As early education providers, elementary education instructors teach at the K-6 or K-8 level, depending on the school district. States require individuals who teach at this level to hold at least a bachelor’s in elementary education, which is more specialized than a standard teaching degree. In addition, elementary educators must pass a licensure exam, usually administered by the state’s board of education.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that elementary education teachers earn a median salary of $59,420 per year. Graduates with a bachelor’s in elementary education often pursue teaching careers. However, they may also pursue careers in other education-related settings, including museums, community outreach centers, and corporate training.
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Top 10 Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Elementary Education
?This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
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?This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
What Are the Goals of an Elementary Education Degree?
Online elementary education programs generally prepare graduates for teaching careers. Students can earn elementary education degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
Many online elementary education programs allow students to specialize in a particular area, such as art, science, or mathematics. Specialization usually requires earning a credential or undergoing further training.
A bachelor’s in elementary education often includes courses in child psychology and development; philosophy of education; teaching science, mathematics, and technology; and curriculum design. Degree candidates may also complete an internship experience that includes supervised teaching.
Why Get a Degree in Elementary Education?
Completing a bachelor’s in elementary education offers many benefits, several of which we highlight below.
Acquire Necessary Knowledge
A quality bachelor’s in elementary education program gives students the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue teaching careers.
Attain Professional Credibility
A bachelor’s degree in elementary education indicates that a professional holds relevant expertise, giving them credibility in the field.
Meet Licensure Requirements
All public school teachers need a license to practice. A bachelor’s in elementary education meets the educational requirements for licensure.
Improve Classroom Skills
Elementary education programs train students in effective teaching methods that they can apply in the classroom.
Prepare Graduate Study
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education can apply for graduate programs in the field.
Licensing and Certification in Elementary Education
All states require public school teachers to hold licensure. Elementary school educators can apply for one or more of the licenses and certifications listed below.
K-12 teachers can apply for this certification, which remains one of the most respected and recognized teaching certifications. In addition to its own certification criteria, the site maintains an interactive map of every state’s licensing requirements.
This credential qualifies holders to work in various early education settings, including state-approved child development centers and home-based care. The certification process includes a professional portfolio review and observation of the candidate interacting with children.
Administered by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction, this certificate requires candidates to pass the Knowledge and Practice Examination for Effective Reading Instruction. Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete at least 45 training hours.
Teaching Certification for Elementary Education
Many elementary education teachers earn certification during their bachelor’s program or immediately after graduation. Certification requirements vary by state, but most candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree.
Future educators must also complete a student-teaching experience, which they typically complete during their bachelor’s program. Candidates must also pass a skills assessment test and complete a certain number of credits in a specific teaching field.
Some states participate in teacher reciprocity agreements that allow teachers to transfer their license to a new state. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification facilitates teacher reciprocity between member states.
Scholarships for Elementary Education
Schools, private organizations, and governmental agencies offer scholarships to help students offset the cost of a degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines three scholarship opportunities for elementary education majors.
Edward G. and Helen A. Borgens Elementary Teacher Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Administered by the Daughters of the American Revolution, this scholarship welcomes applications from adult learners (25 years or older) in an accredited elementary education program. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA. Recipients can apply for renewal every year they meet the scholarship eligibility requirements.
Who Can Apply: This program supports students completing their student-teaching training. The scholarship accepts applications from minority students enrolled in an accredited education or teaching program. Applicants must be in their final year of enrollment.
Who Can Apply: Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) offers several scholarships for education majors. Applicants must be TKE members. They must also meet minimum GPA requirements and submit an essay and transcripts.
Liberty University is a private, Christian-affiliated university located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty's online Bachelor of Science in elementary educationis a fully accredited degree program that can be completed 100% online. An optional 300-hour practicum is available for those interested in obtaining hands-on experience. Students must complete 120 credit hours to earn this degree, with up to 75% of those hours being transferrable from other institutions. An average of 3.5 years is needed for completion of all required studies. Potential career options for graduates include jobs at education centers and private schools, as well as in homeschooling, education ministries, paraprofessional teaching, tutoring and more. This degree does not fulfill all teaching licensure requirements, but licensure requirements for Virginia can be fulfilled by completing a 5th year Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Students from outside Virginia are advised to contact the licensing board of their individual states for details on licensure requirements before enrolling in this Liberty University degree program.
Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota, offers itsBachelor of Science in elementary educationin an online/on-site hybrid, degree-completion format. This Distributed Learning in Teacher Education (DLiTE)degree program is designed to be completed in 3 years and combines online coursework with 3 face-to-face meetings per year in the Minneapolis area. Face-to-face meetings typically require 2 to 3 days' attendance each. Students must have their A.A. degrees or have completed the MN transfer curriculum, with a 3.0 cumulative GPA, to be eligible for this degree program. Completion of 63 credits in the major course of study are required, all of which must be taken through BSU. The program meets all Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements, leading to teaching licensure in the state. Out-of-state students should contact their own states' licensing agencies for information on licensure requirements before enrolling. A B.S. in elementary education typically prepares graduates for careers as preschool, kindergarten and elementary school teachers.
Northern Arizona University'sBachelor of Science in elementary educationdegree is offered in a blended format that combines online coursework with in-person classes at 1 of 11 community college campuses located throughout the state. NAU's B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education can be completed as a cohort program, school-based program or traditional program and requires a minimum of one semester of student teaching. The degree is available with 5 concentration options: history/social studies, humanities, language/cultural diversity, math and science. Students must successfully earn 120 total credit units, of which 64 may be transferred from other institutions. A total of 66 units must be completed in the major course of study, with an additional 12 units completed in the student's chosen concentration. At least a "C" grade must be earned in all major and concentration courses, with a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Graduates are eligible for state certification in Arizona in Elementary Education for grades 1 through 8. NAU is the only university in Arizona that is accredited by theNational Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (NCATE).
Mayville State University's Bachelor of Science Education in elementary education is designed to allow working adults and others to complete their MSU teaching degrees through a combination of online coursework and evening Interactive Video Network (IVN) classes. IVN classes are offered at 5 North Dakota locations: Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, Williston State College in Williston, North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, Dakota College in Bottineau and the MSU campus itself. As an alternative to in-person attendance, students may attend classes via desktop conferencing for synchronous coursework in North Dakota. Students are also required to choose specializations or minors. Specialization options include early childhood, reading and special education. Minor choices include accounting, business administration, early childhood education, general science, library media and information science, mathematics, science for the elementary teacher and special needs. Students must complete a minimum of 123 credits to earn this degree. Study may be pursued either full-time or part-time, but courses must be taken in the specific order as outlined in the cohort rotation.
The Bachelor of Arts in early childhood inclusive degree offered through the University of Nebraska Kearney's eCampus program is designed for nontraditional students, such as in-service teachers, preschool assistants and HeadStart staff members who are interested in earning their degrees but are unable to attend traditional on-site classes due to work obligations and/or geographic location. This hybrid program consists of online, asynchronous coursework and in-person student teaching and school-based experiences. Students can choose between 2 specialization options: birth through kindergarten, for working with infants and toddlers, or age 3 to grade 3, for individuals interested in teaching at the elementary education level up to 3rd grade. The degree requires completion of 120 credit hours, including 45 general education credits, 50 program-specific credits and 24 professional sequence credits. Students wishing to apply credits previously earned from other schools can consult UNK's Transfer Guide for information on transfer eligibility. Graduates earn early childhood teaching certificates that allow them to teach children ages 0 through 5, in special education settings and children ages 0 through 8 in regular education settings.
Located in Marion, Alabama, Judson College is a private, Baptist-affiliated institution and the 5th oldest women's college in the United States. Judson offers a hybrid Bachelor of Science in elementary education degree that can be earned through a combination of online classes and field experience participation. Students must complete their general education requirements prior to starting their major degree courses. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 must be maintained throughout the program. Courses are taught in a cohort model, meaning online students begin and finish classes at the same time as their on-campus counterparts. Courses are offered during 3 yearly terms: August to December, January to April and May to June. Judson's B.S. in elementary education is designed to support state and national education standards and prepare graduates for employment as teachers at the K-6 grade levels. However, Judson College certifies Alabama degree candidates only, and all field experience and clinical practice observation placements are made exclusively with Alabama schools.
The University of Southern Mississippi's online Bachelor of Science in elementary education is unique in that it is designed to support persons employed as teacher assistants in obtaining their bachelor's degrees and becoming certified as teachers while maintaining their current jobs. This degree can be completed entirely online. However, as part of the Southern Miss Teacher Assistant Program (TAP), students complete a semester of student teaching in the classroom. Many TA's will complete this student teaching semester in the classrooms where they are currently employed, while others will require separate placements, as determined by the TA's school district. The State of Mississippi requires candidates for teacher certification to obtain endorsements in two subject areas. The degree program itself provides the student with a reading endorsement, and the student chooses a second endorsement in one of the following 6 subjects: social studies, foreign languages, mathematics K-8, mathematics 9-12, English and science. Graduates with this degree typically pursue careers as K-6 teachers, although others may find jobs with titles such as behavior intervention specialist, community education coordinator, curriculum specialist, reading interventionist and many others.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington's online Bachelor of Arts in elementary education is a degree-completion program designed for students entering their junior year of study. It's offered in a hybrid format in which all coursework is completed online, with the exception of in-person tutoring, classroom visits and extensive field experiences in elementary classrooms. For non-resident students, field experience participation is dependent on individual state authorization and UNCW's authorization status with the state. To learn more about your specific state's authorization status, see UNCW's Authorization by State. Students are required to choose from among 9 concentrations: behavioral studies, English as a second language, early childhood, fine arts, international studies, language arts, math and technology, science and health, and social studies. Most courses are asynchronous, meaning that students can access and complete coursework at times most convenient to them. However, coursework is not self-paced and students should expect to complete assignments by given due dates. UNCW's online B.A. in elementary education program leads to licensure in the state of North Carolina to teach grades K through 6.
Chaminade University of Honolulu is a private, coeducational university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Marianist religious order. For those interested in the elementary education field, Chaminade offers a Bachelor of Science in elementary education degree. Coursework can be completed entirely online, with the exception of certain in-person activities, including a student teaching experience. Students must pass the Praxis II Licensure Field Content Verification examination prior to student teaching. The degree requires completion of 120 credit hours, which includes general education, pre-major and major required classes and a small number of electives. Upon successful completion of the degree program, graduates are licensed to teach on the K through 6th grade level, based on the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board licensure guidelines. Graduates are also qualified to teach K through 6 in most other states. Students residing outside of Hawaii, however, are advised to consult their home states' licensure agencies prior to enrolling in Chaminade's B.S. in elementary education program to determine if this degree results in eligibility for teaching licensure in their states.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior's online bachelor's degree in early education is a hybrid program in which students complete their coursework online and participate in in-person teaching internships in elementary or middle school settings. Students must complete their general education/University Studies requirements or earn their A.A., A.S., B.A., or B.S. degrees from other institutions prior to starting this program. The early education program requires students to choose from among 6 specialized minors. Students successfully completing the minor in early childhood education are eligible for teaching licensure for PK-6 (ages 0 through 12), allowing them to work in early childhood/Head Start programs, 3K, 4K and preschool classrooms. Those completing the special education minor are eligible for licensure to teach grades 1-8 (ages 6 through 13 or 14) and grades 6-8 (ages 12 through 13 or 14) in special education class settings. Minors in geography, health, language arts and social studies lead to licensure in grades 1-8 (ages 6 through 13 or 14) and allow graduates to teach middle school in the field related to the corresponding minor.
Fort Hays State University's Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education program helps students make links between general education coursework and professional education coursework to prepare them for a career in teaching. It's offered online and on campus. Students must complete 127 credit hours of coursework, 55 of which is general education requirements, 25 hours in professional studies courses (e.g., Foundations of Education and Intro to Instructional Technology), 14 hours in elementary education major courses (e.g., Elementary School Music, Educational Psychology and Instructional Tech for Elementary Teachers), 21 hours in internships and methods courses (e.g., Literacy Methods, Mathematics Internship and Literacy Assessment and Intervention) and 12 credits of student teaching courses taken concurrently with the student teacher classroom placement. The program's internship experiences (up to 2 internships can be completed per semester) help students to gain practical experience in teaching.
East Carolina University's Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education "Partnership East" program not only prepares future teachers for the classroom, but it also gives teaching students additional licensures to teach reading in K-12. All coursework in the Partnership East program is offered completely online through a cohort model. The part-time cohort students begin each fall and full-time cohorts begin each summer. Partnership East students must complete 43 credit hours of general studies prerequisite courses in English, math, the social sciences, humanities, science, health and computer competency among other general education courses. The Partnership East coursework is almost entirely professional education courses. Students are also required to serve as a full-time student-teacher in a public school setting during their senior year, however students engage with children in the classroom from the beginning of the program.
Hobe Sound Bible College's education programs are rooted in the Christian worldview. The coursework reflects this foundation paired with the standard curriculum for students to achieve Florida state teaching licensure. The Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education program is offered both online and on-campus. Students have the option to minor in intercultural studies, ministerial studies, music, counseling or Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). From the beginning of the program, students will be concurrently taking courses toward their degree and working in the classroom interacting with children. To graduate, students must achieve 130 hours of coursework which includes 30 hours of Bible core courses (e.g., Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey and Foundations of Faith), 45 hours of general education courses (e.g., English Composition, Lifespan Development and History of Civilizations), 22 hours of professional education core courses (e.g., Teaching Bible, Foundations of Education and Supervised Student Teaching), 18 hours of elementary education major courses (e.g., Teaching Language Arts and Teaching Social Studies in Elementary), and 15 hours of directed electives.
Western Governors University has a track record in educating future teachers through online education. The Bachelor of Arts Elementary Education program is designed specifically to lead toward licensure that meets the requirements for all 50 states. To complete the degree, students will take 40 courses. About 79% of students complete the program in 18-48 months, and most of the coursework can be done online. Courses to complete the program include general education courses (e.g., English Composition, Survey of World History and Introduction to Communication), foundational teaching courses (e.g., Psychology for Educators and Educational Assessment), pedagogy courses, elementary education methods courses and courses designed to be taken concurrently with the student teaching internship. The average student from the elementary education program transfers 28 credits over to the degree.
One of Alabama's oldest colleges, the University of Western Alabama now offers more than 50 online programs. Future teachers can benefit from this flexibility through the hybrid Bachelor of Science Elementary K-6 and Early Childhood Education P-3 degree. Most of the coursework can be completed online, but students will need to complete seminars, field experience courses and an internship in person. The program requires 127 credit hours which includes 60 hours of general education core requirements (e.g., courses in written composition, humanities and natural sciences), 27 hours of professional educational courses (e.g., Introduction to Teaching and Learning, Technology and Education and Educational Psychology), and 40 hours of teaching field courses that will be taken concurrently with student teaching internships. Transfer students may be able to transfer up to 60 credit hours from a 2-year college and up to 90 from a 4-year institution. Students who complete this program will achieve dual certification in both elementary education and early childhood education.
In 2007, Sterling College founded Sterling College Online to expand educational delivery methods rooted in the college's Christian faith mission. Through Sterling Online, future teachers can work toward a degree in teaching through the Elementary Education program. The Sterling Teacher Education Program, also known as STEP, has been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the online learning format is makes this education even more accessible. STEP helps students find clinical teaching opportunities in their local community and work toward licensure. To graduate, students must complete 41 credit hours (achieving a grade of C or higher) of core course requirements such as Elementary Art Methods, English Language Arts for K-2 and 3-5, Child and Adolescent Literature and Reading and Testing Diagnostics. In addition to core requirements, students must complete general education courses in sociology, history and physical science.
The Baptist College of Florida makes innovation in education a priority by focusing on distance learning opportunities and information delivery systems for curricula. Much of the college's degree programs are geared toward God-focused service. Students who are called to teach have the option of pursuing an English Secondary Education Major that would lead to professional certification. For requirements regarding teaching in a particular state, students should contact the school's Teacher Education Division and the state board of education. To complete the bachelor's program, students must complete a total of 129 credit hours of coursework (33 are general education foundation courses, 15 are core undergraduate course requirements, 12 are biblical and theological foundations courses and 66 are directly related to the major). Courses specifically related to the major include Foundations and Curriculum of Education, Classroom Management, Colonial American Literature and History of the English Language.
The University of Louisiana Monroe offers a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education that can be completed online. This program is accredited by the the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Its curriculum focuses on 5 components including general studies, professional and pedagogical studies, content studies, integrative studies and clinical and field experiences. Students who enroll in this degree can expect each course to run for approximately 8 weeks. This allows them to complete 2 to 3 courses over an 8-week period rather than trying to juggle 4 to 5 courses over 16 weeks. Once admitted, students are encouraged to work with an academic adviser to design a plan of study. Graduates are often seen working as educators in private or public educational institutions or pursuing a master's degree program.
At Southwestern Assemblies of God University, students have the opportunity to earn an online Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges or SACSCOC. This degree is intended for those who hope to teach preschool through 6th grade. It teaches students how to design elementary curriculums that adhere to state guidelines, create productive classroom environments and establish classroom management strategies. After graduating with this degree, students can become certified teachers in Texas and other states. They may pursue a graduate program or land a position in administration or a classroom setting. Those who enroll in the bachelor's degree in elementary education at Southwestern Assemblies of God University may receive a tuition grant and save up to $750 per semester and up to $6,000. In addition, they can expect small class sizes and access to a career center and job training resources.
University of Alaska Southeast offers a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. This program is specifically designed for students in Juneau and rural Alaskan communities who are in search of a flexible bachelor's degree in education. It prepares students to become certified teachers in Kindergarten through 8th grade. This degree consists of 120 credit hours and major courses such as Introduction to Educational Technology, Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities and Foundations of Literacy and Language Development. Students are required to complete a 9-month student teaching experience during their senior year. For admission to student year student teaching, students must hold a minimum GPA of 3.0, complete all pre-senior year courses with a C or better and submit their Praxis Core/CASE or CBEST exam scores. To graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from University of Alaska Southeast, students must earn at least a C in all courses.
At Western New Mexico University, students may enroll in an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. There are 120 credit hours in this program and courses such as Multicultural Education, Student Growth and Development and Computers in the Classroom. In addition to completing all required courses, students must participate in practice teaching. Practice teaching allows them to gain valuable teaching experience under the supervision of a teacher or a school based faculty. To apply for practice teaching, students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.75. Those who hope to practice teach in schools other than the Cobre, Deming, Hatch, Lordsburg, Silver City or T or C school districts must hold a 3.0 and receive permission from the Professional Education Committee as well as complete certain prerequisites. Once they complete the required practice teaching semester, students will be eligible to graduate and/or become a licensed teacher in New Mexico.
Lees-McRae College's online Bachelor's in Elementary Education program is designed to balance both the mechanics of curricuum development and instruction with instilling a sense of personal value and integrity among teaching professionals. Because the program describes teaching, by nature, being hands-on, there is a requirement to attend an in-person pre-admission interview on 1 of the Lees-McRae campuses. Online students must also possess an associate degree from a regionally accredited institution or have 60 credit hours of general education coursework that will meet North Carolina transfer requirements. Once admitted, all the coursework may be completed online. The program core includes 60 credit hours. Elementary education major requirements include courses such as Educational Psychology, Reflective Teaching, Math and Science Strategies for Elementary School and Literature for Children. Additionally, to graduate, students must participate in student teaching fieldwork within a public elementary school for an entire 15-week semester.
Midway University's online Bachelor's in Elementary Education program boasts that the program provides the convenience of online coursework, the affordabilty of competitive tuition and financial aid opportunities, personal attention from responsive faculty and small class sizes to ensure a comprehensive teacher preparation program. Of the 120 credit hours of course requirements, 63 are major course requirements. Students take courses such as Technology in the Educational Setting, Multicultural Education, Foundations of Literacy and Human Growth and Development among the specific subject-matter coursework (e.g., literacy, math, science, social studies). Students are also required to complete the standard student teaching fieldwork in an elementary school setting. Upon graduation, students will meet the requirements for K-5 teaching certification in Kentucky (the state does have reciprocal agreements with other states). Midway boasts that 100% of program graduates pass the provisional licensure exam.
The University of the Cumberlands' online bachelor's degree in Elementary Education is designed to provide working adults with a convenient class schedule. Graduates can expect to be prepared to become elementary classroom teachers (including licensure prep), as well as acquiring the knowledge and skills to work with special education programs, mentor at-risk students, run youth ministry programs, become a textbook representative, become an educational consultant or teach in international schools. Students must complete at least 128 semester hours to graduate, including 72 hours of general education requirements, 48 hours of P-5 Professional Education courses and 21-23 hours of elective and academic area courses. Examples of the professional education courses include Psychology of Learning and Exceptionality, Classroom Management and Behavior and Effective Teaching Practices including subject-specific courses (e.g., reading, math, etc.). Because of certification requirements, students must also complete the supervised student teaching semester in a P-5 classroom.
William Penn University's online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education draws on its Quaker roots to create educational leaders through the development of awareness around social responsibility, diversity and positive group interaction. Even within the online program, the instruction is team-focused with an emphasis on critical thinking and reflective professional development. Beyond the general education requirements, the program requires the completion of 29 program-specific core courses. The elementary education core courses include Social Foundations of American Education, Media Methods, Human Relations for Teachers and Classroom Management. Other required coursework includes Collaboration Strategies, Educational Assessment and Developmental & Educational Psychology. Upon completion of required coursework, students must complete a 16-week student teaching internship where they practice their classroom and behavioral management skills, design and implement curricula and receive mentoring from experienced teachers. Program graduates have gone on to work in elementary and middle schools in the surrounding area.
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