2020 Best Online Master's in Education Degree Programs

Ranking Badge

We ranked the top 25 colleges that offer an online Master's Degree in Education, based on the median salary of graduates one year after college. The school with the highest median starting salary for a Master's in Education is the University of San Diego, at $69,300. The college ranked 2nd, California State University – Bakersfield, has the lowest median student debt on the list, at $13,667. The range of median salaries for the top 25 schools is $49,100-$69,300.

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 University of San Diego $27,066 $31,706 $69,300
#2 #2 California State University-Bakersfield $18,247 $13,667 $65,500
#3 #3 University of Michigan-Flint $16,704 $40,544 $64,100
#4 #4 California State University-East Bay $17,921 $20,500 $62,400
#5 #5 University of Washington - Seattle $28,881 $32,198 $59,200
#6 #6 $14,130 $28,526 $58,700
#7 #7 $18,651 $17,500 $58,500
#8 #8 $15,480 $31,075 $58,400
#9 #9 $15,420 $16,000 $57,100
#10 #10 $18,262 $40,927 $54,700
#11 #11 $28,794 $29,307 $54,200
#12 #12 $18,525 $29,351 $53,900
#13 #13 $16,376 $28,600 $53,700
#14 #14 $27,511 $29,347 $52,800
#15 #15 $18,513 $20,500 $52,600
#16 #16 $12,175 $20,500 $52,500
#17 #17 $11,700 $23,010 $52,400
#18 #18 $10,455 $33,966 $52,400
#19 #19 $20,500 Not Reported $51,600
#20 #20 $6,120 $28,184 $51,500
#21 #21 $16,360 $32,755 $51,400
#22 #22 $9,000 $15,500 $50,900
#23 #23 $42,085 $20,500 $50,900
#24 #24 $21,488 $26,000 $49,200
#25 #25 $19,414 Not Reported $49,100

2020 Best Online Master's Program Highlights

Learn more about the top five colleges for an online Master's in Education degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

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

The University of San Diego offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program that helps support prospective educators by helping them develop the skills they need to enhance their teaching. The M.Ed. degree's program goals focus on the following topics: 21st-century skills, classroom inquiry, equity and social justice, and a professional response to the Common Core Standards. The University of San Diego provides its students with financial aid support, scholarships and grants, and the option to transfer credits/units of graduate coursework. The university has earned regional and national accreditations that include the WASC Senior College and University Commission and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

There are a number of specializations that students can choose courses from, including STEAM, Inclusive Learning: Special Education and Universal Design, Literacy and Digital Learning, Curriculum and Instruction, and School Leadership. Core courses include Social Justice and Educational Equity, Cognition and Learning, Educational Research Methodology, Qualitative Methods in Educational Research, and a final Capstone Seminar. Career options for graduates of the M.Ed. program include becoming special education teachers, college or university professors, school or career counselors, principals or administrators, instruction specialists, and curriculum developers.

Visit the University of San Diego's website.

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

California State University – Bakersfield offers a fully online MA in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. The program helps students develop the leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills that will allow them to succeed as educators. The flexible online format allows students to schedule courses for their own convenience, and the average completion time for this degree is one year. All faculty members are industry experts with doctorate degrees, and will be available to provide support.

To be eligible for admission, students must already have a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college or university, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester units of all coursework. Additionally, applicants must already possess valid teaching credentials. Core courses include Research Methods for Educational Leaders, Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, Educational Leadership, and Curriculum Development and Transformation. There are also a number of advanced courses for students to choose from, including Common Core Standardized Testing, Young Adult Literature & the Community, Foundations of K-12 Integrated STEM Education, and Cultural Perspectives in Today’s Classrooms. The culminating activity for this master's degree is a Master's Exam in Curriculum and Instruction.

Visit California State University – Bakersfield's website.

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

The MA in Literacy Education program at the University of Michigan – Flint is a flexible online degree that is relevant for current and future education professionals. The program has two tracks: a certification track that caters specifically to certified educators who plan on becoming endorsed literacy specialist or literacy coaches, and a non-certification track that is geared toward those who wish to become leaders in a variety of different educational settings. While the certification track requires 36 credits and the non-certification track only requires 30, both programs require a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 and a passing score in all courses for completion.

Regardless of track, the Literacy Education program requires students to complete 9 credits of prerequisite courses and 18 credits of additional literacy courses. Example literacy courses include: Teaching English Language Learners in the K-12 Classroom, Literacy Assessment in Elementary/Middle School, and Reading and Writing Development/Research and the Construction of Meaning. The non-certification track only requires students to choose one of two literature-based courses: Children's Literature or Adolescent Literature. The certification track requires three completed elective courses, with options such as Folklore and Storytelling, First Language Acquisition, Multicultural Children's Literature, and Writing for Middle and Secondary School Teachers.

Visit the University of Michigan – Flint's website.

Median Debt
$20,500
Median Salary
$62,400

California State University – East Bay's fully online MS in Education with a concentration in Online Teaching and Learning (MSEd-OTL) aims to provide students with the educational background and real-world training to thrive as an instructional designer or specialist in the online education space. The flexible format is designed to support working professionals who are able to define the pace at which they complete the degree.

The MSEd-OTL program opens the doors to a variety of different career fields, including university, K-12, community college, technical support, curriculum design, and other fields and industries that require design, development, implementation, and teaching services. Several of the most important program learning outcomes include understanding and applying recent online teaching techniques and effectively applying knowledge of learning differences and disabilities.

A few of the required courses include Technology Tools for Online Instruction, Designing Curriculum for Online Instruction, and History and Culture of Online Learning Communities. Students are also required to choose two elective courses, one theoretical and one methodological, as part of the degree requirements. Theoretical electives include Content Development for Online Learning, Supervising and Evaluating Online Teaching, and Current Issues in Online Learning. Methodological electives include Building the Online Environment, Creating Digital Media for Online Instruction, Designing and Implementing User Interfaces for Online Instruction, and Providing Interactivity in the Online Environment. To complete the degree students must complete a capstone project that involves developing an online course.

Visit California State University – East Bay's website.

Median Debt
$32,198
Median Salary
$59,200

The University of Washington offers an online Master of Education in Special Education: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program that will support those who are hoping to pursue a career in education as a behavior analysis professional. This program will prepare students for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board exam. Though the program is fully online, it is designed to create an environment where students are still able to interact and work collaboratively with professors and peers. The online format also allows students the flexibility to work the classes into their schedules and, depending on their desired pace, complete the class over two or three years. Applicants are expected to already have experience working with people with disabilities. Additionally, prospective students should have at least six months of direct Applied Behavior Analysis experience, working as either a teacher or paraeducator applying ABA techniques and methodologies.

Required courses for the ABA program include Concepts and Principles of ABA, History and Philosophy of ABA, Designing Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions, and Ethics and Professionalism in ABA. The University of Washington allows students who have previously completed required coursework at other institutions to transfer some credits with faculty approval. Additional coursework to earn a M.Ed in Special Education includes courses on autism and behavior analysts in schools, along with a Capstone project. The Capstone project is completed across a year with faculty advisor support. Completed projects are presented at the end of spring quarter at an annual Student Capstone Conference.

Visit the University of Washington – Seattle's website.

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