Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Education in 2020
When choosing a program for your bachelor’s degree in education, consider earning your degree online. Many well-regarded schools offer fully online learning, which can be beneficial if you need flexibility in your life for work schedules, military deployment, family caregiving, personal health, or other reasons. Note that some programs listed below, even from accredited institutions, offer degrees that do not lead to teaching licensure. If classroom teaching is your goal, be sure to contact your program of interest directly to understand what your options would be as a graduate.
Learn more about how we found and ranked schools.
* Indicates that multiple schools tied for these ranks.
The University of Missouri is one of only 65 universities that have earned membership in the Association of American Universities, which recognizes institutions that lead the pack in research. During the 2017-2018 school year, the institution spent $138 million on financial aid, and 48% of their students graduated with no debt. Their online courses are of equal value and rigor as those offered on-campus but enroll students from all over the globe.
Mizzou Online offers two online education-related bachelor’s degrees: a B.S. in early childhood education (ECE) and a Bachelor of Educational Studies. Both are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the educational studies program also holds an accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The ECE degree will allow you to work in daycares, preschools, and other settings with young children, both in civilian and military communities. Educational studies prepares you for educational leadership and policy positions, as well as for careers in technology and after-school enrichment program management. Neither degree leads toward teacher licensure; if you want to become a licensed K-12 teacher, you may want to consider alternative certification through your state of residence in addition to earning your Mizzou degree.
Fort Hays State University’s Department of Teacher Education is fully accredited. It prepares its students for licensure in the state of Kansas—though the degree is accepted nationwide when you take your state’s specific licensure tests.
Online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs at FHSU include early childhood unified (with “unified” indicating you can teach special education at this age level), elementary education K-6, and elementary education K-6 with a special education minor. All programs include coursework in behavior management, human development, and diversity, as well as a required internship relevant to your area and a student teaching experience. For the elementary levels, you can opt to take courses in health and physical education, music education, instructional technology, curriculum and assessment, and educational psychology.
All instructors are by experienced educators, including those who have taught internationally, run early childhood businesses, served as school board members or regional representatives for teachers’ associations, and won awards for their teaching abilities.
Florida International University is a top-50 innovative university according to U.S. News and World Report and is also ranked as a top 50 public university by Washington Monthly. FIU has been offering online courses for over 20 years, has a strong focus on diversity, and boasts over 100,000 graduates from their online programs. Additionally, the school ranked first in the country for granting degrees to Hispanic students and are listed in the best online programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as for veterans by U.S. News & World Report.
Their online education programs include Bachelor of Science degrees in early childhood education and exceptional student education. Neither can result in teaching licensure, so if being a classroom educator is your goal, you should investigate alternative certification options in your state in addition to completing these degrees. Early childhood focuses on the development of young children, while exceptional student education prepares you for careers related to working with children with disabilities between the ages of five and 22. Both programs include courses in educational psychology, classroom management, and student assessment.
The Baptist College of Florida is a Southern Baptist institution with a focus on Christianity throughout all its programs. So if you’re looking for a faith-filled educational experience, this school may be ideal for you. Their online program participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which ensures their online programs meet standards nationwide.
This school offers many online undergraduate degrees in education. Bachelor of Art degrees include elementary education, secondary education degrees in English and history/social studies, education studies, and leadership/Christian education. You could also opt for a Bachelor of Music Education—a rarity in online education. All degree paths require courses in Christianity, including Christian education; however, you’re not limited to teaching in parochial schools upon graduation. For the B.A. programs, you can expect classes in theories of education, English for speakers of other languages, and in subjects directly relevant to your degree. The music education program consists of a variety of intensive music classes, from singing to history, as well as focuses on elementary, secondary, or instrumental instruction.
Regis University has been in operation since 1877 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and Council (HLC) for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). With a student to teacher ratio of 14:1, you can expect a lot of individual attention as you complete your degree. Though it’s a Jesuit Catholic university, Regis prides itself on diversity, both in beliefs and race. The school has a Community Forum on Race and Justice, where students and the public can find resources allowing them to learn more about diversity issues.
The university offers a B.A. in elementary education that can result in initial licensure in elementary and special education—though you need to live in Colorado to participate in this program. The program takes about four years to complete and includes courses in teaching all core subjects, diversity, and language acquisition. You’ll need to complete 200 field hours and a Praxis exam before student teaching at one of their 100 partner schools.
Webster University offers a globalized curriculum due to their passion for diversity and equality. The school strives to provide an individualized experience for each learner, both online and on-site. As a Webster student, you have the opportunity to connect with learners from all around the world, as the school not only features online classes, but also has campuses throughout the U.S and in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The university offers a Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies. This program doesn’t lead to teacher certification, so check with your state’s department of education to see how to earn licensure. Though you will take courses that would help you be a successful classroom teacher, the program focuses on psychology, philosophy, and sociology as they relate to learning and prepares you for careers that focus on equity and sustainability in education, as well as leadership positions. Due to their high standards, students working toward their degrees must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the program itself and 2.5 overall. If they earn below a C- in any class in the program, they won’t receive credit for the course and must retake it.
Appalachian State University was ranked highly in 13 different reports between 2019 and 2020. Their mission is for graduates to be responsible and active global citizens who strive to improve the future for all people. The school has a special focus on sustainability, hoping for a future with a healthier natural environment. Both undergraduate students and faculty engage in research, showing Appalachian State’s commitment to lifelong learning.
The institution offers five online B.S. programs exclusively in education. All programs require you to complete in-person fieldwork in North Carolina.
- Career and Technical Education (CTE): online-only, leads you towards positions in middle or high school CTE
- Child Development – Birth through Kindergarten: online-only, prepares you for a career as a preschool or kindergarten teacher, daycare director, or child life specialist
- Elementary Education: hybrid, teaches you to become an elementary school teacher or tutor
- Middle Grades Education: hybrid, allows you to become a middle school language arts, social studies, or science teacher
- Special Education: hybrid, prepares you for special education teacher, teaching assistant, and tutor positions
We tend to think of online learning as a new invention, but Bellevue University been in the game for nearly 25 years—meaning you’ll benefit from its over two decades of experience in the online education space. The institution has also won many awards, including being named a top 10 university for adult learners, one of the best colleges for online learning, and an excellent school for military veterans. Bellevue also has a fantastic transfer policy, allowing students to transfer an associate degree from a community college to their programs. This cuts your bachelor’s program from four years to two, and as community colleges are generally cheaper than four-year institutions, you could save a substantial amount of money.
Bellevue offers several bachelor’s degrees, including adult education or in business administration, history, math, psychology, and public health education with secondary teaching endorsements. For each secondary teaching endorsement program, you’ll take traditional coursework in those specific fields plus additional classes in education. These courses include foundations of education, exceptional learner courses, and reading and writing. You’ll also participate in student teaching.
The University of Alaska Southeast’s education program believes students all over Alaska, regardless of background, deserve access to quality educators. The school is accredited by CAEP, which shows the institution holds its students to its highest standards. UAS also emphasizes the importance of advisors for college students’ success, offering personalized advising services to their students virtually, over the phone, or in person. The college provides a variety of scholarships and grants, including those for Indigenous teachers, as Alaska Natives comprise less than 5% of the teaching population but 25% of the student population.
At UAS, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts in elementary (grades K-8) or special education online. Both degrees require coursework in Alaska studies, literacy and language, and multicultural education. The special education curriculum is unique from other schools’ programs as it not only prepares teachers to work with students who have special needs, but also with Alaska’s Native communities—the program has a heavy focus on Alaskan history and culture. It even offers courses in the languages of Tlingit and Haida. To graduate and earn licensure, you must complete a nine-month student teaching experience, which you can undergo in your hometown—in line with their goal of increasing the number of qualified teachers in all parts of the state.
Drexel University could be the ideal place to earn an online degree, as the institution has always been at the forefront of educational technology—it was even the first school to have a student web portal. The school of education is also one of the oldest cooperative education programs in the country. It includes students from around the world, meaning you have vast networking opportunities to help you find a job after graduation. Additionally, despite being based in Philadelphia, the college is unique because it can help you find a student teaching location no matter where you are—not just in the United States, but worldwide.
The Bachelor of Science programs at Drexel offer both certification and a non-certification tracks. Both tracks offer coursework like educational psychology, law and policy, and pedagogy. However, the certification track can lead you to a career as a PK-4 and/or special education classroom teacher, while the non-certification track prepares you for education-related jobs that don’t include traditional teaching.
The University of West Florida (UWF)’s vision is to educate “the next generation of big thinkers who will change the world.” The school has graduated many amazing people, including JR Harding, who helped increase access to education and resources for those with disabilities, and Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools for Hillsborough County (Florida), who raised the district’s graduation rate by 14 points and won a significant tax referendum for school funding.
You can earn a Bachelor of Arts in exceptional student education or interdisciplinary social sciences community education at the university. Exceptional student education focuses on both students with disabilities and those who are considered gifted, while interdisciplinary social sciences community education prepares learners to work with young people in non-traditional educational situations. Both programs offer courses in assessment, child development, and special education, plus require some sort of fieldwork. The exceptional student program allows you to earn teaching licensure in Florida in the areas of elementary education with ESOL and reading endorsements and exceptional student education; the interdisciplinary program does not lead to licensure. If you don’t live in Florida, you should communicate with UWF and your state department of education to consider your licensure options before enrollment.
California Baptist University (CBU) was founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1950 and is one of the best-rated private Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. CBU was named the top regional university by U.S. News and World Report in 2018 and boasts a small, personalized education for approximately 11,000 enrolled students.
CBU’s Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies program takes approximately 16 months to complete, which is less than half the time of most bachelor’s programs. The school teaches students to work with children between birth and age eight, with options for earning teaching credentials in traditional and special education. However, the degree also prepares graduates to work in intervention, advocacy, and policy in addition to classroom teaching. Classes have a heavy focus on child development, along with courses in the combination of arts and STEM, socioemotional development, special and gifted education, and religion for young children.
NGU is a Christian university that describes their student experience as “Part inspiration. Part perspiration.” With rigorous academic programs and opportunities for spiritual growth, this school is ideal for those who want to earn a high-quality education that supports their faith. Their online program is only for those who are 22 years old or above.
Their online Adult and Online Educational Studies Department offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. It’s specifically made for those who can’t take time away from their current responsibilities for internships or practicums—though some fieldwork and observations will be required. The goal of the program is to prepare learners for master’s programs that lead to the ability to teach in public or private schools rather than for licensure. However, you may be able to pursue licensure upon completion—check with your state’s board of education to see if NGU fulfills requirements. Courses will cover topics like art and music in the classroom, lesson planning, religion, and educational technology. While you can take your courses exclusively online, the school also offers a blended option if you would prefer to take some classes in person.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) has been around since 1905, and its teaching college opened in 1921. This means they have about 100 years of experience that allows them to reinvent their educational programs for future instructors based on past student and teacher experiences and feedback. As the school has just over 5,000 undergraduate students in total, you can expect an individualized educational experience you may not get at a larger university.
The online education program focuses on young learners, with a bachelor’s in early childhood and family advocacy and early childhood inclusive, meaning special education. The early childhood and family advocacy program doesn’t lead to a classroom position but may lead to program management and family education and advocacy careers. Early childhood inclusive, on the other hand, prepares you to work with special education students between the ages of zero and eight. Thanks to their partnership with many Nebraska schools, you can complete student teaching in the state. If you’re taking coursework from outside of Nebraska, you should communicate with the program about your student teaching and licensure options before enrollment. Both programs involve coursework in child development, literacy, and assessment.
Maranatha Baptist University focuses on a Bible-centric education with rigorous coursework. The institution offers dual enrollment for high school juniors and seniors, allowing them to begin earning college credits online before finishing their K-12 education. They can even receive an associate degree during that time. However, Maranatha doesn’t have any associate programs specifically in education.
Through this university, you can earn a B.S. in educational studies, which can lead to alternative teaching certification, or in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on education. These programs prepare students for careers in Christian schools. The educational studies program’s major coursework is strictly in education, while the interdisciplinary studies track allows for a bit more personalization. Education classes include psychology, assessment, and positive behavior courses.
Maranatha offers a unique “bachelor’s to master’s” pathway, which allows you to take graduate courses while still in your bachelor’s program. This means you can finish your undergraduate program with nearly half of your Master of Education or Master of Nonprofit Administration degree credits completed.
The Chaminade University of Honolulu is the only Catholic university in the state of Hawaii and one of only three Marianist (Society of Mary) colleges in the country. Though it’s a religious institution and the curriculum reflects it, you don’t need to be Catholic to attend—in their student body of under 1,100 students, over 20 religions were represented as of the 2019 school year. Additionally, Chaminade was named the fifth Most Diverse Student Body for Private Universities by the Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac.
Chaminade offers many education bachelor’s degrees:
- Early Childhood Education: This program focuses on ages 2.5 through six and includes child development, arts for youth, and curriculum coursework, as well as fieldwork experience.
- Early Childhood Education with Montessori Credential: Coursework is similar to the early childhood program, but with a Montessori focus. This path includes student teaching in a Montessori school.
- Elementary Education: A licensure-track program, graduates can teach students between kindergarten and grade six. Coursework includes all pedagogy for all subjects taught in elementary school, Hawaiian culture studies, and educational psychology. Student teaching is required.
- Secondary Education: This program allows you to teach grades six through 12 in English, math, science, or social studies. Classes include those in curriculum development, special and gifted education, and teaching strategies for your specific area of focus. You’ll also student teach.
If you aren’t a resident of Hawaii and want to earn teaching licensure, reach out to Chaminade to learn how this is possible in your state via their program.
UNL has been in operation for over 150 years and is consistently named a top school in value and graduation rates. The school has offered distance learning for over 100 years—though, of course, it wasn’t always online. With over a century of trial and error, they are a leader in online education today.
The education bachelor’s program at UNL is unique: it focuses on early childhood in a mobile society. It prepares students to work with young children—through age eight—in organizations that often serve those populations, like Head Start and preschool programs. Many of the children you may teach are from military, immigrant, high-poverty, or homeless families, and graduates of this program fill roles many other teachers are under-trained in. Courses include child development, child health and safety, and diversity. The program is endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and does not lead to teacher licensure. If you want to become licensed, you need to contact your state department of education for assistance.
Kansas State University, also called K-State or KSU, teaches students from all over the world through their online programs. Even though you may be hundreds of miles away from campus—if not more!—you have access to academic advising and coaching, tutoring, and a virtual library, among other resources. The school even offers a virtual commencement for those who are unable to make it to campus for the “real deal.”
There are three online bachelor’s in education programs at KSU: early childhood education (ECE), educational studies, and elementary education. All three are offered 100% online, though early childhood and elementary education require fieldwork and educational studies mandates internships. Thankfully, K-State will help you find your placements for these experiences. The ECE and elementary programs both lead to licensure in the state of Kansas, which will transfer to other states (though you may need to take more tests, depending on where you live). While ECE and elementary education focus their coursework on direct teaching, educational studies classes guide you toward careers in policy, international education, or non-school educational settings.
The University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) combines rigorous education with a dedication to service and research. The institution wants graduates to become responsible and respectful global citizens who improve the world around them. All of their programs focus on diversity and inclusion, and the university has agreements with many area community colleges that guarantee admission for transfer students.
UNCW’s Watson College of Education offers an elementary education (kindergarten through sixth) bachelor’s degree. All courses are offered online and include concentrations in “behavioral studies, English as a Second Language, early childhood, fine arts, language arts, math and technology, science and health, and social studies.” Field experiences are required, and the university has relationships with schools throughout Southeastern North Carolina. If you live elsewhere, contact UNCW before enrollment to ensure your field experiences and any student teaching will be accepted. A unique aspect of the college is Watson doesn’t leave new teachers to their own devices after graduation—there is a First Years of Teaching Support Program, which helps graduates thrive in their first three years as professional educators.
Tennessee State University (TSU)’s small student to teacher ratio and Carnegie-rated research facilities have produced some impressive graduates, including Oprah Winfrey, four Olympic gold medalists, and other renowned actors, musicians, and athletes. Students are encouraged to not just engage in research and academia, but also public service and building a sense of responsibility to their communities.
To become a teacher after studying at TSU Global, you must earn a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies. This program is for adults who have already completed some college or an associate degree and allows them to tailor the degree to their needs—with one of the options being teaching and learning. TSU offers courses in early childhood education, special education, multicultural education, and pedagogy for specific subjects and adult learners. So, no matter what you want to teach, there may be an option for you.
Western Carolina University (WCU) is a top-five institution for undergraduate research with a small student to teacher ratio of 17:1. WCU believes in equitable education for all people, including BIPOC, members of the LGBTQ+ community, non-native English speakers, those who grew up in poverty, and more. Thanks to their participation in the North Carolina Promise Tuition Plan, the university can best support these goals, as the education costs have been substantially reduced.
WCU allows you to focus on early childhood education from birth to kindergarten, with the expectation you have already earned an associate degree and want to pursue a North Carolina state teaching licensure. The school has an alternative licensure program for those with bachelor’s degrees in other subjects as well. Their professional education track is for those who want to teach kindergarten or pre-K and requires two semesters of an internship at an approved site—meaning you may not be able to choose this track if you’re out-of-state. Reach out to WCU before enrollment to verify. WCU also has a non-licensure path in early childhood education, which does not lead to licensure, but allows you to work with young children and families in educational facilities other than public schools.
Gardner-Webb is where “Christian compassion meets critical thinking.” Though it’s a Baptist university, the school celebrates the diversity of their student body and welcomes everyone, regardless of faith, gender, ethnicity, country of origin, or disability.
Gardner-Webb offers degree completion programs online—meaning you have a great deal of flexibility in your studies so you can achieve a work, family, and school balance you may not find elsewhere. You can earn education bachelor’s degrees in the following:
- Birth-Kindergarten Education: With both licensure and non-licensure tracks, this option prepares future educators to work with children ages zero to five. Licensure would allow you to teach pre-K, while non-licensure enables you to work in non-school educational settings.
- Elementary Education: This program is for those who want to teach ages five through twelve and requires classwork not just in core subjects, but also in art, music, and physical education.
- Elementary Education for Teacher Assistants to Teachers: This program is for current teacher assistants who already at least an associate degree and want to earn a bachelor’s that would allow them to become a fully qualified teacher—in just five to seven semesters!
All licenses are for the state of NC. If you live outside of the state, contact Gardner-Webb to discuss options.
Note: According to the school’s website, people who live in California aren’t eligible to enroll in online programs through this school at this time.
Brenau University is a nonprofit, nonsectarian university that has been in operation since 1878. The school wants its students to be lifelong learners with a focus on inquiry, an appreciation for the arts, and awareness of their place in an increasingly globalized society. The student body is also highly diverse and has students from over 30 states and 20 countries.
Brenau offers an online B.S. in elementary education, a licensure program with time spent in classrooms under the mentorship of teachers in Georgia and a year-long student teaching experience. If you live elsewhere, contact the program about your options. Unlike many elementary programs, this one includes training in early childhood education as well—so you can teach preschool through grade five with this degree. Courses include Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Multicultural Education, and Classroom Management, as well as those for ESL instruction and educational technology.
NCCU was the first public liberal arts institution for African American students in the country, and it was ranked as the 11th best HBCU by U.S. News and World Report in 2020. The school’s motto is “Truth and Service,” which has led them to be identified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a leading Community Engaged Institution.
The institution offers a B.S. in birth-kindergarten teacher education. The program focuses on teaching students from all walks of life, including those who are considered at-risk or disabled. Coursework includes classes in child development, classroom management, and educational technology for young children. Students are trained to work with families as well and create a non-judgmental, multicultural environment in which learners and their families can thrive. If you hope to earn teaching licensure, you need to contact the school and collaborate on an individual plan of study to achieve that goal.
The University of Georgia is a research institution with a commitment to diversity, scholarship, and economic development. The school has partnerships in over 50 countries on six continents, granting students opportunities both at home and abroad. The school boasts an impressive student body, including 24 Rhodes Scholars and 143 Fulbright Scholars throughout their history. 95% of their graduates are employed or enrolled in higher education within sixth months of finishing their degrees at UGA.
While many schools make you wait until you’re in graduate school to earn a special education degree, the UGA offers a Bachelor of Science in Special Education online. You must have completed 60 hours of bachelor’s education from an accredited school to be accepted to the program, as well as have already passed several education-related exams. So, it would be best if your previous educational experience included education classes. This program focuses on teaching students with “mild disabilities,” such as mild intellectual disabilities (MID) or emotional and behavioral disorders, who have access to the general education classes at their school. This isn’t an appropriate program if you hope to work with children with profound needs or in self-contained classrooms. You can earn teacher licensure through UGA, but be sure to work with them to ensure you’re meeting all requirements you want licensure from another state.
There are so many school rankings out there. How you can tell which ranking is the most accurate? Our team at EducationDegree.com didn’t want you to have to choose and wade through them on your own. The insight: combining multiple rankings’ data gives you the wisdom of crowds.
We went through the following steps to come up with the EducationDegree.com ranking:
- Searched for and compiled rankings lists from other web publishers’ source rankings, throwing out rankings that were obviously outdated (more than two years old) or low-quality, or had such narrow criteria that they could not be combined with other published rankings.
- Ranked the resulting education programs in order of most mentions on source rankings to least mentions, where programs that were mentioned the same number of times were ranked in order of average rank on those source rankings.
- Researched each program to ensure that they still meet the criteria for inclusion on a list of baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree-granting programs offering the bulk or all of their learning online.