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Florida’s Best Programs: Online Master’s in Education (MEd)

Getting an online master’s in education in Florida is a great way to advance or start your teaching career while working full-time. Continue reading for 2024’s top MEd programs.

Author: Angela Myers

Editor: Staff Editor

Panoramic view of a modern city skyline reflecting in a lake with tall buildings, palm trees, and clear blue skies.

Florida offers more than sunny skies and palm trees for educators. Thanks to the growing demand for teachers and administrators, the state has ample career opportunities in education.

An online master’s in education (MEd) in FL unlocks access to some of the best careers in higher education and K-12 schools. This rings true for those who want to transition to education from another career or are current educators. Plus, an online master’s in education in Florida offers more flexibility, independent learning, and convenience than in-person degrees, making it the ideal option for full-time workers.

This guide reveals the best universities for an online master’s in education in FL in 2024. It also provides insight into in-demand specializations, salary expectations, and the steps to become a licensed teacher in Florida.

Spotlighting 2024’s Top Online Master’s in Education in FL

Choosing the right online master’s in education in Florida can be tricky because the “best” online master’s in education in FL is subjective. The right program differs from person to person, and it takes time to find the program best suited to your needs. The schools spotlighted below stand out in terms of accreditation, academics, and student support resources. Even if these schools aren’t a good fit for you, they can be used as quality barometers when looking at other programs.

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers the best online master’s in education in FL for current educators and those looking to transition into the field. Currently, the school offers 13 online master of education degrees with specialties in agricultural education, anatomical sciences education, computer science education, art education, educational leadership, health education, music education, program evaluation in educational environments, student personnel in higher education, special education, and curriculum and instruction.

Those who choose curriculum and instruction can also specialize in education technology or teacher leadership. Because the school has such a wide variety of education master’s, it’s a great choice for those interested in K-12 education or jobs in higher education. Most of these degrees are offered through the university’s College of Education, with a few more available from the College of Medicine or College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. To help offset the cost, the University of Florida has various financial aid opportunities available for distance learners.

University of Southern Florida

Because of the variety of specialties and student resources, the master of education from the University of Southern Florida stands out. Students can get a master of education with a specialization in teaching students with autism, career and technical education, physical education, reading education, exceptional student education, special education, or secondary education with TESOL.

For those who want to work as education administrators or curriculum developers, the school also offers virtual master’s in instructional technology, education leadership, learning design, and technology. For those who aren’t ready to commit to a full master’s degree, there are graduate certificates in academic advising, teaching students with autism, cybersecurity in education, disabilities education, TESOL, teaching exceptional students, and online teaching and learning.

Florida State University

Logo of Florida State University featuring a circular maroon and white emblem with three torches, surrounded by text "Florida State University 1851.

Those looking for the best online master’s in education in Florida should consider the program from Florida State University. The school offers 12 fully online master’s in education. Master’s specializations include athletic coaching, autism spectrum and teaching, college teaching, instruction and curriculum, early childhood special education, education policy and evaluation, education administration and leadership, education psychology, instructional systems and learning technology, education measurement, TESOL, and school counseling.

Graduate certificates are available for educators who aren’t ready to commit to a master’s degree. Students with a graduate certificate who later decide to get a full degree can transfer into the corresponding master’s program. All online courses are asynchronous with no set times. Instead, students watch prerecorded lectures and complete class assignments when it works for them, making it easier to balance education with work and life obligations.

In-Demand Education Careers in Florida

Most master’s in education programs specialize in a specific area of education, such as curriculum development, leadership, or teaching a certain subject or grade level. When choosing your specialty, consider your passions, professional background, and areas that are in-demand in Florida.

Fortunately, data about the need for teachers in Florida is available. The Florida Department of Education has outlined seven critical teacher shortage areas in the state. Below are two teaching areas in demand in Florida, as well as information on one of the most lucrative career fields for those who aspire to a leadership role after graduation.

Education Leadership

Educators are leaders by nature. If you feel called to lead as an administrator or curriculum developer instead of in a classroom, consider enrolling in an online master’s in educational leadership in Florida.

In educational leadership master’s programs, students learn about pedagogy development, different leadership styles, and the ins and outs of operating a K-12 or higher education institution. Usually, these programs are specialized by academic level, so it’s important to find the right program for you. One university with an online master’s in educational leadership for the K-12 and higher education level is Florida State University.

Job Title FL Median Salary
(2022)
FL Employment
(2020)
Projected Growth
(2020-30)
Instructional Coordinator $61,660 12,110 15%
Postsecondary Administrator $83,320 12,360 12%
Preschool & Daycare Administrator $46,880 3,240 17%

Source: O*NET OnLine

Math Education

The Florida Department of Education has named math education as one of the state’s seven critical teacher shortage areas. With a master’s degree in math education, you can teach math at the K-12 or postsecondary level. This degree also prepares teachers to coordinate curriculum and instruction for an individual school’s math department, or for entire school districts. If you’re interested in pursuing a master’s in math education, consider the program at Florida Atlantic University.

Job Title FL Median Salary
(2022)
FL Employment
(2020)
Projected Growth
(2020-30)
Postsecondary Mathematical Science Teacher $67,650 1,900 11%
Middle School Teacher $51,050 33,760 10%
Math Instructional Coordinator $61,660 12,110 15%

Source: O*NET OnLine

Reading Literacy

Another critical teacher shortage area in Florida is reading. Specialists in reading and literacy support students in classroom settings or one-on-one to improve their writing, reading, and communication skills. To work in this field, teachers often need a master’s in reading from an accredited university, like the University of Central Florida.

While an online master’s degree in reading literacy prepares students to work as reading specialists or English teachers, it also provides the necessary knowledge to work as a literacy curriculum developer or coordinator.

Job Title FL Median Salary
(2022)
FL Employment
(2020)
Projected Growth
(2020-30)
Elementary School Teacher $58,440 72,700 10%
Literacy and Reading Coordinator $61,660 12,110 15%
Postsecondary English & Literature Teacher $60,480 1,920 14%

Source: O*NET OnLine

How to Become a Florida Educator

Step 1: Choose a Specialization

Before submitting your teaching licensure application, you first need to choose a specialization. Specializing in a specific subject area and grade level (i.e., social studies for high schoolers) can make you a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs and may entitle you to a more specific license. In Florida, the two main specializations are K-12 or postsecondary education, though there are many others.

Step 2: Earn Your Online Master's Degree

Once you’ve decided on a specialization, it’s time to earn your degree. In Florida, completion of specific state-approved education preparation programs is required to become a licensed educator. If you earned an education degree out of state, Florida does have a reciprocity program that allows qualified teachers to apply for a license without a state-approved degree.

Step 3: Gain Field Experience

A key part of all K-12 teaching licensure programs in Florida is student teaching. To meet this degree requirement, students work as student teachers in nearby school districts for a specific number of hours.

While this isn’t a requirement to work in higher education, a graduate or teaching assistantship can make you a more competitive candidate when applying to postgrad roles.

Step 4: Apply for Certification

After you’ve earning your degree and completed your field experience, it’s time to apply for teaching licensure. Students must fill out an online application, pay the processing fee, and submit transcripts from a state-approved school or an out-of-state teaching certificate.

State exam scores are not needed at this step as you must submit an application before you can register for state teaching exams.

Step 5: Pass Your State Exams

All teaching candidates must take the Florida Teacher Certification examinations (FTCE). The FTCE consists of a series of exams that test a candidate’s leadership skills, subject matter knowledge, and professional educational competence. Unlike in other states, the tests are determined by the Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) after an applicant submits their application for licensure.

The Cost of a Master’s Degree in Florida

Getting a master’s is a worthy but costly investment. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of a master’s in education was $59,840 in 2023. In Florida, many schools have tuition costs that line up with these national averages, though some are more affordable. For a better idea of how much your degree may cost, explore the table below.

Whether your chosen program is on par or below the national average, a master’s is still pricey. It’s important to budget for your degree, whether that looks like cutting expenses or applying for financial aid, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the following section.

School Program No. of Credits Est. Tuition
(FL Residents)
Florida State University MS in Educational Leadership and Policy 33 $31,614
Florida Atlantic University MS in Teaching Mathematics 30 $11,155
University of Central Florida MEd in Reading Education 30 $9,820

Florida Financial Aid Options for Education Majors

While a master’s can be expensive, there are many financial aid opportunities to help lower costs. These include scholarships and grants, fellowships, and graduate research assistantships. Student loans and work-study programs can also help ease the financial burden.

When looking at opportunities, make sure to explore different scholarships and fellowships designed specifically for teachers or education students in Florida. These are often less competitive and are tailored to your needs as a master of education student.

Some stand-out financial aid resources for Florida educators and future teachers include:

The Florida Department of Education also updates available scholarships on their resources page.

FAQs from Florida Education Master’s Students

Is an online education degree a worthwhile investment in Florida?

While any education degree is a great investment, getting your master’s in education online is an even better one. Often, these degrees have lower tuition rates. Even if they don’t, students still save on student fees and transportation costs. Taking classes in-person is also a significant time investment and with the saved time, online students can continue working full-time or pick up extra work to fund their degree.

Are education master’s only for people who want to become teachers?

There are two types of education master’s, one for those who are interested in becoming teachers and one for students who want to enter other fields in education, such as administration or curriculum development. A master of arts in teaching (MAT) is for those who want to become educators or specialize in a certain type of teaching. For those who want to learn more about how educational administration or pedagogy works, a master of education (MEd) will be a better choice.

Does Florida offer any regional programs for educators?

A state-sponsored apprenticeship program provides teaching experience for new educators in exchange for a stipend. While Florida doesn’t have this program, they offer a number of regional career pathway programs. These pathways provide resources, mentorship, and more to new teachers interested in intentionally guiding their careers. Many of these opportunities are listed on the Florida Department of Education’s website.

Can I legally work in Florida if I am credentialed as an educator in another state?

If you are a teacher with a license from a different state, you can teach in Florida if you meet certain requirements. These requirements include having a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school, passing a basic knowledge exam, and holding a license that the state deems as comparable to the Florida Professional Certificate. This license can be from another state or the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Can I earn a graduate certificate in education?

Earning a graduate certificate in education is a great option for current teachers who want to advance their careers but aren’t ready to commit to a master’s program. Typically, an education graduate certificate covers a specific area of education, such as teaching bilingual students or elementary curriculum development.