10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Education and/or Teacher Certification 2024

Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson / Reading Level: Grade 10 / First Covered: January 2016

Online colleges for teaching are not uncommon. In fact, education programs are one of the most popular options that schools offer through online learning. Most of these online teaching degrees consist of 100% online classes. Still, some may require a select number of face-to-face practicum requirements. These programs provide instruction in a virtual format without sacrificing important hands-on experience. In this ranking, our editors rank the 10 best colleges for teaching online.

Rating and Ranking the Top Teaching Colleges Online

To develop this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of the 80 best online bachelor’s degree-granting schools with a teaching degree, according to U.S. News & World Report. We then applied a max tuition filter of $30,000, ensuring that only affordable options appeared in our ranking list. Finally, our site-wide online undergraduate degree methodology was applied. In the case of a tie, the editors ranked the more affordable school higher.

Featured Programs

#10—West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,360

West Virginia State University makes our list of best colleges for teaching online. This is thanks to its online Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Studies (including teaching license). The program is offered through the university’s College of Education and Human Services Department of Counseling and Learning Sciences. It features an optional track leading to Pre-K teacher certification. Courses comprising the curriculum for the major include:

  • Development in Early and Middle Childhood
  • Family Interaction and Communication
  • Infant Development
  • Families Across the Lifespan

All coursework is asynchronous in nature and can be completed fully online. A student teaching experience may also be required prior to receiving an initial teaching license. WVU holds the necessary institutional accreditation to award online teaching certification and credentials from The Higher Learning Commission. The online degree itself is separately accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Pros:

  • Top-ranked public school
  • Maximum flexibility
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#9—Valley City State University

Valley City, North Dakota

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,458

Valley City State University is one of the best online colleges for teaching nationwide. This is in part because of the large number of online education programs available. These degree plans include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Business Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Career and Technical Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Ed
  • Online Bachelor’s in English Education (for high school English teachers)
  • Online Bachelor’s in History Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Mathematics Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Social Science Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Technology Education

These are high school programs for private and public school teachers. They feature a blend of synchronous and asynchronous course delivery formats. VCSU is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The programs themselves are separately accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Pros:

  • Top-ranked regional college
  • Small class sizes
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Lower graduation rate
  • Less diverse

#8—Mayville State University

Mayville, North Dakota

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,873

Mayville State University is one of the most comprehensive online colleges for teaching. It offers several degree options for undergraduate education students interested in teaching middle school or high school:

  • Online BS in Education: English Education
  • Online BS in Education: Mathematics Education
  • Online BS in Education: Physical Education
  • Online BS in Education: Special Education
  • Online BS in Elementary Education

Depending on the exact online education program they choose, students will enroll in classes like:

  • Foundations of Special Education
  • History and Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Young Adult Literature and Media (for Middle School and beyond)
  • Social and Emotional Development & Guidance in Early Childhood Education

These programs are offered entirely online. Fast-track options are available for aspiring middle and high school teachers. Mayville State University is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Pros:

  • Top-rated regional college
  • Accelerated formats
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate
  • Less diverse

#7—Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,565

Florida International University has established itself as one of the best online colleges for teaching. This is especially true in the areas of early childhood and special education. Its two distinct online education degrees for aspiring teachers include:

  • Online BS in Exceptional Student Education
  • Online BS in Early Childhood Education

Both programs are offered through the school’s highly respected College of Arts, Sciences, and Education. They each require 120 credit hours of online coursework. In addition, each program includes foundational educational classes, including:

  • Cultural/Social Foundations of Education
  • Classroom Management
  • Educational Psychology

This is in addition to specialization courses in the chosen major. It is important to note that neither of these options are online teacher certification programs. Still, they may prepare students to sit for teacher licensure exams upon graduation. FIU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been ranked highly among online undergraduate programs in teaching by U.S. News & World Report.

Pros:

  • Higher graduation rate
  • More diverse
  • Nationally ranked online bachelor’s programs
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Non-certification programs

#6—University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,381

The University of Florida is among the top online colleges for teaching. It offers two distinct online education programs for aspiring teachers:

  • Online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Education Sciences
  • Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Education

The BA option is a versatile program that features several concentration options such as:

  • General Studies
  • Education Technology
  • Educational Psychology and Research
  • Disabilities in Society
  • Schools, Society, and Policy

The BS option prepares graduates for teaching roles in health education in high school and includes course titles like:

  • Personal and Family Health
  • Trends in International Health
  • Health Education Professional Development
  • Women’s Health Issues

It is important to note that these are not online teaching certification programs. Still, they may prepare students for the process of acquiring a teaching license. The University of Florida is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UF among the top 5 schools in the nation for an undergraduate degree in education.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked national university
  • High graduation rate
  • Smaller class sizes
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Non-certification programs

#5—St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, Florida

Website

Points: 8

Undergraduate Tuition: $2,682

St. Petersburg College makes our list of top online colleges for teaching. This is thanks in part to its affordable tuition rates for teaching license programs. Students interested in online teaching degrees will find three such programs here:

  • Online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education
  • Online BS in Exceptional Student Education
  • Online BS in Educational Studies and Community Leadership

Depending on the degree option they choose, students will enroll in classes such as:

  • Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment in Education (K-12)
  • Classroom Management and Communication (K-12)
  • Student Development and Learning Principles (K-12)
  • Education and Public Policy in the United States

Both the Elementary Education and Exceptional Student Education majors are considered teacher certification programs and prepare students for the state licensing exams. Thus, student teaching is required. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited SPC.

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Nationally ranked online bachelor’s programs

Cons:

  • Limited tech support

#4—Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Points: 9

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,852

Texas Tech University is one of the best colleges online for a teaching degree in terms of return-on-investment. The school offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Education featuring multiple concentration options such as:

  • Secondary English (for high school teachers)
  • Secondary Math (for high school teachers)
  • Elementary Certification
  • Middle-Level Social Studies (for middle school teachers)
  • Middle-Level Science (for middle school teachers)

Sample course titles comprising the curricula for these programs include:

  • Trends and Issues in Educational Policy and Practice
  • Foundations in Reading for English Language Learners
  • Middle-Level Curriculum and Philosophy
  • Schools, Society, and Diversity

An in-person clinical student teaching experience is also required in addition to online coursework. Texas Tech is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pros:

  • Nationally ranked public school
  • Higher graduation rate
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

#3—Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

Points: 9

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,220

Old Dominion University is nationally recognized as one of the top colleges for online teaching degrees. The school offers a BS in Elementary Education degree completion program through its Darden College of Education & Professional Studies and the Department of Teaching & Learning. Major courses required for the degree include:

  • The Arts in Early Childhood & Elementary Education
  • Classroom Management & Practice (PreK-6)
  • Integrating Instruction Across the Curriculum
  • Seminar in Teacher Education

A teacher candidate internship is also required for successful program completion. ODU is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 100 in the country for an online bachelor’s credential.

Pros:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Top-ranked online bachelor’s programs
  • More diverse
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Lower graduation rate

#2—Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Website

Points: 10

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,448

Kansas State University is one of the nation’s most comprehensive online colleges for teaching. The school offers three different online education programs:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Ed
  • Online Bachelor’s in Educational Studies

Depending on the specific program they pursue, K-State online students will enroll in courses such as:

  • Exceptional Development in Early Childhood
  • Schooling and Popular Culture
  • Teaching as a Career
  • Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning

The coursework for each of these programs can be completed fully online, though a field experience may be required. The Early Childhood Ed and Elementary Education programs are licensure options. This means students may apply for their initial teaching license upon graduation. Kansas State University is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It’s been ranked among the 50 best online teaching colleges nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked public school
  • Nationally ranked online bachelor’s programs

Cons:

  • Less diverse
  • Limited tech support

#1—University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Website

Points: 11

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,180

Students looking for an online degree in teaching in the area of special education may consider the University of Georgia. It’s home to a Bachelor of Science in Special Education program (with a teaching license). The program is offered through the university’s Mary Frances Early College of Education. It’s a two-year accelerated option that prepares students for state certification/teaching license in this in-demand subfield. Courses required for the program include:

  • Assistive and Learning Technology
  • Advanced Instructional Methods for Students with Disabilities
  • Contemporary Issues in Special Education
  • Assessment and Intervention for Struggling Writers

A dual pathway to a master’s in special education degree is also available. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the University of Georgia to award this teaching degree online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 10 schools in the nation for an online undergraduate credential.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked national university
  • High graduation rate
  • Nationally recognized online bachelor’s programs
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Less diverse

About Online Colleges for Teaching

online teaching degree programs

Students who desire to become teachers have more options today than ever. Many colleges and universities nationwide have begun offering online teaching degrees. This allows students to learn when and where it’s most comfortable for them. In many cases, the online delivery method makes these programs accessible to students who may have been unable to earn an education degree or teaching license otherwise. Many students are unable to commute to campus or make the time commitment necessary to attend classes traditionally.

Types of Online Education Programs

Any teaching online degree will be more accessible for busy and working adults than a traditional in-person program. That doesn’t mean they’re all the same, though. In fact, each program is unique. Differences among these online programs can have a real impact on how you learn and whether or not the program is flexible enough for your schedule. Below, we’ll discuss various types of online education programs and underscore their unique features.

Online Teaching Certification Programs Versus Non-Licensure Programs

As you consider the best colleges for a teaching degree, it’s important to remember that some of these programs are better options than others. This is especially true when looking for initial teacher certification or teaching license. If you’re new to the field of education and you have dreams of teaching, then a program that leads directly to licensure is best. Not all programs are teaching license/certification programs. Check the school’s website and confirm with an admissions counselor before enrollment.

Fully Online Teaching Bachelor Degrees Versus Hybrid Teaching Programs

There’s another thing to consider in your search for a teaching degree. Many of these programs require some in-person attendance. This is particularly important to look out for. Many schools tout their online education degrees as fully online options. Some aspects of the degree may require face-to-face interaction. This can include:

  • Orientations
  • Practicums
  • Internships

These types of programs are technically hybrid programs, but they may not be advertised as such.

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Teaching Colleges Online

While considering your options, you’ll likely come across the terms “asynchronous” and “synchronous”. Don’t let your eyes glaze over when you see these technical labels. The terms describe important program elements you’ll want to know. Asynchronous programs will be the most convenient option because of their self-paced nature. Synchronous programs provide structure for students who require a little more nudging to complete assignments. Consider your scheduling needs and learning style when choosing a delivery format.

Online Teaching Degree Completion Programs Versus Full Online Education Degree Programs

Among the types of teaching degrees are:

  • Full online education programs
  • Online teaching degree completion programs

Full programs are designed for students with no college credits under their belts. Degree completion plans are ideal for students with an associate’s degree in education or a related field. These latter programs take into account a student’s prior learning and experience. They enable them to dive right in to more advanced education courses. Online education degree completion programs typically take about half the time to complete. This is compared to the completion time for fully online teaching bachelor degrees.

Online Teaching Bachelor Degrees: Admissions

Before fully committing to the idea of earning a teaching online degree, you’ll want to make sure you can get into one of these programs. There’s good news, though. As long as you have a high school diploma, there’s a decent chance you’ll find a school that will accept you. Still, admissions criteria will vary from one college or university to the next, and they all have their own enrollment counselor. Some standard requirements include:

  • Minimum GPA (e.g., 2.75-3.0)
  • College Admissions Exam Scores (e.g., SAT or ACT)
  • Writing Samples
  • Personal Statement or Essay
  • Letters of Recommendation

Online Education Programs: Curriculum

The curricula for their teaching degree online programs can vary significantly. It really depends on the specific college or university you plan to attend. Another thing to consider is that there are many levels (i.e. elementary, middle, and high school) and sub-fields of education. Thus, course requirements will depend on these specialty areas. Even so, most online teaching bachelor’s degrees will cover similar foundational topics. These are referred to as their “major” or “core” classes. Our editors have listed some examples of these foundational courses below.

Sample Core/Major Education Courses

online teaching degree programs
  • Effective Practices: Planning, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Introduction to Teaching and Learning
  • Education of Students with Exceptionalities
  • Technology and Education
  • Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Child and Early Adolescent Development and Psychology
  • Teaching the Writing Process
  • Educational Leadership

Early Childhood Education

An online teaching program in Early Childhood Education prepares educators to teach the youngest of children. This is usually from birth through age eight. Some of the ECE careers will require only an Associates Degree with teaching certification. This can be obtained at a community college, either locally or out of state. These educators may work as teachers in a preschool or elementary school setting. Or they may take on administrative roles as childcare program directors, for instance. Course titles comprising the curriculum for a program of this kind may include:

online teaching degree programs
  • Health and Motor Development
  • Instructional Strategies for Early Childhood Education
  • Developmentally-Effective Learning Environments
  • Child Guidance and Management in Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Leadership in ECE

Elementary Education

Those desiring to teach grade school children may choose an Elementary Education degree. Courses required for such a program will be similar to those required for an online teaching degree at the early childhood level. Still, they will target techniques for teaching slightly older students. Sample course titles are listed below:

online teaching degree programs
  • Literacy K-6: Instruction and Assessment
  • Elementary Methods: Mathematics
  • Children’s Literature
  • Writing & Composing in the Digital Age
  • Educational Leadership in the Elementary School

Middle Grades Education

An online teaching degree program with an emphasis in Middle Grades Education qualifies teachers to instruct and manage classrooms of middle schoolers. The definition of “middle grades” can vary from state to state. Generally, these trained teachers are eligible to teach grades four through eight with a valid teacher certification. High school teachers earn separate credentials to teach in the higher grades. Classes comprising the coursework for such a program could include the following courses:

online teaching degree programs
  • Nature and Curriculum Needs of the Middle Grades Learner
  • Foundations of Middle Level Schools & Their Students
  • Teaching Reading and Writing in Middle/Secondary Schools
  • Exploring Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Diversity
  • Educational Leadership in the Middle Grades
  • Science Education in Secondary Ed

Secondary Education

Online concentrations in Secondary Education train teachers to instruct high school students in various content areas. Typically, these programs combine foundational coursework in professional education with advanced classes in a specific content area such as English, Mathematics, or History. Sample course titles for aspiring teachers of high school students may include:

online teaching degree programs
  • Content Specific Pedagogy for Secondary Education
  • Adolescent Literature
  • Improving Learning with Technology in High School Classrooms
  • Adolescence in the Learning Community
  • Educational Leadership in the High School

Special Education

Some of the best online colleges for a teaching degree offer emphases and specializations in Special Education. These programs prepare teachers for the significant task of instructing students with intellectual and physical disabilities and exceptional learners, and those with special needs. Coursework for such an online education degree might include:

online teaching degree programs
  • Instructional Strategies and Technologies for Elementary Learners with Mild to Moderate Exceptionalities
  • Contemporary Issues in Special Education
  • Assistive and Learning Technology
  • Characteristics of Learners with Disabilities
  • Educational Leadership for Special Education

Career and Technical Education

Online teaching programs with tracks in Career and Technical Education prepares teachers to provide vocational instruction and workforce education. These programs are usually designed for students interested in teaching high school students or specializing in adult education. Sample coursework for these types of online education degrees may include the following:

online teaching degree programs
  • Teaching Culturally Diverse Learners
  • Technology, Teaching, and Learning
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Philosophy, Operation, and Management
  • Principles and Practices in Technology/Career Education
  • Educational Leadership in CTE

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online Colleges for Teaching

Below, our editors address some of the most frequently asked questions about online teaching degrees. Keep in mind that it is intended only to provide general guidance. The answers provided do not reflect on any specific online colleges for teaching. For more details, contact the individual school’s own enrollment counselor.

Q: What is the best online college for a teaching degree?

A: Without knowing your specific needs and career goals, it’s impossible to pin down the best online education program for you as an individual. We recommend evaluating programs in terms of your scheduling and budget needs. You might also consider your professional interests as a prospective educator.

Q: Can I get a teaching degree completely online?

A: Yes. Some online teaching programs are available 100% online. Others require some in-person attendance for orientation, workshops, and/or student teaching experiences. Teaching licensure programs are more likely to require trips to campus.

Q: How long does it take to complete an online teaching degree program?

A: It depends. The standard completion time for online teaching bachelor’s degrees is four years. Degree completion programs take about half that time. Furthermore, accelerated and part-time tracks are sometimes available. These options can shorten or lengthen your degree plan.

Q: How much does a teaching degree cost?

A: Tuition expenses can vary considerably depending on which online colleges for teaching are in question. In our research for this ranking, we discovered online education programs for as little as $2,600 per year and as much as $47,000 annually.

Career Questions for Accredited Teaching Degrees

Q: Are there online colleges for teaching certification?

A: Yes. Some programs online are designed for students seeking initial teacher certification. Proceed with caution, though, as others are non-licensure options.

Q: How much will I earn with an education degree online?

A: Your salary will depend on your precise role as well as where you work. Still, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), kindergarten and elementary school teachers make an annual salary of just over $60,000. High school teachers make slightly more per year (i.e., $62,870).

Q: Are jobs for teachers in demand?

A: Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for teachers are growing about as fast as average.

Q: What professional organizations can I join with an online teaching degree?

A: Online education degree students and graduates can join several different professional organizations and associations in the field. Some examples include:

  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
  • Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)
  • Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)

Sources

CVO Staff

Sources:

  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES): College Navigator
  • PayScale: Best Value Colleges
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • U.S. News & World Report: Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 values for online colleges for teaching degree programs.