30 Great Small Colleges For A Teaching Degree

Best Degree Programs - Teaching DegreesBy Brenda Rufener
June 2015

In this article, we present 30 Great Small Colleges for a Teaching Degree in the United States. These are the most selective small colleges and universities offering teaching and education degrees at the undergraduate level.

Colleges and universities across the nation are helping prepare education graduates for the challenges faced in teaching. The 21st century brings a rewarding yet obstacle-filled career in public education. Standards are being examined and outcomes being reviewed. New teachers must be prepared to handle such challenges in an effective and useful way. Some of the best education programs within the confines of university and college settings are found on small campuses, those with fewer than 4,000 students. These colleges offer diverse programs that prepare students for education in the 21st century.

Ranking Methodology

From among the institutions meeting the criteria listed below, we chose the most selective schools as suggested by percent admitted, via NCES College Navigator.

• Undergraduate enrollment of 4,000 or fewer students
• Accredited four-year institution that is public or private non-profit
• Offers a teaching degree such as Bachelor of Education, with or without certification

Note that many of these institutions are also characterized by the following features.

• Strong freshman retention rate, pointing to student satisfaction
• Frequent appearance in major national rankings, such as Princeton Review

Schools are presented in order of acceptance rate, with the most selective school appearing at #1. Data values including enrollment, acceptance rate, freshman retention rate, and net price are taken from NCES College Navigator.

#30 – Fisk University

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Nashville, Tennessee
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Enrollment: 646
Acceptance Rate: 40%
Freshman Retention Rate: 70%
Net Price: $19,460

Through its philosophy and mission, Fisk University adheres to strong preparation for its teaching students through liberal arts study and education competencies and skill. Completion of the academic major in Art Education, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education provides preparation for a career as a schoolteacher. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the university to award bachelor’s degrees.

#29 – Washington & Jefferson College

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Washington, Pennsylvania
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Enrollment: 1,328
Acceptance Rate: 40%
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Net Price: $28,149

Washington & Jefferson College offers a Child Development and Education major with certification in the State of Pennsylvania for Early Childhood or Middle Grade Level. Secondary education and teacher certification is also available in specific areas of study, including Biology, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, and Modern Languages. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 96th for all National Liberal Arts Colleges, placing it in the Tier 1 of all liberal arts colleges. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education considers admission to the school highly selective.

#28 – Laurel University

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High Point, North Carolina
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Enrollment: 610
Acceptance Rate: 39%
Freshman Retention Rate: 77%
Net Price: $12,643

Laurel University is the oldest undergraduate theological institution in the state of North Carolina. Accredited with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education, the school is nationally recognized for its elementary education program. Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Elementary Education that can be used both in Christian and secular environments. The rural setting of the campus is situated just fifteen miles south of Greensboro.

#27 – Andrews University

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Berrien Springs, Michigan
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Enrollment: 3,516
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Freshman Retention Rate: 79%
Net Price: $21,267

The School of Education at Andrews University prepares students for global service in teaching. Bachelors of Arts or Science may be earned in Elementary and Secondary Education. K-12 Certificates in a variety of programs is also available. U.S. News & World Report ranks Andrews University 168th for all National Universities due to its full range of degrees and programs offered and commitment to research and study.

#26 – Spelman College

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Enrollment: 2,129
Acceptance Rate: 38%
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Net Price: $28,866

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission approves the Education Studies program at Spelman College. The program emphasizes academic excellence in its development of students who are pursuing roles as teachers and educational leaders. U.S. News & World Report ranks Spelman College 81st out of all National Liberal Arts Colleges in its 2015 edition of Best Colleges in National Liberal Arts Colleges. The school is highly selective and historically Black. It inspires women to change the world by providing and educational experience that is unique to its campus.

#25 – Johnson C Smith University

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Charlotte, North Carolina
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Enrollment: 1,387
Acceptance Rate: 37%
Freshman Retention Rate: 56%
Net Price: $16,118

The College of Arts and Letters at Johnson C Smith University allows students to choose an undergraduate major of focus, such as Economics, English, or Mathematics, and then earn a teaching certificate within the program. The education emphasis is on secondary education. U.S. News & World Report ranks Johnson C Smith 17th in the Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country.

#24 – Brigham Young University – Hawaii

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Laie, Hawaii
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Enrollment: 2,882
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Freshman Retention Rate: 61%
Net Price: $10,660

The School of Education at Brigham Young University – Hawaii, prepares students to become teachers of excellence through exposure to pedagogical skills, professional curricula, and content. The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board issues Elementary and Secondary Education teaching licenses for those who successfully complete the additional licensing requirements. The university is a private institution and ranked 16th among Best Regional Colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report. Ranking was issued in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges in the West Regional area.

#23 – Coppin State University

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Baltimore, Maryland
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Enrollment: 3,383
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Freshman Retention Rate: 61%
Net Price: $9,667

In the 1900s, Coppin State University was founded as a teacher’s college and has since become recognized as one of the top small colleges to earn a teaching degree. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits the school and the education program offers nine teaching and learning undergraduate degrees. The school’s teaching program is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.

#22 – Ohio Valley University

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Vienna, West Virginia
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Enrollment: 451
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Freshman Retention Rate: 64%
Net Price: $15,226

The College of Education at Ohio Valley University develops students who want to become teachers through ethical principles and strong academic preparation. Offering a variety of Elementary and Secondary education degrees and special education endorsements, the program is ranked as among the best in small colleges offering teaching degrees. U.S. News & World Report ranks Ohio Valley University as the 56th Best Regional College in the South and the 18th Best College for Veterans. U.S. News has also recognized the university’s online graduate education program as among the Best Online Programs.

#21 – Connecticut College

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New London, Connecticut
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Enrollment: 1,922
Acceptance Rate: 36%
Freshman Retention Rate: 88%
Net Price: $25,737

The Education Department at Connecticut College prides itself in providing and imparting teaching knowledge to grow the best educators in the country. Internships and service learning are emphasized within the teaching curriculum. Field observations and hands-on learning are well-defined parameters within the program. U.S. News & World Report ranks Connecticut College 45th for the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the country.

#20 – Tuskegee University

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Tuskegee, Alabama
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Enrollment: 3,118
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Freshman Retention Rate: 72%
Net Price: $27,477

Tuskegee University’s School of Education offers professional teaching preparation for those who desire a career in the field. The department is nationally accredited and offers state-approved programs and curriculum. Elementary and Secondary degrees are offered at Tuskegee. U.S. News & World Report ranks Tuskegee University as the 9th Best Regional College in the South and the 5th Best Historically Black College and University in the country.

#19 – Skidmore College

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Saratoga Springs, New York
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Enrollment: 2,702
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Net Price: $22,529

Education Studies at Skidmore College leads to an initial certification in New York State for grades one through six. The school is recognized for graduating well-prepared students who are high achievers and disciplined workers. In 2013, graduates of the Education Studies program achieved a 100% pass rate on all required NY State teaching certification examinations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Skidmore 37th among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation.

#18 – Warner University

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Lake Wales, Florida
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Enrollment: 1,162
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Freshman Retention Rate: 49%
Net Price: $16,109

Teacher Education at Warner University is a comprehensive program designed to equip students to graduate as professional teachers, prepared to enter the classroom. Programs are approved and accredited. The Florida Department of Education approves qualified majors for certification as teachers in the state of Florida. The Education Department is comprised of Elementary Ed, Secondary Ed, Middle School Science, Music Education, and Secondary Education Social Studies. Students take core requirements but have the flexibility of honing their studies within the program.

#17 – Washington Adventist University

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Takoma Park, Maryland
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Enrollment: 1,185
Acceptance Rate: 33%
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Net Price: $16,737

U.S. News & World Report ranks Washington Adventist University as 46th among the Best Regional Colleges in the North. Located in the small area of Takoma Park, Maryland, the school offers a remote and intimate setting that is conducive to learning and relationship building. Students are close and the campus promotes a family-type atmosphere. Four-year degrees that lead to teacher certification are offered at Washington Adventist. The teaching and education program is accredited and approved by the State of Maryland.

#16 – Corban University

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Salem, Oregon
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Enrollment: 1,143
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Freshman Retention Rate: 77%
Net Price: $23,853

The Education Program at Corban University offers foundational study in both Christian and public school service. Students are committed to the competencies that make they a successful instructor. The four-year program equips students to pursue employment as a teacher or continue their education to gain a Master’s in Education. U.S. News & World Report ranks Corban University as the 7th Best Regional College in the West. It has also recently been ranked the 3rd Best Value School and the 3rd Best College for Veterans in the nation.

#15 – Trinity College

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Hartford, Connecticut
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Enrollment: 2,390
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Net Price: $21,130

Educational Studies at Trinity College helps students integrate teaching methods and research from a variety of academic disciplines into the highly focused field of education. Trinity College is ranked 45th among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News also ranks Trinity College as the 34th Best Value School in the nation.

#14 – Texas Wesleyan University

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Fort Worth, Texas
Website
Enrollment: 2,397
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Freshman Retention Rate: 71%
Net Price: $19,321

The stated vision of the School of Education at Texas Wesleyan University is to expand research among many disciplines to link the teaching and learning standards and bring an impact to education in the 21st century. Graduates of the program go on to pursue teaching in a variety of fields and disciplines. U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas Wesleyan University as the 49th Best Regional University in the West. It is also ranked as the 16th Best College for Veterans.

#13 – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

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Pine Bluff, Arkansas
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Enrollment: 2,615
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Freshman Retention Rate: 56%
Net Price: $7,298

The School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff prides itself in preparing students to impact education within the public and private school systems. Professional preparation of licensed teachers in early childhood, middle, and secondary levels are found within the program. The school and curriculum is accredited, and approved by the State of Arkansas. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university 43rd among the Best Regional Colleges in the South.

#12 – Edward Waters College

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Jacksonville, Florida
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Enrollment: 862
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Freshman Retention Rate: 51%
Net Price: $12,188

A degree in elementary education is offered by the Department of Education at Edward Waters College to those who complete the competencies required to effectively teach and lead in the field of education. As part of the curriculum, the program requires student teaching for one semester, to demonstrate mastery of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices. The school is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

#11 – Colgate University

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Hamilton, New York
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Enrollment: 2,900
Acceptance Rate: 26%
Freshman Retention Rate: 93%
Net Price: $22,038

Colgate University has garnered numerous rankings and recognitions over the years. U.S. News & World Report ranks Colgate 22nd among Best National Liberal Arts Colleges and 16th among Best Value Schools in the nation. Princeton Review ranks the campus of Colgate as the Most Beautiful College in the nation because of its lush scenery and private setting. The school is recognized as one of the top small colleges for a teaching degree because of its diverse methods of study and preparation for job placement. The freshman retention rate is one of the highest of all small colleges.

#10 – Vassar College

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Poughkeepsie, New York
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Enrollment: 2,477
Acceptance Rate: 24%
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Net Price: $18,484

Preparing students for successful and impactful careers in education is the mission of Vassar College’s Department of Education. The school offers a wide array of liberal arts studies options in combination with the education major. Students are prepared for certification as reflected by the New York State requirements. U.S. News & World Report ranks Vassar College 11th among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation. The school’s undergraduate teaching program is ranked 10th in the United States. The school was also ranked 6th among Best Value Schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

#9 – Le Moyne-Owen College

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Memphis, Tennessee
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Enrollment: 1,023
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Freshman Retention Rate: 46%
Net Price: $11,709

The Division of Education at Le Moyne-Owen College is dedicated to preparing students for careers as educators in an ever-changing field. Program preparation includes Early Childhood Education, K-6 Interdisciplinary Studies, Middle Grades and Secondary Education, Special Education, and Visual Arts Licensure. The Tennessee Department of Education approves the program, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredit the school.

#8 – Mississippi Valley State University

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Itta Bena, Mississippi
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Enrollment: 2,203
Acceptance Rate: 23%
Freshman Retention Rate: 53%
Net Price: $9,807

The College of Education at Mississippi Valley State University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Health, Physical Education and Recreation. While the major does not lead to licensure, students have the option of preparing for licensing in the state of Mississippi through the work of department liaisons. U.S. News & World Report ranks Mississippi Valley State University as the 50th Best Historically Black College and University in the nation.

#7 – Missouri Valley College

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Marshall, Missouri
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Enrollment: 1,668
Acceptance Rate: 22%
Freshman Retention Rate: 44%
Net Price: $16,337

The intimate campus of Missouri Valley College, located in Marshall, Missouri, boasts an atmosphere conducive to learning and building close relationships with peers. The Division of Education is an anchor program at the school, offering current research, pedagogy, and best practices to students pursuing a career in education. Faculty members work closely with students to help them achieve success both inside and outside the world of academia. Graduates move into the teaching workforce or continue their education in a master’s degree program. Teaching certification is offered in 13 areas of specialty.

#6 – Colorado College

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Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Enrollment: 2,061
Acceptance Rate: 22%
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Net Price: $24,526

U.S. News & World Report ranks Colorado College 27th among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation. The college is highly regarded by Princeton Review and the U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News ranked the college #2 for the Best Up-and-Coming Schools in the United States. One of the reasons for the high rankings is the school’s anchor education program. The Department of Education at Colorado College provides the opportunity to pursue the state’s educator license, an Education major, a minor, or a Master of Arts in Teaching.

#5 – Pitzer College

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Claremont, California
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Enrollment: 1,081
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Freshman Retention Rate: 91%
Net Price: $23,139

A member of the Claremont Colleges, Pitzer is a highly distinguished liberal arts school that focuses on interdisciplinary studies and preparation of graduates. Forbes Magazine ranks Pitzer as the 17th Best College in the West and the 87th Best Private College in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Pitzer College as the 35th Best National Liberal Arts College in the nation due to its academic focus, freshman retention rate, and low acceptance rate.

#4 – Bowdoin College

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Brunswick, Maine
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Enrollment: 1,795
Acceptance Rate: 15%
Freshman Retention Rate: 97%
Net Price: $22,193

Bowdoin College focuses on the development of educators in its professional educational department. The educational sequence provides experiences that prepare educators in elementary and secondary education settings. The program emphasizes a liberal arts education and holistic teaching development. Students who participate in the program may earn their bachelor’s degree and certification. Bowdoin College is a highly ranked school, due in part by its low acceptance rate and high freshman retention rate. U.S. News & World Report ranks Bowdoin College 5th among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation.

#3 – Rust College

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Holly Springs, Mississippi
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Enrollment: 922
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Freshman Retention Rate: 63%
Net Price: $8,575

Rust College is a nationally praised college offering undergraduate degree programs in teaching. The small campus and intimate learning environment prepares helps students focus attention on studies while growing supportive relationships among each other. The school’s Division of Education assists and prepares students for a career in the classroom. Students may complete the licensure requirements as issued by the state of Mississippi. Bachelor degree programs in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education are offered, among other studies.

#2 – Swarthmore College

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Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
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Enrollment: 1,534
Acceptance Rate: 14%
Freshman Retention Rate: 96%
Net Price: $22,514

Educational Studies at Swarthmore College prepares students to investigate, research, and critically consider disciplinary perspectives in education. The school is highly recognized as among the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 3rd among the Best National Liberal Arts Colleges and 11th among the Best Value Schools. The teaching program at Swarthmore is ranked 4th among the Best Undergraduate Teaching Programs in the nation.

#1 – College of the Ozarks

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Point Lookout, Missouri
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Enrollment: 1,513
Acceptance Rate: 13%
Freshman Retention Rate: 86%
Net Price: $12,073

The Department of Education at the College of the Ozarks recognizes the changes and challenges of education in the 21st century. The professional education program prepares students to face the challenges in education while implementing leadership and research skills conducive to success in teaching. Graduates of the program become effective teachers ready to embark on an exciting and rewarding career. The College of the Ozarks is highly regarded among small colleges offering teaching degrees. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 4th for the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest and 1st among the Best Value Schools in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school #1 as the Best Undergraduate Teaching program in the nation.

Sources

• Forbes Magazine, America’s Top Colleges 2014 and 2015
• Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator
• Princeton Review, College Rankings
• U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges Rankings and Lists

About the Author

Brenda Rufener is an internationally published freelance writer and journalist living in North Carolina. She holds a graduate degree in Communications and undergraduate degrees in Biology and English.

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