If you have a passion for helping children learn, an online elementary education degree is an ideal option for you. Elementary education teachers teach students core topics including math, social studies, reading, language arts, science, and history. Grade levels for elementary education typically range from kindergarten to fifth grade and kindergarten to sixth grade, depending on the school or school district. The average annual income for an elementary school teacher is $55,490, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth in employment for these teachers. Earning an elementary education bachelor’s degree online is a flexible way to complete your education on your own schedule.
Choosing a Program
Students pursuing an elementary education degree learn all of the skills and knowledge necessary to excel as an elementary school teacher. Students complete foundational courses in educational theory, including effective teaching practices and diversity in the classroom. Students also learn about subject areas they will be expected to teach, including mathematics, English composition, humanities, U.S. history, health and fitness, and critical thinking and logic. However, specific classes differ depending on the college.
Graduation requirements vary from school to school. Some colleges require a professional portfolio project in which students showcase the skills they learned during their college experience. In-classroom practice teaching is required at many colleges.
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Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as 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).
2The 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).
4Saint 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).
7University 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).
8University 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).
10University 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).
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).
16Ottawa 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).
18Chaminade 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).
21Mayville 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).
24University 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).
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 Careers
In addition to a career as an elementary school teacher, graduates who earn an elementary education degree online can also be special education teachers, teacher assistants, substitute teachers, and tutors.
- Elementary Teacher: Elementary teachers teach students in kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade. Teachers instruct students in the core subjects they need in order to succeed in middle school and high school. Core subjects include math, science, history, reading, and social studies. Teachers create assignments and projects to help children apply the skills they learn.
- Median Annual Salary: $55,490
- Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Teacher Assistant: Teacher assistants can be tutors or paraprofessionals that assist teachers in helping students learn. Teacher assistants give one-on-one help to students that struggle while the teacher focuses on the classroom as a whole. They not only help with tutoring students, but also with classroom cleanup, organization, planning, and anything else the teacher may need help with.
- Median Annual Salary: $25,410
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Special Education Teacher: Special education teachers work with students who have learning, physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. They adapt what students are learning in the standard classrooms to fit the needs and learning styles of the children in the special education classrooms. They specialize learning plans based upon each student’s unique needs to ensure they are having an effective learning experience.
- Median Annual Salary: $57,910
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics