Masters in Elementary Education: Career and Salary Facts

Learn about types of graduate programs in elementary education, as well as how a graduate program could benefit you. Also, find out how you can become a licensed elementary school teacher. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Elementary School Educator?

Teachers who work at the elementary school level work with grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. For teachers who work with younger students, much of their job consists of introducing basic academic subjects that students will continue to build upon in the subsequent years. Teachers of older elementary students will deliver more focused lessons in each topic, administer tests, and prepare students for middle school. The table below shares other important details about this profession:

Degree Required Bachelor's, master's recommended for increased salary
Education Field of Study Elementary education
Key Responsibilities Introducing students to topics in math, science, and reading; communicating with parents, supervising students
Licensure Requirements Must seek licensure in the state you plan to work in
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $54,890*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Can I Earn an Elementary Education Degree?

In addition to their on-campus graduate programs, more universities are offering online elementary education master's programs. Students who enroll in either online or on-campus programs are required to complete a student-teaching practicum. A graduate program in elementary education addresses topics like human development, reading and writing, learning theories, special education, assessment, instructional methods and curriculum development.

What is a T.E.A.C.H. Grant?

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (T.E.A.C.H.) grant is given to those who agree to work in low-income elementary (or secondary) schools or with high-needs pupils upon graduation. If you earn a T.E.A.C.H. grant and fail to comply with the requirements, the grant will convert to an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and you will need to repay the loan with interest. To obtain a T.E.A.C.H. grant, consider studying a high-need subject, such as reading, foreign language, special education or math. More information can be found at

What Does a Master's Degree Do for Me?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree can lead to a higher teacher salary ( The middle 50% of elementary school teachers earned $43,900-$69,450 in 2015, reported the BLS; the data was not broken down by degree level. Depending on the state in which you reside and your educational role, a master's degree may be one of the requirements for earning licensure.

How Do I Become a Licensed Teacher?

Currently all states require public school teachers to be licensed. You can go to your state's education department to find the most up-to-date requirements.

As a teacher, you can opt to gain certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Certification is issued in 25 subject areas, including mathematics, exceptional needs, world language and reading-language arts, and demonstrates national qualification to employers. This certification is recognized in every state and sometimes serves as state licensure when switching states. Check out for more info.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a degree in education, you can also teach at the secondary level, though you likely will have to choose a focus area while in the degree program. Secondary teachers teach a particular subject and help prepare high school students for standardized tests and higher education. With a master's degree in education, you also are qualified to work as a school administrator. You may be interested in becoming an elementary school principal or vice-principal.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Grand Canyon University

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    • Master

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  • Syracuse University

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    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
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    • Tennessee: Chattanooga
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    • Washington: Pullman