Top 20 Online Masters in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

What Are The Best Online Masters In Early Childhood Degree Programs?

When considering a career in education, a degree below the master’s level is simply not enough. Most school districts require that educators have a Master’s in Education degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the job growth for postsecondary education administrators will rise by 15 percent in the years 2012-2022 or at a “Faster than average” rate. The job outlook for postsecondary teachers is also expected to increase at a faster than average pace, with 19 percent job growth.

Education positions requiring a master’s degree pay more than education positions requiring only a bachelor’s degree, making obtaining a master’s degree in education an even better choice for those seeking an advanced education.

When searching for the top Master’s in Education online programs, prospective students should consider a number of factors such as whether a particular college or university even has the option to complete a Master’s in Education degree online. Some schools offer some courses online but require completing the bulk of the program in a traditional classroom setting. The convenience of an online education makes getting a Master’s in Education degree a very attractive option for many prospective students. However, you likely want to consider obtaining your M.Ed. or other Master’s in Education degree at one of the top schools offering the degree.

The methodology for selecting these Top 20 Online Master’s in Education Degree Programs includes:

* Prestige
* Rankings, awards or other recognition
* Unique program features or program options
* Faculty training and credentials

1. Graceland University

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Graceland University is an ideal choice for students searching for a university with high rankings in areas such as “Faculty Training and Credentials” and “Student Engagement.” The school ranked in 1st place in these categories in 2015 U.S. News & World Report listing of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Graceland ranked #5 overall in the U.S. News & World Report listing of the Best Online Graduate Education Programs. Students can earn their Master’s degree totally online at Graceland University, where students have several program options.

Choices offered to students include the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, Collaborative Learning and Teaching Program, which the university indicates is “designed to promote the professional development of practicing teachers at all grade levels and in all subject areas.” The Professional Teaching Standards Program focuses on using technology, collaborative learning experiences, and other innovative strategies. Other program options include the M.Ed. in Management in a Quality Classroom and four other M.Ed. programs.

Graceland University holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredits the teacher education programs at Graceland University. Princeton Review recognized Graceland University as 2015 Best in the Midwest School. Graceland boasts a 98 percent new student retention rate, as of the 2013-2014 academic year.

2. University of Houston

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The University of Houston ranks among the Top 10 Most Affordable postsecondary schools in the State of Texas, according to the 2013 College Database. The graduate education program at the University of Houston ranks #1 in the U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs. The university ranks in the #2 position in this listing because while the University of Houston scored a 90 in “Faculty Training and Credentials,” and a 91 in “Student Engagement,” the #1 school in this listing scored a 100 in both of those categories.

The University of Houston offers several program choices for students wishing to obtain their Master’s Degree in Education. The M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction – Early Childhood Education “guides graduates to extend their pursuit of excellence as teachers of young children in the PK – Grade 3 classroom.” The M.Ed. in Higher Education prepares graduates for leadership roles in key administrative positions at the college or university level. Other M.Ed. Online programs at the University of Houston includes Curriculum and Instruction – Health Sciences Education and the Curriculum and Instruction – Mathematics Education option, as well as the M.Ed. in Special Education. This variety of options gives students the ability to tailor easily their master in education degree program to their particular career aspirations.

The University of Houston receives accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools. The University of Houston ranked #4 in the U.S. in the “12 Top Colleges Where Students Get the Most Bang for their Buck.”

3. Florida State University

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Boasting a 99 percent new student retention rate, Florida State University also offers very affordable tuition rates. However, students should always check with the university first to make sure that listed prices are current since tuition rates change periodically. Florida State University offers prospective students several options to complete their online Master in Education degree. Students should check each program option carefully before enrolling to make sure the program correlates with their specific education and career goals since some graduate education programs lead to teacher certification while others do not. Some of the Master’s in Education degree program options at FSU includes the Master in Educational Leadership/Administration, the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies and the Master in Special Education.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmed accreditation of Florida State University in 2014. U.S. News & World Report named FSU in the #2 spot for both “Most Efficient High-Quality University” and in the 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

4. Fort Hays State University

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Fort Hays State University has a reputation as one of the most affordable universities in the country. The fact that Fort Hays State University offers a rolling application deadline likely appeals to many prospective students. Boasting a 95 percent new student retention rate for four consecutive years, Fort Hays State University also scored a 91 in the U.S. News & World Report category “Faculty Credentials and Training.” FHSU also ranked #5 in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs for Veterans. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the National Council for Teacher Accreditation provides accreditation for Fort Hays State University education programs.

Students can choose from several Master of Science in Education programs including Reading Specialist, Higher Education Student Affairs, JROTC Instructor Prep or Transition to Teaching (Alternative Certification). Students may also pursue the Master of Science in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) emphasis, Library Media Specialist or the Master of Science in Special Education.

5. Pennsylvania State University World Campus

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Pennsylvania State University World Campus features a rolling application deadline process and offers 24/7 tech support to online students. The Penn State World Campus offers several options to students pursuing a Master’s in Education degree, including the Master of Education (M.Ed) in Curriculum and Instruction. The University offers the Master’s in Adult Education to help meet the growing need for adult educational professionals. Penn State World Campus also offers the Master’s in Educational Leadership, Master of Education in Higher Education and specializations such as the M.Ed. in Art Education or M.Ed. in Health Education.

Nationally recognized as the U.S. News & World Report #4 ranked University on the Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Penn State ranked #1 in the nation for “Producing the best prepared, most well-rounded graduates who are most able to succeed once hired” in a Wall Street Journal survey. The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Pennsylvania State University.

6. Northern Illinois University

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Northern Illinois University features a rolling application date, which likely appeals to many prospective students. NIU offers two options for students pursuing a Master’s in Education degree.

NIU offers both the Master of Science in Education – Instructional Tech and the Master of Science in Education – School Business Management.

In addition to placing as the #3 university in the U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Northern Illinois University also ranks in the 2015 PayScale College ROI Report top one-third of “Best Value Colleges.” Military Advanced Education recognizes Northern Illinois University as a Military Friendly School. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the NIU education programs receive accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

7. Creighton University

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Creighton University offers the Master of Science in Educational Leadership to “equip qualified students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to serve schools as teacher leaders or administrators.” While the university offers just the one Master’s in Education degree, the high rankings that Creighton recently achieved make the university an option for prospective students to consider.

Creighton University ranks #1 in the U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” and ranked in a #11 tie in the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs. 2014 Washington Monthly College Rankings named Creighton University to the #1 spot on its listing. Creighton University holds numerous other rankings and recognition. CU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Creighton University education programs receive accreditation from NCATE.

8. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

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The University of Nebraska offers specializations in Master in Education options that go beyond those offered at some other schools. Online graduate students may decide to obtain the Deaf Education, M.A., M.Ed. Endorsement, Mild-Moderate Disabilities, M.A., M.Ed. or the M.S. in Family and Consumer Services-Education for those seeking initial teaching licensure in this area. Prospective students also have options to choose specializations such as the M.A. in Higher Education or M.Ed. in P-12 Educational Administration.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln ranked in a #5 tie in 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs. The UNL education programs ranked on the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard for “Low Costs, High graduation rates.” UNL also ranks as a Princeton Review “Best Value University.”

9. Western Governors University

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Recognized as the first exclusively online university to receive NCATE accreditation for the Western Governors University Teacher Education Program, according to WGU, the Teacher College offers a wide variety of options for already licensed teachers wishing to complete a Master’s in Education degree.

The M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, the M.S. in Educational Leadership, the M.Ed. in Learning and Technology or the Master of Science option, in particular, areas such as science or math education gives teachers plenty of choices.

Prospective students searching for a university with high rankings will appreciate the fact that WGU received recognition from the National Council on Teacher Quality as #1 in the country as a “Best Value in Teacher Education” in 2015. Western Governors University received a 21st Century Award for “Best Practices in Distance Learning” for the fifth consecutive year. Western Governors University receives accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Schools.

10. Central Michigan University

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Named in a three-way tie for the #5 position in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Central Michigan University also achieved the #2 spot in the category “Student Services and Technology.” Central Michigan University received recognition as a 2015 Best Online Education Programs in Education for Veterans university. The university also offers a generous discount to active duty military members, their spouses, and dependent children as well as offering a generous discount on tuition to military veterans.

Central Michigan University offers a rolling application deadline. The university also offers several concentrations in the Master of Arts in Education degree programs. Previously offering only the online master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Instruction and Training and Development, Central Michigan University decided to add additional options for students pursuing their master’s degree in education. As of January 2016, students may choose to pursue the Master of Arts in Educational Technology or Master of Arts in Education in Reading and Literacy K-12. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Central Michigan University.

11. Regent University

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Prospective graduate students will appreciate the rolling application deadline as well as affordable tuition at Regent University. Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News & World Report, Regent University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The education programs at Regent University receive accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

Prospective students will discover several program options available. Earn the M.Ed. in Christian School Administration, the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, with several specialization options. Students may also elect to pursue the M.Ed. in Elementary Education or Special Education K-12.

12. University of Scranton

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The University of Scranton holds accreditation from the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Accredited by TEAC, the education department at the University of Scranton offers two online program options for graduate students pursuing their master of education degree. Students may opt to pursue the Master of Science Curriculum and Instruction or the Master of Science in Educational Administration. The University explains that its Master’s in Education programs “are designed for teachers seeking career advancement in school administration or preparing for leadership positions.”

Named to the U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs, the University of Scranton ranked exceptionally high in the category “Faculty Credentials and Training.” The university also made the Forbes list of “America’s Best Colleges.”

13. Arizona State University

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Online graduate students have several options available to obtain their master’s degree online at Arizona State University. Students may choose to pursue the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction or the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership – Principalship, the M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction – Gifted or the M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction – Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Named to 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Arizona State receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. ASU received recognition in the 2015 Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of the “Best Buy Public Colleges in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.” College Factual rates ASU as #2 on its list of Top 10 Best Colleges for Veterans.

14. Auburn University

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Ranked in a #8 tie in the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Auburn University also received recognition from Kiplinger’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges.” The University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

AU brags that its graduate education offerings continue to grow. Students can obtain their M.Ed. in Adult Education, Collaborative Teacher Special Education or the M.Ed. or M.S. in Elementary Education. Other program options give students an even wider selection of specializations.

15. University of Nebraska – Kearney

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The University of Nebraska – Kearney offers prospective students the opportunity to earn their Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction: K-12, with seven concentration options. Students may choose to pursue the M.Ed. in Reading PK-12, the M.Ed. in Special Education or additional Master in Education degree options.

Consistently ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report, the University takes pride in offering a rolling application deadline. The University of Nebraska – Kearney receives accreditation from the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission. NCATE accredits the education programs at the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

16. Utah State University

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Utah State University invites online students to “learn your way” with its online degree offerings. The University offers the M.Ed. in Elementary Education, the M.Ed. in Secondary Education and the option to obtain the M.Ed., M.S. in Special Education or M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership.

Named to the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs, Utah State University also holds the distinction as a G.I. Jobs Military Friendly School. Utah State receives accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

17. Indiana University – Bloomington

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Bloomington students completing an online Master’s in Education program have the opportunity to choose from the Master’s Degree in Adult Education, the Master’s Degree in Special Education for Indiana Schools or the Master’s Degree in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education.

Indiana University – Bloomington receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and is a Kiplinger’s “Best Values in Public Schools” University. Indiana University – Bloomington also made the list of 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

18. George Washington University

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George Washington University features some unique offerings in Master in Education programs. In addition to offering the Master’s in Education Technology Leadership and the Master’s in Education Leadership and Administration, George Washington University offers the NCATE accredited Master’s in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. This degree does lead to K-12 certification, which GWU explains, “equips current educators with the knowledge and skills to effectively understand and address the cultural, language, social and learning needs of a variety of students whose diversity and exceptionalities affect their school success.”

George Washington University received recognition in the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

19. Emporia State University

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Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Emporia State University received recognition on 2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

The University offers the M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with three concentration options, the M.S. in Early Childhood Education Unified and the M.S. in Educational Leadership. Emporia State University also offers the M.S. in Instructional Specialist Degree – Elementary Content, Instructional Specialist – Reading Specialist PK-12 and Instructional Specialist – Elementary STEM.

20. Ball State University

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Ball State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and NCATE. Ball State University features a rolling application deadline and affordable tuition.

Ball State received recognition from Princeton Review as one of the “Best in the Midwest” and from the U.S. News & World Report 2015 Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Ball State University offers the Master of Arts in Technology Education or the Master of Arts in Career and Technical Education. Students may also choose to pursue the “Optional Track for Community Colleges Faculty.”

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