The Best Online Elementary Education Degrees

by TBS Staff
TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Online Elementary Education Degree

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in elementary education online can work as kindergarten and elementary school teachers. These professionals help young learners master foundational skills like reading, writing, and mathematics.

Elementary school teachers earn salaries above the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn a median salary of nearly $60,660 per year. The degree also prepares students for roles like childcare center director. The BLS projects jobs for childcare center directors will grow 1% between 2019 and 2029.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs

  1. Fort Hays State University
    Location

    Hays, KS

    Tuition

    $12420

    Founded in 1902, FHSU taught its first 57 students in an abandoned army infirmary.

    FHSU offers an online bachelor's degree in elementary education. Sample courses include elementary school music, educational psychology, classroom management, and educating exceptional students. Students must complete 127 credits (which includes student teaching and internship credits) to graduate.

    Applicants must first apply to FHSU and then apply to the teacher education program. The general FHSU admission process requires ACT/SAT scores and transcripts showing a high school GPA of at least 2.25. Teacher education program applicants must complete prerequisite college courses with a "B" grade or better and maintain a GPA of 2.75 through their first 60 undergraduate credits.

  2. University of Alaska Southeast
    Location

    Juneau, AK

    Tuition

    $8927

    UAS consists of three campuses and three schools and colleges, including the Alaska College of Education.

    UAS offers an online bachelor of elementary of education K-8 degree program. Student teaching also takes place in the students' home communities. Faculty teach courses live through Zoom. Sample courses include multicultural education, health in the K-8 curriculum, introduction to educational technology, and classroom management.

    Students must complete 120 credits and maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA to graduate. Applicants must first apply to UAS and then apply to this degree program. UAS's general admission process requires transcripts showing a minimum high school GPA of 3.0.

  3. Arizona Christian University
    Location

    Glendale, AZ

    A private, non-profit institute, ACU teaches from a Christian perspective and expects students to follow particular tenets of the faith.

    ACU students can earn their elementary education bachelor's degree online. Courses explore topics like human development, educational psychology, children's literature, and methods for teaching English language learners.

    Students must complete 120 credits to graduate and maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in all core courses. Applicants must submit transcripts and sign a statement of faith.

  4. University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $17771

    Founded in 1947 with an enrollment of 238, UNCW now teaches around 18,000 students annually.

    UNCW offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education K-6 degree program. Sample courses include reading foundations, number and algebraic reasoning, and integrating the arts.

    In addition to general education requirements, students must complete 64 credits to graduate. Applicants must first apply to UNCW and then apply to the Watson College of Education by submitting PRAXIS scores and a transcript with a minimum GPA of 2.7.

  5. Ottawa University-Online
    Location

    Ottawa, KS

    Established in 1865, OU teaches more than 4,000 students across campuses in multiple states.

    OU offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education degree program. Sample courses include elementary language arts and social studies methods, the exceptional child, educational psychology, and integrating the fine arts.

    In addition to general education requirements, students must complete 45 to 47 core credits and 12 student teaching credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts. OU accepts up to 80 transfer credits.

  6. Chaminade University of Honolulu
    Location

    Honolulu, HI

    A private, non-profit institute founded in 1955, Chaminade represents Hawaii's only Catholic university.

    Chaminade offers an online bachelor of science in elementary education. Sample courses include educational psychology, educational technology, and music, art, and physical education. The program includes field experience, observation, and participation.

    Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Applicants must submit transcripts.

  7. Bemidji State University
    Location

    Bemidji, MN

    Tuition

    $14814

    Founded in 1919, BSU teaches approximately 5,000 students annually.

    BSU offers an online/hybrid bachelor of science in elementary education degree completion program that leads to a teaching license for grades K-6. Students can earn additional teaching endorsements for age 3-PreK or grades 5-8. The program lasts six semesters.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of an associate of arts degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, one letter of recommendation, and four essays.

  8. University of Wisconsin-Superior
    Location

    Superior, WI

    Tuition

    $12869

    Established in 1893, UW-Superior teaches more than 2,500 students annually, including over 900 online students.

    UW-Superior offers two online elementary education K-9 degree programs: bachelor of arts and bachelor of science. Two optional concentrations include early childhood education and special education.

    Students must earn a grade of C in major courses, and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.75 to graduate. Applicants must first apply to UW-Superior and then apply to the elementary education major with a minimum GPA of 2.75 on their most recent 40 credits.

  9. University of Southern Mississippi
    Location

    Hattiesburg, MS

    Tuition

    $13773

    Founded in 1910, Southern Miss consists of two campuses and notable research institutes, including the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.

    Southern Miss offers a 100% online degree completion program in which K-6 teaching assistants can earn a bachelor of science in elementary education in just two years. Courses explore topics like primary and middle school curriculum, computer applications in education, and classroom management.

    Students must complete 121 credits to graduate. Applicants must live in Mississippi and currently work as teaching assistants.

  10. Midway University
    Location

    Midway, KY

    A private institute, Midway boasts a working horse farm on its 200-acre campus.

    Midway offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education P-5 degree program. Sample courses include mathematics for teachers, technology in the educational setting, foundations of literacy, and multicultural education.

    Students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Applicants must first apply to Midway and then apply to the education program, which requires a background check, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and other documents.

Best Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs

Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Overview

An online elementary education degree prepares learners to work as elementary school teachers. Students complete foundational coursework in educational theory, which includes effective teaching practices and diversity in the classroom. Students also learn specific subject areas they are expected to teach, such as mathematics, English composition, humanities, U.S. history, health and fitness, and critical thinking and logic. However, specific classes may differ depending on the college or program.

Graduation requirements vary from school to school. Some colleges may expect students to complete a professional portfolio project that demonstrates the skills they learned during their college experience. Other programs may require student teaching experiences.

Choosing an Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degree Program

Candidates should consider their academic priorities in their search for the right elementary education degree online. For example, prospective special education teachers should consider schools with relevant concentrations, while learners studying on a budget should search for institutions that charge lower tuition rates. For many students, in-state schools provide the most cost-effective options. They offer lower tuition rates, accept transfer credits from in-state community colleges, and involve shorter commutes for on-campus requirements.

Distance learning also gives students access to programs across the country. For this reason, degree seekers can often find a program that matches all their criteria, even those that may seem physically out of reach.

Accreditation for Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degrees

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education oversee the process of accreditation by approved agencies. Schools can seek three different types of accreditation: national, regional, or programmatic.

National accreditation is awarded to vocational programs and for-profit schools and involves fewer rigid standards than regional accreditation. Often considered more prestigious, regional accreditation is granted by one of six accrediting bodies across the country. Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions typically transfer more easily than credits from nationally accredited schools.

Programmatic accreditation is granted by an organization in the field to certify that a program's curriculum and standards prepare learners to succeed. Education majors should look for accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education?

Most online elementary education degrees require students to earn 120 credits in about four years. However, numerous factors can impact this time frame, such as taking courses part-time or enrolling in an accelerated program. Additionally, taking courses in a semester or quarter format also influences program length. For example, schools that offer courses in 12- to 15-week semesters generally offer fewer opportunities to complete coursework than schools with quarters that are 7-8 weeks in length. Students should also note that some elementary education degrees online may charge tuition by credit, which can lead to increased costs.

Learners with busy schedules should select colleges with part-time learning options. While this choice usually extends the time it takes to graduate–and therefore the final cost of one's degree–it can also help students balance professional or personal responsibilities. In this case, you may want to locate programs with tuition guarantees that lock in the cost of tuition throughout the length of your degree.

Finally, students who require an accelerated or part-time program should look for self-directed degrees and avoid those with a cohort format. This latter style requires learners to complete courses with the same group of students at the same time.

Courses in an Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Program

What Can I Do With an Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degree?

In addition to a career as an elementary school teacher, graduates of elementary education degrees online can also pursue jobs as special education teachers, teacher assistants, substitute teachers, and tutors.

true Elementary School Teacher $60,660 4%

These educators typically teach multiple subjects, such as social studies, math, and science. Teachers help students prepare for middle school and state testing by building lesson plans and determining each student's needs. Other responsibilities include overseeing children during recess and field trips and discussing progress with parents. Candidates must possess a bachelor's degree and a teaching license to qualify for these positions.

true Special Education Teacher $61,420 3%

These educators typically teach multiple subjects, such as social studies, math, and science. Teachers help students prepare for middle school and state testing by building lesson plans and determining each student's needs. Other responsibilities include overseeing children during recess and field trips and discussing progress with parents. Candidates must possess a bachelor's degree and a teaching license to qualify for these positions.

true Preschool Director $49,160 1%

Preschool directors oversee teachers and offer guidance for improving teaching techniques. These directors create policies for the school, communicate with parents about students, and tend to the facility's budget. They must also ensure that preschools adhere to state regulations. Preschool directors often hold a bachelor's degree, though some states may require different credentials.

true Preschool Teacher $31,930 2%

Preschool teachers help children under five years of age learn concepts like counting and color identification. These individuals also help children develop social and motor skills. Responsibilities include creating curricula, choosing daily activities, and assessing children for signs of special needs. Some candidates can earn these positions with an associate degree, but a bachelor's degree is typically required.

true Teacher Assistant $28,900 4%

Teacher assistants help students understand lesson plans by providing interpersonal guidance. They prepare classrooms for daily activities, maintain class records, and oversee students outside of classrooms. This position may not require a degree, but a bachelor's verifies that applicants understand elementary students, relevant learning strategies, and classroom procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions About Elementary Education Bachelor's Degrees

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Elementary Education?

Individuals with bachelor's degrees in elementary education can work as elementary and preschool teachers, preschool directors, special education teachers, and teaching assistants.

Can You Be an Elementary Teacher With a Bachelor's Degree?

Yes. Individuals with bachelor's degrees and a teaching credential in their state can work as elementary teachers in public schools. Private school teachers often do not need teaching certification.

Can You Get a Bachelor's in Elementary Education Online?

Yes. There are many online elementary education bachelor's degree programs. Classes may be taught in a synchronous or asynchronous format.

Learn more, do more.

More topic-relevant resources to expand your knowledge.

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office