On this page 0
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education: 2023

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education: 2023

Interested in becoming a licensed teacher? Earning an online bachelor’s degree in education can help you get there in a convenient format that works with your busy life. Read on to discover this year’s best programs, what they’re like, how to get into one, and what you can expect after you finish your education degree.

Your desire to teach is not only noble, it’s necessary. Perhaps more necessary than ever before. In 2016, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), published a report that countries worldwide will need to recruit 68.8 million teachers to meet the needs of primary and secondary school children. That’s 24.4 million primary school teachers and 44.4 million secondary school teachers.

To help meet this teacher demand, many colleges and universities are now offering their bachelor’s degrees in education online, including those that prepare students for licensure. To help you narrow your choices, we compiled a list of online bachelor’s degrees in education programs and ranked them based on criteria prospective students like you care about most. 

In addition to looking at curriculum quality, accreditation and affordability, this ranking puts special focus on how well students can receive an individualized learning experience. Schools that offer the most customizability in their degree plans and the most flexibility in when students can take courses scored the highest. 

Learn more about today’s best online bachelor’s degrees in education below and find the one that’s right for you.

    or

    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2023 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

    2. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.

    Affordability

    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

  • Mississippi State, MS
    Public $$

    Mississippi State University offers a flexible, robust education program for anyone looking to become an elementary or middle school teacher. In the program, students choose between majoring in elementary or middle school education, though students are given the opportunity to take coursework in both before they make their final decision for what major to pursue. Along with their coursework, students must also complete 40 hours in a classroom setting in order to graduate. While the classes are fully online, the classroom teaching is not. This online program is most suitable to those living in the state of Mississippi as the teaching license is only good in this state and you must complete your student teaching here as well.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

    • Credits: 115
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $385.50 per credit hour
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education

    • Credits: 115
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $385.50 per credit hour
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Bismarck, ND
    Private not-for-profit $$$$

    Students interested in becoming an elementary or middle school teacher in North Dakota should check out the program from the University of Mary. This affordable, high quality program covers the foundations of education and offers the ability to complete your student teaching in your local community, not near campus. While 100% of the coursework is online and students can complete their degree without ever setting foot on campus, students must complete their student teaching in their local community – usually in-person, not online. Additionally, the program results in teaching licensure in North Dakota, so it might not be the best choice for those looking to become teachers in other states. Unlike other education programs, they also offer classes and resources on careers in the education field other than teaching.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

    • Credits: 124
    • Length: 3-4 years
    • Cost: $460 per credit
    • Mode: In-person
    • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

    Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

    • Credits: 124
    • Length: 3-4 years
    • Cost: $460 per credit
    • Mode: In-person
    • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Stillwater, OK
    Public $$

    Oklahoma State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education which is perfect for anyone looking to complete their degree from the comfort of their own hometown. Students complete a comprehensive curriculum, including courses in general education, departmental courses, major courses, professional core courses and a student teaching experience. While all classes are offered online, there is a student teaching component which must be completed in-person. Luckily, students can complete this experience in their local community instead of around Oklahoma State’s campus. Additionally, it’s important to note that the teaching license is for the state of Oklahoma only, so this might not be the right program if someone is looking to become a teacher somewhere else.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

    • Credits: 124
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $420.35 per credit in-state | $937.70 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Mayville, ND
    Public $$

    Mayville University in North Dakota offers one of the best education programs in the state. While students can enroll in-person, they also offer a fully online option which is perfect for anyone looking to become a licensed teacher in the state of North Dakota. During the program, students can choose between four majors: special education, early childhood education, elementary education, and secondary education. If they choose special education, they can also double major in an age group for a more well-rounded academic experience. Additionally, those who choose secondary education also choose a subject area to focus in, whether math, social studies, or English. While the program is hosted online, students must complete a student teaching experience, either near campus or in their local North Dakota community.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Special Education

    • Credits: 126
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $328.04 per credit in-state | $463.81 per credit out-of-stae
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

    • Credits: 126
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $328.04 per credit in-state | $463.81 per credit out-of-stae
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

    • Credits: 126
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $328.04 per credit in-state | $463.81 per credit out-of-stae
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Valley City, ND
    Public $$

    Those looking for a diverse education program with plenty of majors to choose from should look at Valley City State University. Their education department offers ten online education majors: business education, business composite education, technology education, history education, Spanish education, English education, social studies education, career and technical education, mathematics education, and elementary education. No matter which program students choose, they must also complete general education courses, foundational departmental courses, and a student teaching experience. Some of the majors may allow online student teaching on a case-by-case basis, though most students must complete their student teaching a local community or near campus. It’s important to note graduates are only licensed to teach in the state of North Dakota.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Spanish Education

    • Credits: 108
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $441 per credit in-state | $772.20 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Bachelor of Science in Business Education

    • Credits: 108
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $441 per credit in-state | $772.20 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Bachelor of Science in Composite Business Instruction

    • Credits: 108
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $441 per credit in-state | $772.20 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Columbia, MO
    Public $$
  • Lakewood, CO
    Private not-for-profit $$$$$
  • Greenville, NC
    Public $
  • Chadron, NE
    Public $$
  • Marion, AL
    Private not-for-profit $$$$
  • Carbondale, IL
    Public $$
  • Cincinnati, OH
    Private not-for-profit $$
  • Dillon, MT
    Public $
  • Durham, NC
    Public $
  • Dickinson, ND
    Public $$
  • Muncie, IN
    Public $$
  • Machias, ME
    Public $$
  • Lynchburg, VA
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Manhattan, KS
    Public $$
  • Silver City, NM
    Public $
  • Pensacola, FL
    Public $
  • Morgantown, WV
    Public $$
  • Boone, NC
    Public $
  • Lubbock, TX
    Public $$
  • Jackson, MS
    Public $$
  • Minot, ND
    Public $$
  • Wilmington, NC
    Public $
  • Cincinnati, OH
    Public $$
  • Louisville, KY
    Public $$$
  • Monroe, LA
    Public $$
  • Hays, KS
    Public $
  • Fort Wayne, IN
    Public $$
  • Cedar City, UT
    Public $$
  • Toledo, OH
    Public $$
  • La Grande, OR
    Public $$
  • Norfolk, VA
    Public $$
  • Corvallis, OR
    Public $$
  • Parkville, MO
    Private not-for-profit $$
  • Monticello, AR
    Public $
  • Pembroke, NC
    Public $
  • Wichita, KS
    Public $$
  • Lewiston, ID
    Public $$
  • Miami, FL
    Public $
  • Athens, WV
    Public $$
  • Livingston, AL
    Public $$
  • Hattiesburg, MS
    Public $$
  • Juneau, AK
    Public $$
  • Troy, AL
    Public $$
  • Hattiesburg, MS
    Private not-for-profit $$$
  • Madison, SD
    Public $$

Key Skills and Knowledge You’ll Gain from an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Education

When you research potential online bachelor’s degree in education, it’s important to find one that meets your needs, including your professional goals and learning style. Each program has its own unique curriculum but they all share similarities. 

Accreditation standards require these programs to train future teachers to gain certain skills and knowledge so they can teach effectively in accordance with professional and legal requirements. Let’s take a look at some common learning outcomes you might encounter as an incoming teaching student.

School Appropriate Subject Matter Material

Like many incoming education students, you might have a preference as to which grade or student age you’d like to teach. So it’s helpful to pursue an online bachelor education degree that can meet your professional goals. 

In addition to teaching fundamental pedagogical concepts, material in these online bachelor’s in education degree courses will cover subjects that you plan to teach in the future. For example, if you want to become a high school math teacher, you won’t cover the same subject matter as someone who want to teach elementary school students.

Teaching a Diverse Group of Students

One of the biggest changes to the classroom over the years has been the increased recognition and accommodation of differences among students. Student diversity includes differences in cognition, ethnicity, ability, and sexual and religious orientations, so to reach all students equally, you must learn how to not only recognize and accept these differences, but to tailor your teaching methods to most effectively convey new knowledge and skills to a variety of different students. Before you graduate, you will learn cultural competency—how to practice cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness towards these differences, to include and avoid alienating student.

Making Use of Technology in the Classroom

Improvements in technology can enhance student learning, but if not used correctly, technology can hinder student intellectual growth. At the very least, technology can slow down the rate at which students learn and serve as distractions in the classroom. As budding teachers study to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, they will learn how to avoid these pitfalls by effectively implementing technology into their lesson plans. As a bachelor’s in education student, you’ll discover how to use technology to measure student performance in an effective and consistent manner.

Applying Teaching Skills to Real Classrooms

One of the most important learning outcomes for education students is gaining experience in an actual teaching environment, but with the guidance of an education program supervisor and advice from a current teacher. In addition to learning the principles, concepts, and theories of learning, often called “pedagogy”, online students in bachelor’s degree in education programs will also receive training on how to apply what they’ve learned to a real-world classroom.  These field experiences can boost your confidence as a teacher and help you improve the ease with which you approach teaching and student interaction.

Core Courses in Online Bachelor of Education Degree Programs

Schools will differ in exactly what classes and pedagogical topics they require. Yet there are still many similarities in the materials students are expected to learn, no matter where they choose to pursue an online bachelor of education. To give you an idea of what kind of courses you can expect to take, check out the following: 

Language and Reading Arts

This is one of the core classes most online bachelor in education students can expect to take, especially if they want to teach at the elementary level. In this course, students will examine the various theories and teaching methods for presenting fundamental reading and writing skills. This course also covers reading and learning disabilities. Students who complete this course will learn to both identify reading and language challenges and develop approaches to help correct or accommodate students who struggle with these challenges. 

Best Teaching Practices

Children have different learning styles, so it’s no wonder teachers need to have different teaching styles. How else to accommodate diverse groups of students? In this course students apply research-driven strategies to formulate effective lesson plans for a diverse classroom environment. In addition to accommodating cultural and cognitive differences among young students, the course material in this online bachelor in education degree will also factor how advances in technology can improve a teacher’s effectiveness in both conveying concepts and evaluating learning progress. 

Introduction to DAP

DAP stands for Developmentally Appropriate Practice, and refers to a child’s natural desire to learn. Each child’s approach to learning will depend on their stage of development. This course covers the background of DAP, factors to consider when creating an age-appropriate lesson plan, and how to consider and include the individual personalities of each child, who all come from a variety of different social and cultural backgrounds.

Student Learning Assessment

To teach effectively, instructors must measure how well each student comprehends and applies new knowledge. This course teaches a variety of methods to quantify the effectiveness of an instructor’s teaching style while also measuring the effectiveness of each curriculum. In this course students pursing a bachelor’s degree in education online learn to create reliable assessments and modify lesson plans that take advantage of information gleaned from those assessments.

Technology in the Classroom

As long as there have been schools, teachers have been finding ways to apply advances in technology to improve learning. This class reflects that tradition by showing future teachers how to best make use of new technology. While this class covers the historical background of classroom technology, the primary focus of this class is to explain how to best utilize new technology when developing a curriculum and lesson plan.

Introduction to Student Diversity in Learning

Part of the curriculum of this course for an online bachelor’s degree in education discusses students who are covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This class will train aspiring teachers who pursue a bachelor in education degree online how to appropriately interact with students of all backgrounds. Every student is different. Some are gifted, have learning disabilities, or both. For many students English is not their first or even primary language. And students all come from a range of different cultural and social backgrounds. 

Field Experience

This course provides an opportunity to apply learning to an actual classroom with actual students. With the help of a partnership between the online bachelor’s degree education program and local schools, students seeking a bachelor’s degree in education online will obtain several months of supervised teaching experience. Aspiring teachers will teach under the supervision of both university advisors and practicing teachers who assess aspiring teachers’ professional behavior, teaching approaches, and classroom management techniques.

FAQs About Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education

Before you apply to potential online bachelor’s degree in education programs, you must make sure you fully understand what to expect from your online program for a bachelor in education. Your expectations should include not just the learning you’ll do as an online bachelor’s student, but also what you can expect after you graduate. Below we answer some of the most asked questions of prospective education students.

  • Are online bachelor’s degrees in education offered fully online?

    Yes and no. In most online bachelor’s degree in education programs, on-campus visits are not required—you can complete most your coursework online. However, many of these programs will have one or more practicum or fieldwork experience requirements where students apply what they’ve learned to a real-world classroom, supervised by education experts. 

    If having no in-person requirement is important to you, you may need to enroll in a non-licensure or non-certification teaching bachelor’s degree program online. Compared to licensure or certification education programs, these programs are less likely to have in-person practicum or fieldwork requirements.

  • What careers are open to me with a bachelor’s degree in education?

    The online bachelor of education degree is the primary education requirement for most teaching positions at the primary and secondary school levels. While the teaching licensure requirements vary by state, your online bachelor’s degree in education will make you eligible for most teaching positions. Some of the potential career options to expect include:

    • Kindergarten Teacher
    • Elementary School Teacher
    • Middle School teacher
    • High School Teacher
    • Career or Vocational Education Teacher
    • Special Education Teacher
  • What accreditation should an online bachelor’s degree program have?

    Before applying to an online bachelor’s degree in education program, you should confirm two types of accreditation. Make sure your school of interest is accredited by a regional or national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. As for teaching programs, confirm they have programmatic accreditation before you apply. 

    The primary organization for teaching program accrediting standards is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). You might come across other teaching accrediting standards, like TEAC or NCATE, but those have been replaced by CAEP. Some education programs have been accredited by their respective state education agency. 

  • What is the admissions process like for a bachelor’s in education?

    The admissions process for online bachelor’s degree education programs can vary widely. Generally speaking, there are two types of admissions processes: one for programs that lead to licensure and one for non-licensure programs. Non-licensure programs typically only require applicants to submit standard admissions materials, such as:

    • Online application
    • Application fee
    • Official high school and/or college transcripts (if a transfer student)
    • GED scores (if applicable)
    • SAT or ACT scores (for some schools)

    As for online bachelor in education degree programs that prepare students for initial licensure as a teacher, there are often additional admissions requirements, including one or more of the following:

    • Passing scores for state-specific knowledge and skills test(s) for educators
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Admissions interview
    • Proof of having worked a minimum number of hours with children
  • How much does an online bachelor’s degree in education cost?

    The total amount of money you can expect to spend for your online bachelor of education degree depends on many variables, such as whether you’re a transfer student, the pace of your learning, how much financial aid you get, whether you’re attending a public or private school, and your residency status (if enrolled in a public school). 

    A good place to get a rough idea of what you’ll have to pay for your degree is by looking at a school’s tuition rate. On one end of the spectrum, there’s Midway University, where full-time elementary education students will pay $816.67/credit. But on the other end of the tuition spectrum, in-state early childhood development students at East Tennessee State University pay just $307.00/credit (out-of-state students pay $434.00/credit). 

  • How long do bachelor’s degrees in education take to finish?

    You can expect to take about four years to earn your bachelor’s degree in education through an online program. Most bachelor’s degrees require about 120 credits, which can be completed in eight, full-time semesters. However, you can expect to take five to six years if you attend class as a part-time student. 

    Graduating in two or three years is also possible, but you’ll need to take classes year-round and/or enroll in the online bachelor’s degree in education program with a substantial amount of college credits, which may exist if you’re a transfer student who already has an associate degree.

  • What specializations and concentrations are available for my bachelor’s degree in education?

    Depending on what grade level, subject, and state you want to teach in, you may want to earn your online bachelor’s degree in education with a specialization or focus. This way you’re more likely to teach the subject matter of your choice. To accommodate this need, many bachelor’s degree education programs will have multiple specializations available. The most common concentrations include:

    • Child Development
    • Early Childhood Development
    • Elementary Education
    • Library Science
    • Math Education
    • Physical Education
    • Reading and Literacy
    • Science Education
    • Secondary Education
    • Special Education
    • Educational Studies
    • Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Education Sciences
    • English/Communication
    • Instructional Design
    • Social and Behavioral Studies
    • Early Care and Education 

Salary and Job Demand for Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Education

There is a strong and steady need for more teachers across all grade levels and disciplines. Job growth expectations are generally in line with the national average rate for all jobs of 5%. Keep in mind, job growth only accounts for new jobs, not job openings from retiring teachers. Meanwhile, teachers earn median salaries of over $60,000, higher than you might have expected for this field.

CareerMedian Annual Earnings
(2021)
Job Growth
(2021-2031)
Kindergarten teacher$60,9004%
Special education teacher$61,8204%
Middle school teacher$61,3204%
High school teacher$61,8205%
Career/technical education
teacher
$61,1602%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics