The Guide to Online Masters in Education (MEd) Programs

What is an Online Masters in Education?

An online masters in education (MEd) is a graduate degree designed to provide professional advancement to current and aspiring teachers, educators and school professionals. Masters in Education programs (also referred to as MEd, EdM or ME) are generally designed for:

  • Educators who already hold their teaching license and are seeking additional certification(s) and experience.
  • Individuals looking to work in the field of education but outside of the traditional classroom.

Online masters in education programs are designed to prepare students for advanced positions in a variety of educational fields and are typically not limited to the traditional K–12 classroom environment. With coursework in curriculum design and educational leadership, a master’s in education online may also prepare students for administrative or consulting positions.

If you are seeking your initial teaching degree, learn more about earning your Master of Arts in Teaching.

Explore Sponsored Online Teaching and Education Degree Program

Earn an MAT online From USC Rossier in as few as 12 Months

The Master of Arts in Teaching online (MAT online) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares aspiring teachers for diverse and high-needs educational settings and can be completed in as few as 12 months.

  • Fieldwork placement  
  • Complete in 12-36 months  
  • GRE scores not required 


The Benefits of an Online Masters in Education

Graduate school is an excellent opportunity to explore your options as a teacher and to learn more thoroughly about what interests you. Some states require their secondary school teachers to have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they are teaching, and having a master’s in that subject may be even more enticing to potential employers. Some of the many benefits of having a master’s in education include:

Enhanced Value in Job Market

A master’s degree can carry a lot of weight in the teaching job market and those who have their master’s are often regarded as thought leaders in their field and compensated for their higher degree. In addition, a master’s is typically the basic requirement for teaching at the college or university level.

Build Upon Your Teaching Skills

Pursuing an online masters in education or an online master of arts in teaching can also help improve your teaching skills. These degrees teach somebody how to be a teacher, with heavy emphasis on pedagogy, teaching methods, philosophy of education, and educational technology.

Career Mobility

A perk to gaining an advanced degree is the increased opportunities that come with an online MEd degree or similar masters degree. Teachers with advanced degrees in education may be able to work towards school administration positions, such as post-secondary education administrators, who work in admissions & registrar offices, or who are provost and academic deans, depending on their career path.

Increased Earning Potential

Perhaps the most appealing benefit of earning a masters in education degree online is the potential for additional compensation for teachers with advanced degrees. Some schools will pay a teacher more for having a master’s or a doctorate, and some will even reimburse them for continuing their education.

Masters in Education Online Program Concentrations

Earning an online master of education provides you with the opportunity to explore a number of fields in education. The MEd degree has the wide variety of concentrations and specializations they typically offer. Depending on your school of choice, program concentrations may include the following:

Classroom Technology

Master’s programs in the areas of classroom technology and instructional design provide students with the basic framework needed for learning in the 21st century, focusing on designing and implementing classroom technology in formal and informal learning environments. Coursework includes classes focusing on product design, technology in the classroom, cognition, instructional design, adaptive technology, and online literacy.

Educational Psychology

Master’s in Education programs with an emphasis on educational psychology (also referred to as school psychology) are designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of learning, development, motivation, research and assessment in various fields of education. Graduates of educational/school psychology programs may have careers in fields such as program evaluation, curriculum development, and academic testing, and may work in schools, non-profit agencies and health-related institutions. Coursework includes classes focusing on statistics, learning theories, research methods, cognition, and child/adolescent development.

Economics and Policy

Master’s degree programs focusing on educational economics and policy provide students with an understanding of the political, legal, economic, and social factors influencing the education system. Students with degrees in educational economics and/or policy may work within government agencies and nonprofit organizations that focus on educational reform and advocacy. Coursework includes classes focusing on policy analysis and implementation, educational law, community development, sociology, urban education, and decision making.

Museum Education

Museum education/museum studies degrees are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in art, history, and/or science within informal learning environments such as museums, historical institutions, and libraries. Museum education programs provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to teach in a museum, utilizing galleries and other media to enhance the learning of both children and adults. Coursework includes classes focusing on public relations and marketing, educational media, fundraising, art history, and cognitive development.

Higher Education

Master’s degrees in higher education (also referred to as post-secondary education) prepare students with the leadership and administrative skills needed to be a leader in today’s colleges and universities, as well as government institutions that address the needs of higher education. Higher education focused degree programs focus on student/academic affairs, leadership theory, management, and finance. Coursework includes classes focusing on college teaching, leadership and management, student development, and diversity in higher education.

School Counseling

MEd programs with an emphasis on school counseling are designed to prepare students with the skills and experience needed to counsel students, families, and members of the community in areas such as coping with personal issues, academic advisement, and advocacy. Students who pursue a master’s degree in counseling may work within a number of formal and informal educational settings such as K–12 schools, colleges, hospitals, and nonprofit organizations. Coursework includes classes focusing on interview techniques, group counseling, family systems, and special education.

For more on masters programs for aspiring school counselors, learn about Online Master’s in School Counseling degrees.

Education Administration

Master’s degree programs in educational leadership prepare students for leadership roles in public and private education institutions, which may include positions such as principal, dean, department head, superintendent, athletic director, and instructional leader. Coursework includes classes focusing on business administration, personnel management, cultural diversity, educational law and policy, learning, and assessment.

Consider also an online doctorate of education program to further exemplify your mastery of educational administration.

Bilingual Education

Bilingual education and TESOL programs provide students with the foundational skills required to work with bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) students in today’s diverse educational settings, which prepares students to work as teachers, curriculum designers and evaluators in a number of formal and informal learning environments. Coursework includes classes focusing on linguistics, literacy, pedagogy and oral/written language skills.

Practical Experience for Online MEd Students

Students earning their online ME degree are required to gain practical experience in a formal or informal education environment, one that closely mirrors their course of study, institutional expectations and desired career goals.

Practical experience for ME students may include the following options:

  • Student teaching
  • Internship/externship
  • Fellowship
  • Formal observation hours

Online Masters in Education Capstone

A capstone (also referred to as a graduate thesis or dissertation) is a culminating project, presentation or activity that often requires the guidance and/or approval of a supervising faculty member. These projects are designed to display the student’s newfound knowledge and can take many forms, including research papers, grant proposals, bill proposals, curriculum materials, or hypermedia materials such as educational apps for tablets.

In general, capstones and graduate dissertations are for students to display their scholarly knowledge and commitment toward a focused area of their graduate studies.

Finding the Best Online Masters in Education For You

In searching for the best online masters in education program for you, it is important to take a variety of factors into account in order to determine the best fit. Consider the specific type of degree being offered, the classroom setting, and the credit requirements for the program – among many other factors.

Sponsored Live Online Masters in Education and Teaching Program

University of Southern California (USC)

USC Rossier School of Education


Master of Arts in Teaching online

The Master of Arts in Teaching online (MAT online) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares aspiring teachers for diverse and high-needs educational settings and can be completed in as few as 12 months.

  • Fieldwork placement  
  • Complete in 12-36 months  
  • GRE scores not required 


Last Updated September 2020