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15 Best Online Colleges for Education in 2017

Education is one of the most common degrees among recent graduates – it’s the fourth most-popular bachelor’s degree, and most-popular master’s degree, according to recent figures from the National Center for Education Statistics – and with good reason. Teaching often pays comfortably, provides job security, presents a range of specializations and grade levels, and there’s that little thing about summers off. Of course, it can also be very satisfying work that is well-regarded and valued, and teachers are currently very much in demand, according to The Apple, as several cities through the U.S. facing a shortage due to a lack of certified teachers or sufficient graduates. The anticipated retirements of Baby Boomers are also expected to create a need for new teachers. Despite the demand, education is still a very competitive field – the number of special education teachers, for instance, is expected to increase by 17% from 2008-2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – so earning a degree from an accredited college can help those seeking to enter the industry become viable candidates.

Core courses in an education degree tend to focus on the foundations of education and educational theory. Specialization in a grade level, such as preschool or elementary, and subject matter, such as history or Spanish, will also determine the further course of study. Many education degree programs allow students to gain valuable hands-on experience in the field by observing and assisting at local schools, as well.

Teaching requirements vary state by state, so knowing where you may eventually want to teach is crucial. In some states, you can teach with just a bachelor’s degree, education or not, while others require a master’s degree of education, so it’s imperative to check with your state’s Department of Education to determine what degree level is required, as well as details on any additional requirements such as a teaching certificate or license.

An education degree also can be a stepping stone towards education administration. A career as a principal, superintendent, or dean requires a master’s or doctoral degree in administration, and, in most cases, teaching experience, so that you are trained to make policies, set educational goals, manage a budget, and handle parent and student relationships.

A degree in education equips students with the knowledge and training to manage a classroom, analyze material, develop curriculum, and distribute information in a way that students can comprehend and retain. It also allows them to discover the different ways in which people learn and how best to teach each type of pupil.

When applying for an education program, you should first verify that the school is accredited, then determine if it has the concentration that you are most interested in pursuing, such as special education, preschool, or elementary education.


When we decided to rank the best colleges online, we strove to use a method and formula that would produce the most objective and fair results possible. All of our data is quantified and taken from authoritative and reliable sources, such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool, the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, and the official websites of the schools included in these rankings.

Read more about our Methodology


Rank School Name Average Rating
1 Ottawa University 10.30
2 Fisher College 13.99
3 Liberty University 14.17
4 Saint Leo University 15.47
5 Post University 15.48
6 National University 16.41
7 Southern New Hampshire University 17.00
8 Salem International University 18.36
9 Walden University 18.61
10 Columbia College 18.74
11 Colorado State University 18.98
12 Tiffin University 19.64
13 Grand Canyon University 19.82
14 Champlain College 20.99
15 Florida National College 21.02