What Degree Do I Need to Be an Elementary Teacher?

Whether you're just starting your career or changing careers, there's a degree program for elementary teachers that can qualify you for state certification or licensure. Keep reading to learn more about degree program options for elementary school teaching, as well as coursework and student-teaching requirements. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Elementary Teacher Degree Programs Are There?

You can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in elementary education that can qualify you for your state license or certification. Bachelor's degree programs in elementary education are appropriate for you if you're just finishing high school or if you haven't finished an undergraduate degree program previously.

Master's degree programs are geared towards aspiring elementary teachers who have already earned bachelor's degrees in any subject. You might be able to find online programs for elementary teaching, but you'll still have to complete in-person student teaching components.

Degree LevelsBachelor's and master's
Course TopicsChildhood literacy, instructional design and classroom management; general education courses required for bachelor's degree programs
Student Teaching12-20 weeks of observed teaching in real classroom; required for licensure

What Do the Programs Involve?

Bachelor's degree programs in elementary education typically require you to gain a broad academic background, take educational courses and participate in hands-on teaching experiences. Some of the general education requirements you'll have to take might include creative arts, languages, literature, science, math and physical education. You might have to select a teaching minor or second major in addition to the elementary education major. Your choices may include humanities, science, math or social studies. This depends on your chosen school and your state's elementary teacher requirements.

Both bachelor's and master's degree programs in elementary education include courses that teach you how to be a teacher, focusing on such subjects as classroom management, instructional design and subject-based instruction. You'll also learn about childhood literacy, human development and educational philosophy. Other courses offered in an elementary teacher program discuss schools' roles in communities and the methods used for teaching unique students.

What Is Student Teaching Like?

All elementary teacher degree programs require you to teach in a real classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that all states require this as part of their certification and licensure procedures (www.bls.gov). You'll probably have to spend a certain number of hours observing teachers in a real-world setting prior to engaging in student teaching yourself.

During your student teaching experience, you'll work full-time in an elementary school classroom. The regular classroom teacher will observe you and submit assessments to your school. The length of time varies by program and state, but 12-20 weeks is typical.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Walden University

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    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

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  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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