Finding the perfect master’s degree in education can be quite a balancing act. You want to advance your degree, not break the bank, but ensure that you walk away with a degree that has given you the tools necessary to make real changes in your classroom. For the purposes of this ranking we have focuses on the Master of Education (M.Ed.) for teachers who are ready to take on a leadership role and of course increase their salary.
If you’ve looked for a graduate education degree for a bit, you’ve probably noticed the wide range of degree types for educators. There are Master of Science in Education degrees, Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degrees. Then there are Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) programs, so what’s the difference? The MAT is a degree for students who are not-yet credentialed teachers. This degree serves a similar purpose to a bachelor’s in education. The Master of Education, however, is the program for credentialed teachers who are ready to take their approach to teaching to the next level. In these programs you will learn about advanced research techniques, current issues, theories, and how to engage all kinds of learners through advanced curriculum and instructional design. Additionally, you will learn about thought processes and procedures related to leadership in educational roles. We looked at all fully online Master’s of Education degrees to compile our ranking below. The school’s below were chosen based on a number of time-tested metrics listed below.
- Online Academic Quality (1/4)
- The percentage of graduate students at the institution taking some or all of their coursework online.
- The student-faculty ratio.
- Affordability (1/4)
- The out-of-state tuition per credit hour rate (for schools that have out-of-state tuition rates).
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components (1/4):
- The range and quality of flexibility-enhancing components including the ability to accelerate the degree, synchronous and asynchronous course work, credit for prior learning and experience, and competency-based credit.
- Range of Offerings (1/4)
- The number of fully online Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) degrees offered by the institution.
Capella University is a private distance- learning institution headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are 37,569 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Capella University to award comprehensive programming, as well as a postbaccalaureate certification and a post-master’s certificate. Carnegie classifies Capella as a doctoral university. As a distance learning university, Capella provides all of its education online. There are hundreds of online courses offered in career-ready fields like business, health, information technology, and education. Online degrees range from the bachelor’s to doctorate level. Professional certifications are all also completed entirely online. Capella University is military-friendly and includes discounted tuition, transfer credits for military training, and more. Capella offers two paths to degree completion: the FlexPath which is self-paced and the GuidedPath where the pace is set by the university.
Capella University offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.) with six different concentrations. Each degree path is structured exactly the same-requiring 46 quarter credits for completion with one course different corresponding with your desired concentration. We selected these Master’s in Education for the affordable online tuition rate, highly flexible online formatting, and the number of concentrations available. The six M.Ed degrees offered through Capella are in: technology, curriculum and theory,, personalized learning, instruction and assessment, multicultural education, and theories for the 21st century classroom. All students culminate their time at Capella with a teaching and learning capstone experience. This degree costs just $424 per credit hour and requires 46 credit hours.
- Affordability: $424
- Academic Quality: Percentage of students taking online courses- 100%, Student to faculty ratio of 22:1
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: FlexPath, and GuidedPath, competency-based crediting
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 6 concentrations
2.)Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is a private for-profit university located Phoenix, Arizona. There are 75,834 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio remains at 19:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits GCU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Their student support services include academic/career counseling as well as employment services for students. When it comes to academics, GCU offers a wide range of programs in fields like the healthcare, engineering, business, and education. Online, Grand Canyon University offers an impressive number of degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level including a PhD in psychology, nursing practice, and several Master of Education optoins. The most popular programs by enrollment are in the fields of education and business.< /p>
Grand Canyon University Master of Education (M.Ed) in seven different areas. Some of their online M.Ed. programs also offer an opportunity to add 15 credit hours to complete a teacher licensure. We selected this program for the wide-range of online Master of Education degrees available, the affordable online tuition rate, the quality academics, and the accelerated flexible online format. These are seven separate Master of Education programs that will vary in length both in terms of credit hour requirement and in terms of online course length. The seven degrees are listed here: Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, Master of Education in Educational Leadership, Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Secondary Education, Master of Education in Secondary Humanities Education, Master of Education in Secondary STEM Education, and a Master of Education in Special Education. Most degrees require 30-36 credit hours for completion for those that do not lead to teacher licensure. The cost of these degrees is $515 per credit hour.
- Academic Quality: Percentage of students taking online courses- 94%, student-to-faculty ratio 19:1
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 7
Northcentral University (NCU) is a private 4-year distance learning institution headquartered in San Diego, California. There are 10,916 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 1:1. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Northcentral University to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and professional certificates. NCU specializes in offering affordable online career-ready degrees for non-traditional learners and is a military-friendly institution. Veterans and Active military benefit from reduced tuition rates and reduced pricing on materials. NCU will accept credit for life experiences. When it comes to academics, all programs are offered fully online and are specifically tailored to individuals who are seeking degrees in lucrative fields. The most popular programs by enrollment are in business, psychology and education.
Northcentral University offers 18 Master of Education degrees. We selected NCU for the high number of Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees, the affordable online tuition rate,and its flexible paths to completion. All courses require 30 credit hours for completion and take 15 months to complete. The only degree that requires 36 credit hours is the PK-12 Principal Leadership specialization. The M.Ed. program includes three main components: the foundational courses, specializations courses, and a capstone course. The foundation course cover educational policies and practices, contemporary issues in education, school community relations, multicultural relationships in educational organizations, and a PK-12 capstone.
Here is NCU’s list of degrees.
- Adult Learning and Workforce Education
- Athletic Coaching
- Corporate Wellness
- Curriculum and Teaching
- Early Childhood Education
- Educational Leadership
- English as a Second Language
- General Education
- Global Training and Development
- Instructional Leadership
- International Education
- Leadership in Higher Education
- Organizational Leadership
- PK-12 Principal Leadership
- Reading Education
- Special Education
- Sport and Athletic Management
- Academic Quality: Student-to-faculty ratio 1:1; Percentage of students taking online classes: 100%
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: accelerated, 2 accelerated pathways
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 18
4.) American College of Education
American College of Education (ACE) is a private 4-year distance learning institution headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are 3,844 students enrolled in advanced degree programs. Carnegie classifies ACE as a Special Focus institution.The Higher Learning Commission accredits ACE to award master’s and doctoral degrees. When it comes to online courses, ACE offers a flexible experience including 24/7 accessibility to coursework, 5-week master’s level courses that work in tandem with working professionals as well as a highly qualified faculty. In fact 100% of faculty have doctoral degrees. All online degrees are education-centric and include bilingual and multilingual education as well as health teacher education, educational leadership and more. Additionally, ACE offers a post-graduate certificate in educational leadership.
American College of Education is an online education school and offers 18 Master of Education degrees. We selected this program for the impressive number of online options, incredible affordable tuition rate, and for flexible online format. Most degrees require 31 or 34 credit hours for completion except for the Master of Education (M.Ed.) in educational business administration. The cost of this program is just $235 per credit hour. The cost for the entire degree is about $8,000- a great opportunity to finish and remain debt-free! You will have the opportunity to obtain your master’s degree in the following fields: advanced studies, curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, M.Ed. in Educational Business Administration, and a M.Ed. in educational leadership, M.Ed in Educational Technology, M.Ed. in Elementary Education. M.Ed. in English as a Second Language, M.Ed. in Health and Wellness, M.Ed. in Higher Education, M.Ed in Instructional Design and Technology, M.Ed. in Higher Education, M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum, M.Ed. in Literacy, M.Ed. in STEM Leadership, M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership, and a M.Ed. in Teaching English Learners.
- Academic Quality: Percentage of students taking online courses: 100%
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components:
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online:18
5.)Western Governors University
Western Governors University (WGU) is a private not-for-profit distance learning institution. There are 84,289 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 41:1. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits WGU to award bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and professional certifications. WGU uses a competency-based approach where students advance to the next phase of their degree upon demonstrating specific competencies. This allows for maximum flexibilty that reflects the student’s learning pace as students accelerate in areas where they have previous knowledge and move more slowly through areas of challenge. In many instances, students test out of a subject and continue to proceed through their degree at an accelerated pace. If you are looking for a degree that keeps up with your educational needs and is affordable and high quality, Western Governors University is a great option.
Western Governors University offers a Master of Education in Learning and Technology. The competency based approach means the students proceed through their course once demonstrating their level of competency. This degree includes foundations of instructional design, instructional design analysis, issues in instructional design, and instructional design production. The research looks out foundations for researching, questions and literature review, design and analysis, and includes research proposals. All students will finish with a learning and technology capstone. Additionally, student may also study the Master of Education in Instructional Design. This path focuses on the foundations of instructional design, instructional design analysis, issues in instructional design, and instructional design production.
- Academic Quality:
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: competency-based advancement, generous transfer allowance
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online:2
6.)The University of Missouri- Columbia
The University of Missouri- Columbia (UMC) is a public land-grant research university located in Columbia, Missouri. There are 33,239 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 19:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Mizzou to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. U.S. News ranks UMC as the 111th best school in the nation, 51st top public school and 73rd best college for veterans. UMC ranks as the 61st best school for online graduate education programming.The student body is extremely diverse- representing 50 states and over 150 nations. When it comes to academics UMC offers over 300 degree offerings from 18 colleges and schools including – a law school, medical school, and veterinary medicine school. It may be of no surprise that the online offerings offer a vast range of opportunities where that is an online bachelor’s in natural resources, or an online Master’s of Education in elementary education.
The University of Missouri offers 14 unique online Master’s of Education (M.Ed). We selected the University of Missouri for the high quality of its academic offerings, affordable tuition rate, and for the density of programs offered online. The range of online master’s programs includes everything from early childhood education to educational leadership. We even spotted some unique offerings like the M.Ed in Positive Coaching and the M.Ed. in Autism Education. Most programs require 30 credit hours for completion. Though a few degrees degrees- like the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership- require between 31-37 credit hours for completion. All degrees cost $416 per credit hour. While most degrees are 100% online, a few programs require in-person time a few weekends per year. If you are looking for an online Master’s of Education that is affordable and tailored to your needs, the master’s programs as UM are a great pick.
- Affordability: $416
- Academic Quality: Student to Faculty ratio-: 19:1 ; Percentage of students studying online- 29%
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: online
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 14
7.) Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a public co-educational research institution located in College Station,Texas. There are 65,632 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Texas A&M- to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as postbaccalaureate and post-master’s certificates. U.S. News ranks as the 69th best school in the nation, 43rd best value school and 72nd for best online graduate education programs. We like the programming available to both traditional and nontraditional students. Academic degree offerings include agriculture,urban architecture, epidemiology, veterinary science, education and so much more. When it comes to affordable online programming, Texas A&M offers and impressive 35 online degrees and professional certifications for both undergraduates and graduate students that range from the bachelor’s to doctorate level.
Texas A&M University offers 6 fully online Master’s of Education (M.Ed.). We selected this program for the affordable tuition, and the high quality of academic offerings. The 6 master of education degrees are in: bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, educational administration, educational psychology, educational technology, and special education. Each online degree requires 36 credit hours for completion and costs just $225 per credit hour. Each program comes with its unique curriculum and will take about 2 years to complete. If you are looking for a quality education that is affordable, the master’s of education at Texas A&M are a fantastic option.
- Academic Quality: Student-to-faculty ratio 21:1, Percentage of students studying online- 15%
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: fully online
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 6
Post University is a private university located in Waterbury, Connecticut. There are 7,681 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Post University to award associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as postbaccalaureate certificates. Student support services include remedial services, placement services for graduates, and academic and career counseling services. When it comes to academics, Post offers a number of professional, and science-related degrees that are perfect for both traditional and non-traditional learners alike. Their online offerings are robust and include programs like an associate’s in accounting, bachelor’s in communications, and a master of education in learning design and technology. Their most popular online degrees are in the fields of business, homeland security, and education.
Post University offer a Master of Education with 6 concentrations. They include a concentration in TESOL, online teaching, learning design and technology, higher education administration, educational technology, and curriculum and instruction. The Master of Education requires 33 credit hours for completion and costs $586 per credit hour. Programs are divided into three main component parts: core courses, concentration courses, and the M.Ed. capstone courses. All students will study cognitive science of teaching and learning, measurement metrics, and digitally-mediated teaching & learning. For your capstone courses you will learn about educational research and planning, educational research design and methodology, and culminate with a capstone project.
- Affordability: $586
- Academic Quality: Percentage of students studying online- 100%; Student to faculty ratio is 19:1
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: fully online
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 1 with 6 areas of concentration
9.) The University of Massachusetts Online
The University of Massachusetts Online (UMass Online) is a public land grant research university headquartered in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. There are 30,037 students enrolled and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1. UMass Online offers online degrees from the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Medical campuses. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits UMass Online to award comprehensive degrees as well as professional certifications. U.S News ranks UMass as the 74th best school in the nation, 44th best college for veterans and highly for their online bachelor’s programs, nursing programs, and online graduate education programming. When it comes to online offerings UMass Online has an impressive selection of fully online degrees and certifications in a range of fields that include agriculture, business, journalism, education and much more.
The University of Massachusetts Online offers 8 Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees and one area of focus: vision studies, science education, curriculum and instruction, curriculum and instruction for autism (a focus area), science education, educational administration, reading and language, school counseling, and instructional design. All degrees apart from the M.Ed in school counseling require between 30 and 37 credit hours for completion. We selected UMass Online for the high quality of education, and the impressive number of online M.Ed programs available. We particularly want to note the range of M.Ed. available for individuals who are aiming to teach exceptional learners like the master’s with a focus in vision studies, curriculum and instruction for autism, and reading and language. Students who are looking to participate in the M.Ed. in School Counseling are required to complete 60 credit hours.
- Affordability: $575
- Academic Quality:Student to Faculty ratio of 16:1; Percentage of students studying online- 68%
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: fully online
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online: 8 degrees and one area of concentration
10.) Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university that is a trail blazer when it comes to online education. U.S. News ranked Arizona State #1 for Most Innovative School above Stanford and MIT. Additionally, ASU ranks 61st for top public schools and 129th in the nation and among the best graduate schools in the nation. The Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College is considered to be one of the best graduate colleges of education and ranked 11th according to U.S. News The online degrees are incredibly unique and include fields of study like anthropology, communication, global leadership, social policy, and geography just to name a few. There are also a number of Online Master’s of Education degrees available that cover a wide range of interests.
Arizona State University offers 3 Master of Education degrees with 5 areas . We selected Arizona State for the high quality of academic programming. Though not our most affordable pick, the quality of academics equate to a high value education. The cost is $595 per credit hour. The online Master of Education programs include a M.Ed in Educational Technology, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership (Principal) and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. The curriculum and instruction master’s offers 5 areas of focus: Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Early Childhood Education, ESL, and Gifted Education. Programs require from 30-36 credit hours for completion.
- Affordability: $595
- Academic Quality: Percentage of students who study online- 95%; Student to faculty ratio of 23:1
- Flexibility-Enhancing Components: fully online
- Number of M.Ed. Available Online:3 and 5 areas of concentration.