The best bachelor’s degrees in education

HomeEducationThe best bachelor’s degrees in education

Introduction to education

Many high school graduates choose to earn their bachelor’s degree immediately after graduating. A bachelor’s in education is a good choice for those wanting to pursue a teaching career, as it prepares students for state K-12 licensure and certification.

Many associate degree holders also continue their education with a bachelor’s in education. Programs are designed to equip students with the organizational, critical thinking and time management skills needed in a classroom setting. Students also gain practical experience, laying the foundation for effective teaching.

What this program entails

A traditional curriculum takes 4 years, but many schools allow transferable credits, online classes or a combination of web-based and on-campus study. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Education generally requires 120 credits and a practicum or internship.

Many education undergraduates opt for a career as elementary, middle or secondary teachers (grades 1-12). Some choose to specialize in certain subjects too. That said, graduates can also pursue roles as childcare directors, admissions counselors or librarians.

The teaching profession offers a great deal of variety. Whether you want to teach teenagers or toddlers, history or math, a bachelor’s degree can help pave the way. It’s also the ideal qualification for those who want to earn their master’s or doctoral degrees and reach senior or administrative positions in education.

On this page, you will learn more about the top bachelor’s degree programs in education including average costs, degree lengths and required coursework. We’ve also included information on the teaching career outlook, potential salaries and financial aid.

The best bachelor’s in education programs

The programs in the list below include the key information you need to make comparisons and make informed choices, including graduation rates and tuition costs.

The following schools, arranged alphabetically, typically offer more than one education-focused bachelor’s degree program. This list includes only the most popular option for each school, but you can click on the links provided to get more information.

  • Marquette University

    Marquette University Marquette, Wisconsin
    Marquette University

    Marquette University is a Jesuit and Catholic educational institution situated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It offers over 80 majors and more than 90 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

    Its schools and colleges are internationally and nationally recognized. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), with many individual programs also accredited by various relevant organizations.

    Marquette University, through its College of Education, offers undergraduate studies in 3 majors. Students can choose to earn their B.S. in teacher education for grades 1-8 or 6-12. These programs lead to teacher certification in various majors, such as biology, mathematics, history or physics.

    Alternatively, students can pursue a B.S. in educational studies. The curriculum is designed for those interested in education but who don’t want a traditional classroom teaching experience. The university also offers online classes and accelerated programs

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  • North Carolina State University

    North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
    North Carolina State University

    North Carolina State University (NCSU) has been producing graduates for over a century, with more than 35,000 enrollees each year. It forms parts of the “research triangle,” a national hotspot for tech enterprises that are known to hire NC State graduates. NCSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in more than 160 fields.

    NCSU’s College of Education provides state approved Education Preparation Programs (EPPs) for students who wish to pursue their NC teaching licensure. Candidates can take various tracks depending on their previous qualifications, credit transfer eligibility and career goals.

    The available undergraduate teaching programs prepare students for careers in education from K-12 to postsecondary, with numerous majors and minors to choose from. Options include a B.S. in education, elementary education and middle grades education. As a research university, NCSU offers curriculums with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concentration.

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  • Northwestern University

    Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois
    Northwestern University

    Established in 1851, Northwestern University is a private research university located in Evanston, Illinois. With over 21,000 students, Northwestern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a vast range of categories.

    Its 3 campuses are home to 12 colleges and schools, including the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP). Here, undergraduates can earn their B.S. in education and social policy, making them eligible to teach grades 9-12 or a foreign language. They must choose 1 of 5 academic concentrations, including learning and organizational change, human development, social policy, learning sciences or secondary teaching. Students can also tailor their studies to their interests. SESP concentrations are flexible, allowing many undergraduates to pursue as many as 2 additional majors, minors or 1 of each.

    The university also offers dual and accelerated degree programs, such as the accelerated M.S. in education. This program prepares students for K-12 teaching, licensure, and educational leadership.

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  • Ohio State University

    Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio
    Ohio State University

    Ohio State University (OSU) is located in Columbus, Ohio. The university is also one of the largest in the country, with more than 65,000 students.

    OSU’s College of Education and Human Ecology offers a range of bachelor, master and doctorate education programs. Undergraduates can earn their B.S.Ed. in early childhood education, middle childhood education, science and mathematics education and more. Upon completion, students are usually eligible to obtain their initial 4-year Ohio state teaching license.

    Initial educator preparation programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Additionally, students can pursue licensure only, certificate and endorsement programs.

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  • Rhodes College

    Rhodes College Memphis, Tennessee
    Rhodes College

    Rhodes College is a liberal arts education institution located in Memphis, Tennessee. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Approximately 2,000 students enroll each year.

    The 4-year residential college offers over 50 academic programs, majors, minors and interdisciplinary majors. Aspiring teaching students can pursue their bachelor’s in educational studies and choose from 1 of 3 tracks: policy and reform, community and social change, or teaching and learning. Rhodes College also offers dual degree and graduate programs.

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  • Smith College

    Smith College Northampton, Massachussets
    Smith College

    Established in 1875, Smith College forms part of the Five College Consortium in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is a private liberal arts institution that only admits female undergraduate students. Graduate programs also admit men, and the college also administers doctorate degrees with the other 4 colleges in the consortium.

    Smith College has over 40 academic departments, including education and child studies. With a flexible curriculum, teaching students can choose from 3 tracks: international education, teaching and learning or youth, community and policy studies. They can then select appropriate courses to fulfill graduation and licensure eligibility requirements.

    The college offers licensure programs for an array of fields and levels, including elementary (grades 1-6), general science (grades 5-8), and mathematics (grades 8-12). Students must take and pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) to teach in the state.

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  • Trinity College

    Trinity College New Haven, Connecticut
    Trinity College

    Trinity College is the second oldest college in Connecticut, founded in 1823. It is a private institution dedicated to the liberal arts. Trinity offers over 65 interdisciplinary majors and minors, with more than 900 courses available to its 2,000 students.

    Undergraduates can choose from a range of courses to build a tailored program that aligns with their career goals. The college offers aspiring educators a few majors in educational studies, including mentoring and tutoring, private and international teaching and public school teacher preparation by state. Trinity works with the University of Saint Joseph so that students can earn their licensure while pursuing their undergraduate studies.

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  • Tufts University

    Tufts University Medford, Massachussets
    Tufts University

    Tufts University, located in Medford, Massachusetts, was established in 1852. It’s a private research university that offers more than 150 majors and minors and 30 interdisciplinary programs across its 3 schools. With 5,400 students, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are located at the Medford/Somerville campus in Boston.

    While there is no specific bachelor’s degree in education, students can choose education as a co-major and craft their program according to their interests. Tufts University also offers online and hybrid classes, as well as combined and double major programs.

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  • University of Maryland

    University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
    University of Maryland

    The University of Maryland (UMD), situated in College Park, Maryland, is a public land-grant research university established in 1856. Many refer to it as a “public ivy” institution, comparing its high quality education to a private Ivy League school.

    UMD offers 102 bachelor’s, 115 master’s and 84 doctoral degree programs across its 12 schools and colleges to over 40,000 students. It’s a member of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), which has accredited various undergraduate and graduate degree programs in education.

    The university’s college of education offers various undergraduate programs in human development and education. Some options include a B.S. in early childhood and early childhood special education, a B.S. in elementary education, a B.S. in middle school education and a B.A. in secondary education. Students can also choose to pursue other special education programs and specializations in subjects like mathematics, social studies and English. Upon completion, students can become licensed and certified teachers in Maryland.

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  • Washington University

    Washington University St Louis, Missouri
    Washington University

    Washington University in St. Louis County, Missouri (WashU or WUSTL) is a private research university founded in 1853, with many Nobel Laureate affiliations.

    It offers more than 1,500 degrees over 90 fields of study across 7 schools. The 169-acre main campus is situated in Danforth, with a medical center in Central West End. WashU also has a north, west and south campus and a research facility.

    WashU’s School of Arts and Sciences education department offers a plethora of undergraduate programs for aspiring elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers. Teacher education majors can choose from the following specializations: K-12 teacher education, elementary teacher education, middle school teacher education or secondary teacher education.

    Students interested in educational processes and institutions can also pursue a bachelor’s in educational studies. Preparation programs for teacher licensure in Missouri and other states are available too.

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Employment numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of elementary school teachers to rise by 4% between 2019 and 2029. The same is true for middle and high school teachers. The aging U.S. population and increasing number of students are contributing factors.

The BLS also shows that the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 2.2% in 2019, only 0.2% more than master’s degree holders. That’s also 1.5% less than high school graduates (3.7%).

There is also an increased probability of management positions  with a bachelor’s degree. significantly increases the likelihood of an individual working in management. Moreover, the statistics show that undergraduates’ top occupations include professional titles.

Furthermore, the unemployment rate of bachelor degree holders aged 25 and over was consistently lower than those without a bachelor’s degree between 1992 and 2020.

With a bachelor’s degree and state licensure, you can teach in a public or private elementary, middle or secondary school. You can also choose to specialize in a subject and further your career by earning a master’s or doctoral degree. The average annual salary for education majors is $55,844. The most common occupations and annual earnings include:

  • elementary and middle school teachers: $52,158
  • special education teachers: $55,717
  • secondary school teachers: $56,651

Career options and earning potential

The nature of the education profession means undergraduates can choose from a plethora of career options. They can specialize in subjects like science, social studies, mathematics and art or a particular demographic. Some even choose to pursue senior roles in administration, consultation and research. Below are a few additional career opportunities.

Instructional coordinator

Instructional coordinators work in schools, universities and private organizations and typically hold a bachelor’s, although a master’s degree may be required. They usually perform administrative tasks, research and liaison. They often assist with strategic development of curricula, orientation and evaluation of new teachers or programs.

Average base salary: $61,672 per year.

Career counselor

Career counselors generally support and advise students about academic, career, and personal choices. Some are qualified at the graduate level while others only hold a bachelor’s degree. They provide one on one counseling and assess the potential and ability of students. Career counselors also coordinate with parents and other professionals. Average base salary: $61,00 per year.

Assistant professor

Assistant professors are experts in their field and typically have a doctoral degree. They provide academic support to faculty members, teach classes and supervise students. Assistant professors may also attend conferences, serve on committees and assist with research. Average base salary: $91,877 per year.

School principal

School principals usually hold a master’s degree. They possess the administrative and leadership skills and knowledge to manage educational institutions, from hiring staff to developing curricula. That said, some school principals only have a bachelor’s degree and climb the ranks with experience. Average base salary: $109,132 per year.

Financial aid

It’s best to check if your university or college offers any financial assistance. The majority of schools we’ve listed above have scholarships, payment plans, grants or other forms of financial aid available for eligible students. You can also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid.

Here are a few potential scholarship options:

You can also find more options on the Federal Student Aid website.