What Is an Online Master's in Elementary Education?
A master's degree in elementary education builds advanced teaching skills. Some programs also offer initial licensure for students who do not possess teaching experience. With master's-level training in elementary education, graduates can take on leadership roles.
Enrollees in an elementary education graduate program study instructional techniques, assessment methods, and classroom management approaches. Many master's programs also offer concentrations for educators seeking focused career paths. For example, an elementary teacher interested in moving into special education or second language acquisition can take specialized graduate courses to prepare for an endorsement on their teaching license that indicates what subjects they are qualified to teach.
In addition to education programs focused on classroom careers, students can also pursue degrees in educational leadership or curriculum and instruction to move into administrative roles.
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 areas like 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 a master's program. Many offer coursework in educational leadership, instructional assessment, and curriculum management.
Elementary Education Concentrations
Enrollees in an online master's in elementary education program can often choose a concentration to focus on. This section introduces common elementary education concentrations.
Educators in this concentration study literacy assessment, comprehension strategies, and research-based literacy approaches. Educators learn to apply reading and literacy theories in the classroom while strengthening their pedagogical skills. This focus builds advanced reading education abilities.
A gifted and talented education concentration trains educators to meet the needs of exceptional children. Coursework explores topics in educational research, prepares educators to evaluate programs, and examines educational assessment methods. Learners can also study educational psychology, learning theories, and instructional applications. Graduates can then apply their knowledge in K-5 classroom settings.
Master's students in an educational leadership concentration examine leadership theories in school settings and the best practices in school management. Courses in instructional supervision, educational administration, and school budgeting prepare graduates for leadership positions. A master's in educational leadership may meet the requirements for a principal license.
A special education concentration trains educators to teach students with disabilities. Many special education programs offer coursework in behavior challenges, autism, or learning disabilities. Educators also study federal regulations governing special education. Graduates can apply for board certification as exceptional needs specialists.
Elementary educators incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education into their K-5 lessons. This concentration trains teachers in STEM education through courses in problem-based mathematics, strategies for solving science problems, and STEM creativity. Graduates integrate STEM education best practices into their classroom instruction.
Educators who focus on English language learners can strengthen their second language acquisition training. Coursework focuses on strategies for teaching English at the elementary level, building literacy, and content area instruction. Teachers explore curriculum diversity, cultural contexts, and integrating home languages into lessons. Graduates can pursue board certification in English as a new language.
This concentration emphasizes effective methods of educating students. Master's students take courses in classroom assessment, differentiated instruction, and classroom management. The curriculum may also cover technology use in education.
Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Elementary Education
Master's programs in education typically require a bachelor's degree for admission. However, applicants do not necessarily need a bachelor's in elementary education. Some programs admit students who do not possess current teaching licenses. Other programs 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 their potential programs.
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How Much Does an Online Master's Degree in Elementary Education Cost?
The cost of an online master's degree typically ranges from $8,000-$20,000. Costs vary depending on the school, credit requirements, and tuition policies.
Graduate students can lower their costs by researching scholarships and other forms of financial aid. The TEACH Grant, for example, offers up to $4,000 per year for educators, including teachers pursuing master's degrees. Many universities also offer scholarships, grants, and fellowships to support graduate students. Finally, teachers can research scholarships through their districts or professional associations.
Choosing an Online Master's in Elementary Education Program
Prospective students should weigh multiple factors when choosing an online master's in elementary education program. For many students, cost, program length, and learning format rank at the top of their lists. Teachers may prefer the flexibility of an online program or an accelerated one-year master's degree.
Many universities offer tuition discounts for distance learners, which helps teachers save money while earning their master's degrees. Applicants can also consider specialization options and required student teaching hours 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 choose accredited universities and programs. Accredited schools meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees.
In addition to institutional accreditation, prospective graduate students should seek out accredited education programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation grants accreditation to online master's in elementary education programs. In many states, only an accredited degree meets the requirements for teaching licensure.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Elementary Education?
A master's degree in elementary education prepares graduates for careers in the classroom or administrative roles. Elementary teachers, special education teachers, and instructional coordinators often earn more with master's degrees.
|Median Salary (2020):$60,660
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers educate young learners in foundational subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics. They create lesson plans that assess student learning, identify areas for improvement, and align with district curriculum goals. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers also communicate with parents, provide differentiated instruction, and enforce classroom rules. Teachers at public schools typically need state-issued licenses.
|Median Salary (2020):$60,620
Special education teachers educate learners with disabilities. They assess each student's abilities and modify lessons to meet those needs. Special education teachers also develop individualized education programs (IEPs) for their students. These professionals carry out IEPs, track progress, and report performance to parents and administrators. Special education teachers generally need coursework in special education to receive teaching licensure.
|Median Salary (2020):$70,270
Instructional coordinators create educational materials that align with the school curriculum. They also evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum and train teachers in meeting core standards. By evaluating test data, instructional coordinators determine modifications in the curriculum or teaching methods. Instructional coordinators typically bring teaching experience and hold master's degrees. Jobs in public schools typically require state-issued licenses.
|Median Salary (2020):$25,460
Childcare workers care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. They encourage basic skills like emotional regulation and number recognition. Childcare workers at the pre-K level prepare children for kindergarten. A childcare worker typically does not need a college degree, but pre-K teachers and preschool directors often hold degrees. Licensure requirements vary depending on location.