Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

If you love working with children, a bachelor's in elementary education can kickstart your career. Discover the best elementary education programs here.
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  • A bachelor's in elementary education is a career-focused degree to teach K-5 or K-6 students.
  • Elementary education programs prepare you for state licensure exams.
  • The job growth for teachers and administrators is projected to range from 4-10% in the next decade.
  • Many states require student teaching before you can get a job as an elementary school teacher.

Do you miss the days of using candy to learn division and Play-Doh to create shapes? Well, maybe you should go back to elementary school — just not as a student.

A bachelor's degree in elementary education prepares you to work as a K-5 or K-6 teacher.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

In an elementary education program, you'll study instruction techniques and ways to teach specific subjects like literature and social studies. And your coursework will also prepare you for certification exams.

If you're considering an online elementary education degree, here's what to do next:

  • Explore this page to determine whether this path is the right choice for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online bachelor's in elementary education programs, as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for you.

Why Should You Get a Bachelor's in Elementary Education?

A bachelor's in elementary education allows you to work as an elementary school teacher. A formal program contains all the necessary elements to pursue a career. Beyond that, it provides context for your coursework and teaches you how to apply lessons to a real classroom setting.

Featured Elementary Education Programs

Benefits of Getting a Bachelor's in Elementary Education Degree

  • The opportunity to help children: A bachelor's in elementary education means a career working with children every day. You'll guide them through their formative years and prime them for a lifetime of education.
  • Direct career path: A bachelor's in elementary education is a trade degree. This means you can start working right after graduating.
  • Real-world learning: Most elementary education degrees include student teaching opportunities. These experiences are often mandatory to secure a job as a teacher.
  • Preparation for graduate school: While many teach with just a bachelor's degree, others pursue further education. An elementary education program prepares students for a master's or doctorate in education.

Reasons for Getting Your Bachelor's in Elementary Education Online

  • Save money: While online degree programs may cost similar amounts in tuition to in-person programs, you might save money on the hidden costs of college. For example, you can lower your moving and living expenses.
  • Flexibility: Online degrees often offer greater flexibility than in-person degrees. Many allow for flexible schedules — for example, online college could be a good choice if you need to take care of a family member or work while studying.
  • Accelerated pace: While many programs take the same amount of time in person or online, many online programs offer accelerated tracks or will accept credits from a previous institution.

Best Online Elementary Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Brenau University

  • Gainesville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $718
Out of State | $718

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Georgia Professional Standards Commission for Teacher Education Programs

With a 9-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, students enrolled in Brenau University's bachelor's in elementary education program have access to small class sizes. The program preps you to take the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators exam, and you can earn your teaching certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Brenau University has rolling admissions, so you can apply anytime. You must possess a high school diploma or equivalent and have at least a 2.5 GPA in your core classes.  

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,000
Out-of-state
$30,000
Retention Rate
53%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
2,813
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $390
Out of State | $390

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The bachelor's in elementary education program at Liberty University is the only online bachelor's degree program that offers teacher licensure in Virginia. At the Christian university, you'll explore educational learning theories, create a teaching portfolio, and design a curriculum. The program includes in-person practicums and student teaching hours. 

Liberty University's elementary education program requires you to hold at least a 2.0 GPA and have graduated from a high school program or hold an equivalent diploma. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,791
Out-of-state
$14,791
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
93,349
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

University of Alaska Southeast

  • Juneau, AK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $234-$282
Out of State | $234-$282

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The University of Alaska Southeast's bachelor's in elementary education degree is entirely online, including the student teaching experience. The program at UAS emphasizes education for Alaskan communities, and you'll be eligible to become a licensed elementary teacher in Alaska. 

You should be a high school graduate with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. The program culminates with a nine-month student teaching intensive.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,250
Out-of-state
$23,154
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
2,070
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#4 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Ottawa University-Online

  • Ottawa, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $499
Out of State | $499

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Ottawa University is a private, Christian university offering an accelerated bachelor's in elementary education degree that can lead to teacher licensure in both Arizona and Kansas. Ottawa University's program consists of eight-week courses and ends with a 12-week student teaching experience.

Along with submitting a completed application and an application fee, applicants must have graduated from a high school program or have completed an equivalent degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,856
Out-of-state
$10,856
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
221
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Bay Path University

  • Longmeadow, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $410
Out of State | $410

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | No

The American Women's College offers a bachelor's in elementary education through Bay Path University. Bay Path's program meets the Massachusetts elementary education licensure requirements. It's part of the interstate agreement that allows you to teach in other states in addition to Massachusetts.

In addition to submitting an application, you must complete a phone interview. Along with the initial admission requirements, Bay Path University also requires students to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,781
Out-of-state
$35,781
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
3,224
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#6 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Friends University

  • Wichita, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $395
Out of State | $395

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Friends University's bachelor's in elementary education is an online program for adult learners. Although the program is available fully online, Friends University also offers evening in-person classes. This private, Christian university will prepare you to be eligible for teacher licensure in Kansas.

You must already hold a bachelor's degree or have earned 90 credit hours from a two- or four-year institutionally accredited college. You should have at least a 3.0 GPA and also complete a statement of goals and a short autobiography. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,670
Out-of-state
$29,670
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
1,671
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Honolulu, HI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $585
Out of State | $585

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Earning a bachelor's in elementary education degree through Chaminade University prepares you to become a licensed teacher in Hawaii. You'll have access to small class sizes, and you'll complete practicum hours and a student teaching experience.

Along with a completed application, you must submit high school transcripts with a 2.5 cumulative GPA and a short statement of intent explaining your goals. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,800
Out-of-state
$26,800
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
2,208
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#8 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $148
Out of State | $635

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Offered to residents of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina Wilmington's bachelor's program can lead to teacher licensure in North Carolina. UNC Wilmington's elementary education program offers small class sizes and international experiences. You can choose from concentrations including English as a second language and math.

You must complete a two-step application process. First, you need to apply to the school. And once accepted, you can later apply to the teacher education program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
17,915
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

MidAmerica Nazarene University

  • Olathe, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,270
Out of State | $1,270

Credits to Graduate
64-67

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

If you've earned an associate degree or completed at least 60 college hours, you are eligible to apply to the accelerated bachelor's in elementary education program at MidAmerica Nazarene University. Courses include bridge classes which allow you to start graduate-level work in areas like special education and technology.

You can graduate from MidAmerica Nazarene University's program in as little as 18-24 months and are eligible for teaching licensure in Kansas.  

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,122
Out-of-state
$32,122
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
1,636
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Top Online Elementary Education Programs of 2023

Mayville State University

  • Mayville, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $336
Out of State | $336

Credits to Graduate
122

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

The bachelor's in elementary program at Mayville State University is created with a cohort rotation and the courses are designed around reflective teaching and experiential learning. You can choose a specialization area that includes library media and general science. 

To apply to Maryville State's elementary education program, you must have completed a high school program or diploma equivalent and hold a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Beginning in the fall of 2023, you must also submit ACT or SAT scores. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,025
Out-of-state
$9,038
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
1,168
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Cost?

Average Annual Cost of a Bachelor's Degree

Public Institution | 2019-2020

$9,375

Private Institution | 2019-2020

$32,825

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

A bachelor's degree in elementary education — like any college degree — is a financial commitment. While public institutions typically cost less than private institutions, both cost significant chunks of change to complete.But there's some good news: You can make your degree more affordable through scholarships for education majors. Federal and private student loans are also available, too. For those taking federal student loans, many teachers also qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Elementary Education Scholarships:

Read More: How to Find Scholarships for College Students: Top 12 Resources

Read More: Scholarships for Education Majors

Bachelor's in Elementary Education Coursework

Earning an online elementary education degree requires a significant amount of time and money. So it's important to understand what these programs entail before making a commitment.

In this section, we cover some common program elements to help you make an informed decision.

Courses

While coursework can vary from school to school, most elementary education curricula cover similar topics to prepare you for the classroom.

Common courses include:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Elementary School Settings
  • Children's Literature and Literacy Instruction
  • Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom
  • Reading and Language in the Elementary Classroom
  • Classroom Management

Specializations

In addition to foundational core coursework, some schools also offer specializations to help you focus your knowledge in a specific area of interest.

Common specializations include:

  • Special Education
  • Gifted and Talented Education
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Reading and Literacy

Student Teaching

As with other K-12 education degrees, if you're seeking an elementary education degree online, you typically need to complete student teaching experience to qualify for graduation and licensure.

Student teaching usually lasts a full semester and is a required, unpaid part of the degree. Keep in mind that specific time requirements vary by state, so you should check with your board of education for more details.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Bachelor's in Elementary Education Degree?

While your bachelor's in elementary education is tailored towards a teaching job, it can help prepare you for a number of other jobs in education. For example, many people with a bachelor's in elementary education go into school administration.

5 Common Careers for a Bachelor's in Elementary Education

Elementary School Teacher

Special Education Teacher

Kindergarten Teacher

Childcare Center Director

Preschool Teacher

Generally, the job outlook for elementary education jobs is strong. Job growth rates range from average to faster than average compared to all other occupations.

Careers in education had a median salary of $57,220 as of May 2021. Elementary school jobs had a slightly higher median salary. Wages are higher for elementary school teachers depending on the state. States such as California and New York have some of the highest annual salaries.

Read More: Most In-Demand Education Careers

Is a Bachelor's in Elementary Education Worth It?

A bachelor's in elementary education is worth it for those seeking a job as an elementary school teacher. Many states require a degree in elementary education in order to teach. You'll also prepare for any necessary licensing exams and complete student-teaching experience.

When making a decision on whether a bachelor's in education is worth it for you, it's important to consider your own interests and economic situation. A degree is a large investment, and you should measure the return on investment of your college degree.

With an average salary of $61,350, you may wish to consider scholarships or loan-forgiveness programs to make your degree more affordable.

Everything Else You Need to Know About a Bachelor's in Elementary Education

What is a bachelor's in elementary education?

A bachelor's in elementary education degree teaches the fundamentals of instructing a K-5 or K-6 classroom. You'll be introduced to the theory and practice of teaching, learn about instructing children in specific subjects, and get practical experience teaching as a student teacher.

This degree is a professional degree designed to lead directly to a job as a teacher. It will also prepare you for licensing exams.

What degree is best for teaching?

If you want to become a teacher, a bachelor's degree is mandatory. Many states also require a degree in whatever subject you'll teach. For the general scope of elementary education, a degree in elementary education is a good starting point.

And after their bachelor's, many teachers also decide to pursue a master's or doctorate. This can be helpful when competing for jobs. And, if you eventually want to work as a school administrator, you'll likely need a graduate degree.

What can you do with a bachelor's degree in elementary education?

Most graduates with a bachelor's degree in elementary education teach either K-5 or K-6 students. But outside of teaching, you can work in other capacities in a school setting. For example, with additional schooling, you could work as a guidance counselor, special education teacher, or school principal.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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