Best Schools With Education and Teacher Prep Programs

Helping you more easily find the best-fitting teaching preparation school or advanced specialty education program is our goal. We’ve researched the top education schools and programs for prospective teachers and current K-12 educators using qualitative metrics you can quickly reference below or on our state school pages.

Table of Contents

Teacher Preparation School Facts

  • There are 2,201 colleges and universities that offer a teacher preparation program in the United States.1
  • 643 schools offer a certificate in education.1
  • 811 schools offer an associate degree in education.1
  • 1,314 schools offer a bachelor’s degree in education.1
  • 1,179 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in education.1
  • Over 550 teacher programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • Over 120 teacher programs are accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with education programs.

Teaching Schools and Programs by State

If you would like to research the best education schools near you, click on your state below. On each state school page, you will find school profiles, top-rated teacher preparation programs, and a directory of teaching schools in your state.

Best Value Teaching Schools with On-Campus Programs

We researched the top schools in the US with an on-campus undergraduate teacher preparation program to come up with our best values list below. To make our list, a school had to have a high graduation rate of 80% or higher and a low net price of less than $20,000 per year. A high graduation rate at a college or university is a traditional marker of student success, while a low net price is an important factor for most people. In the table below, we have included these as well as other quality markers, including retention rate, transfer out rate, student loan default rate, and the percentage of faculty with tenure. We’ve also included national and regional rankings from US News & World Report. Click on the header to sort the table by any given value. Some schools are profiled across our site; click on a linked school name to view the profile.

SchoolGrad Rate1Retention Rate*1Transfer Out Rate**1Student Loan Default Rate1% Tenured Faculty2US News National Rank3US News Regional Rank4Net Price1
University of Washington-Seattle Campus84%94%N.Av.2.5%51%#59 tieNR$9,443
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill91%96%3%1.5%43%#30 tie#34 tie$11,100
Brigham Young University-Provo83%90%N.Av.1.3%46%#66 tieNR$12,979
University of California-Irvine85%94%N.Av.1.9%57%#33 tieNR$13,944
Principia College84%88%N.Av.N.Av.0%NRNR$14,300
University of California-San Diego85%94%N.Av.2.1%55%#41 tieNR$14,616
University of California-Los Angeles91%97%4%1.8%48%#19 tieNR$14,760
University of Florida88%96%3%1.9%52%#35 tieNR$15,283
University of Wisconsin-Madison87%95%N.Av.1.7%49%#49 tie#43 tie$15,910
University of Georgia85%95%6%2.4%54%#46 tie#34 tie$15,934
University of Delaware82%91%N.Av.2.8%57%#89 tieNR$16,286
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor92%97%N.Av.1.5%35%#27 tie#19$16,408
University of California-Davis85%93%N.Av.2.0%57%#38 tie#24 tie$16,446
Florida State University80%94%7%3.4%43%#70 tie#52 tie$16,450
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign85%92%N.Av.2.2%51%#46 tie#43 tie$16,638
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities80%93%12%2.0%59%#76 tieNR$16,808
University of Maryland-College Park85%96%5%2.1%44%#63 tieNR$17,241
Ohio State University-Main Campus83%94%10%5.0%45%#56 tieNR$18,042
University of Connecticut83%94%12%2.5%39%#63 tieNR$18,699
Clemson University82%93%6%1.9%47%#66 tie#16 tie$18,757

All data is based on undergraduate statistics.
*The retention rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time students who continued to a second year of study at the same institution.
**The transfer out rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time students who transferred their credits to another institution within 150% of the normal time to complete their degree.

Niche’s Best Colleges for Education 2024

Niche has ranked the best colleges for teachers and educators in the US based on factors such as admissions statistics, percentage of students majoring in education, and education test scores.5

  • Vanderbilt University (#1)
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (#2)
  • University of Florida (#3)
  • Northwestern University (#4)
  • Brown University (#5)
  • University of South Florida (#6)
  • University of Central Florida (#7)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#8)
  • William Carey University (#9)
  • Florida State University (#10)

Teacher Certification Degrees’ Top Schools With Online Master’s for First-Time Certification

We have ranked the best schools with online and hybrid master’s in education programs based on factors like tuition per online credit hour, the number of students enrolled in distance education classes, and accreditation from CAEP, TEAC, or NCATE. The following list represents the top 10 schools in our ranking. You can see our full list on our online master’s in education guide.

  • University of St. Francis (#1)
  • Mayville State University (#2)
  • Kansas State University (#3)
  • Arizona State University (#4)
  • North Carolina State University (#5)
  • University of the Cumberlands (#6)
  • Old Dominion University (#7)
  • Valley City State University (#8)
  • University of Tennessee at Martin (#9)
  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana (#10)

Teacher Certification Degrees’ Best Online Master of Education Programs

Our unique ranking of the best online Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs by state takes into account each schools’ accreditation, the variety of M.Ed. programs offered, tuition affordability, and academic quality. The top schools from each state are:

  • Azusa Pacific University (#1, California)
  • University of Florida (#1, Florida)
  • Georgia Southern University (#1, Georgia)
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (#1, Illinois)
  • Michigan State University (#1, Michigan)
  • University at Buffalo (#1, New York)
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro (#1, North Carolina)
  • Ohio University (#1, Ohio)
  • Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (#1, Pennsylvania)
  • University of Houston (#1, Texas)

See the full list for each state by clicking on a state name below.

US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Schools 2024

US News & World Report has ranked the best schools with graduate education programs, which is based on a survey of peer institutions.6

  • Teachers College, Columbia University (#1 tie)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (#1 tie)
  • University of California-Los Angeles (#3)
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (#5 tie)
  • Vanderbilt University (#5 tie)
  • University of Pennsylvania (#7)
  • Harvard University (#8 tie)
  • Johns Hopkins University (#8 tie)
  • New York University (#8 tie)
  • Stanford University (#8 tie)
  • University of Texas-Austin (#8 tie)
  • University of Virginia (#8 tie)

US News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Education Programs 2024

US News & World Report has also ranked the best schools with online graduate education programs, which is based on a survey of peer institutions.7

  • Clemson University (#1)
  • University of Florida (#2 tie)
  • University of Virginia (#2 tie)
  • University at Albany-SUNY (#4)
  • San Diego State University (#5 tie)
  • University of North Texas (#5 tie)
  • Arizona State University (#7 tie)
  • Michigan State University (#7 tie)
  • University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (#7 tie)
  • Auburn University (#10 tie)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (#10 tie)

Admission, Cost, and Coursework

Admission requirements vary by school, so you will need to check with each school you are interested in to find out more. Typically, undergraduate education programs require a high school diploma or GED with a minimum grade point average, in addition to letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and transcripts. Schools offering graduate teacher preparation programs usually require an undergraduate degree from an accredited school, which may or may not have to be related to education or your teaching subject of choice. Prospective students applying to graduate school may need to submit transcripts from undergraduate school, GRE scores, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

The cost of attending a teacher preparation school will depend on a variety of factors. For example, in-state students will typically pay less than out-of-state students; undergraduate programs may be cheaper than graduate programs; online education programs may cost less than traditional ones; and public schools may be more affordable than private schools. Keep in mind that these are trends, not hard and fast rules, so make sure you check with the school(s) of your choice to see what they charge students for tuition and other fees. Also, be sure to check with each teaching school’s financial aid department to see what types of loans, grants, or other financial assistance you may be eligible for. Finally, don’t forget to factor in additional costs, like room and board (if you are going to live on campus), textbooks, parking, and other fees.

While each teacher preparation program will vary depending on the school, the program, and the emphasis, the following is a list of typical courses in education that may be offered as part of an education program.

  • Advanced Processes and Acquisition of Reading
  • Best Practices in Teaching
  • Child Care Management & Admin
  • Classroom Management
  • Clinical Practice
  • Clinical Teaching
  • Cultural Perspectives in Education
  • Development of Infants, Children and Adolescents
  • Diagnosing and Correcting Reading Difficulties
  • Discipline and Classroom Management
  • Educating Exceptional Students
  • Educational Psychology
  • Foundations for Early Childhood Development
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Instructional Assessment
  • Instructional Technology
  • Integrated Literacy
  • Introduction to Teacher Certification
  • Kindergarten Education
  • Pedagogy of Language Arts
  • Pedagogy of Math
  • Pedagogy of Reading
  • Pedagogy of Science
  • Pedagogy of Social Studies
  • Primary Education
  • Schooling in America
  • Supervised Demonstration Teaching
  • Teaching Special Populations

School Accreditation

An important part of choosing an education program is accreditation. At a minimum, you should make sure that your school has institutional accreditation as well as teacher preparation program approval from the state board of education.

By following a peer review process, institutional accreditors ensure that schools meet minimum educational standards. Until 2020, there were six regional institutional accreditors recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE): the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). These regional accreditors are now national and can accredit schools from any state. However, they are still widely respected as a marker of quality and recognized in many states as part of the teacher licensing process.

In addition to institutional accreditation, there are specialized, programmatic accreditors that accredit specific programs or departments at a school. For education programs, the most widely-recognized programmatic accreditor is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which was formed through the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).

The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) is another programmatic accreditor recognized for promoting high standards in teacher education. AAQEP was founded in 2017. As of 2023, AAQEP has accredited over 120 teacher preparation programs in 23 US states and territories, while CAEP has accredited over 550 teacher preparation programs in 47 US states and territories.

Be sure to verify which accreditors and programs your state board of education recognizes for teacher certification by visiting the board’s website. You can also check a school’s national or program-level accreditation through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website, and verify whether an accreditor is USDE-recognized through the USDE website.

Select Schools with Teacher Preparation Programs

Traditional Undergraduate Programs

Elementary Education

Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, TX)

Dallas Baptist University is a private institution that was founded over a century ago. With a total undergraduate enrollment size of fewer than 3,500 students, DBU integrates faith into all aspects of academics and student life. Courses in the Early Childhood through Grade 6 Generalist Teacher Certification program include Development of Infants, Children & Adolescents, Best Practices in Teaching, Pedagogy of Science, and Diagnosing and Correcting Reading Difficulties. The university offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in early childhood education, as well as a variety of related master’s programs.

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

Texas A&M’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) was established in 1969 and boasts that many of its graduates take on leadership roles at the schools where they teach. The college is among the top five for producing teachers who specialize in high-needs fields like bilingual education and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects (STEM). The school’s certification programs in EC-Grade 6 Generalist, Middle Grades 4-8 Language Arts/Social Studies, and Middle Grades 4-8 Math/Science all award a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (INST) and require graduates to complete between 122-127 required credit hours. A STEM minor is also offered, which requires 18 credit hours to achieve.

Secondary Education

Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN)

Lipscomb University is a private college that was founded in 1891 and has a total undergraduate student population of fewer than 3,000 students. It is accredited by NCATE as well as the Tennessee State Board of Education, and it was one of 27 schools to earn an A+ rating (for selection and diversity) from the NCTQ. The school offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the area of secondary education. Secondary education students are expected to select one of the 24 different content subject area certification options as a specialty. Some more focused areas of study include Interdisciplinary Teaching, Pre K-3 Licensure, Special Education Interventionist K-8, and Interdisciplinary Non-teaching.

Ohio Wesleyan University logo

Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, OH)

Ohio Wesleyan University offers multiple undergraduate degrees in education, including early childhood education, middle childhood education, special education, and integrated science for teachers, Ohio Wesleyan’s secondary education major is focused on imparting competency to teach grades four to nine. Providing students with a balance of theory and practical experience, this degree program requires a mix of liberal arts and professional education coursework. Students pursuing their middle childhood education license must specialize in two areas of concentration, including reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Traditional Graduate Programs

Education Specialist (EdS)

University of Georgia logo

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

At the University of Georgia (UGA), students can pursue an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in one of 12 concentrations including Art Education; Elementary Education; Learning, Leadership, and Organization Development; Reading Education, Children’s Literature, and Language Arts; and Special Education. Within the concentrations, there are opportunities to further emphasize in areas such as curriculum theory and design; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and research in education. Students typically take 30 hours of coursework, with courses distributed across the concentration area, the emphasis area, and research. As is common with EdS degrees, students must already hold a master’s degree to be considered for admission. Enrolled students are paired with a faculty advisor who will guide them through the academic requirements of the program. Graduate assistantships, scholarships, and other financial aid packages are available to qualified students.

Utah State University logo

Utah State University (Logan, UT)

Students can earn an Education Specialist (EdS) degree with a focus on Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences (ILTS) through the Utah State University (USU) College of Education and Human Services (CEHS). Students who have a master’s degree in ILTS will take a total of 31 credit hours beyond the master’s to earn the EdS. Students with a master’s degree in subjects other than ILTS will take 40 credit hours beyond the master’s. Once admitted, students must complete all degree requirements within six calendar years. Required courses include Research in ILTS; Instructional Design; Design Thinking; and Learning Theory. Students will also complete a culminating project or a 14-week, full-time externship. While the EdS is an on-campus program, some courses are offered with online or hybrid options.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Established in 2007, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education (SOE) offers a variety of programs that focus on education for children and adults alike. The school offers doctoral programs, master’s programs, and graduate certificate programs, and typically enrolls around 2,000 students. The SOE’s MAT program consists of 39 credits and prepares students for initial certification in the state of Maryland, as well as most other states, in the category of elementary or secondary education. The MAT program is designed for recent graduates and career-changing professionals who want to become teachers.

Stanford University

Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) offers a Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), which is built on core values including promoting social justice, understanding in a diverse student population, and dedication to equality for all students. STEP is committed to preparing graduates for the practical and intellectual challenges of the profession. The school is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) as well as the National Council for Accreditation of Teachers of Education (NCATE). Stanford offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs for educators. The Graduate School of Education’s 12-month full-time STEP program offers areas of study in Elementary Education or Secondary Education, which includes subcategories in English, History/Social Science, Math, Science, or Languages.

Master of Education (MEd or EdM)

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody department of Teaching and Learning offers Master’s of Education (MEds) in English Language Learners, Reading Education, Learning and Design, and Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies. The Peabody College is fully accredited through NCATE and many of its programs have been consistently ranked among the top education schools in the nation, including its MEd program. To be considered for admission into the graduate program at Peabody, submit an online application, transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work, three letters of recommendation, a Statement of Purpose, and recent GRE scores. All MEd students will take the same core courses, a major, and electives, to complete a total of 31 semester hours.

Harvard University

Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has been in existence for nearly 100 years. HGSE offers students an array of degree programs including 13 distinct master’s degrees, three doctoral degrees, and several professional education programs. The school had just under 1,000 degree-seeking students in the 2013-2014 academic year. Courses offered are practical in nature and focus on leadership. Courses of instruction include Learning from Practice, Leading through Difference, Politics and Education Policy in the US, Teacher and Teaching Quality, Building a Democratic School, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Learning, and Planning and Strategy in Education. To apply to Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, you will need to submit an online application, resume/CV, Statement of Purpose, three letters of recommendation, GRE scores, transcripts, and a fee. Areas of study include Arts in Education, Education Policy and Management, Human Development and Psychology, and International Education Policy, among others.

Online and Hybrid Graduate Programs

Michigan State University logo

Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

Michigan State University offers a Master of Arts in Education (MAED), a Master of Arts in Teaching and Curriculum (MATC), a Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET), a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Analysis, a Master of Arts in Special Education, and an Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) Hybrid program that can be completed fully online. The MAED is open to current educators who would like to enhance their practice with coursework in teaching, learning, and leadership in P-12 schools. Concentrations are offered in Special Education, Sport Coaching and Leadership, Technology and Learning, P-12 School and Postsecondary Leadership, Literacy Education, and Science and Mathematics Education. In addition to the master’s programs, Graduate Certificates are also offered, in Online Teaching and Learning and Teaching and Learning in Postsecondary Education, among others.

Clemson University logo

Clemson University (Clemson, SC)

Clemson University in South Carolina offers a Master of Education (MEd) in Teaching and Learning that is offered 100% online and geared towards current K-12 teachers. Clemson’s MEd takes just 18 months to complete, and students can specialize in STEAM, Experiential Learning for Early Childhood, or Instructional Coaching. Students must complete 18 hours of core pedagogical coursework and 12 hours of specialization courses in an asynchronous learning environment. Clemson also offers an MEd in Administration and Supervision and an MEd in Literacy that can both be completed fully online.

University of Florida logo

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

The University of Florida offers several teacher preparation programs online, including an EdD in Teachers, Schools, and Society, an MEd in Reading Education, and an MEd and EdD in Educational Leadership, as well as certificate programs in Early Childhood Education, Secondary Teaching Preparation, and Educational Technology (which includes certificates in K-12 Teaching with Technology, Instructional Design, Managing Distance Education Environments, and Online Teaching and Learning). The Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education is offered fully online and comprises 12 credit hours, while the MEd in Reading comprises 36 credit hours and students can pursue it either online or on campus in a traditional format.

Virginia Commonwealth University logo

Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)

Virginia Commonwealth University offers several teacher preparation programs that can be completed 100% online. Among the online program options are a Doctor of Education in Leadership, an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, and Post-master’s Certificates in Educational Leadership, Reading Specialist, and Special Education, K-12 Teaching. The MEd in Curriculum and Instruction is aimed at veteran teachers, offers concentrations in instructional technology, online teaching, and teaching and learning, and is comprised of 33 credit hours. The fully online Certificate in Special Education, K-12 Teaching is offered to conditional and provisionally licensed special educators in the Virginia school system and comprises 27 credit hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Should I attend a teaching school online?

Answer: There are many choices for people considering attending a teacher preparation program, including traditional, on-campus programs and online teacher preparation programs. Online schools offer a range of programs, including four-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs, Master of Education (MEd) programs, and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs. The choice of which type of school you go to depends on your unique needs. If you are self-motivated and have restraints keeping you from attending a traditional program, an online teaching school may be a good fit for you. Read more about online educator preparation programs on our Online Teaching Degree Programs Resource. To find out more about online master’s teaching degrees, read our Online Master’s in Education Programs page.

Question: What types of master’s degrees are offered by schools of education?

Answer: In the field of education, there are two primary types of master’s programs. First, there is the Master of Education (MEd or EdM), which is commonly for existing teachers or administrators seeking a specialization to improve their career path and opportunities for advancement. Second, there is the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), which is primarily for those possessing a degree in a field unrelated to teaching who are looking to change careers to the teaching field. These programs give aspiring teachers the curriculum, field experience, and certification they need in a given state.

Question: Why should I go to teaching preparation school?

Answer: If you are interested in becoming a teacher, you will likely need to go to some kind of teaching preparation school as part of your training and to prepare you to get certified to teach in your state. You can read more about the process of becoming a teacher and what to expect on our Beginner’s Guide on How to Become a Teacher.

Question: What type of degree should I pursue at my teaching school?

Answer: The type of degree you should pursue at teacher preparation school depends on a variety of factors, including your teaching background, educational background, and your goals. Typically, people who are new to the teaching field will choose a four-year degree in education or in the field in which they want to teach. Those who already have an undergraduate degree in another subject and want to become teachers or existing teachers who want to specialize in a certain subject will typically pursue a master’s degree in teaching. You can read more about the different types of education degrees available on our Degrees page.

1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. College Factual: https://www.collegefactual.com/
3. US News & World Report Best National University Rankings 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities
4. US News & World Report Best Regional University Rankings 2022: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/regional-universities
5. Niche Best Colleges for Education in America 2024: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-education/
6. US News & World Report Best Graduate Education Schools 2024: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings
7. US News & World Report Best Online Master’s in Education Programs 2024: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/rankings