The Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education

The Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education

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Graduates with an online bachelor's degree in elementary education 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 $58,000 per year. The degree also prepares students for roles like childcare center director. The BLS projects jobs for childcare center directors will grow 7% between 2018 and 2028.

Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education

#1 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC
#2 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS
#3 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
#4 Wichita State University Wichita, KS
#5 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
#6 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
#7 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
#8 Mississippi State University Starkville, MS
#9 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI
#10 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO

Best Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs

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Wichita State University 

Wichita, KS Apply Now

About this school

Wichita State University is a public research institution that enrolls 16,000 students each year. Online learners can earn a bachelor of arts in education designed for paraeducators. Graduates can pursue licensure in elementary teaching or early childhood education. Designed to address the state's teacher shortage, this degree-completion program admits working paraeducators to help them complete the coursework necessary for career advancement.

Students take courses in evidence-based instruction, literacy strategies, integrating learning through the arts, and effective mentoring relationships. All education majors also complete a field experience to gain classroom training under the supervision of a mentor.

WSU's 65-credit elementary education program primarily admits candidates who hold an associate of arts. The program also offers a degree pathway for candidates without an associate of arts degree; they must complete 73 credits of major coursework and general education requirements.

WSU offers career development resources for students, including cooperative education and student teaching opportunities. All elementary education majors complete an applied learning or research experience and build a Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio to meet graduation requirements.

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Old Dominion University 

Norfolk, VA Apply Now

About this school

With over three decades of distance learning experience, Old Dominion University offers many online programs. The fully online bachelor's degree in elementary education is a degree-completion program that trains students for teaching careers through coursework and fieldwork. Graduates qualify for Virginia teaching licensure.

All majors complete a student teaching practicum to strengthen their classroom skills. Majors also complete a capstone teaching experience during their final year to apply teaching knowledge in a supervised school setting. Some classes hold live meetings while others let students complete coursework around their own schedules. The program builds strong instruction skills, prepares teachers for leadership roles in culturally and socioeconomically diverse classrooms, and sets graduates on a path for lifelong professional growth.

The elementary education program only admits students in Virginia and Washington. In partnership with the Virginia Community College System, ODU offers guaranteed admission to certain community college students. Applicants work with an enrollment coordinator to complete the admission process.

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University of Southern Mississippi 

Hattiesburg, MS Apply Now

About this school

A public research institution, the University of Southern Mississippi dates back to 1910. Southern Miss offers a fully online bachelor's degree in elementary education that helps teacher assistants advance their careers. Graduates qualify for Mississippi teaching licensure.

The program features a mix of asynchronous and synchronous coursework. Elementary education majors take courses like science for elementary teachers, early literacy instruction, primary grade curriculum design, and classroom management. Learners culminate the degree with a student teaching requirement. Many students complete the requirement at their current place of employment.

At this time, only teacher assistants in Mississippi qualify for the program. Applicants must meet minimum scores on the ACT, SAT, or Core Academic Skills for Educators Test. The program also requires a minimum 2.75 GPA on general education coursework and a background check.

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University of North Carolina Wilmington 

Wilmington, NC Apply Now

About this school

One of 17 campuses in North Carolina's public university system, the University of North Carolina Wilmington enrolls 17,500 students each year. UNCW offers distance learning options designed for busy students, including an online bachelor's in elementary education program. Offered through the Watson College of Education, the degree prepares graduates for K-6 teaching roles.

Elementary education majors complete all courses online, learning from faculty experienced in online teaching and learning. Students can choose from concentrations such as English as a second language, language arts, social studies, or math and technology. The program also includes a field requirement to give students practical teaching experience. All students gain access to a dedicated advisor who helps them progress through coursework, field experience, and licensure requirements.

Prospective students must gain admission to the university before applying to the Watson College of Education. The education college generally admits candidates with junior or senior status. The elementary education program offers a streamlined admission process for candidates who completed general education requirements at Coastal Carolina Community College.

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Mississippi State University 

Starkville, MS Apply Now

About this school

Mississippi State University's teacher preparation programs date back to 1903. Today, the College of Education offers an online elementary education bachelor's degree that prioritizes flexibility and convenience while preparing graduates for teaching licensure.

The bachelor of science program offers concentrations in childhood education and middle school education. Students who choose the middle school concentration complete 21 credit endorsements in two academic areas, choosing from options like English, social studies, science, and mathematics.

The early childhood concentration includes child development, special education, and other early childhood courses. All online learners complete a field experience and student teaching internship at an elementary or middle school in their local area.

Applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA on general education core courses and a cumulative minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also pass a background check and meet minimum ACT, SAT, or Praxis scores. Prospective students must submit two recommendation forms, verification of 40 hours of professional experience working with children, and a licensure information form.

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Chaminade University of Honolulu 

Honolulu, HI Apply Now

About this school

Hawaii's only Catholic university, Chaminade University of Honolulu offers degrees in humanities, sciences, business, and education disciplines. Distance learners can pursue an online bachelor's in elementary education that prepares future teachers to inspire young minds, foster creativity, and instill an early love for learning. The program maintains small class sizes and promotes individualized attention from faculty.

The 120-credit, online elementary education degree incorporates general education, elective, and major requirements. Within the major, students take courses in educational psychology, elementary language arts methods, and elementary math methods. The program also includes coursework on educational technology and managing school environments.

Chaminade prioritizes experiential learning, placing elementary education majors in real classrooms to observe and participate. After completing 72 hours of observation and participation, all majors complete a student teaching experience to strengthen their skills. Online learners can meet these requirements at a local school.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools attended. Students can begin the program on multiple start dates throughout the year. In addition to the elementary education program, Chaminade offers a specialized online elementary education degree for teaching in Oceania. The program prepares students to teach in the Federated States of Micronesia.

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Colorado Christian University 

Lakewood, CO Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1914, Colorado Christian University is an interdenominational, private institution. CCU offers both online and on-campus programs, including an online bachelor's in elementary education that trains students in education theory and incorporates field-based learning experiences to build classroom teaching skills. Graduates qualify for Colorado teaching licensure.

The curriculum emphasizes a Christian worldview while preparing students to address the diverse needs of young learners. Majors take classes on topics like curriculum development, program assessment, and the psychological foundations of teaching methods. During the first two semesters, majors complete 130 hours of fieldwork, followed by a one semester, full-time student teaching practicum. The 120-credit degree includes five-week courses.

Applicants must complete all general education and elective requirements before pursuing major coursework. Application requirements include a minimum 2.75 GPA, an interview with the program director, a writing sample, and a letter of recommendation.

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Asbury University 

Wilmore, KY Apply Now

About this school

Asbury University is a private, multidenominational institution that offers 150 areas of study through 15 academic departments. The flexible, online bachelor's degree in elementary education meets the requirements for an elementary education license, with most majors earning a degree while working full time.

Students take courses on topics like human growth and development, exceptional learners, teaching reading, and literacy assessment. Students also complete coursework in classroom management, language arts methods, and social studies methods. The program requires learners to complete a student teaching requirement at a Kentucky elementary school, so most students live in Kentucky or a neighboring state.

Students can transfer up to 75 credits toward the 124-credit degree. Applicants work with Asbury's enrollment team to create an elementary education degree plan and meet admission requirements. During the admission process, Asbury orders all required college and high school transcripts. Only candidates who never attended college must provide high school transcripts.

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Regis University 

Denver, CO Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1877, Regis University is a private, Catholic university that trains learners for leadership roles in society. The university offers several online programs, including an online bachelor's in elementary education degree that builds leadership, communication, and classroom management skills for future teachers.

The flexible, online program lets students work full time while completing the degree. The curriculum covers topics like motivating students, adapting curriculum materials, differentiating instruction, and classroom management. Majors learn how to plan lessons and conduct learning assessments.

The 120-credit elementary education degree offers eight-week courses and includes a full-time student teaching experience during the final semester. Regis works with over 100 local partner schools for student-teacher placements and offers a 10% tuition discount for paraprofessionals or students with contracted positions in a school. At program completion, students sit for the Colorado teaching licensure examination.

Regis offers rolling admission. Prospective education majors must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit official transcripts and a resume. Applicants must also complete an admission interview.

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Fort Hays State University 

Hays, KS Apply Now

About this school

A public institution founded in 1902, Fort Hays State University enrolls 15,000 students each year, including nearly 7,000 online students. The online bachelor's degree in elementary education prepares students for K-6 teaching licensure.

The 127-credit degree includes general education, major, methods, and fieldwork requirements. Major courses cover topics like educating exceptional students, concepts of elementary mathematics, and instructional technology. Students learn about classroom management, educational psychology, and learning assessment.

FSHU offers career-focused training through its methods courses, which cover literacy, mathematics, social studies, and elementary school science. FHSU prioritizes field experiences in diverse environments, training majors in teaching and assessing social studies, reading, mathematics, and science in elementary schools.

Freshman applicants from Kansas need a minimum 2.0 GPA, and non-residents need a minimum 2.5 GPA. All freshman applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students with at least 24 college credits must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit transcripts from prior colleges and universities.

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Prescott College 

Prescott, AZ Apply Now

About this school

Prescott College is a private, liberal arts school that offers a variety of on-campus and online degrees, including an online bachelor's degree in education with an elementary education concentration. The program prepares students to teach in both formal and informal settings, letting students create a self-directed competency in an area of study.

The 120-credit education degree introduces students to educational learning theories, curriculum design, and student learning assessment. The program requires at least two courses in education fundamentals, three courses in education methodology, one course in instructional design and practice, and one course in education and society.

Majors complete at least 36 upper-division credits, studying topics like language arts methods, social studies methods, and managing learning communities. All majors complete a senior project to synthesize degree knowledge and skills. The program meets the requirements for an Arizona teacher certification in elementary education.

Applicants must submit official high school and college transcripts and an essay describing their educational goals and readiness to thrive in an online learning environment.

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The Baptist College of Florida 

Graceville, FL Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1943 as a private, Baptist institution, the Baptist College of Florida offers instruction based on a Christian worldview designed to educate future Christian leaders. The school's online bachelor's in elementary education degree prepares graduates for K-6 teaching positions, though the degree does not lead to licensure.

The 124-credit degree includes courses on topics like the psychology of teaching and learning, classroom management, and differentiated instruction. Learners also complete general education requirements in math, science, and humanities, plus 12 credits of biblical and theological foundations courses. The program incorporates a field experience and two internships where students observe experienced teachers, followed by another internship and a reading practicum.

Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all colleges previously attended. The college does not award transfer credit for life experience or accept courses in doctrine completed at non-Baptist institutions. However, the school does accept transfer credit from military experience and some credits from regionally accredited institutions.

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Dakota State University 

Madison, SD Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1881, Dakota State University is a public institution that offers an online bachelor's program in elementary education. The curriculum incorporates cutting-edge educational technology and allows learners to pursue a K-12 technology endorsement while earning an elementary education degree.

The program includes core education courses and a specialized elementary education curriculum. Elementary education majors take teaching methods classes for subjects like language arts, reading, and social science. The program also offers coursework in educational assessment, inclusive methods of education, and educational technology.

Students complete a yearlong residency program to build classroom management and lesson delivery skills. The College of Education places online learners with partner districts who use the co-teaching model. The student teaching experience meets the requirements for a South Dakota K-8 teaching certificate.

Prospective students younger than 24 years old enter DSU as freshmen. They must hold a minimum 2.6 GPA, meet ACT or SAT minimum scores, or rank in the top 60% of their high school graduating classes. DSU also admits adult learners who graduated from high school, completed the GED, or met state requirements for a high school equivalency certificate.

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Liberty University 

Lynchburg, VA Apply Now

About this school

Established in 1971, Liberty University is a private, evangelical institution that enrolls over 100,000 students annually. Liberty offers over 400 online programs, including an online bachelor's in elementary education degree. The fully online program has accelerated, eight-week courses. Students gain foundational skills and knowledge in learning theory and practice.

Elementary education majors study learning theories, best practices in teaching, and specialized assessment methods. In addition to education courses, undergraduates take general education classes. Students gain teaching experience through an optional practicum at an approved local site. The elementary education degree does not lead to licensure. Instead, the program caters to teachers with initial licensure and those planning to complete a licensure-track master's degree.

Students can transfer up to 75% of required credits toward the degree. Prospective students must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit official college transcripts and a high school self-certification form. Liberty also accepts unofficial college transcripts with a 60-day requirement to submit an official transcript after gaining admission.

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Bay Path University 

Longmeadow, MA Apply Now

About this school

A private university that offers bachelor's programs to women, Bay Path University dates back to 1897. The university prioritizes practical, affordable, and career-oriented education. Online learners can pursue a bachelor's in liberal studies with an elementary education concentration. The online elementary education degree offers both licensure and non-licensure tracks.

Elementary education majors pursuing licensure complete a supervised student teaching requirement in a public elementary school classroom. The field-based training meets the requirements for a Massachusetts teaching license. The non-licensure track features education coursework without a practicum, preparing students for roles in education that do not require a teaching license.

Regardless of their track, all learners study topics like instructional methods, assessment strategies, and curriculum design. Students learn about classroom management, technology as a curriculum resource, and instructional planning. Online elementary education students at Bay Path complete most courses online, but they must attend some classes on either the Longmeadow or Sturbridge campuses.

Applicants must complete a phone interview and provide official transcripts from all prior colleges and universities. The university requires a minimum 2.0 GPA for full admission. Bay Path offers rolling admissions, with new sessions starting every 6-7 weeks.

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Campbell University 

Buies Creek, NC Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1887 as a private, Christian institution, Campbell University began offering online programs in 1999. Students can earn a bachelor's in elementary education online that offers concentrations in literacy, math, and special education. The program prepares graduates for elementary school teaching positions.

The curriculum includes general education and major courses. Major courses cover topics like psychology applied to teaching, assessment and the data-informed teacher, and educational technology. Students also learn to create elementary education curricula that build core skills in areas like reading, mathematics, and social studies. All students complete a practicum and student teaching experience.

Incoming students can receive transfer credit for prior college or military experience. Campbell also offers credit by examination. Transfer students can apply up to 64 credits from two-year colleges toward the degree. The school does not limit the number of credits students can transfer from accredited four-year institutions. All students must complete at least 31 credits at Campbell to earn their bachelor's degrees. Applicants need a minimum 2.7 GPA.

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North Carolina Central University 

Durham, NC Apply Now

About this school

Designated as one of the top historically black colleges and universities in the south, North Carolina Central University is a public institution that prioritizes access to higher education. NCCU offers a variety of online degrees, including a fully online bachelor's degree in early childhood education that includes kindergarten licensure.

The 120-credit program emphasizes child development, creating supportive learning environments, and incorporating technology into early childhood education. Students also learn to apply teaching methods in the classroom, foster a multicultural classroom environment, and involve families in the early childhood education process.

Education majors take courses in educational psychology, program development for kindergarten, assessment in early childhood education, and encouraging literacy in early childhood education. Students also complete a practicum, senior seminar, and directed teaching experience to build practical skills.

Applicants must submit official transcripts. Admitted students gain access to a dedicated advisor who helps them plan a course of study and access university resources, including career services and online tutoring.

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Western New Mexico University 

Silver City, NM Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1893, Western New Mexico University enrolls over 3,500 students annually through its undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduates can complete a bachelor's in elementary education online. This performance-based program incorporates classroom learning and field experience. Graduates meet the qualifications for a K-8 elementary education license in New Mexico.

The curriculum is divided into four areas: general education, bachelor's graduation requirements, professional education coursework, and teaching fieldwork. Learners complete a student teaching requirement in an elementary classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher. WNMU allows students to complete this requirement in their local areas, helping them design a field experience that meets their needs.

The school requires prospective students to submit official transcripts and ACT or SAT scores to determine whether the applicant must complete a placement test. Applicants with more than 24 college credits do not need to provide high school transcripts. Online learners gain access to electronic tutoring services, an online writing center, and an interactive white board.

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Colorado Mesa University 

Grand Junction, CO Apply Now

About this school

A public institution founded in 1925, Colorado Mesa University offers flexible, online undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online bachelor's degree in elementary education. Offered through the Center for Teacher Education, the program qualifies students for elementary education teacher licensure in Colorado.

The elementary education program offers specialized courses in educator preparation. Majors complete coursework, field placements, and student teaching experiences to develop their skills. The program incorporates over 200 hours of classroom experience prior to the student teaching placement.

The curriculum includes coursework in elementary assessment, teaching language and literacy, and classroom management. Students also take classes in teaching as a profession and incorporating both exceptional students and English language learners in the inclusive classroom. Before gaining entry into the elementary licensure program, candidates must complete at least 60 credits, including general education requirements, with a minimum 2.8 GPA.

Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants with at least 24 college credits must submit official college transcripts. All applicants can provide optional letters of recommendation and essays to strengthen their applications. The essay should describe the applicant's background, academic interests, and career goals.

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Valley City State University 

Valley City, ND Apply Now

About this school

Founded in 1890, Valley City State University is a public institution that offers over 80 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's degree in elementary education. The program exposes students to practical teaching experiences and offers small class sizes.

Students in this program gain the core skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for teaching jobs. Majors must complete at least 150 hours of field experience and a 12-week student teaching experience. Elementary education majors must also choose an endorsement in an area like kindergarten, English language learners, special education, or STEM education. Graduates earn a bachelor of science degree in elementary education and qualify for a North Dakota teaching license.

Prospective VCSU students need an associate degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. They must also currently work as an elementary school paraprofessional or hold a North Dakota substitute license. All applicants must submit a recommendation letter from a school administrator.

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Wilmington University 

New Castle, DE Apply Now

About this school

A private institution catering to nontraditional students, Wilmington University offers over 200 degree and certificate programs, including an online bachelor's degree in elementary education. This BS in education studies prepares students for educational positions that do not require a state license.

The 120-credit program includes interdisciplinary general education coursework and an education studies core. Learners study topics like learning theory, educational psychology, and best practices in education. Classes include learner development, methods of teaching elementary reading, and instructional strategies in elementary education. WilmU also offers a parallel program that grants a BS in elementary education and includes clinical courses.

The school offers rolling admissions, with classes beginning every eight weeks. Prospective students must submit official transcripts from all postsecondary schools, including trade and career schools. Applicants with fewer than 15 credits must also provide a high school diploma. WilmU does not require SAT or ACT scores, but applicants with qualifying test scores can opt out of math and English placement tests.

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Bemidji State University 

Bemidji, MN Apply Now

About this school

Bemidji State University is a public institution that promotes environmental stewardship, civic engagement, and multicultural understanding. The school hosts over 5,000 students through its undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online bachelor's degree in elementary education. The program prepares students to teach grades K-6.

Online students enroll in the Distributed Learning in Teacher Education (DLiTE) program. DLiTE is a cohort-based degree completion program that enrolls students who have an associate of arts degree. The program lasts for six semesters, uses a hybrid format, meets Minnesota teaching licensure requirements. Students attend classes in Minneapolis three times per year and complete remaining coursework online. During the weekend campus visits, students take final exams and begin their next semester's courses.

During the final semester of this bachelor of science in elementary education program, majors complete student teaching requirements at a K-6 public elementary school. BSU works with students to identify student teaching opportunities in their local areas.

Applicants must hold an associate of arts degree and a preferred minimum 3.0 GPA, though BSU considers candidates with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Application requirements include a basic skills test, a professional recommendation, a personal essay, and a signed DLiTE mentor application.

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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Online Bachelor's Programs in Elementary Education Ranking Guidelines

Best Online Programs - Elementary Education

We selected the degree programs shown below based on the quality of program, the range of available courses, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Overview

An elementary education degree prepares distance 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.

Additionally, 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.

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

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

Elementary School Teacher

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.

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Projected Growth Rate


Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers help children who have mental, physical, and emotional disorders learn basic academic concepts. This process involves assessing children's needs and constructing individualized education programs and activities that uniquely cater to students. This position requires a bachelor's degree, and some schools require a concentration or specialization in special education.

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Projected Growth Rate


Preschool Director

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.

Median Annual Salary


Projected Growth Rate


Preschool Teacher

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.

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Teacher Assistant

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.

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Choosing an Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degree Program

In their search for the right online elementary education degree, candidates should consider their academic priorities. For instance, 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 charges, accept all transfer credits from in-state community colleges, and involve shorter commutes for on-campus components.

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 ostensibly be out of reach.

Program Cost

Online elementary education degree students should consider several aspects to determine a school's cost. While each school offers different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state learners, some may charge special discounted rates for online students. Additionally, be sure to note whether a program charges additional or hidden fees. In general, degree seekers pay far less in tuition at in-state public schools. Make sure to explore your options to understand the true cost of attendance.

Transfer Policies

Students should also research transfer policies to find the institution that best uses their previous credits. For instance, some four-year schools may accept transfer credits that amount to more than half of program requirements, while other institutions may cap transfer credits at a much lower number. Students should also research steps to earning transfer credits. Some departments may require transfer students to complete waiver forms.

School Size and Type

Learners may want to pursue an online bachelor's degree in elementary education that encourages one-on-one interaction with faculty and fellow students. These candidates should consider smaller schools, while students looking for programs with more resources may want to look at larger institutions. Additionally, degree seekers may also need to consider whether a public or private school suits them better. A number of programs offer unique perspectives, as well. For example, learners who want an education that reflects their Christian commitments can look to a variety of Christian liberal arts institutions to complete their degree.

Program Length

An online teaching degree in elementary education typically requires four years to complete. However, those looking to graduate in less time should focus on schools with lower credit requirements or institutions that allow full-time or accelerated enrollment. Other degree seekers, however, may need to study part-time in order to balance personal or professional commitments with study.

On-Campus Requirements

Some online elementary education degree programs may require students to visit campus. These experiences can involve multiple visits each semester for labs or courses or one visit for an orientation or seminar. Candidates should review a school's on-campus requirements to determine if it is manageable. An in-state learner, for example, may be able to fulfill an on-campus experience more easily than a student enrolled in a school across the country.

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. These agencies, in turn, review schools and approve institutions that meet or exceed their quality standards. Accreditation matters because employers and future schools may not accept degrees from unaccredited schools. Furthermore, only candidates at accredited institutions receive federal aid. As a result, students should ensure they limit their college choices to accredited options.

Credits earned at regionally accredited institutions typically transfer more easily than credits from nationally accredited schools.

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. Typically, credits earned at nationally accredited institutions do not transfer to regionally accredited schools. Since 85% of universities and colleges in the country hold regional accreditation, this detail may limit your transfer opportunities.

Regional accreditation, often considered more prestigious, is granted by one of six accrediting bodies across the country. For example, the Higher Learning Commission accredits colleges and universities in 19 states. 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 prepares 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 may charge tuition by credit, which can lead to an increase in semester costs.

Learners with busy schedules should select colleges with part-time learning options.

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

Foundations of Education

Candidates may explore philosophical, political, and historical concepts of education, along with modern complications of the field. Coursework may also examine intercultural classrooms, governmental expectations for schools, and ideas regarding the future of education. Students may need to perform fieldwork for this course.

Science Instruction for Elementary Students

Courses examine elementary science topics, such as physical and earth science, and train candidates to use research-based strategies when delivering these lessons. These instructional methods may reflect child development concepts from kindergarten through the sixth grade. Similar courses involve math, literacy, and social studies for elementary students or science for higher grade levels.

Children's Literature

Classes introduce learners to children's stories in various genres, such as fairy tales, picture books, and novels. Students examine how these stories impact children and ways to embrace these works in curricula. Departments may also explore the evolution and significance of children's stories, along with the impact of culture on this literature.

Classroom Management

Students learn research-based methods for running an effective classroom. Classes train students to make choices regarding curricula, activities, time management, and class rules. Learners examine the correlation between classroom atmosphere and behavior and assess disciplinary strategies. Coursework may review the connection between a student and a teacher.

Child Development

These courses explore how children learn at different life stages, including social, physical, and cognitive growth. Degree seekers learn to use this information in lesson plans to engage and encourage specific age groups. Candidates may examine research and theories related to development as well as the impact of various factors — such as family behavior — on learning.

Elementary Education Professional Organizations

Students and graduates of online elementary education degree programs can benefit from joining professional organizations. These groups offer conferences and events that encourage members to interact with one another while learning about the latest research in the field. Organizations also link members to resources, such as group-published magazines and journals, and provide career guidance with job postings and professional tips. Additional benefits include group training and workshops that satisfy continuing education requirements for licenses.

The following organizations are some of the most relevant to elementary education graduates.

National Association for the Education of Young Children

NAEYC focuses on improving education for children up to age eight. The group offers books and periodicals related to young children and delivers virtual and in-person training opportunities. Members can attend a yearly conference, public policy forum, and the Professional Learning Institute to develop field skills. NAEYC's website includes a career center that connects members to relevant positions.

Childhood Education International

This group began in 1892 and previously held the name of the Association for Childhood Education International. CEI concentrates on children up to 11 years old and explores educational concepts like equality and legal concerns. CEI offers three main programs, including Global Schools First, and publications that examine childhood education.

National Education Association

NEA started in 1857 and now boasts a member base of three million education employees. The group ensures educational value for public school children. Specifically, NEA offers foundation grants and partnership funding for educational improvement and hosts events that include the National Leadership Summit and the Minority and Women's Leadership Training Seminar. Site viewers can also access resources on lesson plans, classroom structure, and educational techniques.

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