Top 10 Best Online Elementary Education Degree Programs

elementary education degree online

For those wondering how to become a school teacher, a teaching degree is required in most states across the United States. Obtaining a teaching degree is easy and accessible when trying to get your teaching degree online. While an associate’s degree will get you in the classroom as a teacher’s assistant, for those who want to lead in the classroom, an online elementary teaching degree is what you should seek out when looking to get your elementary education bachelor’s degree. 

An online bachelor’s in elementary education allows you to build skills that will be with you in the classroom, and give you an insight as to the best way to teach certain subjects to your students. Bachelor degree in education requirements include being able to teach methods that your students can understand is essential for elementary school teachers. With the potential for the curriculum to change from year to year, the teacher must be prepared and ready to adjust their methods using the skills taught in their classes and from their internship experience. 

Ranking the Best Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Online 

To point prospective teachers to the online bachelor’s completion program for them, Value Colleges editors looked over a multitude of fully online and hybrid online elementary teaching degree programs – exclusively accredited colleges and universities. From our initial list, editors ran each program through the tried and true VC method, averaging scores on affordability, alumni salary, and student reviews, using data from Niche, College Scorecard, and IPEDS. This combination tells students that they’re looking at an online elementary education program with a real track record for quality and a serious expectation for return on investment

Featured Programs

1. Kansas State University

Kansas State University’s Global Campus offers a BS in Elementary Education that can be completed 100% online. KSU’s online elementary teaching degree requires the completion of 120 credit units, and those who graduate are eligible to receive the state of Kansas’ first teaching license; some graduates may be a certified ESL teacher. Additionally, each student must complete a student teaching assignment to graduate. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has accredited Kansas State’s bachelors in elementary education online program.   

Kansas State University was established in 1863. It holds the distinction of being a space grant and land grant institution of higher learning. The school operates with branch campuses in Olathe and Salina. The school’s 650+-acre college-town campus is home to more than 22,000 students studying for a degree offered by nine schools/colleges. Kansas State University was the first public university in the state of Kansas.

Degree: BS in Elementary Education

Kansas State University’s Global Campus

2. Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University offers a BS in Elementary Education with two areas of academic focus – Early Childhood education or Middle School education. MSU’s bachelors in elementary education online program requires the completion of a student teaching field experience at either an elementary school or middle school.  Mississippi State University elementary school teachers must be eligible in their junior and senior years to devote sufficient time completing their student teaching internship. Mississippi State University has received accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

Mississippi State University was established in 1878 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. Additionally, Mississippi State University is also a flagship school; sea grant and space grant institution of higher learning as well. The school is situated on 4000+-acres where more than 22,000 students are on a path to earn one of the 175+ degrees offered by twelve schools/colleges. Mississippi State University is home to the Mitchell Memorial Library, which contains more than 70,000 journals, and volumes that exceed 2,000,000.

Degree: BS in Elementary Education

Mississippi State University

3. University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College offers a BA in Elementary Education that can be completed entirely online. University of South Carolina’s online elementary teaching degree program has been recognized by Bestcolleges.com among the top baccalaureate-level programs in the country. Education degree candidates are required to complete 120 – 126 credit units (depending on the program selected); which can be completed in 2.5 – 3 years. Degree coursework includes Diversity in Learning, Classroom Assessments, Elementary Classroom Management, and Understanding Exceptional Children, to name a few. 

The University of South Carolina was established in 1801 and is the flagship campus of the University of South Carolina System. The University of South Carolina is a public and sea-grant university that operates with 7 additional satellite campuses across the state of South Carolina. The school’s Columbia campus is home to more than 34,000 students. US News recognizes the University of South Carolina as an and up and coming institution of higher learning.

Degree: BA in Elementary Education

University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College

4. University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a BS in Elementary Education that is available 100% online. The University of Southern Mississippi’s online bachelor in elementary education program is designed for those students who have been teaching assistants and wish to become licensed elementary educators. Graduates of USM’s elementary education degree program are eligible for licensing in the state of Mississippi for Kindergarten through Sixth grade.       

The University of Southern Mississippi was established in 1910 and operates with two campuses, one in Hattiesburg and the other campus located in Long Beach, MS. The school’s nearly 15,000 students are offered a two-day vacation so that they may participate in the Mardi Gras festivities in and around the school’s campuses. The University of Southern Mississippi operates an extensive program for students looking to study abroad. Each year approximately 200 students live and study in the heart of London, England. 

Degree: BS in Elementary Education

University of Southern Mississippi

5. LeTourneau University

LeTourneau University’s School of Education offers a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood through Sixth Grade or a concentration for education between the fourth and eighth grade. Coursework includes Young Child Development, Classroom Management, and Foundations in American education and Culture. LETU’s online distance learning platform offers year-round courses that can be taken in an accelerated format and a convenient option for earning your bachelors in elementary education online. Each elementary education bachelor’s degree concentration requires the completion of 120 credit units and a classroom teaching internship.  

LeTourneau University was established in 1946 and remains affiliated with an interdenominational Christian delegation. US News recognizes LeTourneau University as a ‘best value’ institution of higher learning. The school’s urban campus is home to more than 3,000 undergraduate students studying in Longview, Houston, and Dallas, TX. LeTourneau University was originally created to help veterans to re-enter traditional civilian life. 

Degree: BS in Interdisciplinary Studies – Early Childhood-6th Grade or 4th-8th Grade

LeTourneau University

6. Drexel University

Drexel University offers a BS in Education that prepares graduates to become licensed teachers between pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, or a special education certification. Drexel’s online elementary teaching degree can be completed in 2.5 to 5 five years, depending on the student’s available time. Additionally, degree candidates are required to complete 190 hours of student teaching fieldwork experience covering 3 consecutive months. Drexel University’s bachelors in elementary education online program prepares graduates to sit for state licensing exams.  

Drexel University was established in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. The school’s campus in the heart of the city of Brotherly Love is home to more than 24,000 students. US News considers Drexel University among the most innovative schools in the country. Drexel University is known for its unique cooperative educational experience that offers students an opportunity to gain work experience for a year and one-half while being paid.

Degree: BS in Education

Drexel University

7. University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s School of Education, College of Arts, Education & Sciences offers a BS in Elementary Education that can be completed entirely online. ULM’s online bachelors in elementary education program has received accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Coursework includes pedagogical studies, general studies, classroom instruction, and integrative studies.    

The University of Louisiana at Monroe was established in 1931. It is a member school of the University of Louisiana System. The school operates with state funding and has received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). US News recognizes the University of Louisiana at Monroe among their best college rankings.

Degree: BS in Elementary Education

University of Louisiana at Monroe

8. University of Northern Iowa

The University of Northern Iowa offers a BA in Elementary Education that can be completed entirely online. UNI’s BA in education program is unique in that students begin studying at a community college and then transfer to UNI to complete their baccalaureate nursing degree. Coursework includes Teaching Methods, Teaching Early Literacy and Classroom Management, among others.

The University of Northern Iowa was established in 1876 as the Iowa State Normal School. The school operates with schools that offer degrees in Education, Business, Behavioral Science, Arts & Sciences and Social Sciences. The University of Northern Iowa’s 8875+-acre campus is home to more than 11,000 students studies from the 90+ degree programs offered. Nearly 90% of UNI’s students are from the state of Iowa. 

Degree: BA in Elementary Education

University of Northern Iowa

9. East Carolina University

East Carolina University’s College of Education offers a BS in Elementary Education that can be completed 100% online. ECU’s program is entitled Partnership East. ECU’s BS degree allows students to begin their studies to become elementary school teachers at a community college in North Carolina, and then transfer to East Carolina University to complete their baccalaureate studies.   

East Carolina University was established in 1907 as a teacher’s college. East Carolina University now holds the distinction of being the 4th largest institution of higher education in the state of North Carolina.  The school’s student enrollment nears 30,000 students across its six campus properties from 14 colleges and professional schools. East Carolina University’s School of Education is the oldest school within the East Carolina University system.

Degree: BS in Elementary Education

East Carolina University

10. University of Illinois Springfield

The University of Illinois Springfield’s Department of Teacher Education offers a BA in Elementary Education that can be completed entirely online. Coursework for the University of Illinois’ includes Child Development, Educational Psychology, and Curriculum Planning. Degree candidates must complete clinical fieldwork as a student teacher in order to graduate. 

The University of Illinois Springfield was established in 1969 and is currently a member school of the University of Illinois system. The school’s rural campus is located near Lake Springfield and is home to nearly 5,500 students studying for 47 graduate and undergraduate degrees and one doctoral program. The University of Illinois Springfield is a member school of the Council of Liberal Arts institutions of higher learning. US News recognizes the University of Illinois Springfield 

Degree: BA in Elementary Education

University of Illinois Springfield’

Elementary education is an exciting career, allowing prospective teachers to inspire young minds and cultivate a passion for learning. Elementary educators are responsible for fostering strong learning habits, encouraging foundational knowledge, developing social skills, and advancing play styles. They may work with children from pre-school to sixth or seventh grade.

To become an elementary school teacher, students must obtain a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, complete an internship, and acquire state licensing for elementary school educators. Fortunately, students do not need to limit themselves to in-person instruction. If they prefer to complete their degrees virtually, there are plenty of excellent online colleges for elementary education. Yet, the number of choices and the varied content of the programs available can be challenging to maneuver. This FAQ will answer every pressing question about pursuing elementary teaching degrees online, including where to find the best schools for elementary education.

Can I Get a Teaching Degree Online?

When searching for how can you get a teachers degree online, you must consider several things such as the accreditation of the program and transfer credit acceptance for those who have already gained some college credit and would like it to transfer to their program. Accreditation refers to the school’s recognition and will determine if it is an accepted program by your state’s Department of Education. This accreditation can be regional or federal, but it is required before any state department will accept and reward new aspiring teachers certification to teach in a classroom. 

Also determine if the program you are seeking, especially for Bachelors, offers the ability for you to gain certification. For example, is there a teaching component with the program? Many of these programs online are making it easier for students to work with their local school district through their program and gain local certification while obtaining your teaching degree online through either an in-state or out-of-state institution. 

Is a Traditional Bachelor’s in Education Better than an Online Program?

When online education was first introduced to the education industry, some state education departments were skeptical and began investigating these programs to determine what they lacked in comparison to a tradition program found at the local universities. What they have found was that the difference is very little, making them acceptable programs. In fact, many school districts and states encourage current teaching assistants and substitute teachers who are interested in their own classroom to take the bachelor’s degree in education online, as it allows them to continue working full-time for the majority of the program. Some employers will even pay for the tuition.

Some students, however, find that they enjoy the traditional programs at their local institutions. For those who believe the classroom would allow them to meet success, then they should seek out an elementary education degree near me. This search will provide a list of both traditional and online programs found within a physical distance that is searched, or even within the state. In a traditional classroom setting, students can expand upon communication with their colleagues, as they are able to interact with them face-to-face, and capture more of the classroom atmosphere that they will be experiencing once they begin to teach. It is also easier for those who are obtaining their teaching degree in a traditional setting to get their certification because their institution is already allied with the local school district for the internship component of their degree requirement. 

What Will I Learn in a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Program?

When reviewing elementary education degree requirements, common courses among all programs, whether traditional or online can be found. These courses include not only the subject matter that you will be teaching but courses around childhood development during their elementary years in additional to childhood psychology (something elementary education and early childhood education have in common). Because elementary school teachers spend so many hours a day with the same children, they begin to understand and recognize their personalities, building relationships with these children. Properly maintaining these relationships and being aware of personality changes is essential for the person who will be with them for the majority of the day. 

Experiential learning is also another aspect of elementary education degree requirements that these teachers must have before they can be certified to teach their own course. With this learning experience, they are provided access to the most recent technology used in the classroom, as well as resources available in their local school districts for the teachers currently in place. This experience gives students the chance to see different classroom designs and instructions before they take on their classroom and decide which method fits their needs.

What Is An Online Elementary Education Degree?

Traditionally, elementary education students needed 4-5 years of study and an internship in physical classrooms. Today, with online schools for elementary education, students can accomplish a large portion of their bachelor’s degrees virtually. Typically, students must complete their practicum in person as they need to learn and demonstrate how to lead a real classroom.

Most students pursue online bachelor degrees in elementary education with certification. However, some students may have already earned a bachelor degree in a different subject. In these cases, students can pursue shorter programs to acquire a teacher certification or entertain higher academia. Many schools also offer online graduate degrees in elementary education, allowing students to focus on particular areas of education, improve career opportunities and increase their entry salary. To do that, they need to find the best online colleges for elementary education.

Why Earn an Elementary Education Degree?

Elementary education is an exceptional career path for anyone with a passion for teaching and a love for children. An elementary education degree allows career seekers to pursue their dream job, as most schools require qualifications and certifications before practice. In particular, 96.2% of elementary school teachers in the United States hold a bachelor degree.

Whether students earn an in-person or online elementary education bachelor’s, they will find many schools hiring for this in-demand profession across the United States. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to grow 7% or more in the next decade. Likewise, elementary educators earn an average of $61, 400 reaching up to $99 420 annually. These promising statistics indicate that pursuing a 4-year degree in education is rewarding overall.

Additionally, elementary education prepares graduates for teaching. They do not simply focus on one subject, expecting students to understand how to teach that subject to children. They provide up-to-date knowledge and training in best teaching practices, child psychology, child learning styles and habits, and curriculum preparation and management. This way, education students will learn theory and its application throughout their studies.

Unlike many academic degrees, most elementary education programs guide students toward securing a career. They provide exemplary advisors or extensive resources, encourage networking, facilitate internships or practicum, and prepare students for their teaching license exams. They may offer help or guidance in finding placements after graduation, although prior internships may also serve as a sufficient launch pad.

More students realize online bachelor degrees in elementary education offer similar perks to in-person programs. In fact, general online course enrollment increased 50% in 2020 and increased by an additional 32% in 2021. These numbers will only grow larger as students grasp online programs’ flexibility and convenience.

What Is the Curriculum for Elementary Education?

Elementary education programs contain similar course components, as graduates must pass a licensing exam. Schools expect teachers to have common core knowledge. The best elementary education colleges should offer most of the following elementary education courses:

  • Child Development
  • Child Psychology
  • Child Learning Styles
  • Current Models of Elementary Curriculum
  • Curriculum Preparation and Implementation
  • Communication Methods
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Teaching
  • Diversity and Inclusivity in the Classroom
  • Classroom Management
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Special Needs in the Classroom
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Art
  • Physical Education

It may not be possible for students to pursue their internships through online bachelor degrees in elementary education, although the schools will still oversee and evaluate its completion. In these cases, students may need to complete teaching observation, teaching practicum, and student teaching evaluations in person. However, some schools may satisfy this requirement through virtual learning opportunities.

What Are Elementary Education Degree Specializations?

The core program of elementary education focuses on generalized knowledge, ensuring graduates can teach all subjects. However, elementary education students can specialize in specific domains. Schools allow concentrations in subjects or functions, granting certificates to prove knowledge and skill or declaring additional minors or double majors. In this way, students can define and direct their career path in a fulfilling area.

Some elementary schools hire educators to teach one group of children for every subject, while other schools require teachers to handle rotating groups of children for one subject. In the latter case, hiring committees value elementary teachers with specializations. Common core subjects include mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, art, music, and physical education.

The best online schools for elementary education offer specializations for different types of learners. The most popular concentrations with certificates include English Second Language, Gifted and Talented, and Special Education or Special Needs Education. These programs help teachers prepare, learn, and practice working with kids who may need extra assistance in school.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Elementary Education Degrees?

Online bachelors degrees in elementary education have similar admission requirements to most other bachelors degrees. First, students typically need to meet a GPA dictated by the specific school, as proven by high school transcripts. Prospective students may also need to provide up to three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a letter of intent. If the program offers practicum or helps place students in an internship, they will ask for a criminal background check at admissions or during the program.

How Do You Choose the Best Online Elementary Education Degree?

High school graduates often find choosing a university and a program difficult without an accurate guide. Online programs can be more confusing, as it can be hard to discern whether they can lead to an elementary teaching career. To choose the best online degree, students should make sure:

  1. It is an accredited school: Teacher’s licenses require a degree from an accredited college or university. Students can verify if the university and the program have accreditation from a professional organization such as the Department of Education or the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
  2. It prepares for licensure exam: Some online programs only prepare students for the state’s teaching license exam, while others offer it as part of the degree.
  3. It includes practicum: Top elementary education colleges have an internship, guiding and evaluating progress as an in-person portion.
  4. It offers specialization: Online schools for elementary education do not all offer specializations. If students wish to focus on a specific domain, it is essential to ensure the school provides it.

Do You Get a Teacher Certification With an Online Degree?

Without a teacher’s certificate or license, elementary education graduates cannot teach in elementary schools. Typically, students must take standardized exams administered by their state to earn their certificate. The best online elementary education programs will prepare and administer the teacher licensure exams.

Furthermore, they must have a bachelor degree in elementary education from an accredited program and have a certain amount of work experience or practicum. Students can earn an online degree in elementary ed and meet these requirements.

What Are the Best Online Schools for Elementary Education?

It can be overwhelming to find and choose the perfect school. Fortunately, prospective teachers do not need to worry about endless research. They simply need to ensure their preferred schools maintain a few key characteristics.

The top elementary education colleges provide many variations of the degree. They may allow students to work with an appointed advisor to customize a course plan. In this way, students can meet unique goals or accommodate personal needs. If schools do not offer this option, it is an excellent idea to verify the specializations, double majors, minors, or elective courses available. Accordingly, students can tailor their own academic path and reach their career objectives.

Some online programs for elementary education do not include practicum, which makes it harder for students to complete their degree requirements. The best online programs will not only include but guide internships. Students can observe experienced teachers in classrooms, work alongside teachers, and lead their own classes with continuous feedback. Additionally, the inclusion of practicum satisfies partial requirements for a state teaching license.

If students are pursuing an elementary education degree online, they may receive little in-person instruction or experience. For this reason, prospective students may wish to find a school that offers ongoing support after graduation. Support may include advisors that graduates can turn to for advice, access to special resources, direction for class or curriculum development, or help with finding a job and networking opportunities.

Furthermore, students must ensure online colleges for elementary education have accreditation from an appropriate organization. States will only issue a teaching certificate if graduates received an accredited degree. If students earned a bachelor degree in a different subject, their teaching certification program must also be an accredited degree.

Can You Get a Career from Elementary Teaching Degrees Online?

Students who complete their online program and earn a teaching license can successfully become teachers. Since online programs cover similar core topics, administer comprehensive evaluations, and oversee classroom experience, schools view them as identical to in-person degrees. Apart from a licensed elementary school teacher, graduates can also become program directors, elementary school administrators, youth service workers, social workers, special care counselors, child care directors, daycare workers, librarians, and tutors.

Related Rankings: