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How to Get an Education Degree

In order to obtain an education degree, it is important to first look at the requirements for teachers by state. Although there are some national standards for educators in the United States, states still have a great deal of latitude in deciding their own standards. Therefore, while the following points are general guidelines, there may be some variation from state to state.

Education programs are some of the most popular programs, so they can be found at accredited public and private universities and colleges of all sizes. There are also online degree programs that allow for remote learning. In many cases, students will complete prerequisite work at the college or university before applying directly to the education department at that school. These departments consider acceptance based on GPA, volunteer experience and other factors.

The precise nature of the degree program will vary depending on the type of education degree. Most states require separate training for elementary teachers and secondary teachers. Elementary programs often include a wider curriculum base with an emphasis on early childhood development. Secondary teachers, on the other hand, usually declare a specialty such as math, science or language arts. Secondary teachers, therefore, often complete coursework in their specialty in addition to classes on pedagogy.

Almost every education degree will require field placements. The number and nature of these placements will vary depending on the school and the state. Before graduation, students are expected to practice full-time lesson development, classroom teaching and grading under the supervision of an actual classroom teacher. This final process is often referred to as student teaching, and it is usually the pinnacle of a student's coursework while pursuing an education degree.

Most education degrees are designed as a bachelor program. For those who have already completed their undergraduate degree, it is possible to complete a teacher education program as a two-year postgraduate degree. These programs are focused on methodology and educational psychology, and they include classroom field experiences.

After graduation, students must complete licensure procedures. This often includes passing a standardized test and background checks. Licensure is specific to a given state, and it will indicate the areas of study and grade levels for which the applicant is qualified to teach. This licensure is a requirement for most education jobs, although standards may vary for private institutions. Licensure must be maintained over time, which often requires ongoing coursework every three to five years.

Top Online Education Programs

Rank School FT to PT
Faculty Ratio
Fin. Aid Rate
Acceptance Rate Retention Rate Graduation Rate Accred.
Job Place. Rate
1 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

1 St Mary of Woods Coll,
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana 47876-1099

(812) 535-5151

63.00 to 1 100% 64% 74% 62% 95 0% N/A
  With several options from which to choose, those seeking an online bachelor's in education degree won't fail to find something to their liking at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The college's NCATE-accredited baccalaureate programs prepare candidates to obtain an Indiana initial teaching license.
2 University of North Carolina-Wilmington

601 South College Road,
Wilmington, North Carolina 28403-5963

(910) 962-3000

1.65 to 1 44% 53% 86% 69% 62 0% 59%
  University of North Carolina-Wilmington offers several programs of study online, providing the same high-quality education that students receive on campus to those seeking a degree in a non-traditional format. UNC's online education program is set up to fit busy personal and professional schedules.
3 University of Georgia

Administration Building,
Athens, Georgia 30602

(706) 542-3000

5.06 to 1 21% 63% 94% 83% 105 2% 59%
  Students of the University of Georgia's online Bachelor of Science in Special Education program have the opportunity to earn a degree from an accredited university and to become certified in special education general curriculum. The program is designed to meet the needs of students who cannot take classes in the traditional university setting.
4 University of Missouri-Columbia

105 Jesse Hall,
Columbia, Missouri 65211

(573) 882-2121

11.41 to 1 67% 81% 84% 71% 101 2% 72%
  Designed for working professionals, those who wish to complete their baccalaureate degree, and those with previous work experience, the University of Missouri's Bachelor of Educational Studies degree program is delivered completely online. Students may earn a degree from an accredited and nationally respected university via a flexible platform.
5 Mississippi State University

Lee Boulevard,
Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762

(662) 325-2323

7.17 to 1 66% 62% 81% 58% 88 4% 74%
  With the choice of beginning during the fall or spring semesters, Mississippi State University's online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education makes it possible for students to take classes while continuing to work. It allows students the freedom to complete field experience and student teaching at a school near them, and many of the courses are taught by the same full-time MSU faculty who teach in the classroom.
6 University of Northern Iowa

1227 W 27th St,
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0005

(319) 273-2311

3.24 to 1 56% 78% 81% 66% 96 2% 76%
  Courses from the University of Northern Iowa's online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education program are primarily via distance education, though there will be some face-to-face requirements. This guarantees that students receive the same, personalized education as those in the more traditional classroom setting.
7 Saint Joseph's College of Maine

278 Whites Bridge Rd,
Standish, Maine 04084-5236

(207) 892-6766

1.17 to 1 100% 80% 76% 51% 53 0% 89%
  With the choice to begin the education program at any time, and with the guidance of a personal academic advisor, Saint Joseph's College of Maine's Bachelor of Science in General Studies, Adult Education & Training specialty helps develop the skills necessary for a career in the broad field of adult education. Courses focus on training fundamentals, adult learning behavior and educational psychology.
8 University of Missouri-St Louis

One University Boulevard,
Saint Louis, Missouri 63121-4400

(314) 516-5000

0.93 to 1 79% 69% 78% 47% 46 0% 79%
  Students attending University of Missouri-St. Louis' online education program can choose from four bachelor programs: Bachelor of Education Studies (BES), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Music Education (BME), and Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) — all of which offer various concentrations within the education field. Post-graduate licensure in areas including art education, early childhood education, secondary education and special education are offered by the College of Education.
9 Winston-Salem State University

601 Martin Luther King Jr Dr,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27110-0001

(336) 750-2000

167.00 to 1 41% 56% 78% 40% 67 0% N/A
  Winston-Salem State University's Birth to Kindergarten Education (BKE) degree is available to students interested in pursuing early childhood education, social work or child and family studies. The BKE program is an initial teacher licensure program that offers the Early Intervention and Preschool concentration online.
10 University of Hawaii at Manoa

2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2301

(808) 956-8975

18.77 to 1 59% 78% 79% 56% 59 2% N/A
  University of Hawaii at Manao's online Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program prepares students for initial teacher licensure to the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (HTSB), allowing them to teach kindergarten through sixth grade (K-6) in a general education classroom. Students attending this two-year cohorted program will gain experience in the field with a mentor teacher and take classes that are closely related to the field experience and student teaching.