A Master of Arts in Teaching can offer a stepping stone into your career as a teacher. Find a program that’s worth your time—and money.
All graduate degrees are major investments, but not all of them are wise ones.
Our list of the most affordable online M.A.T. programs can help you choose a university that fits your career goals and your budget.
What kind of Master of Arts in Teaching degree should you get?
Some students prefer the connection and immediacy that comes with a traditional degree program. But on-campus programs aren’t always feasible for busy working adults with families.
An online degree program can provide a pathway for earning your M.A.T. while keeping up with your other responsibilities. To learn more about your distance learning options, be sure to visit our ranking for the Best Online Master of Arts in Teaching Degrees.
How much money do people with a Master of Arts in Teaching earn?
According to data from PayScale, the average elementary school teacher with an M.A.T. degree earns $47,993 per year. High school teachers who graduated with an M.A.T. earn an average of $51,032 per year.
What can you do with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree?
Most commonly, M.A.T. graduates will find a career as an elementary school teacher (typically grades 1 through 6), a middle school teacher (grades 4 through 8), or high school teacher (grades 7 or 8 through 12).
What are the requirements for a Master of Arts in Teaching?
Students pursuing their initial teaching licensure through an M.A.T. program will need to complete a one- or two-semester student teaching placement.
Certified teachers in an M.A.T. program may need to complete a different culminating experience, such as a comprehensive exam or a written thesis with an oral defense.
What are the most affordable online Master of Arts in Teaching degrees?
This ranking is based purely on tuition rates and associated costs of attendance. Our information is drawn from reputable sources such as U.S. News & World Report and individual college websites.
Note that we’ve included Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, as well as similar programs that lead to a Master of Science in Education or a Master of Education.
We hope that this list helps you find the perfect place for the next step in your career.
1. California State University, Fullerton
A leader in diversity and inclusion as well as scholarly excellence, California State University, Fullerton is a world-class institution of higher learning. Over 52 graduate programs are available through CSUF, including a suite of nationally recognized teacher education programs. The flexible Master of Science in Education program at CSUF offers options for Elementary and Bilingual Education as well as Secondary Education.
The Secondary Education track offers a fully online program leading to an M.S.Ed. with an emphasis in Teacher Induction. Within the Elementary and Bilingual Education track, fully online programs are available leading to an M.S.Ed. in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in either Education for Social Justice or 21st Century and Learning. The Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education offers graduate-level coursework such as:
- Pedagogy, Assessment, and Support for New Teachers
- Technology and Problem-Solving in Schools
- Graduate Seminar in Developmental Psychology: The Human from Conception Through Eight Years
- Current Issues and Problems in Bilingual-Bicultural Education
CSUF offers extensive financial aid resources and scholarship opportunities for graduate students. The University awards nearly $2 million in scholarships and grants each year. As of fall 2017, the cost per semester is $4,144 for graduate students enrolled in seven or more credit hours.
2. Western Governors University
Western Governors University is a truly innovative model of 21st-century education. With start dates available on the first of every month, WGU provides unmatched flexibility and convenience for busy professionals and adult learners. Western Governors was the first exclusively online university to receive NCATE accreditation for its teacher licensure programs.
The Master of Arts in Teaching from Western Governors University is available in four tracks: Elementary Education (leading to licensure for kindergarten through grade 8), English (with licensure for grades 5 through 12), Mathematics (grades 5 through 12), and Science (5 through 12). The Elementary Education track includes a Foundations of Teaching core, which features classes such as:
- Foundational Perspectives of Education
- Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
- Fundamentals of Diversity, Inclusion, and Exceptional Learners
- Psychology for Educators
The unique tuition model of WGU allows students to pay for time rather than credit hours. Students pay a flat rate for each six-month term and take as many credits as they choose during that time. Most students finish the M.A.T. program within two years, and some are able to earn their degree in as little as six months. The tuition rate for the M.A.T. program is currently $3,190 per six-month term.
3. The University of Louisiana Monroe
For more than 80 years, the University of Louisiana Monroe has been a driving force of innovation, entrepreneurship, and prosperity in the northeast region of Louisiana. Through eULM, the University’s distance learning division, students can pursue over 30 fully online degrees. With a number of certification tracks for pre-service teachers, the Master of Arts in Teaching from eULM is an exceptional place to being a career in education.
Online students can pursue the M.A.T. for Elementary Education (leading to licensure for grades 1 through 5) or Secondary Education (for grades 6 through 12). Both of these programs are also available with an added concentration in Special Education for Mild to Moderate Disabilities. The Elementary Education track requires 42 credit hours. For this degree track, required coursework includes:
- Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Difficulties
- Assessment Principles and Practice for All Learners
- Health and Physical Education Program Development
- Educational Techniques for Diverse Learners in Inclusive Classrooms
Non-resident students in a fully online program at ULM do not pay any additional out-of-state fees. For online graduate coursework, the tuition rate is $500 per credit hour. Institutional grants and loans are available to reduce tuition costs for qualifying students.
4. North Carolina A&T State University
The award-winning faculty and community-focused initiatives of North Carolina A&T State University have earned regional and national acclaim. With a school-wide emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and relevant research, N.C. A&T has established itself as a leader in technology, business, the arts, and education. A number of distinctive tracks are available through the acclaimed A&T Online Master of Arts in Teaching program.
Available concentrations for the M.A.T. include Business Education, Technology Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Elementary Education. In the first tier of the Elementary Education track (the Licensure Phase), students earn their initial teaching license. In the second tier (the Advanced Masters Phase), students qualify for an “M” license, which may make the student eligible for a higher salary when they graduate. Coursework in the second tier includes:
- Research in the Elementary Classroom
- Diversity Issues in K-12 Schools
- Educational Leadership
- Organization and Supervision of Reading Programs
For North Carolina residents, the cost for online graduate courses is $233 per credit hour. Out-of-state graduate students will pay $841 per credit hour. A number of scholarships are available for teacher education students, including the J. Niel and Jacquetta Armstrong Endowed Scholarship and the Vincent T. Snipes Endowed Scholarship Fund.
5. Western Kentucky University
More than 20,000 students make their academic home at Western Kentucky University. Both on its main Bowling Green campus and through its vibrant online community of scholars, WKU has garnered a reputation for student engagement and exceptional academics.The online Master of Arts in Teaching from WKU prepares students with a bachelor’s degree in any field to become knowledgeable, effective special education teachers.
The M.A.T. from Western Kentucky leads to initial teacher certification for Special Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders. The program requires 36 credit hours and provides a foundation in special education law, diagnosis and assessment of learning and behavioral disabilities, prescriptive teaching, managing behavior disorders and positive behavior supports, and research in special education. Core requirements for this degree track include:
- Education of Exceptional Children
- Survey of Educational Technology Practices
- Advanced Educational Psychology
- Research in Exceptional Child Education
To graduate with the M.A.T. in Special Education, candidates must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. Students who have already earned their teaching credential can pursue one of WKU’s fully online Teacher Leader programs. More than 1,200 scholarships are available for students of Western Kentucky. In total, WKU awards over $29 million in financial assistance to its students each year.
6. Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University was founded in 1923 as a teachers’ college. Although SFASU has grown well beyond its roots, it remains committed to outstanding teacher education. The learning outcomes for the online Master of Arts in Teaching are aligned with the professional standards set forth by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The M.A.T. program requires 36 credit hours and leads to certification in either early childhood through grade 12 or grades 7 through 12 (depending on the intended area of licensure). Although the program is offered fully online, students will be required to take the mastery certification exam in person. SFASU offers the following graduate-level courses in an online format:
- Technology in Teaching
- Advocacy in Early Childhood
- Child-Centered Environments
- Social/Environmental Foundations
Applications for the M.A.T. program are accepted year-round. Class sizes for this degree track average between 15 and 30 students. In addition to the M.A.T., SFASU offers a variety of other fully online teacher education programs. Options include a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, in Educational Leadership, in Special Education, and more. SFASU awards an average of $12,677 per student in financial aid each year.
7. West Texas A&M University
The main campus of West Texas A&M University is in the close-knit community of Canyon, Texas. The academic opportunities of WTAMU are now available to students all over the country thanks to the University’s innovative and affordable distance education programs. U.S. News & World Report has recognized these online programs as some of the best in the nation. The online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction offers a flexible curriculum with numerous elective slots, allowing students to customize their degree path.
Students in the online M.Ed. program may choose to add an optional concentration in either Reading Education or Special Education. To graduate with this degree, students must pass a comprehensive examination either during or after their last semester of coursework. Required courses for Curriculum and Instruction students include:
- Curriculum Theory and Analysis
- Curriculum History, Reforms, and Innovations
- Instructional Strategies
- Education Research
To qualify for the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, students must have already completed at least 18 credit hours in education coursework. An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 is required for admission. WTAMU also offers a hybrid program leading to a Master of Arts in Teaching. For this program, students must complete the required practicum in Texas.
8. Valley City State University
U.S. News & World Report recently declared Valley City State University the top-ranked public regional college in the Midwest. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 11:1, VCSU offers unparalleled personalized attention and exceptional faculty support through both its on-campus and online programs. Founded in 1890 as a teachers’ college, Valley City State celebrates its heritage by continuing to provide some of the most highly respected teacher preparation programs in North Dakota.
The curriculum of the online Master of Arts in Teaching is based on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). This program leads to initial North Dakota licensure and is ideal for career-changers and adult learners. Core coursework for the M.A.T. includes:
- Human Development and Learning Needs
- Issues in School, Community, and Family
- Supervision and Assessment of Teachers and Learners
- Exceptionality, Diversity, and Differences
In addition to a minimum of 33 credit hours, candidates for the M.A.T. will be required to complete a comprehensive portfolio, a research report, and an internship experience. Ten awards, each in the amount of $500, are available for North Dakota students in the M.A.T. program. VCSU also offers a fully online Master of Education degree.
9. Eastern Kentucky University
For more than a century, Eastern Kentucky University has steadily built a reputation for relevant and intensive academic programs across a wide breadth of disciplines. Eastern has earned widespread acclaim for the quality and affordability of its 30-plus master’s degrees. The online graduate education programs at EKU have been ranked among the top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
The Master of Arts in Teaching from Eastern offers an Elementary Teaching track (with certification for pre-kindergarten through grade 5), a Middle Grades track (grades 5 through 9), and a Secondary track (grades 8 through 12, or pre-kindergarten through grade 12 for some content areas). The Elementary Teaching track requires 44 credit hours, and most students complete the program within five or six semesters. Core coursework for this track includes:
- Curriculum and Instructional Design
- Learners, Teachers, Schools, and Society
- Exceptional Learners in the Regular Classroom
- Instructional Technology
Cohorts for this program begin every January and August. All candidates for the M.A.T. will complete an action research project as their capstone experience. As of 2017, the cost for the online M.A.T. program is $510 per credit hour for both in-state and out-of-state students.
10. University of Maryland University College
Extensive student support services and a focus on in-demand, real-world skills are the hallmarks of the University of Maryland University College. As a member institution of the University System of Maryland, UMUC offers over 90 highly respected undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. UMUC teacher preparation programs exemplify UMUC’s commitment to high-quality, affordable education.
UMUC’s online Master of Arts in Teaching program will provide a foundation in cutting-edge theory in pedagogy as well as abundant opportunities for clinical practice. The degree track requires a total of 30 credit hours, up to six of which may be transferred in from another institution. The program leads to initial teaching certification for secondary grades in a wide variety of content areas. Required coursework includes:
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning
- Adolescent Development and Learning Needs
- Reading and Multiple Literacies
- Subject Methods and Assessment
The cost per credit hour for in-state students is $458 as of fall 2017. For out-of-state students, the cost per credit hour is $659. Military members and their spouses and dependent children are eligible for the in-state tuition rate. Through the interest-free monthly payment plan, graduate students can pay for their tuition in monthly installments instead of in one lump sum.
11. Brandman University
Founded in 1958, Brandman University was designed to serve the unique needs of adult learners and nontraditional students. Brandman enrolls over 10,000 students in its 80-plus degree programs. This unique university operates over 25 campus locations throughout the states of Washington and California. These campuses offer coursework for Brandman’s hybrid degree programs. In addition to the blended format, many of Brandman’s degree tracks are available fully online, including an M.A.T. in Elementary or Secondary Education.
The M.A.T. is available both fully online and in a hybrid format through 17 Brandman campuses. Students may pursue the master’s degree as a licensure track for either Elementary Education or for Secondary Education. The program is only available for residents of California. Required coursework for the Secondary Education track includes:
- Collaboration For Inclusive Schooling
- Secondary Instructional Strategies for Language in Culturally Diverse Classrooms
- Effective Literacy Instruction for Single Subject Candidates
- Preparing 21st-Century Learners: A Collaborative and Integrated Approach
The estimated cost for the M.A.T. program is $640 per credit hour. Credential-only programs, which lead to licensure but not to a master’s degree, are also available fully online. Brandman’s School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
12. East Carolina University
East Carolina University is a doctoral research university in Greenville, North Carolina. The Princeton Review has consistently ranked ECU among the Best Southeastern Colleges. ECU has also earned distinction as a military-friendly school, and for outstanding quality in its teacher education programs. ECU’s Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Adult Education is a unique program focusing on the theoretical, historical, and research foundations of adult education.
The M.A.Ed. in Adult Education prepares students to serve in a variety of informal and informal educational settings. Graduates may find a job in community colleges and higher education, adult literacy, health care, law enforcement, business and industry, government and military, or community-based organizations. Required coursework for the Adult Education track includes:
- Introduction to Adult and Community Education
- Development of Adult Education Programs
- Organization and Administration of Adult Education
- Instructional Strategies in Adult Education
Additional online M.A.Ed. tracks are available to students with a valid North Carolina teaching credential. ECU also offers fully online programs leading to an M.A. in Science Education, an M.A.Ed. in Elementary Education, and more. The 2017 cost for resident students taking online graduate coursework is $249.26 per credit hour. For non-resident students, the rate is $893.82 per credit hour.
13. Emporia State University
Tracing its roots back to 1863, Emporia State University was the first public institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas. The celebrated Teachers College at ESU was recognized by Edutopia as a pioneer in fostering collaborations between professional development programs for educators and local school districts. Building on its national reputation for excellence in teacher education, Emporia State offers a fully online Master of Education in Teaching.
The versatile M.Ed. in Teaching is suitable for educators in a variety of roles, including teachers, library/media specialists, and school counselors. The degree track requires 36 credit hours and can be adapted to reflect each student’s area of teaching or professional interest. Available coursework within the M.Ed. in Teaching program includes:
- Classroom Management Through Positive Reinforcement
- Collaboration and Strategies for Inclusive Secondary Settings
- Advanced Educational Psychology for Teachers and Administrators
- Beliefs, Values, Issues in Educational Practices
All courses for the M.Ed. in Teaching degree must be completed within seven years of starting the program. By enrolling in a minimum of five credit hours for part-time graduate status or nine hours for full-time status, students will be considered eligible for financial aid. In the 2015-2016 academic year, Emporia State awarded over 2,200 scholarships, totaling $5.9 million.
14. Pittsburg State University
Serving a student body of over 7,400, Pittsburg State University is located within two hours of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; and Fayetteville, Arkansas. Pitt State is widely recognized for having one of the lowest tuition rates of any college or university in the region. Over 150 academic programs are available in the arts and science, technology, business, and education.
PSU offers a variety of fully online tracks in teacher education, including an M.S. in Teaching for Elementary Education, and an M.A.T. with an emphasis in either Secondary Education or Special Education. The M.A.T. in Secondary Education is intended for students who already hold a valid teaching credential. The program requires 33 credit hours, including seven required courses, three electives, and one three-credit practicum. Required coursework includes:
- Individuals with Exceptionalities
- Positive Classroom Management
- Current Teaching Practices
- Assessment for Effective Teaching
Students who are residents of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, as well as residents of the counties surrounding Kansas, are eligible to receive discounted tuition. Almost 80 percent of students at Pitt State receive some form of financial aid, either through scholarships, grants, employment, or loans. A variety of institutional and departmental scholarships are available for online graduate students of education.
15. North Carolina State University
U.S. News & World Report ranks North Carolina State University 38th among the top public schools in the country. The graduate education programs at NC State have been also been cited for academic excellence, coming in at 55th nationwide. The University’s Master of Education offers a robust combination of theoretical framework and real-world application.
The M.Ed. from NC State is available with a concentration in Technology Education, Learning Design and Technology, and Science Education. All of these tracks are available fully online. The Science Education track is designed to elevate the skills of educators with at least two years of teaching experience. Requirements for this degree track include:
- Advanced Methods in Science Education
- Technology Tools for Science Teaching
- Foundations Of Science Education
- Introduction to Research in Science Education
The cost per credit hour for North Carolina residents is $431.88. This brings the total cost for the 36-credit hour Science Education program to approximately $15,547.68. A number of additional teacher education programs are available in a hybrid format. For local students who are within commuting distance of campus, NC State offers an M.A.T. in English – Secondary Education, English as a Second Language (ESL), Language Arts – Middle Grades, Mathematics – Secondary Education, Elementary Education, and more.