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Online Master’s in Education in NY: 2024’s Top Programs

Earning your online master’s in education in NY gives you the chance to change lives while advancing your career. Keep reading to learn how you can take the next step in your own education.

Author: Quinn Dannies

Editor: Staff Editor

A woman wearing glasses smiles while working on her laptop near a window, with a panoramic city skyline in the background during sunset.

Starting a graduate program is a big commitment. But whether you’re a current NY educator or looking to change careers, earning your online master’s in education in New York is an effective way to gain new skills and prepare for a fulfilling career in the classroom.

Although you are likely excited about this educational journey, you may be nervous about how to find the best program, paying your tuition, or using your degree after graduation.

This guide was created to address your concerns by highlighting a few top programs, sharing resources to help you pay for school, and exploring common careers educators pursue after graduation. Let’s get going and learn what getting an online master’s in education in NY is all about.

Today’s Best Online Master’s in Education in New York

With so many schools offering an online master’s in education in New York, starting your research can be overwhelming. You might be wondering what makes for a good program, or what online education programs should look like.

To get you started, we’ve highlighted three excellent examples of schools with an online master’s in education in NY, all part of The State University of New York (SUNY) system. You can use these as a measuring stick to evaluate other programs that stand out during your research.

SUNY Potsdam

Logo of the State University of New York at Potsdam, featuring a stylized illustration of a building above the word "Potsdam" in large, white letters on a maroon background.

The online education graduate program at SUNY Potsdam offers a great mix of degree options for all types of educators. Depending on your goals, you can opt for an MSEd, MST or MS in education in one of six master’s programs. Along the way you can pick up a graduate certificate in either educational leadership or college teaching. We also love how Potsdam offers graduate programs for both current and future educators and adjusts their curriculum based on a student’s academic or professional backgrounds.

Potsdam offers a variety of online learning programs which means they have plenty of experience facilitating virtual learning and supporting remote students. Across the board, Potsdam works to ensure students can connect with their instructors in real-time and be part of a vibrant online student community. Throughout their studies, students also have access to a host of online support systems including an extensive virtual library, technology services, tutoring, and advising.

University at Albany

The University at Albany offers some of the most unique specialization options for earning your online master’s in education in New York. For example, students at UAlbany have the option of choosing between four distinct tracks within special education. Students also have multiple choices when it comes to educational leadership or instructional design tracks. This means that when you study at the University of Albany, you can focus deeply on the exact skills and subject knowledge you need to fit your goals.

Along with its reputation for research, UAlbany also has a firm commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This means that graduates will be exposed to a wide range of ideas about how to provide a quality education to students from all backgrounds and engage in culturally competent teaching, design, and leadership practices.

SUNY Brockport

Logo of SUNY Brockport featuring a green shield with a torch, the institution's name in green, and "SUNY" in bold, upper-case letters above "Brockport".

Out of all the programs we reviewed, SUNY Brockport offers the largest number of specialized master’s degrees in education. Brockport students can choose from any of 16 unique degrees and can earn graduate certificates in most of these tracks. And your options span a range of subjects, including higher education administration, school counseling, bilingual education, and subject-specific degrees.

Since Brockport’s program is so large, students benefit from the expertise of faculty with diverse research and professional backgrounds. This means that graduates from Brockport have a holistic, interdisciplinary view of education informed by many experiences and subjects.

Beyond offering a stellar education, Brockport students also benefit from affordable in-state tuition, flexible course schedules, and plenty of student support. Since Brockport operates on a cohort model, students can also look forward to being part of a close-knit group of peers throughout the course of their degree. Overall, SUNY Brockport is a great option for students looking to earn their online master’s in education in NY.

In-Demand Education Careers in New York

Many educator jobs don’t require a master’s degree, so you may be wondering why bother with another degree. Earning an advanced degree is a huge commitment, so you’re right to wonder if it’s worth the effort. Typically, educators seek graduate degrees to prepare for new roles that require specialized skills. These roles often come with a noticeable salary increase and can set you up for more fulfilling work. Let’s take a look at a few possible outcomes for educators with master’s degrees.

Special Education

Special education instructors are in high demand across the US, and New York is no exception. Although special education jobs have traditionally been associated with low salaries, this is no longer the case. In fact, many school districts are experimenting with financial incentives to help recruit special education teachers. So, as a special education teacher or administrator, you can look forward to a rewarding career with high levels of job security.

Attending one of the many, excellent, online special education master’s programs in New York, like this one at Hunter College, is a great way to earn the special skills needed to excel in this field. Most online special education master’s programs combine classes on traditional education with subjects like child psychology and human development to make sure you’re ready to meet the needs of all types of learners.

Job Title NY Median Salary (2022) NY Employment (2020) Projected Growth (2020-30)
Elementary School Special Education Teacher $80,770 21,940 16%
Career and Transition Teacher $80,550 15,180 15%
Special Education Resource Teacher $80,770 21,940 16%

Source: O*NET OnLine

School Administration

Not all educators work in the classroom. School administrators are essential members of any school system. They offer support to students and teachers, develop curriculum, keep things running, and make sure that students are receiving the best education possible. To prepare for these roles, many educators pursue specialized master’s degrees in administration or educational leadership like the online MS in Educational Leadership program at Niagara University. These programs prepare you to manage others, focus on the big picture, and apply the latest developments in teaching at the institutional level. Working in administration is a great next step for teachers who are ready to do bigger things, or for people with other career experience looking to make the move into education.

Job Title NY Median Salary (2022) NY Employment (2020) Projected Growth (2020-30)
Curriculum and Instruction Director $77,630 24,140 20%
Learning and Development Consultant $71,450 24,090 28%
School Principal $134,560 20,030 16%

Source: O*NET OnLine


You can certainly qualify for a teacher’s license with only a bachelor’s degree. But there are plenty of reasons to earn your MAT or education master’s if you’re planning to continue working in the classroom. In general, you can expect to earn 10-15% more as a teacher with a master’s degree. Earning a master’s degree in education also gives you the chance to focus on specific subjects, like math, or specific age groups. Specializing allows you to qualify for additional state certifications. In turn, this background lets you focus your teaching on the subjects or grades that interest you most.

Job Title NY Median Salary
NY Employment
Projected Growth
Professor of Education $83,640 9,830 14%
Elementary School Teacher $80,440 93,000 16%
High School Teacher $84,070 67,900 15%

Source: O*NET OnLine

How to Become a New York Educator

Step 1: Choose a Specialization

This may sound obvious, but before you enroll in a master’s program, you should have at least a rough idea of what you want to do with your degree. One of the biggest benefits of an education master’s is that it gives you an opportunity to specialize, so take advantage of this by narrowing your search based on your own interests. A bit of big picture thinking is a key step in the process of finding the best program for your needs and achieving your post-graduation career goals.

Step 2: Earn Your Online Master's Degree

You probably came to this page specifically because you’re interested in earning your master’s degree, so this is an easy one. But remember that there is some planning required to successfully get that education graduate degree. Be careful to select a program that you can afford that offers specializations that interest you. You’ll also want to make sure that your program structure works with your learning style and needs. In NY, you have plenty of options for education master’s programs that offer flexible online, hybrid, or summer-only options to help you balance your studies with your other responsibilities.

Step 3: Gain Field Experience

No amount of classroom (or virtual classroom) learning can fully prepare you for the demands of working as an educator. You need to get some hands on experience. In New York, most programs have field hours included in their curriculum. You’ll typically partner with a school in your area to earn student teaching hours. Student teaching isn’t your only option — in some cases your program might offer a graduate assistantship that meets certification requirements (and offers a stipend!). New York also offers provisional licenses that let educators begin working before becoming fully licensed in order to gain the requisite experience.

Step 4: Pass Your State Exams

Most education licenses in New York require at least one state exam. Depending on your goals, these may include subject knowledge tests, teaching skills evaluations, or leadership skills assessments. There are a lot of factors that determine which, if any, exams you need to take, so be sure to do your research. Fortunately the New York Board of Education has plenty of resources available to help you know what to expect.

Step 5: Earn Your Teaching Credentials

At this point, you’re on easy street. All that’s left is some paperwork and you’ll be the proud owner of a New York State educator’s license. To apply for your certification, you’ll need to fill out an application, send supporting documents, and pass a background check. To avoid delays, make sure you read the application requirements carefully and submit all your documentation at the same time.

The Cost of a Master’s in Education in New York

Graduate school is expensive. As you consider the decision to seek your master’s degree, it is important to keep your budget in mind. The good news is that New York has an excellent state university system with low tuition rates and an extensive selection of master’s in education programs. Once you start looking, you should have plenty of options that don’t break the bank.

You might be wondering what “low tuition rates” actually look like. In the table below we’ve shared the cost of a few different master’s in education programs in New York. As you’ll see, there is quite a range. Remember though, a high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a higher quality program. Your best bet is to focus on finding a program that matches your goals and your budget. You should also keep in mind that many graduate students pay much less than a program’s advertised cost. In the next section we’ll explore financial aid options to make your education more affordable.

School Program No. of Credits Est. Tuition
Hunter College Adolescent Special Education MSEd 36 $16,920
Niagara University Master’s in Educational Leadership 36 $29,520
New York Institute of Technology Childhood Education MS 39 $60,060

New York Financial Aid Options for Education Majors

A school’s advertised rates are a great starting point for figuring out your budget. But remember that you can also make use of financial aid, scholarships, professional development funding, fellowships and graduate assistantships to help reduce (or eliminate) your tuition costs. As you start researching programs, learn what financial assistance programs are available and check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement or other education benefits.

You can also look outside of your institution for funding opportunities. Since educators are in high demand, there are many state and local government funding programs that you may qualify for.You can also find funding through professional associations based on your subject or region.

Note that gaining funding through any of these avenues might take a little legwork, so, start looking for funding early and make sure you have a plan to stay organized.

FAQs from New York Education Master’s Students

Is an online education degree a worthwhile investment in New York?

Yes. In general, New York educator salaries are on par with the national average, so it is a good state pursue a teaching career. In many districts, educators with a master’s degree receive a higher starting paycheck or an automatic raise after graduation. When you study online to become an educator in New York, you can save money by taking advantage of in-state tuition without having to incur the costs of moving or commuting to a physical campus. This sets you up to jump right into a fulfilling and financially viable profession.

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

Earning a master’s in education can set you up for a range of careers. Certainly, many education master’s students pursue an MAT to hone their skills for teaching in the classroom. But that isn’t your only option. Many educators with MAs, MSs, and MEds pursue their degrees to prepare for careers in administration, program design, or research. You also aren’t limited to working in schools. Your advanced degree can also qualify you for training and development jobs across all sorts of industries.

Does New York offer any regional programs for educators?

As we’ve already mentioned, New York does a great job supporting their educators. These supports include professional development incentives, mentorship programs, and loan forgiveness programs. When you take advantage of these opportunities, you have the chance to cover the cost of your education, develop your skills, network with other educators, and prepare for the next step in your career.

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

Typically, you can transfer your existing certifications which will qualify you to work as an educator in NY. But you’ll have to take the necessary steps to obtain a New York certification. This doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Rather, you’ll submit an application that documents your academic and professional background. After the state verifies your information, you’ll be issued a state license. If there are any gaps, you may be asked to complete additional training to qualify for your New York educator certification.

Can I earn a graduate certificate in education?

Absolutely. Many educators choose to pursue graduate certificates in education as part of their professional development or in preparation for entering a graduate program. These certificates focus on specialized skills that can qualify you for additional state certifications and more advanced jobs. In many cases, you’ll be able to apply the credits from your graduate certificate toward your master’s degree if you choose to continue your education.