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Degrees of Tomorrow: Education

The field of education is constantly changing, and with those changes come shifting demands for professionals in education. To keep up with the latest trends and techniques, educators need to continue their own learning by earning a degree in education. A degree in education provides teachers with the latest research and strategies to help them meet the needs of their students.

A degree in education also allows teachers to specialize in a particular area of interest. For example, a teacher with a degree in special education can help students with learning disabilities achieve success in the classroom. Or a teacher with a degree in early childhood education can provide support and resources to families with young children.

While some careers in education may only require a bachelor’s degree, increasingly, a master’s is preferred or even required to be in charge of a classroom. Many states and school districts require that secondary teachers have an undergraduate degree in their area of specialization in addition to a master’s degree.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022), demand for teachers will grow between 4 to 5 percent between 2021 and 2031, depending on the grade level. This is on par with the growth rate for all other jobs in the US.

Explore some of the most in-demand degrees in education and some of the top programs offering online learning options in these fields.

Online Degree in Educational Leadership

A degree in educational leadership can provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a career in education administration. Students will learn about topics such as educational policy, curriculum development, and effective instructional practices through their coursework. In addition, they will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships and practicum placements. After completing their degree, students may find careers working as school principals, district administrators, or educational consultants.

Hawaii Pacific University (MEd in Educational Leadership)

The online master of education in educational leadership program at Hawaii Pacific University prepares graduates to become administrative leaders in classrooms, schools, and higher education institutions. The degree program is based on an innovative, inquiry-oriented, standards-driven, and field-based curriculum that integrates content and pedagogy.

In addition, this program provides teachers with cutting-edge, course-web-page technology tools and access to online periodical databases in education. The 100 percent online courses are held in eight-week terms, except for the capstone project, which runs the entire summer semester.

  • Cost: $1,175 per credit

University of Mount Union (MEd in Educational Leadership)

In as little as five semesters, students can earn their online master of education in educational leadership program at the University of Mount Union. This program is designed for working professionals who want to further their careers in education and offers students the flexibility to complete the degree at their own pace. The required and elective coursework covers various topics relevant to educational leadership.

Graduates of the program can pursue careers as teacher leaders, district administrators, and instructional coordinators. The program’s curriculum includes leadership, technology, ethics, and law classes in the P to 12 school system. Students also complete a capstone project as part of the degree requirements.

  • Cost: $610 per credit

Online Degree in English as a Second Language (ESL)

Students who study English as a Second Language (ESL) will learn the skills and knowledge necessary to teach English to speakers of other languages. They will develop an understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and other languages and learn how to adapt their teaching methods to meet the needs of their students.

In addition, they will gain insights into the challenges faced by second-language learners and how to overcome them. Students with an ESL degree will be prepared for careers as ESL teachers in various settings, including schools, universities, and language institutes. With their strong understanding of both language and culture, they will be uniquely positioned to help their students succeed.

Liberty University (MA in Teaching English as a Second Language)

Earning an online master’s of arts in teaching English as a second language (ESL) from Liberty University can provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in a career teaching ESL. This program is taught by experienced faculty who will equip students with the tools necessary to teach anyone, no matter their age, effectively.

With all classes taught exclusively online, students can study from the comfort of their homes or office. All classes have the same rigor and advanced training as Liberty’s residential counterparts. Additionally, students can gain hands-on experience through an internship opportunity.

  • Cost: $565 per credit

University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development (Master’s of Teaching-English as a Second Language)

The University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development offers an online master of teaching degree with an endorsement in English as a second language (PreK-12). This program is designed for paraprofessionals who want to become professional teachers and teachers with a provisional license who need to convert to a professional license.

Admission is offered three times a year in the fall, spring, and summer, allowing students to start their studies when it is most convenient. This is a part-time program that is typically completed over eight semesters.

  • Cost: $1,190 per credit

Online Degree in Elementary Education

Earning a degree in elementary education will give aspiring teachers the skills they need to design and implement lesson plans, assess student learning, and create a positive learning environment. During their studies, students will gain extensive knowledge in child development and pedagogical methods.

Additionally, they will be able to complete fieldwork placements in elementary classrooms, providing them with real-world experience. Upon graduation, students with an elementary education degree will be qualified for various rewarding careers, such as elementary school teacher, special education teacher, reading specialist, or educational consultant. Students should ensure that the program they complete prepares them for licensure in the state where they want to teach.

Ball State University Teachers College (MA in Education in Elementary Education)

Ball State’s Teachers College offers a master’s of arts in education in elementary education that is among the top in the country. The program has small, interactive classes taught by professors who are experts in their field. Students who are Indiana teachers can use this master’s program as a step towards earning a ten-year renewal of their teaching license.

The program is accredited by several organizations, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Required classes for this degree include human growth and development, effective use of technology in the classroom, education in a diverse society, and teaching reading in elementary school.

  • Cost: $656 per credit

University of North Dakota (MEd in Elementary Education)

At the University of North Dakota, students can earn their online master’s of education in elementary education. This program is designed to provide licensed teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to take their teaching skills to the next level. Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), this degree uses the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) as a framework for courses, demonstrating what effective teachers should know and do to have a positive impact on student learning.

There are no required campus visits, and students can tailor their degrees to their teaching interests and needs with nine credits of electives. The program culminates in a final thesis, independent study, or independent project.

  • Cost: $547.10 per credit

Online Degree in Teaching Mathematics

Math education degrees prepare students to become math educators at the elementary, middle, or high school levels. Students learn how to develop and teach lesson plans, assess student learning, and incorporate technology into the math classroom. In addition, they take courses in mathematics content so that they can teach the subject matter effectively. After completing a math education degree program, graduates are prepared to enter the workforce and positively impact their students’ lives.

University of Missouri (MEd in Learning, Teaching, And Curriculum With An Emphasis In Mathematics Education)

The online master’s of education in learning, teaching, and curriculum with an emphasis in mathematics education from the University of Missouri can help students build their expertise. This degree is specifically designed for certified, practicing teachers who want to fulfill their continuing education requirements while preparing for a leadership position. Course delivery is asynchronous, meaning students can access course content and complete assignments on their own schedule.

However, students can choose to enroll in electives that require face-to-face meetings on campus. Courses are semester-based, and students typically take one or two classes each semester to finish in two years.

  • Cost: $15,315 for the entire program

Drexel University (MS in Mathematics Learning and Teaching)

Drexel University’s online Master of Science in Mathematics Learning and Teaching is designed for teachers who want to improve their mathematical teaching skills. The program provides teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to use student-centered technology-based instruction. The program also prepares teachers to use students’ thinking as a resource for instructional decision-making.

The faculty in the program includes teacher educators, mathematicians, and school administrators with years of experience in mathematics education. This program is ideal for working teachers.

  • Cost: $1047 per credit

Online Degree in Special Education

Students who want to work with children and young adults with disabilities can earn special education degrees. While studying special education, students will learn about the different types of disabilities and how to support individuals with these disabilities best. They will also learn about the individualized education program (IEP) process and how to develop IEPs that meet the unique needs of each individual.

In addition, students will gain valuable experience working with disabled students in various settings, such as schools, camps, and residential facilities. Upon graduation, students with a special education degree will be prepared for various careers, such as special education teacher, disability services coordinator, and behavior analyst.

Purdue University (MS in Education in Special Education)

In as little as two years, students can earn their online master of education in special education degree offered at Purdue University. This program is designed to provide educators with the skills and knowledge needed to work with students with disabilities and also prepares educators to work in online and blended classrooms.

There are six different concentrations, including a focus on mild intervention, initial licensure, and intense intervention. Purdue University’s unique Mentor and Induction Program provides seminars to help educators connect course content to real-world situations.

  • Cost: $631.20 per credit

Southern New Hampshire University (MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Special Education)

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master of education in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in special education which provides educators with the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities.

The program is designed to align with 21st-century learning and provides educators with a deep understanding of the issues related to teaching and learning conditions for children with disabilities. Students will examine the history and legislation of special education at the federal and state levels as they relate to the Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). A primary objective of this program is to help educators become leaders in their field, with a global awareness across cultures and geographies.

  • Cost: $627 per credit

Online Degree in School Counseling

Students who pursue a degree in school counseling will learn about the developmental needs of children and how to help them meet their academic, social, and emotional goals. They will also develop skills in crisis intervention and conflict resolution. In addition, students will gain an understanding of the legal and ethical issues involved in working with children.

Upon graduation, students with a degree in school counseling will be prepared to pursue careers as school counselors, guidance counselors, and educational consultants. School counselors must obtain licensure and/or certification in their state to practice.

Walden University (MS in School Counseling)

Walden University’s online master’s in school counseling program is for students who want to help PreK-12 students overcome obstacles and shape successful futures. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and focuses on practical application, including virtual simulations and field experience. The curriculum is tailored to help graduates work with students of all backgrounds.

Graduates will be academically prepared to analyze different roles and settings of a counselor, apply sound ethical and legal practices, analyze cultural development theories and models, and examine empirically based theories of human development.

  • Cost: $482 per credit

William & Mary School of Education (MEd in School Counseling)

The online master’s of education in school counseling offered at William & Mary School of Education is designed to prepare students for licensure and counseling positions in elementary, middle, and high schools. The program emphasizes social justice and the creation of greater educational equity. Most coursework is completed online, but two brief three-day residencies are on campus to prepare students for their practicum and internship experiences. During the residencies, immersive experiential learning activities will also help students get to know the faculty and other students.

Some of the program’s courses include counseling on educational and vocational topics, advocating for students and families with service needs, and developing and delivering alcohol, drug, and violence prevention programs. Upon completion of the program, students will have the skills to help students from all backgrounds thrive academically and socially.

  • Cost: $665 per credit

Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about healthcare careers and education. She has worked in public health, at health-focused nonprofits, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctor’s offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning and that drives her to stay up to date on the latest trends in healthcare. When not writing or researching, she can be found pursuing her passions of nutrition and an active outdoors lifestyle.