Top 10 Education Degree Programs

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education degrees

Earn­ing an edu­ca­tion degree builds a reward­ing career spark­ing a love for learn­ing in Amer­i­ca’s PreK-12 class­rooms. Edu­ca­tion is a time­less, uni­ver­sal pro­fes­sion that will always be in-demand to help fos­ter growth in chil­dren and ado­les­cents. In this arti­cle, we’ll dis­tin­guish the Top 10 Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams for your teacher training.

To com­pile our list, we began by look­ing for brick-and-mor­tar uni­ver­si­ties con­fer­ring cam­pus-based edu­ca­tion pro­grams. We nar­rowed down schools based on top-tier nation­al rank­ings pub­lished by the U.S. News and World Report. We ref­er­enced the sur­vey’s Best Edu­ca­tion Schools. The U.S. News con­sid­ers key fac­tors like stu­dent-fac­ul­ty ratio, selec­tiv­i­ty, award-win­ning pro­fes­sors, GRE scores, and research expen­di­tures. Next, we used the NCES’ Col­lege Nav­i­ga­tor tool to record aver­age annu­al tuition costs. We weighed qual­i­ty with cost, but nixed any uni­ver­si­ties cost­ing over $50,000 because that’s tough to man­age with the medi­an teacher salary at $53,315. Pref­er­ence was giv­en to schools with NCATE accred­i­ta­tion, mul­ti­ple teach­ing spe­cial­ties, and great class­room experiences.

If you pre­fer face-to-face learn­ing, con­sid­er these Top 10 Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams to take your first steps into your teach­ing career!

1. University of Wisconsin — Madison


Endowed for $2.4 bil­lion, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin — Madi­son is a flag­ship, land-grant “Pub­lic Ivy” with RU/VH sta­tus to serve over 43,100 stu­dents. The U.S. News ranks UW-Madi­son as Amer­i­ca’s 11th Top Pub­lic School with the #1 curriculum/instruction pro­gram. Fea­tur­ing Nation­al Coun­cil for Accred­i­ta­tion of Teacher Edu­ca­tion (NCATE) accred­i­ta­tion, the School of Edu­ca­tion offers sev­en under­grad­u­ate teacher licens­ing pro­grams, includ­ing Art Edu­ca­tion, World Lan­guage Edu­ca­tion, and Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion. For grad­u­ates, there’s also a top-ranked Mas­ter of Sci­ence for Pro­fes­sion­al Edu­ca­tors (MSPE) degree.

Tuition: $10,415 (in-state) or $29,665 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin — Madis­on’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

2. Vanderbilt University


Found­ed in 1873, Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate, non-sec­tar­i­an research insti­tu­tion enrolling over 12,600 stu­dents in Nashville, Ten­nessee. Accord­ing to the U.S. World and News Report, Van­der­bilt is the coun­try’s 15th Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty and 12th Top Val­ue. The Peabody Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion has pro­duced over 10,000 prac­tic­ing teach­ers. Stu­dents can select from eight bach­e­lor’s, 17 mas­ter’s, and six doc­tor­al degree with NCATE approval. Top-ranked pro­grams include the B.S. in Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion, M.Ed. in Read­ing Edu­ca­tion, and Ed.D. in K‑12 Edu­ca­tion­al Leadership.

Tuition: $44,712

Learn more about Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

3. Columbia University


Locat­ed in the Morn­ing­side Heights neigh­bor­hood of New York City, Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty is the nation’s fifth old­est pri­vate, char­tered insti­tu­tion enrolling over 27,900. With­in the Ivy League, Colum­bia is ranked the fourth Best Uni­ver­si­ty Nation­al­ly by the U.S. News and World Report. Fol­low­ing a lega­cy of edu­ca­tion inno­va­tors, the Teach­ers Col­lege offers more than 100 NCATE-accred­it­ed pro­grams to stu­dents from 77 dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Excel­lent degree offer­ings include the M.A. in Gift­ed Edu­ca­tion, M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Edu­ca­tion, and M.S. in Com­mu­ni­ty Health Education.

Tuition: $42,280

Learn more about Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

4. Northwestern University


His­tor­i­cal­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Unit­ed Methodist Church, North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate, non-prof­it research insti­tu­tion of 20,900 stu­dents in Evanston, Illi­nois. As an elite Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ties (UAA) mem­ber, North­west­ern is ranked as Amer­i­ca’s 12th Top Uni­ver­si­ty by the U.S. News and World Report. The School of Edu­ca­tion and Social Pol­i­cy (SEEP) empha­sizes prac­ti­cal learn­ing with nine-week intern­ships. Aspir­ing teach­ers choose from five bach­e­lor’s, four mas­ter’s, and three doc­tor­al degrees. Great options include the B.S. in Sec­ondary Teach­ing, M.S.Ed. in Teacher Lead­er­ship, and Ph.D. in Learn­ing Sciences.

Tuition: $49,047

Learn more about North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

5. University of Washington


Serv­ing over 45,200 stu­dents, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton is a flag­ship pub­lic, research insti­tu­tion based in down­town Seat­tle. The U.S. News named UW the 16th top pub­lic school nation­al­ly with a high­ly ranked Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion. Part­nered with over 300 Wash­ing­ton Schools, the COE grants a Bach­e­lor of Arts in Ear­ly Child­hood & Fam­i­ly Stud­ies and Edu­ca­tion Learn­ing Minor. At the grad­u­ate lev­el, there are 13 top-notch pro­grams like the M.Ed. in Edu­ca­tion Pol­i­cy and M.Ed. in Instruc­tion­al Leadership.

Tuition: $11,839 (in-state) or $34,143 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

6. University of Texas — Austin


As the nation’s fifth largest pub­lic, state research insti­tu­tion, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas-Austin edu­cates over 51,300 Long­horns just one mile from the Texas State Capi­tol. The U.S. News and World Report crowned UT-Austin the 16th best pub­lic col­lege. With­in the Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion, there are 12 bach­e­lor’s, 13 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and 24 grad­u­ate pro­grams aver­ag­ing 800 practicum hours. Top-ranked options include the B.S. in Applied Learn­ing and Devel­op­ment, UTeach Urban Teach­ers Pro­gram, and M.A. in Autism and Devel­op­men­tal Disabilities.

Tuition: $9,806 (in-state) or $34,676 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas — Austin’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

7. University of California — Los Angeles


Estab­lished as a teacher’s col­lege in 1919, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia-Los Ange­les serves over 43,300 stu­dents as a pub­lic, land-grant insti­tu­tion in the West­wood dis­trict. UCLA is the 23rd Best Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty accord­ing to the U.S. News and World Report. With six top fac­ul­ty mem­bers rec­og­nized in Edu­ca­tion Week, the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion awards 14 teach­ing pro­grams. Rig­or­ous UCLA train­ing can lead to a M.Ed. in Math­e­mat­ics Edu­ca­tion, M.Ed. in Prin­ci­pal Lead­er­ship, or Ph.D. in Urban Schooling.

Tuition: $12,763 (in-state) or $37,471 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia — Los Ange­les’ Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

8. University of Oregon


Nes­tled along the Willamette Riv­er in Eugene, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon is a flag­ship, pub­lic RU/VH research insti­tu­tion enlight­en­ing over 24,100 stu­dents. The U.S. News and World Report hon­ored Ore­gon for being Amer­i­ca’s 47th Top Pub­lic School. Rank­ing #2 nation­al­ly for fac­ul­ty pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, the top-tier Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion offers four under­grad­u­ate and 18 grad­u­ate pro­grams. Teach­ing degrees include the B.A. in Edu­ca­tion­al Foun­da­tions, M.S. in Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion, or M.S. in Lit­er­a­cy Lead­er­ship. There’s also the unique Sapsik‘ʷałá Project for Amer­i­can Indians.

Tuition: $10,289 (in-state) or $32,024 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

9. Michigan State University


Under the Mor­rill Act, Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty became the nation’s first pub­lic, land-grant research insti­tu­tion in East Lans­ing to edu­cate over 50,500 stu­dents year­ly. The U.S. News and World Report lauds MSU as the 29th Top Pub­lic School. The Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion has ranked #1 for ele­men­tary edu­ca­tion for 21 straight years. Future teach­ers select from five bach­e­lor’s, 11 mas­ter’s, and 12 doc­tor­al pro­grams. Esteemed degrees include the B.S. in Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion, M.A. in Edu­ca­tion­al Tech­nol­o­gy, and Ph.D. in Math­e­mat­ics Education.

Tuition: $13,560 (in-state) or $36,360 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

10. University of Kansas


With cam­pus­es in Lawrence, Wichi­ta, Over­land Park, Sali­na, and Kansas City, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas is a flag­ship, pub­lic research insti­tu­tion of over 28,100 stu­dents. Accord­ing to the U.S. News and World Report, Kansas is Amer­i­ca’s 55th Top Pub­lic School with the #1 Spe­cial Edu­ca­tion Degrees. The NCATE-accred­it­ed School of Edu­ca­tion pre­pares teach­ers in eight under­grad­u­ate and 17 grad­u­ate licen­sure pro­grams. KU stu­dents could pur­sue the B.S.E. Sec­ondary Social Stud­ies, B.S.E. For­eign Lan­guage Edu­ca­tion, or M.S.E. Phys­i­cal Education.

Tuition: $10,825 (in-state) or $26,659 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas’ Edu­ca­tion Degree Pro­grams here.

Why Get a Bachelor’s in Education?

The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics cur­rent­ly pre­dicts that edu­ca­tion jobs will grow by 10 per­cent through 2030. That’s approx­i­mate­ly 920,000 new posi­tions open­ing for edu­ca­tion degree hold­ers. Demand is par­tic­u­lar­ly strong in STEM, bilin­gual or ESL, and spe­cial edu­ca­tion. Hav­ing at least a bach­e­lor’s degree is required to sharp­en your ped­a­gog­i­cal skills for the rig­or­ous new Com­mon Core. Grad­u­ate degrees also help unlock teacher lead­er­ship jobs in spe­cial­ties like lit­er­a­cy and cur­ricu­lum design.

Even though online pro­grams are more flex­i­ble, many stu­dents want to engage in a real-life col­lege class­room. Cam­pus-based edu­ca­tion degrees typ­i­cal­ly pro­vide greater peer inter­ac­tion, one-on-one pro­fes­sor men­tor­ing, career net­work­ing, and teach­ing expe­ri­ences. Tra­di­tion­al brick-and-mor­tar pro­grams always have part­ner­ships with local school dis­tricts to actu­al­ly apply your learned skills with PreK-12 chil­dren. Liv­ing on a uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus can also allow you to join stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions like Phi Delta Kap­pa and Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion.


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