Top Online Education Colleges

The Degree Finder in 3 easy steps

Find the best schools to earn your education degree online, and learn more about what these institutions and programs offer.


Our 2016 education rankings showcase the colleges offering the best online undergraduate education programs this year. We based our calculations on the quantifiable factors that we believe contribute to the ideal online learning experience: program cost; student-to-faculty ratio; and institutional financial aid, acceptance, retention, graduation, default, and default rate. Learn more

Top Online Education Colleges

RankSchoolStudent to
Faculty Ratio
Aid Rate

University of Georgia


About the Program

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the first state chartered public university in the U.S. UGA is fully accredited and has offered online courses and programs for more than a decade. Both their online and on-site degrees set high standards for students; their online offerings have made them one of the top online education programs. Only residents of the state of Iowa are ineligible to apply to the online education programs at UGA. A total of nine different programs are offered for students seeking to further their education:

  • Bachelor of Science in Special Education
  • Master of Education in Adult Education
  • Master of Education in Educational Psychology, Applied Cognition and Development
  • Master of Education in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education
  • Master of Education in Human Resources and Organizational Development
  • Master of Education in Learning Design, and Technology, Instructional Design and Development
  • Master of Education in Reading Education, New and Digital Literacies
  • Master of Education in Workforce Education
  • Master of Music Education

The B.S.Ed. online in its entirety requires 121 hours, 60 of which make up the program. Additionally, 30 hours of service learning experience and two campus visits are required. The final semester is dedicated to full-time student teaching in place of a practicum. At the end of this semester, students will have earned the number of field experience hours required for initial teacher certification in Georgia.

All of the master’s in education degrees offered at UGA require between 31-37 credit hours and take two years to complete. Most require an applied project or completed M.Ed. Student Portfolio, or both. At the end of the program, a written or oral exam must be completed.

Online Experience

Students enrolled in UGA’s online degree programs must subscribe to the Foliotek ePortfolio system. Using Foliotek, students can upload their coursework within a standards-based framework. Classmates and professors can view and comment on assignments as they are uploaded.

Administration Building
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-3000

University of Washington


About the Program

UW offers a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Family Studies program online. US. News & World Report ranked UW the 16th best research institution in the country, and the school strives to provide affordable, high-quality education. A total of 180 credits (including at least 70 transferable quarter credits) are required to earn this bachelor’s degree; if taken full time, it can be completed in two years. Students will engage in coursework across the following categories:

  • General development courses
  • Core courses
  • Service learning and research experience courses
  • Electives

Those already working in the field can complete their service learning courses at their place of employment. Once enrolled, students can take online courses outside of the ECFS major, which can be discussed with an academic advisor.

Online Experience

Students use Canvas, an online learning management system, to access all course materials and interact with classmates and professors. Discussion boards and other online features make it easy to submit assignments and ask questions. UW recommends students use a computer with a webcam and microphone, and they provide a list of recommended video equipment students should purchase before starting the program. The school provides technical support for all of the technology listed. Any other software required will be described in each course introduction.

1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100

University of Northern Iowa


About the Program

Established as the Iowa State Normal School in 1876, UNI has remained committed to providing excellence in teacher training, and their online education programs are no exception. U.S. News & World Report has ranked them as one of the best regional universities in the Midwest, as has The Princeton Review. UNI requires that students applying to the Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education program have already earned an AA degree from a local community college to satisfy their liberal arts core requirements. The program is aimed at residents of Iowa with personal schedules that require flexibility; UNI partners with local community colleges to ensure no student will have to travel for the intermittent face-to-face requirements. Whether or not the program is offered in a given year is contingent upon the number of students accepted.

UNI’s BA in elementary education takes two years to complete and requires both field experience as an observer under supervision of a mentor and as a student teacher.

Online Experience

UNI students can access their eLearning system, MyUniverse, after obtaining a CatID. Technical support is provided for this platform, as well as ample tutorials for how to submit assignments, use the discussion board, use Adobe Connect for meetings, and more. Students can also contact a program advisor if they need assistance planning their coursework. Thanks to a partnership with, all enrolled students have access to that site’s entire Online Training Library.

1227 W 27th St
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0005
(319) 273-2311

Vanguard University of Southern California


About the Program

Vanguard is a private Christian university focused on purveying liberal arts and professional studies. U.S. News & World Report has named them one of the top colleges in the West since 2010. VU offers several options for students at different levels to further their education, including:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • 30-Unit-Certificate
  • Student-At-Large

VU’s BA requires 120 semester units, or 40 classes total for graduation. A minimum of 57 undergraduate core credits must be completed prior to beginning the early childhood education curriculum. A capstone and practicum are also required before graduating, including a student portfolio. VU focuses on helping students work toward better employment options and higher pay. The AA degree requires 60 semester units and requires no transfer credits. For those just starting out, the 30-unit certificate acts as a bridge toward the AA degree. If students are simply in need of continuing education credits for their current job, they can take one course at a time as a student-at-large.

Online Experience

All of VU’s online coursework is taught in an eight-week accelerated format through Moodle, the online learning platform. Using Moodle, students can access extra support, such as an online student center, a writing center, and a student services coordinator. Students can view calendars of current and future classes, check syllabi, and submit their writing for feedback with a 48-hour turnaround. All of VU’s courses in early education are taught through a Christian worldview.

55 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-3610

University of North Carolina at Wilmington


About the Program

UNCW is a public institution that’s been a part of the University of North Carolina system since 1969. The school is known for its commitment to students’ educational journey; their bachelor’s in elementary education is one of the best online education programs today. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UNCW among the best public institutions in the South.

The BA in Elementary Education offered through UNCW online requires 64 hours of education courses and 18 courses in an academic concentration. In combination with the rest of the core requirements, the degree totals 124 hours. Students must also complete a practicum at the end of the program. Altogether, the program typically takes four years to complete. Areas of academic concentration include:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Math and Technology
  • Science and Health
  • Fine Arts
  • English as a Second Language
  • International Studies
  • Behavioral Studies

There are no residency restrictions for enrollment.

Online Experience

Students can engage with their online coursework using the Blackboard learning management system via SeaNet, the UNCW portal. Guides for students, course catalogs, detailed class schedules, and other basic information is provided on SeaNet. Any fully online courses offered are synchronous; students are required to meet in a virtual classroom at specified dates and times.

601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403-5963
(910) 962-3000

University of Hawaii


About the Program

UH Manoa is the flagship campus of the University of Hawai’i system and was founded in 1907. The school offers multiple blended education degrees, including:

  • Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood and Special Education
  • Masters of Education in Special Education
  • Masters of Education in Teaching

All programs are offered for residents of Hawai’i only and feature both online coursework and some on-site requirements. The BEd in Elementary Education requires travel to Oahu to attend class on selected weekends, and are 120 credits and typically takes 48 months to complete. Graduates are recommended to the Hawai’i Teachers Standards Board for licensure to teach grades K-6 in a general education classroom.

The BEd in Early Childhood and Special Education prepares graduates to work with young children with and without disabilities; graduates are eligible for both early childhood education and special education licensure. This degree also requires 120 credits, takes 48 months to complete, and requires intermittent travel on weekends to Oahu. For both programs, students complete three semesters of field experience and one semester of student teaching.

The MEd in Special Education is designed for licensed teachers who wish to advance their career. The degree takes 30 credits and 24 months to complete. The MEd in Teaching, however, is for students that have already earned a BA in a subject other than teaching. It requires 45 credits, four face-to-face meetings, and takes two years to complete. Graduates of the MEd in Teaching program will be eligible to become licensed teachers at the end of the program.

Online Experience

Students enrolled in UH Manoa’s hybrid degrees use the Blackboard learning management system, as well as Laulima to access their coursework and communicate with classmates and instructors. Tutorials are available for users new to Laulima, the learning and collaboration server for the University of Hawai’i community.

2500 Campus Road, Hawaii Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822-2217
(808) 956-8111

Mississippi State University


About the Program

Known as “The People’s University,” MSU strives to provide the social, leadership, and academic opportunities needed to succeed. The school was named in the first-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking of veteran-friendly schools and offers the only online elementary education bachelor’s program in Mississippi.

MSU’s elementary education distance learning program offers concentrations in both elementary and middle school education. There’s no residence requirement; students can enroll and study from any state in the country. Both programs require 123 credits to graduate and generally take four years to complete. The online bachelor’s parallel those delivered on-campus, so there’s no difference in the education and training students will receive.

Online Experience

Students can access their coursework through myCourses, MSU’s online portal, which uses the Blackboard learning management system. Technical support as well as workshops and training are provided for students. MSU also negotiates with vendors to ensure software is available at a discount.

Lee Boulevard
Mississippi State, MS 39762
(662) 325-2323

University of Massachusetts - Amherst


About the Program

UMass Amherst has offered the University Without Walls Bachelor’s program since 1971. Thousands of students residing in and outside the U.S. have completed their bachelor’s education through this program. UWW is considered an academic major, and students can design their own program of study. Relevant areas of concentration offered include:

  • Early Care and Education
  • Children’s Learning and Development

Fully online or blended methods of delivery are available. Neither education focused program results in licensure as a teacher, but both can help students prepare for it. Courses such as educational psychology, social diversity in education, online tools for learning and instruction, and children and media are offered through the two concentrations. Though the program accepts students from all over the globe, new students from Arkansas, Kansas, and Alabama are currently not eligible for admission.

Online Experience

UMass Amherst delivers online coursework through Blackboard and Moodle. Technical support is offered 24/7, as is chat reference with university librarians if students have questions. The UMass library system allows students access to hundreds of searchable databases, e-books, and e-journals. Online learners can also work with academic advisors if in need of guidance when planning their degrees.

374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-0111

University of Missouri - Columbia


About the Program

Mizzou Online offers more than 90 University of Missouri undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. The Bachelor of Educational Studies with an Interdepartmental Emphasis ranked among the best online bachelor’s programs of 2015 by U.S. News & World Report. Though the university is authorized to offer their online programs to 49 states, there are some specific cases in which students aren’t eligible to enroll due to state regulation of distance programs.

The BA of educational studies is designed for those interested in working with adult learners. They may work in community colleges, human resources training, or continuing professional education. Though the degree does not lead to licensure, it does cover both curriculum design and workforce teaching methods. The degree takes up to four years and requires a total of 120 credit-hours, of which 32 pertain to education coursework and 24-32 stem from an area of concentration. Possible concentrations include:

  • Computer Applications
  • Health Sciences Occupations
  • Digital Media Production
  • Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management
  • Construction and Industry Project Management
  • Business Management

Online Experience

Mizzou Online delivers their online coursework using the customized Mizzou Online learning management system and Moodle. Additionally, students have access to Sakai to build and post their online portfolios. Technical support and general student help is provided. Distance courses are offered as self-paced courses with a maximum of nine months to finish; self-paced courses with eight-week or 16-week sessions; or asynchronous, semester-based courses.

105 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2121

Saint Joseph's College of Maine


About the Program

Saint Joseph’s College is a private, Roman Catholic liberal arts college for people of all faiths and ages. It is the only Catholic college in Maine. SJC began offering distance learning programs in 1976. The college is authorized or exempt from authorization in all 50 states, though some states have stipulations relating to teaching certification.

SJC also offers an online Master of Science in Education program and several certificates. The MSEd program is designed to prepare students to expand their careers in public K-12 schools, Catholic schools, health care education facilities, and adult training facilities. Students can begin studying almost immediately; monthly start dates are available and courses are self-paced. No campus visits are required to complete any degrees or certificates at SJC. Concentrations under the MSEd include:

  • School Educator (33 credits)
  • Catholic School Leadership (36 credits)
  • School Leadership (36 credits)
  • Health Care Educator (33 credits)
  • Adult Education and Training (33 credits)

Additionally, students can choose to earn an “Alternate Route” Secondary Certification through this degree. SJC will work with students from any state to try to help them become eligible for certification based on their state’s specific requirements.

Three certificates are available:

  • Certificate in School Leadership (15 credits)
  • Certificate in Catholic School Leadership (4 courses)
  • Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study: Interdisciplinary Studies (18 credits)

These certificates are designed for those wishing to fulfill part of a graduate degree for professional advancement. In the case of the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, students who already hold a master’s degree can continue their education.

Online Experience

SJC’s online experience is hosted by Brightspace and mySJC, the school’s online portal. Once signed in, students can access community news, email, Brightspace, the library, technical support, the registrar’s office, and more. Students can complete their online coursework at their own pace and never need to visit the campus in person.

278 Whites Bridge Rd
Standish, ME 04084-5236
(207) 892-6766

Additional Schools


Southwestern Assemblies of God University


City University of Seattle


Notre Dame College


University of Hawaii - West Oahu


Bellevue University


Western Governors University


View Other Degree Rankings