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For current educators seeking leadership roles and higher pay, a one-year online master’s in education degree may be exactly what you need to reach these goals. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared for roles such as instructional coordinator, with a median salary of $74,760, or school administrator, earning a median salary of $103,460. Even if you wish to remain a teacher, a master’s degree can lead to higher pay, with the top 10% of high school teachers making more than $106,380.

These programs provide comprehensive training in just one year of full-time study, providing you with the skills and credentials to advance your career and increase your earning potential.

How to Choose a One-Year Online Master’s in Education Program

Choose your area of study

By choosing a specialization for your master’s in education, you’ll align your studies with your career goals, making you a more competitive hire. Selecting your focus early will set you up for success.

For example, specializations like curriculum and instruction are ideal for those interested in creating educational programs, while educational leadership suits aspiring administrators. Special education is perfect for those passionate about supporting diverse learners, and educational technology fits those eager to integrate tech into classrooms.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve chosen a specialization, you can begin researching schools and programs in earnest. You may come into this process with some questions of your own, but here are a few more to guide your research further:

  • Does a recognized accrediting body accredit the program?
  • Are there flexible scheduling options for working students?
  • What are the faculty’s credentials and research interests?
  • What resources and support services are available to online students?
  • What are the graduation and job placement rates?

You can find most of this information on program websites, but be sure to check out an information session and contact an admissions counselor for more details.

Prepare for tests and applications

With your shortlist of programs in hand, it’s time to prepare for tests and applications. Specific admission requirements may vary by program, but many programs share similar criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA, often 3.0 or higher
  • GRE scores, if required
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or CV
  • Relevant work experience

Consider enrolling in a test prep program to boost your GRE performance and strengthen your application. This additional layer of preparation can significantly enhance your chances of admission into your top programs.

Select your program

You may have a big decision to make if you receive multiple acceptance letters. This is an excellent time to revisit your initial research criteria, prioritizing the factors that matter most to you, such as the program’s reputation, faculty you’re excited to learn from, and overall flexibility. Assess the total cost of attendance for each program and compare financial aid offers to determine another crucial factor — affordability.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

For most graduate students, paying for their education while avoiding debt is their highest priority. Start by filing the FAFSA to access federal financial aid. Next, apply for scholarships from your institution and outside organizations to reduce costs. If you’re seeking part-time work that will boost your resume, consider applying for an assistantship through your program. Those already employed in education may be eligible for tuition reimbursement through their employer, which can significantly offset expenses.

Best 50 Accredited One-Year Online Master’s in Education Programs

Best One-Year Online Master’s in Education Programs Badge 2024

Northcentral University

University of North Texas

Canisius College

Concordia University Irvine

California Baptist University

Eastern Washington University

University of the Cumberlands

Fitchburg State University

Cumberland University

Indiana Wesleyan University

University of Louisiana Monroe

USC Rossier

Florida International University

Fort Hays State University

University of Findlay

Liberty University

Lamar University

St. Joseph’s University

St. Leo University

Notre Dame College

NC State University

The University of West Alabama

Mercer University

Southern New Hampshire University

University of Georgia

Baker University

SDSU Global Campus

The University of Texas Permian Basin

University of Washington

California State University East Bay

Colorado State University

Upper Iowa University

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

St. Thomas University

Michigan State University

Greenville University

LSU Shreveport

UMass Global

Western Governors University

Anderson University

How we rank schools

This list features some of the best one-year online master’s in education programs in the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution, either public or private, with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education.

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

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of the best one-year online master’s in education programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From a One-Year Online Master’s in Education Program?

By enrolling in a one-year online master’s in education program, you’ll enter a rigorous yet rewarding experience, providing a significant understanding of educational theory, practice, and leadership. The most innovative curriculums will cover various topics, including pedagogical strategies, curriculum development, technology integration, and policy analysis. Rather than focusing on a traditional thesis, these programs often emphasize applied research projects or internships — providing practical, resume-boosting experience.

While these programs are structured to be completed in just one year, they require a significant time commitment. You must be prepared to engage in intensive study and time management. For these reasons, these programs aren’t for everyone, but for those who can set aside the time to complete them, they offer a fast track to career advancement in this field.

Potential courses you’ll take in a one-year online master’s in education program

  • Comprehension Strategies: This fundamental course focuses on techniques for improving student reading comprehension across different content areas. Participants will explore methods for teaching critical thinking, fostering engagement with texts, and differentiating instruction to meet learner needs.
  • The Early Childhood Educator: In this upper-level course, students will delve into the principles and practices of early childhood education, emphasizing developmental milestones and learning environments conducive to young children. Topics may include creating developmentally appropriate curricula, understanding family dynamics, and implementing inclusive practices to support all learners.
  • Foundations of Adult Learners: Another upper-level course, this class examines adult learners’ unique characteristics and needs, drawing on theories of adult development and learning. Students will learn how to design and implement effective educational programs for adult populations, addressing aspects like motivation, self-directed learning, and life experiences.
  • Identity, Inclusion, and Equity: This elective explores the issues of identity, inclusion, and equity within educational settings. Learners will engage with topics like cultural competence, anti-bias education, and strategies for creating inclusive classroom environments.

What Can I Do With a Master’s in Education Degree?

With a master’s in education degree, you can pursue various roles within education, such as instructional coordinator, school administrator, or teaching at different levels. These opportunities will remain in steady demand over the next decade, with thousands of job openings yearly.

Career outlook

  • High School Teacher — While a master’s degree isn’t required for this role, many individuals find that it results in higher pay. High school teachers educate students in grades 9-12, delivering subject-specific math, science, English, or social studies lessons.
    • Median annual salary: $65,220
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 0%
    • New jobs projected: 67,100
  • Instructional Coordinator — In this role, graduates can develop and implement curriculum standards, provide teacher training, and evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs.
    • Median annual salary: $74,620
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 2%
    • New jobs projected: 19,200
  • School Administrator — Administrators oversee school operations, manage staff, develop policies, and ensure compliance with educational standards.
    • Median annual salary: $103,460
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 0%
    • New jobs projected:  20,200

One-Year Online Master’s in Education Degree Program Frequently Asked Questions

How do accelerated degree programs work?

These programs compress the standard curriculum into a shorter timeframe without reducing content. This means that, rather than having specific periods of the year without classes, you’ll likely have classes year-round, and they may require more work. While the curriculum remains the same, the pace is faster, demanding dedication and time management skills.

To explore the pros and cons of these programs and ensure they are the right fit for you, visit our page, which provides more details.

How long does it take to earn a one-year online master's in education degree?

True to its namesake, a one-year online master’s in education takes just one year to complete with full-time study. While rare, part-time options can take up to two years on an accelerated timeline.

It’s crucial to verify the total number of required credits, as this can vary by program and impact the feasibility of completing your degree within the intended timeframe.

How much does a one-year online master's in education degree cost?

The average annual tuition for a graduate degree is $20,513, though this can vary by program. However, it’s important to note that tuition doesn’t cover everything — you’ll also want to prepare for expenses like technology fees, textbooks, and course materials. These costs can add up over time, making your education more expensive.

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