Online Elementary Education Programs

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by Staff Writers

Updated July 11, 2022

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Do you remember your favorite teacher from elementary school? Many people do because those early education years are critical for children. With a degree in education, you can make a daily impact on students' lives — and maybe be that one grown-up to make a lasting difference.

The curriculum of an online elementary bachelor's degree typically provides the training and credentials needed to become a licensed K-5 or K-6 teacher in your state.

www.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.

Ready to start your journey?

You can earn your teaching degree in four years when enrolled on a full-time schedule. Alternatively, learners who follow a part-time schedule often need six years to graduate. Students may also find accelerated programs that take less than four years to complete.

This guide reviews everything you need to get started on your online elementary education degree. Learn about degree requirements and popular career paths, and find the top online programs.

Why Earn an Elementary Education Degree?

Positive Growth

Teachers are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for elementary school teachers will grow by 7% between 2020-2030.

Competitive Pay

Elementary educators in the top 10% of earners received salaries of more than $99,420 as of 2021. The 2021 median pay for teachers was $61,350 (BLS). Teachers with 10-plus years of experience typically earn significantly higher salaries than early-career teachers.

Make an Impact

This degree provides the opportunity to teach students the fundamentals of critical topics, such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, while also having an early impact on their educational journeys.

Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs of 2022

Our Top Pick

Western Governors University - Salt Lake City, Utah (Fully online)

Why It's #1: Western Governors University (WGU), a fully online institution, takes the top spot on our list of the best online bachelor's in elementary education programs for 2022. The program features a lower than average tuition rate of $6,380 per year, making it a relatively affordable option. Every WGU learner enrolls online, making it a great option for students seeking enhanced flexibility.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

#1

Western Governors University

School Information
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Graduation Rate 21%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Undergraduate programs at Western Governors University prepare students for new career opportunities and advancement. An elementary education bachelor's prepares graduates for still further schooling and a career.

Learners can pursue their degree on campus or online, with options such as the bachelor of arts in elementary education. Most students complete the bachelor's program in about four years. Degree-seekers can transfer previous credits to graduate faster. Online learning allows degree-seekers to work full time while completing their studies. High-level management positions in many fields require a bachelor's degree.

Western Governors University Statistics:

Undergraduate Tuition Rate: $6,380

Average Net Price: NA

Graduation Rate: 21%

Transfer Credits Allowed: Yes

The school holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

View School Profile
#2

University of the Cumberlands

School Information
Location Williamsburg, Kentucky
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Undergraduate programs at the University of the Cumberlands prepare students for new career opportunities and advancement. Of the school's 37 bachelor's programs, 10 are available online. The school’s online programs offer benefits such as asynchronous learning and affordability.

The institution's online undergraduate programs include a convenient bachelor's degree in elementary education. Most undergraduate students need about four years to graduate. Online learning allows degree-seekers to work full time while completing their studies. Earning a bachelor's degree can lead to advanced career opportunities.

University of the Cumberlands By the Numbers:

Average Fee Per Credit: NA

Tuition for Undergrads: $9,875/year in-state

Average Cost After Financial Aid: Not Known

Acceptance Rate: 80%

Percentage of Students Awarded Aid: 99%

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

View School Profile
#3

Chaminade University of Honolulu

School Information
Location Honolulu, Hawaii
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers programs that prepare students for new job opportunities and career advancement. An elementary education bachelor's prepares graduates for still further schooling or a career. The school offers key benefits such as asynchronous learning and affordability.

The institution offers flexible online bachelor's programs, including a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Students without transfer credits typically need about four years to complete the bachelor's program. Information about whether transfer credit is accepted at this school is unavailable. The flexible learning format often appeals to students with personal and professional responsibilities. Professionals with a bachelor's degree often benefit from increased earning potential.

Chaminade University of Honolulu Statistics:

Per-Credit Price: Not Known

Average Price After Aid: Not Known

Learners Receiving Financial Aid: 99%

Students Awarded Loans: 38%

Rate of Acceptance: 95%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

View School Profile
#4

University of North Carolina Wilmington

School Information
Location Wilmington, North Carolina
Admission Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 72%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

University of North Carolina Wilmington provides a comprehensive catalog of 104 online and on-campus programs, including bachelor's programs. This bachelor's in elementary education prepares graduates for career advancement or for further schooling. At the institution, 8,500 degree-seekers attend online programs.

The institution delivers flexible online programs, including its elementary education distance learning program.  First-time bachelor's students usually graduate in about four years. Information about whether transfer credit is accepted at this school is unavailable. Online learning appeals to students with children or full-time employment. Earning a bachelor's degree can lead to advanced career opportunities.

University of North Carolina Wilmington Facts:

Average Fee Per Credit: Unavailable

Average Cost With Financial Aid: $17,981

Students Awarded Financial Aid: 72%

Percentage of Learners Receiving Student Loans: 44%

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

University of North Carolina Wilmington holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

View School Profile
#5

Indian River State College

School Information
Location Fort Pierce, Florida
Graduation Rate 41%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Indian River State College's 141 academic programs include online and on-campus options. The school's bachelor's programs provide the liberal arts and skills training graduates need. Some programs blend in-person and online sessions.

Students can choose from on-campus and online programs, including an elementary education with reading and ESOL endorsements. Busy students with personal and professional responsibilities can benefit from the convenient learning format. A bachelor's degree can qualify graduates for advanced career opportunities. Undergraduate students typically earn their bachelor's degree in four years.

Indian River State College Fast Facts:

Per-Credit Cost: NA

Percentage of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 67%

Average Net Price With Aid: $984

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

Percent of Applicants Accepted: NA

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

View School Profile
#6

Prescott College

School Information
Location Prescott, Arizona
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 33%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Prescott College is a private postsecondary institution based in Prescott, Arizona. Earning an elementary education bachelor's at this school enables graduates to either attend further schooling or begin their careers. Students typically complete 120-semester credits in a bachelor’s program.

At the school, undergrads can earn their education bachelor's degree. The flexible learning format allows learners to work full time while earning their degree. Earning a bachelor's degree can lead to advanced career opportunities. Although full-time students usually graduate in four years, part-time learners may need longer.

Prescott College Statistics:

Undergraduate Graduation Rate: 33%

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 100%

Students Awarded Loans: 54%

Average Per-Credit Fee: Not Known

Average Cost With Financial Aid: Unavailable

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

Prescott College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

View School Profile
#7

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Liberty University offers bachelor's programs that prepare students for new job opportunities and career advancement. A bachelor's degree in elementary education offers students the skills needed to get hired. A total of 78,511 online students attend the school.

The school offers flexible online bachelor's programs, including a bachelor's in early childhood education degree online. Online learners watch lectures and complete assignments at convenient times. Smaller classes help students achieve better outcomes. Degree-seekers may receive credit for hands-on learning opportunities, such as internships. To prepare for careers, degree-seekers can participate in networking events through student organizations.

Liberty University At a Glance:

Average Tuition Per Credit: $750

Average Net Price: Not Known

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 99%

Students Awarded Student Loans: 57%

Percent of Applicants Accepted: 51%

Offers Transfer Credits: Yes

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional accrediting body.

View School Profile
#8

Asbury University

School Information
Location Wilmore, Kentucky
Admission Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

An undergraduate degree from Asbury University helps professionals advance their careers and pursue new opportunities. A bachelor's degree in elementary education offers students the skills needed to get hired. Students can use online learning to conveniently earn accredited degrees while juggling obligations.

Distance learners can pursue the school's bachelor of science in elementary education degree-completion program. Graduates receive Kentucky teaching certification. The online programs maintain a high academic standard by connecting students and faculty in virtual learning environments. Online students work with advisors and IT support professionals to complete their degrees.

Asbury University Numbers:

Tuition Per Credit: Unavailable

Average Annual Cost: Not Known

Percentage of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 100%

Percentage of Students Receiving Loans: 61%

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Permits Transfer Credits: No

Asbury University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

View School Profile
#9

University of Louisiana at Monroe

School Information
Location Monroe, Louisiana
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Undergraduate programs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe prepare students for new career opportunities and advancement. Earning an elementary education bachelor's at this school enables graduates to either attend further schooling or begin their careers. Online learning allows working students to conveniently earn accredited degrees.

The school's bachelor's degree in elementary education features a flexible online learning format.  The curriculum includes video lectures, assignments, and class discussions. Nontraditional learners transfer credits or an associate degree to accelerate degree completion. Students who choose an online format benefit from cost-savings opportunities.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Fast Facts:

Undergrad Graduation Rate: 47%

Students Awarded Financial Aid: 98%

Students Receiving Loans: 41%

Average Price Per Credit: NA

Average Net Price: $9,710

Allows Transfer Credits: No

The University of Louisiana at Monroe has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting agency.

View School Profile
#10

Lynn University

School Information
Location Boca Raton, Florida
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A degree from Lynn University prepares graduates for new career opportunities and advancement. Programs at the bachelor level concentrate on both liberal arts and skills training. Students can conveniently earn accredited degrees online while they juggle work and other obligations.

The school's convenient online bachelor's programs include a bachelor's degree in elementary education. In the online elementary education program, students complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. Students learn through video lectures and class discussions. Learners studying online can also transfer credits or an associate degree to accelerate degree completion. The distance learning format offers an affordable route to a bachelor's degree.

Lynn University At a Glance:

Average Price Per Credit: NA

Average Annual Cost: Unavailable

Percentage of Students Awarded Financial Aid: 99%

Students Receiving Loans: 33%

Percent of Applicants Accepted: 74%

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

View School Profile

How We Rank Schools

In order to create the Best Online Elementary Education ranking, the BestColleges Rankings Team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

We identified 83 schools that qualify for our ranking list, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (50%), affordability (25%), and the availability and popularity of online programs (25%).

Popular Online Elementary Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Online Elementary Education Degree and Specializations

Earning an online elementary education degree requires a significant commitment of time and money. Thus, prospective students should understand what these programs entail before making a commitment.

In this section, we cover some common program components to help those interested in elementary education make informed decisions.

Courses

While coursework can vary from school to school, most elementary education curricula cover similar topics to prepare graduates for the classroom. Some topics learners may expect to encounter include:

Specializations

In addition to standard coursework comprising the core of an elementary education online degree, some schools also offer specializations to help learners focus their knowledge in specific areas. These vary from school to school, but common options include:

Student Teaching

As with other K-12 education degrees, learners seeking an elementary education degree online typically need to participate in a student-teaching experience to qualify for graduation and licensure.

These experiences usually last a full semester and are a required, unpaid part of the degree. Specific time requirements vary by state, so learners should check with their board of education for more details.

What Programs Are Similar to Elementary Education?

Teacher Certification

To work in any public school as an elementary education teacher, graduates must also obtain licensure or certification in their state. Because every state sets its own unique requirements around teacher licensure, students must check with their state's board of education to learn about specific steps.

Depending on the state, this process may be referred to as obtaining licensure or certification. Students seeking licensure/certification must typically pass Content Knowledge for Teaching exams, as well as any other required Praxis tests. States may also have additional exams.

How to Choose an Online Program

Accreditation

Accreditation is an important variable that should factor into the decision-making process for elementary education majors. Failing to attend an appropriately accredited school can result in issues transferring credits or receiving licensure/certification. In addition to institutional accreditation, students should look for degree programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Online vs. In-Person Options

Before choosing a school, students should consider whether an online or in-person degree best suits their needs. Many first-time learners decide to study in person, as this can provide more access to social clubs and traditional parts of the college experience.

Nontraditional learners may select an online program, as these tend to provide more flexibility and access. Regardless, students in both types of programs will learn similar skills and should be equivalently prepared for a teaching career.

On-Campus Pros

  • Access to on-campus resources and support services
  • In-person social interaction and networking
  • Hands-on learning
  • Classroom learning environment with fewer distractions
  • Extracurricular clubs and activities

On-Campus Cons

  • May be more expensive than online programs
  • Set class times with less flexibility
  • Time/money commuting

Online Pros

  • Flexibility to learn on your schedule
  • Learn from anywhere with a stable internet connection
  • Network with people around the world
  • Save time/money on commuting
  • May be more affordable than on-campus programs
  • Access to online tutoring and career services

Online Cons

  • Requires more self-discipline
  • Not all programs are available online
  • More technical requirements
  • Potential social isolation and loneliness

How Do I Pay for a Bachelor's in Elementary Education?

Admission Requirements

While admission requirements between online and in-person elementary education programs are typically the same, requirements can differ from school to school. In addition to the common admission mandates outlined below, programs may also ask students to participate in interviews.

Application

All online elementary education programs require prospective students to submit an application. Some schools use individualized, unique applications, while others use college application systems like the Common App. Applications typically ask for basic demographic information, such as a student's name, address, date of birth, and citizenship status.

Test Scores

College entrance exam requirements also vary from school to school. Some colleges and universities have stopped requiring ACT and SAT scores, while others still mandate this step. If a prospective school does require scores, applicants should review minimum acceptable scores.

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation allows candidates to have someone who knows them well speak on their behalf. When asking for a letter of recommendation, students should seek out current/former teachers and professors, mentors, supervisors, volunteer coordinators, or similar professionals who can speak to their academic preparedness.

Essays

When writing a college application essay, students should think carefully about how they express themselves and why they want to attend a particular program and school. By speaking about their unique experiences, learners can better set themselves apart from other applicants.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts serve several purposes. In addition to helping admissions officers identify whether a candidate has completed all prerequisite requirements and holds the required minimum GPA, registrars also use transcripts to identify classes that may qualify for transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Elementary Education Degree?

Earning an elementary education degree online typically provides the qualifications needed to seek state licensure and become a teacher at a public school. Graduates can work in public or private K-5 or K-6 schools, either teaching online or in person. Students may also decide to pursue a master's degree in education and seek more specialized, higher-paying positions.

As of 2021, the BLS reports that kindergarten and elementary teachers earned median pay of $61,350. The BLS anticipates that this field will grow by 7% between 2020-2030, which would lead to the creation of nearly 112,000 new positions.

Career Median Annual Salary (2021)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $61,350
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $98,420
Instructional Coordinators $63,740
School Counselors and Advisors $60,510
Special Education Teachers $61,820

Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics

Elementary Education Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Elementary Education Programs

What is a bachelor's in elementary education?

A bachelor's in elementary education is a four-year degree consisting of approximately 120 credits. In addition to coursework, students who complete this major also participate in a semester-long student teaching experience. This allows them to gain real-world classroom experience before graduating.

Learners can complete a bachelor's in elementary education online, in person, or through a hybrid format, depending on their learning needs. Many public and private universities offer these programs, making it easy to find a degree that meets academic, financial, and geographical requirements.

What is the best education degree to get?

The best education degree is one that best suits a student's future goals and professional pathways. For those who want to teach students in grades 1-6, an elementary education bachelor's degree may be the best education degree.

Prospective students should think carefully about which degree they want to pursue. Current high school students can speak with their school's guidance counselor to get a better sense of what degree they might need. They can also speak with current elementary school teachers to learn about their experiences and ask questions.

What degree is best for an elementary school teacher?

Regardless of where an individual lives, all states require public elementary school teachers to possess at least a bachelor's degree. Thus, elementary education programs tend to be a popular option for those looking to become elementary education teachers.

That said, some individuals may decide to change their careers after earning an unrelated bachelor's degree. In this case, they may decide to pursue a master's in education. In addition to securing the required qualifications, teachers with an advanced degree tend to earn more than those with only bachelor's-level qualifications.

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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