The Best Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Programs

Elementary education (or primary education) represents the first stage of standard education in the United States, and consists of all class levels between kindergarten and the fifth or sixth grades. This field encompasses a large number of learners nationwide; according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 33,000 students are enrolled at roughly 66,710 public elementary schools in the United States. Elementary education focuses on fundamental areas of core academic subjects like English reading and writing, social studies, mathematics and science. Students are also introduced to art, music, drama and other forms of artistic expression.

At the college level, most students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in elementary education plan to become teachers. Others go on to pursue careers in fields like educational administration, curriculum and instruction or special education. Most bachelor’s programs include student-teaching courses, which allow students to receive supervised training from experienced educators and hone their presentation skills in real-world classrooms. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s in elementary education degree online. Online elementary education programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as on-campus options, including student-teaching requirements. The self-paced schedule of most online elementary education degree pathways is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities and other obligations that might interfere with classroom-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s degree in elementary and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online elementary education bachelor’s programs are designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the field for aspiring teachers and administrators. Courses will typically cover areas like teaching foundations, learning technology, classroom management and behavioral science, as well as the laws and ethics guiding the current educational framework. Classroom-based practicum courses then allow students to apply the methods and techniques they have learned in a functional setting. The best online elementary education bachelor’s programs also prepare students for the licensure requirements in their state. Currently, public school teachers must earn full licensure or certification in all 50 states; specific requirements vary by state, but most include a licensing exam, background check and a set number of supervised classroom hours.

WILL AN ONLINE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online elementary education bachelor’s programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Students are able to access course lectures and readings, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also allows them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For added convenience, online elementary education students can usually coordinate student-teaching courses at schools near their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY ELEMENTARY EDUCATION BACHELOR’S DEGREE?

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s in elementary education and complete their state’s licensure or certification requirements will be qualified to teach in most public or private schools. Many online elementary education bachelor’s options allow students to earn specialized degrees in niche areas like special education or educational administration; these specializations may open up further job opportunities for graduates.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s degree in elementary education programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online bachelor’s in elementary education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor’s degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

East Carolina University

77.12/558.63%Greenville, NC

campus_East_Carolina_University

One of the best online elementary education degree programs can be found at ECU, located in Greenville, North Carolina. ECU offers a competitive elementary education degree online. The bachelor's degree prepares students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade and offers program concentrations such as reading or math. ECU's college of education provides technical support to students pursuing an online elementary degree, and the Instructional Technology Center guarantees a response within 24 hours. The school provides training to college educators to ensure that online students receive the best distance learning instruction available, and it strives to shape successful leaders with multicultural awareness and skills in innovation. More than 28,000 students attend ECU, and the student-to-teacher ratio is 18:1. With completely online coursework and an emphasis on student support, ECU provides one of the best online elementary education degrees available.

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2

John Wesley University

71.93/557.14%High Point, NC

campus_john_wesley_university

Located in Highpoint, North Carolina, John Wesley University is an interdenominational Christian university that offers an elementary education degree online with an emphasis on Christian values and teaching strategies. The elementary education bachelors degree online prepares students to teach elementary and secondary education and provides core courses, such as classroom management, along with courses that prepare students to teach in a Christian setting. John Wesley University was founded over 100 years ago, while its name has changed several times over the years, the university's foundations in quality education and Christian values have remained the same. At John Wesley University, students have access to an online writing lab that promotes excellence in writing and provides support to students both academically and professionally. John Wesley's president emphasizes the continual improvement of online teaching methods implemented at the university, making this one of the best online elementary education degree programs available.

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3

LeTourneau University

69.03/551.47%Longview, TX

campus_letourneau_university

Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau is a private Christian college that offers one of the best online elementary education degrees available to distance learners, as well as East Texas residents whose schedules demand alternatives to traditional face-to-face education. LeTourneau's elementary education bachelors degree online prepares students to be educational generalists in either kindergarten through fourth grade or fourth through eighth grade. Students pursuing an online elementary education degree at LeTourneau will be well prepared to pursue teacher licensure, as 100% of LeTourneau graduates of the online elementary education degree program passed the state certification exam. LeTourneau's Christ-centered curriculum sets its program apart from other online elementary education degrees. The format of the elementary education degree online emphasises the importance of work and home balance when pursuing an education, and four global admissions counselors are available to assist students.

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4

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

68.32/570.52%Wilmington, NC

campus_university_of_north_carolina_at_wilmington

Located in Wilmington on the eastern shores of North Carolina, UNCW offers one the best online elementary education degrees. UNCW's distance education program includes an online elementary education degree with an emphasis on teaching kindergarten through sixth grade. Students will gain skills in both core areas of study as well as specialized areas, including reading, math, and social studies. UNCW was ranked 6th Best Public University in the South by U.S. News and World Report. The school's elementary education degree online embodies its values, and students are provided with an education that promotes excellence and integrity. The elementary education bachelors degree online is formatted to meet the needs of distance learners. The flexibility of online elementary education degrees allows students to excel while juggling busy schedules. UNCW's Office of e-Learning assists students in all their technological needs.

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5

Liberty University

67.54/550.41%Lynchburg, VA

campus_Liberty_University

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty is the largest Christian college in the world. With over 200 programs online, the schools offers one of the best online elementary education degrees available, and provides students with a variety of online support -- including 24/7 access to online tutors. The online elementary education degree program at Liberty is 120 hours, with an optional five-year licensure route. Liberty's elementary education degree online provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary for becoming successful elementary school educators, and curriculum is designed with an emphasis on Christian education. The elementary education bachelors degree online includes an optional 90-hour practicum to gain real-word experience. Online elementary education degrees prepare students for a rewarding career in the teaching field, and a degree from Liberty University yields highly knowledgeable and marketable educators.

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6

University of Alaska Southeast

61.92/516.88%Juneau, AK

With three locations in the University of Alaska system, UAS offers one of the online elementary education degree in the northwestern U.S. While its locations at Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan make learning more accessible, the online elementary education degree allows students to learn from anywhere. The school promotes student success and provides current students with detailed information and helpful guidelines for pursuing a degree from start to finish. The elementary education bachelors degree online prepares students to teach kindergarten through eighth grade. UAS educators are encouraged to partake in community programs that explore the educational history of Southeast Alaska. Educator involvement in the community benefits students pursuing an elementary education degree online, as critical information is shared and discussed globally. Students pursuing online elementary education degrees at the UAS will find a curriculum that emphasizes both theory and teaching experience.

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7

The Baptist College of Florida

61.52/546.94%Graceville, FL

The Baptist College of Florida is located in Graceville, Florida, and has a rich and diverse history. One of the first students to attend the university when it opened in 1943 was a Seminole Indian and descendant of Chief Osceola. The Christian university has expanded over the years to include the best online elementary education degree in the area. An elementary education bachelors degree online at BCF prepares students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade and emphasizes knowledge, skill development, and spiritual growth. The elementary education degree online is 127 hours and includes core education courses as well as biblical foundation courses. An online elementary education degree consists of individual and interactive assignments, including online discussion forums that allow for the diversity of ideas. Online elementary education degrees prepare students to become quality educators with a broad knowledge in classroom management and child psychology, literacy development, and curriculum planning.

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8

Asbury University

61.33/567.73%Wilmore, KY

Located in Wilmore, Kentucky, Asbury is a Christian liberal arts school that emphasizes excellence in education and spiritual growth. Perhaps the best online elementary education degree in central Kentucky, Asbury's elementary education bachelors degree online is 124 credit hours and includes a curriculum that encompasses educational knowledge and Christian theory. The school is committed to providing state-of-the-art distance learning strategies to students. Abury's online educators possess expertise in their field as well as teaching with technology. The elementary education degree online includes interactive media to engage students, and online forums that foster team support. With over 100 years in operation, Asbury has adapted to meet the changing demands of higher education without compromising its values in faith and spirituality. The online elementary education degree embodies the mission of the university by providing students with the foundation for lifelong learning and academic and spiritual leadership.

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9

Fort Hays State University

60.52/543.01%Hays, KS

FHSU is located in Hays, Kansas, and has a student population of roughly 14,000 with over 6,000 online students. Its highly competitive online elementary degree program prepares students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. The university provides extensive support to eLearners including a brief survey to help students determine if distance learning is right for them. The online elementary education bachelor's degree at Fort Hays emphasizes the connection between theory and experience, and provides students with the knowledge necessary to utilize skills in education environments. An elementary education degree online fits within students' busy schedules and provides flexibility in learning that is not possible in traditional face-to-face settings. At FHSU, students will find one of the best online elementary education degree programs available. The program prepares students for licensure in Kansas, which can often be transferred to the student's state of residence.

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10

Drexel University

60.24/567.36%Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University has campuses in Philadelphia, PA, and Sacramento, CA. The university emphasizes global research and community engagement. The original campus was founded in 1891 in Philadelphia by philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel. His vision for a university designed to meet the educational and professional needs of individuals is still evident today. Drexel's elementary education bachelors degree online prepares students with previous coursework to seek certification to teach pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. The program takes approximately 2.5 years to complete. The online degree in elementary education at Drexel is part of a unique program designed to introduce students to their field of study through employment prior to graduating. The Cooperative Education program at Drexel helps students network and develop lasting relationships in their professional lives.

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11

Regis University

59.63/559.05%Denver, CO

Regis University is a Jesuit college in Denver, Colorado. Based in Roman Catholic tradition, the school's Jesuit education emphasizes culturally-sensitive leaders that value justice and community service. The elementary education degree online at Regis University reflects these values. The elementary education bachelor's degree online is 128 credit hours and includes state licensure for Colorado. The online elementary education degree provides students with the skills necessary to link theory to practice while also ensuring a flexible learning environment designed to optimize student success. Regis University offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs and provides students the opportunity to interact with fellow learners globally. Like many online elementary education degrees, Regis's provides the core foundation for effective teaching, yet it takes the program a step further by instilling community-oriented Jesuit values in its students.

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12

University of Southern Mississippi

56.63/548.44%Hattiesburg, MS

One of the best online elementary education degree programs for assistant teachers can be found at the USM. The school was founded in 1910 and has since provided students with a quality education with an emphasis on innovative research and community involvement. Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USM offers an elementary education bachelors degree online uniquely designed for assistant teachers. The Teacher Assistant Program allows assistant teachers to pursue their bachelor's degree in education while continuing to work in the classroom. The online elementary education degree prepares students to work in a kindergarten through fifth grade setting. To be a candidate for the elementary education degree online, students must have 44 hours of coursework completed prior to admittance. Assistant teachers who have earned their online elementary education degrees often go on to teach, but other career avenues are available as well, such as curriculum specialist and reading interventionist.

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13

Troy University

56.43/534.98%Troy, AL

Troy University is located in Troy, Alabama, and has been ranked "Best of the Southeast" by The Princeton Review for 12 years. Troy's primary mission is to serve its students. The school's online elementary education degree offers a generalized education program to prepare students to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. Students can also choose to specialize in a school subject, such as reading or math. The elementary education bachelor's degree online a at Troy is 121 credit hours and utilizes the Alabama Model for Identifying Highly Qualified Teachers. Troy University has been providing quality online education for 20 years, and an elementary education degree online from Troy includes opportunities for personal and professional growth. The best online elementary education degree programs include interactive online discussions, provide flexible learning environments, and employ top-notch educators. Troy's elementary education program online possesses all of these qualities.

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14

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

55.83/545.45%Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

SMWC offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs in the midwest. Located in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, the college is a Roman Catholic liberal arts school and has been providing quality education for 175 years. Saint Mary's shares a campus with the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, an environmental awareness ministry. The online elementary education degree at Saint Mary's embraces the qualities of lifelong learning and compassionate teaching, and the teacher education curricula are guided by the moral compass of Catholicism. When pursuing Saint Mary's online elementary education degree, students can expect exceptional support from instructors and eLearning staff. The elementary education bachelor's degree online offers several concentrations, including teaching kindergarten through sixth grade, art education, and preschool through third grade mild interventions. Students can also choose subject area concentrations, such as science or social studies. Students who pursue online elementary education degrees from Saint Mary's will also enroll in the college's capstone courses, which focus on sustainability and social justice.

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15

Gardner-Webb University

55.54/553.97%Boiling Springs, NC

Gardner-Webb University is a private Baptist college located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Gardner-Webb University occupies a small town with big ideas. One of the best online elementary education degree programs can be found here. The program emphasizes an understanding of child development, Christian values, and cultural diversity. The elementary education bachelor's degree online requires students to complete 49 major hours and 12 hours of student teaching. Online students have access to Gardner-Webb's Technology Services department, as well as International Student Services for global students. An online elementary education degree at Gardner-Webb embodies the university's mission: to promote critical thinking, reflective analysis, and spiritual growth. Online elementary education degrees across the nation provide core skills training, but at Gardner-Webb, educational standards are elevated to a higher level of excellence and include training in historic Baptist traditions, community engagement, and cultural diversity.

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16

Old Dominion University

55.42/551.58%Norfolk, VA

Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University is a coastal school with a rich history in public research education. Founded in 1930, Old Dominion values collaboration and data-driven solutions. The university has over 400 research projects and generates $88 million in annual research funding. With its emphasis on research and evidenced-based training, Old Dominion offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs for students in Virginia and Washington. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach. Students pursuing the online elementary education degree will find valuable online resources at Old Dominion's Teacher Education Service and Advising Office webpage. The elementary education bachelor's degree online is designed for students who wish to continue their education in the future, and prepares students to enter a graduate program or pursue teacher licensure.

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17

Southwestern College

54.93/518.58%Chula Vista, CA

One of the best online elementary education degree programs can be found at Southwestern College, a private Methodist school located in Winfield, Kansas. Founded in 1885, the college opened the first Professional Studies Center almost 100 years later. The Professional Studies Center is Southwestern College's platform for online education. Its mission is to provide students with online access to quality education from the comfort of their homes, or wherever students need to be to pursue their degree. The online elementary education degree is one of the many degrees offered by Southwestern College, and its online delivery makes it appealing for students of all walks of life. The elementary education bachelor's degree online is a 124 credit hour program that includes general education and teaching professional courses.

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18

University of Louisiana at Monroe

49.72/540.5%Monroe, LA

Located in northeastern Louisiana, ULM offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs in the southern U.S. The school's elementary education bachelor's degree online is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and emphasizes the relationship between theory and practice. The elementary education degree online prepares students with critical skills necessary for effective teaching and provides students with knowledge to bridge theory and practice in the classroom setting.

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19

Western Governors University

45.03/516.74%Salt Lake City, UT

Students will find one of the best online elementary education degree programs at Western Governors University, a private, fully online college in Salt Lake City, Utah. The primary mission of Western Governors University is to provide top quality online education that is easily accessible and affordable. The university was founded in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors who wanted to offer students an alternative route to traditional education programs. The elementary education bachelor's degree online from WGU prepares students to teach kindergarten through eighth grade and was developed by a panel of education experts across the country known as the Education Program Council. The elementary education degree online consists of both professional and core subject areas, such as teacher education foundations and introduction to humanities, respectively. Students are required to practice teaching and develop a professional portfolio that documents skills acquired through the online elementary education degree program.

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20

University of the Cumberlands

44.93/535.56%Williamsburg, KY

The University of the Cumberlands is a private, Baptist liberal arts school located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Students will find one of the best online elementary education degree programs in the state. The elementary education bachelor's degree online encompasses the University of the Cumberlands mission to provide an enriching educational experience that promotes knowledge acquisition and spiritual growth. The University of the Cumberlands values its small student-to-teacher ratio and superior instruction. The online elementary education degree is a part of university's School of Lifelong Learning and requires 48 hours in education courses and 24 hours in related studies, such as elementary art and music as well as cultural diversity.

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21

Hobe Sound Bible College

44.42/568.97%Hobe Sound, FL

Just north of West Palm Beach, HSBC is located in Hobe Sound, Florida. The school's educational philosophy is Bible-centered, holistic, and service-oriented. The online elementary education degree offered by Hobe Sound is a flexible program that promotes learner independence while simultaneously facilitating discussion forums where diverse approaches to problem solving and group support can flourish. The elementary education bachelor's degree online is 129 credit hours and is divided into biblical education, general education, professional education, and elementary education. Hobe Sound Bible College emphasizes the necessity of self-discovery for effective ministry, and the online elementary education degree promotes self-reflection and faith exploration within the context of a virtual learning environment.

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22

University of Wisconsin-Superior

43.92/543.23%Superior, WI

UW-Superior is located in northwestern Wisconsin along the westernmost border of Lake Superior and offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs in the state. Founded in 1893, the school values each student's growth and career development. Over 580 students are enrolled in online courses, and the student-to-teacher ratio is 16:1. Elementary education is one of the university's top programs, and the school has over 100 years in teacher training. The online elementary education degree prepares students for successful careers as teachers. The elementary education bachelor's degree online offers two age group concentrations: pre-kindergarten through sixth grade or first grade through eighth grade. Elementary education majors are required to choose a minor in a subject area such as reading or math, or they may choose to focus on special education.

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23

Chaminade University of Honolulu

40.23/548.73%Honolulu, HI

A stone's throw from Waikiki Beach, Chaminade offers more than beautiful scenery and sunny days. The school is a Catholic college founded in 1955 with peace and service as its cornerstones. Influenced by the university's moral and spiritual values, one of the best online elementary education degree programs available is offered at Chaminade. The online elementary education degree prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. The online elementary education degree is part of Chaminade's Professional and Continuing Education program, which caters to the busy lives of students enrolled online by providing flexibility and ease of access to course materials. Students enrolled in Chaminade's elementary education degree online are required to complete 120 credit hours and will take teacher preparation courses as well as parts I and II of the Praxis Exam.

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24

Southwestern Adventist University

40.23/540.18%Keene, TX

Located in Keene, Texas, SWAU specializes in providing quality education influenced by the Seventh-Day Adventist Christian traditions of leadership and community service. The university is passionate about advancing the lives of its students through education and conducting groundbreaking research. Not only will students find one of the best online elementary education degrees at Southwestern Adventist, they will also discover an online community of caring and encouragement led by the top professors in the education field. The elementary education degree online is designed with the busy working adult in mind and provides students with the flexibility needed to juggle their many responsibilities. The school's Distance Education Program strives to meet the needs of its students by providing faculty and staff support. The elementary education bachelor's degree online prepares students to enter the classroom setting with confidence and the skills necessary for effective teaching.

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25

Mayville State University

33.92/541.57%Mayville, ND

MSU is located in Mayville, North Dakota. Founded in 1889, the school was built upon the values of community service and leadership. With its emphasis on student success and educational excellence, the university offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs with a concentration in special education. The elementary education bachelor's degree online is designed for students who wish to pursue careers as special education teachers. The elementary special education degree online is 153 credit hours and includes core general education curriculum and teacher preparation courses with a focus on intellectual and learning disabilities and emotional disturbance. Graduates of the online elementary special education degree have high rates of employment. Students enrolled online at Mayville State University have access to support through the Distance Student Services program.

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Timeline
4 to 5 years
Program Costs
$10,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Educational Administration, Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Art Education, and Music Education
Accreditation
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
Additional Considerations
Public school teachers must earn full licensure in all 50 states; some private institutions also list licensure as a prerequisite, but a license for private school teachers is not be required in all 50 states.

Job Placement

Unemployment rates are low across the board for professional educators. A 2014 survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that college graduates with an education-related bachelor’s degree and no work experience face an unemployment rate of 5.1%, while experienced college graduates with an education bachelor’s face an unemployment rate of 3.7%.

However, a more detailed breakdown reveals that unemployment rates vary by specific education majors. The table below highlights unemployment rates for nine education-oriented bachelor’s degree fields, starting with elementary education.

Bachelor’s Degree Major Unemployment Rate for College Graduates with Work Experience
Elementary Education 3.4%
General Education 3.9%
Physical and Health Education Teaching 3.5%
Early Childhood Education 5.4%
Secondary Teacher Education 5.4%
Special Needs Education 4.3%
Language and Drama Education 4.2%
Art and Music Education 3.1%
Miscellaneous Education 3.4%

Source: ‘From Hard Times to Better Times’ by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)

Of all the degree fields listed, elementary education ties for second with ‘miscellaneous education’. Comparatively, the national unemployment rate for all occupations is currently set at 4.9%.

Earning a Living

According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, college students who graduate with a bachelor’s in elementary education earn median annual salaries of $34,700 after five years on the job and $48,900 after 10 years. This amounts to a salary increase of 40.9% after a decade in the workforce. Using PayScale data, the table below weights earning potential for elementary education majors against students who earn bachelor’s degrees in other education-related fields of study.

Bachelor’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Secondary Education $40,200 $61,400
Health and Physical Education Teaching $35,900 $60,100
English Teacher Education $35,900 $58,000
Education (General) $38,700 $57,800
Music Teacher Education $36,800 $55,600
Special Education $35,000 $51,500
Art Teacher Education $35,300 $51,300
Elementary Education $34,700 $48,900
Early Childhood Education $34,800 $41,900

Source: The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Of all the degree fields listed on the table, elementary education degree-holders ranked last for entry-level salary and second-to-last for mid-career salary. However, undergraduate major is not the only indicator for salary expectations; earnings will also vary between specific job titles, as well as other factors like school district size and city/state of employment. The next table explores career salary growth for four of the most common elementary education career pathways.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Elementary Teacher $38,739 $43,706 $49,846 $57,411
Special Education Teacher (Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary $40,845 $44,782 $50,125 $56,094
Elementary School Principal $73,672 $79,056 $82,411 $84,674
Elementary School Principal $73,672 $79,056 $82,411 $84,674
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher $38,348 $39,878 $45,912 $53,224

Source: PayScale

Elementary principals earn the highest salaries of all four careers listed on the table at each benchmark, but this occupation also experienced the lowest rate of career salary growth: 14.9% between the entry-level and mid-career marks. Elementary teachers enjoy the highest growth, with a 48.2% rise after 20 years on the job. Special education and ESL teachers at the elementary level seen a career salary increase of 37% to 39%.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s in elementary education and fulfill their state’s licensure requirements will be qualified for dozens of jobs in teaching, as well as select administrative roles normally reserved for candidates with an undergraduate degree. Four common careers for elementary education degree recipients are outlined below.

Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers: Teaching is the most common professional route in elementary education; according to the BLS, there are currently more than 1.5 million kindergarten and elementary teachers working in the U.S. These teachers primarily focus on core subjects in their classrooms, and often incorporate art, music, games and other activities in order to engage young minds. They also meet with their students’ parents or guardians on a regular basis to discuss behavior and academic progress.

Special Education Teachers: Special education is a teaching field dedicated to students with developmental, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. Most public and private school special education teachers maintain classrooms separate from the rest of the school; this allows disabled students to come and go throughout the day. Like primary teachers, special education teachers frequently meet with their students’ parents or guardians.

Elementary, Middle and High School Principals: Principals oversee all of the students, teachers and administrative employees at public and private schools. They lead staff meetings, approve curricular changes and coordinate professional development opportunities for personnel. They also strive to maintain a safe and productive learning environment for all students, and may occasionally tend to disciplinary matters.

Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary: Administrators develop and coordinate various academic and extracurricular activities at public and private schools. At the elementary level, they create budget plans, manage curricula for different grades, monitor student attendance and handle logistics for school meals, among other duties.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers $54,550 6% (+87,800 jobs)
Special Education Teachers $56,800 6% (+28,100 jobs)
Elementary, Middle and High School Principals $90,410 6% (+14,000 jobs)
Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary $92,940 N/A

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to elementary education is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for elementary education professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • The National Council on Teacher Quality: This organization works to create policies that improve the quality of classroom education and the work environments for professional educators. The council’s website features an extensive policy library, as well as information about various NCTQ projects in all 50 states.
  • The National Educational Association: Working to improve public education from preschool to graduate-level studies, the NEA provides resources on current regulations, strategies for securing financial support and tools for creating high-quality lesson plans. Membership opportunities are available for working employees, retired professionals and students.
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children: In addition to accreditation of college programs, the NAEYC offers a wide range of supportive services for professionals who teach and assist children from birth to age eight. Member benefits include discounted books and other resources, complimentary magazine and newsletter subscriptions and access to ‘Members Only’ areas of the organization’s website.
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.