We’ve ranked the 20 Best Online Masters in Teaching Programs for 2020. Compare teaching degree types, career paths, job growth, and salaries.
Online masters in teaching programs can help you become a strong, successful teacher who makes a long-lasting difference in students’ lives.
Many Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs are licensure tracks that will help you enter this field for the first time. Other programs enhance current teachers’ skills.
Best Online Masters in Teaching Programs
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
There are a number of master’s programs in teaching available online.
Master’s in Teaching
If you want to become a classroom teacher who knows how to connect with students and pass on important knowledge, then an online master’s in teaching can help you achieve that goal.
This degree is usually intended as a licensure track. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, you can enroll in an MAT program to become a teacher for the first time. After graduation, you’ll be ready to apply for state teaching licensure.
There are some MAT programs, though, for current teachers. If you’re already a licensed educator, you could enroll in one of those programs to refine your classroom skills. You might learn more about teaching a particular subject matter, such as math or literacy.
These master’s degree programs are best for students whose primary career goals involve classroom teaching rather than administration. You could teach in elementary, secondary or special education settings.
Master’s in Online Teaching (eLearning)
In today’s connected society, digital learning is becoming increasingly popular. Kids, college students and workplace professionals use online tools to increase their skills and knowledge. If you’d like to be an online instructor, you can prepare for this unique type of teaching by getting a degree in eLearning.
In this program, you’ll learn specific strategies for delivering content through online formats. The curriculum will cover curriculum design, instructional methods and technology options. You may also discuss testing and other strategies for evaluating students’ learning.
This degree could help you become an online instructor for a virtual K–12 school, but you might need to have state teaching licensure as well. You could also be responsible for overseeing a college’s online course offerings.
If you’re interested in corporate training and development, this degree might help you create computer-based employee training modules.
Master’s in Teaching Curriculum & Courses
Studying for a Master of Arts in Teaching online will require you to learn about instructional methods, curriculum planning, classroom management, learning disabilities and other topics of importance to educators. You may also learn skills for teaching specific subject areas.
- Classroom and Behavior Management: For teachers to effectively deliver instruction, they have to hold students’ attention. This course will give you strategies for structuring a classroom environment where learning can take place.
- Curriculum Design: You’ll learn to evaluate teaching materials and create a course of study that supports your learners’ needs and meets grade-level standards.
- Diversity in the Classroom: This course on multiculturalism will help you learn to create classroom environments where all learners feel accepted and supported.
- Instructional Technology: Whether you want to teach online or in-person, technology will probably be an important part of your classroom routine. In this class, you may try out different online learning platforms.
- Introduction to Special Education: This overview course will teach you about working with exceptional students and following special education laws.
- Learning Theories: Understanding the science behind cognition and memory will help you deliver age-appropriate learning that sticks.
- Literacy Instruction: Whether you teach elementary students or high schoolers, you can help them become fluent readers and communicators.
- Mathematics Instruction: You’ll learn strategies for teaching math content at your preferred grade level.
- Student Assessments: You and your classmates will discuss testing and other methods for evaluating students’ learning and growth.
- Teaching English Language Learners: Students whose native language isn’t English may need extra supports. You’ll learn strategies for communicating classroom content while also encouraging students’ language skills.
If you’re in a licensure program, you’ll also need to complete a one-semester student teaching experience. You may be able to find a placement at a school in your local area.
Teaching Careers & Salaries
Earning a master’s in teaching online is a smart career move for people who want to be classroom teachers. This degree program typically focuses on skills and strategies for working directly with students. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the number of positions for teachers is growing at a 5% rate.
After earning your teaching license, you could work in a public or private K–12 school. You might be a general education instructor, or you could teach a specific subject, such as math, English, music or science. Your license will specify what grades and content areas you are qualified to teach.
Early childhood instruction is another possible career path. With your master’s degree, you could teach preschool students or head up an early childhood center.
Special education services are needed at all grade levels, from preschool through age 21. Your expertise can help students of all abilities achieve their full potential.
Although most people who earn a MAT have their sights set on being the best classroom teachers they can be, you might put your skills to work outside the classroom. For example, you could be an instructional coordinator who supervises curriculum selection and instructional methods for your district.
Some MAT graduates work with people of all ages who are learning English for the first time or improving their literacy skills. You could offer GED-prep classes or tutoring services.
According to PayScale, getting a Master of Arts in Teaching could lead to an average annual salary of $54,000. Your exact salary may depend on the school where you work, the age of your students and the subject that you teach.
|Career||Average Annual Salary|
|High School Special Education Teacher||$55,000|
|Elementary Special Education Teacher||$52,000|
|High School Teacher||$52,000|
|Middle School Teacher||$48,000|
|English as a Second Language Teacher||$43,000|
School district salaries often increase with the number of years you’ve spent as a teacher. Continuing to take college classes may raise your salary as well.
Master’s in Teaching Specializations & Concentrations
Students mature and develop a good deal between preschool and high school. As they change, classroom subject matter and instructional methods must change too.
Because of that, you’ll need to get a teaching degree that is specific to the ages or subject matter that you want to teach. Then, you can become licensed for that type of teaching.
- Elementary education: To instruct children during their first years of school, you should get an elementary education degree, which may enable you to work with kids from kindergarten through fifth, sixth or eighth grade.
- Middle school education: The junior high years are a transitional period for students, and a middle school endorsement will show that you have the know-how address this group’s unique needs.
- Secondary education: To be a high school teacher, you’ll need a degree in secondary education, and you may need to be certified in a specific subject matter, such as history or math, as well.
- Special education: Working with exceptional students, such as those with learning, physical or behavioral disabilities, requires special education training.
Licensure and endorsement requirements vary by state. For example, in some areas, a secondary teaching degree may allow you to teach both junior high and high school. Consult your state’s board of education to learn more about the requirements in your area.
Choosing a Master’s in Teaching Degree
There are many master’s in teaching online degrees available. Before you enroll in school, take the time to explore your options and narrow down the selection.
First of all, it’s a good idea to check whether a program will prepare you to get a teaching license. If your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in education, you’ll need to pursue a licensure track to enter this field for the first time.
On the other hand, if you’re a licensed teacher, you’ll want a program that’s designed for enhancing your current teaching skills. You may need a program that’s designed to teach you more about a particular subject area or add an endorsement to your current license.
Once you’ve identified what type of MAT program you need, think about what grade level you’re interested in teaching. An elementary education program won’t prepare you to work in a high school, nor will a middle school endorsement qualify you to teach preschool. It’s important that your program is tailored to your career goals.
You may also want to consider what type of online format the school uses for its master’s programs. For example, ask questions like:
- Are classes offered year-round or in two semesters?
- Do I need to log in at set times, or can I work on my own schedule?
- How will I build relationships with faculty and classmates?
- What technology do I need to have?
Finally, for programs that lead to licensure, you may want to consider student teaching requirements. It’s worthwhile to inquire about how placements are made and whether you’ll be able to work with a school in your local area.
To get into an MAT program, you’ll need to hold a bachelor’s degree. For most programs, your undergraduate studies can be in any field. You don’t need to come from a teaching background.
Schools will consider your application packet when deciding whether to accept you. These materials may need to include:
- Essay: You may need to write a short paper in which you introduce yourself to the school.
- References: Letters from work supervisors can tell admissions committees about your strengths, work ethic and determination.
- Resume: Your work history demonstrates what type of professional experience you’ll bring into the program.
- Transcripts: Records of your undergraduate work prove that you graduated from college and show what grades you earned.
Some schools request GRE scores as well, but this isn’t a universal requirement for MAT admission. For schools that do require GRE testing, you may be able to request a waiver.
Many colleges have the honor of being regionally accredited. They can earn this distinction by consistently meeting high standards for educating students. Schools must go through a rigorous evaluation process before receiving this type of accreditation, and their status must be renewed occasionally.
Attending a regionally accredited school can provide assurance that you’re going to receive a quality education that is respected by employers and other colleges. Enrolling in an accredited school is also important if you want to receive government financial aid.
There are only seven organizations that are allowed to give out regional accreditation in the U.S. They include the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) maintains the full list of these accreditors.
Online vs. Traditional Masters in Teaching
When you decide to go back to school for a teaching degree, you have two choices: traditional college classes or online ones. You can get a great education either way, so it’s important to base your decision on which format works better for your schedule and your learning style.
- Cost: The cost per credit hour may be comparable for online and in-person schooling, but you can often save on housing or commuting costs by taking digital courses.
- Flexibility: Traditional classes require you to be on campus at set times, but online programs sometimes allow you to log in and complete coursework at any hour of the day or night.
- Learning style: Taking classes online usually requires a good deal of organization and self-motivation since you won’t have regular face-to-face interactions with professors to help keep you on track.
- Schedule: Campus-based classes usually use a two-semester format, and some online programs do as well. Other online colleges use a year-round schedule with back-to-back classes.
With both an online master’s in teaching and a traditional one, you’ll need to do in-person student teaching before you can become licensed.
Teaching Professional Organizations
Teachers help one another become better educators. Networking with other teaching professionals will expose you to new ideas for delivering content and championing students’ needs. Joining a professional association will help you make those vital connections with other educators.
- Association of American Educators: AAE is committed to supporting teachers and advocating for students through non-partisan, non-union approaches.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children: NAEYC promotes quality care and developmentally appropriate teaching for young children from birth through age eight.
- National Education Association: NEA is a national union that advocates for educators and students in the public school system.
Membership in professional organizations usually requires an annual fee. If you’re new to the education field, you may be able to purchase an entry-level or student membership. This can be a good way to try out the group before committing to the full membership dues.
Each group offers its own set of membership benefits. Joining may give you access to magazines, email newsletters, online courses, webinars and other educational materials. You may also get to attend in-person events, participate in online forums, use exclusive discounts, contribute to public advocacy and search job postings.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Funding shouldn’t be an obstacle to accomplishing your dream of becoming a teacher. You may be able to rely on financial assistance to help you pay your tuition bills.
Start with government funding. You’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you submit the information, you’ll learn what assistance programs are available to you.
State governments and the federal government give tuition grants to students with significant financial need. This is free tuition money that you won’t need to pay back.
Government loans are another option. They will have to be repaid once you’re finished with college, but the interest rates are usually low.
As a teacher, you may qualify for government loan-forgiveness programs. To take advantage of this opportunity, you may need to serve a set number of years in a low-income school district.
You can also apply for scholarships. Private organizations, such as professional associations, civic groups, businesses and philanthropic trusts, give these to select applicants. Your college may award scholarships as well.
Some organizations give out fellowships for graduate students instead of scholarships. These funds may help you afford extra experiences to enrich your education. For example, a fellowship may allow you to attend a national teachers’ conference.
What Is the Best Masters Degree for Teachers?
The master’s degree program that’s right for you will depend on your teaching goals. To become a licensed teacher for the first time, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is often a good choice. There are also MAT programs that help currently licensed teachers to enhance their classroom skills.
For current teachers who would prefer to move into administrative or supervisory positions, a master’s degree in education (MEd) could be a better fit.
How Much Does a Teacher Make With a Master’s Degree?
In some school districts, earning a master’s degree automatically qualifies you for a higher salary than that of teachers who hold only a bachelor’s degree. According to the Center on Education and the Workforce, the average annual salary for people with master’s degrees in teacher education is $57,000.
Teaching secondary students often pays more than teaching at the early childhood or elementary levels.
Are There Any Affordable Master of Arts in Teaching Online Programs?
Yes, even if you’re on a budget, you can earn an online master’s in teaching. Many schools charge around $400 to $700 per credit hour.
To find the lowest rates, start with public schools. In-state schools may be cheapest for you, but some online public universities offer in-state rates to out-of-state students.
You may be able to reduce your tuition with financial aid and scholarships. Transferring in previously earned credits can lower your costs as well.
Can You Get a Master’s in Teaching Online With Certification?
Yes, many MAT programs are designed to lead to initial licensure. You can often complete all of the coursework 100% online, but you’ll need to spend a semester doing in-person student teaching.
State licensure requirements vary, so it’s a good idea to check whether an out-of-state school will prepare you for certification in your state. After graduation, you may need to take state exams before you can receive your license.
Are There Any Combined Master’s and Teaching Credential Programs Online?
If you’re ready for a career change, a Master of Arts in Teaching can help you become a licensed teacher. You don’t need to have a background in education to qualify for one of these programs. A bachelor’s degree in any field will suffice.
During your master’s program, you’ll take classes on learning theories, curriculum design, education law and classroom management. These courses may qualify you to apply for teacher licensure in your state.
How Long Does it Take to Get Your Online MAT?
An online master’s degree in teaching can be a quick way to get started with a career in the field of education. Some teaching master’s programs with year-round classes take only 12 months to complete.
That time may include both the classroom work and the student teaching portion of your studies.
What are the Requirements for a Masters in Teaching (MAT)?
For most MAT programs, you only need to have a bachelor’s degree before you can enroll. The degree can be from any field, and you don’t need to have a teaching license or classroom experience.
There may be some exceptions to that rule. Select MAT programs are for currently licensed teachers to gain additional knowledge. For those programs, a valid teaching license may be required.
What Can I do with a Master’s in Teaching Degree?
Most people get a Master of Arts in Teaching online because they want to be excellent classroom teachers. You could teach preschoolers, elementary kids, junior high, or high schoolers.
Many general education jobs are available, but you could also be a specialty teacher with expertise in special education, music, science, math or another discipline.
Universities Offering Online Teaching Master’s Degree Programs
Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer teaching master’s degree programs online.
Capella University has offered more than fifty-degree programs with a variety of majors, granting undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees since 1993. This private academic institution enrolls more than 35,000 annually and has students worldwide.
Giving students several flexible degree paths set Capella University apart for other industry leaders.
- MEd in Teaching and Learning
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Dallas Baptist University awards degrees at every academic level and has been working to better the lives of others since opening in 1898. Students at Dallas Baptist University study a faith-based curriculum that blends community enrichment with academics. Popular programs at DBU include education, science, liberal arts, and business.
- MA in Teaching
Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Giving students a chance to study an academic program that is based on the values of the Catholic teachings since 1841, Fordham University strives to bring kindness and social justice to the heart of each student.
This private research university has many program major choices to guide students on their journey to obtain an undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degree.
- MS in Teaching
Fordham University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Middle States Association.
Opening as a public learning facility, Kansas State University provides a research-based education to students throughout the nation and around the world. Thought campus learning opportunities and online platforms, KSU provides students with an array of programs that lead to undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees.
Samples of K-State programs include education, technology, and healthcare.
- MA in Teaching
Kansas State University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Serving as one of the largest and oldest learning institutions in the nation, Liberty University commenced in 1771. This private university has more than 600-degree programs and majors that allow students to acquire an undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate degree.
Reaching students through both online and through traditional means, Liberty has a path for all who attend.
- MA in Teaching
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Working to bring research and critical thinking to all programs offered, Michigan State University has prepared students to be leaders in their community since 1855. With multiple pathways to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, MSU uses practical-based learning and technology-rich courses in every program.
Some programs offered include education, science, and healthcare.
- MA in Teaching and Curriculum
MSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Millersville University of Pennsylvania has been offering a public educational option to students looking to gain a high education or career advancement since 1855.
Millersville University of Pennsylvania has more than seventy-five combine degree programs that can help students earn undergraduate, master’s, or postgraduate degrees in a variety of majors and minors.
- MEd in Online Teaching
Millersville University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
North Carolina Central University has strived to make public education affordable since it began in 1909. Providing a variety of scholarship options, NCCU helps students grown personally and professionally while earning one of many bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees NCCU has to offer.
This historically black school works to support its community and its students.
- MA in Teaching
North Carolina Central University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Oregon State University opened in 1868 as a public postsecondary school. Today, Oregon State offers over two-hundred majors and minors to help students prepare for post-college careers.
Programs from Oregon State University range from bachelor’s, graduate, and postgraduate degrees that teach critical thinking and leadership skills. Some programs at OSU include education, nursing, and business.
- MA in Teaching
Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Seattle Pacific University has been helping students achieve higher learning, personal growth, and a peaceful presence since 1891. This private Christian school believes a holistic approach to learning is the best practice for building future leaders in society.
SPU has an array of undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree programs for students to choose from.
- MA in Teaching
SPU is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Recognized globally for its advancements in research and discoveries, Stony Brook University opened in 1957 as a public postsecondary school. Students at Stony Brook have access to bachelorette, master’s, and doctoral programs that allow them to work with and question experts in their industries.
Online programs are an option at SBU, and campuses are bustling with activities.
- MAT in Mathematics
- MAT in Science
Stony Brook University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Alaska – Anchorage is the largest postsecondary school in its region by enrollment and has been open since 1954. U of A- Anchorage serves more than 18,000 students annually over five campuses and a dynamic distance learning platform. Offering a variety of undergraduate or graduate degrees, it has many choices of course majors.
- MEd in Teaching and Learning
The University of Alaska Anchorage is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Serving students as a public learning facility since 1947, the University of Maryland Global Campus allows students worldwide access to undergraduate or graduate degrees by way of distance learning, hybrid courses, and campus-based learning opportunities.
With a variety of alternative learning options, UMGC allows students to turn real-life lessons into college credits.
- MA in Teaching
UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Established in 1948, the University of Mississippi is a highly regarded public school that is high in research activity, innovation, and community presence—working to change the likes of students throughout the world, Ole Miss awards undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and Ph.D. programs.
It also has a path for students seeking a degree in medicine and law.
- MA in Teaching
The University of Mississippi is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Iowa has been preparing students across the nation and in many other countries throughout the world for higher education and lifelong learning since 1847.
Students at UI can gain an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree in an assortment of program majors while also learning critical thinking skills and participating in community outreach.
- MA in Teaching, Leadership and Cultural Competency
The University of Iowa is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
As a private Catholic school, the University of Saint Francis teaches more than core academics. It has been helping students find themselves through volunteerism, critical thinking, and leadership since 1890. Students at the University of Saint Francis can earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in a multitude of programs.
- MA in Teaching
The University of Saint Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of South Florida is a public university that takes pride in the research and discovery that takes place in the many programs offered. USF opened in 1856 and now offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level degrees. Working to help positively change the world, USF encourages students to participate in community service.
- MA in Teaching
USF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges.
Founded in 1880 as a public school, the University of Southern California is located in the heart of Los Angeles and enrolls over 50,000 students annually from all over the globe.
With hundreds of program options to choose from, students at the University of Southern California can complete undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees in the preferred academic area.
- MA in Teaching
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The University of Utah started in 1850 as a small public school and now serves thousands of students every year. With 200 program areas to choose from, students attending UT have access to a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. The University of Utah blends research activity and technology in all programs offered.
- MA in Teaching – Fine Arts
The University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Obtaining a private education at Walden University prepares students to become critical thinkers and leaders in their chosen industries. Walden University opened in 1970 and offers many degree options that include undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs in a wide variety of majors.
Walden reaches students around the globe through campus-based on online learning.
- MA in Teaching
Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Masters in Teaching Online Degree
Teaching is a job that can make a long-lasting difference in students’ lives. As a teacher, you’ll impart academic knowledge and life lessons.
With a Master of Arts in Teaching, you can prepare for a long career of shaping hearts and minds.
By enrolling in online studies, you can take classes while continuing to work or care for your family. After finishing your courses, you’ll have opportunities to practice your skills in a local classroom.
If becoming a licensed teacher is a career path you want to pursue, it’s time to apply to online master’s programs for teaching.