Students pursing master's degrees in elementary education learn to develop curricula, practice teaching techniques and understand basic child psychology. Programs include supervised student teaching experiences at a local elementary school, part of most states' prerequisites to sit for the teacher credentialing exams and earn licensure. Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree and, in some cases, GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores.
Currently licensed elementary education teachers can also find master's degree programs that prepare them for career advancement. These programs may include concentrations in such areas as curriculum and assessment or special education.
Master's Degree in Elementary Education
Coursework in elementary education master's degree programs includes the study of teaching methods for different content areas, including reading, language arts, math and social studies. Common courses at the elementary education level include:
- Technology in elementary education
- Curriculum design
- Human growth and development
- Classroom management
- Elementary teaching practicum
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were almost 1.4 million elementary school teachers working in 2015, with opportunities for employment expected to grow 6% between 2014 and 2024. The best opportunities in elementary education were expected in rural and urban locations. The BLS also reported that, as of 2015, the median annual salary for elementary school teachers was $54,550.
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
Elementary school teachers in all states and the District of Columbia are required to earn teaching licensure, unless they work in private schools. Licensure requirements vary by state, but some commonalities exist; these include completion of a state-approved training program (such as a bachelor's or master's degree program), supervised student teaching experience and successful completion of a competency exam. Individuals looking to train other aspiring elementary teachers or become advanced administrators may pursue a Ph.D. in Elementary Education.
Elementary school teachers interested in furthering their education or advancing their career can enroll in a master's degree program. These programs are also designed for students with undergraduate degrees in areas other than education who would like to pursue a career in this field.