Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Holland Webb
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Updated November 21, 2023
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An online master's in elementary education fosters management, technology, and curriculum development skills. Explore information on this advanced degree.

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A master’s degree can help advance your teaching career to roles with more responsibility and higher pay. Is an online master’s in elementary education a good choice? Explore information on these advanced degrees in this in-depth guide.

What Is an Online Master’s in Elementary Education?

An online master’s in elementary education equips teachers with advanced learning, management, and technology skills. Graduates with master of education (M.Ed.) degrees can design curricula, use varied instructional techniques, demonstrate instructional effectiveness, and assess student achievement.

Most online M.Ed. students are certified teachers who work in public or private elementary schools. Individuals looking to change careers generally opt for an alternative certification or a master of arts in teaching (MAT), which emphasizes basic instructional and classroom management skills. The online M.Ed., by contrast, focuses on research, assessment, and theory.

This degree can qualify teachers for higher salaries and boost them into instructional coaching or other leadership positions. In some cases, teachers may use their master’s degrees to serve as adjunct professors at colleges.

The Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

#1 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Georgia Southern University

  • Location-markerStatesboro, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,371
  • Out-of-state$15,425
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate54%
  • Students Enrolled26,054
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment41%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Location-markerMonroe, LA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,788
  • Out-of-state$17,888
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate80%
  • Students Enrolled8,673
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment43%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

The University of Alabama

  • Location-markerTuscaloosa, AL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,780
  • Out-of-state$30,250
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled38,100
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment13%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Mississippi College

  • Location-markerClinton, MS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$17,550
  • Out-of-state$17,550
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate42%
  • Students Enrolled4,733
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment56%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Appalachian State University

  • Location-markerBoone, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,242
  • Out-of-state$19,049
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled19,280
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment23%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of West Georgia

  • Location-markerCarrollton, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,371
  • Out-of-state$15,426
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled13,238
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment63%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of North Dakota

  • Location-markerGrand Forks, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,212
  • Out-of-state$14,371
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate81%
  • Students Enrolled13,581
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment45%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

  • Location-markerCharlotte, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,812
  • Out-of-state$17,246
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate65%
  • Students Enrolled29,615
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment29%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Southeast Missouri State University

  • Location-markerCape Girardeau, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,606
  • Out-of-state$12,636
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate86%
  • Students Enrolled10,637
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment52%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Kansas State University

  • Location-markerManhattan, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,735
  • Out-of-state$25,251
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate95%
  • Students Enrolled21,719
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment27%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

East Carolina University

  • Location-markerGreenville, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,452
  • Out-of-state$20,729
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate79%
  • Students Enrolled28,651
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment48%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Ball State University

  • Location-markerMuncie, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,358
  • Out-of-state$26,138
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled22,443
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Pittsburg State University

  • Location-markerPittsburg, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,694
  • Out-of-state$17,038
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate96%
  • Students Enrolled6,645
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment47%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of Alaska Southeast

  • Location-markerJuneau, AK
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,888
  • Out-of-state$22,736
  • Retention Rate59%
  • Acceptance Rate61%
  • Students Enrolled2,150
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Missouri State University-Springfield

  • Location-markerSpringfield, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,540
  • Out-of-state$14,850
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled23,453
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of Central Missouri

  • Location-markerWarrensburg, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,128
  • Out-of-state$14,256
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate65%
  • Students Enrolled11,229
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment39%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Stephen F Austin State University

  • Location-markerNacogdoches, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,096
  • Out-of-state$16,224
  • Retention Rate70%
  • Acceptance Rate68%
  • Students Enrolled12,969
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment40%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Location-markerBirmingham, AL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,568
  • Out-of-state$20,400
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled22,080
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

Mercer University

  • Location-markerMacon, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$25,528
  • Out-of-state$25,528
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled8,740
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment26%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education

University of Missouri-St Louis

  • Location-markerSaint Louis, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,079
  • Out-of-state$29,295
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled15,988
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment32%
  • AccreditationYes

Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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

Rankings Methodology

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Why Get an Online Master’s Degree in Elementary Education?

An online master’s in elementary education helps teachers advance their skills and increase their earning potential. With a master’s degree, many educators earn higher salaries and move into leadership roles.

  • A master’s degree lets teachers specialize in special education, gifted and talented education, or STEM education.
  • An online teaching degree helps working professionals balance their education with other commitments.
  • Graduates can pursue specialized certifications, endorsements, and credentials. For example, a master’s degree builds the skills required for national board certification.
  • Educators improve their teaching and leadership skills during master’s programs. Many offer coursework in educational leadership, instructional assessment, and curriculum management.

Prerequisites for a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education

Master’s programs in education typically require a bachelor’s degree for admission, though it may be in a field other than elementary education. Some programs admit students who do not possess current teaching licenses, while others may require bachelor’s degrees in education.

Applicants must also meet minimum GPA requirements. Some programs require GRE scores, letters of recommendation, teaching experience, and a personal statement. Prospective students should research prerequisites and admission requirements for any potential programs.

Elementary Education Concentrations

Enrollees in an online master’s in elementary education program can often choose a concentration to focus their studies. This section introduces common elementary education concentrations.

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Choosing an Online Master’s in Elementary Education Program

Prospective enrollees should weigh multiple factors when researching online master’s in elementary education programs. For many students, cost, program length, and learning format rank at the top of their lists.

Current teachers may prefer the flexibility of online programs or accelerated master’s degrees. Some universities offer tuition discounts for distance learners, which can help teachers save money while earning their master’s degrees.

Applicants can also consider specialization options and student teaching experiences to find the right fit. Prospective enrollees should research each program’s accreditation status — earning an unaccredited teaching degree can negatively affect an educator’s career.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees

Educators considering master’s degrees should only attend schools with accreditation. Accredited institutions meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees.

In addition to institutional accreditation, prospective graduate students can seek accredited education programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits online master’s in elementary education programs. In many states, only a degree from an accredited program and/or school meets the requirements for teaching licensure.

Elementary Education Careers and Outlook

Elementary education is not just a degree for classroom teachers. It’s a versatile program that can prepare school leaders, instructional coordinators, educational policy analysts, and postsecondary teachers.

Becoming a principal, assistant principal, or superintendent may require additional training in leadership and state licensure for the role. Additionally, a student aspiring to teach pre-service teachers at the college level often needs to add an Ed.D. or Ph.D. degree to their resume.

The following list of careers shows a few examples of what an educator can do and how much they can earn.

Elementary Education Careers and Salaries
Elementary Education CareerMedian Annual Wage
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers$61,620
Instructional Coordinators$66,490
Preschool Teachers$35,330
Special Education Teachers$62,950
Elementary Principals$101,320
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

These careers cover just a few options for an educator with a master’s degree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master’s in Elementary Education Programs

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