Studying online is a money-saving alternative that can protect students from a debt-burdened future. That’s great news because college tuition has risen nearly 6 percent faster than inflation since the 1970s! Online bachelor’s in education degrees allow students to finish their teaching certificate while shaving off tremendous education related expenses. Online learners can avoid paying for room and board, fighting traffic, hiring babysitters, and quitting their full-time jobs. Many online schools also offer bachelor’s degree completion programs for cutting costs by attending community college first. Education majors can log onto interactive, virtual classrooms 24/7 to master learning theories before practicing in local school districts. Below we’ve highlighted the 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor’s of Education Degree Programs that pack great value for low tuition.
To form our list, we used the NCES College Navigator tool to sort online colleges across the United States by cost. Only colleges charging average in-state undergraduate tuition under $9,000 each year were considered. Next, we looked for online bachelor’s programs specifically leading to teacher certification. Education schools featuring specialized accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education (NCATE) or Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) were given priority. Availability for hands-on practicum or student teaching was a must. Other weighed factors were financial aid, national rankings, student-faculty ratio, curriculum, job placement, and online technology.
Teachers are given extensive, time-consuming responsibilities in leading PreK-12 classrooms, but many argue they’re not compensated sufficiently. The National Education Association (NEA) reports that the average starting salary in teaching is $30,377. That’s less than the yearly tuition expenses quoted at many U.S. universities. Modest income potential doesn’t mean you should squash your teaching dreams though.
Here are our selections for the 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor’s of Education Degree Programs so you can develop your teaching skills affordably:
1. St. Petersburg College
Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College is an affordable public, state-funded higher learning association based in Clearwater, Florida, that’s serving over 65,000 students. Although St. Petersburg College awards the 12th highest number of associate degrees in the United States, four-year bachelor’s programs are available. With the Florida Department of Education’s approval, St. Petersburg College offers a Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Student Education, and Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education (Math or Science). The online, English For Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) infused curriculum prepares certified teachers for diverse Florida classrooms. One 15-week student teaching internship is required.
2. Aspen University
Formerly called the International Academy, Aspen University is a private, for-profit distance learning institution holding national Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) accreditation to serve around 3,600 from its Denver, Colorado, headquarters. Known for its debt-free tuition solutions, Aspen was crowned the #2 Most Affordable Online College by The Business Journals. The School of Education gives an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. There’s a standard 120-credit or accelerated 60-credit degree completion track. Aspen graduates qualify for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential to teach children from birth through age eight.
3. Fort Hays State University
Governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, Fort Hays State University is a public, four-year higher education institution serving around 11,200 students in Hays and online. Named to Victory Media’s 2016 “Military Friendly” list, FHSU has the 24th best online bachelor’s degrees nationwide according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited College of Education offers an online Bachelor of Science in Education with Early Childhood Unified, Elementary, Elementary/Special Education, and Business Education emphases. Requiring 127 credits each, these four-year degrees include immersive practica to satisfy Kansas licensure qualifications.
4. Western Governors University
Enrolling over 70,000 students, Western Governors University is a regionally accredited private, non-profit online institution headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a USLA 21st Century Award winner, Western Governors University was named the “College For-Profits Should Fear” in Washington Monthly. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, Western Governors has America’s #1 Best Value Teacher Preparation. Holding National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation, the Teachers College awards an online Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (K-12), Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Education (5-12), Bachelor of Arts in Science Education (5-12), or Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8). In-classroom experience accompanies online coursework to produce licensed teachers.
5. East Carolina University
Endowed for $187 million, East Carolina University is the state’s third largest public, sea-grant research institution educating around 28,200 students from Greenville and beyond. The U.S. News and World Report ranked East Carolina University as the 194th Best National University with the 140th Best Education School. Adult learners can benefit from East Carolina’s online Bachelor of Science in Education degree completion program. The 60-credit curriculum includes specializations for Birth-Kindergarten Education, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, or Special Education. With Ntional Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation, the cohort-based program is delivered via the SECU Partnership East.
6. Valley City State University
Under the Morrill Act, Valley City State University was founded in 1890 as a public, land-grant technical institution in North Dakota’s Barnes County to educate around 1,370 students. As a “laptop” campus, Valley City State University is ranked the #1 Midwestern Public School with America’s 143rd Top Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News and World Report. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited School of Education offers its Bachelor of Science in Business Education, Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education, Bachelor of Science in English Education, Bachelor of Science in History Education, and Bachelor of Science in Technology Education degrees online. The 120-credit programs prepare secondary teachers for initial North Dakota licensing.
7. Granite State College
Located in New Hampshire’s capital along the Merrimack, Granite State College is a regionally accredited public, four-year institution educating around 3,300 for-credit students. Offering the 79th Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees at $293 per credit, Granite State College is New England’s #1 Liberal Arts College for social mobility according to Washington Monthly. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited School of Education confers a Bachelor of Arts with Teacher Certification online. Available specialties include Early Childhood (B-3), Elementary (K-8), ESOL (K-12), Special Needs (K-12), and Secondary Math (7-12). For capstone, online students complete a teaching experience and take the Praxis exam.
8. University of Southern Mississippi
Classified as a public, doctoral-granting RU/H research institution, the University of Southern Mississippi educates over 14,800 students online or on-site in Hattiesburg and Long Beach. With the country’s 164th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, the University of Southern Mississippi is ranked the 177th Best Public College by Forbes. The College of Education & Psychology maintains National Council for Accreditiation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited education to grant online Special Education Bachelor of Science and Elementary Education Bachelor of Science programs. These 62-credit degree completion programs are designed for teacher aides seeking their own certification. Both include two student teaching placements in lower and upper grades.
9. Stephen F. Austin State University
Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Stephen F. Austin State University is Texas’ third most selective public teaching institution with around 13,000 students in Nacogdoches and online. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Stephen F. Austin State University is the West’s 87th Best Regional College and 35th Top Public School with the 176th Best Teaching Degrees. The James Perkins College of Education follows National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NATE) guidelines for an online Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with Elementary (K-6), Special Education (K-12), or Middle Level (4-8) certification. Paraprofessionals with at least 45 collegiate credits may apply.
10. Bemidji State University
Opened as a teacher’s college in 1919, Bemidji State University is a public, co-educational higher learning institution in Minnesota that’s training over 6,300 students. Noted for America’s 187th Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, Bemidji State is named the 34th Best Public Midwest College by the U.S. News and World Report. The Extended Learning Division manages a primarily online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (K-8) program. Consisting of 63 credits, the program allows students to satisfy Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements. Online students must attend three face-to-face sessions in Minneapolis.