Overview

As the name suggests, K-12 education involves teaching students from kindergarten through high-school. Teachers in K-12 education, are responsible for preparing students for further education or work as well as shaping the minds of future leaders and professionals. In other words, teachers in the field hold an immense amount of responsibility — the future generation’s understanding of math, literature, political science, and more is dependent on effective instruction. With such responsibility, many educators pursue master’s degrees to further refine their skills.

Graduate level courses in education cover advanced pedagogy and instruction. Students can expect to receive intensive training in educational theory and practice as well as the ability to specialize in fields such as mathematics or social studies. The goal of programs is to give educators space to develop their abilities under the guidance of experts and to share instructional strategies and techniques. As a result, many degree holders become more effective educators and lead the way to new educational strategies.

Professionals usually become teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools. Others go on to do research in pedagogy and education.

Yes. Many programs and universities offer online programs in K-12 education.

Most employers and schools recognize and accept online degrees. In fact, many well-respected schools now offer online programs.

The requirements for acceptance will vary depending on the school, but most programs list their specific requirements online. The best course of action is to check with the programs you are interested in.

If you hope to teach, a master’s degree can lead to higher salaries and chances of employment. In addition, it offers the opportunity to refine your teaching abilities.

It’s no secret that teachers serve an invaluable role in society. The rising support for teachers in many states indicates that the need for education and educators is more important than ever — growing anti-intellectualism means teachers are now on the forefront of protecting critical thinking. And a master’s degree in K-12 education allows educators to increasingly ensure the intellectual future of new generations.

Best Online Masters in K-12 Education Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in K-12 Education program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 24 best online K-12 Education programs.

Read about our methodology here.
School Type
Public
Tuition
$674 per credit
Best in Online Teaching Education

Virginia Commonwealth offers an exceptional master's degree program in online teaching for professionals who are seeking career advancement. This program is ideal for teachers who want to increase their skills and knowledge in online instructional delivery in K-12 environments.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction
Available Concentrations: Online teaching
Accrediting Body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Spring, Summer, Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: May 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Monty Jones, Ph.D.

Admissions Contact

Address:

1015 W Main St

Richmond, VA 23284

804-827-2606

School Type
Private
Tuition
$415 per credit
Best in Specialized Education

Liberty University is the ideal choice for teachers who want to hone their skills in a particular area of K-12 education. With specializations in general education, special education, history and more, graduates develop the necessary skills to succeed in their field of interest.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
Available Concentrations: Education Technology and Online Instruction, English, General Education, Gifted Education, History, Leadership, Special Education, Student Services
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 1.5 years
Program start dates: March 18, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1971 University Blvd

Lynchburg, VA 24515

800-424-9596

School Type
Public
Tuition
$468 per credit
Most Customizable

The University of South Carolina offers a highly customizable master's degree program in teaching for online students who want to tailor the classes to fit their work schedules. Students can also match the classes to align with their goals for career advancement in the K-12 school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching
Available Concentrations: Literacy and Reading, Project Based Learning, Multicultural Contexts in Education
Accrediting Body: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months
Program start dates: May 13, 2019; August 22, 2019; October 21, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 15, 2019; July 1, 2019; September 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: Three years of experience

Address:

820 Main St

Columbia, SC 29208

803-777-4243

School Type
Public
Tuition
$447 per credit
Best Curriculum

Clemson University offers a career-focused curriculum in the master's in teaching and learning program. This 100 percent online program covers everything from curriculum theory to cultural diversity in education, preparing graduates for successful careers as professional teachers in their respective schools.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching and Learning
Available Concentrations: STEAM, Experiential Learning for Early Childhood, Instructional Coaching
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18 months
Program start dates: Summer 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer: May 15
GPA: 3.0

Address:

102 Tillman Hall

Clemson, SC 29634

864-656-3195

School Type
Public
Tuition
$538 per credit
Most Unique

Oregon State University offers a unique program known as Teachers Educating All Multilingual Students, or TEAMS. This program provides teachers with the opportunity to make positive impacts in the lives of English and bilingual students in their schools and communities.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education
Available Concentrations: PK-12 English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: K-12 teaching license
Credit Requirements: 18 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Spring: April 1; Summer: June 24

Contact:

Sharon Sanchez-Aragon

Admissions Contact

Address:

200 SW 15th St

Corvallis, OR 97331

541-737-0085

School Type
Public
Tuition
$500 per credit
Best in Distance Education

CSU-Global Campus is a leader in distance education, providing an in-depth master's degree program in teaching and learning to online students. This program is designed for K-12 teachers, school administrators, instructional designers and more, providing them with a high-quality education in an online learning format.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Teaching and Learning
Available Concentrations: Contemporary Practices in K-12 Online Learning
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36-39 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Winter, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Year-round
GPA: 3.0

Address:

7800 E Orchard Rd, Suite 200

Greenwood Village, CO 80111

800-920-6723

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $249 per credit; Out-of-state: $894 per credit
Most Flexible

East Carolina University offers a flexible master's in literacy studies program for both full- and part-time students. This program is perfect for teachers who want to earn their master's degrees and the credentials to advance their careers but are unable to attend on-campus classes.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education
Available Concentrations: Reading Education
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 39 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Spring, Summer, Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: October 15; Summer: March 15; Fall: June 1

Address:

154 Speight Building

Greenville, NC 27858

252-328-6181

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $523 per credit; Out-of-state: $568 per credit
Best in Leadership Development

Old Dominion University provides an online master's degree program in educational leadership, building upon the teachers' existing skill set and providing them with the knowledge to advance as teacher leaders in their schools. Students put theory into practice and also learn from leading faculty members who are leaders academically and professionally.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Darden College of Education & Professional Studies
Program Name: M.S.Ed in Educational Leadership
Available Concentrations: Administration and Supervision K-12
Accrediting Body: NCATE / CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Field Education Requirements: 120 internship hours

Program Length
Admission RequirementsWork Experience: 3 years experience

Address:

4301 Hampton Blvd

Norfolk, VA 23529

757-683-3685

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $410 per credit; Out-of-state: $616 per credit
Best Mathematics Education Program

Ball State University offers an outstanding master's degree program in math teaching for early-year teaching professionals who want to earn more credentials without it interfering with their classroom schedule. This program gives teachers a better understanding of math teaching and prepares them for greater roles in elementary and secondary schools.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Sciences and Humanities
Program Name: Master of Arts in Mathematics Education (K-12)
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 30-36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

Address:

Robert Bell Building (RB), Room 465

Muncie, IN 47306

765-285-1301

School Type
Public
Tuition
$295 per credit
Most Comprehensive

Missouri State University offers a comprehensive master's degree program in teaching, covering both the fundamentals and some advanced topics of the field. Throughout the program, graduate students discover courses in literacy and more, including practical applications and internship experiences.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching
Available Certification: K-12 Education
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 39 credits

Program Length
Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75
Work Experience: 2 years

Address:

901 S National Ave

Springfield, MO 65897

417-836-5429

School Type
Private
Tuition
$470 per credit
Best in K-12 Special Education

Students who want to develop greater skills and knowledge of special education teaching should consider Harding University. The master's degree program in K-12 special education provides teachers with the core skills to work with special-needs children; graduate students can also attain their Dyslexia Therapist Endorsement by completing two additional courses.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Cannon-Clary College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Special Education K-12
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 35 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.50

Address:

Box 12254, 915 E Market Ave

Searcy, AR 72149

501-279-4315

School Type
Private
Tuition
$512 per credit
Best in TESOL Education

Hamline University provides a quality TESOL education master's program for graduate students who want to teach English locally or internationally. Graduates emerge with greater teaching abilities to enhance English-speaking skills in students while also sustaining their linguistic and cultural diversity.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Available Concentrations: Teaching K-12
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1536 Hewitt Ave

Saint Paul, MN 55104

651-523-2900

School Type
Private
Tuition
$315 per credit
Best in Foundational Studies

The University of the Cumberlands provides graduate students with the foundations to deliver greater instruction to students in their classrooms. The master's in teaching program builds upon their initial foundational knowledge and experience, helping teachers to enhance their skills for career success and advancement.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Teaching
Available Concentrations: All Grades (P-12), Special Education-Learning & Behavior Disorders (LBD) - (P-12)
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33-42 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 18-24 months

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

Address:

6178 College Station Dr

Williamsburg, KY 40769

606-539-4390

School Type
Public
Tuition
$385 per credit
Best in Advanced Studies

Georgia Southern University provides advanced study opportunities to graduate students in the master's in instructional technology program. This program targets professionals who aspire to leadership roles in the instructional technology field and want to advance their careers in the K-12 school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Instructional Technology, M.Ed.
Available Certifications: P-12 Certification

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 7 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 21; Spring: December 1; Summer: April 21
GPA: 2.5

Address:

1332 Southern Dr

Statesboro, GA 30458

912-478-5384

School Type
Public
Tuition
$465 per credit
Best for Graduate Teacher Licensure

Teachers who want to earn a Minnesota teaching license and a master's degree in teaching should consider Minnesota State University, Mankato. In only 24 months, graduate students can earn both credentials and advance their careers within the Minnesota school system.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: M.A. in Teaching
Available Concentrations: K-12 Licensure

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 34 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 24 months
Program start dates: Summer 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer: April 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Mankato, MN 56001

507-389-2321

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $277 per credit; Out-of-state: $516 per credit
Best Student Support

Southeast Missouri State University offers first-rate student support to distance learners in the master's in teaching program. Students in this program focus on the exceptional child concentration and receive excellent faculty support through mentorships, internship guidance and advising.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Masters of Arts in Teaching
Available Certificates: Mild/Moderate and Cross-Categorical
Accrediting Body: National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 53 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75

Address:

One University Plaza

Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

573-651-2590

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $299 per credit; Out-of-state: $597 per credit
Best Learning Formats

The University of Central Missouri offers a master's degree program in curriculum and instruction in convenient learning formats: online and hybrid. These formats suit the graduate educators' individual needs and provides them with ways to earn their master's degrees while continuing to work in their school classrooms.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Available Concentrations: K-12 Education
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, and Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

Warrensburg, MO 64093

877-729-8266

School Type
Public
Tuition
$383 per credit
Best for Curriculum Developers

Teachers who are interested in acquiring the skills to develop effective curricula should consider Kennesaw State University master's degree program in teaching. With core courses in curriculum development and collaborative practices, graduates emerge with the knowledge to design and implement curricula that benefit their students.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Bagwell College of Education
Program Name: M.A.T. in TESOL
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Summer 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Summer: April 1

Address:

1000 Chastain Rd

Kennesaw, GA 30144

470-578-6043

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $516 per credit; Out-of-state: $774 per credit
Best in Weather and Climate Education

Cal U of Pennsylvania is the ideal choice for teachers who want to bring current weather and climate content to their K-12 classrooms. Graduate students develop the knowledge to teach elementary, middle and high school students about the ranging impacts of weather and climate.


Program OverviewProgram Name: M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
Available Concentrations: Weather and Climatology

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree in teacher education
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.8

Address:

250 University Ave

California, PA 15419

724-938-4187

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $458 per credit; Out-of-state: $659 per credit
Best in Instructional Technology Education

The University of Maryland University College offers one of the best instructional technology master's degree programs in the country. Students in this program learn advanced skills in instructional technology and curriculum development and how to integrate technologies into K-12 learning environments.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Education in Instructional Technology
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: March 15

Address:

1616 McCormick Dr

Largo, MD 20774

800-888-8682

School Type
Public
Tuition
$404 per credit
Best Program Tracks

Western Colorado University offers several program tracks to help graduate students focus their studies in an area that interests them and matches their career goals. With focuses in teacher leadership, reading leadership, K-12 online teacher leadership and educational administration, graduates emerge as leaders no matter which emphasis they choose.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Graduate Studies
Program Name: MA in Education
Available Concentrations: K-12 Online Teacher Leadership
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 43 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: June 15, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

Crawford Hall 101, 1 Western Way

Gunnison, CO 81231

970-943-2125

School Type
Public
Tuition
$475 per credit
Best in Career Development

Northwestern State University of Louisiana designed its master's degree program in educational technology leadership to promote career growth and advancement for teachers in K-12 schools. This program is highly accredited and provides graduates with the right credentials to propel their careers to the next level.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership
Available Concentrations: K-12 Teaching and Learning
Accrediting Body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: March 15; Spring: October 15
GPA: 3.0

Address:

175 Sam Sibley Dr

Natchitoches, LA 71497

318-357-5851

School Type
Private
Tuition
$350 per credit
Best in Practical Application

American Public University combines academic theory and practical application to give students the right amount of hands-on experience. The master's in teaching program provides teachers with more effective pedagogies, research methodologies and more to help them succeed in their classrooms.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching
Available Concentrations: STEAM
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

111 W Congress St

Charles Town , WV 25414

877-755-2787

School Type
For-profit
Tuition
$453 per credit
Best Value

Capella University is a great value in terms of overall tuition costs and customizable courses. Graduate students in the master's in K-12 studies program benefit from affordable per-credit costs, generous transfer credits and flexible scheduling to work around their current teaching roles.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education
Available Concentrations: K-12 Studies in Education
Accrediting Body: NCATE

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 46 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: March 4, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

225 S 6th St, 9th Fl

Minneapolis, MN 55402

866-796-6651

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in K-12 Education Program?

K-12 teachers are responsible for shaping the minds of young students and preparing them with the skills they need to succeed as adults.

The Department of Education estimates that 3.2 million full-time teachers are employed in the United States, as of the fall of 2018.

Students enrolling in an online master’s in K-12 education can expect to receive the same level of quality instruction as they would receive while taking on-campus classes. Taking classes online towards a degree is incredibly convenient, as individuals who are already working full-time in schools or in other capacities can review course materials on their own time. When choosing an online master’s in K-12 education program, it’s important to select one that aligns with your personal and career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in K-12 Education

CONCENTRATIONDESCRIPTIONPOSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Leadership and AdministrationPrepares students to become leaders in public or private school settings, where they can manage faculty and oversee school operations.Pricipal, vice principal, superintendent
Curriculum and InstructionStudents learn research-based skills and knowledge to design, apply, evaluate, and assess different educational and learning theories into a practical, effective learning environment.Teacher, curriculum and instruction coordinator, school/career counselor
Special EducationEquips teachers to work with students who have a wide range of cognitive, behavioral, emotional or physical disabilities. Within this concentration, master’s students typically choose which grade level they prefer, whether elementary, middle school or high school.Special education teacher at chosen grade level in a public or private school
Single or Multiple Subject TeachingStudents delve into a single subject (reading, social studies, math, science, etc) or multiple disciplines (STEM) while learning the development strategies, needs and challenges of all childen to enhance and improve classroom learning.Teacher in a public or private primary or secondary school
English Language LearningStudents gain pedagogical knowledge, current theory, and research-based practice allowing instructors to comptently teach English as a Second Language to culturally diverse learners.ELL or ESL teacher in K-12 setting
Educational/Instructional TechnologyInstructors explore different integrative technologies and tools to enhance learning behaviors and outcomes in the classroom.Teacher, digital learning technologist/specialist, curriculum developer, instructional designer

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in K-12 Education

Each program you investigate for an online master’s in K-12 education is going to offer something unique for you, and you should keep this in mind while searching. Teachers should always consider what their personal career goals are and whether the program goals align with them.

When evaluating the curriculum for an online master’s degree in K-12 education, consider how the curriculum is delivered. Some programs have classes delivered entirely online for the convenience of teachers who may be working full-time, while other programs may implement a hybrid model that requires occasional attendance on-campus. Also, most online master’s programs in K-12 education require the completion of supervised practicum hours, which can usually be completed at a school that’s geographically close to you.

While individual coursework is going to vary greatly by program and your chosen concentration, you can expect to take a set of core courses and a set of classes that align more closely with your specific career goals and interests. Here are some of the more general classes you can expect to take.

COURSESDESCRIPTION
Classroom ManagementMaster strategies and techniques for managing your classroom and how it operates.
Psychology or DevelopmentExamine the challenges that learners may face in the classroom, personality patterns, social queues and interations, and the perception of children.
Behavior ManagementEquips teachers on how to identify behavioral issues and manage them through positive reinforcement.
Foundations of Reading or WritingLearn strategies for teaching kids how to read and write.
Content Area Reading and WritingTeachers grasp how to provide instruction, context, and strategy in reading comprehension, which allows students to write and communicate about different subject areas.
Teaching Individuals with DisabilitiesProvides an overview of special education law, requirements and strategies for teaching students with disabilities in your classroom.
STEM/Reading/Social Studies/EnglishExpands teachers knowledge in content areas while learning effective methodologies to engage students promoting productive learning experiences.
Classroom AssessmentTeachers learn various techniques and methods to improve their quality of teaching and student learning.

Any other remaining courses you take will depend on your chosen area of concentration. In general, expect to take approximately 5-6 classes around pedagogical coursework and 2-4 classes in your area of specialty, plus a cumulative practicum, which usually involves a certain number of hours of supervised instruction.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in K-12 Education?

The timeline for your online master’s degree in K-12 education will depend on several factors, including the school and chosen area of concentration. In general, if the program is completed entirely online, most schools allow for completing courses at your own pace while meeting certain deadlines along the way.

If taking courses full-time, expect to complete your online master’s degree in K-12 education in about two years. Part-time students can expect to graduate in about three to four years. Total credit hours usually average to about 36, depending on the program.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in K-12 Education Prepares For

After obtaining your online master’s degree in K-12 education, the type of certification and license you apply for will depend on the state you live in and its requirements for teaching licenses. In general, you should expect to prove that you’ve completed the required coursework, supplied appropriate transcripts, taken any required exams and completed an application for a teaching license.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in K-12 Education

When selecting a school for completing your online master’s in K-12 education, a major consideration should always be if the program is accredited. Accreditation for online master’s degree programs is important because it determines whether a program meets minimum standards of quality and whether the program delivers appropriate coursework leading to educational licensure. Accreditation is also important for employment purposes — many schools, whether public or private, require that teachers’ certifications and degrees come from an accredited program.

School accreditation comes in national or regional forms. Regional accreditation for an online master’s in K-12 education program is typically considered to be more prestigious, mainly because requirements and standards for educational licensure and coursework vary so widely by state.

When searching for an accredited program for an online master’s in K-12 education, students should focus their search on programs accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or an education-specific agency, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

As for national agencies, look for programs certified by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Employment Outlook for Master’s in K-12 Education Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

While a bachelor’s degree can certainly help you with obtaining entry-level positions in K-12 education or a teaching assistant position, the employment rate is much more favorable for teachers who have master’s degrees. According to a 2015 report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, professional educators with a graduate degree faced a 2.2 percent unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and some experience is slightly higher at 3.7 percent, and for recent bachelor’s graduates without experience, the unemployment rate is 5.1 percent.

Expected Salary

In addition to more job opportunities, having a master’s degree in K-12 education can help boost your salary as well. According to the Georgetown report, students who obtain an online master’s in K-12 education earn median annual salaries of $49,000 upon graduation and $62,000 after having worked in the field for a few years. Salary expectations will vary by job title. Below are some of the median annual salaries for popular jobs obtained with a master’s in K-12 education.

Source: PayScale.com

Teachers who earn a master’s degree can generally expect to earn a higher salary compared to individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree. How much the salary varies will depend on area of specialty, place of employment and experience level. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), 96 percent of the 112 major school districts in the U.S. pay teachers a higher salary if they have a master’s degree.

According to statistics from the National Center on Education, teachers with a master’s degree earned a median annual salary of $57,831 during the 2011-2012 school year, while teachers with a bachelor’s degree earned much less — only $46,343 during the same time period.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

The career you pursue with your master’s in K-12 education degree is going to depend on your area of specialty and concentration. This broad degree provides you an opportunity to work with students in elementary, middle or high school and qualifies you for more jobs and a higher salary.

JOB TITLEJOB DESCRIPTIONMEDIAN SALARYPROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Kindergarten and Elementary School TeacherKindergarten and elementary school teachers work with children as young as 5 and as old as 10 or 12, depending on how a school district splits up grades. Some districts include fifth grade as part of middle school, for instance, while other districts consider fifth grade to still be elementary school. Kindergarten and elementary teachers lead lessons in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. They frequently incorporate art, music and drama into individual lessons.$56,900 per year7%
Middle School TeacherMiddle school teachers typically educate students between sixth and eighth grades. In general, they help students build knowledge of the fundamentals learned in elementary school to prepare them for a future high school education.$57,720 per year8%
High School TeacherHigh school teachers prepare students for life after graduation and help them learn advanced skills in writing, reading, math, science and history. High school teachers generally specialize in a particular subject.$59,170 per year8%
Special Education TeacherSpecial education teachers work with students who have a wide range of physical, behavioral, emotional and cognitive disabilities. They often collaborate with general education teachers to adapt lessons and teach modified lessons in smaller groups. Special education teachers can work with children of all ages from K-12.$58,590 per year8%

Professional Organizations

Maintaining professional connections in education is critical to your success as a teacher. Organizations like these offer a wealth of resources, professional development opportunities, access to educational materials and online journals; provide invitations to conferences and other networking events; and offer career counseling services for recent graduates who are job seekers. Here are three of the top professional organizations for education.

National Educational Association: One of the largest professional educators’ organizations in the U.S., the NEA has over 3 million members in over 14,000 communities. It produces seven print and online publications, and membership discounts are offered to members, who may be uncertified employees (teacher’s aides, for instance), retired professionals, students or teachers.

Association of American Educators: The AAE is a nonprofit organization and represents members in all 50 states. It offers a wide range of benefits for educators, including liability insurance, scholarships, grants and tuition discounts. Many AAE partner schools offer these tuition discounts for students pursuing a master’s degree in education.

National Council on Teacher Quality: This professional organization creates policy that improves the quality of classroom education and the work environments of professional educators.

Financing Your Online Master’s in K-12 Education

While the cost for obtaining many online degrees is less expensive than attending courses in person on campus, many students still need financial aid to help defray the cost of their education. The first step towards securing financing is to apply for federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you complete and submit this form, you can learn about many grants, scholarships and financial aid options available to you through the federal government. Private grants and scholarships are other financial aid options available to teachers. Check out some of the resources below to get started.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

TEACH Grant

Award: $4,000

Deadline: October

Eligibility: TEACH grant recipients are eligible for up to $4000 annually to help pay for their master’s education in exchange for a four-year commitment to teaching at a qualifying school that serves low-income students.

STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarship

Award: $2,500

Deadline: April

Eligibility: Students actively pursuing a graduate degree for the purpose of teaching in a STEM field after graduation in a U.S. school in grades K-12.