Do you remember your favorite elementary school teachers? Maybe they were the ones who introduced you to your favorite childhood book, sparked your interest in the natural sciences, or taught you a method for mental math you still use today. Elementary school teachers can leave a lasting impression on their students and help open young minds for years to come. If you want to be a part of that for another generation of students, you might be a perfect fit for an elementary education degree online. Here’s a look at what your online bachelor’s degree in elementary education might look like and how it can position you for a fulfilling career as an educator.
Spotlight on Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Elementary Education
There are plenty of online bachelor’s degrees in elementary education out there, and each one has something distinctive to offer. While all accredited programs need to meet certain standards, program requirements, course flexibility, and whether courses are fully online or hybrid can vary.
Whatever program you choose, an accredited online degree in elementary education will be designed to prepare you to begin elementary school teaching as a job upon graduation. Here are a few different elementary education degree online options for you to consider.
Program details: Formerly a women’s-only college founded in 1878, Brenau University is a private, nonprofit college offering a BS in elementary education, which is offered both on campus and online. While the program can be completed fully through distance learning, teaching experiences must be completed in the state of Georgia, and the coursework is geared towards earning a Georgia teacher’s license.
- Location: Brenau University has a physical campus in Gainesville, Georgia, and an extensive array of online degree programs.
- Time to completion: The program takes four years of full-time study to complete.
- Accreditation: Brenau University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Cost: Tuition is set at $754 per credit, with an estimated total cost of $90,480. Financial aid and scholarships are available.
Program details: The University of Alaska Southeast is a public university offering an online BA in elementary education that meets both national and Alaska regional standards. With fully online classes and a student teaching element that can be completed in your local community, this program is 100% distance. Graduates of the program are recommended for teaching certification to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
- Location: The University of Alaska Southeast has a small rural campus outside of Juneau in addition to its online programs.
- Time to completion: Students attending full time can expect to finish in about four years.
- Accreditation: The University of Alaska Southeast is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
- Cost: In-state tuition for Alaska residents is set at $234 per credit hour, while out-of-state tuition is $800 per credit hour. Scholarships and financial aid are available.
Program details: The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is a state university offering an online elementary education BA program geared towards students based in southeastern North Carolina. Students in the online program will complete all classwork online but will also gain hands-on experience as student teachers in partnering schools in southeastern North Carolina.
- Location: UNC Wilmington has both a physical campus in Wilmington and an online learning program offering a variety of degrees.
- Time to completion: Full-time students can finish the program in about four years.
- Accreditation: UNC Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Cost: In-state tuition for North Carolina residents is set at $185.13 per credit hour, while out-of-state tuition is $837.96 per credit hour. Financial and scholarships are available.
Inside Coursework for Degrees in Elementary Education Online
Before you commit to a bachelor’s in elementary education degree online, it’s a good idea to know what you’ll be studying. In an elementary education program, you’ll learn about child development in the context of learning, and the particulars for teaching different groups of students and various subjects. Most programs will also require some hands-on student teaching. Here are a few examples of classes you’re likely to take.
As an elementary school teacher, you’ll be responsible for a classroom of children, possibly over a full school day. In a course on classroom management, you’ll learn strategies for meeting your student’s needs, individually and as a class, while maintaining a comfortable classroom and healthy learning environment. This can also include administrative techniques for keeping your classroom orderly and maintaining a physical space conducive to learning.
Intro to the Learning Process
Students learn in several different ways. In this course, you will learn about learning and the psychology that goes into effective teaching. This course may also cover elements of child psychology, child development at the elementary school age groups, and neuroscience and neuroplasticity. This course will also provide an overview of different learning styles and how to apply them in a classroom setting, with an eye toward the curriculum and your student’s needs.
America is a multicultural nation, and that applies to its classrooms. As a teacher, you’ll be working with students from a variety of different backgrounds. This can impact their approaches to their schoolwork and is something a teacher must be mindful of. Multicultural education courses will provide a grounding in teaching a diverse array of students and may have a particular focus on cultures with a strong presence where your school is located.
Teaching Students with Special Needs
Every student is different, and a good teacher must be aware of any special needs in their classroom. While not a special education course leading to specialized certification, this class will cover different techniques for teaching students with special needs, including physical and social/psychological needs, in the context of your broader classroom. This will also include strategies for when you believe a student requires more support than you, as a teacher, are equipped to provide.
While not a traditional course per se, most online elementary education BA programs will include a student teaching component. This will be a hands-on, experiential learning portion of your degree, which will take place in a classroom at a school convenient to you. You will be working alongside a licensed elementary school teacher and will likely have to complete a certain number of hours of student teaching to become licensed as a teacher in your state.
Cost of Earning Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education
One potential advantage of earning your bachelor’s in elementary education degree online is the opportunity to save money as compared to an on-campus degree. Studying online means that you won’t have to pay relocation costs to move to campus and may be more easily able to work full or part time while you study.
The affordability of different programs can vary, and it’s important to do your research and compare costs when choosing your program. Here are some points of comparison for the differing costs of online elementary education degrees.
How to Pay for an Elementary Education Degree Online
While college costs are an important consideration, there are many different options to fund your elementary education degree online. In addition to traditional financial aid options, including loans and scholarships, there are several education-specific opportunities to fund your degree. Below are a few options to consider.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) federal grant program provides need-based aid of up to $4000 per year to those pursuing teacher training education. You can apply through FAFSA and must be enrolled in an eligible program to receive a grant. You will have to complete TEACH counseling before you receive your grant, and you will need to complete a service obligation upon graduation or else repay the money you received.
Teacher.org provides a helpful database of scholarships for future educators along with relevant links to applications and further information. These include subject-specific grants, scholarships for students from underrepresented demographics,and scholarships for different types of teacher education, including postgraduate degrees. Take your time looking through the site to see which scholarships you may be eligible for and how to apply for them.
State-Specific Grants for Education
Depending on where you’re located, you may be eligible for a state-specific grant or scholarship. Many states offer scholarships and funding programs for future educators who are from or planning to teach in their state or students in the state with financial need. Some examples include the AzLEAP program in Arizona, the teaching-specific Student Teaching Scholarship for High-Need Fields in Indiana, and Nevada’s Teach Nevada Scholarship, all funded by their state departments of education. Check if you’re eligible for state-specific scholarships when you’re applying for aid.
Local and Community Foundations
Many local and community foundations offer scholarships for future educators. It pays to do your research. Check your local community for smaller foundations, nonprofits, etc., which may offer scholarships and grants, sometimes specific to education majors. In particular, educational foundations may offer funding for future educators who intend to teach in the community after completing their degree, which can be a great option if you don’t intend to relocate.
What Can You Do with an Online Elementary Education Degree?
Your elementary education degree online bachelor’s is geared towards a career as an elementary-level educator, but that can mean a variety of different jobs. From general to specialized teaching to educational administration and leadership, here are a few potential careers for you to explore once you’ve earned your degree.
Elementary School Teacher
Possibly the most popular job for elementary education majors, elementary school teachers work with kids from kindergarten through fifth grade. Depending on what grade you teach, you may be responsible for a single subject or several, such as math and science at a lower grade level or only English or social studies at a higher one. According to the BLS, the average elementary school teacher earned $61,350 in 2021, so expect to make a steady living in a fulfilling career if you choose this job.
Some elementary education majors, particularly those with a strong interest in education policy across a school system and an interest in using their quantitative skills on the job, may become instructional coordinators. An instructional coordinator oversees curriculum design and assesses the effectiveness of educational materials and teaching standards. If you become an instructional coordinator, you can expect to earn an average of $63,740 per year. Job demand is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade, meaning demand for the position will hold steady.
For those interested in working directly with children who enjoy the educational psychology aspect of their online elementary education degree, a job as a school counselor at the elementary level could be a great fit. This is a role that requires working one-on-one with students and providing emotional and psychological support where needed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for school counselors is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade at a 10% growth rate. With salaries comparable to teachers, this is a rewarding career that’s in demand.
FAQs About Online Elementary Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Here are 5 of the most pressing questors regarding elementary education degrees online, according to our readers.
Are online bachelor’s degree programs in elementary education fully online?
While bachelor’s degrees in elementary education may be offered 100% through distance learning, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to complete the program without some in-person work. This is because most elementary education programs include student teaching, which will require you to work with students under a licensed teacher at a school that has an agreement with your program. However, traditional classes will likely be fully online.
What accreditation should I look for in an online bachelor’s in elementary education program?
When choosing where to attend college, it’s vital that you select a school that is accredited. Accreditation from a recognized third-party accreditation body is what gives your degree legitimacy, and means you’ll be eligible to apply for teaching licensure and jobs when you graduate. In the case of an online bachelor’s in elementary education, you need to make sure your school has regional or national accreditation.
What does the admissions process look like for this degree?
The admissions process for an elementary education degree online bachelor’s program in is similar to applying for college in general. You will need to fill out an application form, usually online, and provide any other relevant materials, including SAT or ACT scores where needed, letters of recommendation, essays, and personal statements. Check your school’s specific admissions requirements, such as if they request a minimum high school GPA, before you apply.
How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in elementary education online?
An online bachelor’s degree in elementary education typically takes the same amount of time as any traditional bachelor’s degree at an average of four years. However, depending on your program and personal circumstances, this timeline may vary. Some schools offer part-time programs, which may take longer to complete. On the other hand, if you are coming to the program with transfer credits, such as those from a community college, you may finish your degree months or even years faster.
What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s degree in elementary education?
Academic and career support services for elementary education degree online students can vary significantly from school to school. However, many schools will offer, at a minimum, online career counseling services and some form of preparation for teacher licensure in the state the school is located, with the idea that the program provides you with preparation to work as a licensed teacher after graduation. Other forms of support offered may include peer-to-peer counseling, virtual career fairs, and more.
More Education Degrees to Explore
Are you still undecided which bachelor’s degree in education you are going to choose. Check out these other education degree options: