The Best Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Programs

July 2, 2020

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With a steady job growth rate of 6%, the demand for elementary school teachers is projected to increase through 2024. If you're enthusiastic about learning, love working with kids, and have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, a graduate certificate in elementary education can help you begin your career as a teacher without completing an expensive and time-consuming master's program. In this guide, we'll cover the details of earning a teaching certificate online, from choosing a program to paying for school.

What are the Best Graduate Certificate of Elementary Education Programs? Here are our top 3:

Rank School Location
1 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
2 Ball State University Muncie, IN
3 Granite State College Concord, NH

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

Best Accredited Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Programs

Eastern New Mexico University View School Profile Portales, NM

ENMU's graduate certificate in elementary education program can be completed online and offers students an alternative pathway to earn an initial K-8 teaching license. The 21-credit curriculum covers topics like content area literacy, teaching the multicultural heritage of the Southwest, and trends in science and mathematics education. Graduation requirements also include student teaching.

The school's career services office provides certificate-seekers with access to Handshake software, cover letter tips, and resume workshops. Other helpful career exploration resources include personality assessments.

Prospective students should possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and have completed certain prerequisite classes. Certificate-seekers who agree to teach in a school with low-income children can receive a federal TEACH Grant. Certificate credits can be applied towards a master's degree in elementary education or pedagogy and learning at ENMU.

Ball State University View School Profile Muncie, IN

Ball State's online graduate certificate in early childhood education helps licensed educators improve their career prospects and salary potential. The 15-credit program emphasizes topics like education in a diverse society, observation and assessment in early childhood, and mentoring early childhood professionals. All courses use an asynchronous curriculum.

In recent years, 92-95% of Ball State graduates experienced a positive career outcome shortly after graduation. The university helps students find professional success by giving them access to tools like personality quizzes, an extensive career guide, and links to the best job websites.

Before applying, prospective students who reside outside of Indiana should research the state's licensure reciprocity agreements. The program's admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. In-state students save approximately 30% on tuition at this public institution.

Granite State College View School Profile Concord, NH

Students seeking an initial K-6 or K-8 teaching license may be interested in GSC's graduate certificate in elementary education program. Both licensure tracks require coursework in special education law, students with disabilities, and strategies for teaching science. Also, more than 90% of elementary education alumni pass the state's teacher licensure exam on the first try.

Elementary education students can start a career search by accessing GSC's resume-writing software, job boards, and online workshops. Learners can also visit the school's career services website to review workplace values and different career paths.

Application requirements include a bachelor's degree and passing the PRAXIS I PPST exam. The K-8 track also requires at least 12 undergraduate credits in one of four content areas. Certificate-seekers may qualify for the Early Childhood Tuition Assistance Grant.

What Will I Learn in an Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Program?

Each program is different, but they all include crucial concepts and state-mandated course requirements for elementary education certificate programs. Regardless of school or location, you're likely to encounter the following courses, which introduce concepts and techniques integral to the field of elementary education.

What Can I Do With a Certificate in Elementary Education?

Whether your bachelor's degree is in biology or English literature, a graduate certificate in elementary education prepares you to bring your academic passion to the classroom. A teaching certificate is ideal for enthusiastic, patient individuals. While graduates typically pursue positions based on their academic background, teaching classes such as math or social studies, the following careers are also common for professionals with a graduate certificate in elementary education.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers instruct children under the age of five through guided play. Unlike most elementary instructors, preschool teachers are often employed outside the public school system, at childcare centers or nonprofit organizations.

Median Annual Salary: $28,790
Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Special Education Teacher

These educators specialize in the instruction of students with disabilities and special needs.

Median Annual Salary: $60,090
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Elementary School Teacher

Rather than teaching classes on a single subject, some elementary school teachers instruct a single class on a range of fundamental topics, such as basic literacy, math, and writing.

Median Annual Salary: $55,490
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Accreditation for Graduate Certificate Programs

Like a bachelor's or master's degree, a graduate certificate in elementary education should be earned through an accredited institution. An accredited school meets ethical and academic standards set by accrediting bodies. An institution may be regionally or nationally accredited.

Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit institutions that provide vocational training, while regionally accredited schools tend to be nonprofit and academically focused. Credits earned through regionally accredited colleges transfer easily to regionally or nationally accredited schools, but most regionally accredited institutions do not accept transfer credits earned through nationally accredited schools. Some teaching certificate programs may also be accredited by field-specific organizations such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

Financing Your Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Program

There are plenty of options to finance an elementary education certificate. The first step is completing the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid, such as grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Remember to search for scholarships; many public groups, institutions, and private organizations offer funding to students pursuing careers in education.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.

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