Technology has become an inseparable part of many sectors of our lives, and our educational systems are no exception. However, technology does not magically fuse itself into our education processes of its own accord. It takes a keen creative mind to analyze existing and upcoming technology systems and programs, then devise plans, improvements and (if necessary) entirely new technologies to promote the best learning experience possible.

Featured Online Colleges for Educational Technology in 2018

If you're considering an online degree program, especially in a highly specialized field like educational technology, rankings can serve as a good starting point to help you select a program that matches your goals and aspirations.

Our unique methodology ranks colleges on data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), utilizing criteria such as in-state tuition, graduation rate and number of online programs in the subject. Of the schools we evaluated, here are ten in particular that offer noteworthy online degree programs in educational technology.

1

University of Massachusetts - Boston

Tuition & Fees
$13,828
Distance Education Participation
21%
Number of Programs Offered
8
School Type
4-year

As part of the UMass system of schools, UMass Boston benefits from both the resources of a major research university as well as a low student-to-faculty ratio typical of a smaller college. The school offers one master's degree program in the field of educational technology, and that is the Instructional Design, M.Ed. The overall course of study aims to incorporate the planning and delivery of adult instruction in equal measure. Both online and blended courses are available in order to accommodate the schedules and preferences of full-time as well as part-time students.

UMass Boston lands a spot on our list due to the relatively high percentage of educational technology degrees awarded at the institution in 2015, as well as the college's high rate of admissions.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Location:

100 William T. Morrissey Blvd.,
Boston, MA 02125-3393
2

Fort Hays State University

Tuition & Fees
$5,009
Distance Education Participation
81%
Number of Programs Offered
37
School Type
4-year

Fort Hays State University, located in the heart of Kansas, aims to lead the way for distance education worldwide. The school proudly offers its Master of Science in instructional technology degree program completely online throughout all terms: spring, fall, and even summer. Students are exposed to techniques for integrating cutting-edge instructional technology into both classroom and workplace settings.

This school lays claim to the second-highest admissions rate on our list. Its instructional technology program also boasts several Google for Education Certified Trainers as well as Google resources exclusive to FHSU students.

Accreditation:

  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

600 Park Street,
Hays, KS 67601-4099
3

Texas A&M University - Kingsville

Tuition & Fees
$8,462
Distance Education Participation
20%
Number of Programs Offered
10
School Type
4-year

Opened in 1925, Texas A&M University - Kingsville (TAMUK) is South Texas' oldest continuously operating higher-ed institution. As part of the Texas A&M University System since 1989, the school strives to provide more programs and degrees than any other in the region. One of those programs is that of the instructional technology M.S. degree. Both online courses and hands-on experience are focal points of this program, which endeavors to give students a full range of preparation to apply their skills to real world opportunities.

TAMUK is notable for having the third-highest admissions rate of all the schools on our list.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

Location:

700 University Blvd.,
Kingsville, TX 78363-8202
4

University of West Georgia

Tuition & Fees
$6,226
Distance Education Participation
54%
Number of Programs Offered
24
School Type
4-year

The University of West Georgia was founded in 1906 as a small agricultural and mechanical school and grew over the years to ultimately achieve university status in 1996. As the seventh largest public university in the state of Georgia, the school also boasts the highest level of accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, classifying it as a SACS Level VI University.

UWG offers the Master of Education with a major in media (instructional technology concentration) degree program to help prepare instructional technologists to apply their skills in a variety of educational and corporate settings. All coursework is available 100 percent online, and degrees are awarded in May, August and December.

This university secured itself a spot on our list thanks to awarding the largest percentage of educational technology degrees in 2015 by a large margin.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Location:

1601 Maple Street,
Carrollton, GA 30118-0001
5

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Tuition & Fees
$6,832
Distance Education Participation
28%
Number of Programs Offered
14
School Type
4-year

All of UNC Charlotte's Distance Education programs are taught by the same faculty as their on-campus counterparts. The school has a dedicated toll-free Technical Help Desk, program managers, and a librarian for distance education students.

UNC Charlotte offers the M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Technology to students planning to apply their skills in several different environments. The program allows the student to choose from three different concentrations:

  • School Specialist (for those working in the P-12 system)
  • Training and Development (for personnel in corporate, government, military, and higher education fields)
  • Online Learning and Teaching (for those who wish to design, develop, or manage within the realm of online education)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte fits into our featured list due to the school's high graduation rate and multiple degree options.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges
  • United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)

Location:

9201 University City Blvd.,
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
6

University of Central Arkansas

Tuition & Fees
$8,524
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
14
School Type
4-year

Established in 1907 to train teachers, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) has a long history of educating students to instruct others. They offer the Master of Science in Instructional Technology (ITEC) degree program to develop students into technology leaders in their field of choice. At its base level, the program provides a broad view of the field, but students select one of three concentrations to hone in on their intended use of their skills in the real world. Those concentrations are:

  • Distance Education
  • Media Design and Development
  • Technical Support of Instructional Technologies

Though the program's courses are offered online, on-campus visits are required at some point during the student's degree pursuit.

There was little question about whether or not to feature UCA on our list. Between its top-tier admissions rate — well over 90%, the highest admissions rate on this list — and admirable graduation rate — just about 45%, the fourth highest of these ten schools — it was virtually a foregone conclusion.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly NCATE)

Location:

201 Donaghey Avenue,
Conway, AR 72035-0001
7

East Carolina University

Tuition & Fees
$7,143
Distance Education Participation
42%
Number of Programs Offered
55
School Type
4-year

With over 60 years of experience trailblazing distance education in North Carolina, East Carolina University (ECU) is proud to have been one of the first institutions in the nation to offer a degree program completely over the Internet. In the instructional technology field, the following degree programs at ECU can be completed 100 percent online:

  • Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology and recommendation for Licensure
  • Master of Science in Instructional Technology

The school also offers several certificate programs, which students may choose to pursue in order to supplement their degree. With a focus on exploration and risk-taking, ECU encourages students to explore new technologies and strategies throughout their course of study in the field.

ECU finds its place in our top 10 because it has the second highest graduation rate of all schools on our list. The institution also boasts the second highest degree prominence, with a good percentage of all degrees awarded originating in the educational technology department.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE/CAEP)

Location:

East 5th Street,
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
8

North Carolina A&T State University

Tuition & Fees
$6,526
Distance Education Participation
30%
Number of Programs Offered
10
School Type
4-year

With 125 years of experience in higher education, North Carolina A&T University strives to bring cutting-edge online education to students worldwide. The school prides itself on offering a flexible course schedule to accommodate the busy and often varied schedules of online students.

The Master of Science in Instructional Technology degree program offers three different tracks from which graduate students can choose to focus their studies. Depending on how students would like to apply their degree in a real world setting, they may choose from the following:

  • Instructional Technology Director
  • Media Coordinator
  • Business and Industry

The school lands itself a spot on our list due to its strong showing in graduation rate, a tangible demonstration of North Carolina AT&T University's dedication to its student body.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges

Location:

1601 East Market Street,
Greensboro, NC 27411
9

North Carolina Central University

Tuition & Fees
$6,399
Distance Education Participation
43%
Number of Programs Offered
16
School Type
4-year

North Carolina Central University prides itself on offering top-ranked, reputable degrees to students both on-campus and online. The MA in educational technology degree program is offered fully online, with flexibility, convenience and 24/7 accessibility to fit the needs of any busy student. A concentration in instructional design non-licensure is also an available option for students who choose to go that route.

NCCU stands out primarily for its above average prominence of educational technology degrees in relation to all degrees awarded by the institution.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

Location:

1801 Fayetteville Street,
Durham, NC 27707
10

Appalachian State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,302
Distance Education Participation
17%
Number of Programs Offered
15
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1899, Appalachian State University strives to provide a valuable education to students not just locally, but worldwide. The Educational Media (MA) is offered part-time and fully online, with several tracks for students to choose. In order to customize the way in which students would like to apply their degree post-graduation, they may choose one of the following three tracks:

  • Instructional Technology Specialist/K-12 (for educational leadership roles)
  • Online Learning and Professional Development (to analyze and develop the future of these environments)
  • New Media Literacies and Global Perspectives (for creative professionals to develop technology into new roles in the education and business worlds)

Appalachian State University rounds out our list of featured schools by boasting the highest graduation rate of any school on our list. The school also features an impressive percentage of awarded educational technology degrees as compared to the total number of degrees awarded at the school.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges

Location:

287 Rivers Street,
Boone, NC 28608

Degree Overview: Educational Technology

Though technology dominates nearly every aspect of modern life, one place where its role is still developing is in K-12 education. Educational technology specialists are breaking new ground as they work to combine technology and education into one advantageous experience, and they'll need a varied and knowledgeable skillset to be ready for the task. This section details some of the common coursework and skills emphasized in online programs for educational technology, and how it would be advantageous while working a career in the field.

Online Educational Technology Courses

An online education for educational technology (also called instructional technology) is an excellent step for preparing education professionals to effectively bring technology into schools. Typically, such programs are offered at the graduate level — Master of Education (M.Ed.), Education Specialist (Ed.S. or S.Ed.) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.).

Though the specifics of online educational technology degree programs will of course vary between colleges, these programs are usually structured to teach students how technology can be implemented in education — from course websites and distance learning to elementary-level computer programs, assessment programs, multimedia for the classroom and more. Students enrolled in such a program will usually encounter coursework in the following topics:

Following the graduate coursework, it's common for online programs for educational technology to include a capstone course, thesis or graduate research project as part of the degree requirements. Some programs also require field experience or internships.

It's rare to find online bachelor's degree programs in educational technology; the subject tends to be a specialization available for students who already have learned the fundamentals of teaching and are appropriately licensed to work in the classroom. As such, undergraduate students should focus on completing an accredited education program in a related field such as K-12 education, child development or special education, then pursuing educational technology as their graduate program. The situation can be turned to your advantage by planning your undergraduate program so that you can transfer credits from it into the educational technology program you wish to pursue afterwards, giving you a head start on your graduate work.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

In a field with such a descriptive name as "educational technology," some of the skills needed for related careers are going to be self-explanatory. Obviously, students of the field need to be knowledgeable about teaching and the learning process, as well as being interested in, and preferably familiar with, technology as it pertains to education.

But beyond that, there are other skills that are important to educational technology careers, and many of them should be emphasized in programs for the subject, giving students a chance to develop these skills in preparation for the workplace. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics' information about instructional coordinators, students pursuing degrees in educational technology should seek to develop the following skills:

Educational Technology Career Outlook

Instructional Coordinator
Average Salary
$67,490
Projected Job Openings
18,600
Projected Job Growth
6.3
Entry-level Education
master's degree

Those who are passionate about the intersection of education and technology should explore instructional coordinator careers in schools and education centers. These workers oversee curriculum and teaching standards, taking special care to implement new technologies when doing so is advantageous for students. While they may not work directly with students, instructional coordinators do mentor and collaborate with teachers and other educators.

Because this role has the potential to influence educational experiences and outcomes for hundreds of not thousands of students, most instructional coordinator careers begin with a master's degree and experience within the realm of education. Some coordinators who work in public schools may need a state license.

Audio-Visual and Multimedia Collections Specialist
Average Salary
$52,270
Projected Job Openings
1,000
Projected Job Growth
4.7
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree

Audio-visual and multimedia collections specialist careers can be a way to combine a love for the field of education with media technology. Those who have this job help students explore their passions and study topics using multimedia aids for educational purposes. To succeed in this career, you need to be comfortable with technology, computers and electronics, and other types of audio-visual equipment. You must also be passionate about using alternative forms of education, such as recorded or broadcast media.

Most audio-visual and multimedia collections specialist careers start with a bachelor's degree. Some professionals may also need a state license to operate depending on where they live.

Instructional Designer and Technologist
Average Salary
$67,490
Projected Job Openings
18,600
Projected Job Growth
6.3
Entry-level Education
master's degree

Instructional designers and technologists rely on their love of technology to redesign educational courses in a thoughtful and up-to-date way. Not only do they decide which types of technology classrooms should implement, but they collaborate with teachers and educators to properly introduce students to new programs and how they work.

Since instructional designers work in both technology and education, they need a firm grasp on both career fields. Most instructional designer and technologist careers start with a master's degree in education or a related field. However, due to the advanced skill required for this job, related work experience may also be required.

Sources
Methodology

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2015-16 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2017-18, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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