Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs

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

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

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

ARE ONLINE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREES RESPECTED?

Students applying to elementary education programs should check whether their prospective school is accredited. Learners should also look for program accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Read more here..

HOW TO GET AN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION TEACHING DEGREE ONLINE

Students must first meet admission requirements. After being accepted, learners must complete all curriculum requirements and maintain an acceptable GPA, which will vary between schools. For more accurate information, students should contact their prospective institutions. Read more here..

WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE?

Professionals who hold a bachelor's in elementary education are prepared for positions as elementary teachers, special education teachers, and ESL teachers, among others. Read more here..

WHAT IS AN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE?

A bachelor's in elementary education prepares graduates to teach grades K-6. These teachers focus on the fundamentals, such as reading, writing, math, and science. Read more here..

HOW TO GET A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

Students must first meet a program's application requirements. After gaining acceptance, learners must then complete all curriculum requirements while maintaining an acceptable GPA. Students should check with their prospective programs for more accurate information.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE ELEMENTARY EDUCATION DEGREE PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor's degree in elementary education programs in the United States. If you are considering an online bachelor's in elementary education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor's degree requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Location Description
1 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 74.52 COST Graduation Rate 51% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

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

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2 Western Governors University RANKING SCORE 72.82 COST Graduation Rate 26% LOCATION Salt Lake City, UT

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

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3 Regis University RANKING SCORE 69.40 COST Graduation Rate 68% LOCATION Denver, CO

Regis University is a Jesuit college in Denver, Colorado. Based in Roman Catholic tradition, the school's Jesuit education emphasizes culturally-sensitive leaders that value justice and community service. The elementary education degree online at Regis University reflects these values. The online BA in elementary education is 120 credit hours and includes state licensure for elementary education. The school also offers a BA in elementary education with dual licensure in elementary and special education, which is 132 credit hours. The online elementary education degree provides students with the skills necessary to link theory to practice while also ensuring a flexible learning environment designed to optimize student success. Regis University offers one of the best online elementary education degree programs and provides students the opportunity to interact with fellow learners globally. Like many online elementary education degrees, Regis's provides the core foundation for effective teaching, yet it takes the program a step further by instilling community-oriented Jesuit values in its students.

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4 The Baptist College of Florida RANKING SCORE 68.53 COST Graduation Rate 53% LOCATION Graceville, FL

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

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5 Appalachian State University RANKING SCORE 67.34 COST Graduation Rate 73% LOCATION Boone, NC

Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian State University enrolls about 18,000 undergraduate and graduate students in on-campus, hybrid, and fully online programs. Appalachian's bachelor of science in elementary education is ideal for both pre-service and in-service teachers. Students earning the elementary education degree online complete 128 credit hours that combine coursework and field experience to prepare students to become effective teachers.

Elementary education students must earn a concentration in social studies. Students can complete the program on a full- or part-time basis. Applicants must have at least 30 transferable credit hours, but students must earn at least 73 credit hours through Appalachian. Most full-time students complete the program in two and a half years, and part-time students typically require three and a half years.

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6 East Carolina University RANKING SCORE 67.06 COST Graduation Rate 61% LOCATION Greenville, NC

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

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7 University of Southern Mississippi RANKING SCORE 65.75 COST Graduation Rate 45% LOCATION Hattiesburg, MS

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

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8 Fort Hays State University RANKING SCORE 64.84 COST Graduation Rate 37% LOCATION Hays, KS

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

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9 LeTourneau University RANKING SCORE 64.68 COST Graduation Rate 53% LOCATION Longview, TX

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

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10 University of South Carolina-Columbia RANKING SCORE 64.64 COST Graduation Rate 73% LOCATION Columbia, SC

Founded in 1801, UofSC is one of the largest public university systems in the state. In addition to on-campus programs, the university offers a growing number of online degrees, including a bachelor of arts in elementary education. The curriculum for the online elementary education degree emphasizes issues and trends in teaching, schools in communities, curriculum in elementary schools, and subject-specific instruction.

Applicants must have earned at least 45 hours with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Prospective students should contact an admissions representative to ensure their prerequisite courses will transfer. UofSC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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11 University of North Carolina Wilmington RANKING SCORE 62.74 COST Graduation Rate 72% LOCATION Wilmington, NC

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

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12 Northern Arizona University RANKING SCORE 62.18 COST Graduation Rate 53% LOCATION Flagstaff, AZ

Based in Flagstaff, NAU enrolls more 30,000 students. The university's online programs allow distance learners to complete coursework at their convenience. The bachelor of science in elementary education program leads to teacher certification in the state of Arizona and provides students with the skills and foundational knowledge required to be successful teachers in K–8 classrooms.

Students gain hands-on experience during a 135-hour practicum. Students earning NAU's early elementary education degree online complete at least 120 units, including 66 units of major courses and 12 units of concentration coursework. Students work with a departmental academic advisor to customize a program that meets their academic goals.

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13 University of Northern Iowa RANKING SCORE 61.87 COST Graduation Rate 65% LOCATION Cedar Falls, IA

UNI students can earn an elementary education bachelor’s degree online. The program is ideal for students with personal and professional commitments. Students complete the first two years of coursework at Des Moines Area Community College before transferring to UNI. The elementary education program is primarily online, but the program does require some on-campus instruction.

Students complete UNI's elementary education program with a cohort of peers. Courses cover subjects including methods of teaching early literacy, educational technology and design, middle-level instruction, and classroom management. Full-time students who enroll in summer semesters can earn the degree in two and a half years. UNI is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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14 University of Illinois at Springfield RANKING SCORE 61.55 COST Graduation Rate 50% LOCATION Springfield, IL

UIS enrolls more than 2,000 undergraduate students. The university's small class sizes create opportunities for individualized instruction. As one of the most respected online colleges for elementary education, UIS offers a primarily online bachelor of arts in elementary education. With the exception of a few mandatory weekend campus conferences throughout the program, students complete coursework off campus, at their convenience.

The program includes coursework in child development, educational psychology, technology for teaching, and managing diverse classrooms. Applicants must have at least 30 documented hours of service learning with school-aged children in an educational setting. Applicants must complete health and safety training and reporter training through the Department of Child and Family Services.

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15 Kansas State University RANKING SCORE 60.95 COST Graduation Rate 63% LOCATION Manhattan, KS

Based in Manhattan, K-State offers an elementary education online degree that prepares pre-service teachers to become effective educators and caring decision-makers. The fully online bachelor of science in elementary education covers topics including arts for elementary schools, core teaching skills, dual language methods, teaching literacy, and literature for children. Graduates are eligible for K–6 teaching licensure and may be certified to teach English as a second language.

Applicants must have earned at least 44 college credits with a 2.0 GPA. Concentration options include English as a second language and social science. Students must complete at least 81 or the 125 required credits through K-State.

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16 Mississippi State University RANKING SCORE 60.83 COST Graduation Rate 60% LOCATION Mississippi State, MS

A public university based in Starkville, MSU offers flexible online programs. Of the more than 21,000 students enrolled at MSU, more than 3,000 are earning education degrees. MSU students can earn an elementary teaching degree online, taking courses remotely and completing field experience hours in their hometown.

MSU's online bachelor of science in elementary education has the same requirements as the on-campus program. Students complete teaching internships in local classrooms during their junior and senior years. The curriculum includes coursework in teaching areas such as English, mathematics, and social and natural sciences. The program requires at least 123 credit hours.

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17 Hobe Sound Bible College RANKING SCORE 60.08 COST Graduation Rate 61% LOCATION Hobe Sound, FL

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

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18 New Mexico State University-Main Campus RANKING SCORE 59.80 COST Graduation Rate 45% LOCATION Las Cruces, NM

NMSU enrolls more than 15,000 students at its Las Cruces campus and online. The university offers a fully accredited online elementary education program that equips students to teach in public and private educational settings. The bachelor of science in elementary education program prepares students to obtain licensure and certification in New Mexico. The curriculum provides students with skills in areas such as early childhood education, bilingual education, special education, and secondary education.

Students complete 132 credit hours, including 48 upper-division hours. Applicants to the teacher education program must have completed general education coursework; the program comprises courses at the 300 level and above. Applicants must submit a portfolio of completed college work. NMSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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19 Wilmington University RANKING SCORE 59.56 COST Graduation Rate 33% LOCATION New Castle, DE

WilmU enrolls more than 18,000 students and offers classes in various sessions and formats; the university offers courses in 15-week semesters, 7-week sessions, and weekend modules. Students can complete programs in on-campus, hybrid, and fully online formats. WilmU students can earn a non-licensure elementary education degree online. The bachelor of science in education studies with a concentration in elementary education prepares students to obtain certification.

The program emphasizes technology and teaches students how to use digital portfolio tools. Required courses include instructional technology, leadership and collaboration, learner development and literacy, and instructional strategies in elementary education. The 120-credit program requires no clinical courses; the program does not lead directly to certification or licensure.

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20 Midway University RANKING SCORE 59.37 COST Graduation Rate 65% LOCATION Midway, KY

Midway is a private, Christian institution in Kentucky. The university enrolls about 1,000 students in associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. Midway students benefit from a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Midway offers an online elementary education degree as part of its Teacher Education Program, to which students must be admitted separately.

Applicants to the Teacher Education Program must pass the PRAXIS exam, submit letters of recommendation, and provide proof that they have completed prerequisite requirements. Graduates of the BA in elementary education program meet the state requirements for teaching certification. Prospective online students should ensure the concentration they wish to pursue is available online. Midway is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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21 University of Louisiana at Monroe RANKING SCORE 58.49 COST Graduation Rate 43% LOCATION Monroe, LA

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

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22 St Petersburg College RANKING SCORE 58.37 COST Graduation Rate 28% LOCATION St. Petersburg, FL

SPC provides accessible, flexible programs for a diverse student body. SPC has 10 campus locations across Pinellas County in southeast Florida and offers a variety of fully online programs. The college's online campus is the largest of any Florida institution. SPC students can earn an elementary education bachelor’s degree online that meets all requirements for teaching certification.

Students earning the bachelor of science in elementary education gain experience in public school settings. Students have access to free extracurricular professional development experiences. Applicants must have earned at least 60 credits or an associate degree. Students earn at least 60 credits through SPC. To meet state certification guidelines, the program requires a supervised internship.

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23 Old Dominion University RANKING SCORE 58.33 COST Graduation Rate 51% LOCATION Norfolk, VA

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

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23 Ottawa University-Kansas City RANKING SCORE 58.33 COST Graduation Rate 45% LOCATION Overland Park, KS

In addition to five physical campuses in Arizona, Kansas, and Missouri, Ottawa offers fully online programs with no in-person requirements. Ottawa offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education program that emphasizes skills in professional education and methods. Students gain field experience through clinical practice courses, during which they complete student teaching and research.

Transfer students can apply up to 80 eligible credit hours toward the degree. Along with a liberal arts general core, students complete licensure-based courses in subjects including world history, physical science, psychology, and college algebra. Online students must reside in Arizona, Kansas, or Missouri. Arizona residents must take two courses on the Arizona State Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

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25 South Dakota State University RANKING SCORE 58.25 COST Graduation Rate 53% LOCATION Brookings, SD

With more than 12,000 students, SDSU is the largest higher education institution in the state. The university's 80 undergraduate majors are available at its campus in Brookings, at satellite locations, and online. SDSU's bachelor of science in early childhood education, offered in partnership with Dakota State University, prepares students to teach elementary and middle school in the public school system.

Most students complete the cooperative program within five years. The curriculum includes major coursework and field experience necessary for licensure and certification. After passing the Praxis content exams, graduates are eligible to apply for a South Dakota teaching license. Students earning their elementary education degree online at SDSU complete 141 credits and student teaching internships at the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education and at a local public school.

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

Job Placement

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

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

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

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

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

Earning a Living

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

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

Source: The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

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

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

Source: PayScale

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

Career and Further Education Opportunities

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

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

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

Elementary, Middle and High School Principals: Principals oversee all of the students, teachers and administrative employees a