25 Best Master's in Education Degrees 2020

Ranking Badge

We ranked the top 25 schools by median salary one year after graduation for students with a Master's Degree in Education. With a median starting salary of $72,100, California State University-Dominguez Hills tops the list. California State University-Bakersfield offers the lowest median debt, at $13,667. Students who graduated with a Master's Degree in Education from one of these schools had median starting salaries between $56,500 and $72,100.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 California State University-Dominguez Hills $17,880 $20,500 $72,100
#2 #2 University of San Diego $27,066 $31,706 $69,300
#3 #3 Brandman University $12,080 $20,735 $68,900
#4 #4 California State University-Bakersfield $18,247 $13,667 $65,500
#5 #5 University of Michigan-Flint $16,704 $40,544 $64,100
#6 #6 $18,291 $20,500 $62,700
#7 #7 $17,921 $20,500 $62,400
#8 #8 $51,354 $27,840 $62,000
#9 #9 $18,081 Not Reported $61,600
#10 #10 $11,520 $36,590 $60,500
#11 #11 $18,736 $26,034 $59,700
#12 #12 $17,687 $23,250 $59,600
#13 #13 $28,881 $32,198 $59,200
#14 #14 $17,362 $41,000 $58,900
#15 #15 $14,130 $28,526 $58,700
#16 #16 $18,651 $17,500 $58,500
#17 #17 $15,480 $31,075 $58,400
#18 #18 $18,010 $25,197 $58,300
#19 #19 $14,532 $16,374 $57,400
#20 #20 $28,686 $24,500 $57,300
#21 #21 $15,420 $16,000 $57,100
#22 #22 $24,548 $15,901 $57,000
#23 #23 $24,547 Not Reported $56,900
#24 #24 $9,330 $28,931 $56,500
#25 #25 $20,724 $38,036 $55,500

2020 Best Master's Program Highlights

Median Debt
$20,500
Median Salary
$72,100

The Master's in Education program at California State University-Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is a School Leadership Program has several options for students to choose from, including Curriculum and Instruction, Science Education Emphasis, Multicultural, Reading, Technology Based Education, an Individualized Program for qualified candidates, and a School Leadership Program with a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential.

The master's program is designed with a focus on transforming schools in California, especially underperforming urban schools that are struggling to recruit and retain dedicated, qualified teachers. In order to be admitted, individuals must be credentialed teachers with at least four years of full-time teaching experience. Core courses include Research Methods in Education, Socio-Cultural Issues in Education, and a seminar in Learning and Development. Beyond that, core courses are specific to the student's chosen emphasis. For example, students in the Curriculum and Instruction track might take Process of Curriculum Development, whereas those pursuing the Multicultural emphasis might take Bilingual-Multicultural Teaching Methods. CSUDH also offers a Higher Education Administration and Leadership certificate for working professionals seeking advanced training and knowledge in higher education administration and leadership.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, three letters of recommendation, and completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement within the first semester. Certain tracks may require a written “Statement of Purpose.”

Visit the California State University-Dominguez Hills website.

Median Debt
$31,706
Median Salary
$69,300

At the School of Leadership and Education Sciences at the University of San Diego, all programs are approved by the California Teaching Commission. The school offers a unique dual credential program that meets state requirements for teaching both general education and mild to moderate special education. No parallel courses are required, and graduates leave the program with their choice of one or both credentials in addition to their Master's of  Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

Within each credential track, students can choose either a multiple-subject focus for grades K-6, a single-subject focus for grades 7-12, or a mild to moderate special education focus, all while completing the program in two years. Core courses, such as Methods for Language & Literacy, Educational Psychology, Diversity, Inclusion & Schooling, Equity & Advocacy in Educational Systems, and Technology & Learning are taken with a cohort. Students are also given four Clinical Experience Placements by the Field Experience Office. Students are placed in urban schools with diverse student populations that include students living in poverty, first-generation immigrants, English learners, students with special needs, and students at risk. 

Applicants must submit transcripts, at least two letters of recommendation, a current resume or curriculum vitae, and a statement of purpose. Applicants must also pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test and the California Subject Examination for Teachers. International applicants must also complete an English Proficiency Exam, but this requirement can be waived if the applicant’s primary language is English, or they obtained their bachelor's degree in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, or Australia.

Visit University of San Diego's website.

Median Debt
$20,735
Median Salary
$68,900

Brandman University’s Masters of Arts in Education program emphasizes Teaching and Learning, and is designed to develop students’ ability to become a mentor, curriculum leader, or college-level instructor. Though the program is only available to California residents, it is offered in both hybrid and online formats. In order to be admitted to the program, applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation, meet a GPA requirement, and provide official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution. They must also already have teaching credentials or a year of induction completed through an approved program.

Individuals with a California multiple- or single-subject professional clear credential may choose to transfer 12 credits towards the degree. Core courses include Research and Evaluation Methods, Democracy, Education and Social Change, and seminars in Learning Theory, Comparative Education, The Social Foundations of Education, and Curriculum Studies. Students also complete 12 credits in Emphasis Area Elective Courses. 

Other similar master's degrees offered by Brandman University include a Masters of Arts in Education in Curriculum and Instruction Early Childhood Education. The former is designed for those who want to broaden their knowledge as scholar-practitioners, and the latter is for those looking to become an administrator, director, or college instructor of early childhood education programs. Both are also available in hybrid and online forms.

Visit Brandman University's website.

Median Debt
$13,667
Median Salary
$65,500

The Educational Administration program at California State University-Bakersfield is designed to enhance students' ability to address inequality in student achievement and well-being. This program is available to post-baccalaureate teachers or school counselors interested in administrative positions in elementary or public schools. The program emphasizes the principles of visionary, instructional, and ethical leadership. Students will also learn how to analyze data and advance teachers' skills.

The program also prepares students to manage school learning and engage their school communities. All candidates in the program participate in two semesters resulting in qualification for the California Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (PASC). The PASC lasts five years, during which the candidate must obtain a Professional Clear Administrative Services Credential. These credentials allow graduates to pursue administrative positions such as superintendent, associate superintendent, principal, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator, or another equivalent or intermediate level administrative position.

Those interested in earning a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration go through one research-intensive semester the following fall which focuses on addressing real-world problems in educational practice. The program also utilizes a cohort model, allowing students to share core classes such as Educational Statistics, Research Design & Analysis in Education, Visionary Leadership, Leadership Development, and Family and Community Engagement. Students also participate in fieldwork.

Visit California State University-Bakersfield's website.

Median Debt
$40,544
Median Salary
$64,100

The University of Michigan-Flint’s Educational Administration program is offered through its Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Students have the opportunity to learn from some of the best administrative talent in the country. Most of the program can be completed online, but there is an on-campus session held on the second Saturday of each month. Part-time students are able to complete the program in just over two years. The program operates under  a small cohort structure. A group of 20 to 30 students complete the program together, allowing them to serve as a support network for personal and professional development.

Students are typically working professionals, and instructors try to incorporate students’ experiences into the coursework. Instructors also delve into current issues, laws, and practices in the workplace. Core courses include Politics, Policy, and Public Administration, Introduction to School Law, Schools and Communities, Curriculum Development, and Grantwriting and Administration. Upon completion, students are eligible for the Michigan Department of Education’s School Administrator Certificate, and may choose to further pursue higher degrees through programs such as the Education Specialist or Doctor of Education offered at UM-Flint.

The program is approved by both the Michigan Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. In order to be admitted, students must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a teaching certificate.

Visit University of Michigan-Flint's website.