If you’re interested in working in a teaching profession, but don’t yet have a degree, you may have thought about an online degree program. There are a lot of reasons why people choose an online program for their first, second, or even third degree.

Attending school online gives you the ability to make your own schedule, study at your own pace, and even maintain a full-time job while continuing your education. This flexibility allows you to keep your working life on track as you pursue your education, which can be extremely beneficial when it comes to taking the next step in your career.

It’s estimated that there are currently 3.074 million elementary and secondary school teachers working today. If you’re hoping to break into an educational or teaching profession in the United States, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree, and in most states, you’ll need a valid teaching certificate. Typically, teachers with higher levels of education are compensated accordingly. In fact, the national median annual salary as of 2017 was $58,780. If you’d like to improve your salary expectations, build your knowledge base so you can shift your specialty, or increase your chances of getting a promotion, going back to school for a post-graduate degree is a great idea.

Here are some of the best schools that offer online teaching degree programs.

1. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University, whose physical campus is located in Huntsville, Texas, is considered the top online school for teaching degrees in the United States by Best College Reviews. They offer several Master of Education (MEd) programs through their College of Education that allow students to focus their attention on a certain area of education. Students can obtain an MEd degree in Counseling, Instructional Leadership, Library Science, or even Comparative and Global Education. If you’re interested in pursuing a doctoral degree, they offer the option to get a Ph.D. or EdD (Doctorate in Education) in Counselor Education, Educational Leadership, or Literacy. Along the way, students will learn about administration, educational best practices, and educational leadership. Tuition is estimated at $4,148 per semester.

After achieving an MEd degree, graduates will be eligible for leadership positions within any educational organization.

2. Valley City State University

Valley City State University offers online students the opportunity to get their Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as a Master of Education with six separate majors, so students can customize their program and degree. Students can choose between an MEd in Library and Information Technologies, Technology Education, Technology and Teaching, Elementary Education, English Education, and Teaching English Language Learners — all of which will help ensure that the knowledge base they’re building is specifically tailored to their career.

Fees start around $400 per credit hour, and courses are built to be flexible. If students wish to fast-track, they can finish all 36 credit hours in less than two years. Students must take basic courses on topics like policy and educational finance, but all degrees offer several elective credits, which give students the flexibility to pick and choose courses that interest them.

3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s College of Education, students have the opportunity to enroll in a unique specialization, Teacher Leadership. This graduate degree gives working teachers the opportunity to add a Teacher Leader endorsement to their teaching license while maintaining their current job. Students study educational leadership approaches, professional development, and can take specialized courses like educational law, professional ethics, or technology and educational reform.

Overall, this nine-course Master of Education degree will cost around $16,000. Applicants to this program are generally expected to have at least two years of teaching experience. Afterward, students will be eligible for positions like department chair or development coordinator of their educational institution.

4. Pittsburgh State University

Pittsburgh State University offers plenty of different options for their Master of Education degrees, but the most unique are their technology-focused programs. In addition to their master’s degrees in elementary and secondary education, they offer students the opportunity to learn about emerging technologies, and how they impact the classroom. The two streams of this degree prepare students for a future in library media and technology integration. Each of these degrees requires 36 to 39 credit hours, which totals around $14,000 in tuition.

At the end of their degree, students will complete either a thesis or a research project, applying the knowledge gained over their course of study. These degrees prepare students for careers in instructional technology, curriculum development, and educational technology.

5. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University refers to their online degree programs as their Virtual College and boast that the degrees they offer are some of the least expensive in the United States. They offer master’s degrees in both Education and Educational Administration, for teachers who want to set themselves up for the principal track. Students in the Administration concentration take courses in educational research, school law, and school and community relations. They also offer Master of Science degrees in subjects like Chemistry, Mathematics, Reading, and Gifted Education. Tuition is $237 per credit hour, which averages to around $2,590 per semester.

After graduation, students who graduate with a Master in Educational Administration set themselves up to take over as school principal, and take home a salary of between $92,000 and $117,000 per year.

6. University of West Georgia

All of the online degree programs at the University of West Georgia are taught and administered with the same rigorous academic standards as their in-class course work. They offer many of the most common MEd degrees, such as Early Childhood Education, Reading Instruction, and Special Education, but they also offer a less typical program — a fully online Master of Music in Music Education. Students learn research methods, the history and philosophy of music education, and music theory, before branching out into more in-depth seminars on specialized topics. Students who graduate with this degree will either return to a teaching profession or move into academia.

Online tuition costs $517 per credit hour, which typically works out to around $4,094 if students take a full semester of classes.

7. University of Central Missouri

There are 22 online degree programs offered by the University of Central Missouri, three of which are education-based post-graduate programs.

Prospective students who want to bolster their education can choose between a Master of Science in Educational Technology, a Master of Science in Engineering specializing in Elementary Education Curriculum and Instruction, or an Educational Specialist degree (which usually follows a master’s degree) in Education Technology. All of these programs are focused on integrating technology into modern pedagogical practice. Students will end their course of study with a research project and practicum that requires students to apply their knowledge to a current issue affecting the educational system.

Graduate students pay $348 per credit hour, and after graduation, will be able to use their degree to further their career in educational technology.

8. Georgetown College

Online degree programs at Georgetown College are designed specifically with busy teachers in mind as courses only last 7.5 weeks, and generous financial aid is available. They offer degrees in Teacher Leadership, as well as a detailed curriculum on Learning Behavior Disorders and Moderate/Severe Disabilities for teachers that are already in the field and want to add to their credentials. Online course work may include webinars, chats with peers, and discussion threads. At the end of the program, students will have earned a Master of Arts in Education, as well as a P-12 certificate in their chosen specialty.

Various merit-based scholarships are available, so students could have their tuition reduced to as little as $140 per month. After graduation, new MEd-certified teachers will be able to work as specialists in their field.

9. University of Texas-Arlington

The University of Texas-Arlington specializes in accelerated online programs that have several start dates throughout the year, so students never have to wait to continue their education. Their programs are great if you want to improve your curriculum and instruction credentials as they offer four unique Master of Education degrees in various aspects of curriculum and instruction, including literacy, mathematics, and science. A Superintendent Certificate is also offered, which takes less than a year to complete.

The University’s MEd programs are 18 months long, and tuition is $8,200. These programs teach students to analyze their own teaching style and give them the necessary tools to make adjustments.

After graduation, many teachers are promoted to jobs like district content specialist or are able to move into another educational setting, like a museum or nature center.

10. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University is currently ranked #1 on the list of the best online colleges in Texas. They offer a wide variety of MEd programs, including a unique Master of Arts Education (MAE) through the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts.

This unique degree, in particular, helps teachers strengthen their classroom and studio practice as it relates to art and culture. Students will study critical pedagogy in visual arts and learn about relevant history and research methods that impact their work. Once they’ve completed their core educational requirements, they can then take a variety of related art courses such as glassblowing, printmaking, design, or ceramics. Tuition starts at $236 per credit hour, but there is tuition assistance available. After graduation, students are well-equipped for a rewarding career in arts education.

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