Affordable Online Teaching Degrees

Online teaching degrees offer flexible, cheaper, and specialized pathways to becoming a teacher in public and private schools.
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Updated April 17, 2024

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

The dream of becoming a teacher shouldn't end because of a busy schedule. That's where online teaching degrees come in.

Many online education and teaching degrees are flexible, catering to people who can't afford to take time off work to go back to school. Students can modify their class schedules to balance work, family, and personal obligations while earning their degree.

Online teaching degrees provide knowledge, training, and skills in education and teaching. Students learn to write lesson plans, teach various topics, and administer tests. Graduates often go on to become high school, elementary, and special education teachers.

Applicants to undergraduate online teaching degrees typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent. A master's level education or teaching degree online often requires a bachelor's degree in an education-related field.

3 Popular Online Teaching Degrees

Buena Vista University

  • Storm Lake, Iowa
  • Private nonprofit university
  • Online Teaching Degree Programs: 3
  • Admission Rate: 77%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $38,644

BVU offers online bachelor's degrees in elementary education, educational studies, and English secondary education:

  • Elementary Education: Prepares students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade.
  • English Secondary Education: Prepares students to teach middle and high school classes.
  • Educational Studies: Prepares students for education-oriented careers, including policy, academic advising, and educational law.

BVU's online education programs share core courses in educational psychology, human development, and American education history. Electives unique to each degree include curriculum design (English Secondary Education), literacy foundations (Educational Studies), and methods of teaching differentiated curriculum and field experience (Elementary Education).

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, Kansas
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Online Teaching Degree Programs: 3
  • Admission Rate: 95%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $10,448 (in-state) | $26,519 (out-of-state)

K-State offers online bachelor's in early childhood education, elementary education, and educational studies:

  • Early Childhood Education: Teaching children from birth through kindergarten.
  • Elementary Education: Teaching grades kindergarten through six.
  • Educational Studies: For education careers outside the traditional classroom.

K-State's early childhood education curriculum includes techniques for teaching children with special needs, learning disabilities, or developmental delays.

The educational studies program focuses on the current and future state of education. The elementary education program offers a pre-professional education major, preparing students for an advanced degree after graduation.

McKendree University

  • Lebanon, Illinois
  • Private nonprofit university
  • Online Teaching Degree Programs: 1
  • Admission Rate: 68%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $33,430

K-State offers online bachelor's in early childhood education, elementary education, and educational studies:

  • Early Childhood Education: Teaching children from birth through kindergarten.
  • Elementary Education: Teaching grades kindergarten through six.
  • Educational Studies: For education careers outside the traditional classroom.

McK offers an online bachelor of science in elementary education for paraprofessionals. The program caters to teacher's aides and assistants, known as paraprofessionals. It provides a path to becoming a full-fledged elementary teacher for grades 1-6.

Students can complete McK's paraprofessional elementary education program in two years. Degree requirements include current employment as a paraprofessional and 60-90 hours of bachelor coursework.

Explore Featured Online Programs

More Popular Online Teaching Degrees

  • Tigerville, South Carolina
  • Private Baptist liberal arts nonprofit college
  • Online Bachelor in Elementary Education
  • Admission rate: 76%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $23,590

Visit North Greenville University

  • Lubbock, Texas
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Education
  • Admission rate: 67%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $11,852 (in-state) | $24,122 (out-of-state)

Visit Texas Tech University

  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Admission rate: 87%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $13,275 (in-state) | $39,577 (out-of-state)

Visit University of Arizona

  • Columbia, Missouri
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Online Bachelor of Educational Studies
  • Admission rate: 79%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $11,981 (in-state) | $31,970 (out-of-state)

Visit University of Missouri-Columbia

  • Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Private nonprofit university
  • Online Bachelor of Arts in Education
  • Admission rate: 55%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $11,981 (in-state) | $31,970 (out-of-state)

Visit Webster University

  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Online Bachelor of Arts in Education Sciences and Bachelor of Science in Health Education
  • Admission rate: 65%
  • Average undergraduate tuition and fees: $3,876 (in-state) | $16,579 (out-of-state)

Visit University of Florida-Online


How Much Does an Online Education Degree Cost?

The costs of online education degrees vary by degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average tuition and fees for online education degrees in 2020 were:

The costs of online education are generally cheaper or equal to the cost of in-person undergraduate and graduate degrees at public and private institutions.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a bachelor's degree at public institutions cost an average of $9,700 in tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year. The average cost of tuition and fees at private institutions was $38,800.

The cost of tuition and fees for public school graduate programs averaged $12,410, according to NCES data. The average cost at private nonprofit schools was $28,430. Graduate programs vary in length, generally lasting 1-3 years.

Additional Online Student Fees

Although students may save money by earning an online education degree, distance learners often pay additional costs. For example, online education programs require reliable technology and an internet connection. Students must also pay for books and supplies.

Many programs also require some campus visits. Education students complete in-person experiences such as student teaching. Learners should consider transportation costs and potential lost wages.

Additionally, students may need to pay graduation fees. Graduates typically pay to obtain teaching licensure or certification.


Questions About Education Degrees

What kind of online education degrees are there?

Online education degrees are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Some programs offer specializations in particular areas of teaching and education, such as early childhood education, special education, and instructional design.

Types of online teaching degrees include:

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in education degree?

Most full-time students can earn an online bachelor's degree education degree in four years. It may take 5-6 years for part-time students to earn a bachelor's degree.

What jobs can I get with an education degree?

Teaching assistant, middle school teacher, career counselor, and corporate trainer are among the jobs you can get with an education degree. Career paths often depend on your level of education.

Graduates of associate or bachelor's in education programs can pursue careers in elementary education, substitute teaching, and academic advising. A master's or doctorate in education often leads to leadership positions, such as school principal or program director.

Explore Featured Online Programs

Why Earn an Online Teaching Degree?

Online education is better suited for a busy schedule. Many programs allow students to modify their class schedules so they can continue working full time or meet other personal obligations. This means online students can learn at their own pace.

Graduating from an online teaching degree program can lead to various teaching careers offering above average pay. Most education roles require a bachelor's degree or higher.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational instruction and library jobs paid a median annual salary of $59,940 as of May 2023, compared to the annual mean salary of $65,470 for all occupations. The BLS projects annual growth in these fields to match the national average from 2022-2032.

How Much Do Teachers Make?

Earning potential for teachers varies based on several factors, including the teaching level, focus area, and degree requirements. Additionally, some school districts base teachers' pay on their experience and degree level.

According to the BLS, a secondary special education teacher earned a median salary of $66,620 as of May 2023. A bachelor's degree is the typical entry-level education for special education teachers.

Meanwhile, instructional coordinators earned a median salary of $74,620. Instructional coordinators often need a master's degree to be eligible for hire.

Teachers often increase their earning potential by pursuing higher degrees. Postsecondary teachers (i.e., college professors and instructors) often need a doctoral degree to be competitive in the field. Although salary range tends to vary based on the teacher's area of expertise, these professionals generally earned a median annual salary of $79,870.

Courses in Online Teaching Degree Programs

Online teaching degrees and education programs cover teaching and education fundamentals. They also learn about writing lesson plans, constructing curricula, and assessing student performance.

Some programs offer specialized coursework in areas such as teaching diverse populations or English language learners. Students interested in becoming high school teachers can choose an area of focus, such as mathematics or science.

Educational Foundations

This class helps students assess whether teaching is the right profession for them. Introductory education courses explore educators' lives and professions at various academic levels. Coursework introduces challenges associated with academic settings.

Educational Psychology and Child Development

This class covers human development from childhood to adolescence. Degree-seekers study development from physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social perspectives. Teachers use this knowledge to apply age-appropriate instruction and assessment techniques. Educators also use these theories to teach diverse populations.

Elementary Reading Methods

Aspiring elementary school teachers generally take this class. Coursework covers the best practices for teaching reading, writing, and literacy skills to young learners. Students learn how to identify and guide readers who need intervention and extra help.

Specializations for Education Degrees

Many online education programs offer specializations, also called concentrations or tracks. Some schools also offer separate majors in areas such as elementary or secondary education.

Many programs start with foundational education courses followed by specialization courses. Programs that don't offer specializations offer relevant electives as a substitute.

Many online education programs feature the following specialization options. However, available specializations vary by program.

Special Education

English as a Second Language

Elementary Education

How to Become a Teacher

To become a teacher, graduates of education programs must follow their state's guidelines for obtaining licensure. Educators need licensure to teach at public schools and some private schools. Some states set different licensure requirements for high school and elementary school teachers.

Typically, teaching licensure requires a bachelor's degree in education. However, some states award licensure to people who have completed a non-education bachelor's degree and an alternative teacher preparedness program.

Teachers' responsibilities include instructing students, administering exams, grading assignments, and assessing learners' needs and progress.

Licensure for Teachers

Every state requires public school teachers to hold licensure. Specific licensure requirements vary by state. However, all states require licensure candidates to possess formal education and passing exam scores.

Licensure in most states requires a bachelor's degree in an education-related field. However, some states offer alternative pathways for individuals with a bachelor's degree in non-education fields. Educator training typically requires student teaching or shadowing.

After completing the necessary education, candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a state-approved examination. Candidates submit paperwork to their state's education board.

Licensed teachers must apply for licensure renewal every few years. Educators typically need continuing education credits to qualify for renewal.

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