Many of today’s educators must make the decision to get a higher education themselves, whether it is before they actually become teachers, or often, while they already are teachers. Since more and school districts require you to have a Bachelor’s education degree before you can even begin to teach, it is perfectly clear why it pays to have a higher education. Put simply, the higher the education level, the higher the pay scale. Factor in the greater job security, the upward mobility and the professional respect, and there is no reason not to pursue a higher education degree. However, the cost of college can be exorbitant.
While every school in every state will have a different cost for attendance, students at a public institution can expect to pay, on average, around $20,000 for their four year education, and about $40,000 at a private university or college. Those who attend a community college can expect to pay around $7,000 for their two year degree. For those on a very tight budget, this can be a not inexpensive sum. In order to understand the true cost, however, other factors must be considered, such as the location of the school and driving expenses, the quality of the education, the number of classes that can be transferred to another college and the extra costs of specific programs.
Affordability and Value of Online Education Programs
Before making any final decisions regarding the educational institution and course, one must to begin to calculate the actual cost and value of a post-secondary education, especially in the education field. Then, too, one must understand whether or not the financial risk will be worth the total cost of an education degree. Also, it is important to find ways to economize or even offset the cost of the college courses. One popular method of gaining an education in the Education field is by attending online courses. Online schools have exploded in popularity in the last ten years, and with good reason. Not only are the courses competitively priced, but there are fewer fees involved as well. Providing that the student already owns the necessary computer equipment, there are usually little or no traveling expenses to be considered. While most courses will not require the physical presence of the student at all, some will request that tests be taken at pre-approved sites, so some travel may be needed from time to time. Students who have a full time day job are able to take their online education classes as needed and in ways that will accommodate their schedule. These are just some of the reasons why online colleges and coursework are now becoming the norm.
Ranking the Most Affordable Online Education Programs
The following information will offer the top schools, and the methods used to establish those rankings includes the actual cost of each school’s education program for a Bachelor’s degree, the quality of the program itself, the ranking of the school, and the most attractive features of each school and/or educational field. We aren’t just looking primarily at how cheap a degree is to obtain, of course, but more holistically at the total value of different online education degree programs.
10. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers many specific education undergraduate degrees concerning different areas such as elementary education and secondary education. They also offer scholarships and tuition assistance. Tuition and fees add up to around $32,000 a year.
9. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University will run you roughly $30,000 a year. You will want to revisit the school when you are ready for your Master’s in Education as they have many Master’s education degree programs. SNHU is one of the most innovative educator in the online space, and was named to a list of Top Innovating Companies by Fast Company.
8. Liberty University
Tuition at Liberty is approximately $27,000 a year, but there are many scholarships available, as well as many education degree programs. Liberty is a Christian school, which should please people of faith looking for faith based education, and can be a plus for job seekers wanting to teach in a private school setting. Liberty works at making their programs flexible and inexpensive.
7. Kaplan University
Kaplan features certificate programs in addition to higher education programs. KU tuition is around $371.00 per credit hour, not including fees, although there are discounts and reimbursement programs for some students. Kaplan is owned by the Washington Post group, a longtime leader in online educational programs.
6. University of Phoenix
The Education program at the University of Phoenix is significantly less costly than many other online education programs. The incidental fees are also far lower. However, this university does not offer as many divisions within the Education department, so there are fewer majors available (but they do offer the most popular – so more than likely this won’t affect most aspiring teachers.) So long as they do have your program it can be an inexpensive option in your quest to become a teacher. The University of Phoenix education program has been ranked highly by many online education rankings.
5. Western Governors University
Western Governors is a relatively cheap school when it comes to tuition, with the average cost of a year’s tuition clocking in at $5,780. WGU is a long standing online university however, and the services they provide exceed the inexpensive tuition. The school offers many different teaching degree options.
3. North Central University
North Central University offers a fair arrangement of online education courses at all degree levels, and the cost of tuition is less than $14,000 a year. The school has many scholarship opportunities and is very committed to making the financial side of education work for every student.
2. Capella University
Capella has a wide variety of education degree programs. Tuition cost is roughly $11,000 a year, and there are also many scholarships available as well. Capella has many recognitions and top ranking, befitting it’s #2 ranking on this list.
1. Walden University
Walden University is accredited and will serve you at every step of your educational degree journey, offering online education degree programs up to a Doctorate level. Average tuition fees are around $6,000 dollars a semesters. Walden has many different education majors to choose from in the Educational field, and also had many generous payment options for students as well as resources and a fair admissions process. Walden is an innovator and pioneer in the online learning field, and is a solid and affordable choice to earn your education degree.
A Note On Online Education Program Accreditation
The trick to getting a good online education is to make sure that the school is fully accredited. The accreditation is absolutely crucial. Without a good accreditation by a reputable source, the diploma will not be worth the paper it is printed on. Employers and other colleges often refuse to acknowledge courses or diplomas from non-accredited schools, so that needs to be the first step involved when comparing online courses and colleges. After the accreditation has been clearly established, the actual cost of the entire education program needs to be considered, not just the classes needed for the first semester. This will help the prospective student consider the university fees and the specific fees for the education programs. However, before judging the university solely upon their fees, it is also important to consider the school’s ranking. Many schools will have a great reputation and will be held in higher esteem by employers and other universities. Besides the accreditation, cost and ranking, consider the value of the educational program and the skills that will be learned.