Top Picks for the Best Initial Teacher Certification Master’s Programs in America for 2024

When you make the decision to earn a master's degree in any field, it's time to get serious: you're going to be laying the foundation for the career that's likely to take you through the rest of your working life. This isn't the time to pinch pennies or cut corners.

And when you decide to do it in a field like teaching, it's not just your own future you are building. You're also shaping the future of potentially thousands of others -- students who will have their own successes in life based in no small part on how well you do your job in the classroom and how well you lead and inspire them.

To do that, we know you need some educational leadership and inspiration of your own. That's exactly why we put together this list of exceptional programs.

Our Quality Assessment Involved a Deep Dive into Curriculum, Faculty, Research Contributions and More

With a massive demand for teachers in the United States today, ITP (Initial Teacher Preparation) programs have been sprouting up across the collegiate landscape. While virtually all of them offer you the kind of education you need to get credentials in the states where they're located, we went looking for the ones that really go the extra mile to provide exceptional teacher preparation and an unforgettable student experience.

Here's what we looked for in the programs we consider to be the very best...

Specialty Accreditation as a Baseline for Excellence

First, we only considered programs that have earned accreditation from CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. CAEP is the one and only organization recognized by the Committee for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as having the authority to set standards and confer accreditation for teacher education programs in the United States.

That means CAEP and their auditors are experts at looking into the elements that make an education preparation program not only adequate, but exceptional. They evaluate schools on the basis of things like:

  • Instructor qualifications and hiring standards
  • Curriculum development and review
  • Quality and diversity of field experience programs
  • Research and administrative support
  • Student recruitment standards

Although the name CAEP has only been around since 2016, it was formed through the merger of two previous accreditors that worked in that space, which for most people in the field of education need no introduction:

  • NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education)
  • TEAC (Teacher Education Accreditation Council)

NCATE and TEAC have been the preeminent names in teacher prep and advanced educator program accreditation for years. It's their legacy that set the standard for what CAEP would become. With the two now unified under the CAEP banner, the organization is able to offer twice the depth of expertise.

Since the merger was so recent, many programs, including several that appear on this list, still show either NCATE or TEAC as the accreditor, and will continue to until the end of their accreditation renewal cycle. Not to worry - at the end of those cycles, all the programs will reflect the CAEP brand. In the meantime, NCATE, TEAC and CAEP should be considered equals in educator preparation program accreditation.

Entrance Exams Ensure You're Surrounded by the Best and Brightest in the Field

We also only considered programs that use either general or state-specific entrance exams as a primary filter to eliminate candidates who may not be the right fit for the profession, or who otherwise just don't have the higher level reading comprehension, math and reasoning skills to be a strong candidate for graduate school.

Your student experience is shaped largely by the input of your classmates, the discussions you have, and the projects you work on together… and naturally, your student experience shapes the kind of teacher you're going to be. This means you want to surround yourself with bright folks with a lot of energy and ideas to contribute. Master's programs with entrance exam requirements are more likely to admit students of the highest caliber, ready and well-primed for the teaching profession.

Every program on this list requires a graduate level entrance exam of some kind - whether the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), the MAT (Miller Analogies Test), or a state-specific exam like the WEST or CBEST.

By only considering programs that require minimum test scores - or high enough undergrad GPAs to have the exam requirements waived - you can be sure you'll be surrounded by fellow students who have demonstrated they have a level of drive and proficiency that matches your own.

The Right Mix of Degree Specializations

In our review process, we always gave a second look to schools that either offer a diverse variety of possible licensure level and subject area concentrations, or ones that just offer a few unique specializations you may not find anywhere else.

But variety and uniqueness aren't the only indicators that a school is willing to pour resources into developing graduate level curriculum and retaining the expert faculty needed to present it. That's why we gave just as much weight to programs that offer just one or two teaching focus areas that command national attention as a result of being well-developed and having a strong reputation.

You will find programs here to match just about every possible content area and specialization, and you can be sure each one is among the best in the country at what it offers.

In-Depth Field Experience and Community Partnerships

Student teaching is a fundamental component of earning certification in every state. You can't teach without meeting your state's certification requirements, and you can't teach effectively without first developing classroom management skills and some familiarity with your workplace. You need to be ready to hit the ground running on the first day of school with your very own classroom full of students sitting there in front of you. Your student teaching experience is the only thing that can offer the kind of practice and preparation that will ensure you're ready.

To do teacher preparation properly means providing lots of opportunities for diverse field experiences. The very best programs offer more, and longer, classroom contact hours than the state minimums, as well as the kind of variety and diversity that will prepare you for the unique challenges found in different parts of your state.

We found programs that deliver that kind of experiential learning through a variety of means - from offering volunteer time in local community learning programs, to teacher residencies that put students into a variety of different classrooms and situations, to conventional student teaching rotations in high needs urban and rural communities.

What is consistent among all the schools that made our list is a concerted focus on making that experience count by backing it up with expert guidance and mentorship.

Research Opportunities Lay the Groundwork for Life-long Learning

In the broadest sense, teaching is a field that may have the same basic fundamental goals from one generation to the next, but as any teacher today can tell you, the overall approach, techniques, and of course, technology, change almost year to year. The best practices and latest classroom technology put in place this schoolyear was informed by the research that took place at the nation's teaching colleges the year before. Research is a constant in the field of education, and a big part of what universities contribute to evolving teaching methods and improving student outcomes across the country.

As a graduate student, you're expected to participate in investigative efforts, whether you're following the lead of an experienced team of faculty researchers, or leading research efforts of your own as part of a capstone project.

We look for programs that offer more than a rote report-writing experience here, but rather the ones that push students to build habits of inquiry into their approach to everyday problems, teaching them how to use research skills as the basis for finding solutions to classroom challenges throughout their careers.

Content Area Exam Pass Rates

You'll be required to prove yourself in a lot of different ways before you'll step into the classroom, and sitting down for a formal exam is one of them. Praxis II or state equivalent general proficiency and specific subject assessment exams are all part of the teacher certification process. And the way student teachers perform on these exams reflects on the teacher prep programs they attend.

Schools aren't required to post pass rates for student teachers or recent graduates, but some do anyway. While this isn't something we can use as a consistent point of comparison since relatively few schools make the information available, we did give it some weight in our selection process for the schools that did.

Instructors With Deep Research and Real-World Classroom Experience

Of course, as you start off on the path to becoming a teacher yourself, there is nothing so clear as the importance of the role your own instructors will play. To become a great teacher, you need great teachers.

Even the most rigorous entrance requirements, advanced curriculum and diverse specializations won't add up to much without experienced, expert instructors there to mentor and support you through the learning process, and to offer the kind of insights it takes for all the other elements to come together in a meaningful way.

We looked for schools with faculty members who have significant classroom experience under their belt, built up with years of academic research and publishing achievements.

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24 of Our Favorite Master's Level Initial Teacher Prep Programs

It would be hard for anybody to argue that there's a field more important than teaching. We feel that anybody with the dedication, compassion and intellect it takes to earn a master's degree and become a teacher deserves a program that is equal to their character and commitment.

Since assessments are always comparative in nature, we felt it only made sense to weigh the strengths of the programs we looked at against other options in the same state or region. Since teaching is all about understanding and serving the unique needs of the students in the community you'll be working in, and because certification is granted at the state level, we expect programs to teach to those unique needs and licensing standards. For this reason, you'll find our list includes programs from all over the country.

These programs are not always the least expensive and they are rarely the easiest to get into, but they are the ones we feel confident recommending to our readers as being the very best.

This list features programs that our editorial staff hand selected to present as top recommendations. We believe the many aspects of a program that come together to create an exceptional student experience can't be reduced to numbers alone, so no formula was used to attempt to score or rank these programs. Instead, they represent our top picks based on a thoughtful review of the things we know mean the most to students. Each one of these programs offers something unique, and all come equally highly recommended. We stand behind the principal of editorial integrity and make these recommendations independently and without compensation.

University of Alabama in Huntsville
College of Education
Huntsville, AL

MAT (on-campus)

  • Biology 6-12
  • Chemistry 6-12
  • English Language Arts 6-12
  • History 6-12
  • Mathematics 6-12
  • Physics 6-12
  • Elementary K-6
  • English Speakers of Other Languages K-12

Accredited by NCATE till June 2020

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core and Praxis II Subject Assessment or State Equivalent

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $443 (in-state); $1018 (out-of-state)

  • 100% pass rate on Praxis II Subject Assessment exams for three years in a row
  • 100% of the professors in the MAT program have a doctoral degree
  • The COE is home to several exceptional student organizations
  • Dedicated Field Experience Program matches students with local schools for student teaching rotations
  • UAH named best return on investment among all schools in Alabama

For a second year, UAH has been named the best return on investment in Alabama, offering students a lot of bang for their tuition bucks. At the College of Education this includes a 100 percent pass rate on the Praxis II Subject Assessment exams for three years and counting.

You'll find unparalleled peer support and networking opportunities here through organizations like the Student Alabama Education Association (SAEA), the Student Council for Exceptional Children, and the international education honor society Kappa Delta Pi.

When it's time to step into the classroom for your student teaching experience, you'll find the Field Experience Program is tailored to make your transition seamless. You'll find some of the most dedicated professors here - they all hold terminal degrees and they're all eager to share their unique insights after years in the field to ensure their MAT students are successful in their own careers.

University of Alabama
College of Education
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

MA in Elementary Education

MA in Special Education (Alternative Route)

  • Collaborative Special Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Multiple Abilities Program
  • Gifted Education

MA in Secondary Education

  • English Language Arts
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
    • French/German/Latin/Spanish
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • General
  • Social Science
    • Geography
    • General
    • History

Accredited by NCATE through 2023

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE/MAT + Praxis Core

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $449 (in-state); $1,260 (out-of-state)

  • Elementary Education program is offered entirely online
  • Office of Research and Service offers many opportunities to contribute to cutting-edge research projects or to find support for your own investigations
  • Thesis and non-thesis completion options are available
  • Specialty labs and outreach services ranging from the Alabama Autism Cluster to the Educational Neuroscience Initiative offers an enormous breadth of research and volunteer opportunities

Hitting all three of the essential elements of modern American primary education, UA covers the board for career paths for prospective teachers, and it does it at a very affordable price.

Committed to diversity, fairness and equity, and a culture of collaboration, you'll get a rock-solid background in the principles of pedagogy no matter which branch you select. But there's more; as the premier educational institution in the state of Alabama, and one of the finest in the nation, you also get in-depth exposure to regional interests and research into educational theory and practice. The scope spans both national and international perspectives, with in-depth studies on hot-button topics such as educational neuroscience and innovative technology, teaching, and learning.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock
College of Education and Health Professions (CEHP), School of Education
Little Rock, AR

M.Ed. (on-campus)

  • Educational Licensure Track in various content areas - K-12
  • Special Education K-12
  • Middle Childhood Education 4-8

Accredited by CAEP till June 2024

Entrance Exam Requirements: For those who have not taken ACT or SAT exams or whose scores don't meet the minimum requirements, the Accuplacer Next Generation exam, GRE or Praxis Core are required.

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $320 (in-state); $725 (out-of-state)

  • 88% of professors in the COE have their doctoral degree
  • The CEHP maintains a database of scholarships and other helpful student services
  • 94% three-year average pass rate on Praxis II Subject Assessment examinations
  • The CEHP hosts a grant incentive program to encourage in-house faculty research development

The College of Education and Health Professions makes it easy for you to get some help as you invest in your future with its database of scholarships and funding options for prospective teachers. It also provides housing, food, health and wellness, academic, community connections, and childcare support to ensure students from all different backgrounds and personal situations have the opportunity to invest in their futures too.

The faculty at the CEHP are outstanding - 88% in the School of Education hold doctoral degrees. The CEHP also maintains a special grant incentive program to encourage home-grown talent and cultivate a rich research environment, putting advanced expertise and enriching opportunities within easy reach. All these factors combine in a way that has resulted in a three-year average pass rate of 94 percent on teaching subject exams like the Praxis II for everyone who's completed the school's graduate teacher preparation program. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock stands out admirably from the rest.

University of South Florida-Tampa
College of Education
Tampa, FL

MAT (campus)

  • Foreign Languages K-12 (Spanish, French, German, Latin, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese)
  • Elementary Education K-6
  • English Education 6-12
  • Exceptional Student Education with endorsements in ESOL and Reading, Mathematics Education 5-9 or 6-12
  • Science Education 6-12 (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Social Studies 6-12

Accredited by NCATE till December 2020

Entrance Exam Requirements: GTK from the Florida Teacher Certification Exam; GRE required only for undergrad GPAs below 3.0

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $431 (in-state); $887 (out-of-state)

  • Advanced teacher training that incorporates the latest technological developments
  • Ranked among the top-20 best schools of education for its online graduate education program by US News and World Report
  • Ranked among the top-five fastest growing research universities in the nation from 2000-2010 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • One of the largest colleges of education in the nation
  • Since its inception, the College of Education has received tens of millions of dollars in grants
  • 100% of faculty in the Exceptional Student Education program have their doctoral degrees

The University of South Florida-Tampa College of Education is a giant among schools of its kind. You'll study alongside more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members. This virtually guarantees you have the opportunity for maximum exposure to different teaching and learning philosophies in an environment where there's a niche for everyone.

The school is recognized for its state-of-the-art teacher education program and shows a unique commitment to student success by offering individualized support for test preparation.

Part of the Exceptional Student Education program offered through the College of Education, the MA in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Intellectual Abilities is offered online to ensure optimal convenience and flexibility.

California State University - Los Angeles
Charter College of Education
Los Angeles, California

MA in Integrated STEM Education

  • Education Specialist
  • Math/Science

Accredited by NCATE

Entrance Exam Requirements: CBEST

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $342 (in-state); $738 (out-of-state)

  • Innovative Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency Transformation Initiative is based on medical residency programs to pack transformative learning experiences into collaborative environments
  • LAUTR-TI offers a $25,000 living stipend to accepted candidates
  • Community partners support social justice perspectives by assisting with courses and leading community-based experiences

CSU-LA has a long and respectable history of producing teachers for one of the largest education markets in the nation. But the real reason the school makes our top list is the innovative MA in Integrated STEM through the Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency Transformation Initiative (LAUTR-TI).

Based on the medical residency model, this cohort-based program not only places residents in high-need, reform-minded schools, but supports them through a strong mentorship participation model, where co-teaching allows a gradual stair-step approach to taking control of the classroom.

Although you attend university courses throughout the year to fill licensing requirements and to build your theory and knowledge, the bulk of your time is spent in an urban classroom environment, hands-on with diverse, multicultural classes that will prepare you for any teaching job in America.

Loyola Marymount University
School of Education
Los Angeles, California

MA in Elementary Education

MA in Special Education

MA in Secondary Education

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Art
  • Spanish
  • Languages Other Than English

Accredited by NCATE through 2019

Entrance Exam Requirements: CBEST

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,273

  • Centers such as the Center for Equity for English Learners, Center for Math and Science Teaching, and Innovation in Digital Education and Leadership offer superb resource and research opportunities
  • Traditional Jesuit education offers a rigorous but compassionate approach that provides a model for your own approaches to teaching
  • Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education Corps (PLACE) offer the option of earning your masters over a two year commitment serving in under-resourced schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • PLACE Corps is nationally recognized as a Catholic teachers service corps

You don't pick a Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition if you're not ready to knuckle down and seriously master the art and science of pedagogy.

But traditional doesn't mean old-fashioned at Loyola Marymount. Instead, you'll encounter some of the most groundbreaking approaches to teacher education in the country here, with the PLACE Corps recognized nationally for social justice and strong values. Living in an intentional community with one another, PLACE offers a cohort on steroids, where support and learning go deeper than just the classroom.

Partnerships with Upward Bound and The Education Success Project offer other avenues to push your boundaries, all while improving the community you serve. LMU is at the forefront of research in these and other areas, making it a great choice if you're equally passionate about investigation and theory as you are about teaching in the classroom.

University of Connecticut
Neag School of Education
Avery Point, Downtown Hartford, Waterbury

TCPCG (Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates)

Downtown Hartford and Waterbury

  • Agriculture Education
  • English Education
  • Mathematics
  • Science Education
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Science
    • General Science
    • Physics
  • Social Studies Education
  • Special Education
  • World Languages Education
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish

Avery Point

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • General Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Special Education

Accredited by NCATE till December 2022

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis II Subject Assessment or State Equivalent, and Praxis Core

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $640 (in-state); $1,540 (out-of-state)

  • Also offers Integrated Bachelor's-master's (IB/M) programs leading to teacher certification for students with 2-year transfer degrees or equivalent training and experience
  • Highly qualified faculty that include Fulbright Scholars, numerous national fellows, and prestigious award winners
  • 100% of faculty have their doctoral degree
  • Neag School of Education is home to two professional student organizations
  • Full-time, 11-month accelerated program
  • Option to study from three different campus locations
  • Ranked among the top-20 graduate schools in the nation byUS News and World Report
  • Opportunities to gain global experiences in places like the UK and South Africa, as well as through hosting students from international universities

The top-notch faculty at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education stand out in any crowd. They include five Fulbright Scholars and 14 UC Teaching Fellows, and represent the National Academy of Education, the National Education Policy Center, and the International Academy of Research in Learning Disabilities, among others. One was just named co-editor of the Educational Researcher (ER), the premier journal of the American Educational Research Association, while another is a McGraw Prize in Education emeritus.

As a student here, you'll not only learn from the best; you'll also have every opportunity to become the best yourself - one alumnus was just named Education Commissioner of Connecticut.

Quinnipiac University
School of Education
North Haven, Connecticut

MAT in Elementary Education

MAT in Secondary Education

  • Biology
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Spanish

Accredited by NCATE

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,055

  • School is ranked in the top 20% of all American universities by The Economist and the Brookings Institute
  • Interdisciplinary learning fostered by co-located graduate programs on campus
  • Collaborative partnerships with area schools allow you to learn teaching best practices while being an important contributor in a live educational environment
  • A range of career transition services assists you in landing a position after graduation, including resume-writing workshops and mock interview processes

Quinnipiac embraces change and dives head-first into civic-engagement to promote well-being in the community - a natural fit with teacher education.

The inclusive community in the School of Education helps promote lifelong connections for success and growth long after graduation. The school invests in that success not only through a superb education in the theory and practice of modern education, but also through unbelievable networking and career services, which help you land on your feet not only after graduation, but also support you throughout your career in education.

Attending Quinnipiac sets you up with more than just the knowledge and skills to be a teacher, it also helps you develop the mindset to be a successful and transformative educator at work and in life.

University of West Georgia
College of Education
Carrollton, GA

MAT (on-campus)

  • Biology Secondary Education 6-12
  • Broad Field Science Secondary Education 6-12
  • Business Secondary Education 6-12
  • Chemistry Secondary Education 6-12
  • Economics Secondary Education 6-12
  • English Secondary Education 6-12
  • History Secondary Education 6-12
  • Mathematics Secondary Education 6-12
  • Physics Secondary Education 6-12
  • Political Science Secondary Education 6-12

Accredited by NCATE till December 2020

Entrance Exam Requirements: Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators (GACE)

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $241 (in-state); $935 (out-of-state)

  • 100% pass rate on GACE exams
  • Opportunities to study abroad
  • Office of Field Experiences dedicated to ensuring you get the perfect matches for your student teaching
  • Office of Teacher Certification processes all your paperwork relating to your application for an initial teaching certification
  • The College of Education has been recognized as a first rate program for two years in a row by Colleges of Distinction
  • Award-winning faculty whose achievements include the 2018 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year award and the Distinguished International Service in Educational Communications and Technology award

The support you'll experience as a student at the University of West Georgia College of Education is second to none. You'll find offices that are specifically dedicated to ensuring you find an ideal teaching experience in the local community, and that help you every step of the way as you apply for your initial teaching certification.

Your academic preparation here is enriching and hands-on with numerous centers and labs where you can do everything from tinker with the latest in classroom technology to get one-on-one academic counseling and advice.

The College of Education recognizes the value of international experience and offers opportunities to study abroad in countries like China, Ecuador, Belize, Costa Rica, and the UK. Last year 84 MAT Secondary Education students took seven different GACE exams- and 100 percent of them passed.

Georgia Southern University
College of Education
Statesboro, Georgia

MAT in Secondary Education 6-12

  • Business
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Political Science

MAT in Health and Physical Education P-12

MAT in Elementary Education P-5

MAT in Middle Grades Education 4-8

  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • MAT in Spanish Education P-12

Accredited by NCATE

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE/MAT + Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators (GACE)

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $277 (in-state); $1,105 (out-of-state); $358 (online)

  • Most programs offered in hybrid format, with on-campus and online courses; some programs available entirely online
  • Middle Grades MAT allows you to select two of the six possible concentrations for certification
  • Extensive partnerships with regional schools and community education agencies make it easy to find workable teacher placements as well as expanding your other volunteer and research opportunities
  • Instructional Support and Resources Center offers expert support in the training and use of emerging instructional technologies

Georgia Southern offers a wide range of teaching specializations through hybrid and online MAT programs that are designed to fit in easily with the demands and commitments of working professionals.

As the premier teacher education school in Southeast Georgia, it has its pick of highly-qualified, highly-experienced instructors. When you have mentors and professors of that caliber, it follows that you'll have top-notch research assignments, as well, along with the support you need to succeed in your investigations.

Boise State University
College of Education
Boise, ID

MIT (online)

  • Special Education Exceptional Child, Generalist K-12

Accredited by CAEP till December 2023

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $219 (in-state); $889 (out-of-state)

  • 100% four-year average pass rate on Praxis II Subject Assessment exams
  • 90% three-year average job placement rate for graduates (includes those who continued with further education or who chose not to pursue employment in the field)
  • Award-winning faculty
  • Ranked among the top-three Colleges of Education in the Northwest and the Intermountain West by US News and World Report
  • Opportunities to network and connect with other professionals at several research centers
  • Average of $261k in research funding per faculty member at the College of Education
  • The College of Education participates as a member of or in partnership with 16 organizations, including seven at the local and state level, and four related to special education
  • One of the first 17 programs nationally to qualify under the CAEP's new accreditation standards

The faculty at the Boise State University College of Education are outstanding by any measure. One was just awarded the university's Distinguished Professor Award, while another just won a Golden Apple teaching award. The professors in the College of Education have a cumulative 113 journal articles, 15 book chapters, and seven books to their credit.

As a student you'll enjoy extensive opportunities to advance your knowledge and network with other professionals at any one of the College of Education's nine research centers, initiatives, or programs. This includes the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies which has received nearly $68 million in contracts and grants since its inception.

These are some of the reasons why the College of Education ranks as the third-best in multiple regions, and 39th-best among all the colleges of education in the entire country, up a staggering 15 places from last year. You can't beat a 100% four-year average pass rate on your final teaching content area exams.

Northern Illinois University
College of Education, Department of Special and Early Education (SEED)
De Kalb, IL

MS.Ed. In Special Education (on-campus)

  • Learning Behavior Specialist I
  • Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments

Accredited by CAEP till June 2025

Entrance Exam Requirements: All M.S.Ed. program candidates are required to pass a comprehensive examination. Information about this exam will be provided by the graduate adviser and faculty mentor.

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $357 (in-state); $357 (out-of-state)

  • $20k in scholarships awarded annually to SEED students
  • 95% satisfaction rate among SEED students, and 97% report feeling well prepared for their future role
  • Classes taught by award-winning faculty
  • College of Education received $1.26 million in new grants
  • Students in the Visual Impairments track typically have three job offers before they graduate, while most SEED students are hired within a year of graduation
  • College of Education is home to five Presidential Professors and five Fulbright Scholars

As a graduate of the Department of Special and Early Education (SEED) at the Northern Illinois University College of Education, it's likely you'll exceed the minimum expectations that the state requires for licensure.

From the first day on campus you'll enjoy one-on-one mentoring with highly qualified faculty who will stick by your side all the way through graduation.

A sense of community is further enhanced throughout your studies with the cohort model of learning. It's not unusual to have a job offer even before you graduate, and it's not unheard of that you'll be offered a position at your student teaching site.

As a major center for teaching in the state - and the nation - your opportunities for networking are fabulous.

One out of every five superintendents in Illinois is a graduate of NIU.

Indiana University Bloomington
School of Education
Bloomington, IN

MS.Ed. (on-campus)

  • Art Education K-12
  • Literacy Culture and Language Education
  • Mathematics Secondary Education

Accredited by CAEP till December 2024

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core or Indiana's Core Academic Skills Assessment; GRE Required for GPAs below 3.0

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $434 (in-state); $1,471 (out-of-state)

  • 99% three-year average pass rate on Praxis II Subject Assessment exams
  • Opportunities to study abroad and throughout the nation
  • 96% of graduates recommend the teacher education program
  • Small class sizes
  • One of the nation's most respected schools of education
  • 99% of graduates are employed or continuing their education
  • Highly qualified faculty who include 23 Teacher of the Year award recipients

The Global Gateways for Teachers program at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Education offers unique opportunities for you to learn about different cultures while you prepare to become a teacher. These include the Navajo Nation program and options to go abroad to countries like Greece, Italy, Japan, Russia, Norway, Tanzania, Ecuador, and more. Exposure to new and immersive experiences like this is one of the main factors students cite for recommending the program.

A visiting international scholars program is another exciting way you can rub elbows with people from diverse cultures without even having to leave campus.

On the academic side, you'll find a rich environment filled with over a dozen research centers and institutes that attract professionals from many niche areas within the field of education.

Student support and mentoring here are second to none - for example, at the GradGrants Center you'll get one-on-one coaching on writing grant proposals. You'll find a supportive environment here at the School of Education that nurtures your success, as is evidenced by a three-year 99 percent average pass rate on the Praxis II Subject Assessment exams.

University of Nebraska - Lincoln
College of Education and Human Sciences
Lincoln, Nebraska

MA in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education

  • Elementary
  • World Language Education
  • Innovative Learning Technologies

Accredited by CAEP through 2025

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $332 (in-state); $960 (out-of-state)

  • Offers a combination of hybrid, synchronous online, asynchronous online and on-campus classes- catering to a wide variety of learning styles
  • Faculty have deep background experience in K-16 classrooms as well as top-end research chops to deliver both theoretical and experiential education
  • The GOLDEN (Global Online Language Distance Education Network) World Language Education specialization offers extensive preparation in German, Chinese, or Spanish language education and allows you to interact with colleagues from around the country in an online forum

Examine issues of multiculturalism, educational reform, policy development and implementation, and other hot subjects of the day through this comprehensive teacher prep master's program.

The UNL MA in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education is broad in scope but highly focused on the success of its students. Everything from literacy assessment and instruction to language and culture come under the microscope here as you are guided and challenged by the first-rate instructors at the College of Education and Human Sciences. The school's participation in the GOLDEN language education initiative is just one outgrowth of that approach, bringing language and culture together in a vast distributed learning environment. And if you're a student of the Innovative Learning Technologies program, you'll be put at the forefront of instructional technology adaptation.

Monmouth University
School of Education
Monmouth, New Jersey


  • Elementary K-6
    • Teacher of Students with Disabilities
    • ESL Endorsement
  • Secondary 7-12
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • ESL/TSD Endorsement in addition to above available

Accredited by NCATE through 2019

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core + GRE/SAT/ACT

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,233

  • Build at least 225 hours of hands-on experience in grades K-12 through an intensively experiential program
  • Work with students both one-on-one as well as in larger or smaller groups
  • Award-winning faculty are well-known in research circles and have many publications to their credit
  • Accelerated program can be completed in as little as 12 months

Monmouth has an extensive network of partner schools to give you a wide range of opportunities for taking the theory and techniques you have learned in the classroom and putting them into practice in various settings and different grade levels. The school has a strong research perspective and the faculty expertise to back it up.

The program stands out even among the many great schools in the Northeast by doubling down on the caliber and amount of practical experience students undergo but does it without ever compromising the theoretical learning involved in teacher preparation.

With a full slate of endorsements and specializations on tap, you'll get the kind of practical, real-world experience you need no matter which subject you teach.

Fordham University
School of Education
New York, New York

MST in Early Childhood Education

MST in Childhood Education

  • Bilingual
  • Special Education

MST in Adolescence Education/Adolescence Special Education

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Social Studies

MST in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Accredited by NCATE through 2023

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE/MAT

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,442

  • Fordham's Graduate School of Education ranked among the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2020
  • On campus and online programs are available in most degree tracks
  • Advanced Placement Summer Institutes offer unique preparation for teachers bound for high school AP classrooms
  • A strong, rigorous, Jesuit approach to educational excellence characterizes every Fordham class
  • Faculty come from the cream of the crop in American educational circles, with backgrounds that include groundbreaking research and extensive classroom experience

Fordham is a globally respected university in a global center for education and commerce, and you'll find that the Master of Science in Teaching degree programs here fully exemplify those strengths.

The multicultural campus adds to the richness of your student experience here. An emphasis on integrating social justice into every specialization goes along with strong special education programs that focus on disadvantaged populations. The TESOL option is particularly attractive in this bustling, international city.

Other special advantages line up for Fordham students through the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy and Education, which weaves teaching and the study of media together, and the Center for Educational Partnerships, which opens the taps to local educational and support centers for research or volunteering.

Teachers College Columbia University
Graduate School of Education, Health & Psychology
New York, New York

MA in Secondary Inclusive Education

MA in Early Childhood Special Education

MA in Elementary Inclusive Education

MA in English Education

MA in Early Childhood Education

MA in Bilingual/Bicultural Education

MA in Science Education

MA in Mathematics Education

MA in Physical Education

MA in Sociology and Education

MA in Art and Art Education

MA in Music and Music Education

MA in Movement Science and Education

MA in Reading Specialist

MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL

MA in Teaching of Social Studies

MA in Intellectual Disabilities Autism

MA in Technology Specialist

Accredited by CAEP

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,700

  • Teaching Residents at Teachers Colleges offers students of certain programs a multifaceted 14-month apprenticeship with experienced teachers in high-need NYC secondary schools
  • Dual specializations for gifted teaching or teaching students with disabilities offered in many programs
  • More than a third of tenure track faculty are psychologists or health specialists, giving the program a unique holistic approach to education that tackles social justice, poverty, and other external issues that impact teaching
  • Research subjects currently under investigation include effects of poverty on the brain, the legal basis for a right to education, and hip-hop pedagogy, among others

You hardly have to say more than the word "Columbia" to convey why this school makes our top picks list for master's ITP programs.

The revered New York City university is a focal point for national and international research and innovation in education, and the highly respected, often-published faculty here lead the way in many of those advances. You'll take part in those projects and develop the four core areas of expertise that every TC Columbia student must learn: education, health, psychology, and leadership.

The college takes an expansive view of education, embracing a whole-person perspective that values community participation and individual well-being as much as classic classroom instruction.

Columbia offers a diverse, innovative approach to education that is well worth the price tag and that will provide an invaluable boost to your effectiveness in the classroom.

High Point University
Stout School of Education
High Point, NC

MAT in Elementary Education (K-6)

Accredited by CAEP till December 2023

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core Exam for undergrad GPAs below 3.0

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,152

  • University named among the ‘Best Regional Colleges' in the South and ‘Most Innovative Colleges' of 2019 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Excellent history of student success - 97% of graduates employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation

High Point University's MAT in Elementary Education is backed by a history of educational excellence and student success, assuring you that your transition to the teaching profession is something you can feel very confident about.

Just a couple of the accolades bestowed upon High Point include spots on the U.S. News & World Report ‘Best Regional Colleges' in the South and ‘Most Innovative Colleges' lists.

One of the standout features of High Point is the support and mentorship network, which includes access to a success coach, academic advisor, faculty mentor, career advisor, internship advisor, and first-year navigator.

It's no wonder why 97% of the graduates here are employed or continuing their education within six months of completing the program.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Watson College of Education
Wilmington, North Carolina

MAT in Secondary Education

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Accredited by NCATE through 2022

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $393 (in-state); $1,546 (out-of-state)

  • Program housed in the state-of-the-art Education Building, providing an innovative and interactive learning environment
  • Named on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Graduate Schools in the nation
  • Offers the opportunity to work directly with high school teachers engaged in developing progressive new educational programs, including early college programs
  • Office of Professional Experience goes the extra mile to place you in exciting field experiences that align with your subject area

UNC Wilmington maintains its place in the top ranks of initial teacher prep programs in North Carolina with a strong commitment to helping develop teachers capable of stepping into diverse high school classrooms and encouraging students to be globally competitive.

Innovation and interactivity are watchwords in teacher preparation here, with your learning environment reflecting the multicultural, high-tech environment that you'll be stepping into when you graduate.

A strong focus on instilling practical skills means that you'll be spending plenty of time in real-world high-school classrooms, working under the guidance of experienced educators who help you master the skills of classroom management and pedagogy.

Duquesne University
School of Education
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

MAT Secondary Education (7-12)

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Social Studies
  • Italian/Latin/Spanish K-12

Accredited by NCATE through 2020

Entrance Exam Requirements: Pennsylvania Department of Education Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment Exam for students with GPAs below 2.8

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,310

  • A study abroad option allows you to experience teaching for up to 8 weeks in English-speaking classrooms in Italy, Ireland, or England
  • Program faculty come from all over the world and are all experts in their respective fields
  • Student teaching in urban, rural, and suburban settings for a diverse experience in the field

You'll be asked to confront social justice issues head-on in this pull-no-punches program that will take you through classrooms in the heart of Pittsburgh and throughout rural Pennsylvania.

Perspectives on education and diversity are front and center at Duquesne, with a study abroad option that can take you even further afield to experience the teaching process in other cultures.

Duquesne is proud to offer an education in the Spiritan Tradition of Caring that is both rich in tradition but constantly evolving to meet the needs of diverse communities.

Clemson University
College of Education
Clemson, South Carolina

MAT in Special Education

Accredited by NCATE

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE/MAT

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $440 (in-state); $873 (out-of-state)

  • 100% of job-seeking MAT graduates receive job offers prior to graduation
  • Strong alumni program means you'll always have a network behind you for advice throughout your career
  • Work alongside faculty partners in the strong research program at Clemson for first-hand experience designing and conducting investigations and writing papers
  • Specialized labs like the Child Learning and Development Lab offer specialized resources and expert consultation

As home to a host of nationally recognized labs, centers, institutes, and programs in education, Clemson is a solid choice for your MAT in Special Education.

The Clemson School of Education is a place where groundbreaking research and the development of innovative teaching techniques come standard. You will be at the forefront of those efforts with instructors who will value your contributions to research as much as you value their guidance. At the same time, you'll be learning all the practical skills and theory you need to make a real difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.

As a student of the Clemson MAT in Special Education you'll get the tools and perspective required to improve both academic and social outcomes in this disadvantaged population.

Vanderbilt University
Peabody College
Nashville, Tennessee

MEd in Elementary Education

MEd in Secondary Education

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
    • History
    • Political Science-Government
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Science
    • Physics

MEd in Special Education (teacher licensure possible)

  • Early Childhood
  • High Incidence
  • Low Incidence
  • Severe
  • Visual Disabilities

Accredited by NCATE through 2024

Entrance Exam Required: GRE or MAT

Cost-Per-Credit: $1,938

  • Ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for Special Education graduate programs
  • 98% of Secondary Education and 100% of Elementary Education graduates were employed or attending graduate school within 4 months of graduation, teaching across the U.S. and internationally
  • Constant fieldwork engagement ensures you get the hands-on experience you need to develop your own style and techniques in classroom management
  • Multiple program tracks for 1- or 2-year completion to allow an option for more classroom experience, or a faster path to licensure
  • Strong alumni network has fellow graduates on tap in places like Washington D.C. and New York City to offer advice and resources throughout your career

Teacher-leader is a term you find a lot in the Vanderbilt MEd programs, and effectively developing educators that exemplify that winning combination is the school's goal. The whole idea is that you not only develop effective methods of teaching, but also cultivate your leadership skills, at both the classroom and school system level.

The results speak for themselves, with superlative job placement rates and wide international demand for Vanderbilt graduates.

The groundbreaking special education program is worth highlighting in particular, with a close affiliation with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, one of only 14 centers in the U.S. conducting in-depth research on intellectual and developmental disabilities. All the expertise the Center has to offer is at your fingertips, and with inclusive faculty research projects, you will have your own chance to add to that expertise during your time in the program.

Dallas Baptist University
Dorothy M. Bush College of Education
Dallas, Texas


  • EC-6th Grade
  • Secondary Certification

Accredited by CAEP till 2024

Entrance Exam Requirements: GRE or MAT

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $1,004

  • A Curriculum Lab on campus provides excellent resources and support for lesson planning and developing research projects
  • Faculty at the program have nearly 500 combined years of practical teaching experience in both publications and private settings
  • Christian university offers a supportive, faith-based approach to educational training

Dallas Baptist provides a Christ-centered, mission-driven environment where your education will be marked by service. That means attending to your spiritual development as much as your professional development, turning you into a responsible, compassionate and ethical teacher.

A strong theoretical understanding of pedagogy built on top of a firm base of Christian character and empathy allows you to develop innovative and effective classroom management skills and teaching techniques of your own.

Your experience here and the skills you leave with are all part of Dallas Baptist University'sfaith-based approach to preparing educators, and the commitment to excellence the Dorothy M. Bush College of Educationexemplifies.

Norfolk State University
Department of Early Childhood/Elementary Special Education
Norfolk, Virginia

MA in Special Education

  • Adapted Curriculum K-12
  • General Curriculum K-12

Accredited by NCATE through 2022

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core or Equivalent

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $368 (in-state); $870 (out-of-state)

  • The NSU Preschool Academy offers students direct, hands-on experience laying a strong foundation for future education
  • The Future Teacher Academy provides specialized support for students progressing through state licensing requirements
  • Ninety-six percent of faculty have a terminal degree in the field
  • One hundred percent licensure exam pass rate for students completing a teacher licensure program from 2016-18

The NSU School of Education offers the leadership, coordination, and support that you will need to launch a strong and lasting career in education.

Special education requires special training, and the Department of Early Childhood/Elementary Special Education has that training down to a science. Compassion, collaboration, and commitment are hallmarks of the program, all fostered by an inclusive, experienced, and dedicated faculty. That's the kind of dedication that gets every student across the line to licensure while preparing them to be successful teachers in the real world.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
School of Education
Blacksburg, Virginia

MS in Career and Technical Education

  • Agriculture
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Marketing

MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Science

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Physics

MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Elementary Education

MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Secondary Education

  • English
  • Music
    • Choral
    • Instrumental

MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction: History and Social Science

MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics

Accredited by CAEP through 2025

Entrance Exam Requirements: Praxis Core + SAT/ACT

Estimated Cost-Per-Credit: $761 (in-state); $1,534 (out-of-state)

  • MS in Career and Technical Education is available either on campus or in a hybrid format with some courses online
  • The CTE program has a 100 percent placement rate going back for a decade
  • On campus centers and labs such as the Center for Research and Development in International Education and the Center for Instructional Technology Solutions in Industry and Education offer research support and expert resources

Applied research and high-caliber faculty characterize the Virginia Tech ITP master's degree programs, which offer endorsements in every conventional teaching subject and a few more that really make this school stand out from the crowd.

Leveraging the school's well-known and highly acclaimed agricultural research efforts, VTU offers an unusual MS in Career and Technical Education with an agricultural teaching focus.

With a hybrid track available, you can spend as little as three weeks a year on campus, spending the remainder of your time engaged in student teaching. High-impact outreach can be found in both agriculture and other ITP tracks, putting your experiential learning to good use in at-need communities.