2015 Top Online Colleges for Education Degrees

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These 15 NCATE-accredited institutions are some of the most selective online colleges offering education programs in the nation, like the University of Southern California and George Washington University. Low acceptance rates, coupled with accreditation from the premier accrediting agency for teacher preparation, make them competitive options for students seeking an online graduate education degree.

These schools boast accolades beyond selectivity, such as the University of South Florida, named a top tier research university by the Carnegie Foundation. Additionally, many institutions offer a wide variety of online education degree specializations. Georgia Southern University offers 10 master’s degrees and 9 certificates, including a Secondary Education M.Ed.

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All ranked programs have NCATE accreditation
Rank College Annual Tuition Education Degree Levels Offered Online Education Degrees
#1 #1 University of Southern California Annual Tuition $49,464 Education Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 10
#2 #2 George Washington University Annual Tuition $15,200 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 15
#3 #3 University of Florida Annual Tuition $16,580 Education Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 13
#4 #4 North Carolina State University Annual Tuition $10,710 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 18
#5 #5 Stony Brook University Annual Tuition $22,210 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 3
#6 #6 University of Georgia Annual Tuition $27,574 Education Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 18
#7 #7 University of South Florida - Main Campus Annual Tuition $17,105 Education Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 22
#8 #8 Florida State University Annual Tuition $26,657 Education Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 17
#9 #9 University of Connecticut Annual Tuition $26,397 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 7
#10 #10 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Annual Tuition $18,054 Education Degrees: Bachelor's and Master's Online Education Degrees 15
#11 #11 Purdue University - Main Campus Annual Tuition $22,405 Education Degrees: Master's and Doctoral Online Education Degrees 5
#12 #12 Georgia Southern University Annual Tuition $7,380 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 21
#13 #13 Fordham University Annual Tuition $29,772 Education Degrees: Master's Online Education Degrees 1
#14 #14 University of Houston Annual Tuition $16,259 Education Degrees: Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate Online Education Degrees 15
#15 #15 Webster University Annual Tuition $19,965 Education Degrees: Master's and Certificate Online Education Degrees 25
1
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC, CEA, and NCATE

The University of Southern California offers 122 online degrees to more than 4,120 distance learning students. With a graduation rate of 91% and an annual tuition of $49,464, this school provides some of the most well-rounded online education degrees in the country. Students can earn either a Gifted Education Credential or a Special Education Credential, and an M.Ed. is available in School Leadership, Learning Design and Technology, or Teacher Leadership. Online graduate students can also pursue a Ed.D. at the doctorate level. Coursework includes Learning and Motivation, Instructional Design, Human Lifespan Development, Creating Communities of Interest, Assessment and Evaluation, Design of Learning Environments, and Media Selection and Evaluation. Students taking online education classes can also take advantage of web-based seminars from the school's career services as well as job placement assistance, resume and cover letter support, and networking events.

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2
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE and NCATE

George Washington University offers 149 different online degrees to more than 2,454 distance learners. The annual tuition of $15,200 is average for online education degrees, and students can choose from several certificates and master's programs. Financial aid and scholarships are available to help pay for the cost of an online education degree. Instructional Design, Bilingual Special Education, E-Learning, and Transition Special Education are all offered at the certificate level, and master's degrees include an M.A. in Education and Human Development. Students can expect to complete coursework involving research, data, and theory-driven best practices for teaching, job placement and ethical standards, and classes dedicated to understanding and addressing the learning, social, language, and cultural needs of a variety of students.

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3
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC, CEA, and NCATE

Approximately 4,900 students enroll in an online program at the University of Florida each year. The school is military-friendly and offers special discounts and exceptional benefits to active duty and veterans. However, interested students should check with the Bursar's office to verify that they are eligible to receive military discounts. Students pursuing an online education degree at this school can expect to pay approximately $16,580 in tuition per year, but the cost of learning can be offset via scholarships and other forms of financial aid. The school offers online education programs at the certificate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate levels, and courses include Educational Organization and Administration, Educational Leadership, Principalship, Public School Finance, Technology Leadership, and Leading Change. Students enrolled in an online education program at the University of Florida are prepared to sit for the Florida Educational Leadership Examination. In addition to building the skills necessary to succeed in a career in education, the M.Ed. program includes support for practicing school leaders, a FL DOE-required field experience, and mentoring for all distance learners.

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4
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

North Carolina State University offers 13 flexible distance education degrees that can be completed online. Students can pursue a Master of Education in several concentrations, including Training and Development, Science Education, Industrial Technology, and Curriculum and Instruction, among others. Professional Development, Advanced Instructional Strategies and Technological Tools are among the courses studied. The average yearly tuition for an online student is $10,710, making it one of the more affordable distance programs in the U.S. Military members can take advantage of several programs and discounts to help offset the cost of tuition.

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5
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE and NCATE

Stony Brook University offers three online education degrees: a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, and a Post-Master's Advanced Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership. With a recommendation rate of 100% and a low net tuition price of $22,210 per year, this institution is one of the most popular in the country for online education degrees. The M.A. online degree requires 30 credit hours to complete, including a 15-credit core requirement, and explores college and university administration, academic affairs, and student affairs. In addition, students have the option to participate in an experiential learning course that includes a master's project. The Advanced Graduate Certificate includes 18 credit hours, and students are prepared for roles as administrators in higher education institutions. It is important to note that, unlike other online colleges that require students to meet in-person for testing or orientations, distance learners at Stony Brook are never required to come to the school's campus.

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6
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

The University of Georgia's online education programs are recognized and accredited by the SACS COC and NCATE. While the annual tuition of $27,574 is slightly higher than other online institutions, students may be entitled to receive financial aid, grants, loans, or scholarships to help offset the cost of seeking an online degree at this school. The university also accepts tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement from employers. Those seeking an online education degree can choose from a B.S. in Special Education or an M.Ed. in concentrations such as Adult Education, Music Education, and Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education. Students can expect a course sequence that includes program planning, research, evaluation, training design and delivery, reflective practice, and classes geared toward the population with whom the student will be working.

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7
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

The University of South Florida offers degrees at the master’s and doctorate levels to its 47,965 students, 5,503 of whom pursue their education online. The school was founded in 1956 and continues to provide a flexible, fully-online distance education program. The school is military-friendly, and members may enjoy additional benefits such as credits for military training, personal support advisors and more. Doctorate degrees include a PhD in Career and Workforce Education and an Ed.S in Curriculum and Instruction. For those pursuing a master’s degree, the school offers several, including a M.A. in Adult Education, an M.A. in Reading K-12, and more.

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8
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

Florida State University offers several online education degrees at the certificate and master's levels that are accredited by the SACS COC and NCATE. Students earning an online degree in the education sector can expect to pay an annual tuition of $26,657, and financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans. Online graduate studies include an MS in Special Education Studies, Learning and Cognition, Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies, or Educational Leadership/Administration. Core courses for the Educational Leadership certificate include Leadership and Change, Leadership Theory and Practice, Leadership and Complexity, and Leadership Experience. Other available courses include Positive Behavior Support and Teaming With Families, Schools, and the Community. With a recommendation rate of 100%, Florida State University is more positively reviewed than most other online educational institutions.

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9
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NEAS CIHE, CEA, and NCATE

As of 2015, over 300 of the more than 31,000 students attending the University of Connecticut are pursuing online graduate degrees or certificates across the U.S. The average tuition for online programs is same for both in-state and out-of state students, ranging from $750 to $825 per one graduate course credit. Students can apply for need-based financial aid, scholarships, loans, and grants to help offset the cost of tuition. Graduate degree programs at the Neag School of Education at University of Connecticut include a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology (concentration on Gifted and Talented Education) and a Master of Arts degree in Education. Students pursuing an online graduate certificate program in education can consider the following areas of focus: Gifted Education and Talent Development, School Law, Program Evaluation, and Postsecondary Disability Services.

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10
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers 22 online degrees to more than 575 distance learners. The school is regionally recognized and accredited by the SACS COC and NCATE. In addition, the $18,054 annual tuition for an online education degree is more affordable after financial aid and scholarships than many other comparable online schools. Military students may also be eligible to receive tuition discounts and other benefits for their service. Students can earn a B.A. in Elementary Education or an M.Ed. in Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Instructional Technology, or Curriculum, Instruction, Supervision. Courses in leadership, advocacy, policy, language, and literacy can be expected, and students can take advantage of lab tutoring and educator support if needed.

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11
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and NCATE

Students can choose from 50 different online degrees at Purdue University - Main Campus, including a Cohort Doctoral Program in Educational Administration, an online M.S.Ed. in Learning Design and Technology, and an online M.S.Ed. in Special Education. The annual tuition for one of these distance learning degrees is $22,405 per year, making Purdue University one of the most affordable online colleges in the country. Students also have access to the school's Center for Literacy Education and Research, and courses will prepare students for roles as teachers or administrators in a variety of educational settings. In addition, students may enroll in a master's program as "license only" if they currently have a valid master's degree from another accredited school. All courses are mapped to the standards of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration.

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12
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and NCATE

Georgia Southern University offers a significant number of graduate degrees in education, including 10 master's degrees and 9 certificates. These degrees cover areas such as special education, curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, educational leadership, middle grades education, instructional technology, and more. The tuition itself is one of the most affordable in the nation and can cost an out-of-state graduate student approximately $7,300. When taking into consideration the available financial aid and assistance programs, students pay a tuition amount that is less than many comparable colleges that offer similar online degrees.

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13
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE and NCATE

Fordham University is regionally accredited by the MSCHE, and its School of Education is recognized by the NCATE. The non-profit institution is military friendly and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program in addition to offering several other benefits for military families, veterans and active-duty servicemen and women. While the school’s tuition is slightly more expensive than other comparable institutions at $29,772, its financial aid program is highly rated, and many students take advantage of tuition assistance in addition to scholarships and other forms of aid. The school offers a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Education. This degree has a concentration in Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

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14
  • Annual Tuition:
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC, CEA, and NCATE

The annual tuition for an online education degree at the University of Houston hovers around $16,259. The school is accredited by the SACS COC, NCATE, and CEA, and students can choose from nine online education programs, including a certificate in Integrating Innovative Technology in Health Science Education. Master's degrees are also offered such as an M.Ed. in Special Education, Administration and Supervision - Higher Education, and Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood, Health Science, or Mathematics Education. Coursework for students includes core classes such as education in a multicultural society, human growth and development, and student development. Most degrees can be completed in two years so long as the school's 30-hour plan is followed. Students will develop skills in scholarly research writing, curriculum implementation, evaluation, and presentation.

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15
  • Annual Tuition:
  • n School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NCACSTHLC and NCATE

Webster University offers eight online education degrees to students across the country. The annual tuition for such a program is around $19,965. To help pay for the cost of a degree, the school offers many types of scholarships and other forms of financial aid that can help cover the cost of tuition. Available online degrees include an Ed.S. certificate in School Systems, Superintendency and Leadership as well as an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership or an Ed.S. in Educational Technology Leadership. Master's degrees include MA's in Communication Arts, Teaching English as a Second Language, Education and Innovation, and Social Science Education as well as a MET in Educational Technology. Students are also able to combine a certificate Ed.S. program with a master's degree and should consult with an advisor to determine the requirements and certifications necessary to do so. All coursework is based upon the requirements as stated by the NCATE, ELCC, ISLLC, and DESE.

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Methodology

Available degrees, program data, and tuition rates were gathered from the official school websites and reflect the 2014-2015 school year. Accreditation and non-profit status were collected using the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics or from the official websites of the accreditation agencies. Our full methodology can be viewed here.

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Our tuition numbers reflect data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.