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6 Best Online Colleges for History in 2017

Earning an online degree in history can be a great option for someone wanting to pursue a career as a historian, a curator, or museum technician, or for someone wanting to teach the subject at the high school or college level. A history degree can also be pursued at the bachelor’s level if you are interested in pursuing a career in law. In most cases, the bare minimum required for a career in any of the aforementioned fields is a bachelor’s degree, while most require a master’s or doctorate. Typically, there are no history programs available at the associate degree level.

At the bachelor’s level, the best online colleges for history allow students to study the impact and significance of each historical period on modern day life. In addition to learning about different historical time periods and events, history programs also teach students to develop critical thinking skills, and how to research and present key issues on any topic. History majors also develop their reading comprehension and writing skills.

All programs will require significant amounts of reading, and most require students to write a significant amount of essays and research documents. For these reasons, a bachelor’s degree in history can also provide a good starting point for someone hoping to pursue a career in law. However, most careers in the field require additional education and certifications. Most master’s degree programs in history will typically have students focus on one particular era or event, and require students to complete a thesis that provides some sort of contribution to the field. Doctoral degrees will typically narrow the focus even further, and will usually require the completion and publication of an original writing.

History majors hoping to pursue a career as a historian should plan on earning a master’s degree, and in most cases, a doctorate. Most historians who work for colleges and universities also teach courses in addition to doing independent research, and produce original writings or books on specific historical topics. Others may work in historical preservation or archival management at a museum, for the government, or at historical sites. College-level history teachers need a minimum of a master’s degree to gain entry into the field, but almost all permanent positions require a doctorate.

When it comes to finding the best online history degree, it’s important to ensure that the school has a national or regional accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation ensures that the education being provided by the institution meets an acceptable level of quality. Certain careers that can be attained with a history degree require certification.

If you plan on teaching history at the junior high or high school level, you must be licensed. All U.S. states require public school teachers to be licensed, and the process is commonly referred to as earning a teaching certificate. Most history teachers will work at the secondary level and should therefore earn a secondary or high school certification, which allows them to teach students from 7th through 12th grades. Requirements vary from state to state, however, all states require secondary teachers to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Most states will also require the completion of a teaching preparation program, and some form of supervised teaching experience. Once the individual has accomplished these two steps, they must pass a general teaching certification test to ensure that the individual can demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the subject they teach. In addition, most states require teachers to pass a background check before working with students, and almost all states require teachers to complete a number of annual professional development classes to keep their teaching certificate. Most recently, certain states have begun to require teachers to complete a master’s degree program within a certain time frame after they have received their certification.

Please review our Methodology here: Rankings Methodology


Rank School Name Average Rating
1 Arizona State University 12.30
2 Southern New Hampshire University 13.06
3 Columbia College 15.36
4 Ottawa University 15.58
5 National University 16.12
6 Regent University 19.65