Accredited Online Master’s in Education Programs
Get an accredited Master of Education online without physically attending a classroom! You can advance your career and increase your earning potential when studying for this degree at home or while traveling. Obtaining an accredited master’s degree in education over the internet can take as little as two years full-time.
This guide tells you everything you need to know about applying for accredited online master’s degree programs in education. Learn the costs of these programs, typical course content, program requirements, salary information, and the job outlook for graduates.
Master’s in Education Program Overview
There is more than one kind of master’s-level degree for those who want to become educators or education administrators (see below). However, all these degrees can help you pursue a role in the education sector when you graduate.
Master’s in Education vs. Master’s in Teaching
The two most popular accredited online master’s degree programs in education are the Master of Education (MEd, M.Ed., or Ed.M) and the Master of Arts in Teaching (also known as an MAT or, colloquially, a master’s in teaching). In this guide, the term “accredited master’s in education” will refer to the Master of Education.
Master of Education
This degree is typically a two-year full-time post-graduate program for those interested in the education system. You’ll learn about educational procedures, educational policies from governments, and how education can influence societal systems.
Master of Arts in Teaching
This degree is also a two-year full-time post-graduate program. Unlike the Master of Education, the Master of Arts in Teaching focuses on progressing your teaching career. Many graduates with this degree become teachers in educational institutions when they graduate.
What Are Accredited Master’s in Education Programs?
Accredited online master’s degree programs in education meet pre-determined quality criteria set by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This professional accreditation agency reviews the quality of teaching education programs — including the Master of Education — at U.S. colleges.
Additional accreditation might happen at the regional level, so it’s a good idea to find out which agency or agencies are responsible for officially recognizing a particular college you are interested in.
Benefits of Earning an Accredited Master’s in Education
Having an accredited Master of Education might make it easier to find a job when you graduate from your program because employers will see that you studied at an institution with high-quality education standards. Accredited institutions might also have links with educational institutions where you can undertake work experience during your studies.
You might find it easier to get financial aid for your master’s-level degree at an accredited institution.
What Can You Do With a Master’s in Education?
Most graduates with accredited online master’s degree programs in education find work in the education sector. You could get one of the following jobs with your degree:
- Education administrator
- Education researcher
- Education specialist
- Education consultant
- Educational policy analyst
- Instructional coordinator
- Curriculum developer
- Program director
- Special education teacher
- Professional development coordinator
You will likely work in an academic setting in a school, college, university, or community college. Alternatively, you might work for a local education board or government agency at the local, state, or federal level. Or you could work for yourself and offer private tutoring.
Master’s in Education Salary and Job Outlook
The median annual salary for someone with a Master of Education is around $61,000, according to PayScale. (Data correct as of October 5, 2022.)
Here are salaries for some of the most popular jobs for people with accredited online master’s degree programs in education.
The mean annual wage for instructional coordinators is $70,560, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Data correct as of May 2021.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $33.92.
The top-paying states for instructional coordinators are:
- District of Columbia: $107,260 (mean annual wage)
- Washington: $82,900
- Oregon: $81,420
- Connecticut: $80,110
- Maryland: $79,470
The top-paying metropolitan areas for instructional coordinators are:
- Salem, OR: $93,890 (mean annual wage)
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $93,760
- Kennewick-Richland, WA: $91,430
- Grand Island, NE: $88,630
- Hanford-Corcoran, CA: $88,370
The mean annual wage for health education specialists is $64,930, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2021.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $31.22.
The top-paying states for health education specialists are:
- District of Columbia: $94,6109 (mean annual wage)
- Maryland: $90,140
- Georgia: $88,740
- Connecticut: $79,340
- Rhode Island: $73,890
The top-paying metro areas for health education specialists are:
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $99,490 (mean annual wage)
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA:$96,590
- Danbury, CT: $92,160
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $91,340
- Shreveport-Bossier City, LA: $88,510
The mean annual wage for education administrators is $94,730, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2021.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $45.54.
The top-paying states for education administrators are:
- Maryland: $112,400 (mean annual wage)
- Virginia: $110,400
- District of Columbia: $110,350
- Nebraska: $107,900
- Colorado: $107,430
The top-paying metropolitan areas for education administrators are:
- Charlottesville, VA: $146,550 (mean annual wage)
- Modesto, CA: $120,500
- Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV: $118,560
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA: $117,260
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $115,490
As you can see from the data, jobs associated with accredited online master’s degree programs in education have higher salaries in some states than others. Salaries are also higher in sizeable metro areas with large school systems. Your salary will also depend on the skills and experience required for a job role. For example, you might earn more money if you have previously taught in a school.
The job outlook is positive for graduates with accredited online master’s degree programs in education. For example, there will be a 9.7% increase in employment opportunities for instructional coordinators and a 12.7% increase for education administrators from 2020 to 2030, according to research from Projections Central, part of the U.S. Department of Labor. These increases are greater than the average for all job types (around 5%).
If you decide to go into a teaching-related job, you will likely find lots of work in some areas, particularly in big metro areas. That’s because many cities are experiencing a teacher shortage.
How Much Does a Master’s Degree in Education Cost?
An online Master of Education can cost between $9,000 and $25,000 in tuition costs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Per-credit costs typically range from $300-$700. (There is no specific data available for accredited master’s degrees in education.) You might need to factor in the costs of examinations, registration, and program supplies.
Studying for an accredited Master of Education online can work out cheaper than attending a physical college. You can study at home or on your travels without paying expensive fees for room and board at a college campus. An online master’s degree only requires a computer and an internet connection, so you won’t have to travel to college for classes.
Master’s in Education Scholarship Information
You can lessen the costs of accredited online master’s degree programs in education by applying for a scholarship. Many organizations provide financial aid to students from a low-income or minority background or to those who can prove academic or personal achievements.
Some of the most popular scholarships for the Master of Education include:
The BHD Endowed Scholarship for Teachers
The BHD Endowed Scholarship for Teachers from the Central Scholarship Program offers graduate students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching-related field up to $2,500 to cover the cost of their Master of Education. Candidates for this funding program must live within 200 miles of Baltimore, Maryland, have a family income under $90,000 per year, and go to an accredited college in the U.S. Recipients must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 during their studies.
Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship
The Florence Margaret Harvey Memorial Scholarship from the American Foundation for the Blind is for students learning about the education or rehabilitation of visually impaired people during their Master of Education at an accredited or non-accredited college. Candidates must also be legally blind and submit proof before receiving any funding. The scholarship is worth $1,000.
Donald L. Landry Graduate Scholarship
The Donald L. Landry Graduate Scholarship from the Massachusetts Reading Association awards certified teachers studying for a Master of Education at an accredited college in Massachusetts. The scholarship is worth $1,000. Candidates must be MRA members and take part in the MRA conference.
You will need to meet the eligibility criteria for a scholarship before receiving any financial aid. Some organizations have limited financial resources and can only offer a select number of scholarships to students every year.
Master’s in Education Program Requirements
Each college that offers an accredited Master of Education will have different program requirements. However, nearly every college will require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree, sometimes in an educational-related field. Schools might also require applicants to have a minimum undergraduate GPA.
Applying for an accredited Master of Education is similar to applying for a bachelor’s degree. You will submit your application directly to the school and provide documents about your previous educational and personal achievements. This process can take months, depending on the number of applications a college receives.
Most schools will require you to provide the following documents during the application process:
- Evidence of your previous academic experience, such as undergraduate transcripts from your college or community college. Your transcript will show program directors your GPA and individual grades for all courses completed.
- Evidence of your previous jobs/internships. You might want to submit your resume to a program director or list the skills learned in any previous job roles or internship programs that might be relevant to a Master of Education. For example, any jobs where you worked with children in an educational environment.
- A personal statement including information about why you want to study for a Master of Education at a particular college. Perhaps you would like to receive a master’s degree from an accredited institution in your area or want to be taught by a renowned professor. You can also include information about how you might use your degree when you graduate and how your master’s will advance your career.
Getting a reference from a previous college tutor or employer might increase your chances of being accepted for accredited online master’s degree programs in education.
Common Courses in Master’s in Education Programs
The courses you learn in accredited online master’s degree programs in education will differ depending on the institution. Here are some courses that might be available to you:
- Qualitative/quantitative research methods in education
- Social justice
- Teaching leadership in schools
- Education and race
- Educational reform
A Master of Education teaches students about the applied practice of learning and education. You might learn about different educational policies, academic methodologies, and the relationship between education and societal systems. You will likely identify patterns and trends in educational-related data and research different learning styles.
Depending on your program, you might complete a dissertation about a specific topic you are interested in. Your dissertation will comprise independent research about that topic and likely influence your final grade. You might also take exams or writing assignments after each course or complete a final test toward the conclusion of your program. These exams will test your knowledge and the skills learned during your master’s degree.
Unlike a traditional Master of Education, you will submit all coursework and take exams over the internet via a learning management system (LMS). You can also talk to tutors and academic support staff via this technology.
Even though you will study outside the classroom, your degree might present opportunities to undertake real-world work experience at a school, educational board, or local government agency. You might receive credit for this work experience that influences your final GPA.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master’s in Education Program?
It typically takes around two years to complete a Master of Education, whether you study for your degree online, in the classroom, or at an accredited or non-accredited college. You can study for your master’s part-time if you have family or work commitments. Although it will take longer to graduate — four or more years — you can juggle your current responsibilities with your education.