The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the second-largest degree-granting institution in its state, offers a handful of online undergraduate degrees. These include fully online bachelor's pathways in business administration, management, English, liberal arts, and psychology -- along with a degree in information technology with a business minor. Other bachelor's degrees at UMass Lowell, such as the RN-to-BSN track and engineering fields, are available in a blended format. The school also offers 12 master's degrees and a doctorate in educational leadership fully online.
Online students at WSU Global Campus benefit from many student supports including personal academic assistance, a worldwide alumni network, and access to their unique Global Connections program. WSU is constantly expanding online course offerings—and these programs constantly garner national acclaim. WSU has ranked at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s online rankings for Bachelor’s, MBA, and Graduate Engineering programs.
Excelsior College, a private nonprofit institution, offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees spanning several academic fields. Online undergraduate options include multi-concentration bachelor's degrees in fields such as business, health sciences, criminal justice, and electrical engineering technology. Excelsior's bridge degrees allow students to earn a bachelor's and a master's in an accelerated timeline. Examples include a BS in healthcare management with an MBA or master's in health science and a BS in nuclear engineering management with an MBA. The school makes dual-degree bachelor's pathways available too.
Online certificates and associate degrees in education can provide an introduction to the field and preparation for later college-level work. These degrees cover general liberal arts topics, as well as courses in curriculum design, child development, and instructional methods. Stand-alone undergraduate certificates are usually available in early childhood education areas, while certificates that are part of bachelor’s degrees cover a wider range of topics, such as education policy or adult education.
The 25 colleges on this list offer affordable online master's in education programs. The average tuition for this list is $13,536, and there are 19 schools whose tuitions are under $15,000. University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign offers an impressive return on investment on their program costing $7,456 per year, with mid-career alumni from the program reporting a salary of $91,600. Western Governors University is also an affordable choice for prospective students, with an annual tuition of $6,380 and a salary of $76,900.
There are a few considerations to make before choosing a degree level to pursue. One, what level of education have you achieved already? Two, what are your career goals? There are many online bachelor's degrees out there, but depending on your career aspirations you may also want to consider online associate degrees and online master's degrees. The following list can help you better understand these options:
CSU-Global Campus has worked hard to earn a reputation as one of the best online schools for working professionals. The school is constantly pushing innovation in teaching methods, making online learning both rigorous and engaging. And CSU-Global emphasizes individualized support for students from registration to graduation, with a wide range of student resources—from tutoring to tech support. Top online degrees include:
Students who are seeking entry-level administrative positions in a school district office or at state or federal levels may wish to start with an associate or bachelor's degree in education administration, while those with more professional experience and who hope to work as a superintendent or hold a position as an education administrator at the state or federal level should consider a graduate degree or certificate in education administration.
Online certificates in education are available in a variety of focuses, from teacher certification to school leadership or educational policy. These programs typically take a year or less to complete and are comprised of 6 to 10 courses. Applicants need an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree, depending on the focus and level of the certificate. Some programs also require previous experience working with children or teaching, as well as a clear criminal background check.
Stephen F. Austin State University offers three online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degrees in education. They are the BSIS in Elementary Education 4-8, the BSIS in Elementary Education EC-6, and the BSIS in Special Education. All three are 45 credit majors and admissions require a 3.0 GPA. Up to 60 credits may be transferred. The EC-6 program is only available to Texas residents and requires a concentration in math, English, social studies or generalist. The 4-8 program focuses on the middle grades. The Special Ed program focuses on teaching diverse students with exceptionalities. It prepares students for EC-12 Special Ed Teacher and EC-6 Generalist Teacher. All three programs require a visit to campus once a semester for program intensives. Tuition is $362 per credit hour.
Third, majors help demonstrate how you learn to focus and apply yourself - much like a baseball player is assigned a position to play on defense or a lineup position in the batting order. Yet, the major does not actually prepare you for a specific job or position in the real world. In a hypothetical setting, colleges and universities utilize majors as a means to segment instruction across a range of academic departments. And, the major and departments, through concentrations, can then assess comprehension and learning outcomes.
The University of Missouri features an online Bachelor of Education Studies. This program is one of relatively few that are designed for teachers who want to work with adult learners in education but in non-school settings such as HR training, churches, nonprofit organizations or community colleges. Admission requires a minimum of 24 college credits with a 2.5 GPA. The degree has an interdepartmental structure and examines topics such as career counseling, vocational education, and special education. Sample courses include Workforce Education Teaching Methods, Positive Psychology, and Developmental Aspects of Human Learning. Tuition per credit is $284.80 for residents and $369.70 for nonresidents.
Most online courses at Missouri State are asynchronous, and students generally earn their bachelor's in four years or less. All baccalaureate degrees culminate in a capstone assignment that requires students to construct a public affairs project or presentation around their major. The university allows students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their undergraduate degrees.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the primary programmatic accrediting body for education degrees. Accreditation is very important for online education degrees, especially for students looking to earn a teaching license. Prospective students should make sure that the online programs they are considering are recognized by the teaching board in the state where they hope to earn licensure.
Consider the rapid growth in the number of online degree programs available between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three academic years, we've seen a 45% increase in the number of online programs offered across the United States, for a total of 13,092 in 2014-2015. You can choose from over 550 individual degree programs alone that are offered by the 4-year colleges featured within our list of the best online universities.
A lot of problems first-year students face can be traced back to an illness that kept them away from classes for an extended period of time that led to a downward spiraling effect. Get enough sleep, take your vitamins, and eat right. If you haven't heard the jokes about college food, you soon will. And without mom or dad there to serve you a balanced meal, you may be tempted to go for those extra fries or cookies. Stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra "Freshman 15" pounds by sticking to a balanced diet.