Master's Degree - Education

Learn about master's degree programs in education

A Master's of Education degree is a wise investment if you are or are planning to become a teacher. While you can get started in your teaching career with a bachelor's degree and an undergraduate education degree, more and more school boards are requiring teachers to have or obtain an M.Ed. designation in order to keep their credentials current.

In short, the bottom line is this: regardless of whether or not you are required to have a Master of Education degree by your current school board, or by the school board you plan to work for when you complete your present training, getting one is a very worthwhile investment. You will enjoy expanded opportunities and enhanced career potential, and you will have the educational foundation in place to pursue your Ph.D., should you ever decide to further upgrade your qualifications.

Degree Focuses and Specializations

At the master's degree level, it is possible for you to declare a focus or specialization in the field of education. Broadly speaking, there are two main branches you can pursue: curriculum studies, which are centered on maximizing the educational potential of standardized curricula, and educational policy studies, which delve into education at the administrative level. Depending on the school, you may also choose to specialize in educational psychology and/or education for special-needs students.

Online Studies and Practicums

If you are not already a licensed and practicing teacher, you may have to complete a set number of practice teaching hours in order to earn your full professional qualifications. This can be a somewhat contentious issue if you're doing your Master of Education degree online, and you need to make sure that the master's degree programs you're considering support any practicums that you may need to undertake to complete your training.

Here, the best approach is to contact the school you're considering directly. Find out if their master's degrees in education afford you the opportunity to fulfill any necessary extracurricular requirements. Ask about the exact type of support the school offers, and do your own homework to determine whether or not the offered support will suffice.

Top Online Master's Degree in Education Programs

Here are some of the top-rated online M.Ed. programs available in the United States:

  • University of Southern California. This Los Angeles-based private school has one of the best online master's degree programs in education, using innovative techniques and technologies to prepare the next generation of K-12 teachers.
  • Colorado State University-Global Campus. This program is intended especially for experienced teachers who are seeking an upgrade on their existing qualifications.
  • Western Governors University. Here, you will advance through the program not based on your grades, but on your demonstrated competencies in the concepts you've been learning. It's a different approach, but it has won many loyal followers in the field.
  • University of the Southwest. Offering niche specializations such as educational administration and mental health counseling, the University of the Southwest has earned a strong reputation for graduating well-prepared, caring educational professionals.
  • Post University. This New England-based school is renowned for its innovative approaches to education. Programs can be completed in 12 to 22 months.
  • Concordia University. Based in Portland, Oregon, this school allows students to complete their degrees fairly quickly, with most degree programs culminating in no more than one year.
  • Liberty University Online. This is the world's largest Evangelical Christian university, so if you want an education with a religious focus, this is one of your best bets.
  • Walden University. With a strong focus on improving outcomes for students, Walden University's graduate-level education programs are well-regarded throughout the country.
  • Capella University. With more than 12 available specializations at the M.Ed. level, Capella University offers students one of the broadest ranges of program options.
  • Kaplan University. At Kaplan, you can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master of Science in Education. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is the regional accreditation agency.