Best Online Bachelors in Education Degrees for 2023

Bachelor's Degree in Education Career Options & Salary

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Overview of a Bachelor's in Education Programs

Typically the minimum requirement you'll need to meet if you want to become a teacher in a US public or private elementary, middle school, or high school is earning a bachelor's degree focused on K-12, elementary school, or secondary education. However, that is not the only reason to complete teaching programs. There are many other career paths in this field, in addition to becoming elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, special education teacher, etc.

Policy centers, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private businesses may all have need for team members who are trained in the education process. There are textbook publishing companies, adult education centers, research institutes, and even the U.S. Department of Education where completing an education degree program is considered an asset. Some careers will require you to also attain your master's or doctorate degree along with teacher licensure, but almost all careers in the educational field begin with a bachelor’s from education programs in order to earn initial teacher licensure.

If students choose to get a bachelor's degree in teaching, they'll be able to choose teacher certification and teacher licensure that focuses on a grade level such as young children with early childhood education, K-12, elementary education, secondary education, or special education. They can attend many of these through the convenence of an online degree program. On top of classes specific to these choices and their liberal arts/general education content, colleges and universities that offer teacher preparation will provide students with courses for educators that focus on the following subjects and completing a student teaching experience before they graduate and begin their teaching career.

  • Classroom Management
  • Curriculum Creation and Design
  • Pedagogy and Academic Instruction Methods
  • Child Development
  • A Specific Subject Focus: Second Language, English, Mathematics, Reading, etc.
  • Student Teaching Experiences
  • Technology/Technical Education
  • Leadership and Communication Skills
  • And More


  • Arguably — the most important benefit to completing your bachelor’s in education program is the way it will expand a graduate's career opportunities. Until you have this degree and complete your student teaching experience, there are few jobs or careers open to you in any part of this field. This is especially true if you wish to become a teacher, whether that is in special education, secondary education, elementary education, etc.
  • Pay — As with most careers, a bachelor’s degree holder can command a higher rate of pay than someone with a high school diploma or associate degree. An online teaching degree program can provide the same outcome, but you will still need to complete your student teaching component.
  • Steppingstone — If your career aspirations include a job in which a master’s degree is required, the bachelor’s degree is a necessary first step. Accredited master’s degree programs require a verifiable bachelor’s degree in order for you to be admitted to the program.
  • Certification — Before you can gain teacher certification or teacher licensure, you will need to complete a teacher preparation program and pass certification tests/criteria. This step requires that you possess a bachelor’s degree in education. Note there are a few exceptions in areas where a shortage of teachers occurs, but you will still need a bachelor’s degree in some area of study, if not education, and in many cases, you’ll need to be working toward earning your education degree.


It is difficult to find a negative aspect to earning your bachelor’s degree in education, but there are possible bumps in the road.

  • Pay — While a bachelor’s degree commands higher pay than a high school diploma or associate degree, it does not typically pay as well as having a master’s degree or your PhD.
  • Opportunities — Many opportunities in the job market exist for those holding a bachelor’s degree in education, but there are also positions that require a master’s degree or higher. If you only have your bachelor’s, you will not be able to obtain those positions.

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What are the Best Online Education Bachelor's Programs?


University of Washington

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,076
    • Out-of-State: $39,906
  • Net Price: $9,661
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%
  • Total Enrollment: 48,149
  • Undergrad Students: 32,244
  • Graduate Students: 15,905
  • Grads Salary: $81,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • University of Washington

University of Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,381
    • Out-of-State: $28,659
  • Net Price: $9,809
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 53,372
  • Undergrad Students: 34,931
  • Graduate Students: 18,441
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Florida

Purdue University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,992
    • Out-of-State: $28,794
  • Net Price: $14,619
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 46,655
  • Undergrad Students: 35,706
  • Graduate Students: 10,949
  • Grads Salary: $79,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Purdue University

University of Georgia

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,068
    • Out-of-State: $31,108
  • Net Price: $16,902
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Total Enrollment: 39,147
  • Undergrad Students: 29,765
  • Graduate Students: 9,382
  • Grads Salary: $66,800
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • University of Georgia

Western Governors University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,452
    • Out-of-State: $7,452
  • Net Price: $10,336
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 147,866
  • Undergrad Students: 104,919
  • Graduate Students: 42,947
  • Grads Salary: $75,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 42:1
  • Western Governors University

Drexel University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $57,136
    • Out-of-State: $57,136
  • Net Price: $26,076
  • Retention Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 78%
  • Total Enrollment: 23,589
  • Undergrad Students: 14,616
  • Graduate Students: 8,973
  • Grads Salary: $78,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Drexel University

George Mason University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $13,119
    • Out-of-State: $36,579
  • Net Price: $18,841
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 38,541
  • Undergrad Students: 27,104
  • Graduate Students: 11,437
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • George Mason University

University of Central Florida

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,368
    • Out-of-State: $22,467
  • Net Price: $11,575
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 71,881
  • Undergrad Students: 61,401
  • Graduate Students: 10,480
  • Grads Salary: $67,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 31:1
  • University of Central Florida

Clemson University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $15,558
    • Out-of-State: $38,550
  • Net Price: $23,732
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Total Enrollment: 26,406
  • Undergrad Students: 20,868
  • Graduate Students: 5,538
  • Grads Salary: $71,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Clemson University

University of Arizona

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $12,736
    • Out-of-State: $37,258
  • Net Price: $17,242
  • Retention Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 45,601
  • Undergrad Students: 35,357
  • Graduate Students: 10,244
  • Grads Salary: $76,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 15:1
  • University of Arizona
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Certificate Vs. Bachelor in Education

Traditional Certification

The traditional certification for teaching is earned following your bachelor’s in education. Part of this educational path provides a direct path for you to become certified. Each state sets the standards it requires for you to obtain a teaching certification. In most states you are required to student-teach in a classroom for a semester as part of the certification process.

Alternative Certification

If you decide to become a teacher after getting a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education, you will need to get an alternative teaching certificate. This certificate verifies that your life experience, education and other factors give you the skill to become a teacher without first earning an education specific online degree. You will typically be required to also enroll in an alternative certification program. Mentors are paired with alternative certification teachers to guide them through the school year.

Emergency Certification

This certification allows you to teach with limited or no classroom supervision. You will be required to complete traditional teacher courses during a certain time frame if you desire to keep teaching. Emergency certifications are made available where the school district is growing, teaching jobs are advertised, and there are no applications or too few applicants. In such cases, emergency teaching certification is used while the search for a certified teacher continues. The certification is valid until the end of the school year and can be renewed as needed. The person holding it can also take the necessary courses to become traditionally certified while acting as an emergency teacher.

As of 2020, all US states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, allow alternative and emergency teaching certifications, though each state sets its own mandates about how they are given out, what requirements must be met, and how long they are valid.

What Education Bachelor’s Degrees are Available Online?

There are two bachelor of education degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science — education
  • Bachelor of Art — education

The same job opportunities exist for both degrees. Whether you earn a BA or a BS depends on how the college chooses to view the teaching profession. If the school provides a more general education, with many courses that are not specifically related to teaching, it will typically offer a BA degree. If it provides a more focused degree and has an emphasis on the sciences or quantitative courses, you will get a BS degree. The coursework for each degree is very similar. Both will require you to successfully complete courses in humanities, social studies, math, psychology, and other areas.

Admission Requirements to Enter a Program

Admission requirements to a bachelor education degree program can vary slightly in each state, or each school but the following are typically required:

  • A high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED)
  • An associate degree in education and transferring to a university
  • Proof of residency – to determine whether you will pay in-state or out of-state tuition
  • Proof of state-required vaccinations/inoculations (depending on your year of birth)

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s degree in Education?

Several variables contribute to how long it will take to earn your bachelor’s degree in education. They include:

  • Number of credit hours taken each semester:
    Are you going to be a full-time student or part-time student? How many credit hours will you take? Full-time usually means you are taking 12-15 credits at a time.
  • Summer classes or not:
    Are you going to take the traditional summer months off, or do you plan to enroll year-round? When you take summer courses, you increase your yearly load of classes, shaving time off your total enrollment.
  • Online or classroom:
    Many online courses are designed for you to move at your own pace.
  • Challenge classes:
    Some colleges allow students to “challenge” classes. This means the student demonstrates through testing that he or she already possesses the knowledge and skills that the class will provide. If successful, the student is given the credit hours for that course without having to take the course.

The time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree in education is 3–6 years, depending on the above variables. Students usually enter school expecting to spend at least 4 years there, but many spend as many as 6 years earning their degree.

Potential Careers in Education with a Bachelors

  • Teacher:
    Teachers are needed for preschool through college. With the population growth in the US, there is an ever-present need for teachers at all grade levels. Public schools, private schools, charter schools, and homeschool groups are open to you with a bachelor’s degree in education and the state’s required certification.
    Average Salary - $49,400 (Varies depending on area of the country and grade level)
  • Research Analyst:
    Research is a constant in the field of education. The world continues to evolve both in technology and educational expectations. Research analysts take data gathered regarding an educational topic and determine what the results point to. The studies can be about how students respond to specific teaching styles, how student family structure contributes to success/failure, potential in the classroom, or any of the thousands of possible criteria.
    Average Salary - $55,300
  • School Counselor:
    These counselors work directly with students in a school setting. You will be responsible for developing school programs, counseling students, identifying at-risk students, and communicating with parents, teachers, and administrators. Most positions require a master’s degree, but your bachelor’s degree is a good start. And, in some cases, you can work in the position while getting your masters.
    Average Salary: $50,200
  • Childcare Director:
    In this position you will supervise staff, develop center policies, prepare budgets, approve preschool curriculum, and communicate with parents. A wide range of childcare provider types are available including non-profits, public preschools, Head Start, and Montessori learning centers.
    Average Salary: $40,000
  • Average Adult Literacy, Remedial Education, GED Teacher:
    Teaching adults to read, or helping them to study for their GED exam is open to you with a bachelor’s degree in education.
    Average Salary- $41,100

Salary by Occupation

Occupations Entry-Level Mid-Career Late-Career
Middle School teacher $40,300 $48,100 $59,100
Special Education Teacher, Early Education $40,500 $49,200 $60,900
Postsecondary Professor $60,100 $69,600 $99,900
Preschool Director $34,400 $41,200 $48,300

Options to Advance

Many opportunities for advancement exist in the field of education, however, a master’s degree in education will typically be required. Examples of where your career can go in the future include:

  • Teacher:
    A current teacher who obtains a master’s degree will receive higher pay and may be able to move on to high level administration or to teach in a college
  • Principal:
    Principals often began as teachers in a classroom
  • Juvenile Justice Advocate:
    In this position you’ll work with civic and government organizations to improve the educational opportunities for at-risk youth
  • Lobbyist:
    Work to effect change in the legislator for students and teachers

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a bachelor’s degree enough to be a teacher?

So, while you may have heard that an undergraduate degree will not fully prepare you to become a teacher, this refers exclusively to associate degrees. A four-year bachelor’s degree will prepare you to work as a preschool teacher, elementary teacher, middle school teacher, high school teacher, and can even allow you to teach some courses at small colleges. However, if you are hoping to become a full professor at a college or university, or if you want to earn a tenure track position, you will need to earn a master’s degree.

What levels of education can I choose between once I gain a teaching licensure?

There are four levels of education that you can work within once you have a teaching license. These include early childhood education - preschool and elementary school, middle school, high school, and postsecondary education – college courses. Of course, as mentioned before, your initial teaching licensure will likely not be enough for you to work teaching at the college level. To do so, you will need to earn a master’s degree and have some experience under your belt.

Will I need a PhD to teach at the college level?

While a PhD is not necessarily required in order for you to teach at the college level, it will likely be required if you wish to gain tenure, be involved in administration at the highest levels, set policies for education in your state, and for other high-level career options.

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