Online Masters of Education

Online education masters programs focus on how to engage and teach students with different learning styles. To do this, masters courses may cover how students interact with different curriculums and learning plans. Classes might also demonstrate how to use new materials like computer technologies in the classroom to better serve students.

Finally, these programs may also offer students the chance to perform their own research to analyze how the educational system could be improved. In short, the online masters of education might help students challenge the educational status quo to potentially benefit your future or current classroom.

The Basics of Online Education Masters Programs

The aim of online education masters programs is to help students enhance their classroom methods with the help of new teaching techniques. These degrees are often offered as a master of arts in education (MA) or a masters of education (MEd). While technically different degrees, both focus on similar curriculum to develop students’ effectiveness in the classroom.


Online education masters programs aim to flesh out the teaching foundation you might have developed in a related bachelors degree. Courses include advanced education techniques to address the unique needs of students. Online education masters programs classes may also cover innovative methods to design curriculum to better serve a diverse student population.

The end goal of this course of study is to teach students to confidently instruct students and cater to their specific learning styles.  As part of this initiative, you could take some of the following classes.

  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Technology in Education
  • Issues & Innovations in Education
  • Diversity in the Classroom

Classes may differ among online education masters programs. In addition to these programs, online education masters programs usually require students to author a thesis project that engages with a specific obstacle in the teaching field. As part of these classes, students typically research current educational data. Then, they present their findings and analysis to the department faculty. For more information about theses projects, speak with your intended program.

Unlike undergraduate education degrees, the online masters in education typically does not have a student teaching requirement. This is because many schools only accept currently licensed teachers into their online education masters programs. For more information about admissions, see the details below.

Did you know?

Outside of the classroom, teachers may also spend time writing lesson plans, speaking with student’s parents, or grading.

Online Masters in Education Applications

Applying for an online masters of education differs from other masters programs because schools may require you to submit proof of professional experience. Some schools may require students to be currently licensed teaching professionals. And, they might also ask you to submit proof of 1 to 3 years of professional working experience.

In addition, schools may ask for students to submit a 2.75 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA as well as GRE/GMAT scores in order to qualify for online education masters programs.

This should not deter students who are new to the educational field. Some schools may cater specifically to new teachers. This means that they may not require students to have professional teaching experience. In this case, students might take remedial education courses as part of their curriculum to catch them up to speed. Applying to these online masters of education programs generally only requires students to submit the minimum GPA in addition to supplemental materials.

Admissions requirements differ by school. Be sure to check with your intended program for more information.


A general online masters in education might not only be a great way to develop your standard teaching methods, but it could also help you concentrate your studies as well. This could allow you to engage with a particular aspect of education like special education or online learning.

These programs may be offered either as a degree specialization or as concentrated elective courses. You could potentially concentrate your studies on some of the following topics.

Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and instruction concentrations might help you engage with new methods intended to improve how a school teaches their classes. Building upon the basics you might have studied in an undergraduate course, curriculum and instruction courses dive into what make a curriculum effective. Classes could include topics in curriculum planning and organization, remedial content strategies, and instruction accountability.

Adult Education

Instead of focusing on students typically taking part in K-12 learning, adult education concentrations aim to address the needs of atypical learners. Usually, these adult students are returning to complete a GED or equivalent. Or, they may be pursuing an undergraduate degree. Topics to assist these unique students could include adult learning theory, multicultural and special populations, and adult education curriculum planning.

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL)

TESOL courses address working with others who do not speak English as a first language. These students may be studying English in order to adapt to a new culture. Or, they might want to enhance their career options by learning English. As part of this concentration, you may study topics like English as a second language teaching methods, linguistics and pronunciation, and language acquisition.

Educational Leadership

Educational leadership programs focus different management and developmental tools students could use to mentor other teachers. This might be especially important if you’re pursuing a career in a leadership position, like a principal.i These classes could be further concentrated to the elementary and high school levels. Courses could include topics such as educational ethics, school improvement strategies, and educational assessment.

Did you know?

97% of surveyed teachers said that supportive leadership was an important factor for retaining educators in the field.

Concentrations differ by school. Speak with program reps for more information about how you could concentrate your degree. Or, check out the general online masters in education programs page to read more about potential concentrations.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Masters Degree in Education Online?

Earning an online masters in education generally requires completion of 30 to 39 credits. With this in mind, students could potentially earn an online masters in education degree in 2 years depending on enrollment. Program length varies by school.

Did you know?

149,705 students earned a masters in education in 2015?ii

What Could I do with an Online Masters in Education?

While many teaching professions require a bachelors degree for entry-level positions, some states require teachers to earn an online masters in education to maintain their license.iii By earning this degree, you could maintain your ability to teach at the elementary and high school levels.iv Teachers at these levels earned a median salary of $54,550 and $57,200 in 2015, respectively. Compared to teachers with just a bachelors degree, this is a respective wage premium of 28% and 24% as of 2013 for teachers who have earned their masters in education.v

Also, an online masters in education might help you segue your career to other education-based positions. This could include the following professions listed below, as well as their median 2015 salaries.

  • Instructional Coordinator, $62,270vi
  • Postsecondary Teacher, $72,470vii
  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal, $90,410i

Next Steps to an Online Education Masters Program

Online education masters programs could be the push you need to develop techniques to address the unique needs of students. To continue your search, browse the list of programs on this page.

Clicking a link provides you with a short description about the program. While there, you could also request more information from the school itself. This could provide you with details about admissions, class information, and graduation requirements.

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