Online Colleges with Elementary Education Programs: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online elementary education school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, on-campus requirements, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in elementary education differ in program types and field experience requirements. Interested students should consider these factors, as well as their career goals and they explore some of the available programs and schools found here.

How to Select an Online Elementary Education School

Online elementary education programs are offered by 4-year colleges and universities. Choosing an online elementary education program will depend on several factors, such as physical attendance requirements, field experience requirements and certification options. Students should consider the program delivery method, the school location and their personal career goals when selecting an online program.

Program Type

When selecting an online elementary education program, one thing for students to consider is the type of delivery method the program uses. Many schools offer hybrid programs that deliver part of the course online and part of the course on-campus or at an off-site location. Depending on the school, students may have to travel to the campus or off-site location from several times a semester to up to every weekend.

Field Experience

Most online elementary education programs require practicum or field experience hours where students can observe and interact with elementary classrooms. These requirements can't be completed online. Some schools will arrange the practicum for students, while others require that students find their own, local elementary education setting.

Career Goals

Another consideration for students interested in online elementary education programs is career goals. First, many schools prepare students for certification in the state where the school is located; therefore, students should pick a school that can offer certification requirements for the state in which he or she wishes to find employment.

Additionally, there are some elementary education programs offered online that do not fulfill certification prerequisites for any state. Students who are already certified or looking to simply enhance their education may be interested in these programs. However, students who wish to be certified to teach should verify that schools fulfill state requirements.

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List of Online Elementary Education Degrees

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

A distance learning bachelor's degree in elementary education can be completed mostly online. Students learn how to provide instruction for elementary children in basic studies such as math, science, social studies and language. Some elementary education programs require that students attend campus or an off-site location periodically for part of the program. Core topics include:

  • Child growth and development
  • Creativity and play
  • Literacy development

Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education

An online master's degree in elementary education may be offered to students who have a bachelor's degree and are interested in furthering their education and career opportunities. Most programs require student teaching field experience at an elementary or middle school. Coursework may include methodologies for teaching math, science and social studies in a K-8 classroom. Students will also study:

  • Music and art curriculum development
  • Perspectives on multicultural education
  • Discipline and literacy in young children

Schools With Online Programs in Elementary Education

Liberty University has an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education Interdisciplinary Studies (non-licensure with 5th year MAT option) program. The program totals 120 credits and has an optional practicum experience. This program is tailored for students wanting to work in private schools, homeschooling or tutoring. This program also teaches from a Christian perspective. Liberty University also offers an online Master of Arts in Teaching-Elementary Education program that includes an internship and three on-campus intensives.

Ball State University provides a Master of Arts in Education in Elementary Education degree program that is fully online. Students can choose from several different specializations, including autism, gifted and talented education and middle school education. Class sizes are small and students can finish in four semesters.

Western Governors University offers an online Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education (K-8) program that leads to teacher licensure. Students participate in an in-classroom experience and develop a professional portfolio. Students also take a cohort seminar and courses including teaching foundations and instructional planning.

Students interested in pursuing an online degree program in elementary education can find bachelor's and master's programs that vary in the type of program and additional field experience like student teaching. When choosing a program students should select a program that aligns with their career goals and schedule.

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