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In an era of increasing demand for qualified educators, pursuing an online bachelor’s in education has emerged as an accessible and dynamic pathway toward shaping the future of teaching. Yet, finding a top-notch program that’s right for your educational and career goals can be challenging. Fortunately, the research team at has compiled a thoroughly vetted list of the best online undergraduate programs in education available today to help you find your ideal match.

In addition, this article will delve into the essential criteria that define excellence in these programs, including common curriculum elements and student teaching requirements. We’ll discuss the career outlook for graduates, from entry-level to advanced roles, while providing insights on selecting the perfect program to match your professional goals. Lastly, we offer a valuable FAQ section to answer the most pertinent questions about these programs so you can make an informed decision about your educational journey.

What Can I Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Education Degree Program?

An online bachelor’s in education degree offers aspiring educators a flexible and accessible pathway to pursue a rewarding career in teaching. From early childhood to elementary to secondary education and beyond, these programs will give you the knowledge needed to thrive in your career.

Different types of bachelor’s in education degrees

Bachelor’s in education programs come in various forms to suit different career aspirations and interests. The most common types include the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Education (BS.Ed): This degree typically focuses on a more science-based approach, emphasizing subjects like math and science education. BS.Ed programs often include pedagogy, curriculum development, and educational psychology coursework.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Education (BA.Ed): BA.Ed programs lean towards a broader, liberal-arts-based approach. They incorporate humanities and social sciences into the curriculum, fostering a well-rounded understanding of educational theory and practice.
  • Bachelor of Education (B.Ed): A B.Ed degree is often a direct pathway to becoming a certified teacher. It focuses intensely on pedagogical training and often significantly emphasizes student teaching experiences.

Common curriculum elements for bachelor’s in education degree programs

Education is a wide-ranging field, meaning that students can earn their bachelor’s in education to achieve various goals — entering areas like early childhood, elementary, secondary, and special education. In addition, some degree programs may offer a major in Educational Leadership, which is an excellent option for those interested in leadership roles within schools.

Regardless of your chosen major, education programs typically incorporate key curriculum elements such as:

  • Educational psychology
  • Assessment and evaluation techniques
  • Curriculum development
  • Diversity and inclusion in the classroom

Courses in classroom management, educational technology, and teaching strategies are also standard.

Student Teaching

In addition to classroom-based coursework, students often engage in practicum experiences, seminars, and workshops that enhance their teaching skills. These programs prioritize real-world application to ensure graduates are prepared to meet the diverse needs of students in today’s educational landscape.

State-level teaching certification

Each state has its own set of certification requirements, and they may differ in terms of coursework, student teaching hours, and assessments. If you plan to pursue a teaching career in a specific state, earning your degree from an institution within that state is often beneficial. In-state programs align closely with their state’s certification standards, making the transition from student to certified teacher smoother.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Education Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Education Programs Badge

Western Governors University

Liberty University

Arizona State University

Drexel University

University of Georgia

University of Missouri

UW College of Education

University of Florida

Purdue University

East Carolina University

Texas Tech University

George Mason University

University of Central Florida

University of Cincinnati

University of Arizona

Regis University

West Virginia University

Florida International University

Oklahoma State University

Bay Path University

University of Massachusetts Global

Kansas State University

National University

University of Dayton

Wilmington University

Fort Hays State University

Mississippi State University

University of North Dakota

Franklin Pierce University

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Saint Francis University

LeTourneau University

Ball State University

The University of Alabama

University of Illinois Springfield

The Baptist College of Florida

University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

Webster University

DeSales University

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Old Dominion University

University of Northern Iowa

Midway University

University of Central Missouri

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online bachelor’s degree programs in education in the U.S. All are offered at nonprofit, accredited institutions, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each degree program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and student resources. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared our picks to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor’s in Education?

Career outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for teachers is expected to remain stable over the next decade, reflecting the enduring demand for high-quality instructors with median annual salaries averaging around $60,000. Teaching positions offer a financially rewarding career path, notably surpassing the median income for all occupations, which is $46,310.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers $61,620
Middle School Teachers $61,810
High School Teachers $62,360
Special Education Teachers $62,950

Career paths

Graduates with a bachelor’s in education have diverse career opportunities, from teaching in K-12 classrooms to pursuing advanced roles in curriculum development, policy analysis, or school administration.

  • Elementary Education: Many education graduates start as elementary school teachers. They teach a range of subjects to young students, fostering their academic and personal development.
  • Secondary Education: Graduates can also pursue careers in secondary education, teaching at the middle or high school levels. These instructors specialize in mathematics, science, English, or social studies.
  • Special Education: Special Education teachers work with students with disabilities, providing tailored instruction and support.
  • Instructional Designer: With additional training, graduates can become instructional designers, creating engaging and effective educational materials and resources.
  • School Administration: By seeking higher education and accruing teaching experience, students can eventually advance to school principals or assistant principals, overseeing school operations and staff.

Middle school teacher

Responsible for guiding students through the pivotal years of early adolescence, middle school teachers have a multifaceted role in shaping students’ academic and personal development. They deliver lessons in various subjects — including math, science, English, and social studies — tailored to the developmental needs of 11 to 14-year-olds. They also assess student progress, provide guidance and support, and help students navigate the challenges of this transitional phase in their education while fostering a positive and inclusive classroom environment.

High school teacher

High school teachers are instrumental figures in the academic journey of teenagers aged 14 to 18, shaping their knowledge and future prospects. Their role involves designing and delivering curriculum-based lessons, assessing student performance, and preparing students for standardized tests and college or career readiness. Additionally, high school teachers often serve as mentors, offering academic and personal support to help students achieve their educational goals and transition to adulthood.

Special education teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have disabilities and learning challenges. They develop individualized education plans (IEPs) to address each student’s specific needs, adapting curriculum and teaching methods to accommodate diverse learning styles and providing additional support and resources to help students learn alongside their unique challenges. Special education teachers are dedicated to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment that promotes the academic and social development of their students with disabilities.

Best States for Teaching Careers

Education career opportunities span all 50 states, although employment and annual salary vary widely.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s highest-paid teachers are in Washington, DC, with an annual median salary of $76,000. Meanwhile, the lowest annual median salary is in Mississippi, where teachers earn $46,240 per year.

The U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of trained, qualified teachers, with some experts estimating as many as 55,000 open teaching positions in the country. The need is most acute in the South Atlantic and East South Central regions of the U.S.

State Annual median wage Employment per 1,000 jobs
Alabama $50,630 50.3
Alaska $61,660 63.1
Arizona $48,410 47.6
Arkansas $47,840 57.8
California $63,100 56.8
Colorado $50,180 52.9
Connecticut $63,680 73.5
Delaware $59,060 60.0
District of Columbia $76,000 43.3
Florida $49,790 42.9
Georgia $57,780 57.6
Hawaii $56,570 64.7
Idaho $47,200 55.8
Illinois $53,480 60.7
Indiana $47,880 50.0
Iowa $47,170 67.4
Kansas $47,650 64.2
Kentucky $50,240 50.0
Louisiana $49,090 57.8
Maine $49,120 64.2
Maryland $60,890 62.7
Massachusetts $64,390 64.3
Michigan $51,480 46.2
Minnesota $49,710 56.2
Mississippi $46,240 60.8
Missouri $47,940 55.0
Montana $47,630 58.4
Nebraska $50,290 58.3
Nevada $56,530 36.2
New Hampshire $51,390 63.4
New Jersey $62,640 68.4
New Mexico $55,210 60.1
New York $63,670 74.3
North Carolina $47,920 57.9
North Dakota $49,030 58.2
Ohio $60,470 58.0
Oklahoma $47,210 57.4
Oregon $60,720 53.0
Pennsylvania $60,930 56.6
Rhode Island $64,320 65.9
South Carolina $48,400 50.6
South Dakota $46,840 57.9
Tennessee $48,920 48.2
Texas $59,140 60.9
Utah $48,670 57.3
Vermont $49,720 87.8
Virgin Islands $47,790 66.3
Virginia $57,240 61.3
Washington $62,660 53.9
West Virginia $47,470 60.0
Wisconsin $49,580 55.1
Wyoming $49,930 72.6

**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

How to Choose the Online Bachelor’s in Education Degree That’s Right for You

Step 1: Choose your area of study

Choosing an area of study for your bachelor’s in education is a critical decision that can significantly influence your future career. Think about your passions, strengths, and career goals. Those who adore working with young children might lean towards early childhood education, while students passionate about specific subjects can hone in on those areas further by specializing in secondary education. Special education is an excellent choice for those dedicated to supporting young adults with disabilities.

Additionally, consider which virtual learning environment will suit you best. For example, asynchronous learning may serve ambitious students with the ability to self-discipline, as it encourages independent study. On the other hand, synchronous learning may be better for students who prefer structured class times and real-time interaction. Considering the pros and cons of full-time and part-time enrollment is also crucial. While full-time learning is more immersive, part-time study may be better for students balancing their studies with other responsibilities — like a full-time job or caretaking.

Step 2: Research schools and programs

You can research ideal schools and programs by ensuring accreditation — an essential quality indicator. Inquire about program flexibility to match your learning needs, considering online or on-campus options and full- or part-time study. Asking admissions counselors the following questions can help:

  • Does a recognized accrediting body accredit the program?
  • What specializations or majors are offered within the education program?
  • Can you explain the program’s flexibility, including scheduling and online learning options?

By making these inquiries, you can feel confident in making an informed decision about your ideal programs, aligning your education with your career goals while ensuring a reputable and adaptable educational experience.

Step 3: Prepare for applications and tests

Begin by carefully reviewing admission requirements for your shortlisted schools. Typically, bachelor’s degree applications require the following:

  • High school transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Standardized test scores

Consider enrolling in a test prep course to excel on standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. With expert guidance, these courses can help bolster your scores through practice tests and structured curriculums covering all test sections.

Step 4: Select your program

When acceptance letters arrive, it’s essential to carefully consider your academic and career goals and how each program can help you achieve them. Revisit each program’s curriculum, faculty, and resources to ensure alignment with your aspirations. Weigh factors like location, cost, and available financial aid. Don’t hesitate to contact current students and alums for additional insights. Ultimately, choose the program that best aligns with your unique needs and long-term vision, as it will shape your educational journey and future career.

Step 5: Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Now that you have chosen the program you’ll attend, it’s time to discuss payment options. Begin by exploring scholarships and grants, as they offer financial aid without repayment obligations, lightening the tuition burden. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is essential to unlock federal grants and loans. When considering loans, prioritize federal options over private loans, as they generally feature lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms.

As an aspiring educator, you should also be aware of programs like Teacher Loan Forgiveness, which forgives a portion of federal loans for educators, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which offers loan relief to those in public service roles, including teachers, after ten years of qualified payments.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Bachelor’s in Education Degree Programs

What are the admissions requirements for an online bachelor's in education degree?

You must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for admission to an online bachelor’s in education degree program. Some programs may have minimum high school GPA requirements, often around 2.0 or higher. Demonstrating qualities like a passion for teaching, communication skills, and a commitment to education can also be advantageous in the admissions process.

Other requirements typically include:

  • High school transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Specific requirements vary by institution, so carefully reviewing each program’s admission criteria is essential.

What is the average cost of an online bachelor’s in education degree?

For the 2020-2021 academic year, tuition for an online bachelor’s in education degree was $19,374 at public institutions and $45,920 at private universities. Online students can save money on tuition fees by choosing in-state public schools, which often offer reduced tuition for residents. They’re also uniquely positioned to benefit from lower commuting and housing expenses and potential textbook savings through digital resources.

Some other ways to reduce overall expenses include:

  • Applying for financial aid, including scholarships and grants
  • Creating a realistic budget to manage costs effectively
  • Exploring employer tuition reimbursement programs

By combining these strategies and exploring all available options for financial assistance, you can make your education affordable and manageable.

How long does it take to complete an online bachelor's in education degree?

Most online bachelor’s degree programs take about four years to complete, mirroring the standard duration of an in-person undergraduate program. However, completion time can vary based on the program’s format, the student’s enrollment status, and any accelerated options available — detailed as follows:

  • Full-Time Enrollment: Most students finish in four years by taking a full course load each semester.
  • Part-Time Enrollment: Part-time students may take longer, often five to six years, as they take fewer courses per term while juggling other commitments.
  • Accelerated Programs: Some schools offer accelerated online programs that can be completed in two to three years, designed for students who want to reach graduation quickly. These may involve heavier course loads and shorter breaks between terms.

Should I get a bachelor's in education degree in person or online?

Whether you should attend an in-person or online bachelor’s in education program depends on your circumstances and learning preferences. In-person programs offer face-to-face interaction and on-campus experiences, while online programs provide flexibility and accessibility for students who prefer or need less structure. Consider your schedule, location, and the program’s quality when choosing. Both formats can lead to a successful teaching career, so selecting the one that best aligns with your needs and goals is essential.

What is the best major for a bachelor's in education degree?

The best bachelor’s in education major depends on your career goals and interests. Common majors include Elementary, Secondary, Early Childhood, and Special Education. Choose the major that aligns with your passion and the age group or subject you want to teach, as each major prepares you for specific teaching roles.

Is an online bachelor's in education degree worth it?

Earning an online bachelor’s in education is worth it for aspiring educators. The return on investment (ROI) is generally positive, as teachers are in demand, and a degree can lead to a stable and fulfilling career. However, you should carefully consider factors like program quality, accreditation, and the cost of tuition to ensure a favorable ROI. Research potential salary levels in your area and career advancement opportunities to assess the degree’s long-term benefits to your specific situation.

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