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Elementary education programs provide training in methods and techniques for teaching children and prepare aspiring teachers for licensure exams. Students can find hybrid distance learning degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels in this field from several traditional four-year institutions and private online schools. While no elementary education programs are available entirely online, it is possible to find fully online Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate level programs. These programs prepare students for the CDA certification exam, allowing pursuit of child care work.
Those enrolled in an online elementary education program must complete in-person student teaching requirements before applying for state licensure. Internships take place towards the end of the degree program, but other courses may require field observations prior to the student teaching experience. These can usually be organized at an elementary school in the student's area. Proctored testing may also be required by these programs.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
The most basic program available for individuals seeking online courses and training options leading to licensure is a bachelor's degree program in elementary education. This type of four-year program commonly results in a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.
The emphasis of elementary education programs is to train students in teaching methods and techniques while also preparing students for completing student teaching and achieving licensure. In addition to completing general education coursework and internships, students typically take online classes covering the following areas:
- Effective Teaching Practices
- Foundations of Teaching
- Schools and Society
- Basic Information Retrieval Skills
- Writing Skills
Master's Degree Programs
Advanced online training programs in this field are also available through a Master of Education or a Master of Science in Elementary Education program. Typically, these programs are designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree in a separate field and are interested in gaining an educator's license, as well as those working individuals who are looking for a career in education. Much like the online bachelor's degree program in education, a graduate program in the field combines online coursework with hands-on, in-person training.
A distance-learning master's program in elementary education that leads to state licensure focuses primarily on advanced teaching skills and generally takes around two years to complete. Some sample courses include:
- Instructional Design and Performance Improvement
- Effective Teaching Practices (Elementary Education)
- Research Fundamentals
- Instructional Planning and Strategies
- Specific Teaching Practices for Math, Science, English and Writing
- Classroom Management
Online Learning Info
Distance learners taking online classes in elementary education log into their school's virtual classroom to retrieve assignments and view lectures. Class interaction can take place asynchronously through discussion boards, but some programs also require students to have Web cams and microphones to take part in live Web meetings with professors. Schools may also expect online students to take exams in a proctored setting.
Elementary education programs are typically not available fully online, usually requiring internships, proctored testing and field observations. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in this field are designed to prepare students for licensure.