25 Best Online Education Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

For some, the road to becoming a great teacher starts with an online Education degree! Are you ready to become an enthusiastic, plugged-in student?

Online Education Degree

Saying that you want to pursue a career in education can mean many different things. Let’s put all of the career paths in education up on the chalkboard to see which one is your best fit.

Types of Online Education & Teaching Degrees

Select the education specialization that most interests you

Whether you want to pursue a general education degree or focus on an area of specialization, you have numerous options with multiple areas of specialization available from top colleges.

Online Education Degree

online teacher teaching her students online

This category actually covers any teaching specialization you’re interested in pursuing. An online education degree simply means that you’re working your way toward becoming qualified to be a teacher or administrator in a virtual program instead of driving to a campus.


This can be a great option for a full-time teacher who is looking to pursue a master’s degree that will potentially put them in the running for administrator roles. It can also work for anyone who is simply interested in a more convenient and affordable way to enter the teaching profession.

Online Early Childhood Education Degree

early childhood education teacher teaching her students in class

Studying early childhood education (ECE) online is a great option if you’re interested in working with young children in a preschool or Head Start program. An ECE program will prepare you to work with children up through age eight.

Early childhood education is a great fit for someone who is interested in molding and supporting the youngest learners! Ideally, you will have creativity and a passion for creating and implementing engaging lesson plans.


While working with young children can look like playtime, you actually need very specific training and skills to be effective in this role. A degree program should help you learn how to balance fun and learning for this very specific age group.

Online Education Administration Degree

School Administrators meeting in the office

Some people are more interested in the administrative aspect of the education system. Administrators work “behind the scenes” to make sure that procedures and policies are being followed for both students and teachers. Of course, most school administrators are highly visible!

Administrators are tasked with managing safety, educational compliance, disciplinary actions, and scheduling. They often meet with students when problems need to be addressed.


An administrative role may be a good fit for you if you enjoy solving problems and creating new systems.

Online Elementary Education Degree

Elementary teacher teaching her students to write

Elementary school teachers typically teach students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Most elementary schools around the country assign anywhere from five to 40 students to one teacher! That means you’ll need to be a master at managing a class.

As an elementary school teacher, you’ll be teaching core subjects like math, English, science, history, and social studies throughout the day!


It will be necessary to come up with engaging, meaningful lessons that incorporate the learning styles of multiple students. This is certainly no easy task! However, it is definitely rewarding.

Online Higher Education Degree

High school teacher assisting his student during computer class

You may be interested in pursuing a degree that will prepare you for a role as a high school teacher. Those interested in teaching at the high school level often specialize in a specific subject like math, history, or English. As a result, you often need a higher education or master’s degree to land staff positions at high schools.


Teaching a specialty in high school is a great choice for anyone who has a passion for one subject. Looking to bring your expertise to the classroom? There’s even a possibility to obtain an education degree while pivoting into a teaching career from another field.

Online Special Education Degree

special education teacher teaching a child with down syndrome

Special education is a highly specialized degree path for those looking to work within school systems to support students with exceptional needs. As a special education teacher, you’ll work daily to address the differences and needs within a special education classroom.

A special education teacher should understand how to create individual learning plans. You will be teaching students with learning disabilities, physical challenges, and mental challenges daily.


Special education teachers must be good at adapting practices and procedures to meet extremely specific needs. In addition to preparing lessons, instructors are often tasked with using special equipment and facilitating accessibility. You are truly playing the roles of teacher and advocate every day!

Courses for an Online Teaching Degree

Education degree student studying online

A teaching program is full of interesting courses that explore both educational philosophies and practical strategies. Future teachers learn how to manage classrooms, comply with testing requirements, and meet the needs of students.

Here’s a look at some courses you might encounter while pursuing your education degree:

Instructional Planning provides strategies and blueprints for creating effective lessons.

Methods of Teaching introduces future educators to contemporary approaches to teaching and assessing within classroom settings.

Psychology for Educators covers the fundamentals of student responses and behaviors in the classroom.

Education Degree Salary

Education Degree Salary

What can teachers expect to make? Teacher salaries can vary by region and grade level. Here’s a glance at median salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for those in the education field:

Careers Average Annual Salary
Education Administrator $94,340
High School Teacher $60,320
Elementary School Teacher $57,980

One thing to know is that teachers are often considered for administrator roles within school systems when positions open up. That means that there’s room for growth in a new role even if your background is in teaching. Yes, you often can become a principal after being a teacher!

In addition, if you choose to advance your education and pursue an online doctorate in education or online EdD program, your annual salary may likely see a large increase.

Professional Organizations for Those with a Teaching Degree

Professional Teachers meeting in a conference room

You’ll actually find dozens of organizations for those with teaching degrees! Most organizations are grouped by teaching specialty or subject. Here’s just a sample of some popular organizations for teachers:

Some organizations provide resources for teachers looking to develop skills or create dynamic experiences for students. Others are focused on protecting teacher rights and benefits.

Licensure Following an Education Degree

education degree student taking an exam

Licensure is extremely important if you want to work in a public school system. You will be required to obtain a state teacher’s license in the state you’d like to work in.

You’ll need to complete all state-mandated requirements to obtain licensure. This typically means completing specific education courses, putting in student-teaching time, and passing examinations.

How to Find Accredited Online Teaching Degree Programs

Accredited Online Teaching Degree Programs

It’s important to choose a degree program that will qualify you for licensure as a teacher or administrator following graduation. You may want to focus on regional accreditation from one of the seven main accrediting bodies in the United States.

What is the benefit of regional accreditation for an education program? School districts are likely to hire you from a college or university that meets stringent guidelines. In addition, you will have more freedom to transfer your hard-earned credits if you decide to switch programs.

It’s also important to consider teacher-specific accreditation. Here’s the list of key accrediting bodies:

All of the accrediting bodies are focused on making sure colleges and universities are operating by standards that are compatible with the demands of school systems around the country. This is important because educators have professional, legal, and ethical obligations to their students that must be understood before graduation.

Financial Aid for Online Teaching Bachelor Degrees

Financial Aid for Online Teaching Bachelor Degrees

If you’re pursuing an undergraduate degree in education, you have all of the same federal, state, and private financing options available to you as other students. This includes loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities.

You also have a list of funding and scholarship opportunities that are available exclusively to education students. Here’s a rundown of some of the major scholarship opportunities for future teachers:

  • The Federal TEACH Grant offers up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to teach in high-needs schools after graduation.
  • The NEA-Retired Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship offered through the National Education Association (NEA) provides $2,500 to eligible students with minimum 2.5 GPAs.
  • The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is open to students in STEM fields who are pursuing teaching careers.
  • The Teacher.org “Inspire Our Future” Scholarship is open to any teaching student with a minimum 3.5 GPA who is currently enrolled in an accredited program.

There are many state and regional scholarship opportunities available for educators. In fact, there is even a government-run Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program for teachers who agree to work in low-income schools for five consecutive years.

Questions Related to Earning an Education Degree Online

education degree student studying online

Do you still have some questions about what it takes to become a teacher? Let’s take a closer look at the steps that will get you at the head of the class as quickly as possible.

Can You Go to School Online to Become a Teacher?

Yes, you can study for a teaching degree online. Just be prepared to participate in a student-teaching program that will give you real-world classroom experience.

Can You Get a Bachelor of Education Online?

Yes, it’s possible to study to become a teacher online without the need to report to a campus.

What Is the Best Online College for Teaching Degree?

Education degree student studying at a library

It’s going to be really important to select a college that has accreditation that will qualify you to obtain your state teaching license. That means that the answer can depend on the state you want to live or teach in.

Generally, any school with regional and CAEP accreditations is going to be an appropriate choice.

What Is the Quickest Way to Get a Teaching Degree?

Applying to four-year programs for a bachelor’s in education is the conventional path to a teaching degree.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in another subject, you may be able to obtain a master’s degree that qualifies you to teach in two years or less.

Universities Offering Online Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer an education bachelor’s degree online.

#1  Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University campus

Appalachian State University is a public university in Boone, North Carolina, that was founded in 1899 as a teacher’s college. The school is a member of the University of North Carolina System.

More than 19,280 students are enrolled across App State’s 150 bachelor’s programs, 68 master’s programs, and two doctoral programs. The school is comprised of eight colleges and one graduate school.

  • BS in Career and Technical Education
  • BS in Elementary Education (Hybrid)
  • BS in Middle Grades Education (Hybrid)

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#2  Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Founded in 1885, Arizona State University enrolls more than 51,585 students across its five campuses and online programs. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are offered. U.S. News & World Report has ranked ASU first among the Most Innovative Schools in America for four years in a row.

In addition, ASU’s online platform offering more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degree options has been ranked on the list of the Top 4 for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report.

  • BA in Education – Educational Studies
  • BA in Education – Educational Studies – Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Health Education and Health Promotion

Arizona State University is accredited by the by the Higher Learning Committee.

#3  Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Established in 1966, Bellevue University is a private university located in Bellevue, Nebraska. Bellevue offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to its more than 10,000 enrolled students. U.S. News & World Report ranks Bellevue University’s online bachelor’s degrees among the top 10 in the nation.

  • BS in Adult Education
  • BS in Public Health Education

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Central Methodist University

Central Methodist University campus

Central Methodist University is a private university located in Fayette, Missouri, offering master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees. Annual enrollment at CMU is 5,437. The school is associated with the United Methodist Church.

CMU is known for its extensive online learning program. The school also has partnerships with community colleges peppered throughout Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.

  • BS in Education – Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Education – Elementary Education
  • BS in Education – Middle School Education
  • BS in Educational Studies

CMU is accredited and/or recognized by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University campus

Colorado Christian University is a private, interdenominational liberal arts university located in Lakewood, Colorado. Founded in 1914, CCU enrolls 8,486 students annually. The school is divided between the College of Undergraduate Studies and the College of Adult and Graduate Studies.

More than 100 degree programs are available for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral studies.

  • BA in Early Childhood Education
  • BA in Elementary Education
  • BA in Special Education

Colorado Christian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Dakota State University

Dakota State University campus

Dakota State University is a public university in Madison, South Dakota, dating back to 1881. DSU’s annual enrollment stands at 3,307 students.

The school is comprised of the College of Education, the College of Computer and Cyber Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Business and Information Systems. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are available.

DSU has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security/National Security Agency (NSA) as a National Center of Academic Excellence.

  • BS in Education – Elementary Education
  • BS in Education – Elementary Education/Special Education

Dakota State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Dickinson State University

Dickinson State University campus

Dickinson State University is a public university in Dickinson, North Dakota, belonging to the North Dakota University System. Annual enrollment is just under 1,400. Founded in 1918, DSU currently offers four-year undergraduate degree paths in more than 75 fields across 10 academic departments.

Dickinson State University also hosts the famed Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library that offers thousands of items online in partnership with the Library of Congress, Harvard University, and many other institutions.

  • BS in Education – Business Education

Dickinson State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#8  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

East Carolina University is a public research university in Greenville, North Carolina, that was founded in 1907. ESU’s nearly 30,000 enrolled students can pursue 102 bachelor’s degrees, 76 master’s degrees, and 16 doctoral degrees spread across nine undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and four professional schools.

East Carolina has been named a top-tier national university by U.S. News & World Report. ECU’s list of famous past students includes Vincent McMahon, Linda McMahon, and Sandra Bullock.

  • BS in Birth – Kindergarten Education
  • BS in Elementary Education
  • BS in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • BS in Middle Grades Education
  • BS in Special Education

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#9  Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Founded in 1965, Florida International University (FIU) is a public research university located in University Park, Florida. More than 58,787 students are enrolled at this member school within the State University System of Florida.

FIU offers 191 academic programs in total across a system that features 60 bachelor’s programs, 81 master’s programs, and 34 specialist programs.

  • BS in Early Childhood Education – Early Childhood Development
  • BS in Exceptional Student Education – Special Education, Educational Foundations, and Policy

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#10  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is a private evangelical college with an annual enrollment topping 100,000. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are offered across 550 programs at LU. A total of 289 of those programs are offered fully online.

The school also boasts recognition from the the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

  • BEd in Elementary Education
  • BEd in Middle Education – English
  • BEd in Middle Education – Social Sciences
  • BEd in Special Education
  • BS in Early Childhood Education – Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BS in Elementary Education – Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BS in Special Education – Interdisciplinary Studies

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#11  Mayville State University

Mayville State University campus

Mayville State University is a public university in Mayville, North Dakota, belonging to the North Dakota University System. Founded in 1889, MaSU has a current annual enrollment near 1,184. Undergraduate and graduate courses are available across nearly two dozen majors covering liberal arts and sciences.

  • BS in Education – Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Education – Mathematics Education
  • BS in Education – Special Education

Mayville State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Minot State University

Minot State University campus

Founded in 1913, Minot State University is a public university located in Minot, North Dakota. MiSU offers undergraduate degrees in more than 60 courses of study. The school offers graduate programs in 10 fields.

MiSU’s four academic divisions are the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and Health Sciences, and the Graduate School.

  • BS in Early Childhood Education

Minot State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#13  National University

National University campus

National University is a private university based in La Jolla, California, that offers courses designed for adult and professional learners. This school with an annual enrollment topping 23,909 was founded in 1971.

Students studying at NU can pursue associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and teaching credentials using a mix of streaming and real-time online classrooms.

  • BA in Early Childhood Development
  • BA in Early Childhood Education
  • BA in Elementary Education
  • BA in English Education
  • BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BA in Mathematics Education
  • BA in Special Education

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#14  Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University campus

Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University is a public research university with a main campus in Flagstaff, Arizona. Annual enrollment at NAU is just over 30,000. More than 158 degree programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral studies are offered. The academic offerings at NAU include 51 master’s degrees and 14 doctoral degrees.

  • Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies – Early Childhood
  • BAS in Early Childhood

Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#15  Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University campus

Old Dominion University is a public research university in Norfolk, Virginia, that was founded in 1930 as a division of the College of William & Mary. Its current annual enrollment of more than 24,000 students makes it one of Virginia’s largest universities.

Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are available across 168 programs. ODU is considered to be one of the largest providers of online learning in the country.

  • BS in Elementary Education
  • BS in Marketing Education
  • BS in Special Education
  • BS in Technology Education

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#16  Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University campus

Saint Leo University earns its place in history for being the first Roman Catholic college established in Florida. The school enrolls close to 12,000 students across its on-campus and online programs today. In fact, students from all 50 states study at St. Leo. More than 40 options for associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are available.

Saint Leo is considered a leading provider of education for active-duty military members and veterans today.

  • BA in Educational Studies – Early Childhood Development
  • BA in Elementary Education

Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#17  Troy University

Troy University campus

Troy University is a public university located in Troy, Alabama, with a history dating back to 1887. It is the flagship university of the Troy University System. The university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree options for its more than 18,000 enrolled students.

Studies are divided among five colleges, a graduate school, and a division of general studies.

  • BS in Occupational Education

Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#18  University of Alabama

University of Alabama campus

The flagship school of the University of Alabama System, the University of Alabama is the oldest and largest public university in the state. It was established in 1820 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Annual enrollment is close to 39,000.

A variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are offered across 13 academic divisions in areas covering the arts and sciences.

  • BS in Human Environmental Sciences – Early Childhood Education

The University of Alabama is accredited and/or recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#19  University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

Nearly 46,000 students enroll at the University of Arizona annually. This school with a main campus in Tuscon was founded in 1885. U of A students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

The University of Arizona is a school with high research activity that stems largely from its close alliances with NASA, the National Science Foundation, and other research institutions.

  • BAS in Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Literacy, Learning and Leadership

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#20  University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

The University of Central Florida is a public research university with a main campus in Orange County, Florida. Annual enrollment at UCF hovers just below 70,000. More than 200 degree options are offered through UCF’s 13 colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UCF as one of the most innovative schools in the country.

USA Today and the Princeton Review rated it as one of the 50 Best Value Public Universities.

  • BS in Technical Education and Industry Training

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#21  University of Florida

University of Florida campus

The University of Florida is a public research university located in Gainesville, Florida. Established in 1853, the home of the Florida Gators boasts an annual enrollment of 56,079 today. It is the state’s flagship university. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Florida as one of the best public university in the United States.

The school offers more than 300 majors across its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

  • BA in Education Sciences
  • BS in Health Education

The University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#22  University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

The University of Georgia is a public research university in Athens, Georgia, with a history dating back to 1785. Annual enrollment at UGA today stands at more than 38,000 students. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university’s undergraduate program in the top 15 percent of all school’s designated as Top National Universities.

Robust options for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are available throughout UGA’s 17 distinct schools and colleges.

  • BS in Special Education

University of Georgia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#23  University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi campus

The University of Southern Mississippi is a top-tier research institution located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. More than 14,133 students enroll annually at this school with a history dating back to 1910.

Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees are currently offered across 189 academic programs. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is a graduate of Southern Miss.

  • BS in Elementary Education

The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#24  University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin Stout campus

The University of Wisconsin–Stout is a public university in Menomonie, Wisconsin, that enrolls more than 96,000 students annually. Founded in 1891, UW–Stout offers 50 undergraduate majors, 26 master’s majors, and one doctoral program. The school is also home to more than a dozen research centers and programs.

  • BS in Career, Technical Education and Training
  • BS in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • BS in Marketing and Business Education
  • BS in Special Education
  • BS in Technology Education

University of Wisconsin-Stout is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.

#25  Webster University

Webster University campus

Webster University is a private university with a main campus in Webster Groves, Missouri, that dates back to 1915. Nearly 10,000 students are enrolled at Weber to study in a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.

Weber is comprised of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, the School of Communications, and the School of Education.

  • BA in Educational Studies
  • BA in General Studies

Webster University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Is an Education Degree Worth It?

early childhood education teacher happily teaching her students

Education is a stable, rewarding field that places you in the role of shaping the minds that will lead the world one day! Yes, the day-to-day work can be difficult. However, few careers offer such immediate rewards.

One of the great things about being a teacher today is that there are more resources for creating a dynamic classroom than ever before! What’s more, online degree programs make it easier to obtain higher degrees that will allow you to work your way up to an administrator role while teaching on a full-time basis if that’s your goal.

Calling all future teachers! A career that will change lives is just on the other side of applying to some schools. Of course, you’ll also change your life in the process!

Carmen Reed
WRITTEN BY
Carmen Reed