At the University of Florida College of Education, our students are blending passion with purpose to transform education and strengthen society. 

Ranked No. 13 among the nation’s top public colleges of education, according to U.S. News & World Report, more than 3,400 students are advancing their education through our 47 degree programs and certificates. 

But the opportunity to advance your education isn’t just reserved for our classrooms. The college offers 18 online degree programs and certificates designed to prepare you to become a leader in education. 

Online programs serve as a greater equalizer in access to high-quality education, so we consistently integrate the latest innovative tools and technologies to ensure our courses advance your knowledge and enhance your practice. 

Since 2016 our online graduate programs have been named No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This year, we once again were named the Best Online Program.

The College of Education is dedicated to building a brighter future by preparing tomorrow’s leaders, scholars and change makers. But you don’t have to take our word for it — hear from current and former online students who chose the College of Education for their academic pursuits:

Johnny Bell

For Johnny Bell, a fourth and fifth grade teacher at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School and twice-published author, teaching has been the best thing in his life.

Working with elementary students in a range of roles since 2006, he has dedicated his career to teaching and coaching and sought out educational programs that would enable him to reflect on his practices and enhance his craft. These aspirations led him to the UF College of Education.

Johnny gained his M.Ed. online in Teacher Leadership for School Improvement (TLSI) in 2016 and with the encouragement of a faculty member, decided to return in 2020 to gain his Ed.D. online inCurriculum & Instruction specializing in Teachers, Schools and Society (TSS).

“It’s been everything that I’ve been told and more,” he said.

The TSS program is designed to prepare practicing educators to draw on educational theory and research to address pressing educational problems of practice. Structured in cohorts, students collaborate as a community of learners to tackle common and individual problems of practice.

For Johnny, the diversity of faculty and the relevancy of course topics with current events has been invaluable.

“It’s been really beneficial and really enjoyable,” he said. “…It’s almost like you can really see and feel the build as you progress through the program.”

As an educator of color, Johnny believes he is naturally drawn to promote diversity and encourage others to understand its value and importance.

“I think being in the program has really helped provide that research-based, concrete data to support my beliefs and the reasons of why I do what I do,” he said.

Now in his second year of the program, Johnny hopes to continue gaining a better understanding of the field of education to drive meaningful change in the profession. He considers working with a diverse group of peers in his cohort essential to doing just that.

“That’s probably been the biggest strength and encouragement for me as a student and as an educator, too,” he said. “It’s to be able to connect with others throughout the program.”

Jillian Eiseman

When Jillian Eiseman, soon-to-be triple EduGator , decided to pursue a path in K-12 leadership, she looked no further than the UF College of Education.

With a bachelor’s of education and master’s of education from the college already under her belt, she knew there was only one place to gain her master’s in Educational Leadership. 

“The quality of education that I received in my bachelor’s and first master’s was something that I wanted to seek out again,” she said. “…I felt confident that going the University of Florida route was the best decision for me.”

Currently, Jillian lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and works as a district elementary region specialist. An intermediate elementary teacher for 10 years and a math coach for three years, she strives to impart her knowledge on others and currently supports countless educators and students across her district. Interested in expanding her education while continuing her career, the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership was the perfect fit. 

Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to become educational leaders, the fully online M.Ed. integrates coursework in the fields of education policy, school leadership and education finance and law to prepare graduates for a multitude of professional pathways. 

For Jillian, who is graduating summer 2021, the program has done exactly that. 

“The coursework, coupled with the position I’m currently in, has really advanced my level of understanding and my level of knowledge of what it takes to be a leader,” she said. 

Jillian shared she has cultivated a heightened level of professionalism in her current work and has gained invaluable insights and perspectives from her peers and professors. 

“That’s exactly what I needed to grow,” she said. 

While this was Jillian’s first online program with the College of Education, she describes the experience as wonderful — characterized by strong, accessible coursework, engaged professors and a flexible pace ideal to support a busy working professional. 

“I felt like they [the professors] wanted me to learn, they want me to grow, they want me to be what I want to be and they allowed that to happen,” she said. 

For educators seeking to “do more, be a leader and impart their knowledge on others,” Jillian wholeheartedly recommends the online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. 

Tayla Hunt

For Tayla Hunt, the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Educational Technology marked the start of a new career path. 

In fact, her interest in instructional design sparked quite serendipitously. 

Tayla holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and works as an administrative assistant charged with fiscal management. While supporting a research endeavor to expand health education and supports for local rural communities, she was inspired to take action and sought an educational program to prepare her to do just that. 

“I wanted to do something, and I started thinking,” she said. “What if I eventually created a program that went around to rural areas in the summertime and taught kids about how to take care of themselves and look out for cancer?” 

With focus on  preparing future instructional designers and educational technologists to leverage and develop learning technologies, the Managing Distance Education Environments online certificate and the online M.Ed. in Educational Technology were exactly what she was looking for. 

Tayla shared that the program has not only expanded her vision for her future educational program, but also expanded her capabilities for creating the program beyond face-to-face instruction. 

Moreover, in pursuing the certificate and degree program, Tayla realized she would also love to become an instructional designer working directly in the field of educational technology. 

“I do think that it’s well prepared me to be able to to accomplish instructional design positions,” she said. “… Yeah, I’m excited.” 

While Tayla is no stranger to online programs, she feels the online M.Ed. in Educational Technology is designed in a way that cultivates learning and is more than accessible to newcomers in the field. 

“I think that the program is very student centered, like the courses in general are centered around what you can learn and not necessarily that everyone’s gonna learn the same things,” she said. “I came from an online bachelors, so I kind of knew what I was getting into, but I think for somebody who’s not done it and comes in, I think this is the perfect type of online program to come into because they break it down for you. Everything’s organized.”

Now in her final semester, Tayla is excited for what the future holds and pleased that she decided to take the leap and pursue the online certificate and program. 

“It was kind of like — this is of course what I’m going to do —  there’s nowhere else,” she said. 

Tonika Jones

Double Gator Tonika Jones, assistant director of student affairs-operations at the UF Warrington College of Business, was inspired to embark on a new educational journey after having the opportunity to build a campus course module. 

With a background in parks, tourism and recreation management, this was her first experience with educational technology and instructional design, but one that ignited a lasting passion and interest. In fall 2019, she began the online M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Educational Technology to explore that passion further. 

As her first degree fully online, Tonika shared she felt some initial apprehension. But she couldn’t deny the benefits the online setting offered and having already gained two degrees from UF, she knew the high quality education she would receive no matter the format. 

“I was already working full time, so me being able to take the courses online and go through the online program  that allowed me to be able to maintain my employment and continue to earn work experience while gaining my education as well,” she said.  

Now in her final semester, Tonika shared she is so glad she didn’t let that apprehension stop her from enrolling. 

“I definitely feel that it was a positive experience and I’m really glad that I moved forward with pursuing the degree online,” she said. 

Despite the asynchronous nature of an online program, Tonika believes the M.Ed. in Educational Technology is designed to cultivate meaningful connections among students. 

“You have a sense of community, a sense of belonging,” she said. “Even though half the people I’ve never actually met them in person  you still feel like you belong to something.”

Bridging the time and distance that typically divides online students, Tonika believes she has gained the opportunity to engage with and learn from peers who she would not have otherwise had the chance to connect with. In doing so, her experience has been all the more enriching. 

“It just gives you a different perspective and allows you to kind of think about education through the eyes of someone else,” she said. 

In addition to invaluable peer connections, Tonika shared the program is structured to promote student success. Through hands-on courses, she has not only gained the knowledge but also the firsthand experience to succeed in the field. 

“I feel like with each one of the courses there have been tangible skills that I’ve obtained that are now in my arsenal,” she said. “… I would say that’s been like the most rewarding thing.” 

Based on her experiences and ignited passion for the field, Tonika decided to continue her education even further enrolling in the college’s Ph.D. in Educational Technology program. She begins this fall. 

“I never imagined that I would be doing that, but when opportunities present themselves and you’re [you know] in the time it is right, you just have to pursue it,”she said. “I definitely would recommend it (the program) to peers and colleagues, and I actually have already.”

Kris Valentine

When Kris Valentine decided to pursue her graduate studies, there was only one University she wanted to apply to — the University of Florida, College of Education and the Student Personnel in Higher Education (SPHE) online M.Ed. program.

Accepted into the SPHE program in fall 2020 while working as an advising specialist at Santa Fe College, Kris has already enhanced her professional opportunities through the program by accepting an appointment as an academic career advisor at the UF Heavener School of Business.

Working in a breadth of higher education settings for more than 12 years and centering on advising, Kris desired a program that would add to this experience and well-round her professional development as a student affairs leader.

“UF is the mini Harvard of the south and a brand in itself,” she said. “It’s an honor to be selected to be part of the Gator nation.”

Now, halfway through her program, Kris knows undoubtedly that she made the right choice.

“The program curriculum spoke to all of the pieces that I needed and was looking for to grow as a student affairs practitioner,” she said.

 Designed to prepare graduates for a range of student affairs leadership roles in higher education, Kris is enthusiastically gaining the professional competencies needed to advance.

“I’m really enjoying the learning outcomes of this program,” she said. “They are teaching me so much more than I ever envisioned.”

In fact, Kris shared she could see the impact of the program just one month into her first semester. Not only has it enhanced her professional work, she is also taking advantage of professional development and engagement opportunities available within the student affairs field that she never knew about previously.

“As you navigate through your career, it’s not always apparent of what opportunity pathways are available until they come up,” she said. “Pushing yourself outside your knowledge comfort zone and job responsibilities is key if you want to expand your skills, proficiency and opportunities.”

While the SPHE M.Ed. program is also available on campus, Kris chose the convenience of the online option, which offered the flexibility she needed to balance her school and career responsibilities.

“I knew the online program would be the absolute best fit for me,” she said.

Looking to the future, Kris is excited to complete the program and continue professionally developing and growing as a student affairs leader and practitioner.

“This program is giving me the foundation that I need to grow,” she said. “… I would recommend it for anyone who’s interested in understanding and applying competencies in higher education as a whole and working in the student affairs field.”