Best Online Elementary Education Degree Programs

Degree Overview

Elementary education is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy working with children and imparting knowledge. The field has been in flux in recent years, with many adjustments and changes happening as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many senior teachers leaving the field, and many professionals seeking innovations that may help future educators solve new challenges, there is perhaps an excellent opportunity for certain enterprising individuals who would like to help write the next chapter of the elementary education industry.



Western Governors University

Location: Online (based in Salt Lake City, UT)

Fastest time to graduation: 19 Months

Acceptance rate: 100%

Graduation rate: 50%

Cost of attendance: $7,452.00 per year

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Admission requirements

  • Application form
  • Official high school/college transcripts
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $65

Unique offerings

  • Competency-based education; charges by the term rather than by the credit so students can graduate faster and control the total cost of their degree
  • Known for excellent distance learning
  • Awarded for high performance

Southern New Hampshire University

Location: Online (based in Manchester, NH)

Graduation rate: 54%

Cost of attendance: $15,380.00 per year

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education


University of Arizona Global Campus

Location: Online (based in Chandler, AZ)

Cost of attendance: $28,824.00 total (%tuition_2% per year or %tuition_3% per credit)

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools & Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Elementary Education Programs

Why Get a Degree in Elementary Education?

Teaching is often portrayed as a thankless job. But while there will definitely be difficult days in elementary education, for the right personality it can be one of the most fulfilling and satisfying jobs available.

Market Demand

One major reason to gain a degree in elementary education is the current market demand. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the world will need 69 million new teachers by the year 2030 to keep pace with educational needs โ€” and that was based on pre-COVID statistics โ€” so there is a lot of room for new elementary ed majors in the current and future job market.

Childlike Wonder

There really is much to be said for the enthusiasm and energy of youth. Sure, it can be a bit much if you’re not prepared for it, but when well-directed and given proper discipline, the boundless energy and optimism of a learning child can be contagious. Seeing things through the eyes of a child, to whom everything is new and interesting, can make your world seem brighter and happier.

Focus on the Fundamentals

It’s called “elementary” school for a reason. Students are there to get a handle on the basic principles of learning which they can build upon as they grow. That doesn’t necessarily mean that teaching at the elementary level is easier than older age groups โ€” in fact, it brings with it some of its own challenges. But if the idea of equipping young learners with the basic tools they need to become lifelong learners is appealing to you, it can make for an exciting aspect of the job.

Variety of Subjects

One way that elementary school differs from secondary school in most school systems is that, instead of splitting time with several teachers in specialized class periods, elementary school students typically spend their whole day with one teacher. For this reason, elementary school teachers have more freedom to generalize the topics they teach. If novelty and variety from day to day are a must for you, elementary ed can be a good career choice.

What are some course examples?

While the courses an elementary education major should take vary from school to school, the core subjects will generally cover similar ground. Elementary Ed majors can expect to take classes such as:

  • Intro to Education
  • Child Psychology and Development
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Curriculum Development
  • Classroom Management
  • Educational Technology
  • Special Education and Education of Exceptional Students
  • Teaching Core Subjects (Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, etc.)
  • Internships

What careers are typically available?

While the obvious career path with an elementary education degree is to become an elementary school teacher, this isn’t the only role available. Elementary ed majors can also become principals, special education teachers, preschool directors, preschool teachers, and teaching assistants. However, some of these careers may require additional schooling to earn the right job certifications.

What is the average salary range?

The salary of an elementary school teacher in a public school environment in the United States ranges from $39,000 to $82,000, with a median salary of about $60,000. This salary is highly dependent on a variety of factors, including one’s education and certifications, level of experience, the local job market, and many others. One should also keep in mind the growing market for charter schools, which skews this average with outlier salaries both under and over the averages for public schools.

What are typical admission requirements?

Specific admission requirements for elementary education programs will vary depending on the institution, but they usually require students to maintain good academic standing, pass a background check, and be placed on the path to teaching licensure.

How long does it take? (On average)

In general, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education usually requires a total of 120 credit hours, which normally takes a full-time student about four academic years (eight semesters) to complete. Some states also allow teachers to earn their licenses through accelerated programs, so be sure to check the requirements for a teaching license in the state you hope to teach in, as well as the programs your chosen institution can offer.

What is the average cost of getting the degree?

The average cost of a bachelor’s degree in the US breaks down to:

  • Average in-state tuition: $9,580 per year * 4 years = $38,320 total
  • Average out-of-state tuition: $27,437 per year * 4 years = $109,748 total
  • Average private university tuition: $53,949 per year * 4 years = $215,796 total

This does not include other expenses like books, supplies, or room and board, so plan accordingly. However, the good news is that there are various federal grants, scholarships, and other ways of greatly reducing the price of admission. FAFSA is a great resource for finding financial aid through federal Pell Grants, which is worth considering if you aren’t sure if paying for your degree will be feasible.

Get Learning to Get Teaching

Young children often cite being a teacher as the thing they want to do when they grow up, probably because their teachers are some of their most prominent role models. If that desire never left you, or even if you only recently discovered it, a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education is your first stop on the road to becoming a teacher. In some areas, teachers can get their license with this degree alone, but in others, it will need to be followed by a master’s degree for a person to become sufficiently licensed.

While determining the right program and institution for your bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education can feel like an overwhelming task, with the right research and planning, you can remove the guesswork and be confident that you’re selecting your ideal college. With the help of, you can rank the various program options that lay before you on a variety of criteria, narrowing the search down to the institution that will best meet your educational needs, and at the best price, so you can get quickly to work in achieving your long-term career goals.