2020 Most Affordable Online Master's in Education

By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/22/2021
2020 Most Affordable Education Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 3/22/2021

The following is a list of colleges offering the most affordable online master’s in education programs. Some are master’s in teaching degrees for educators who want to learn tools and best practices in the classroom. Others are master’s in education degrees that cover curriculum development and administrative responsibilities. Both degrees will enhance graduates’ skills and may result in better career opportunities. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, 88% of school districts across the U.S. offer higher salaries for those with master’s degrees. To help you determine which program might be right for you, we ranked the 25 most affordable colleges offering master's in education programs. We’ve also included information about getting a master's online and the importance of accreditation, as well as the cost of a degree.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online bachelor's in education degrees. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Buena Vista University $3,500
# 2 #2 Midway University $3,750
# 3 #3 Dickinson State University $3,936
# 4 #4 Valdosta State University $4,102
# 5 #5 Fitchburg State University $4,140
# 6 #6 Northeastern State University $4,267
# 7 #7 Framingham State University $4,420
# 8 #8 Strayer University $4,480
# 9 (tie) #9 (tie) California Coast University $4,485
# 9 (tie) #9 (tie) Campbellsville University $4,485
# 11 #11 Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses $4,500
# 12 #12 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus $4,671
# 13 #13 Missouri State University $4,720
# 14 #14 West Texas A&M University $4,723
# 15 #15 University of the Cumberlands $4,725
# 16 #16 Evangel University $4,800
# 17 #17 Fort Hays State University $4,891
# 18 #18 Eastern Illinois University $4,904
# 19 #19 Arkansas Tech University $4,932
# 20 #20 Mississippi College $4,968
# 21 #21 Adams State University $5,025
# 22 #22 Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville $5,097
# 23 #23 University of New Mexico $5,155
# 24 #24 Georgia College & State University $5,184
# 25 #25 Minot State University $5,366
#1
#1

Buena Vista University

Storm Lake (IA)
Annual Tuition: $3,500
Annual Tuition: $3,500
Annual Tuition: $3,500

Buena Vista University offers three online master’s degrees in education, each with one or more optional specializations: a Master of Science in Education, a Master of Education in Special Education, and a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction. The Master of Education programs are entirely online and asynchronous, requiring 30-45 credit hours to graduate. Both Master of Science in educational counseling programs involve synchronous courses, and they require the completion... of 60 credits, including at least two one-week summer residencies, to graduate. The curriculum for each of the three degree programs is designed for working professionals who want to advance their careers in elementary, middle school, and high school education.

Distance learning students at Buena Vista use the Canvas online learning platform to access course materials, submit assignments, and engage in discussions with peers and faculty. Federal financial aid is available for online graduate students, and 100% of Buena Vista students who file for financial aid receive it. Students can take advantage of academic advisors, the library, tech support, and other resources. Graduates automatically become members of the alumni association, and continue to have access to the school’s job planning and placement services on an ongoing basis.

Prospective students are not required to take the GRE or any other standardized exams before submitting their applications online. Applicants must submit official transcripts and other documentation with their application forms.

  • Online Degrees: 11
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 750
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 152
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (712) 749-2400

Example Classes: Assessment & Evaluation of Classroom Learning, Cognition and Instruction: Research Based Instructional Strategies, Collaborating with Home, School & Community Partners, Effective Coaching and Instructional Design, Leadership in a Changing Society and Culture, Learning, Development & Motivation

#2
#2

Midway University

Midway (KY)
Annual Tuition: $3,750
Annual Tuition: $3,750
Annual Tuition: $3,750

Midway University offers a 30-credit, online Master of Education degree with a concentration in teacher leadership. Enrollees can also select an environment education endorsement in environmental science or an environment education endorsement across the curriculum. Designed for working professionals to complete in two years, the program focuses on building leadership skills and teaching expertise. The curriculum enables students to meet advanced-level teaching standards for the State of Kentucky,... and prepares them for careers as teachers, curriculum specialists, and administrators.

Canvas is the learning management system used by Midway students to access course readings and other materials, homework assignments, and discussion boards. Online education classes have an average 17:1 student-to-instructor ratio. Incoming students may be able to transfer in up to six credits of graduate-level coursework from other accredited institutions. Online graduate students may be eligible for federal financial aid and state-sponsored grants, and 98% of Midway’s student body receives some form of financial assistance. Academic support is provided in the form of one-on-one or small-group tutoring sessions, and students and alumni also have access to the career services center.

Interested students should create an online account to submit their applications, official transcripts, and other documentation. They are encouraged to contact enrollment advisors with any questions before applying.

  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Average SATs: 960 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 343
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 212
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (859) 846-4421

Example Classes: Closing the Achievement Gap through Assessment, Evaluation and Data Analysis, Content Area Literacy Instruction and Leadership, Educational Policy and Law for Teacher Leaders, Professional Growth and Development in Teacher Leadership, Teaching for Equity and Justice in Schools through Leadership, Topics and Trends in P-12 Schools

#3
#3
Annual Tuition: $3,936
Annual Tuition: $3,936
Annual Tuition: $3,936

At Dickinson State University, the online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is specifically designed for working professionals and recent bachelor’s degree graduates who are preparing to become secondary school teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. It is not aimed at credentialed teachers seeking an advanced degree. The 34-credit program can be completed in approximately two years, and culminates in a K-12 teaching internship. Courses cover topics such as teaching foundations, curriculum... development, cultural studies, classroom management, and technology in the learning environment.

Online students use Dickinson’s learning management system to take asynchronous courses. Some forms of federal, state, and school-sponsored financial aid are available for MAT students. Graduates become members of the alumni association automatically, and are eligible for benefits and networking opportunities with fellow members across the country.

To apply, prospective students must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applications, official transcripts, and personal statements can be submitted online via the university website.

  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 298
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 15
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (701) 483-2507

Example Classes: Childhood and Adolescent Psychology, Content Area Teaching Strategies, Cultural Diversity in a Complex World, Integrating Technology into the Learning Environment, Theory and Practice of Classroom Management

#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $4,102
Annual Tuition: $4,102
Annual Tuition: $4,102
  • Online Degrees: 23
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 1000 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,131
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,871
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (229) 333-5800

Example Classes: Adult Learning and Development, Electronic Courseware Design and Development, Evaluation of Adult and Career Education Programs, History and Philosophy of Adult and Career Education, Supervision and Mentoring in Adult and Career Education, Vision and Planning for Instructional Technology

#5
#5
Annual Tuition: $4,140
Annual Tuition: $4,140
Annual Tuition: $4,140
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Average SATs: 1000 -1150
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 152
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,097
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (978) 345-2151

Example Classes: Consultation and Collaboration Strategies, Differentiating Content Instruction, Dynamic Perspectives in Education, Formative and Summative Assessment Strategies, Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment, Using Technology to Enhance Student Achievement

#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $4,267
Annual Tuition: $4,267
Annual Tuition: $4,267
  • Online Degrees: 8
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Average SATs: 918 -1123
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,182
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 351
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (918) 456-5511

Example Classes: Advanced Educational Measurements, Cognitive Learning Styles, Fundamentals of Public School Administration and Supervision, Issues in Facilitating Literacy Development, Public School Relations

#7
#7

Framingham State University

Framingham (MA)
Annual Tuition: $4,420
Annual Tuition: $4,420
Annual Tuition: $4,420
  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Average SATs: 960 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 136
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 534
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Phone #: (508) 620-1220

Example Classes: Impact of Technology on Education, Internet for 21st Century Teaching and Learning, Language Development and Communication, Philosophy of Education and Teaching Practice, Systemic Change: Curriculum, Instructional Technology, and Professional Development

#8
#8

Strayer University

Nationwide
Annual Tuition: $4,480
Annual Tuition: $4,480
Annual Tuition: $4,480
  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 41%
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,009
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,021
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE

Example Classes: Adult Learning Theory, Curriculum Design and Development, Diversity in Adult Education, Evaluating School Programs, Instructional Methods, Learning Theories (K-12)

#9
#9
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: DEAC
  • Phone #: (714) 547-9625

Example Classes: Curriculum Design and Evaluation, Ethics in Education, Global Perspectives in Curriculum, Legal Aspects of Education, Models of Teaching, Psychology Applied to Teaching

#9
#9

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville (KY)
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485
  • Online Degrees: 42
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1153
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 529
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 832
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (270) 789-5000 x5000

Example Classes: Digital Age Technology for Teaching and Learning, Empowerment for Teacher Leadership, Formative Assessment & Intervention for All Students, Supervision of Instruction

#11
#11
Annual Tuition: $4,500
Annual Tuition: $4,500
Annual Tuition: $4,500
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 39
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 37
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC

Example Classes: Advanced Reading Instruction Strategies and Practices, Federal Law in Education, Human and Fiscal Resources in Education, Program Planning for Educators, Teaching the Autistic Student, The Trauma-Informed Educator

#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $4,671
Annual Tuition: $4,671
Annual Tuition: $4,671
  • Online Degrees: 20
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Average SATs: 860 -1070
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,693
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 979
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (575) 562-1011

Example Classes: American Curriculum History, Critical Pedagogy in Educational Reform, Principal Dispositional Leadership, School Finance, Special Education Law, Theories of Learning and Motivation

#13
#13

Missouri State University

Springfield (MO)
Annual Tuition: $4,720
Annual Tuition: $4,720
Annual Tuition: $4,720
  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 84%
  • Average SATs: 1018 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 952
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,202
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (417) 836-5000

Example Classes: Digital-Age Learning Environments, Diversity Issues in Literacy & Content Area Instruction, Educational Media Production, Problems in Educational Technology, Selection and Utilization of Educational Technology, Topical Issues in Educational Technology

#14
#14
Annual Tuition: $4,723
Annual Tuition: $4,723
Annual Tuition: $4,723
  • Online Degrees: 8
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 61%
  • Average SATs: 970 -1170
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,315
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,067
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (806) 651-0000

Example Classes: Cross-cultural Counseling, Curriculum History, Reforms and Innovations, Curriculum Theory and Analysis, Educational Leadership and Group Dynamics, Multicultural Education, Service Learning

#15
#15

University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg (KY)
Annual Tuition: $4,725
Annual Tuition: $4,725
Annual Tuition: $4,725
  • Online Degrees: 21
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Acceptance Rate: 74%
  • Average SATs: 995 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,072
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,401
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (606) 549-2200

Example Classes: Advanced Human Behavior Development and Learning, Best Practices for Coaching and Mentoring Teachers, Diversity in a Multicultural Society, Social and Cultural Foundations (Theory and Practice of Multicultural Counseling), Teacher Leader in Professional Learning Communities, Young Adult and Children's Literature

#16
#16

Evangel University

Springfield (MO)
Annual Tuition: $4,800
Annual Tuition: $4,800
Annual Tuition: $4,800
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 203
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 120
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (417) 865-2815

Example Classes: Action Research, Administration of Instructional Programs, Communications for Effective Leadership, Leadership in Elementary and Secondary Curriculum, School Law and Ethics, School Supervision and Improvement

#17
#17
Annual Tuition: $4,891
Annual Tuition: $4,891
Annual Tuition: $4,891
  • Online Degrees: 18
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Acceptance Rate: 89%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 8,608
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,404
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (785) 628-4000

Example Classes: Assessment and Appraisal, Cultural Diversity, Data Analysis and Assessment, Educational Leadership, Linguistics, Literacy Development

#18
#18

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston (IL)
Annual Tuition: $4,904
Annual Tuition: $4,904
Annual Tuition: $4,904
  • Online Degrees: 14
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1110
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 533
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 452
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (217) 581-5000

Example Classes: Content Area Literacy Instruction, Defining and Creating Professional Learning Communities, Educational Technology, High Quality Instruction, Theory Into Practice: History for Educational Practice, Theory Into Practice: Social Foundations for Educational Practice

#19
#19

Arkansas Tech University

Russellville (AR)
Annual Tuition: $4,932
Annual Tuition: $4,932
Annual Tuition: $4,932
  • Online Degrees: 7
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,311
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 534
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (479) 968-0389

Example Classes: Action Research and Data Analysis, Administrative Law, Communication with School and Community, Education and Society: Continuities and Discontinuities, Physical Environment of Schools, Working with the Marginal Performer

#20
#20

Mississippi College

Clinton (MS)
Annual Tuition: $4,968
Annual Tuition: $4,968
Annual Tuition: $4,968
  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Acceptance Rate: 39%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1236
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 225
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 520
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (601) 925-3000

Example Classes: Information Management Dimension of Leadership, Instructional Dimension of Leadership, Project-Based Science Curriculum, Studies in the Teaching of Elementary School Language, Teaching Elementary and Junior High Mathematics, Teaching Skills of Reading and Comprehension

#21
#21

Adams State University

Alamosa (CO)
Annual Tuition: $5,025
Annual Tuition: $5,025
Annual Tuition: $5,025
  • Online Degrees: 7
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 25%
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Average SATs: 870 -1080
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 386
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,041
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (719) 587-7011

Example Classes: 21st Century Education, Curriculum & Assessment, Data-Driven Decision Making, Educating Diverse Learners, Psychology of Teaching & Learning

#22
#22
Annual Tuition: $5,097
Annual Tuition: $5,097
Annual Tuition: $5,097
  • Online Degrees: 10
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Average SATs: 1010 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 591
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 363
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (888) 328-5168

Example Classes: College Student Learning and Development, Design and Development of Online Lessons, Modules, and Courses, Gender and Education, Needs Assessment and Program Evaluation in Instructional Technology, Philosophical-Historical Foundations, Socio-Cultural Foundations

#23
#23

University of New Mexico

Albuquerque (NM)
Annual Tuition: $5,155
Annual Tuition: $5,155
Annual Tuition: $5,155
  • Online Degrees: 6
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Acceptance Rate: 67%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1270
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,761
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 383
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (505) 277-0111

Example Classes: Community Learning as Leadership, Data-Informed Instructional Leadership, Educational Leadership in a Democratic Society, Organizational Change: Theory and Process, Quantitative Methods for Analyzing and Transforming Organizations, The Adult Learner

#24
#24
Annual Tuition: $5,184
Annual Tuition: $5,184
Annual Tuition: $5,184
  • Online Degrees: 9
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Average SATs: 1110 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 18
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 731
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (800) 342-0471

Example Classes: Continuous Improvement, Equity and Differentiation, Management and Compliance, School Improvement/Capstone, Stakeholder Relationships, Support and Removing Barriers

#25
#25
Annual Tuition: $5,366
Annual Tuition: $5,366
Annual Tuition: $5,366
  • Online Degrees: 7
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Average SATs: 920 -1130
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 843
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 143
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (701) 858-3000

Example Classes: Clinical Practice, Consultation and Supervision in SPED, Psychoeducational Aspects of Exceptional Children, Special Education Assessment

Getting an Online Master's in Education


What is the Difference Between a Master of Education and Master of Arts or Science in Teaching?

When deciding whether to go for a master’s degree in the education field, many prospective students also wonder what type of degree they should pursue. The most common offerings are a Master of Education (M.Ed.), a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and a Master of Science in Teaching (MST). Although there are some commonalities among them, there are distinct differences. Many schools have created separate master’s degree programs so that students can focus on the most relevant facets of education that align with their career goals. The following is a comparison of these degree types.

MAT and MST Programs

  • Who They're Designed For: MAT and MST programs are generally designed for educators who envision themselves spending their entire careers in the classroom teaching.
  • Program Length: These programs often take two to three years, and the number of credit hours needed to graduate averages 30-45 credits. As many as one-third of these credits may be devoted to practicums and student teaching assignments where students develop practical skills through hands-on experience.
  • Prerequisites: Applicants may or may not be required to have prior teaching experience before entering an MAT or MST program.
  • Courses: Coursework for an MST may be more heavily focused on teaching skills, pedagogical theory, and methods. MAT coursework may lean more toward honing expertise in teaching a particular discipline, such as math, language arts, or social studies, or on working with a particular student group, such as middle schoolers or special education students. MAT and MST programs both include courses on curriculum development, instructional design, and leadership, which are also typically found in M.Ed. programs.

M.Ed. Programs

  • Who They're Designed For: M.Ed. programs are aimed at educators who want to enhance their teaching skills and are considering taking on other roles in the educational system. These occupations include principals and other administrative positions, learning specialists, and curriculum designers.
  • Program Length: M.Ed. programs usually require the completion of 30-36 credit hours over two years.
  • Prerequisites: Applicants are often required to have some teaching experience before entering a program.
  • Courses: Coursework in an M.Ed. program often explores teaching theory and encourages students to research and analyze education practice. Enrollees may be able to choose an area of concentration that allows them to focus on a particular aspect of K-12 education, such as curriculum design, counseling, or administration.

The Importance of Accreditation

When selecting a college or university for an online education, it’s important to choose one that has been accredited. Accreditation means that a school’s programs, faculty, and student services have been examined and evaluated by an independent agency, and that this agency has determined that the school meets established standards of quality and accountability. All students who want to remain eligible for financial aid, transfer credits from one institution to another, or earn certification or licensure as a teacher must attend an accredited college or university. Students who plan to become educators also need to be enrolled in programs that are recognized by the board of education in the state where they intend to teach.

Online degree programs may be accredited by any one of several different approved agencies. A program may be accredited by one of six authorized regional accrediting boards, by an accrediting board specializing in education programs, or by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. For example, agencies that specialize in accrediting education programs include the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). For a complete list of accrediting agencies and accredited colleges and universities, visit the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) websites.


Common Courses in Online Master’s in Education Programs

The following is a list of online courses that master’s in education students might be required to take in their graduate programs. The course titles vary from school to school, but the core topics remain consistent.

  • Assessment in the Classroom: This course explores tools and methods that fall into the six categories of assessment: diagnostic, formative, summative, ipsative, norm-referenced, and criterion-referenced. Educators learn how to develop, implement, and score various assessments to evaluate students’ levels of learning and comprehension. They will also gain an understanding of the larger role of assessment in determining individual students’ progress as well as shaping the curriculum.
  • Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Contemporary educators have developed many practical skills and effective strategies for creating a classroom where students can thrive. This course shows educators how to demonstrate leadership in the classroom by implementing healthy, high-impact methods for helping students feel safe, supported, and connected. Specific strategies are designed to meet students’ needs, help them feel heard and understood, and build trust among students, while allowing teachers to maintain a sense of order, focus, and control.
  • Curriculum Design: The curriculum for any given course is made up of the content, interactive activities, exercises, and assessment strategies that help students meet the learning objectives for the class. In a course on curriculum design, future teachers learn how to develop an effective curriculum that is appropriate and engaging for their students. They will study the many types, sources, and models of curriculum development, and discover how to map out their chosen curriculum.
  • Educational Policy and Law: Federal, state, and local governments have established laws and policies that govern all levels of education. Teachers and administrators alike need to understand this legislation in order to implement and comply with it. Educators in this course will learn about current policies and laws related to equal education opportunity, gender discrimination, “no child left behind,” charter schools and voucher programs, desegregation, religious conflicts, free speech, and more.
  • Multicultural Studies: One of the primary objectives of today’s classrooms is to eliminate prejudice and engender respect for all people and cultures. This course teaches educators how to create an inclusive environment in the classroom by incorporating content—such as literature and music—from diverse cultures. Course materials also help teachers learn how to build a sense of civic and social responsibility among students.
  • Trends and Issues in Education: Educational researchers and practitioners are continually discovering improvements to methods and practices used in the classroom. Current trends include self-care, blended learning, digital citizenship, and bite-size learning. A course on trends will introduce future educators to the most current thinking in the field and how to apply it in their work. The course is also designed to keep educators abreast of any changes in legislation that could affect their practice.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Learning: From computers to hand-held devices, technology has been shown to increase student engagement and enhance the learning process. Using technology for classroom activities and homework also helps students develop valuable skills. Educators in this hands-on course will discover the many technology resources available to them and how to integrate them effectively into course curriculum.

Cost of an Online Degree


How Much is an Online Master's Degree in Education?

The cost of an online Master of Education (M.Ed.) varies depending on a number of factors. One way to compare program costs is to consider per-credit tuition rates multiplied by the number of credits required to graduate. At the 25 schools we've ranked for offering the most affordable online graduate degrees in education, cost per credit ranges from $250 to $336, and programs require anywhere from 30 to 42 credit hours. At Buena Vista University, our #1 ranked college, the total tuition cost for a 30-credit Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction is $7,500. The same university offers a 42-credit Master of Education in Special Education with a total tuition cost of $10,500. The second college on our list, Midway University, also offers a 30-credit M.Ed. for a total tuition of $7,500. However, when prospective students broaden their school search beyond affordability, they’ll discover other online master’s in education programs with tuition fees totaling $24,000 and higher.

When determining the total cost of earning a graduate degree in education, students may have to factor in other expenses, such as:

  • Books and other supplies
  • Annual and one-time-only fees charged by many schools, such as for application, technology, and graduation fees
  • Interest on a student loan, if that type of financing is needed
  • Childcare, for students who have small children at home
  • Possible transportation and accommodation costs related to visiting the campus for orientation, practicums, workshops, and conferences (required by some programs)

When considering the cost, students may also factor in how much they'll make in the future. According to 2018 data compiled by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the majority of U.S. school districts offer higher salaries for teachers with master’s degrees. The actual amount of additional pay and the lifetime earning potential vary widely depending on the school district, but the wage difference can be substantial. For example, NCTQ data shows that a master’s degree adds an average of $2,760 to a first-year teacher’s salary, and on average that salary advantage grows to $7,358 per year by the time that same teacher reaches the high end of the school district’s pay scale. Over a 20-year career, this could conceivably add up to well over $100,000 in additional wages. When compared to the initial cost of the degree—which could be as little as $11,600—a master’s degree in education offers a healthy return on investment.


How Much Does an Online Master’s Degree in Teaching Cost?

Some of the schools on our list of the most affordable online education degrees offer online master's in teaching programs. The price range for online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degrees or Master of Science in Teaching (MST) degrees varies even more widely than for online master’s in education degrees, mainly because the number of credit hours needed to graduate can range anywhere from 30 to 45 credits, with some programs requiring as many as 60 credits. Students must also factor in additional expenses, such as books, supplies, and various types of fees, to reach the total cost of the degree.

At the #3 ranked college, Dickinson State University, the total tuition fee for a 33-credit Master of Arts in Teaching is $11,088. When prospective students explore other choices beyond these affordable degree options, they’ll find online MAT programs at much higher tuition rates. Johns Hopkins University, for example, offers an online Master of Arts in Teaching Writing, which carries a total tuition cost of $30,735.


Funding an Online Master's in Education Program

All Online Graduate Students: Distance learning students pursuing master’s degrees have a variety of options when it comes to funding their online education. The preferred choices are financial aid sources that don’t have to be paid back, such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships. Some online students may also be able to land teaching assistantships or other work-study programs at the college or university they attend or at affiliated locations. Graduate students have the option of obtaining federally funded loans or private loans from banks, although these must be paid back with interest over time. To determine what type of aid is available, students should begin by filling out and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Master's in Education Students: There are also many opportunities expressly designed for master’s in education students. Some are available to all teachers, while others may be designated specifically for teachers who are working with a particular age group or subject matter, such as biology, art, or English. For example, the federal TEACH grant provides up to $4,000 per year for students planning to teach high school students in low-income areas, while the Nancy Larson Foundation funds students who plan to become elementary school teachers. Additionally, some school districts provide full or partial tuition reimbursement for credentialed teachers who want to go back for a graduate degree in education. (Teachers can contact their school districts directly for more information on tuition reimbursement for graduate degrees.)