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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.

Methodology

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

Rankings

RankSchool NameAverage Rating
1Ottawa University10.30
2Fisher College13.99
3Liberty University14.17
4Saint Leo University15.47
5Post University15.48
6National University16.41
7Southern New Hampshire University17.00
8Salem International University18.36
9Walden University18.61
10Columbia College18.74
11Colorado State University18.98
12Tiffin University19.64
13Grand Canyon University19.82
14Champlain College20.99
15Florida National College21.02