Elementary education teachers instruct students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. In most cases, they instruct the same group of children during an entire academic year and teach all the subjects in their school district's curriculum.

Elementary education differs from early childhood education because early childhood education focuses on the academic, cognitive and social skills that children develop from birth through preschool. While elementary education teachers typically find employment at public and private elementary schools, early childhood education teachers often work in daycares or childcare centers.

Although you may pursue a degree program in elementary education, you may also be able to teach kindergarten through sixth grade if you've earned a degree and teaching credential in another subject. Check out our ranking of the best online colleges for teaching credentials for more information.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that as the enrollment of students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade increases, so does the demand for teachers. Below, we'll take a closer look into accredited online elementary education degree programs and discuss the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

While you can complete the majority of an elementary education degree program online, most programs, especially those at the bachelor's degree level require some hands-on experience. This practical experience degree requirement means that at some point you are required to work as a student teacher at a local elementary school.
A strong online elementary teaching degree is accredited. It offers opportunities for you to gain meaningful work experience through student teaching or practicums in an elementary school setting. It may also guide you through the process of obtaining a teaching license, if you choose to go that route.

A few examples of the agencies that accredit colleges with elementary education majors include the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). However, there are several types of accrediting agencies that can award accreditation to colleges and programs; these are more thoroughly detailed on our "What is College Accreditation?" page.

While many students who attend online schools for elementary education teach after graduation, some decide to pursue other careers. With an elementary education degree, students may also become school librarians, school counselors, or school administrators. Additionally, they may work as curriculum design experts and support teachers in improving their teaching skills.

Best Online Colleges for Elementary Education in 2019-20

We've compiled two lists: one for the best undergraduate online colleges for elementary education majors and one for the best graduate online colleges for elementary education. Each list provides a brief profile of a selected school, how it supports online students and the types of accredited online elementary education degree programs available. Our lists are designed to assist students who would like to pursue elementary education degree programs in finding the ideal college and program for their specific needs and preferences.

1

Great Basin College

Tuition & Fees
$3,128
Distance Education Participation
83%
Location
Elko, NV
School Type
4-year

GBC's Academic Focus: Great Basin College offers associate and baccalaureate-level instruction in academic, career and technical education areas. The college seeks to enrich people's lives by providing student-centered, post-secondary education to rural Nevada.

Featured GBC Resource: GBC offers student online workshops which include courses on building good study habits, dealing with test anxiety, knowing your learning style and finals week survival.

Elementary Education at Great Basin College

Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

  • Students have the flexibility to choose from one of several emphases or endorsements
  • Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language are two additional endorsement options
  • Student teaching internships must be completed during the last semester of coursework

Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education - Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certificate

  • Enables students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a field other than education to become eligible for licensure to teach in Nevada
2

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
$22,584
Distance Education Participation
90%
Location
Lynchburg, VA
School Type
4-year

LU's Academic Focus: Liberty University (LU) is a private, evangelical Christian university. It's considered one of the largest Christian universities in the world as well as one of the largest private nonprofit institutions in the United States.

Featured LU Resource: LU offers an urban education club to prepare students taking elementary education classes online for teaching success in urban environments. It provides them with insight on urban education and the social issues that affect students who live in low-income, urban settings.

Elementary Education at Liberty University

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

  • Students can enroll in an optional 300-hour practicum to gain valuable hands-on experience
  • Complements the Master of Arts in teaching program, which prepares students for licensure
  • Required courses include Learning Theory and Portfolio Development, Classroom Management for Teachers and Educational Philosophy for Teachers

Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education

  • An online bachelor's degree program that can lead to teaching licensure
  • Required courses include Elementary School Curriculum, Teaching Reading to Diverse Learners and Behavioral and Individual Differences
  • Students must complete three practicums and two supervised student teaching credits, which can give them hands-on experience in the teaching field
3

Western New Mexico University

Tuition & Fees
$6,066
Distance Education Participation
71%
Location
Silver City, NM
School Type
4-year

WNMU's Academic Focus: Western New Mexico University (WNMU) is a public university and is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, as more than 50 percent of WNMU's undergraduate students are Hispanic.

Featured WNMU Resource: Students taking elementary education classes online may receive help on their papers via the school's writing center. They can email drafts and get feedback on their papers' strengths and weaknesses as well as suggestions for improvement.

Elementary Education at Western New Mexico University

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

  • The New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) or National Evaluation Series (NES) must be taken order for the student to continue
  • Provides teacher education candidates the opportunity to assume the full-time responsibility of a classroom teacher under the supervision of a school-based clinical faculty or cooperating teacher Candidate will have to pass a professional behaviors and dispositions assessment before graduating
  • Upon program completion, students may receive teaching licensure in New Mexico
4

James Sprunt Community College

Tuition & Fees
$2,570
Distance Education Participation
76%
Location
Kenansville, NC
School Type
2-year

JSCC's Academic Focus: Founded in 1960, James Sprunt Community College (JSCC) is a community college named after a Scottish immigrant who became a teacher. The college ensures quality programs and services by providing students with useful facilities, equipment and technology. JSCC is also involved in addressing community needs and goals.

Featured JSCC Resource: Through the online Career Center, students can enjoy assistance with career exploration, study skills, job search techniques, resume and cover letter writing and job market exploration.

Elementary Education at James Sprunt Community College

Associate of Applied Science

  • Courses focus on the physical and nutritional needs of children, computer technology in education and care and guidance of children
  • Includes an internship experience
  • Upon graduation, students can work as teachers in before- and after-school programs, recreational centers and child-care programs
5

North Carolina Central University

Tuition & Fees
$6,464
Distance Education Participation
44%
Location
Durham, NC
School Type
4-year

NCCU's Academic Focus: NCCUaims toprepare students to succeed in the global marketplace. This Historically Black College or University offers programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing and the arts with the intention of sustaining a future-focused modern university.

Featured NCCU Resource: Students can use the Upswing Online Tutoring service to access tutoring resources. Tutoring and academic coaching is done either with peer coaches or school personnel.

Elementary Education at North Carolina Central University

Bachelor of Arts

  • Students are required to complete a concentration in one of the following areas: art, biology, English as a Second Language (ESL), English literature, English writing, history, literacy, mathematics (general), French, Spanish, or social science
  • A second degree option is also available for candidates who already hold a B.A. in a different field but would like to pursue a teaching license
  • Candidates pursuing a second degree in elementary education are not required to complete an academic concentration
6

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Tuition & Fees
$29,960
Distance Education Participation
37%
Location
Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
School Type
4-year

SMWC's Academic Focus: Known as the oldest Catholic college in Indiana, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college. It strives to "empower young women and men to emerge as strong leaders preparedfor life's opportunities."

Featured SMWC Resource: Students can join SMWC's chapter of Future Teachers of America(FTA).The club offers volunteer opportunities at local schools,education workshops and other networking events for future teachers. < /p>

Elementary Education at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College < /p>

Bachelor of Science in Education < /p>

  • Prepares students to teach Kindergarten through Grade 6 and students with mild disabilities
  • < li > Core education courses include Growth and Development,Educational Psychology and Introduction to eLearning and Technology in Education < /li>
  • Required clinical experience and seminar in teaching
  • < /ul>
7

Pima Community College

Tuition & Fees
$2,142
Distance Education Participation
32%
Location
Tucson, AZ
School Type
2-year

PCC's Academic Focus: Pima Community College (PCC) is a two-year school with six locations. It is an open admissions school that focuses on workforce development, career training programs and adult education.

Featured PCC Resource: Students can enroll in tutoring sessions online via PCC's tutoring center. Tutoring is available for subjects such as math, reading and writing from PCC students who work as peer tutors.

Elementary Education at Pima Community College

Associate of Arts in Elementary Education

  • Includes core courses such as Introduction to Education and Relationships in Classroom Settings
  • A required Transfer Strategies course can help students make a seamless transition to a four-year degree program
8

Holmes Community College

Tuition & Fees
$3,110
Distance Education Participation
51%
Location
Goodman, MS
School Type
2-year

HCC's Academic Focus: Holmes Community College (HCC) is a comprehensive public institution that provides educational and cultural opportunities through campus-based and distance education programs. The college seeks to prepare its students for university transfer, productive employment and lifelong learning. Holmes offers affordable, equal access to higher education in an attractive, secure, multi-campus environment.

Featured HCC Resource: The online Trek Center at HCC provides elementary education students with academic and career coaching. It can help students with resume and interview skills and offers workshops related to academics, financial aid, graduation, life skills and career opportunities.

Elementary Education at Holmes Community College

Associate of Arts in Elementary Education

  • Foundations in Education course requires 30 observation hours in a school environment arranged by the instructor
  • Consult with a chosen transfer university to determine changes to the curriculum so that the courses focus and prepare the students for their intended bachelor's program

The curriculum is designed to review basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics as preparation for the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators examination -- an assessment that's recommended prior to transferring to a four-year program

9

East Mississippi Community College

Tuition & Fees
$3,440
Distance Education Participation
56%
Location
Scooba, MS
School Type
2-year

EMCC's Academic Focus: Originally known as East Mississippi Junior College, East Mississippi Community College, this public school that offers a variety of career and technical programs in a number of disciplines, including education.

Featured EMCC Resource: Through the EMCC library there are several online resources available to students including a 24/7 Librarian; access to e-books, databases, and other electronic resources; learning kits; and much more.

Elementary Education at East Mississippi Community College

Associate of Arts in Elementary Education

  • Sets up curriculum that seeks to fulfill the Mississippi Department of Education's requirement that candidates complete 18 hours in two endorsement areas with no grade lower the a "C."
  • Programs prepare the students for Mississippi K-6 licensure with add-on licenses for grades 7-12
10

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Tuition & Fees
$2,544
Distance Education Participation
69%
Location
Fayetteville, NC
School Type
2-year

FTCC's Academic Focus: Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) has a diverse student population and strives to provide affordable educational programs that can prepare students for the workforce.

Featured FTCC Resource: The Work-Based Learning (WBL) program gives students enrolled in an elementary education program online the chance to apply classroom knowledge in both paid and non-paid work experiences related to their career goals. Through the program, students can earn college credit while gaining real-world experience, network with current teachers and establish solid job references.

Elementary Education at Fayetteville Technical Community College

Associate in School-Age Education

  • Prepares students to work with children in elementary through middle grades in diverse learning environments
  • Emphasis is placed on principles of development, environmental planning, and positive guidance techniques and program development
  • Upon completion, students should be able to discuss developmental principles for culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse children ages five to twelve and plan and implement developmentally appropriate programs and activities

Diploma in School-Age Education

  • Courses such as Classroom Management and Instruction, Educational Technology and Public Speaking must be completed
  • Upon graduation, students may find employment at before- and after-school programs, recreational centers and schools with paraprofessional positions
  • Required courses include Care and Guidance of School-Age Children, Physical/Nutritional Needs of School-Age Children and Communication Skills with Families and Children
1

Grand Canyon University

Tuition & Fees
$17,050
Distance Education Participation
90%
Location
Phoenix, AZ
School Type
4-year

GCU's Academic Focus: Grand Canyon University is a private Christian college that focuses on preparing learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders. They provide an academically challenging, value-based curriculum from the context of a Christian heritage.

Featured GCU Resource: All students can take advantage of the extensive academic resources on their online library.

Elementary Education at Grand Canyon University

Master of Education in Elementary Education (MEd)

  • Coursework for this online master's program includes child and adolescent development and psychology, special education, classroom management and engagement, instructional planning, literacy, supporting English language learners, math, science, social studies and the arts
  • The required student teaching experience includes practical classroom experiences, research, analysis and teaching to support the creation of a Student Teaching Evaluation of Performance (STEP)
2

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Tuition & Fees
$22,275
Distance Education Participation
65%
Location
Saint Paul, MN
School Type
4-year

CU's Academic Focus: Concordia University is a private, Christian liberal arts university in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is one of the ten universities affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Featured CU Resource: Elementary education graduate students can receive access to the Handshake online job platform, which features various internships, part-time jobs and full-time opportunities in the education sector. It also includes information about career fairs for current and aspiring teachers.

Elementary Education at Concordia University-Saint Paul

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

  • Students may earn an initial license or add the K-6 license to an existing license
  • Required courses include Psychology of Learning and Teaching in Schools, Inclusion in Diverse Classroom and Educational Research and Applications
3

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Tuition & Fees
$7,922
Distance Education Participation
81%
Location
Natchitoches, LA
School Type
4-year

NSU's Academic Focus: Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) is a public university that in its early years offered two-year degree programs for those who wanted to become teachers. It continues to support students in the education field by offering a number of online master's in elementary education programs.

Featured NSU Resource: The University Counseling Center offers complimentary career counseling and career development services, counseling and outreach services and part-time employment services to students enrolled in an online master's in elementary education program.

Elementary Education at Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education

  • Designed for professionals without undergraduate degrees in education who want to earn initial Louisiana teacher certification in elementary education
  • Includes a one-year internship in teaching grades 1 through 5
  • Students are required to pass PRAXIS II pedagogy test prior to participating in the internship

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Mild/Moderate Special Education

  • Intended for professionals who do not have undergraduate degrees in education, yet have the desire to earn an initial Louisiana teacher certification in Mild/Moderate Special Education
  • A one-year internship is required
  • Students must pass the PRAXIS II pedagogy test before they intern

Practitioner Teacher Program (PREP)

  • An intensive program for those who have already completed an undergraduate teaching degree program and are employed in a teaching position
  • Completion leads to a Louisiana teaching license in grades 1 through 5
  • Designed to be taken in the summer so that students can start teaching immediately
4

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
$22,584
Distance Education Participation
90%
Location
Lynchburg, VA
School Type
4-year

LU's Academic Focus: Liberty University (LU) offers graduate education programs that are centered on Christ. It promotes a Christian worldview, an understanding of the Western tradition and a solid foundation in the liberal arts.

Featured LU Resource: The Online Writing Center at LU helps elementary education graduate students improve their papers via Skype appointments. Students can also upload their Microsoft Word drafts and receive suggested edits as well as access to writing aids.

Elementary Education at Liberty University

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) - Elementary Education

  • Can be completed in as little as 2 years
  • Core courses include Teaching Mathematics, Teaching Natural and Social Sciences and Reading and Language Acquisition
  • A semester of student teaching is required
  • Can prepare students for their initial teaching licensure in Virginia

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (MED) - Elementary Education

  • Intended for students interested in teaching elementary education but not necessarily seeking licensure
  • Examples of required courses are Teaching Science in the Elementary School, Leadership and Supervision of Education and Elementary Curriculum and Methods
  • Can prepare students to meet the needs of various learning styles via human development, data collection and research in school environments

45 Credit Hour Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) - Elementary Education

  • This program includes electives to allow students to expand their credentials with a second endorsement in special, middle, or secondary education
  • Students can study educational behavior and development, current trends in education, and methods of teaching and classroom management

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Elementary Education

  • Program teaches the administration, research, curriculum development and learning theory skills and knowledge
  • Prepares students to design enjoyable and effective instruction exercises, teaching tools and lesson plans for kindergarten through sixth grade
  • Focuses on practical teaching skills, behavior management and creative technology practices
  • Can be altered to meet initial teaching licensure requirements for elementary instruction

Education Specialist (EDS) - Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Education

  • Designed for students who hope to pursue positions in education administration
  • Instructional Methods for Behavior & Learning and Curriculum Development and are two of this program's courses
5

University of West Georgia

Tuition & Fees
$6,288
Distance Education Participation
59%
Location
Carrollton, GA
School Type
4-year

UWG's Academic Focus: University of West Georgia (UWG) is one of seven schools in the state that has been named a Doctoral Research University. Its College of Education features a Comprehensive Community Clinic, which offers services to the community related to special education, counseling, language, literacy and mathematics.

Featured UWG Resource: Students pursuing an elementary education program online can receive career counseling services and participate in resume workshops and mock interviews. They can also use WolfWorks and PeopleAdmin, two websites with job postings to find internship and full-time opportunities.

Elementary Education at University of West Georgia

Master of Education with a Major in Elementary Education

  • Promotes research-based practices
  • Focuses on curriculum theory and development, knowledge and understanding of the student and social foundations of education

Specialist in Education with a Major in Elementary Education

  • Designed to prepare teachers to create and implement policies and practices
  • Students must complete a professional seminar, which is a forum between students and professors that opens the doors to discussing critical issues related to elementary education
  • Culture and Society in Education, Data Analysis in Educational Research and Teacher as Leaders are a few examples of courses students must take

Online Teaching Endorsement

  • Prepares teachers to design, facilitate and manage teaching in an online format
  • Required courses include Introduction to Distance Education, Leadership and Administration of Online Learning and Instructional Design
  • May be beneficial to elementary education teachers as well as instructional designers, and administrators

Reading Endorsement

  • Supports teachers in creating an environment that for reading and writing in the classroom
  • Three courses in this program include Integrating Language, Literacy and Technology across Content Area, Comprehensive Literacy Assessments and Interventions, and Literacy, Development and Practices in the Digital Age
6

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Tuition & Fees
$22,275
Distance Education Participation
65%
Location
Saint Paul, MN
School Type
4-year

Concordia University's Academic Focus: Concordia University is a private, Christian liberal arts university. It is one of the ten universities affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Featured Concordia University Resource: Elementary education graduate students can receive access to the Handshake online job platform, which features various internships, part-time jobs and full-time opportunities in the education sector. It also includes information about career fairs for current and aspiring teachers.

Elementary Education at Concordia University-Saint Paul

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

  • Students may earn an initial license or add the K-6 license to an existing license
  • Required courses include Psychology of Learning and Teaching in Schools, Inclusion in Diverse Classroom and Educational Research and Applications
7

Missouri State University-Springfield

Tuition & Fees
$7,376
Distance Education Participation
37%
Location
Springfield, MO
School Type
4-year

MSU's Academic Focus: Missouri State University (MSU) is a public university with three campuses in Missouri and one in Dalian, China. It focuses on educating students to be global citizen scholars committed to public affairs.

Featured MSU Resource: The Bear CLAW (Center for Learning and Writing) is available to online master's in elementary education students. It offers tutoring, assistance with papers and various workshops and presentations to help students excel in their programs.

Elementary Education at Missouri State University-Springfield

Master of Science in Education, Elementary Education

  • Focuses on developing quality relationships with students, parents, school colleagues and members of the community
  • Shows future educators how to work with students of all ethnicities, racial backgrounds and other diversities
  • Research Seminar in Elementary Education, Educational Research Methodology and Contemporary Issues in Elementary Curriculum are required courses
8

Ball State University

Tuition & Fees
$9,896
Distance Education Participation
45%
Location
Muncie, IN
School Type
4-year

Ball State's Academic Focus: Ball State University is a public research university that aims to instill the importance of community engagement, sustainability and accessibility in its students. Ball State is one of the first schools to earn the learner support certification from Quality Matters for its success in online and blended learning programs.

Featured Ball State Resource: A career coach at Ball State can help students make valuable connections with those in the education industry, assist them with resume and cover letter writing and support them through the interview process.

Elementary Education at Ball State University

Graduate Certificate in Literacy Instruction

  • Meets the Indiana licensing requirements by the Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA) for reading teachers
  • Good option for reading coaches, reading specialists, remedial reading teachers and other elementary teachers who would like to add a reading license to their current Indiana license
  • The certificate can be completed in two or three semesters

Graduate Certificate in Enhanced Teaching Practice for Elementary Teachers

  • The certificate concentrates on classroom management, classroom assessment, technology use, reading and writing instruction, and differentiated instruction
  • The 15-credit certificate is also a good option if you're considering a master's degree in the future because it partially completes requirements for the master's in elementary education

Master's Degree in Elementary Education

  • Learn the role of education in a diverse society, the importance of data-driven assessment and how technology can support the teaching and learning experience
  • Completion of the master's degree program does not lead to initial licensure
  • This program is a step toward earning a 10-year renewal on a Indiana teaching license when earning a degree in one of Ball State's education concentrations

Ed.D. in Elementary Education

  • Program includes a theoretical base as well as a research design and methodology component, preparing students not only for understanding best practices but being able to evaluate and test hypotheses about what works in education
  • Many of their graduates teach at the college or university level, others have leadership positions such as administrators, policy makers and education specialists
  • Students can develop an in-depth knowledge in an area of interest through program activities that include in-service training, research and publication, college teaching, curriculum development, clinical or laboratory work and graduate courses in their major and related subjects

Ph.D. in Elementary Education

  • Designed for graduate students who are interested in a career as a college or university professor
  • Students are expected to develop an in-depth knowledge through program activities that include in-service training, research and publication, college teaching, curriculum development, clinical or laboratory work, and graduate courses
  • Consistent interaction with professors, allowing for mentoring and careful monitoring of progress
9

Georgia Southern University

Tuition & Fees
$6,356
Distance Education Participation
36%
Location
Statesboro, GA
School Type
4-year

GSU's Academic Focus: Georgia Southern University (GSU) is a public research university. The school strives to bridge theory with practice and promotes hands-on learning opportunities.

Featured GSU Resource: The online library is offered to students who are in search of course guides, online newspapers, government documents, online reference tools and a number of other resources.

Elementary Education at Georgia Southern University

M.A.T. in Elementary Education

  • Designed for students who hold a non-education-related undergraduate degree and those who work in a classroom setting without an initial certification
  • Consists of core courses such as Multicultural Elementary Education, Introduction to Special Education and Instruction-Based Assessment
  • Required supervised field experience in Georgia schools

Master of Education in Elementary Education

  • Can be completed in one year
  • Intended for students with a renewable Induction or Professional Level Four Certificate or equivalent in elementary education
  • Courses include Teaching Writing in the Elementary School, Learning Theories and Assessment and Action Research Elementary Settings
10

Western New Mexico University

Tuition & Fees
$6,066
Distance Education Participation
71%
Location
Silver City, NM
School Type
4-year

GSU's Academic Focus: This open-access institution combines a foundation of liberal arts education with professional programs and career and technical preparation in a diverse, inclusive and caring community of learners.

Featured GSU Resource: Their course management system, Canvas, provides 24/7 tech support and they have 24/7 online tutoring.

Elementary Education at Western New Mexico University

M.A.T. in Elementary Education

  • Degree candidates actively participate in the exploration and mastery of curriculum, pedagogy, instructional methodology, leadership, assessment, research, and technology integration
  • Courses are guided by the State of New Mexico Teaching Competencies requirements

Elementary Education Program Overview

Here's what you can expect if you decide to pursue an online bachelor's degree program in elementary education or an online master's degree in elementary education. While these degree programs do have notable differences, there are several similarities among them.

Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education

Program Details

An online bachelor's in elementary education usually takes about four years to complete. Before enrolling, you must hold at least a high school diploma or GED. You may also a transfer in from another educational institution as long as you meet the minimum GPA requirement, which is usually 2.0.

With this degree, you can set yourself on the path to obtaining teaching licensure and being able to teach in an elementary school environment. In addition, the valuable hands-on experience through student teaching or practicum opportunities can show you what it's like to teach elementary school students for a living.

Degree Timeline

  • Complete general education courses: Most online bachelor's in elementary education programs begin with courses such as English, mathematics, science and history. These courses strive to help students become well-rounded elementary education teachers.
  • Take professional education courses: These courses are designed to prepare students with the skills needed to teach in an elementary school setting. They focus on the philosophy of education as well as educational processes and standards.
  • Complete elementary education core courses: These are courses that are intended to teach methods of curriculum in subjects such as reading, writing, science and math.
  • Participate in a student teaching or practicum experience: Bachelor's in elementary education programs typically end with hands-on learning in a kindergarten through 6th grade classroom.
  • 1.Common Courses
    • Foundations of Education
    • Child Psychology and Development
    • Philosophy of Education
    • Technology in Teaching
    • Curriculum Development
    • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Elementary school teacher
    • Tutor
    • Learning mentor
    • Youth sports couch
    • School counselor
    • Curriculum expert
    • Family service worker

Earning an Online Master in Elementary Education

Program Details

The typical online master's in elementary education takes about two years from start to finish. However, some programs can be completed in less time. To enroll in an online master's in elementary education program, students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Some master's programs for elementary education accept students with bachelor's degrees in other academic disciplines, especially those designed to transition students from another field to elementary education.

Online master's elementary education programs typically grant students the opportunity to choose a specialty such as Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Policy and Special Education. Programs at this level also give you the chance to earn a National Board Certified Teacher designation and transition into a leadership position.

Degree Timeline

  • Take core courses: These are designed to lay the groundwork for success in advanced education careers. They may include Data Driven Decision Making, Designing Learning Environments for All and Disability in Education.
  • Complete specialty courses: Once students have taken all of the required core courses, they'll be ready to take courses that are tailored toward their specialty. Courses vary depending on the specialty chosen.
  • Participate in a capstone project or teaching experience: Most online master's in elementary education programs end with a capstone project, which usually involves some type of research and presentation or hands-on experience in an educational setting.
  • 1.Common Courses
    • Ethical Leadership in School Reform
    • Cognition and Learning
    • Instructional Leadership
    • Social Justice and Educational Equity
    • Educational Research Methodology
    • Qualitative Methods in Educational Research
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Elementary school teacher
    • Educational leadership administrator
    • Curriculum and instruction coordinator
    • Director of special education
    • STEM program manager
    • Digital learning and development manager

Complementary Fields of Study

A number of other fields of study may be beneficial to your career goals if you're enrolled in an online elementary teaching degree program. While some of these can be pursued as double majors, others can be studied as minors or in just a few additional courses on the side.

Child Development

Child development refers to the social and behavioral sciences of how children develop in their family, community and culture. It focuses on how different settings and groups affect the way children interact and make decisions.

This field of study can improve your ability to work with children or their parents in your education-related profession of choice. Many colleges offer child development as a minor or double major for students in an elementary education program online by only requiring several extra courses.

Educational Technology

The subject of educational technology is designed to help you learn how to integrate technology in the classroom. Through this field of study, you can discover the benefits of technology for teaching and learning.

While some colleges with elementary education majors offer education technology as a minor, others allow you to double major in it. Several additional courses are required to receive a minor or double major in this discipline.

Child Psychology

Child psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the development and behavior of children. It encompasses milestones, social skills and behavior issues as well as mental and emotional well-being and development.

Learning about child psychology can help you as an elementary school educator better understand your students' emotions and actions. Child psychology is usually offered by the best elementary education colleges as a minor or you can pursue it by taking a few additional courses on the side.

English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language or ESL studies can prepare you to work with students whose first language is not English. It may be a good option for you if you're interested in working in diverse elementary school environments or with individual students from various countries who need to master the English language. You may double major or minor in ESL by taking extra courses.

How to Earn Your Teaching Credential: Elementary School

After graduating from an elementary education program online, many students decide to earn their teaching credential. This type of credential allows you to teach elementary school students in public schools. A credential program typically takes another 1½ years to complete if it's not included within the education program you earned.

Although they're often used interchangeably, a teaching credential and certificate in education are different. A teaching credential is another term for the license required to teach in public schools. A certificate of education, however, is awarded after you complete an academic program.

Can I Earn a Teaching Credential Online?

In an online teaching credential program, the courses for the credential can be taken through the distance education means offered by the school. Meanwhile, the student teaching portion of the credential can be completed at a number of other schools that the college has made agreements with. This allows students to enroll in a credential program offered in another city or even another state without forcing them to pack up and move.

Credentialing Differences Between States

While the process of earning a teaching credential can vary from state to state, most states require you to possess at least a bachelor's in elementary education, complete an Educator Preparation Program and pass certain state examinations. Here's a brief overview of what you can expect when earning a teaching credential in three different states.

CaliforniaTexasNew York
Education RequirementsBachelor's degree, approved teacher preparation programBachelor's degree, approved teacher preparation programBachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5, approved teacher preparation program
Documentation RequirementsFingerprints and background check, transcriptsFingerprints and background check, transcriptsFingerprints and background check, transcripts
Fees$50 application fee and $1.38 service fee$134 test fee$50 for applicants who qualify for certification by completing a New York State approved program or $100 for applicants who qualify via another pathway
Test RequirementsCalifornia Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) and the Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT)Educating All Students (EAS) Test, edTPA and Content Specialty Test (CST)
Renewal RequirementsComplete the requirements for a Clear Credential within 5 years or become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching StandardsComplete 150 continuing professional education (CPE) hours every 5 yearsComplete 3 years of teaching to earn a 3 Professional Certificate or request a request a one-time Initial Certificate Reissuance, which lasts for 5 years

For the most up-to-date requirements for becoming a teacher, if you're enrolled in an elementary education college, you should check your state's Department of Education website.

The Praxis Exams

The Praxis exams are designed to measure your academic skills and content knowledge of specific subjects such as math, reading and writing, which are required for teaching. This important test can determine whether you can earn your teaching licensure and teach in a public school classroom.

Most state education agencies in the United States use the Praxis exams to make decisions regarding the licensing of new teachers. Visit the official Praxis website for more information on particular state requirements.

Alternate Credentialing Paths

In some states, if you have graduated from an elementary program online you can become credentialed as an elementary school teacher without receiving licensure.

Louisiana, for example, allows you to teach full-time while you're completing your master's degree program via the Practitioner Teacher Alternate Certification Program as long as you take the Praxis exams for the grade level and subjects that you wish to teach.

In Florida, if you have a bachelor's degree that was not completed at an approved preparation program or was completed outside of Florida, you may receive a Temporary Teaching Certification while you complete your remaining licensure requirements. This certification is valid for three years and accepted by Florida school districts.

New Mexico offers an Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) where you can earn a teaching certification through a review of your portfolio. You must meet the specific portfolio requirements, take a minimum of three credit hours of reading courses and pass three required New Mexico Teacher Assessments.

Do I Need a Credential to Teach at a Private School?

A credential isn't always necessary to teach elementary school students at a private school. This is because private schools are not required to adhere to a state's set standards for education. They have the freedom to hire teachers as they wish.

However, most private schools still want to ensure they hire well-trained and qualified teachers and therefore set forth requirements that those who have graduated from elementary education colleges must meet. For example, they may have their own certification program or teacher-training program that allows teacher candidates to understand the school's specific learning focus.

Career Outlook

There are a number of careers that a student taking an elementary education online program can pursue after graduation. While you may find employment in a traditional elementary classroom setting at a public or private school, you can also work in child welfare agencies, hospitals, community development corporations or private practices.

Here's a look at some of the most common careers for students who have earned an elementary education degree online. We'll outline the requirements of each career choice as well as its job duties and responsibilities.

Elementary School Teacher

  • Job Duties: Elementary school teachers are responsible for creating and executing lesson plans in kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms. They enforce classroom and school rules, evaluate the performance of their students and grade homework and exams. They also keep parents posted on the progress of their children.
  • Expected Qualifications: To pursue this career path, you are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree. If you work in a public school setting, a teaching license is required.

Special Education Teacher

  • Job Duties: Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. They focus on adapting general education lessons and teach reading, math, and other subjects to students who have special needs. In addition, special education teachers may teach literacy and communication techniques as well as other basic skills.
  • Expected Qualifications: To teach special education, you must earn a bachelor's degree. Some states require a master's degree and/or certification in special education. Licensure may be necessary as well.

Elementary School Principal

  • Job Duties: Elementary school principals manage the operations of public, private or charter elementary schools. They make sure their school runs smoothly and offers a positive learning environment for students. In most cases, elementary school principals can be found analyzing curriculums, interpreting standardized test scores and designing action plans to improve school performance.
  • Expected Qualifications: To become an elementary school principal, you must hold a master's degree in a field of study such as education leadership or education administration. A valid teaching license and teaching experience are also required.

Child Social Worker

  • Job Duties: Child social workers are responsible for protecting children who are neglected, abandoned or have special medical needs. They are often employed by schools, government agencies or nonprofit organizations and strive to place children in safe and healthy environments. Some child social workers specialize in a field like foster care, adoption or domestic violence.
  • Expected Qualifications: To become a child social worker, you are required to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education, social work or a related field as well as a master's degree in social work. A social work license may be necessary as well.

School Counselor

  • Job Duties: School counselors provide social, emotional and behavioral guidance to a school's students. They are expected to be well-versed in common issues that children experience during the elementary years in order to provide them with coping mechanisms and strategies. Essentially, their goal is to help their students develop healthy relationships and make smart decisions.
  • Expected Qualifications: To become a school counselor, you must earn a master's degree in school counseling or a related subject. A school counseling internship or another clinical experience may also be required.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations may be useful to you if you're in the process of earning your online elementary teaching degree. They can help you stay up-to-date on the field and make valuable connections with other elementary school educators and administrators.

The NEA is known as the largest professional employee organization that is dedicated to advancing public education. Members can gain access to literature, webinars and other materials that help them understand the challenges of the classroom and how to solve them.
The AFT is a union of professionals that strive to foster high-quality public education, healthcare, and public services for students, families and communities. It offers resources for elementary school teachers such as complimentary lesson plans, professional growth opportunities and advice on working with students who have special needs.
The NAGC focuses on enhancing the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy and research. Members can participate in webinars with national experts and receive support finding employments in gifted education.
CUE inspires teachers to use technology in their classrooms to improve the learning experience for their students. It hosts a number of conferences and events throughout the year to help teachers make the most out of technology.

Related Rankings

If you have not found the information you were looking for on this page, we encourage you to visit the following pages.

Sources