Best Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degrees

Some of the best online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education provide students with hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom. Learn about the formatting of these programs and career outcomes and requirements. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Elementary Education

There are several different kinds of online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education available, including degree completion programs. Some of the best programs may offer various endorsements, provide a variety of hands-on learning experiences, have available scholarship opportunities, and/or include other unique features, such as faith-based learning or service-learning. Explore a handful of the top online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education in more detail here.

1. Kansas State University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Manhattan, KS$10,38389%

Kansas State University offers an online bachelor's degree program in elementary education that allows students to complete all their coursework fully online and their field experience at an elementary school near them. Graduates of the program are eligible for their Initial Teaching License in Kansas that qualifies them to teach grades Kindergarten (K) through 6th. Students in the program receive feedback on their teaching skills by taking video of their teaching and having faculty members review it. The last 4 semesters of the program are called the Professional Education Component, and it is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).

2. East Carolina University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Greenville, NC$7,18881%

East Carolina University offers a unique bachelor's degree completion program called Partnership Teach that is completed online. Students take their first 2 years of courses at any community college in the state and then complete an online program in elementary education or another area of education. Students who are committed to teaching in their local areas in the state can become a Partner Teach Fellow and receive a $10,000 scholarship. The program culminates in a full-time internship experience in a public school classroom.

3. University of Southern Mississippi

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Hattiesburg, MS$8,62494%

The University of Southern Mississippi has a unique online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education program that is specifically designed for teacher assistants in the state of Mississippi. The Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) allows teacher assistants to continue working as they earn their degree, and graduates are eligible for certification for teaching K through 6. Students in the program also leave with a reading endorsement and may choose to pursue additional endorsements in areas like English, science, math K through 12, or social studies.

4. The Baptist College of Florida

LocationTuition & Fees% Receiving Financial Aid
Graceville, FL$11,40090%

The Baptist College of Florida provides an online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Elementary Education that totals 124 hours. Students in the program must complete general education courses, Biblical/theological foundations courses, and education courses. The program concludes with 2 internship experiences. The first internship experience gives students hands-on experience teaching language arts, social studies, math, science, and more at local elementary schools, while the final internship is an education internship and reading practicum.

5. Chaminade University of Honolulu

LocationTuition & Fees% Receiving Financial Aid
Honolulu, HI$25,37499%

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers an online BS in Elementary Education that totals 120 credits. The program offers small class sizes, includes a variety of hands-on learning experiences in the classroom, and incorporates service-learning opportunities. Students in the program must complete 72 hours of observation and participation, as well as a student teaching experience.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
6Missouri State University-SpringfieldSpringfield, MO$7,37691%
7Fort Hays State UniversityHays, KS$5,13098%
8University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmington, NC$7,09176%
9Southern Utah UniversityCedar City, UT$6,77093%
10Dakota State UniversityMadison, SD$9,27695%
11Southwestern Assemblies of God UniversityWaxahachie, TX$19,58298%
12Saint Francis UniversityLoretto, PA$36,410100%
13Valley City State UniversityValley City, ND$7,62699%
14Mayville State UniversityMayville, ND$6,666100%
15University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroe, LA$8,55497%
16New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces, NM$6,68699%
17University of Wisconsin-SuperiorSuperior, WI$8,12679%
18Bemidji State UniversityBemidji, MN$8,69694%
19Prescott CollegePrescott, AZ$31,485100%
20University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanks, AK$6,65784%
21Southeastern Oklahoma State UniversityDurant, OK$6,75095%
22Ottawa University-JeffersonvilleJeffersonville, INN/AN/A
23Eastern Washington UniversityCheney, WA$7,32394%
24Saint Mary-of-the-Woods CollegeSaint Mary of the Woods, IN$29,960100%
25Asbury UniversityWilmore, KY$30,19899%
26Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA$53,244100%
27Ottawa University-OnlineOttawa, KSN/AN/A
28Campbell UniversityBuies Creek, NC$32,500100%
29Concordia University-WisconsinMequon, WI$29,450100%
30Regis University Denver, CO$36,81099%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year.

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Elementary Education

Online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education are usually offered as BS or BA degrees. These programs are typically available in hybrid formats where most or all of the coursework can be completed online, but students are required to complete observations and/or teaching experiences in a real elementary classroom. Most of these degree programs require at least 120 credits and help qualify students to take their state licensure/certification exams to teach K through 6th grade after graduation.

Since elementary schools usually include multiple grade levels, students in these degree programs are exposed to teaching methods for children of various ages in multiple subjects. Some of these degree programs may offer additional endorsement options, which allows students to specialize in a particular subject area, such as math, science, social studies, or English. Explore some of the requirements for online bachelor's programs in elementary education in more detail below.

Common Courses for Online Programs in Elementary Education

Like most bachelor's degree programs, online programs in elementary education require students to take some general education courses. However, students in degree completion programs may be able to jump right into their education courses. Education courses are commonly divided into pre-professional education courses that focus on theories and methods as well as professional education courses that may be split up into blocks and start to include hands-on teaching experiences. Common courses for online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education may include topics in:

  • Educational technology
  • Classroom management
  • Literacy
  • Classroom assessment
  • Educational psychology
  • Teaching methods for core subjects (science, math, etc)

Practical Requirements for Elementary Education

Most, if not all, online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education require some hands-on, in-person experience due to the hands-on nature of teaching. This experience is designed to give students the opportunity to observe an experienced teacher and then apply their knowledge as they gain experience teaching lessons in a real classroom under supervision.

The structure of these practical requirements varies by school, but commonly includes times of observation and practical experience. Some programs may require as much as 72 hours of observation and participation. Typically, during their final year of the program, students are required to complete a longer internship experience that may be a full-time, year-long internship, depending on the program. These final experiences may also be called student teaching programs, which are usually required for earning a license or certification in education.

Online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education usually allow students to complete these practical requirements in an approved elementary school near their location. However, most of the time these schools need to be in the same state as the institution offering the program, as most education programs qualify students for state certification.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education

There are many different online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education to choose from, and students need to consider several different factors. For practical purposes, students should consider enrolling in a program that is located in the state in which they live and/or in which they wish to teach. This is because education programs typically prepare students for state certification/licensure in the state in which they are taught and usually require practical experiences to be completed in a school in the state.

The format of the program is another factor to consider, as some programs require more in-person work than others. There are also some programs that are specifically designed for working professionals, such as teacher assistants, and allow students to use their workplace for practical experiences. Some students may also wish to look for a program that offers additional endorsements in particular areas to help them be competitive and/or specialize in a particular subject area. Students should consider their level of time commitment, career goals, and lifestyle when choosing an online program.

Another practical factor to consider for online students is the required technology for the program. Although these requirements vary by school, some programs may require online students to have a specific operating system and/or additional equipment, such as a microphone, printer, webcam, and scanner. Below, we discuss a few more considerations for choosing an online elementary education program in more detail.

Accreditation

To ensure that the online program of their choosing is of the highest academic quality, students should look for an elementary education program that is accredited. Usually, institutions are accredited by an accreditation body, and then some specific programs may also have accreditation. Although higher-level accreditation for the institution is good, students in elementary education may want to look for an education program that is accredited by a teaching organization.

Some programs may have accreditation specifically for education at the national level and/or state level. At the national level, programs may be accredited by organizations like the NCATE or the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation. Some education programs may then have additional accreditation or approval from its state department of education, which may indicate to students that the program helps prepare graduates for the specific teaching requirements for the state.

Scholarships and Financial Aid Availability

Another big factor to consider when choosing any academic program is the cost of attendance and availability of financial aid. Tuition rates differ by school and program, and students should be careful to research the cost of their program of interest. Some online bachelor's degree programs in elementary education can cost more than $400 per credit hour. However, most schools allow online students to qualify for financial aid.

After filling out their FAFSA form, online students may qualify for loans or grants. There are also many schools that accept outside scholarships and/or offer scholarship opportunities to students that vary in amount. Some schools may even offer education-specific scholarships. For example, students at the University of Southern Mississippi can compete for education scholarships like the Amelia Milkent Memorial Elementary Education Scholarship Endowment or Aubrey K. and Ella G. Lucas Education and Human Sciences Endowment. Some states may also offer scholarships to students who intend to stay and teach in the state, such as the Partnership Teach Fellows program from East Carolina University.

Career and Salary Information for Elementary Teachers

While graduates of elementary education programs can go on to work in jobs with titles like curriculum specialist, community education coordinator, or reading interventionist, many graduates pursue a career as a kindergarten and elementary school teacher. These teachers usually work full-time in a classroom setting, but get some scheduled breaks throughout the school year and some time off during the summer.

Elementary teachers are usually qualified to teach K through 6th grade working with students from about age 5 to age 11 or 12. This usually requires them to have teaching skills in a variety of subjects, including math, science, English, and social studies. Elementary school teachers are usually required to develop their lesson plans based on required curriculum, as well as create assignments and assessments to evaluate their students' learning progress. Other job duties for an elementary teacher may include:

  • Identifying students' strengths and weaknesses
  • Communicating issues with parents and/or other teachers
  • Monitoring students during free time
  • Grading assignments and tests
  • Setting and enforcing school/classroom rules
  • Working individually with students

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the job outlook for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was 3% for 2018 to 2028, which is slower than the national average. The average salary for these professionals (excluding special education teachers) in 2018, according to the BLS, was $62,200. However, this salary varies by a number of factors, including the state in which students teach. The BLS noted that the top paying states where elementary teachers had the highest average salary in 2018 included New York ($83,010), Massachusetts ($82,600), California ($80,100), District of Columbia ($79,480), and Connecticut ($75,480).

Licensure/Certification for Elementary Teachers

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, all teachers who teach in a public school must have a license or be certified in the grade level they teach. For kindergarten and elementary school teachers, this means being certified K through 6th grade. Licensure or certification requirements vary by state. In general, after earning their bachelor's degree students must complete a student teaching program (usually included in their bachelor's program), complete a background check, and pass a teaching certification exam. Depending on the state, teachers may need to complete professional development experiences to maintain their license and/or may be required to earn their master's degree.

Some states may also offer alternative pathways to certification for those wishing to become teachers but do not have an undergraduate degree in education. These alternative certification programs usually require students to teach under an experienced teacher and/or take coursework in education.

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:

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