If you have a passion for helping children learn, an online elementary education degree can prepare you for a deeply rewarding career. Elementary education teachers instruct in core subjects like math, social studies, reading, language arts, science, and history. Depending on the school or district, elementary education teachers may teach kindergarten to fifth grade, or kindergarten to sixth grade.
The average annual income for an elementary school teacher is $56,900, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth in employment for these teachers from 2016 to 2026 -- a pace that is as fast as average. Earning an elementary education bachelor’s degree online is a flexible way to complete your education and prepare for an exciting, diverse career on your own schedule.
Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs shown below based on the quality of program, the range of available courses, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Programs
1. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University (ECU) created distance education programs for students that have completed two years of study at a community college. ECU also has a partnership with several North Carolina colleges called State Employees Credit Union Partnership East that helps with the transition between online courses and community college classrooms.
ECU breaks down its fully online program into two cohorts: full-time and part-time. Full-time cohorts start each summer, and part-time cohorts begin in the fall. Throughout the program, students take part in off-site student teaching placements with a commitment to full-time internships during senior year.
The Partnership East program provides a concentration in reading, allowing students to graduate with a license to teach reading at K-12 levels. Interested applicants must apply directly to the Partnership East program and submit a general admissions application.
Students must complete at least 125 semester hours to be eligible to graduate with an online elementary education degree. Of these semester hours, 40 cover general education, 30 are professional hours, and 18 are for an academic concentration, such as general science or English. Forty-one semester hours are dedicated to a speciality area, which includes practicum courses, and five semester hours of cognate courses (literature and mathematics). The grades 3-5 practicum (ELEM 3600) allows students to teach groups of children under the supervision of an instructor. Admittance into the educator preparation program, the upper-division level of the degree, requires a minimum of a 2.7 GPA. Additionally, students must submit an electronic portfolio with application.
East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
2. The Baptist College of Florida
The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) is a faith-based institution that offers an elementary education degree online. After completing the 127-hour program, graduates receive a teaching certificate from Florida’s Board of Education and an ESOL/Reading Endorsement.
During the program, students examine courses with a foundation in general education and biblical theology. Courses such as ESOL 3705, theoretical underpinnings of ESOL, prepare students for ESOL endorsement, while the general education foundation features concentrations in math, science, art, and music.
The Florida Teacher Certification Examination is a general education test (GKT) that students must pass to graduate and receive certification.
General education topics include finite mathematics, geometry, and physical science. Students must also complete two internships: Internship I and II. Internship I includes five courses totaling 15 semester hours. Internship II consists of an education internship worth 10 semester hours where students work in an elementary classroom under licensed supervision. An additional two semester hours are for the reading practicum.
Distance Education at BCF is delivered through a learning management system. BCF requires on-campus and online students to download a software application called LiveText. Online course semesters run for fifteen weeks during the fall and spring terms. Distance learning students choose between online programs delivered asynchronously or courses at sites located in Jacksonville and Orlando. The Teacher Education division requires applicants to have a 2.50 GPA and 50 hours of undergraduate credit.
The Baptist College of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
3. Liberty University
Lynchburg Virginia’s Liberty University offers a BS in elementary education interdisciplinary studies. The degree is a pre-requisite for the university’s Master of Arts in Teaching program which leads to licensure. The fully online baccalaureate program boasts accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), while the university’s teacher licensure program holds recognition from the Virginia’s Department of Education.
Students must complete 120 semester hours to receive their BS degree at Liberty University, allowing transfer students to carry up to 90 credit hours from other accredited universities. Liberty University provides degree completion plans that require students to take up to 18 credits per semester, usually completed in four years. In addition to degree completion planning, other university resources include an online writing center and a library.
The Experience Plus program allows course credit for military service, certifications, standardized tests, and work portfolios. For students with child development and preschool associate credentials, Liberty awards course credits. Students also receive up to 12 credits for transferring psychology, education, and health courses. Students must submit an application to the Experience Plus program for course evaluation. Online classes take place in an eight-week formats= through the university’s learning management system. The asynchronous format allows students to create a flexible work and school schedule.
Students choose a specialty from five disciplines including mathematics and science. They can also add a middle school endorsement by completing extra coursework and a practicum. After completion of the required learning theory and portfolio development course, the University performs a background check on the students to prepare them for their education career.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
4. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary of the Woods, Indiana
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), an accredited faith-based institution recognized by the Higher Learning Commision, is located in West Terre Haute, Indiana. SMWC offers an elementary education program that enables students to lead traditional and special education K-6 classrooms. The program takes 120 credit hours to complete. Students must take 18 credit hours of core courses, 44 hours of developmental and content courses, and 21 hours of clinical experience.
SMWC developed multiple program formats, including online and hybrid courses. Program lengths vary between traditional 16-week semesters or eight-week accelerated terms. Core courses feature unique classes, such as Effectively Communicating with Families and Community Resources (ED 203) that teaches how to deal with a student’s family and effectively use community resources to help those in need.
SMWC works closely with the Indiana Department of Education to distribute teaching licenses. The college adheres to a gateway process to help students prepare for licensure. Gateway I is about admission to the teaching program, whereas Gateway II requires completion of the capstone clinical experience. Gateway III involves program completion.
The school employs a coordinator to help online elementary education degree students find teaching placements for the clinical portion of the program. The coordinator works specifically to help secure field/practicum placements.
Online students pay per credit hour and are eligible to apply for financial aid. Admission requirements include the completion of an online application and submission of test scores and transcripts.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Drexel University
Philadelphia’s Drexel University offers a BS in Education geared toward elementary and middle school teachers. The online elementary education degree is a part-time program intended for students with previous college experience.
The Drexel University Online Educational Partnership Program partners with the university and various school districts to offer reduced tuition rates, with acceptance based on a rolling deadline. Students can transfer up to 60 credits from an accredited institution. However, they must maintain at least a B average in transfer courses.
Drexel has a special part-time/evening undergraduate application available on their website. Online courses take place four 10-week quarters per year, with online credits holding more academic weight than on-campus hours. One semester hour on campus is equal to one and a half semester hours online. Distance education students can take more classes during a smaller time frame to accelerate their graduation rate. This online curriculum is 180 credit hours, with courses in general education and pedagogy. Students can select a discipline concentration after completing their first year.
The student teaching component includes a seminar worth nine credit hours, and students complete a six-month cooperative education experience off-site. Drexel also provides certification for pre-K through fourth grade, and six through eighth grade educators.
The BS in education prepares students to take certification and licensure exams after graduation. Students must gain acceptance into the teacher preparation program to receive state certification. Once students begin their senior year, they start the 12-week student-teaching experience.
Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
6. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University’s virtual college is home to over 50 online programs, including the BS in elementary education. Attending students can also select a concentration in special education.
The university provides an alternative path to degree completion through the Para Pathway initiative, a program that helps para-professionals gain licensure in elementary education. Paraprofessionals receive college credit for previous classroom experience through the Credit for Prior Learning program.
The BS in elementary education is a 127-credit hour program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. In addition to coursework, students complete 21 credit hours of internships and method courses, with the final 12 credit hours going toward student teaching. This program makes an exception for students with a bachelor’s degree that only seek licensure. These students are not required to complete general education courses.
The field experience and licensure office coordinates student placements. This office oversees the early childhood unified internships program to help students build pedagogical skills in various disciplines, such as music and art. The office pairs students with a mentor during their final year of study to enhance the student teaching experience.
For students interested in the program, applicants under the age of 21 must complete the Kansas Qualified Admissions Pre-College Curriculum and provide proof of a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Adults over the age of 21 must show proof of graduation from an accredited high school. Fort Hays State University also offers scholarships for its education student such as the InPLACE Education Scholarship awarded by the Kansas Board of Regents.
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. University of Louisiana at Monroe
The BS in elementary education at the University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the NCATE and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The degree requires 120 credit hours minimum for graduation. The program also offers an add-on plan that certifies kindergarten and nursery school teachers, which includes 12 additional hours of coursework.
Online courses run for eight-week terms and students usually take two to three courses per term, with terms convening during the fall and spring. Summer sessions are longer. The university recommends students take at least 30 credits per year.
Elementary education bachelor’s degree online students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe pay per credit hour. The university also provides alternative ways to get college credits, such as taking the CLEP or DSST exams. The university operates a Prior Learning Assessment that grants college credit for previous work experience. Students can also submit a portfolio for credit evaluation. The University emphasizes its core curriculum, such as courses in English composition, the humanities, and fine arts. The core curriculum is a graduation requirement and adheres to the statewide general education guidelines created by the Louisiana Board of Regents.
The university employs a student advocate and retention coordinator that acts as a liaison between students and faculty. Additionally, elementary education students receive a special advisor that helps them register for courses and create a degree plan. The school provides an online resource for distance students, the My Homework Application, to help students keep track of homework assignments.
The University of Louisiana is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
8. University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a BS in elementary education, developed specifically for teacher’s assistants. The Teacher’s Assistant Program (TAP) trains current teacher’s assistants to lead K-5 classrooms. The course load for this program includes general education requirements, with courses like aesthetic value that teaches dance and art appreciation. Students also have a writing intensive and capstone requirement.
Students gain admittance into the teacher education program by passing a background check and completing the Tk20 assessment system. Students can receive endorsements to teach middle school and special education classes by taking additional credits. Endorsements are also available for specific disciplines, such as math or science, and graduates of the BS program will automatically receive a reading endorsement. Students progress through block courses at the introductory, intermediate, and senior level and focus on pedagogical learning. Block courses must be taken sequentially. The school designed the program to enable teacher’s assistants to take 12 credits per semester and graduate in two years.
The program’s capstone is the student teaching experience. Depending on the district’s decision, TAP students can finish the capstone in their present classroom. Participants complete a student teaching packet with Tk20 assessments and other information before starting their teaching assignment. Typically, cohorts for the block courses begin in the fall and every subsequent semester that meets enrollment numbers.
Online students pay resident tuition regardless of their residential state.
To gain admission into the TAP program, applicants must have their goldcard, a set of university requirements including a minimum 2.75 GPA.
The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
9. Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Gardner-Webb University is located in North Carolina. Their faith-based School of Education is accredited by CAEP and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
The Pathways program, a partnership between Gardner-Webb and six North Carolina community colleges, enables students to easily transfer credits to the university to complete their bachelor’s degree. Students can transfer up to 96 credit hours as long as they have maintained a 2.0 GPA. Pathways is an extension of the degree completion program that offers alternative paths to obtaining a degree. Gardner-Webb also participates in the Independent Comprehensive Articulation agreement, another credit transfer program for community college students.
The online elementary education program lasts four semesters. Students complete 12 credit hours or more per semester and take six credit hours during the summer semester. The fourth semester is reserved for the student teaching experience that lasts 16 weeks. Students that complete the program qualify for a North Carolina Class A Teaching License.
The School of Education provides several resources for students, including IMPROVE, where participants collaborate during their final year of coursework to improve K-12 learning structure. The school also offers a 14-hour concentration in teaching gifted students.
The BS program totals 61 credit hours without a concentration. Graduates are qualified to teach grades K-6.
Gardner-Webb University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
10. University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, North Carolina
The Watson College of Education confers a BA in elementary education with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). For 22 years, the university has coordinated an extension program at the Coastal Carolina Community College and offers elementary education courses in multiple formats. Students with previous college credits or a degree can transfer into the program.
The online school admits out-of-state residents if they can receive state authorization, while states must also authorize internships and other field experiences for out-of-state students.
The 124-hour BA program qualifies students to instruct grades K-6. Students must complete an 18-credit hour academic concentration rooted in one of eight composites, such as social studies or language arts.
Students complete 16 hours of core courses and 31 hours of education coursework, which includes math laboratory and apprenticeships. The professional seminar portion is 14 credits and features a practicum and two seminars. Students must be admitted into the College of Education before completing upper-division coursework, such as the practicum and field experiences. The Office of Professional Experiences coordinates all placements. During the apprenticeships, students spend multiple hours or days per week at an off-site public school facility.
Admission requires ACT, SAT, and Praxis scores. Students entering the BA program choose between fully online or blended (hybrid) courses. Fully online classes are synchronous with virtually scheduled meeting times, and hybrid courses have an on-campus component. Online elementary education degree classes take place through the Blackboard learning management system.
University of North Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
11. Judson College
Judson College, located in Alabama, offers a BS in elementary education for online students. Students must complete all general education classes and maintain a 2.75 minimum GPA before enrolling in education courses. The online program follows a cohort model with sessions starting in the fall, spring, and summer. Short term summer classes are exclusive to education majors, and all courses last six months.
Judson uses the Moodlerooms learning management system to deliver courses. Students entering the program get a student mentor and an advisor and also receive one-on-one attention from course instructors.
Distance education applications are available online. Applicants must submit ACT/SAT scores, school transcripts, and an application fee. Transfer students can move up to 64 credit hours from a two-year school and more than 64 credits from a four-year institution. However, students must complete 32 hours of coursework at Judson. In addition, the school’s prior learning program awards credit for work experience.
Federal financial aid programs are available, such as the TEACH grant. TEACH provides up to $4,000 to students that sign an agreement with the US Department of Education to work in schools for low-income children.
Students are encouraged to join the Student Alabama Education Association, a networking group for education members. The program works with the Alabama Department of Education to schedule placements. Judson also requires students complete their student teaching placements in Alabama. Students complete 48 hours of general coursework and 30 hours of elementary education coursework, with a 12-credit hour clinical practice component.
Judson College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
12. Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, Utah
Western Governors University (WGU) created an online BA in interdisciplinary studies in elementary education. Students take two to four years to complete the program, with terms lasting six months each. Students pay a set tuition rate each term.
WGU focuses on competency-based education. The university allows flexible scheduling based on the student’s prior knowledge and ability to complete coursework. Each student receives a personalized lesson plan with regular assessment. WGU also assigns each student a mentor to help set weekly goals and understand learning materials. The interdisciplinary approach allows students to take foundational courses in math, science, and history. Students take pedagogical courses, such as critical thinking and logic.
WGU recommends students take 12 courses per term, with the online elementary education degree consisting of 41 courses. Students can transfer up to 28 credits into the program. However, enrollment counselors evaluate college transcripts to grant transfer credit approval.
Students have access to live cohorts through the myWGU Student Portal. Faculty will also help out-of-state residents set up a student teaching experience in their area.
The university provides information regarding each state’s licensure process on their website. Admission to the WGU Teacher’s College requires passing a state-level basic skills test, with accepted students also taking a 30-minute interview over the phone to finalize enrollment.
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
13. Bay Path University
Bay Path is a private college in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, that has delivered hands-on education for more than 100 years. While Bay Path offers co-ed graduate programs, its undergraduate programs are available to women only, including the online elementary education degree. The 120-credit degree is geared toward working professionals who are 25 years or older and have no prior training in elementary education.
The program offers licensure and non-licensure tracks and prepares students to teach first through sixth grade. The non-licensure track does not require a practicum and is ideal for students who do not plan to pursue teaching certification. Online students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, and Bay Path offers six start dates per year. An accelerated, six-week program allows students to graduate in fewer than four years. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously, so students can complete assignments at their convenience.
The licensure track curriculum includes pre-practicum and practicum courses, during which students teach first- and second-grade students under supervision. Accepted students must submit to a background check. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and/or an SAT score of 1006. Students may transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited institution. Bay Path awards credit for work experience, military service, and volunteer experience.
Bay Path University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE).
14. Asbury University
Asbury is a Christian college located on 65 acres in Wilmore, Kentucky. More than 80% of Asbury students live on campus, but the university also offers accelerated online programs that are ideal for working professionals.
Asbury offers a 124-credit elementary education degree online. The program prepares students to teach preschool through fifth grade. Each class lasts eight weeks, and Asbury offers start dates in January and March.
Online coursework is delivered through the Discovery system. The curriculum comprises 82 major credits, 6 elective credits, and 36 foundation classes, which includes coursework in biblical studies. Because students must complete a clinical requirement in Kentucky elementary schools, most students are residents of Kentucky or nearby states.
Transfer students can bring up to 75 previous credits. Applicants must submit transcripts, two letters of reference, and a character and fitness form. Asbury encourages prospective students to complete the online learning readiness survey to determine whether online learning is right for them.
Asbury University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
15. Midway University
Midway is a private college in rural Kentucky that was originally founded to educate orphaned girls. Today, Midway offers 23 online programs, many of which are education majors. Midway offers an elementary education bachelor’s degree online to prepare students to work in preschool through fifth grade classrooms. The licensure exam pass rate for program graduates is nearly 100%, and many graduates earn certification in other states.
The program comprises eight-week classes and offers five start dates per year. Coursework is delivered asynchronously through Moodle, so students can complete assignments at their convenience, provided they meet set deadlines. This program requires 120 credits, including major courses, electives, and concentration requirements. Available concentrations include linguistics, history of the United States since 1865, and environmental science.
Applicants should consult an advisor to ensure their chosen concentration area is available online. Midway awards credit for work experience, military service, and completed workshops and exams.
Midway University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
16. Ottawa University–Kansas City
Overland Park, Kansas
Based in Kansas, Ottawa has educated underserved populations for more than 150 years. During its early years, the Christian college was a boarding school for Ottawa Indians. Ottawa also has locations in Arizona, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Its online elementary education degree is approved in both Arizona and Kansas, and graduates who take the licensing exam have a 95% pass rate.
Transfer students may bring up to 80 credits of the program’s required 124 credits from previous studies. Students must take at least 30 credits through Ottawa, and 44 credits must be in upper-division courses. Online classes are delivered in eight-week terms, with six start dates per year.
Elementary education students can complete a 20-credit minor in an area such as English, psychology, or mathematics. Students gain practical classroom experience during a final capstone project. After finishing coursework, students complete a clinical practice, which comprises 12 hours of teaching and research.
Ottawa University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
17. Bemidji State University
Founded in 1919 with only 38 students, BSU is located on a lakeside campus in Minnesota. The university provides educational opportunities for the native population through the American Indian Resource Center. Today, BSU enrolls about 5,000 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students.
BSU offers a distributed learning in teacher education degree. Students completing the elementary education bachelor’s degree online choose a previous teacher to mentor them throughout the three-year program.
The program is delivered fully online and asynchronously, making it ideal for working professionals. However, online students are required attend three sessions per year at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids. These sessions generally last two to three days.
Students must complete 63 credits through BSU and must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. The program adheres to the Minnesota Board of Teaching requirements and prepares students to obtain licensure to teach kindergarten through sixth grade.
The online program is designed for students who hold an associate degree or at least 24 college credits. Applicants with a 3.0 cumulative GPA are preferred, but those with a 2.5 GPA will be considered. Applicants must submit a mentor application, a 500-word essay, and a professional recommendation or proof of completion of an introductory teaching course.
Bemidji State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
18. Chaminade University of Honolulu
The only Catholic university in Hawaii, Chaminade is located in Kaimuki, a residential neighborhood in the heart of Honolulu. Students earning Chaminade’s elementary education degree online are prepared to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. The program requires 120 credits and emphasizes educational outreach; students work with at-risk students at neighboring schools such as Palolo Elementary School, which has a high population of students from immigrant families.
Chaminade also offers an online elementary education degree with a Montessori credential, which prepares students to teach young children, two and a half to six years old. Many graduates work in private schools.
Chaminade began offering online classes in 1967 to educate working professionals and military members. Online programs are delivered in an accelerated format over 10-week terms. Applicants must have completed an early childhood education introduction course. Transfer students may bring up to 18 credits. Applicants must submit official transcripts and provide proof of tuberculosis clearance.
Chaminade University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
19. Hobe Sound Bible College
Hobe Sound, Florida
HSBC is a Christian institution in Florida with a tradition of preparing students for missionary work. The college offers an online elementary education degree with classes tailored to working professionals with previous missionary experience.
Graduates of the elementary education program teach in Christian day schools and church programs. Education majors complete student teaching hours in local schools.
Students complete 129 credits, including 30 credits of Bible study. Students can pursue an optional 18-hour minor. Each online course lasts seven weeks, and students must meet weekly assignment deadlines. HSBC mails books and course materials to distance learners. The program has no on-campus requirements.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Each students works with a counselor to explore study options and missionary opportunities. Students may transfer in credit earned with a grade of C or better. HSBC awards credit for work and life experience. Students must complete at least 30 credits through HSBC.
Hobe Sound Bible College is nationally accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
20. University of Alaska Southeast
Located in Juneau, near the Tongass National Forest, UAS offers an online elementary education degree designed for working professionals in rural Alaska. The 120-credit program prepares students to obtain certification to teach kindergarten through eighth grade.
The curriculum comprises general education requirements and 48 credit hours of upper-division coursework, half of which must be completed at UAS. The university assesses each student’s performance in accordance with national and state criteria, including the Alaska Teacher Standards, Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools, and Alaska Student Content Standards.
To progress into their senior year, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and adequate Praxis scores. During their final year, students write an education philosophy essay, complete a resume, and submit a letter of recommendation and a teacher mentor introduction letter. Seniors also undertake a nine-month field experience during which they apply their teaching skills.
Applicants must submit an interested person report and must meet academic requirements, which vary by the student’s level of college experience.
University of Alaska Southeast is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
21. Mayville State University
Mayville, North Dakota
MSU was founded more than 100 years ago in North Dakota as a teachers college. Students can complete MSU’s elementary education bachelor’s degree online on a full-time or part-time basis. Online students are required to take one on-campus summer session.
Each MSU student receives a computer, which is covered by the technology fee. Students have 24/7 access to libraries and databases, and network printers are available across campus. Prospective students who plan to teach outside North Dakota should ensure MSU’s program meets their state’s licensure requirements. Coursework for the online elementary education degree is delivered through Moodle, and online learners can attend a distance student orientation at MSU’s campus.
Freshman applicants to the elementary education online bachelor’s degree program must have 13 college prep core requirement credits, including coursework in English, math, laboratory science, and social studies. Freshman applicants must have at least an 18 ACT score and a 2.0 high school GPA. Transfer applicants with 24 to 36 college credits must have at least a 2.0 college GPA. Transfer students who do not meet minimum requirements may be admitted based on review of additional considerations.
Mayville State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
22. Southwestern Adventist University
SWAU was founded by Seventh-day Adventists in 1892. The school was originally a church and schoolhouse for 56 students. Today, the university awards undergraduate and graduate degrees at its campus in Keene, Texas, and has offered online programs for more than 35 years.
Students earning SWAU’s elementary education degree online complete fieldwork and service-learning experiences, such as helping at-risk children improve their reading skills and volunteering at special Olympics events. Students observe elementary classroom sessions and complete a 14-week internship in a local school.
The program prepares students to earn certification to teach kindergarten through sixth grade in Texas. Students complete 123 credits, including 33 credits of professional development courses and 39 credits of teaching method courses. Students’ final two years of coursework focus on preparing them to pass the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities and the TExES Generalist tests, which are required to teach in Texas and to graduate from SWAU’s program.
Southwestern Adventist University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
23. Limestone College
Gaffney, South Carolina
Founded in 1845, Limestone is a private Christian college in Gaffney, South Carolina. Limestone began as South Carolina’s first women’s college and features 10 registered historic buildings. Today, the co-ed college has 3,500 students, more than half of whom are enrolled in online or evening courses.
Limestone’s online elementary education degree prepares students to teach second through sixth grade or to pursue a graduate education degree. Students complete 123 credits, which includes Praxis teacher certification programs. The program emphasizes flexible teaching methods and produces elementary school teachers who adapt to each child’s learning needs. The eight-week online classes are ideal for full-time working professionals. Limestone also offers evening classes at eight South Carolina locations.
Limestone accepts applications for online programs on a rolling basis. Applicants must submit academic or military transcripts. A Limestone counselor contacts each accepted student. Military members and students older than 21 do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores.
Limestone College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
24. University of Wisconsin–Superior
UW–Superior has a long tradition of training the state’s teachers. In 1923, the university became the first institution in Wisconsin to provide a four-year program for high school teachers, and it offered the first bachelor’s degree in education three years later.
UW–Superior began offering distance learning programs 30 years ago to help working professionals complete their degrees. The university’s elementary education bachelor’s degree is available as a bachelor’s of arts or a bachelor’s of science. Both programs require 63 general education credits and prepare students to pursue teaching certification.
Students can major in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade education or first through eighth grade education. Students must select a minor, such as early childhood, English, language arts, geography, or library science. Elementary education students complete two in-person, weekend seminars at the main campus or a satellite location.
For applicants more than five years beyond high school, UW–Superior strongly considers non-academic factors. The university awards prior learning credit for college-level exams, portfolios, and military experience.
The University of Wisconsin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
25. Sterling College
Founded in Kansas in 1887, Sterling is a private Christian institution that has offered online programs since 2007. Sterling’s elementary education online degree prepares students to obtain licensure to teach kindergarten through sixth grade in Kansas.
The online bachelor’s degree in elementary education includes 41 core credits, which must be completed with a grade of C or better. The curriculum also includes coursework in history, sociology, and physical science.
Online students access coursework, forums, syllabi, and exams through the mySterling management system. Distance learners should be familiar with Microsoft Word. Sterling offers start dates every eight weeks. While classes are available fully online, the elementary education program requires three campus visits.
Applicants must have 60 college credits with a 2.5 GPA. Applicants with previous classroom experience and a completed introduction to education course are preferred. Applicants with 48 credits of college coursework may be admitted on a conditional basis. General education credits earned while obtaining an associate degree are guaranteed to transfer.
Sterling College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
|Job Title||Entry Level (0-5 Years)||Midcareer (5-10 Years)||Experienced (10-20 Years)||Late Career (20+ Years)|
|Elementary School Teacher||$39,000||$44,000||$50,000||$56,000|
|Special Education Teacher||$40,000||$43,000||$49,000||$55,000|
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 of 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, but explore your options thoroughly so you 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.
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 less 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. 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.
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.
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 also assess disciplinary strategies. Coursework may review the connection between a student and a teacher.
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 with regard to factors such as 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 3 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.