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Top 40 Accelerated Online Master’s in Education Programs for 2021

Top 40 Accelerated Online Master's in Education Programs for 2021
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Jobs in education are in demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). One of the best ways to begin or advance a career in this growing field is to earn an accelerated online master’s in education degree from one of the dozens of accredited colleges and universities across the United States that offer such credentials. Online education master’s programs have become quite popular in recent years because of their convenience and potential ROI. Accelerated master’s of education online programs–those associated with completion times of less than two years–are particularly appealing for working teachers. In this ranking, our editors identify the top 40 accelerated master’s in education online programs.

Types of Accelerated Online Master’s in Education Programs Featured in this Ranking:

  • Online MA in Education: Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MS in Educational Leadership
  • Online MS in Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online MS in Education: Early Childhood Studies
  • Online MAT in Secondary Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MA in Educational Psychology
  • Online M.Ed. in Literacy
  • Online M.Ed. in Adult Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Elementary Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning
  • Online MS in Learning Technologies
  • Online M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education

Rating and Ranking the Top 40 Accelerated Master’s in Education Online Programs

To develop this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of over 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. offering online masters in education programs that can be completed in less than two years. To ensure affordability, we narrowed this pool using a maximum tuition filter of $30,000. Finally, we applied our universal ranking methodology for graduate degree programs. In the case of a tie, the less expensive program was awarded the higher ranking.

#40—Northcentral University

La Jolla, California

Website

Points: 4

Northcentral University

The accelerated online master’s in education degree from Northcentral University is the most versatile option in our ranking. The Master of Education (M.Ed.) program features 17 different specialization options, including standout choices such as:

  • Global Training and Development
  • E-Learning
  • Corporate Wellness
  • Athletic Coaching
  • Social Emotional Learning

While the recommended completion time for the program is 16 months, students who desire a more accelerated track have the option of completing their degree plan in just one year. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited NCU to offer these master’s in education online programs.

Graduate Tuition: $16,983

#39—Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida

Website

Points: 5

Saint Leo University

The accelerated online master’s in education option from Saint Leo University is a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership that students can complete in as few as 18 months. The 30-credit hour curriculum for the program is entirely prescribed and features course titles such as:

  • Leadership in a Learning Culture
  • Data Driven Instructional Decisions
  • Values and Ethics in Educational Leadership
  • Leading Curriculum for Special Populations

A 16-week practicum is also required as a culminating element of the program. St. Leo University is institutionally accredited to award the master’s of education online degree from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $14,568

#38—Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, Illinois

Website

Points: 5

Olivet Nazarene University

Two different accelerated online master’s in education options are available through Olivet Nazarene University:

  • Online Master of Arts (MA) in Education: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online MA in Education: Reading Specialist

Both programs are offered via accelerated formats and can be completed within 12 to 22 months. Depending on the exact program they choose, enrolled students will take online courses such as:

  • Understanding Today’s Children
  • Habits of Exemplary Teachers
  • Content Area Reading
  • Assessment/Diagnosis of Reading Problems

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Olivet Nazarene University to offer these online education masters programs.

Graduate Tuition: $13,393

#37—East Texas Baptist University

Marshall, Texas

Website

Points: 6

East Texas Baptist University

East Texas Baptist University offers one of the most affordable and accelerated online master’s in education programs available anywhere. This dynamic Master of Education (M.Ed.) option includes four separate specialization options:

  • Teacher Certification
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Educational Leadership
  • Sports Leadership

Sample core courses include:

  • Equity and Diversity in Education
  • Educational Psychology and Learning Theory
  • Curriculum Design, Assessment, and Evaluation
  • Technology in Today’s Classroom

Students can complete this program within just 12 months of online study. East Texas Baptist University holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer 1 year online masters in education programs.

Graduate Tuition: $6,588

#36—Taft University

Lakewood, Colorado

Website

Points: 6

William Howard Taft University

Taft University’s online master’s in education offering can be completed in just 12 months and features an optional track in Montessori Education. The curriculum for this unique offering requires 30 semester units of coursework, including classes such as:

  • Psychological Foundations of Education
  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Curriculum Design and Instructional Practices
  • Educational Technology

Students pursuing the specialization in Montessori Education will take additional courses, including:

  • Montessori Philosophy
  • Application of Montessori Philosophy at the Elementary Level
  • Montessori Classroom Leadership

Taft University holds the institutional accreditation necessary to offer 1-year online master’s in education programs by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $5,400

#35—Barry University

Miami Shores, Florida

Website

Points: 7

Barry University

The accelerated online master’s in education option from Barry University is a 12-month Master of Science (MS) in Educational Leadership. The 36-credit hour program follows a prescribed curriculum comprised of course titles such as:

  • Instructional Design, Measurement, and Evaluation
  • The Legal Environment in Education
  • Ethics and Communication for Leaders
  • Visionary Leadership in Education

A practicum experience is also required. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Barry University to offer 1-year online master’s in education programs.

Graduate Tuition: $17,820

#34—University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawaii

Website

Points: 7

University of Hawaii at Manoa

The accelerated online master’s in education option from the University of Hawaii at Manoa is a unique Master of Educational Foundations with a concentration in Global Perspectives on Educational Policy and Practice. The 30-credit hour degree plan is designed to be completed within just 22 months and includes course titles such as:

  • Cultural Diversity & Education
  • Topics in Comparative Education
  • Approaches to Educational Inquiry
  • Introduction to Educational Policy Studies

A cumulative project is also required for successful program completion. The University of Hawaii – Manoa has been fully accredited to award the master’s of education online credential by the Western  Association of Schools and Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $15,600

#33—University of San Diego

San Diego, California

Website

Points: 8

University of San Diego

Though not the most affordable school for an accelerated online master’s in education, the University of San Diego is associated with a high return on investment upon graduation. Offered through the university’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the M.Ed. program can be completed in just 20 months and features specialization options such as:

  • Technology & Innovation
  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Literacy & Digital Learning
  • School Leadership

Core courses required for this program include:

  • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
  • Social Justice and Educational Equity
  • Cognition and Learning
  • Educational Research Methodology

The WASC Senior College and University Commission has accredited the University of San Diego to offer online education master’s programs.

Graduate Tuition: $27,936

#32—St. Thomas University

Miami Gardens, Florida

Website

Points: 8

St. Thomas University

Students interested in an accelerated online master’s in education program will find two options to choose from at St. Thomas University:

  • Online Master of Science (MS) in Educational Leadership
  • Online MS in Instructional Design and Technology

These programs follow an accelerated course schedule and can be completed in as few as ten months—some of the quickest master’s degree online options in our ranking. Sample course titles associated with these degree plans include:

  • Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction for Diverse Student Populations
  • Psychological Foundations of Education
  • Technology to Support Educational Leadership

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited St. Thomas University to offer these online education master’s programs.

Graduate Tuition: $14,400

#31—Neumann University

Aston, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 8

Neumann University

Offered through the university’s School of Education and Human Services, the accelerated online master’s in education program from Neumann University can be completed in as few as 12 months. This Master of Science (MS) offering features and Autism Endorsement and requires the following core courses:

  • School Policy and Law
  • Action Research Design and Evaluation
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching
  • Philosophical Foundations for Instructional Leadership

Courses required for the endorsement include:

  • Assessment and Instructional Planning for Students with Autism
  • Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Collaborative Relationships for Students with Autism

Neumann University is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award this master’s of education online degree.

Graduate Tuition: $13,860

#30—California Baptist University

Riverside, California

Website

Points: 8

California Baptist University

California Baptist University is home to five different accelerated online masters in education programs:

  • Online MS in Education: Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MS in Education: Early Childhood Studies
  • Online MS in Education: Educational Leadership
  • Online MS in Education: Special Education
  • Online MS in Education: Transitional Kindergarten

These are all 1 year online masters in education programs that share a common core curriculum. Required courses for all MSED students include:

  • Curriculum Theory and Development
  • Survey of Educational Research
  • Theories of Learning and Teaching
  • Leadership, Worldviews, and Contemporary Issues

Additional courses are also required and depend on specialization. CBU is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 100 schools for an online master’s in education degree.

Graduate Tuition: $13,410

#29—Northern Kentucky University

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Website

Points: 8

Northern Kentucky University

Three different accelerated online master’s in education programs are available through Northern Kentucky University:

  • Online Master of Arts (MA) in Education: Teacher as Leader
  • Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): Secondary Education
  • Online MAT: Middle Grades Education

Each of these programs is offered via a fast-track, seven-week online format. Course titles associated with these masters of education online offerings include:

  • Instructional Design & Curriculum
  • Foundations of American Schooling
  • The Mindful Leader
  • Cultural Identity in Schooling

NKU holds its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school’s online education masters programs are separately accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Graduate Tuition: $11,034

#28—Louisiana University – Shreveport

Shreveport, Louisiana

Website

Points: 8

Lousiana University

Louisiana University – Shreveport offers two distinct accelerated online master’s in education degree plans:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction

The M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction offering is particularly versatile, featuring specialization options in:

  • English as a Second Language
  • Education Technology Leader
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Reading & Literacy
  • Urban Education

While the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership is one of our featured 1-year online masters in education programs, the M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction is even more accelerated and boasts a 10-month completion time.  LSU- Shreveport is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $6,196

#27—Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Points: 9

Southern New Hampshire University

The accelerated online master’s in education offering from Southern New Hampshire University is a 15-month online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction. This versatile degree plan features six different concentration options, including:

  • Online Teaching
  • Technology Integration
  • Education Leadership
  • Dyslexia Studies & Language-Based Learning Disabilities

Courses associated with the curriculum for this program include titles such as:

  • Assessment for Student Learning
  • Curriculum Design: Emerging Theory and Design
  • Leadership in Teaching and Learning
  • Evidence-Based Research for Education

SNHU is institutionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education to award this master’s of education online credential.

Graduate Tuition: $18,810

#26—Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Website

Points: 9

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University offers half a dozen accelerated online master’s in education programs. These fast-track degree programs include:

  • Online Master of Arts (MA) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MA in Early Childhood Education
  • Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Special Education
  • Online MA in Educational Leadership
  • Online MA in Educational Psychology

Some of these options are 1-year online masters in education programs, while others take up to 18 months. Coursework is available 100% online, and no campus attendance is required. EMU is fully accredited to award these graduate credentials in education by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top colleges and universities offering education masters programs online.

Graduate Tuition: $14,868

#25—University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Website

Points: 9

University of South Carolina

The accelerated online masters in education program from the University of South Carolina features four optional specializations:

  • Literacy and Reading
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Multicultural Contexts in Education
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Students enrolled in this Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Teaching option will take core courses such as:

  • Ideas and Issues in Teaching
  • Action Research in Teaching
  • Developing as a Professional Educator

A comprehensive assessment is also required for the successful completion of the program. USC is institutionally accredited to confer the master’s of education online degree by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 25 online graduate education options nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $13,737

#24—Immaculata University

Immaculata, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 9

Immaculata University

Students interested in 1-year online masters in education programs will find an MA in Educational Leadership option from Immaculata University that can be completed within just 12 months. This versatile degree plan is available via hybrid and fully online formats and features five separate endorsement and specialization tracks:

  • STEM Education
  • Mathematics Coaching
  • Administrative Track
  • Instructional Coaching
  • Instructional Track

Despite specialization, all students will take core coursework including:

  • School Law
  • Administration
  • School Community Relations

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited Immaculata University to confer the masters of education online credential.

Graduate Tuition: $12,780

#23—Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Website

Points: 9

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University caters to students who desire an accelerated path towards a graduate degree by offering several different 1 year online masters in education programs. Options include:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Adult Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Literacy
  • Online M.Ed. in Special Education

Core courses required for the M.Ed. credential include:

  • Current Issues in Education
  • Philosophy & Organization of American Schools
  • Transformation of Learning & Teaching
  • Methods of Research

Eastern Washington University is accredited to confer this master’s of education online degree by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Graduate Tuition: $12,015

#22—Mississippi College

Clinton, Mississippi

Website

Points: 9

Mississippi College  Top 40 Accelerated Online Masters in Education Programs

For students looking for the quickest master’s degree online programs in the field of education, Mississippi College has several options:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Elementary Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Special Education

These programs are offered fully online and can be completed in as few as 10 months. Required course titles may include:

  • Instructional Dimension of Leadership
  • Curriculum Development
  • Research Methods and Procedures

Mississippi College holds its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its online master’s in education programs are separately accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Graduate Tuition: $11,610

#21—University of Northern Colorado 

Loveland, Colorado

Website

Points: 9

University of Northern Colorado

The accelerated online master’s in education option from the University of Northern Colorado is a Master of Arts (MA) program in Special Education. Offered through the university’s Extended Campus, the program can be completed in either three or four terms of study, depending on course load. Once enrolled, students will take required classes such as:

  • Mathematics and Content Area Learning for Students with Disabilities
  • Educating Students with Significant Support Needs
  • Assessment, IEP Development, and Instructional Planning
  • Scientifically Based Literacy Interventions

The Higher Learning Commission has accredited UNC to confer this master’s of education online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s online graduate degrees in education among the top 100 nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $10,867

#20—Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Website

Points: 9

Indiana State University

Indiana State University’s accelerated online master’s in education program is a fully online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Teaching and Learning. The 33-credit hour degree plan can be completed within just 18 months of study and features six different concentration options:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Elementary Education
  • Early Childhood
  • Assessment
  • Gifted and Talented
  • Literacy

Required core courses include:

  • Learning Theory and Instructional Strategies
  • Diversity and Disability in Today’s Schools
  • Development Through the Lifespan
  • Curriculum Fundamentals

Students who desire a more relaxed pace may elect to take online courses on a part-time basis. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Indiana State University to award this master’s of education online degree.

Graduate Tuition: $7,668

#19—University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

Website

Points: 9

University of North Texas

Students interested in accelerated master’s in education online programs will find a few different options at the University of North Texas:

  • Online Master of Science (MS) in Early Childhood Education
  • Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Online MS in Learning Technologies

While the Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership options are 1-year online master’s in education programs, the degree plan in Learning Technologies can be completed within 14 months. Sample coursework for these programs includes titles such as:

  • Foundations of Learning Technologies
  • Management of School Resources
  • School Communications and Public Relations
  • Research Strategies in Early Childhood Education
  • Schooling in a Multicultural Society

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited UNT at the institutional level to award the online masters in education credential. The university is one of the top 10 colleges and universities nationwide for a graduate degree of this kind, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $5,920

#18—Mercer University

Columbus, Georgia

Website

Points: 10

Mercer University

Mercer University offers three distinct online master’s in education programs that can be completed on an accelerated basis:

  • Online Master of Education in Elementary Education
  • Online Master of Education in Middle Grades Education
  • Online Master of Education in Secondary Education

All of these programs are offered fully online through the school’s College of Education. In terms of completion times, the online M.Ed. in Elementary Education can be completed within one year, while the M.Ed. options in Middle and Secondary Education take up to 16 months. Sample course titles include:

  • Contemporary Curriculum Practices
  • School Philosophy & Teacher Leadership
  • Culturally & Educationally Responsive Pedagogy

Mercer University is fully accredited to offer these online education master’s programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $14,964

#17—Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Points: 10

Bowling Green State University

The accelerated online masters in education options from Bowling Green State University are offered through the school’s eCampus. Options for graduate students interested in distance learning include:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Classroom Technology
  • Online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching
  • Online M.Ed. in Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Master of Music Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Reading

Courses for these programs are offered via accelerated 7-week terms, making it possible for students to earn their credentials in less than two years. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Bowling Green State University at the institutional level. Its online education masters programs have been ranked among the 75 best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Graduate Tuition: $8,017

#16—University of Louisiana – Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

Points: 10

University of Louisiana - Monroe

The University of Louisiana- Monroe is home to several different online master’s in education programs that can be completed via an accelerated format:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
  • Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): Elementary Education
  • Online MAT: Secondary Education

These programs require a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and can be completed through a succession of accelerated 8-week classes. ULM is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its online education masters programs are also programmatically accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Graduate Tuition: $6,490

#15—University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Website

Points: 10

University of Texas Rio Grande

The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley offers several highly accelerated online master’s in education programs that can be completed in just 10 months of full-time study. Program options include:

  • Online M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Technology
  • Online M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Special Education

Each program requires 30 credit hours of coursework, and courses are delivered via 7-week terms. Classes include:

  • Instructional Leadership for Diverse Learners
  • Data Management for School Improvement
  • Foundations of Learning, Cognition and Human Development
  • Research Methods in Education

UTRGV is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer these masters in education online programs.

Graduate Tuition: $6,458

#14—Youngstown State University

Youngstown, Ohio

Website

Points: 10

Youngstown State

Youngstown State University offers its accelerated online master’s in education programs through its distinguished Beeghly College of Education. The program is versatile, featuring eight different concentration options such as:

  • Curriculum & Instruction: Digital Teaching and Learning
  • Curriculum & Instruction: Teacher Leader
  • Special Education: Autism and Related Disabilities
  • Special Education: Intervention Specialist- Mild-Moderate Disabilities
  • Educational Administration: Principal Licensure

These degree plans can be completed in as few as 12 months. Youngstown State is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer 1-year online master’s in education programs. The programs themselves are also separately accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Graduate Tuition: $6,072

#13—University of Louisiana – Lafayette

Lafayette, Louisiana

Website

Points: 10

University of Louisiana Lafayette

The accelerated online master’s in education program from the University of Louisiana- Lafayette is one of the most affordable options in our ranking. This M.Ed. program features three distinct tracks:

  • Curriculum & Instruction
  • Educational Leadership
  • Gifted Education

Course titles associated with the program include:

  • Research Methods to Impact Student Learning
  • Integration of Technology in Instruction
  • Organizing the Learning Environment
  • Assessment and Instruction for Educational Leaders

ULL is institutionally accredited to award the masters of education online credential by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the program among the top 75 online education master’s programs nationwide.

Graduate Tuition: $5,511

#12—Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, Oklahoma

Website

Points: 10

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

A leader in online education master’s programs, Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers several distinct options for its graduate students with an interest in teaching and learning:

  • Online Master of Education in School Counseling
  • Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Online Master of Education in Special Education
  • Online Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction

Most programs feature concentration and/or specialization options to suit students’ academic and career goals. Depending on the precise program they choose, students will take online courses such as:

  • Introduction to Education Research
  • Fundamentals of Curriculum Development
  • Program Development & Organization in Special Education
  • Developmental School Counseling

These offerings are 1-year online master’s in education programs, and the majority of them are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The school itself holds institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $4,716

#11—Tarleton State University

Stephenville, Texas

Website

Points: 10

 Tarleton State University

Students interested in accelerated online master’s in education programs will find two distinct options at Tarleton State University:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Administration

Each of these programs requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in as few as 18 months. Multiple concentrations are available for each program as well, including:

  • Educational Technology
  • Higher Education
  • Child and Family Studies
  • Instructional Design and Technology
  • STEM Education

A member of the Texas A&M University System. Tarleton State is fully accredited to offer these online education master’s programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $4,248

#10—Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 11

Gwynedd Mercy University

A leader amongst accelerated online masters in education programs in terms of affordability and overall value, Gwynedd Mercy University offers the following options for its graduate students:

  • Online Master of Science (MS) in Education: New Teacher Certification
  • Online MS in Education: Master Teacher Program
  • Online MS in Special Education: K-12
  • Online MS in Educational Administration: K-12 Principal Certification
  • Online MS in Educational Administration: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online MS in School Counseling

Students enrolled in these programs will engage in coursework, including:

  • Effective Communication for Educators
  • Curriculum and Instructional Supervision
  • School Law and Policy Issues
  • Computer Applications for Educators

Gwynedd Mercy University is fully accredited to offer these master’s in education online programs by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Graduate Tuition: $13,967

#9—Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

Website

Points: 11

Lamar University

Five distinct online master’s in education options are available through Lamar University:

  • Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Administration
  • Online M.Ed. in Digital Learning and Leading
  • Online M.Ed. in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online M.Ed. in Special Education
  • Online M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership

Several of these programs offer unique specialization options as well, including:

  • Educational Diagnostician
  • Gifted and Talented
  • ESL
  • Professional School Counseling

Professional certification options are also available online. Lamar University is fully accredited to offer education master’s programs, including 1 year online masters in education programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s best colleges and universities for distance education programs at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition: $6,397

#8—University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Website

Points: 11

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is home to three distinct online master’s in education programs:

  • Online MA in Elementary Education
  • Online Master of Music Education (MMU)
  • Online MA in Secondary Education

Courses for these programs are offered through the university’s College of Education & Human Sciences and delivered via an accelerated 8-week format. Depending on the specific degree plan they pursue, enrolled students will take classes such as:

  • Principles of Curriculum Development
  • Philosophy of Music Education
  • Social Justice in Education
  • Experiential, Project-Based and Service Learning

Each of these online courses adhere to Quality Matters standards. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited UNM to award these masters of education online degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the 100 best schools nationwide for a credential of this kind.

Graduate Tuition: $5,920

#7—Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia

Website

Points: 11

Valdosta State University

The accelerated online master’s in education program from Valdosta State University is a unique Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Curriculum & Instruction in Accomplished Teaching. Offered through the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, the program is offered on a part-time or full-time basis, and full-time students can complete the program within just 16 months. Sample course titles comprising the program’s curriculum include:

  • Knowledge of Students and Their Learning
  • Trends, Issues, and Research in Education
  • Multicultural Studies across the Curriculum
  • Using Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

Valdosta State is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the best institutions of higher learning in the nation for online education masters programs.

Graduate Tuition: $4,572

#6—Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 11

Fitchburg St Top 40 Accelerated Online Masters in Education Programsate University -

Fitchburg State University holds the distinction of offering the most affordable accelerated online master’s in education program in our ranking. This Master of Education in Curriculum & Teaching option can be completed within just 12 months and is designed specifically for working teachers. The 36-credit hour curriculum for the program is entirely prescribed and includes course titles such as:

  • Strategies for Creating a Positive Learning Environment
  • Using Data to Improve Student Learning
  • Dynamic Perspectives in Education
  • Formative and Summative Assessment Strategies

A capstone course entitled Implementation of Best Practices is also required for successful program completion. Fitchburg State is fully accredited to award the master’s of education online credential by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Graduate Tuition: $3,420

#5—Montclair State University

Montclair, New Jersey

Website

Points: 12

Montclair State University

The online masters in education option from Montclair State University is a MA in Educational Leadership that features an optional fast-track format. Students who elect this accelerated path towards a graduate degree in education may elect an add-on certificate in either principal or supervisor tracks and finish their degree in just 14 months. Courses are eight weeks in length and include:

  • Effective Leadership in a Diverse Society
  • Differentiated Supervision
  • School Finance
  • Leading Curriculum Change for Student Achievement

Montclair State is fully accredited to award master’s of education online credentials by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 15 in the country for an online graduate degree in education.

Graduate Tuition: $12,600

#4—Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Website

Points: 12

Clemson University -  Top 40 Accelerated Online Masters in Education Programs

The accelerated online master’s in education option from Clemson University is a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning that can be completed within just 18 months. The curriculum for the program is customizable and features four available concentrations:

  • Experiential Learning for Early Childhood
  • Instructional Coaching
  • STEAM
  • Effective and Reflective Teaching

Regardless of concentration, all students enrolled in the program will take certain core pedagogical courses such as:

  • Contemporary Issues in Assessment
  • Cultural Diversity in Education
  • Learning and Motivation in Context
  • Classroom-Based Research

A capstone project is also required. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the master’s of education online program from Clemson as the second best online graduate program in education nationwide. The university is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $10,600

#3—Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Website

Points: 12

Florida International University

Several different fully online education master’s programs are available through Florida International University, including the following 1-year online masters in education programs:

  • Online Master of Science (MS) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MS in Higher Education Administration
  • Online MS in Special Education: Autism Endorsement

The MS offering in Curriculum & Instruction features tracks in Curriculum Development and Elementary Education. An accelerated MS in Music Education is also available, as is a 16-month MS in Educational Leadership. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the masters in education online programs from FIU among the 60 best such programs nationwide. The university is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Graduate Tuition: $8,912

#2—Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, Oklahoma

Website

Points: 12

Oklahoma State University

Ranked among the best colleges and universities nationwide for an online master’s in education, Oklahoma State University is also home to one of the most affordable education master’s degrees in our ranking. This Master of Science (MS) in Educational Technology option can be completed within 18 months of study and follows a prescribed curriculum. Required course titles include:

  • Computer-Based Instructional Development
  • Foundations of Educational Technology
  • Digital Games & Simulations
  • Creativity & Innovation in Educational Technology

A graduate certificate in Online Teaching is also available. Oklahoma State University is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award the master’s of education online credential.

Graduate Tuition: $5,531

#1—North Carolina State University

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

Points: 14

NC State University

The accelerated online master’s in education program from North Carolina State University is one of the most affordable and versatile programs in our ranking. This Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program features 10 specialization options, including:

  • Technology, Engineering, and Design Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Language Arts Education
  • Special Education
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)

Each of these optional specializations is available fully online and can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis. NC State is accredited to offer these masters in education online programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the 50 best schools in the nation for an online master’s in education degree.

Graduate Tuition: $9,095

About Accelerated Online Master’s in Education Programs

Whether you have a budding desire to work with children or you’ve already started your career in education, an accelerated online master’s in education degree program may be able to help you achieve your professional goals sooner rather than later.

It may sound too good to be true, but accelerated master’s of education online programs are some of the quickest and most affordable options that exist for graduate students in the field of education. These advanced distance education programs are not only convenient and affordable, but they’re also just as legitimate as more traditional on-campus options. In fact, some of the master’s in education online programs featured in our ranking are taught by the same distinguished professors who teach in actual classroom settings at top-rated colleges and universities across the country.

Types of Education Master’s Programs Online

Deciding to pursue an online master’s in education degree is just the first step. You’ll also need to decide what type of program is best suited for you, and there are several options available.

Full-Time Versus Part-Time Master’s of Education Online

Depending on how many hours per week you have to devote to your studies, you’ll want to choose either a full-time or part-time online master’s in education program. Keep in mind that most accelerated programs require a full-time commitment. Part-time programs can sometimes take more than two years to complete, but the advantage is a more relaxed course load.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Education Master’s Programs

Another factor that will affect your class schedule is whether you select an asynchronous or synchronous master of education online program. Asynchronous programs are self-paced options that enable students to log in to their online courses at their convenience. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require virtual attendance at specific times throughout the program. A synchronous program may feel more restrictive in terms of scheduling, but can also provide more opportunities for engagement with classmates and professors.

Hybrid Versus Fully Online Master’s in Education Degree Plans

One thing to pay close attention to when considering master’s in education online programs is whether or not the program requires any campus attendance. A fully online program will be just that—a program that can be completed in its entirety without any physical attendance requirements. Any program that mandates a campus visit, no matter how brief, is better described as a hybrid degree plan.

Accelerated Master’s in Education Online Programs: Admissions

After considering the many benefits of earning an online master’s in education, the next logical question is, “Can I get in to such a program?” You’ll be encouraged to learn that admissions criteria for convenient online education masters programs aren’t typically any more stringent than requirements for on-campus students. Still, the qualifications you need can vary by school and program, so it’s important to do your research before applying. In general, you can expect admissions standards for education masters programs to include:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Education (Or Related Field)
  • A Minimum Undergraduate GPA (e.g., 3.0)
  • Professional Resume
  • Writing Samples
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose/Statement of Educational Philosophy

Accelerated Online Education Master’s Programs: Curriculum

While curriculum details for master’s in education online programs will vary based on the school you attend and the program you select, some aspects of these degree plans will be similar. For example, most programs require a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework, which usually equates to about ten 3-credit hour courses. Unlike undergraduate degree programs that typically include general education courses, masters in education online programs feature classes that are highly targeted to issues in teaching and education. Below, we list some examples of the types of courses you can expect to take. While these titles are indicative of a standard online masters in education curriculum, the exact classes listed on your individual course schedule will differ:

Sample Core Course Titles

  • Educational Research Methodology
  • Learning as a Science
  • Educating Diverse Populations
  • Education Law
  • Analysis of Teaching Behavior
  • Pedagogical Considerations in the 21st Century Classroom
  • Making Sense of Data to Inform Instruction
  • Teacher as Action Researcher

Education Master’s Programs: Concentrations

Many online education master’s programs feature optional specializations or concentrations. These options enable students to customize the curriculum for their degree plans so that the focus of their studies aligns with their specific career goals. This section will identify some commonly offered concentrations and list examples of the types of classes associated with each of these specializations.

Administration & Supervision

An online master’s in education with a concentration in Administration & Supervision prepares students for roles as administrators and school principals. These programs focus on leadership skills beyond classroom management. Sample course titles comprising the curriculum for a specialization of this kind include:

  • Educational Leadership for Instructional Effectiveness
  • School Operations and Management
  • Leading Diverse School Populations
  • Introduction to Leadership for Organizational Effectiveness

Educational Technology

Masters of education online students interested in technological applications to enhance teaching and learning may consider a degree plan with a specialization in Educational Technology. Graduates of these programs may become instructional leaders in school settings or technology specialists at the district or state levels. The curricula for these types of programs may include course titles such as:

  • Designing Integrated Media Environments
  • Issues and Trends in Educational Technology Research
  • Introduction to Learning Technologies
  • Games and Simulations in Education

Elementary Education

Master’s of education online students whose career interests involve teaching young children in grades K-6 should consider specializing in Elementary Education. Programs of this kind focus on the unique learning needs of grade school children and may include coursework like the following:

  • Promoting Thinking in the Elementary School
  • Strategies in Classroom Management
  • Early Childhood and Elementary School Curriculum
  • Evaluation of Classroom Learning

Secondary Education

Effective instructional practices for young children may not have the same effect on older kids. That’s why teachers at the middle and high school levels may want to concentrate their studies in Secondary Education. Programs in this specialization emphasize effective instruction and classroom management for children in grades 7-12. Sample course titles comprising the curricula for such programs include:

  • Teaching Inclusive Adolescent Environments
  • Adolescent Psychology
  • Readings and Research in the Content Areas
  • Early Adolescent Literature

Frequently-Searched Accelerated Online Education Master’s Programs

University of Kansas—Online Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction: The online master’s in education program from the University of Kansas is a two-year fully online program. Coursework is entirely self-paced, and no practicum is required.

Kennesaw State University—Master’s of Education Online: Kennesaw State offers several different online master’s in education programs, including special education, educational leadership, reading, and instructional technology. Depending on the degree plan they choose, students may meet the requirements for their degree in just one year.

Kent State University: Online M.Ed. in Educational Technology: The 30-credit hour Master of Education in Educational Technology option from Kent State University features several specializations, including online learning and teaching, management of educational technologies, and immersive technologies for learning, for instance. Required classes for this versatile credential can be completed fully online.

University of Southern California—Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): Offered through its distinguished USC Rossier School of Education, the online MAT program from the University of Southern California features the same curriculum as the on-campus degree plan. Students enrolled in the program can choose a single concentration or multiple concentrations.

Washington State University—Online M.Ed. in Special Education: The online master’s in education option from Washington State University is a fully online program comprised of 37 semester credit hours. The program is offered through the school’s Global Campus.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Accelerated Master’s of Education Online

It’s common for prospective online master’s in education students to have some questions. After all, there are many different options available, and choosing the right program can be challenging. To help you arrive at an informed decision, our editors have compiled some of the most common questions related to online education masters programs. The information provided here is general in nature. For more specific details about a specific program or school, it’s best to speak to an admissions counselor at the institution you’re interested in attending.

Q: How long does it take to complete an online master’s in education degree program?

A:  Typical completion times for master’s of education online programs vary from 10 to 24 months. The accelerated degree plans featured in this ranking are all associated with completion times of less than two years.

Q: How much do master’s in education online programs cost?

A: Like completion times, the expenses associated with online education master’s programs can vary significantly from as little as $3,500 a year to over $30,000 a year. Financial aid is typically available, though.

Q: Are online master’s in education programs accredited?

A: They should be. Legitimate education master’s programs are accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Q: What is the best master’s of education online program?

A: Despite our editors’ picks for the top master’s in education online programs, only you can choose the best degree plan for your individual needs and preferences. We recommend considering factors like accreditation, cost, and scheduling.

Career Questions About Online Master’s in Education Programs

One of the biggest draws for students interested in master’s in education online programs is the advancement opportunities that these degree plans provide for teachers, instructional specialists, and administrators. For more information about what an online master’s in education credential can mean for your career prospects, consider the following FAQs.

Q: Are jobs for professionals with a master’s of education online credential in demand?

A: Yes. According to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the category of education and training are currently growing faster than the average for all occupations.

Q: How much will I earn with an online master’s in education degree?

A: PayScale reports the annual average wage for professionals with this credential to be $59,417.

Q: What professional organizations should I join with a master’s of education online?

A: There are many different professional associations open to students and graduates of online masters in education programs, including:

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • American Federations of Teachers (AFT)
  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
  • Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)
  • Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

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This concludes our ranking of the top 40 best value accelerated online masters in education degrees.

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