Austin Elementary Education Teaching Programs
Several colleges within driving distance of Austin offer elementary education programs. The three schools highlighted in this article are all within about 35 minutes of the city's downtown area. Learn about the student teaching components and required coursework at the institutions. Also included is a table of school stats and some info on a fourth university option.
- Students at Southwestern University, a liberal arts school, can take advantage of its small size to develop relationships with faculty. Located 29 miles from central Austin, it offers a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
- Texas State University - San Marcos, located roughly 31 miles from Austin's downtown area, has a long history of educating aspiring teachers; it was founded in 1899 as a training school for Texas public school teachers. Students can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in elementary education at the school.
- The University of Texas - Austin, the largest school profiled here, offers many options for teacher training and advanced teaching degrees. The institution is situated less than two miles from the center of the city and has bachelor's degree, post-baccalaureate certification and master's degree programs in the field.
Comparison of Schools
For students who want the big university experience, Texas State University and the University of Texas both might be acceptable options. Southwestern University has a much lower enrollment figure, which might appeal to those looking for smaller classes. Explore enrollment numbers, as well as stats on many areas like tuition and acceptance rates, in the following table.
|Southwestern University||Texas State University - San Marcos||The University of Texas - Austin|
|School Type||4-year; private not-for-profit||4-year; public||4-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)*||1,396||38,666||51,525|
|Campus Setting||Large Suburb||Small Suburb||Large city|
|Tuition & Fees 2017-2018'*'||$40,560||$9,985 in-state; $21,605 out-of-state||$10,398 in-state; $36,744 out-of-state|
|'% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)*||98%||81%||64%|
|'Acceptance Rate (2017)*||43%||73%||36%|
|'Retention Rate (2017)*||86% for full-time students||78% for full-time students||95% for full-time students|
|'Graduation Rate (began 2011)*||74%||54%||83%|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.
Through classroom instruction and student teaching opportunities, elementary education students at Southwestern University gain the knowledge and experience needed to take the Texas examination for elementary teacher certification. The education department offers certification programs for teachers of all levels, from early childhood through secondary school.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Education - Elementary
Aspiring elementary school teachers at Southwestern University major in education and complete an early childhood through grade six teacher certification program. Students must apply separately to the teacher certification program; admission requirements include acceptable scores on the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) tests. In addition to a semester of student teaching, the program includes courses in classroom management, lesson planning and teaching all the subjects in an elementary school curriculum. Southwestern also offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program in elementary education; the difference between the B.S. and the B.A. is that the B.A. does not lead to certification. Because students in the Bachelor of Science program not only earn a degree but also must fulfill state requirements for certification, the B.S. program may require an extra semester to complete versus the Bachelor of Arts.
Texas State University - San Marcos
Texas State University - San Marcos's College of Education has three departments: Curriculum and Instruction (C&I), which includes elementary education; Health and Human Performance (HHP); and Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education and School Psychology (CLAS). Texas State offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in elementary education, with several options for specialties.
Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
Students seeking careers as elementary school teachers major in interdisciplinary studies at Texas State University. Students must apply separately for admission to the teacher preparation program; admission requirements include attending a seminar for prospective teachers. All elementary teaching students complete a general curriculum that includes education core courses, such as human development and language acquisition. Certifications available for the elementary level include English as a Second Language (ESL) generalist and bilingual generalist, both for early childhood through grade six, and special education, for early childhood through grade 12.
Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Elementary Education
The master's degree programs at Texas State University don't lead to initial teacher certification, but students in the M.Ed. program can add a certification component to their studies. The M.A. in Elementary Education program calls for a thesis plus 30 hours of course credits. M.Ed. students take 24 hours of coursework and 12 hours in a specialty minor, such as reading. Certification options include bilingual, talent development, ESL, master math teacher (early childhood through grade four) and more. Texas State also offers a teacher fellows program that allows first- and second-year teachers to earn a master's degree in less time.
The University of Texas - Austin
The University of Texas - Austin offers two methods of obtaining elementary teacher certification: a bachelor's degree that leads to certification or, for those who have already earned a bachelor's, a post-baccalaureate certification program. UT also offers M.A. and M.Ed. programs in elementary education. A unique feature is University of Texas Elementary School, an Austin charter school run by the university. UT students at all levels can complete field experiences and conduct research there.
Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development
Undergraduate students seeking certification as elementary school teachers at the University of Texas - Austin can major in applied learning and development; early childhood to sixth grade certifications are for ESL Core Subjects/Generalist and Bilingual Core Subjects/Generalist. Those who want to teach special education at an elementary school will need certification in all-level special education. Students must make a separate application for admission to the Professional Development Sequence. Admission requirements include an acceptable GPA and completion of prerequisite courses. Teacher education courses include classroom management and teaching methods. The entire fourth year of the program is spent in an internship and student teaching.
This program leads only to teacher certification and is for students who already hold a bachelor's degree. Students complete courses in language acquisition, arithmetic and individual differences. They must apply to the Professional Development Sequence, which consists of three semesters of internships and student teaching. Options include ESL generalist and bilingual generalist; the latter includes Spanish for bilingual teachers and courses in how to teach students who use Spanish as their primary language. Students who want to teach at the elementary level can also enter all-level certification programs for physical education and special education.
Master of Education or Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education
For those seeking a master's degree, the University of Texas offers three options: an M.Ed. with a report (a research area of the student's choosing), an M.Ed. without a report but with an additional elective, or an M.A. (report required). The degree program consists of 33 credit hours if the student completes a report or 36 credit hours without one. Education course options cover environmental education, global comparisons in early childhood education, social context, and parents' roles. Students also study research methods.
Other School Options
Concordia University - Texas, located about 17 miles from downtown Austin, is operated by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Qualified graduates of its Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Curriculum program can earn a Lutheran teacher diploma, which allows them to teach in a Lutheran school.