Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education

A bachelor's in elementary education can lead to a career teaching at the elementary level or positions in related fields, such as school administrators, preschool directors, and reading specialists. Majors in elementary education gain valuable teaching experience. After graduation, these teachers work with young learners to help them find academic success.

Many students choose to pursue an online bachelor's degree in elementary education to take advantage of the flexibility of distance programming.

While earning a bachelor's in elementary education, students take several classes that cover teaching methods, where they design lesson plans, assess student learning, and build core skills in literacy and mathematics. Many students choose to pursue an online bachelor's degree in elementary education to take advantage of the flexibility of distance programming. Online students complete the same courses as in-person learners, as well as required student teaching experiences. In many cases, an online degree fulfils the educational requirements for a state teaching license; however, before enrolling in a program, aspiring teachers should determine whether a specific elementary education program meets the requirements in their state.

Teachers at the elementary level work every day to support children's learning. An elementary education degree is suitable for professionals considering a career change or for educators seeking job advancement.

Choosing the right online bachelor's in elementary education program can feel somewhat overwhelming. Students benefit from a wealth of choices, especially when also considering elementary education online programs. Narrowing down your options to find the best program requires a substantial amount of research. By considering a program's cost, available specializations, degree length, and graduation requirements, prospective students looking to earn an elementary education degree online or on campus can find a program that closely matches their academic interests and career goals.

For many students, cost is a top consideration. In addition to looking at tuition rates, students should check the total number of credits/terms required to graduate. Some programs provide tuition discounts to online students, and financial aid can further offset the cost of a degree. A program's structure is another important factor. For example, some programs let students complete specialized courses in reading, mathematics, or special education, which can separate them from peers on the job market. Additionally, many programs offer full-time and part-time options; prospective students should consider which option better fits their schedule.

When evaluating elementary education degrees online, prospective students should also check for on-campus requirements, such as mandatory orientation sessions. Students who live far away from a school may prefer a program with no on-campus requirements, while local students might benefit from the blended format of a hybrid program. Certain graduation requirements, such as student teaching experiences or a final project, may also add to the length of a program. Additionally, some students may find that earning a bachelor's in early childhood education is a better fit than pursuing a bachelor's in elementary education.

Is a Degree in Elementary Education a BA or a BS?

Most elementary education degrees come in the form of a bachelor of arts rather than a bachelor of science. BA tracks typically include broader general education requirements, such as foreign language courses. In addition to major-specific classes, these programs also feature courses in the humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences. A BS, in contrast, may emphasize analytical and technical skills, with a greater number of credit requirements in the major field. Both degree options can meet the educational requirements for a teaching license.

Entry Requirements

In order to enroll in a bachelor's in elementary education program, students must first gain admission to a college or university. Each institution sets its own admissions requirements, which typically include a high school diploma or the equivalent, entrance exam scores (e.g., the SAT or ACT), and letters of recommendation and personal statements. Some programs also set a minimum GPA requirement for incoming freshmen or transfer students.

Students can transfer into a four-year institution after completing an associate degree in education or a related field. A two-year associate degree may meet the general education requirements for a bachelor's program, which can help students save on tuition. For example, by earning an associate degree in early childhood education, graduates may be able to transfer 60 or more credits toward a 120-credit bachelor's program, including both general education and major requirements.

After gaining admission to a college or university, students may also need to apply to a specific teaching program at the school. Elementary education programs may require students to complete certain prerequisites, such as introductory courses in teaching or general education courses. Learners who meet these entry requirements officially matriculate into a program where they begin taking general and specialized coursework to earn their elementary education degree.

Directory of Accredited Bachelor's in Elementary Education Programs

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In order to work as an elementary-level teacher, individuals must earn a teaching license in their state. Each state sets its own requirements and the licensure process varies. Typically, teachers must hold a bachelor's degree related to their area of expertise, pass certain exams, and complete a background check.

To meet their state's educational requirements, aspiring teachers typically need to earn a bachelor's degree in teaching from an approved teacher education program. Many online bachelor's degrees in elementary education or secondary education from an accredited institution meet this requirement; however, not all online teaching programs lead to licensure. Most states also require learners to carry out a student teaching practicum where they gain experience with classroom teaching, curriculum planning, and assessment. Each state sets different student teaching requirements.

After meeting the educational requirements, licensure candidates take exams specified by the state's teaching license board. In many states, these include a content-area examination. Candidates must also pass a teaching skills test. Many states use Praxis exams, while others rely on different examinations to test a teacher's qualifications.

Because the teaching licensure process operates at the state level, a license earned in one state often does not transfer across state lines. Licensed teachers must apply for a new license if they relocate, which may require additional training or examinations. Teachers usually need to show evidence of teaching effectiveness as part of this application process.

An elementary education degree prepares graduates to teach at the K-5 level or in preschools. Each state has a different process for earning a teaching license, so prospective teachers need to research how to become a teacher in their state. With an online elementary education credential, professionals can also pursue career paths beyond teaching and work as administrators, managers, and reading specialists. In addition, a bachelor's degree in elementary education prepares students to pursue a master's in early childhood education or a related field.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers instruct young learners from the kindergarten to fifth grade level, covering basic subjects such as math, reading, and writing. They also emphasize science, geography, and literacy skills. Some teachers at the elementary level specialize in areas like physical education, music, or art, while most teach multiple subjects to one class of students.

Median Salary: $57,160

Reading Specialist

Reading specialists work with elementary students to develop reading skills. As part of this job, professionals test students' reading levels, develop literacy training tools, and design literacy curricula. Reading specialists may also help create literacy programs for different grade levels at elementary schools.

Median Salary: $50,298

Elementary School Principal

Principals at the elementary level manage school operations, implement teaching plans, and oversee the school's teachers. As an administrative position, principals set goals for the school, communicate their vision to parents and teachers, and establish standards for academics. Many principal positions require prior teaching experience and some require a master's degree.

Median Salary: $80,455

Assistant Principal

Assistant principals support principals in managing schools, including overseeing teachers and staff, administering discipline when necessary, and running services and programs through the school. Assistant principals may also need a master's degree.

Median Salary: $70,753

Daycare Director

Daycare directors oversee the operation of a daycare or childcare center. They manage teachers and staff members, organize educational programs, and hire employees. Daycare directors also manage the finances for their center and establish budgets. They communicate with staff and families to ensure smooth operations at the center.

Median Salary: $35,200

Students considering an elementary education degree can access several sources to help pay for their bachelor's program. Some students pay out of pocket, submitting tuition payments each term, and many schools offer payment plans to help learners manage the costs of their degree. However, most students also rely on financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and/or loans. By researching the many options that can help pay for an online bachelor's degree in elementary education, students can mitigate some of the stress associated with paying for college.

Scholarships for Online Bachelor's in Elementary Education Degrees

TEACH Grant Up to $4,000 per year

Who Can Apply: Students earning a teaching degree who plan to work in a high-need field in a low-income area may qualify for TEACH grants. These grants convert to a loan if recipients do not meet their teaching obligations. View Scholarship

Edward G. and Helen A. Borgens Elementary Teacher Education Scholarship Up to $1,500

Who Can Apply: Applicants be at least 25 years old, hold a minimum 3.5 GPA, be a college sophomore or higher, and attend an accredited institution. View Scholarship

PDK Prospective Educator Scholarships $500-$2,000

Who Can Apply: High school seniors or undergraduates planning to become teachers qualify for this award. Applicants must be members of PDK International, Educators Rising, or Pi Lambda Theta and submit transcripts, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation. View Scholarship

Nancy Larson Foundation Scholarship Up to $1,000

Who Can Apply: Elementary education majors in their junior or senior year who have a strong academic record can apply for this award. View Scholarship

Ron Brown Scholarship $40,000

Who Can Apply: African American high school seniors with a demonstrated interest in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship, and global citizenship may apply. Applicants must also excel academically and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship
  • The National Education Association Founded in 1857, NEA represents more than 3 million educators and operates state and local affiliates. Members receive career guidance, teaching resources, and access to local networks.
  • Common Core Common Core standards, adopted at the national level and implemented by the states, provide guidelines for education in each elementary grade, including suggested lesson plans and activities.
  • The Association of American Educators Teachers who become AAE members can apply for classroom scholarships and grants. Members also qualify for liability insurance, legal protection, and certain discounts.
  • International Literacy Association Elementary educators working in reading and literacy can join ILA to gain access to professional development resources, publications, and networking opportunities.
  • Scholastic In addition to Scholastic's catalogue of books for all elementary grade levels, the organization's website provides lesson plans, teaching resources, and student activities.
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