Earning an Online Education Degree

The online education degree is a course of study for both the current and future teacher. Furthermore, some online education programs prepare hopeful educators for their first teacher license. In addition, there are other, more advanced online education degrees. These may take a teacher to a next step in their career. For instance, teachers can work towards paths such as a college administrator, a policy researcher, or a school standards coach.


To receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of field work.i

Which Online Education Degree Is the Best Choice for Me?

Online education degree programs include teaching degrees and non-teaching degrees. Due to this, each online education degree of has its own requisites. To figure out which path to take, you may want to reflect on three main issues.

  1. What are your career goals for your future?
  2. Is there a certain area in education that is of interest to you?
  3. How much time can you devote to your online education degree? (How much time each day? How much time each week? How many years in total?) If time is an issue for you, you can look into special online-only program features like self-paced classes.

In conclusion, remember that the field of education is a regulated one. As a result, each state may have its own set of rules when it comes to licensure. Or, for other necessary credentials. So be sure to do your homework.

Online Associate Degrees in Education

Do you have a high school diploma or GED? If so, earning an Associates degree in education online may help you launch a career. Often about 60 credits, it may take a full-time student 2-years to complete their degree.

Learn the Basics

Most university programs address practical ways to teach a certain group, like preschoolers.Other sample courses are listed below.

  • Education theories and how humans develop
  • How to plan lessons
  • Insight into current trends

Prepare for a Next Step

Another possible plus is that credits from an Associates degree are often used as transfer credits to a Bachelors degree. Or, you might decide just to pursue a career as a teaching assistant. Most school districts require applicants to have at least 2-years of college courses, or an Associates degree.ii

Online Bachelors Degrees in Education

Do you hope to work toward becoming a teacher online? If so, earning an online Bachelors degree in Education may place you one step closer this goal. The Bachelors degree often helps students prepare for an initial teacher license. Entry into a Bachelors program usually requires a high school diploma, GED or Associates degree. It may take a full-time student about 4-years to complete their degree.

Learn What it Takes to Teach Others

Most online Bachelors degree in education programs require students to complete 120 credits. Students often must take core courses in writing, English, math and humanities. As well, other topics may help develop vital educator skills. A sample of topics follow.

  • Master a content area (e.g. STEM subjects)
  • Methods of instruction
  • Health, safety and nutrition
  • How language develops in children

Prepare for Initial Licensure

Most states require teachers to be licensed or certified in their state. This process usually relies on three things: a Bachelors degree, a completed teacher preparation program, and supervised teaching.

Online Education Degree: Professional Insight 

"Earning my master's of science in reading and literacy took just eighteen months with only taking two or three courses per semester. Although skeptical at first, I found that I had more interaction with classmates and the teacher online than in a bricks and mortar college. I engaged in discussions with classmates from around the country as we replied to each other’s comments, asked questions, and gained insight into the world of education outside of our region. It was eye opening."

online education degree-Judy Packhem, Reading Specialist and Owner of Shaping Readers Click To Tweet!click to tweet

Online Masters Degrees in Education

Are you a career changer, a licensed educator, or a future teacher? If so, earning an Online Masters degree in Education may prepare you for any of these paths. Some programs entail about 30 credits. On average, it may take a full-time student 2 years to complete these requisites.

Enhance Your Classroom Skills

The courses found in any given online Masters in Education program vary. Some programs expand on classroom skills. Others on how to bring technology into a lesson plan. Equally, there are programs that help a teacher prepare to supervise and lead. Course topics that might be on your lesson plan might include some of the sample courses below.

  • The role of literacy - reading specialist and literacy
  • How to manage and use data for student assessment
  • Lesson design for current standards
  • Educational policy

Customize a Career Path

First off, some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teacher certification.iii Second, the degree may help students earn a certificate of eligibility for a specific endorsement (e.g. School Administrator) in their state.

Online Doctorate Degrees in Education

Do you hope to lead, teach or research at the university level? If so, at the doctoral level, students may choose a path that is practice based (EdD) or research-based (PhD). Some online EdD programs require about 54 credits with a ballpark time to completion of 83 months. Program length does vary. You can even find Online EdD programs that don't ask you to take the GRE!

Refine and Research

At this terminal level, it is common to pursue an area of interest. For example, online EdD in Educational Leadership may cover some of the sample courses listed below.

  • How to make ethical decisions
  • Education theory, research, and practices

Prepare To Lead

Most postsecondary school teachers must have a PhD. This is the case whether they teach for online universities or at brick and mortar colleges. iv

Online Certificate Programs in Education

Online Certificate programs in Education often provide an extra endorsement to a teacher’s career and license. Take the case of a Graduate Certificate in Mathematics. This might be used by a current teacher who wanted to teach advanced placement math courses. Often short term (e.g. 18 hours) a certificate may enhance a career in just a few courses.

Online Education Degree Types

There are many types of online education degrees. As a result, you might choose to narrow your focus. You would do this through an area of emphasis. Furthermore, many schools offer a few tracks for you to select from. As a result, these online education degrees engage a learner with college courses specific to their theme. What direction do you want your career to take?


In adult education programs, students may develop the skills to teach adults. Further, some adults may have special needs. Others may need to master the English language.


Learn the ins and outs of how to design and plan lessons. As well, on a larger scale, to implement course content and school standards.


Early childhood educators are tasked with the care of preschool children. Due to this, they need to understand how to teach and nurture young minds.


To lead in education requires the skills of a manager. Hence, at the level of high school principals, a Masters degree and a state issued license.v


Develop the skills to help students make their career decisions. School counselors often need a license or extra credential.vi


Combine your interest in the science and natural resources with methods on how to teach it.


Explore what it takes to teach English as a second language. And, be able to help others build fluency in their non-native tongue.


General Education teachers instruct courses such as science, history and English.


Enter a program that may prepare you to lead in college and university settings. Plus, learn what it might take to manage student affairs or financial aid.


The path of K-12 education spans primary and secondary school teachers. These programs outline how to manage a class full of students. Add to that, students are likely to learn theory and best practices to convey content.


Special education teachers learn about student disabilities and special needs. Further, they need to know how to adapt lesson plans and present course content.


Teacher education programs cover how to instruct and work with students. In addition, they tend to include fieldwork.

Find Accredited Online Education Schools

It is possible to earn an online education degree at a regionally accredited school. Further, there are six agencies who have this task. Each, recognized by the Department of Education. As a form of basic quality assurance, it means the school has met standards. A wise thing to look wherever you earn your education degree online.

Find Accredited Online Education Programs

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the main programmatic accreditor for education degrees. This is an extra stamp of approval. And, an accredited rating may be important for online education degrees. Especially if you are looking to earn a teaching license. Furthermore, an online teaching degree program must be recognized in the state where they hope to do this.

Take the Next Step

No two online education degree programs are the same. However, they do have one common theme. This is to help you access your goals via web-based tools. Finally, you will learn in the virtual classroom.

Browse paid listings to find your fit in this broad field. Then, take the next step with the on-page form and submit a request for more info.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm |[ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/teacher-assistants.htm |[iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm |[v] bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm |