education degrees end up in front of a classroom, that’s not the only potential career path. To give you an idea of what you can do with an online education degree and see what jobs are projected to be in demand in the near future, we’ve listed the top occupations in education based on projected job openings, employment numbers and average wages based on data from the BLS in the table below.

Occupations In-Demand for EDUCATION-TEACHING
Job Openings
Median Salary
Typical Entry Level Education
Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English as a Second Language Instructors6,60054,350Bachelor's degree
Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary1,20083,260Doctoral or professional degree
Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary80087,900Doctoral or professional degree
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary1,20077,070Doctoral or professional degree
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary11,10069,530Master's degree
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary1,20092,040Doctoral or professional degree
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary6,40083,300Doctoral or professional degree
Business Teachers, Postsecondary11,20087,200Doctoral or professional degree
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School90060,800Bachelor's degree
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Postsecondary9,80054,620Bachelor's degree
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School5,60061,710Bachelor's degree
Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary2,40079,550Doctoral or professional degree
Communications Teachers, Postsecondary3,20070,630Doctoral or professional degree
Computer Science Teachers, Postsecondary3,60085,180Doctoral or professional degree
Economics Teachers, Postsecondary1,500104,370Doctoral or professional degree
Education Administrators, All Other4,20085,450Bachelor's degree
Education Administrators, Kindergarten through Secondary22,90096,400Master's degree
Education Administrators, Postsecondary16,80095,410Master's degree
Education Teachers, Postsecondary7,40065,510Doctoral or professional degree
Education and Childcare Administrators, Preschool and Daycare5,80048,210Bachelor's degree
Educational Instruction and Library Workers, All Other12,00040,310Bachelor's degree
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education112,40059,670Bachelor's degree
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary7,30068,490Doctoral or professional degree
Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary20076,480Master's degree
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary3,00069,990Doctoral or professional degree
Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary20085,450Doctoral or professional degree
Health Education Specialists8,00055,220Bachelor's degree
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary29,40097,320Doctoral or professional degree
History Teachers, Postsecondary2,40075,170Doctoral or professional degree
Instructional Coordinators18,60066,290Master's degree
Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education14,30056,850Bachelor's degree
Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary50071,410Doctoral or professional degree
Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary5,30073,690Doctoral or professional degree
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education48,30059,660Bachelor's degree
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary7,70074,600Master's degree
Philosophy and Religion Teachers, Postsecondary3,10075,240Doctoral or professional degree
Physics Teachers, Postsecondary1,60089,590Doctoral or professional degree
Political Science Teachers, Postsecondary1,90085,930Doctoral or professional degree
Postsecondary Teachers, All Other19,90068,970Doctoral or professional degree
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education58,10030,520Associate's degree
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary4,80076,620Doctoral or professional degree
Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary1,80064,380Doctoral or professional degree
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education80,30061,660Bachelor's degree
Social Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary, All Other1,70071,530Doctoral or professional degree
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary1,50072,070Doctoral or professional degree
Sociology Teachers, Postsecondary1,60075,290Doctoral or professional degree
Special Education Teachers, All Other3,20061,190Bachelor's degree
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School14,50060,460Bachelor's degree
Special Education Teachers, Middle School6,80061,440Bachelor's degree
Special Education Teachers, Preschool2,10060,000Bachelor's degree
Special Education Teachers, Secondary School11,30061,710Bachelor's degree
Teaching Assistants, Postsecondary14,90032,080Bachelor's degree

Methodologies and Sources

To be included in our rankings for the top colleges for online degrees in education by degree level all colleges had to meet the following 4 requirements:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16
  • Have reported data for all 19 ranking variables for associate/bachelor’s and 11 ranking variables for master’s (listed below)

We then ranked colleges and universities in the United States that fit our criteria, using 2016-17 data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the weights specified. The final totals were:

  • 152 colleges for online associate degree in education
  • 117 colleges for online bachelor’s degree in education
  • 495 colleges for online master’s degree in education

We then scored the final list of colleges by degree level on a 100-point scale using these specific data points:

Associate/Bachelor’s

  1. Associate’s/Bachelor’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Ratio of undergraduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
  3. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  4. Retention rate
  5. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  6. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
  7. Student-to-faculty ratio
  8. Variety of Programs, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  9. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  10. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Prepaid, Other)
  11. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
  12. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)

Master’s

    1. Master’s Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
    2. Ratio of graduate students participating fully or partially in Distance Education to Total Enrollment
    3. Average in-state tuition for graduates
    4. Credit offerings (Life, Military)
    5. Services (Academic/Career Counseling, Placement for Completers)
    6. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Other)
    7. Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media

Methodology Sources

        • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

      • Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/adult-literacy-and-ged-teachers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Are You Considering a Doctoral Degree?, Kappa Delta Pi, http://www.kdp.org/resources/pdf/careercenter/Considering_a_Doctoral_Degree.pdf accessed October 2018
      • Benefits of Early Childhood Education and Care and the conditions for obtaining them, European Expert Network on Economics of Education (EENEE), 2018, https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/14194adc-fc04-11e7-b8f5-01aa75ed71a1/language-en
      • Career: Education Administrators, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/management-education-administrators, accessed October 2018
      • Career: Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers, Big Future, The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/education-museum-work-library-science-elementary-middle-high-school-teachers, accessed October 2018
      • Coaches and Scouts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/coaches-and-scouts.htm, accessed September 2018
      • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm, accessed October 2018
      • High School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • High School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
      • Historical Trends and Emerging Issues in Teacher Education Programs in the United States, 2016, https://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/ced_fac/241/
      • Instructional Coordinators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Middle School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Preschool Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education: 2017 National Education Technology Plan Update, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education, 2017, https://tech.ed.gov/files/2017/01/NETP17.pdf
      • Teacher Quality Partnership Grants, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), https://aacte.org/policy-and-advocacy/federal-policy-and-legislation/435-teacher-quality-partnership-grants, accessed October 2018
      • The changing landscape of early childhood education: Implications for policy and practice, Early Childhood Education Journal, 46(3), 249-264, 2018, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317758064_The_Changing_Landscape_of_Early_Childhood_Education_Implications_for_Policy_and_Practice
      • The Condition of Education 2018 (NCES 2018-144). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2018/2018144.pdf
      • Training and Development Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/training-and-development-specialists.htm, accessed October 2018
      • Transition to Teaching, Office of Innovation and Improvement, https://innovation.ed.gov/what-we-do/teacher-quality/transition-to-teaching/, accessed October 2018
      • Using new skills and technology to empower teachers and the future workforce, Microsoft, 2018, https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/industry-blog/en-gb/industry/education/using-new-skills-and-technology-to-empower-teachers-and-the-future-workforce/
      • World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise, World Bank, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018, http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2018
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
Methodologies and Sources