Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education Programs

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Also known as primary education, elementary education refers to the first phase of institutionalized learning within the U.S. educational system. Most elementary schools accommodate students ranging from kindergarten (ages five to six) to fifth or sixth grade (ages 10 to 12) — although some schools may reach up to the eighth grade (ages 13 to 14). Due to the relatively young student population, elementary education focuses on fundamental areas of English reading and writing, social studies, mathematics, science, art, music and other core school subjects. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 39,339 pre-K to 8th grade students attended a U.S. school in Fall 2016; roughly 89% attended public schools, while the rest were enrolled at private institutions.

The majority of elementary teachers begin their careers at the college level by earning a degree in elementary education. The bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum requirement for elementary teachers in the U.S., but those who go on to pursue a master’s will be able to advance in their careers even further. The master’s curriculum explores more complex theories and approaches to the education of younger students. Master’s students will also be required to complete student-teaching experiences, where they assist educators in working classrooms. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their master’s degree in elementary education online, rather than in a classroom. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, often leading to the same number of post-degree job opportunities. The flexible, study-from-home schedule are ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other important commitments.

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

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online master’s degrees in elementary education are geared toward teaching professionals who wish to gain advanced insights into to their occupation. Many master’s pathways allow students to pursue degree specializations in fields like educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, special education and English as a Second Language (ESL). Specializations can lead to additional employment opportunities within these niche fields. Student-teaching sessions give elementary education master’s degree-earners the chance to use their new skills and knowledge to address problems and concerns in real-world classrooms.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college learning. Students are able to download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors from the comfort of their own home. Current technology also enables them to study away from desktop computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi devices. For added convenience, students can usually coordinate student-teaching opportunities at schools and other facilities that are reasonably close to their current residence.

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

Job eligibility for those who earn a master’s in elementary education online will depend somewhat on their degree specialization. Those who concentrate their studies in areas like special education, leadership, administration or curriculum and instruction will likely be considered for more positions related to these fields. Master’s recipients who choose to continue teaching also enjoy more job opportunities, as schools are likelier to hire candidates with advanced degrees — and some states require a master’s as part of the licensure process. The master’s pathway may also serve as a stepping-stone for students who wish to advance into a doctoral education program.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 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 master’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 master’s in elementary education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Ball State University 65.37 3/5 32% Muncie, IN

Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University offers an online master’s degree in elementary education. As an early pioneer and innovator in online education, Ball State has offered online courses since the late 1990s, and with an intimate average class size of 20, BSU's program is designed for teachers who aspire to take on leadership roles within their schools. BSU offers courses all year on a sequential timeline designed to allow students to graduate in four semesters (or a total of 30 credit hours).

After completing core courses on elementary education topics, students choose a concentration to specialize their studies. Ball State offers three concentrations in elementary education: early childhood education, enhanced teaching practice, and reading and literacy instruction. Early childhood education ranges from birth to children the age of eight and emphasizes literacy development, child development, and classroom creativity. Enhanced teaching practice focuses on the significance of family and community programs, teaching in a diverse society, and the use of technology in the classroom. The final concentration, reading-literacy instruction, equips instructors with the skills they need to aid students in reading and comprehension and features courses covering topics such as the integration of technology in literacy-development programs and teaching reading-literacy to diverse learners.

BSU's program features six focus areas outside of elementary education that offer students more ways to customize their degree. Students can also earn graduate certificates in these six focus areas while completing their MAE. Focus areas include autism, computer education for teachers, gifted and talented education, human development and learning, middle school education, and response to intervention.

Most online courses are available asynchronously, and involve a variety of online assignments through discussion boards, email, blogs, and other mediums, encouraging class participation and peer group interaction. As of 2017, more than 500 students were enrolled in their elementary education master’s degree via Ball State’s learning platform. To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.


Program Overview
Department: Teachers College
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education in Elementary Education
Available concentrations: Early childhood education, enhanced teaching practices, reading and literacy instruction
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $394/credit hour (Indiana resident); $590/credit hour (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: August 21, January 8, May 14

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.75 minimum (or 3.0 minimum in the latter half of your bachelor’s degree)

Contact
Department phone: (765) 285-5251
Department email: tcdeansst@bsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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2 Old Dominion University 63.49 3/5 32% Norfolk, VA

Located in the heart of Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University offers learners a master’s of science in elementary education. The school developed this program to help licensed teachers continue their education, take on leadership roles, and move toward greater earning potential. Geared toward teachers who desire to enrich their knowledge of teaching practice and improve their professional competency, ODU's online master's degree in elementary education is conducted through the school's popular ODUOnline platform. According to a recent survey conducted by the school, 96% of students report that they were "very satisfied" with their overall experience with ODUOnline.

Old Dominion has offered classes to distance learners for more than 30 years. Via ODUOnline, students complete assignments, receive academic advising, and access a wide variety of online resources. The 30-credit program includes fieldwork placements and a comprehensive thesis in addition to the core education curriculum. Courses include culturally responsive literacy for all learners, digital age teaching and learning, and problems of teaching in elementary grades. The program organizes students into cohorts during admissions. Learners stay grouped together throughout the entire program. The program can be completed in 18 months of full-time study.

Some courses are conducted live while others are taught asynchronously. Instructors at the school's primary campus teach all classes. The school's online courses are designed with the aid of instructional designers with specialized training in online learning. At Old Dominion, the cost of out-of-state-tuition is comparable to that of in-state tuition. Applicants must hold an undergraduate GPA with a minimum 2.8 GPA and a Virginia professional license (or their state’s equivalent) in elementary education to be considered for admittance. Students wondering if online program is the right choice for them should contact the school -- Old Dominion provides prospective students with assessments and information regarding online learning.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Teaching & Learning
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $496/credit hour (Virginia resident); $538/credit hour (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Mostly asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and professional license in elementary education
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: August, January, May

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.80 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (800) 968-2638
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 East Carolina University 61.93 3/5 34% Greenville, NC

Founded in 1907, East Carolina University is located in Greenville, North Carolina. The school offers its students a wide range of online degrees, including a master's of arts in elementary education and middle grades education. This program is specifically designed for current K-6 elementary teachers seeking leadership positions in their school, or learners who are pursuing M-level licensure. All courses are offered through Blackboard. The core curriculum includes 27 credits devoted to advanced study of the field, 12 of which are dedicated to the professional core and 15 to the elementary core. Professional core classes, like leadership and communication, are tailored to provide teachers with advanced knowledge of teaching methodology and human learning in school environments. Elementary core classes, like management and problem solving in elementary school, focus on the classroom implementation of these principles, and prepare instructors to build effective curriculums.

The remaining nine credits are composed of courses reflecting a concentration in one of the following areas: academically gifted students, content pedagogy, teacher leadership in the elementary school, early childhood, and teaching English as a second language. Content diversity allows teachers to customize their online master’s degree in elementary education education across several different fields. Students must also complete fieldwork and a culminating thesis course. Students are eligible for M-level licensure after completing these requirements.

ECU offers four different start dates throughout the year, including two summer sessions that are ideal for teachers on summer break. In total, the program consists of 36-semester hours and may be pursued part-time or full-time. The school makes financial aid available for graduate students taking two or more courses per semester. To be considered for admittance, applicants must hold a current initial teaching license and submit current GRE or MAT scores. (GRE or MAT scores must be in the 30th percentile or above.)


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education (MA.Ed.) - elementary education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $244.71/credit hour (North Carolina resident); $876.62/credit hour (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and initial teaching license in elementary education
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: August, January, May, July

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: October 15, March 15, May 1, June 1
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT

Contact
Department phone: (252) 328-5316
Department email: greeneh@ecu.edu

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4 University of North Carolina at Charlotte 61.62 3/5 18% Charlotte, NC

Designed for experienced teachers operating in the state of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's online master’s in elementary education is designed for licensed elementary educators who seek to pursue graduate-level education part-time. An accredited master’s in elementary education online program, UNC Charlotte's program employs a combination of Moodle, a course management platform, and Saba Meeting, the university’s synchronous classroom meeting software, to allow students to learn from vast distances. Students from other states are welcome to apply, but they should check with their state’s board of education to ensure credits meet state requirements.

UNC Charlotte's elementary education master’s degree online program emphasizes an educational philosophy that values diversity, multiple viewpoints, and broad cultural knowledge. Throughout the 33-credit program, students complete studies in three sequenced phases, including developing perspectives, collaborative inquiry, and investigative leadership. Once these requirements are completed, students complete 12 hours of courses in a concentration in one of the following areas: academically or intellectually gifted students, instructional systems technology, special education, or elementary mathematics. Students complete an elective from another concentration that interests them or they take varieties of constructivism in elementary education, a PhD course meant to prepare master’s students for doctoral level study. This course is highly beneficial for those who wish to further their development after they have completed the elementary education master’s online program.

Housed in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education, the program is 100% online, and primarily offers classes in the fall and spring. Summer classes in the academically or intellectually gifted concentration are available on a select basis. To be considered for admittance, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.0, possess a current teaching license in elementary education, and provide satisfactory test scores for the GRE or MAT.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: SACS
Tuition: $247/credit hour (resident of North Carolina); $893/credit hour (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field or relevant coursework and current teaching license in elementary education
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: Two years or less
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Experience in elementary education

Contact
Department phone: (704) 687-1276
Department email: sputman@uncc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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5 William Carey University 60.92 3/5 20% Hattiesburg, MS

Christian institution William Carey University may be based in southeast Mississippi but the school’s distance learning portal allows teachers throughout the country to continue their education through its online master’s in elementary education program. The program requires students to complete 30 credits and learners can earn their degree in as few as 15 months across five trimesters (fall, spring, and summer). Students can embark on this elementary education master's degree online program during any term.

Learners enrolled at William Carey decided to either navigate the program through either a cohort model or individually. The cohort model promotes supportive relationships and enlivens the learning process, providing students with a clear path to completing the school's online master’s in elementary education program. Learners who choose the individual model complete the same coursework as their cohort counterparts, allowing busier students to operate on a more independent schedule. The school administers all programs asynchronously, providing maximum coursework flexibility for long-distance learners. Additionally, the program's emphasis on the development of a materials portfolio is immediately useful for students after graduation because much of the portfolio is intended for day-to-day classroom instruction.

William Carey's program not only provides a strong backbone in pedagogical theory, practical instruction, and effectiveness in the classroom. The school emphasizes one-on-one attention, keeping class sizes small and providing many opportunities for peers and professors to interact online and build a rapport. According to the school, over 90% of full-time students at William Carey are granted some form of financial assistance, and the university offers a variety of financial aid options, including work-study programs, state grants, and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: William Carey School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $350/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 15 months
Program start dates: August, November, February, June

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: By Monday of general registration week

Contact
Department phone: (601) 318-6051
Department email: tingram@wmcarey.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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6 Mississippi College 60.75 3/5 24% Clinton, MS

A private Christian university, Mississippi College offers an elementary education degree online in two forms: a master's of education in elementary education and an education specialist degree in elementary education. Both emphasize the latest in research, theories, and methodologies, and enrolled students should expect to explore topics like pedagogy, special and gifted education, and English as a second language. The school boasts a half century of accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) -- the longest in the state -- and Mississippi College's accredited master’s in elementary education online is designed specifically for the benefit of working teachers.

The school's 30-credit program includes nine credits in core courses, 15 credits in advanced content methods and materials, and six credits in elementary electives. Transformational leadership is a priority at Mississippi College and this program teaches students how to be influential leaders in the classroom and among co-workers. An accredited master’s in elementary education online program, the curriculum can be completed in as few as 10 months (with online courses that run for seven weeks) and through an accelerated model that swiftly readies teachers for further work in the field while also preparing them for future doctoral studies. The school schedules program start dates throughout the year and students may begin their coursework at nearly any time.

With competitive tuition pricing comparable to a public university and a pay-by-course model, Mississippi College's program is affordable for the working student on a budget. The curriculum covers topics like curriculum development, the history of education in the United States, and subject-specific courses on teaching mathematics, language, social studies, and science. To be considered, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a valid class A educator's license. Once accepted, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program.


Program Overview
Department: Education
Program Name: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $383.33/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching license in elementary education
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 10 months
Program start dates: January, March, May, June, August, October

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: A week before courses start each term
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (601) 925-3478
Department email: cmelton@mc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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7 Troy University 58.25 3/5 52% Troy, AL

Training Alabama teachers since 1887 and offering courses online since 1997, Troy University remains committed to the development of teachers throughout Alabama. The school makes a notable effort to accommodates the busy schedules of learners who may not be able to regularly meet in a classroom by offering a master's in elementary education online with a number of different options, including two different education specialist paths. Rather than the traditional 16 week semester, the majority of Troy's classes run for nine weeks, a schedule that allows students to finish their degrees quickly and return to the classroom as more effective instructors.

The school's general master’s in elementary education online program requires students to complete 36 credit hours, and students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout their studies. Core courses for all students include psychological foundations of education, collaboration for inclusion, educational evaluation, and educational technology in the curriculum. Students also benefit from the opportunity to complete several courses related to special needs learners, such as teaching students with emotional and social needs and legal issues in special education. Students who hold a degree and licensure in elementary education can pursue a traditional fifth-year certification for teachers program, which can be completed in a single academic year. The school's fifth-year certification programs are also offered in support areas such as instructional leadership and administration, school counseling, and school psychometry.

Troy’s online students are offered the same world-class resources as students on Troy’s campuses and the school uses the online platform Blackboard. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, provide proof of bachelor's level teaching certification, and complete a criminal background check to be considered. Troy offers a number of scholarships for graduate students, and military personnel and their families.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education (K-6)
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $494/credit (Alabama resident); $988/credit (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s level teaching certification
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: August and January

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: May 1 (fall term) and September 1 (spring term)
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE, GMAT, or MAT

Contact
Department phone: (800) 414-5756
Department email: ask@troy.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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8 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 57.60 3/5 13% Slippery Rock, PA

Unlike generalist online master’s in elementary education programs, Slippery Rock University’s program is specifically designed for educators who wish to teach K-8 math and science, with special emphasis on the integration of the two fields in the classroom. Located in Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University primarily serves in-state students (but residents of select other states may also be eligible to enroll in the school's online program).

Students enter the program during either the summer or winter term, which allows active teachers in the state of Pennsylvania to complete their degrees during the less hectic periods of the academic year. As members of a cohort, students learn in smaller class sizes and benefit from an abundance of one-on-one contact with professors. Learners can expect to complete coursework and graduation requirements, including fieldwork and a thesis, over the course of four semesters.

The program does not require the completion of electives but the program’s focus on math and science provides a specialized foundation that integrates the two fields of study with the latest in classroom technology. Slippery Rock's online master’s in elementary education program examines the most effective methods of teaching math and science in the elementary classroom. The program is offered entirely online and courses are asynchronous. The school recently overhauled its curriculum to align to Common Core State Standards and places an emphasis on coursework designed to help students understand new technologies, changing markets, and licensing requirements.

To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, possess a current teaching certificate, and have prior teaching experience. However, certain applicants may be considered under "conditional admission", which allows a student with a lower GPA to enter the program upon the recommendation of the graduate coordinator (provided that the student's GPA remains at or above a 3.0 during his or her first 12 hours of coursework).


Program Overview
Department: Elementary Education/Early Childhood
Program Name: Master of Education in Elementary Education: K-8 Math and Science
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $351.20/credit (Pennsylvania resident); $367.20/credit (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from any state
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 year
Program start dates: Summer only

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Professional teaching experience

Contact
Department phone: (724) 738-2863
Department email: suzanne.rose@sru.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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9 Liberty University 56.37 4/5 85% Lynchburg, VA

A private Christian institution, Liberty University is largest provider of online education in the world. The school offers several degrees in a variety of disciplines and its online master’s in elementary education is offered as a master's of arts in teaching. The program is perfect for applicants who have no previous teaching experience and wish to qualify for initial licensure. While the majority of the program's 36 required credits can be completed online, students must visit the Lynchburg, Virginia campus three times for multi-day learning intensives over the course of their studies. Students must also complete a three-credit student teaching practicum (which may be pursued near their place of residence).

Online courses typically run for eight weeks and are designed to challenge and engage distance-learners. The curriculum is broken down into three sections: advanced education core courses, elementary education cognate, and professional courses. Together, these three elements of study provide a strong foundation of educational principles, classroom conduct, and professional skills. The program's curriculum includes courses on the foundations of exceptionality, reading and language acquisition, principles of behavior management, and more.

For acceptance into its elementary education master’s degree online program, Liberty requires applicants to hold a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. And unlike many other online master’s in elementary education programs, Liberty University does not require students to have earned previous certification in the state of their residence. Liberty allows students to transfer up to 12 credits from a previous school, and offers free transfer evaluations, allowing students to decide if a degree at Liberty is the right choice for their education. Featuring some of the lowest tuition of all online degree programs, Liberty also offers a variety of scholarships and flexible payment plans.


Program Overview
Department: Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) – Elementary Education
Available concentrations: None
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $565/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid (online with three required in-person intensives in Virginia)
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: 3-credit internship/student teaching

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: 8 times a year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (800) 424-9595
Department email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 University of Alabama at Birmingham 55.23 3/5 45% Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s master of education in early childhood and elementary education prepares graduates for careers in teaching. After taking 12 credits of courses directly related to teaching, students also study topics like curriculum development, critical pedagogy, child psychology, and teaching in a multicultural society. These additional courses prepare students for specialized teaching environments like urban education, academically or intellectually gifted classrooms, and ESL. All told, UAB’s offering requires that students complete 31 to 34 credit hours, including a three-hour practicum placement.

Tailored for learners with no previous teaching education or experience in teaching elementary students, the school offers a 58-credit alternative master’s program. UAB's alternative master’s program is also designed for students with bachelor degrees in other fields, allowing those without the undergraduate educational foundation to become certified upon completion. To be admitted, a candidate must hold a valid Alabama bachelor’s level professional educator certificate in elementary education. If students are not already certified, the alternative master's program prepares them to pursue certification. UAB also offers an early childhood and elementary education honors program for students looking for a more rigorous experience.

Although learners complete the program online, students can request an appointment to sit in on a class at UAB and experience courses on-campus. The school makes accommodations for students with busy schedules, including classes offered on Saturdays and over the summer. Students interested in further studies may wish to pursue UAB's doctor of philosophy program in early childhood education. Once the program is completed (and provided that they maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25), students are eligible for class A certification in elementary education. UAB's convenient and state-of-the-art online instruction provides students with quality education at an affordable price.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $396/credit (resident); $935/credit (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online or hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 31 to 34 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 1 (fall), November 1 (spring), April 1 (summer)

Contact
Department phone: (205) 934-8359
Department email: emfinger@uab.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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11 Gardner-Webb University 54.98 4/5 45% Boiling Springs, NC

North Carolina's Gardner-Webb University is a Christian institution that offers a fully online master's of arts in curriculum and instruction. Not only does Gardner-Webb University offer a concentration in elementary education, but the school also offers concentrations in middle grades education, rural education, urban education, Christian school education, academically/intellectually gifted education, and teacher leadership. The program is well-suited for teachers who themselves want to become researchers.

The school offers its 33-credit hour curriculum in five semesters, where students take one module of six or seven credits. Gardner-Webb conducts classes through Blackboard and utilizes discussions, webinars, and other web-based activities to round out learner experience. Degree candidates study the history and philosophy of curriculum and an area of focus within the field of education they choose. Students submit a final portfolio via Taskstream. The program requires completion of a three-credit hour internship divided into one-hour segments spread among students' third, fourth, and fifth semesters.

Gardner-Webb strongly suggests that elementary education master's online program applicants accrue at least three years of teaching experience before applying. Although applicants from outside the state are eligible for the program, the school cannot recommend them for licensure unless they have obtained an initial professional educator’s license from the State of North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction before completing their degree. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and have earned satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Exam, Miller Analogies Test, and PRAXIS II Subject Assessment.

Once admitted into the program, the school requires students to complete online certification to verify their proficiency in an online environment. Courses of interest include philosophy, history, methodology of curriculum and instruction (elementary concentration), teaching strategies for diverse population, measurement, assessment and action research for teacher leaders, current issues and special topics for teacher leaders, and teaching literacy in the age of accountability.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $429/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Field education requirements: Internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: 3 years of teaching experience recommended

Contact
Department phone: (704) 406-2015
Department email: jputnam2@gardner-webb.edu

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12 University of North Dakota 54.67 3/5 29% Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota offers a master's of science in elementary education degree online program designed to prepare K-6 teachers to address their students' educational needs through a mixture of theory and practical experience. The curriculum includes 32 credit hours of courses and requires the completion of a three-credit hour teaching practicum (conducted within the student’s local community, this 90-hour teaching practicum must first be approved by the university). Depending on how many classes students take each semester, the school offers most classes asynchronously, and schedules start dates every fall, spring, and summer. The program commonly takes two to three years to complete. UND designed this program for the needs of students who hold teaching licenses and non-licensed applicants who want to follow a research-oriented study path both. Applicants should be aware that this program does not lead to certification.

This online master's degree in elementary education program features live or recorded web classes available at a variety of convenient times, including nights and weekends. The school never requires candidates to visit campus during their course of study. Students can finish the program in just two years, over the course of six semesters (including two summer semesters). Additionally, the school offers students a variety of quality support services, including online tutoring, library access, tech support, and academic advising.

UND's program application requires that applicants complete a personal statement consisting of three questions on the topic of character and professional history. The school's online master's in elementary education program offers in-state tuition for all accepted candidates, regardless of their state of residence. This master's elementary education online degree program is available with thesis and non-thesis options and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Program Overview
Department: Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $410.12/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 32 credits
Field education requirements: Teaching practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: May 15 (fall), October 15 (spring), March 15 (summer)

Contact
Department phone: (701) 777-2920
Department email: bonni.gourneau@UND.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Western Governors University 54.08 3/5 100% Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University offers an elementary education degree online degree that prepares students to become highly qualified teachers, even if they have no prior experience in education. Offered as a master's of arts, this degree prepares students who hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject outside of education to gain their initial licensure as an elementary education teacher. WGU's program generally takes two to three years to complete.

WGU was the first entirely online university to receive accreditation for its teacher licensure degrees from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The university was also the first of its kind to implement a learning model based on competency, a model that allows students to utilize previously gained knowledge to accelerate the completion of their program. WGU charges tuition at a flat-rate per semester, which means that no matter how many courses students take a semester, tuition stays the same. This incentivizes finishing the degree plan at an accelerated pace. WGU makes financial aid available to all students.

The 41-credit curriculum covers key topics including foundations of teaching, mathematics content, instructional planning and presentation, elementary education methods, and research fundamentals. Students must also complete a classroom practicum and a professional portfolio (the latter of which includes a resume and a philosophy of teaching statement).

To be considered, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and meet the rest of the school’s content requirements. Students work closely with a student mentor to devise and schedule a plan for completing courses. Student mentors provide valuable resources to students by, for example, guiding them through their individual course plans and building relationships with the students and being available to them when questions or concerns arise during the completion of the master's elementary education online program. Applicants should be aware that they cannot transfer credits toward the completion of this accredited master's in elementary education online program.


Program Overview
Department: Teachers College
Program Name: Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education (K-8)
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $2,890/6-month term

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree in any subject and a state-specific basic skills test prior to classroom practicum
Credit requirements: 41 credits
Field education requirements: Classroom practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 to 3 years
Program start dates: The first of any month

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 University of West Alabama 51.37 3/5 11% Livingston, AL

Located in Livingston, the University of West Alabama offers an online master's in elementary education. The 34-credit program includes 19 credits of professional courses and 15 credits of teaching field courses. The curriculum covers a variety of topics, including the foundations of education, educational planning, advanced educational psychology, and special education. Students must complete a field placement practicum and a comprehensive thesis course, and students who embark on a standard load of courses can expect to graduate within two years.

The school requires that all students maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above and mandates that learners retake any courses in which they receive a grade "C" or lower. Courses are offered at an accelerated pace. UWA offers six semesters a year, ranging in lengths of six to eight weeks, and the school utilizes Securexam Remote Proctor Now, allowing students to take tests on their own time. The program never requires students to complete a proctored exam.

UWA's online master's in elementary education provides courses that students can use used for teacher certificate renewal. Learners who complete all program graduation requirements are qualified for proper certification from their state of residence as long as they’ve received prior written approval. Applicants must fulfill requirements set by the School of Graduate Studies, already hold a valid teaching certificate, and have recent GRE or MAT scores to be considered.

Only credit hours completed in UWA’s online master's degree in elementary education can lead to certification by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). UWA accepts up to nine semester hours of graduate credit from another accredited institution toward a master’s degree in a program that does not lead to certification by the ALSDE. This master's in elementary education online program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Elementary Education K-6 [certification]
Accrediting body: SACSCC
Tuition: $429/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate
Credit requirements: 34 credits
Field education requirements: Teaching field courses and field placement practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 year
Program start dates: 6 times per year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: May 1, October 1, March 1
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT

Contact
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Marshall University 51.34 3/5 27% Huntington, WV

Marshall University offers an online master's in elementary mathematics specialist through the College of Education and Professional Development. The courses in this mathematics-specific elementary education master's online program place emphasis on learning mathematical content and progressive mathematics pedagogy specifically designed for elementary students. Course content focuses on foundational mathematics subject matter, such as algebra, geometry, rational numbers, operations, and technical applications. This elementary education master's degree online program also covers mathematics technology and pedagogical best practices intended for classroom application.

Administered in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Education, this program is tailored for currently-certified elementary teachers looking to add a specialist degree to their teaching license. The program's standards and objectives were developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the West Virginia Department of Education Next Generation Content Standards, and Objectives for Mathematics and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The 36-credit program's requirements consists of 15 core course credits, 18 credits in a student's area of emphasis, and a three-credit capstone.

In addition to core mathematics and pedagogy topics, the curriculum covers topics like educational evaluation, educational research and writing, technical mathematics, and a variety of subject-specific courses within the field of mathematics. The program is primarily taught asynchronously, but three of the core courses currently require students to attend class online at specific times. (According to the school, these three courses are expected to become completely asynchronous courses in the near future.)

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and current teacher licensure in elementary education to be considered for admission. They must also demonstrate interest and experience in both studying and teaching mathematics.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Professional Development
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education -- Elementary Mathematics Specialist
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $3,710/semester (resident); $8,955/semester (non-resident)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Mostly asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and current teacher licensure in elementary education
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Spring and fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: March 1 and October 1
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Work experience: Must be a currently-certified elementary teacher

Contact
Department phone: (304) 746-8983
Department email: meisele@marshall.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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16 Missouri State University-Springfield 47.42 3/5 25% Springfield, MO

In Springfield, Missouri State University offers an elementary education online degree that is flexible in both curriculum and scheduling. Students taking two classes or six credit hours each semester, including summer terms, can complete this 36-credit hour program in around two years. Learners choose one-third of their courses in the program, allowing them to orient their degree toward their educational and professional goals. The program makes the following specialization options available: early childhood, reading, technology, ESL, middle school, math, science, social science, or special education. An individualized combination of courses in those areas is also available.

A third of MSU’s online master's in elementary education coursework is devoted to a personalized degree plan, which students tailor to their needs. Learners must enroll in an advanced theory and practice in student assessment and evaluation course during their final semester. Delivered through online coursework, MSU's curriculum and instruction concentration option focuses on theory and research, and emphasizes diverse approaches to instructional practices. Graduates possess the skills they need to teach college-level courses or to study at the PhD level while working in the K-12 education sector.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and provide current GRE scores to be considered for admission. Up to 30% of graduate work may be transferred to earn the elementary education master's online. Transfer work must have received an "A" or "B" grade from an accredited institution and must be approved by the Coordinator of the Elementary Education Graduate Program or the Department Head of Childhood Education and Family Studies. For students who do not wish to commit to a master’s degree program, MSU offers options for post-baccalaureate students to take graduate courses that lead to Missouri teacher certification.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education
Available concentrations: Early childhood, reading, technology, ESL, middle school, math, science, social science, special education, or an individualized combination of courses
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $285/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 20 (fall), December 20 (spring), May 20 (summer)
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (417) 836-6065
Department email: CindyHail@MissouriState.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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17 Northern Arizona University 46.41 3/5 34% Flagstaff, AZ

Northern Arizona University offers an online master's in elementary education through its Department of Teaching and Learning designed for students who are currently licensed and teaching. The program is beneficial to students who seek interaction with fellow licensed teachers and mentors. Students exit the program having taken a specifically-designed course load tailored to curriculum design and development, teaching methods, and classroom strategies that help reach diverse learning populations. This program does not provide K-8 teaching certification or an institutional recommendation for teaching certification.

The curriculum includes 12 to 15 credits of core requirements and 16 to 18 credits in emphasis courses. Students can currently choose from the following areas of emphasis: continuing professional, elementary national board preparation, and reading K-8. The school's online master's degree in elementary education program offers a Reading Specialist Endorsement by the Arizona Department of Education.

Admission to NAU's elementary education master's online program requires an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0. The school offers degree programs either completely online or in a blended online and in-person format. Most online classes are asynchronous, but a few have scheduled class times. These classes are conducted through Blackboard Learn. Resources for the elementary education master's online program include technical support, online library resources, tutoring, and some physical campus resources.

The degree must be completed within six years, and students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout the program. Students are required to complete a thesis project and provide an oral defense of their work. NAU offers a self-paced option for students who either want to accelerate their study or take their time. This degree is approved by the Western Regional Graduate Program and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Department: Teaching and Learning
Program Name: Master of Education in Elementary Education
Available concentrations: Continuing professional, elementary national board preparation, and reading K-8
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $476/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree
Credit requirements: 28 to 33

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: Must be completed in 6 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Current licensed teacher

Contact
Department phone: (928) 523-5644
Department email: Pamela.Powell@nau.edu

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18 Wilson College 45.24 3/5 17% Chambersburg, PA

Pennsylvania’s Wilson College, based in Philadelphia, offers a master’s in elementary education online for teachers who want to gain a deeper understanding of pedagogy, theory, research-based practices, and technology. The curriculum includes 10 core courses, with two additional required completion-level courses to close out the program. Courses touch on several topics, including contemporary issues in education, best practices and effective teaching, technology integration for the classroom, and more. While many classes are offered completely online, students should be prepared to take half the sessions for each of their courses at Wilson’s Chambersburg, Pennsylvania campus.

Class sizes generally consist of less than 20 students. The program typically takes two to three years to complete, and students must earn their degree within six years of admittance. The program features no prerequisites for courses, meaning you can take classes in any succession. There are also no additional course fees, which makes this elementary education master's degree online an affordable option. Wilson College’s learning goals for students are based on the latest research in education, and some of the school’s rigorous curriculum topics include: communication, critical and creative thinking, research, ethical awareness, engaging diversity, disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, and integration and application of learning.

To be considered, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and current teaching certification in grades PK-12. Admission under a provisional status is an option if granted by the program director after a plan of action is created to help the student meet entrance requirements. MEd candidates must complete 10 courses or 30 credit hours, including a final research project. Candidates must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and course credit is awarded only for grades of "C" or higher.


Program Overview
Department: Education
Program Name: Master of Education
Accrediting body: Pennsylvania Department of Education
Tuition: $500/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and a current teaching certification in grades PK-12

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1.5 to 3 years
Program start dates: Fall and spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: Praxis
Work experience: A current teaching certification in grades PK-12

Contact
Department phone: (717) 262-2045
Department email: med@wilson.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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19 Delta State University 44.81 3/5 40% Cleveland, MS

Delta State University offers an innovative online master's in elementary education degree through the school's Department of Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research. The program is designed for students who have already completed a bachelor's degree in education and who have received teaching licensure. It is also suitable for those seeking a class AA license in elementary classroom teaching. The program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The 30-credit curriculum covers advanced topics, such as the psychology of learning, methods of educational research and statistics, effective instruction in the elementary school, literacy instruction, and classroom management. Students must also complete a practicum within a classroom as part of their field experience. DSU's elementary education master's online program requires students to purchase and utilize TaskStream to complete program assignments and access program content, which includes areas standards, lesson plans, and other web-based materials. Once all required coursework has been completed, students are required to compile a comprehensive portfolio outlining what they’ve learned and complete a self-assessment via TaskStream to qualify for graduation.

Program classes are available on rotation, and new students should work closely with their advisers to ensure that they enroll in courses in the correct order. To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 (or 2.75 over the last 64 hours of required coursework), possess a class A teaching certification, and have earned satisfactory standardized test scores. DSU accepts a maximum of six transfer credits (with the prerequisite that all potential transfer credits were at a minimum grade of "B"). To be considered for graduation from this accredited master's in elementary education online program, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA overall, have received no grade below a "C", and have received no more than two "C" grades over the course of their studies.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research
Program Name: Master of Education in Elementary Education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $3,369.50/term

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in education and a class A teaching licensure
Credit requirements: 30 to 36 credits
Field education requirements: Classroom practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: January, May, September

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 1
GPA: 2.5 cumulative or 2.75 on the last 64 hours of required coursework.
Standardized tests: GRE, MAT, PRAXIS, CAAP, PRAXIS I, CORE academic skills for educators, or NTE communications skills test
Work experience: Licensed teacher

Contact
Department phone: (205) 655-4878
Department email: csnow@deltastate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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20 Western Kentucky University 43.12 3/5 32% Bowling Green, KY

Western Kentucky University offers a master's of arts in education in teacher leadership with a concentration in elementary education perfect for teachers looking to increase their understanding of pedagogy and leadership in the classroom. To earn WKU's online master's degree in elementary education, students must complete 30 to 37 credit hours, including 10 to 16 credit hours spent on professional, pedagogical, and leadership-oriented courses. Resources for online students include writing labs, online webinars, online tutoring, library resources, and technical support.

Specializations offered at WKU include elementary education, education administration, English as a second language, gifted and talented endorsement, and instructional computer technology endorsement. WKU offers specializations in elementary education, gifted and talented endorsement, and instructional computer technology endorsement completely online. The curriculum includes a core of professional education courses, and a majority of the program's courses derive from a student's chosen specialization. Examples of the many courses available as part of WKU's elementary education master's online program include advanced materials and methods in modern mathematics for elementary teachers, foundations of differentiated instruction, creative media experiences for children, advanced materials and methods in social studies, and seminar in elementary school science.

Students have the option to incorporate courses from any of WKU's other online specializations for inclusion in their degree plan. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and have earned a valid teaching license to be considered. Out-of-state applicants must submit GRE scores. WKU may admit applicants who possess an expired certificate. However, the school only allows learners with expired certificates to enroll in six credit hours until they have updated their certificate status. WKU’s graduate program also offers a non-degree-plan fifth-year option for college graduates who do not meet the program's admission requirements.


Program Overview
Department: School of Teacher Education
Program Name: M.A.E. in Teacher Leadership--Elementary Education
Available concentrations: Professional education, specialization (Elementary Education, Gifted and Talented Endorsement and Instructional Computer Technology Endorsement)
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $707/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bachelor’s degree and valid teaching license
Credit requirements: 30 to 37 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 1 (fall), January 1 (spring), May 1 (summer)
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE (out-of-state students with GPA lower than 2.75 only)
Work experience: Teaching license

Contact
Department phone: (270) 745-8822
Department email: lisa.murley@wku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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An online master’s degree in elementary education prepares candidates for licensure as an elementary school teacher, implementing a curriculum with the professional licensure available through a master’s program. The quality of instruction for the best online master’s in elementary education are usually backed by specialized accreditations, which work to ensure a standard of training and instruction. Teaching in actual classrooms gives a significant focus to a student’s capstone thesis, and participation in academic networks helps to connect future teachers with existing elementary education communities.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Montessori Education Method Montessori education emphasizes a child-centered approach to education. It incorporates research on self-directed activity, collaborative play, and hands-on learning. Teachers learn to offer support for the development of a spirit of inquiry in elementary students and cultivate an engagement with local communities. Montessori educational standards work to provide the best physical, emotional, and social environment for learning. Montessori instructor, early elementary education teacher
Early Education A concentration in early education offers a liberal studies course load often designed in collaboration with successful elementary programs, and targets core subject areas. Early education courses conducted at a university often incorporate a specific area of focus: child psychology, growth and development, technology for children, and strategies for behavioral management for disabled and special needs cases. Early elementary education teacher, pre-school management and counseling
Literacy A literacy concentration provides an in-depth look at literacy issues, giving candidates for an online master’s in elementary education program the ability to synthesize all the best practices and available research in reading instruction. Coursework entails a focus on the written and read components of literacy instruction and provides strategies for helping elementary students gain comfort with literacy and spoken communication. Special education instructor, elementary school teacher, reading programs specialist.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

Master’s in elementary education online programs may differ, according to the established standards of a college or school. To gain an idea of what a curriculum for an online organizational leadership master’s degree program look like, consult the list below.

  • Foundations of Teaching: Students gain an overview of the historical, philosophical, and sociological texts that have influenced current educational theory and practice. Common issues in education, investigation of trends, and engagement with new methods prepares educators for future coursework in their concentration. Candidates will also develop and strengthen the necessary skills to succeed as graduate students.
  • Elementary Education Methods: A fundamental part of any online master’s degree in elementary education, this course covers activities, teaching strategies, and effective classroom management techniques. The course is designed to help elementary teachers in training to develop systematic methods to lead students to cooperate with each other and with supervisors. Tasks and learning strategies are put in context, often through observation.
  • Instructional Planning and Presentation: Designed to lead teachers in training to design courses through the understanding of clear objectives and goals. Planning activities and assignments are discussed along with the various research around strategies to support student learning. Different approaches are considered, including field work, discussions, writing, and service-based collaboration.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION?

The length of time that a student needs to complete a program may vary according to the circumstances of their application and desired licensing. Some students possess coursework from another previously attended college. In the case of a candidate having credits from another college or university, which will transfer towards the program they are applying to, their degree track would be amended to reflect the credits already completed.

A student may encounter course lengths anywhere from eight to 12-weeks long. Some elementary education master’s online programs require that students complete the program in a cohort. A cohort format has students move through the program as a synchronized group, taking classes at the same time to create an on-campus feel. Independent learning is usually quicker since it allows students to take a heavier courseload. Typically, elementary education master’s degree online students may plan to complete a 30-33 credit program in two years.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION PREPARES FOR

  • Teaching Licensure: A professional license is needed in order to practice teaching. As a teacher, you’re responsible for the development, general aspirations, and standards of a student body. Licensure ensures that every person who assumes the responsibility of a teacher has the necessary knowledge and skill. Licenses are also issued at a state level, so different states have different policies.
  • STEM and Technology Integration: The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Technology certificate ensures that a candidate has the knowledge to interpret and utilize technology, specifically in order to enhance learning potential in the classroom. Certificate holders possesses the conceptual tools to approach technological change with confidence, as well as the ability to integrate new presentation methods and assisted learning protocols into their role as an elementary educator.

Accreditation is important in order to maintain a high standard of education in institutions of higher learning. Regional accreditation is a process undertaken by a college or school in order to demonstrate that a program meets a minimum standard of excellence; it is generally considered to be more prestigious than national accreditation. There is no specific accreditation required regarding the best online master’s degree in elementary education. However, teacher-focused groups like NCATE (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) and ACEI (the Association for Childhood Education International) exist to maintain training standards for teachers.

The Department of Education is a federal agency established in 1979 which was formed to regulate policies concerning all schools and colleges within the United States, and to coordinate federal assistance for education, gather data about schools, and enforce federal laws regarding education. It works to promote the success of education within the United States and has no direct hand in the accreditation process. The CHEA and works to maintain educational standards and keep universities competitive with colleges and schools within the US, and with institutions of higher learning around the world. A list of universities with national accreditation is available directly from the U.S. Department of Education.

WHAT TO EXPECT AS A STUDENT IN AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION PROGRAM

Like many graduate degree programs, the master’s in elementary education pathway builds on the foundational areas of undergraduate study while introducing more advanced ideas, theories and approaches to the profession. Students should expect coursework in subjects like standards-based education, educational technology and digital learning, curriculum and instructional development, advanced methods of student assessment and behavioral psychology. The curriculum will also include modules exploring research methods directly related to elementary learning. In most cases, students in master’s programs have already earned their teaching license, so certification prep is normally not part of the standard curriculum.

A wide range of degree specializations are available for master’s in elementary education degree students. Those who would like to work with students with disabilities may pursue a special education concentration, while those with an interest in the subjects students learn may be drawn to a specialization in curriculum and instruction. A focus on educational leadership is ideal for aspiring principals, senior administrators and other top-level school officials. Other common specializations include reading and literacy or early childhood education (typically pre-K to third grade). In some general education master’s programs, ‘elementary education’ is considered the degree specialization.

It’s important to research the accreditation status of a master’s in elementary education degree program before fully committing to it. In the U.S., online elementary education master’s programs receive accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). In addition to programmatic accreditation, make sure that the college or university has received regional or national accreditation.

JOB PLACEMENT: MASTER’S DEGREE IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

The demand for qualified, licensed teachers and administrators is quite high, which means that the job outlook for master’s degree-holding elementary educators is quite favorable. U.S. News & World Report estimates that the unemployment rate for elementary school teachers is currently set at 3.0%. The table below compares this figure to the unemployment rates of teachers at other types of public and private schools.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2017)
High School Teacher 2.0%
Elementary School Teacher 3.0%
Middle School Teacher 3.0%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

As the table shows, elementary school teachers face comparable unemployment odds as middle school teachers — and higher unemployment rates than high school teachers. However, it’s worth noting that the rate for elementary school teachers is still much lower than the national unemployment average for all industries, which is currently set at 4.7%.

EARNING A LIVING

The salary potential of teachers and education professionals is often tied to their master’s degree area of study. How do elementary education degree-holders measure up against other education master’s degree recipients? Using data from the 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table looks at earning expectations for different education majors at two early career benchmarks.

Master’s Degree Field Median Entry-Level Salary (Less than 5 Years) Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ Years)
Educational Administration $53,900 $74,400
Educational Leadership $52,700 $72,000
Education (General) $46,200 $66,500
Secondary Education $44,000 $66,300
Special Education $44,500 $60,000
Elementary Education $41,200 $55,100
Early Childhood Education $38,100 $48,400

Source: 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report

Of the seven fields listed, the average wage premium (or salary growth) between the entry-level and mid-career stages is 37.8%. In addition to bachelor’s degree major, the salary potential of an elementary teacher will also depend on their specific job title. Other important factors include licensure status, experience level and city/state of employment. The next table looks at career salary growth expectations for four common career paths for math education master’s recipients.

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 $38,806 $43,909 $49,844 $57,187
Special Education Teacher (Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary) $40,899 $44,791 $50,079 $57,133
Elementary School Principal $74,315 $79,097 $82,753 $84,277
Curriculum Developer $52,458 $60,838 $66,787 $78,619

Source: PayScale

All four occupations experience a salary growth rate of at least 13% after 20 years on the job. Curriculum developers reported the highest growth rate: a 49.9% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Elementary teachers ranked second (despite having the lowest salaries at all four benchmarks) with 47.4% salary growth, followed by special education teachers with 39.7% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who leave school with a master’s in elementary education will be qualified for a wide range of positions, although their eligibility will largely depend on their area of specialization. Four common career paths for master’s in elementary education recipients are outlined below.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: In most elementary school classrooms, the teacher is responsible for delivering lessons on a variety of subjects, including reading and writing, math, science, art and music. These teachers are also trained to recognize the early signs of learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and other impediments to productive learning in young students.

Elementary, Middle and High School Principals: Principals oversee the various operations and activities at public and private schools. Their day-to-day duties include monitoring and evaluating teachers and other school personnel, approving curriculum standards, meeting with other administrators and, in some cases, discussing disciplinary actions with students and their parents.

Instructional Coordinators: Instructional coordinators develop curriculum standards for different lessons taught in public and private schools. They also train teachers and other school staff how to deliver and assess student progress in different areas, and also evaluate current curriculum standards to see if there are areas for future improvement.

Special Education Teachers: Special education teachers specialize in the instruction and supervision of students with disabilities ranging from minor to severe. At most public and private elementary schools, students receive special education services in dedicated classrooms outside their primary classroom.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Job Growth (2014-24)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $54,550 6% (+87,800 jobs)
Elementary, Middle and High School Principals $90,410 6% (+14,000 jobs)
Instructional Coordinators $62,270 7% (+10,500 jobs)
Special Education Teachers $56,800 6% (+28,100 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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 teachers and education professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • 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 master’s degree 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.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

MASTER’S IN FINANCE

Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER’S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master’s degrees in HR for more information.

BUSINESS RESOURCE

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.