Online Elementary Education Degrees

Elementary educators introduce students to some of the most fundamental early learning tasks: reading, math equations, basic science, and social studies. If you’re passionate about educating young children and paving the way to bright futures, an elementary education degree online can help you get there. As a teacher, you’ll provide children with a safe, structured environment where they are able to explore and build important social skills. You will develop lesson plans and work to meet each child’s specific needs. A successful elementary teacher is patient, passionate about education, and cares about children. If you are creative, energetic, and compassionate, a career in elementary education may fit you perfectly.

The field of elementary education presents exciting career opportunities. With more children enrolling each year and baby boomers approaching retirement, job prospects for elementary teachers look good. This means that elementary teachers will continue to be in high demand across the country.

An online degree in elementary education can give you the boost you need to become highly marketable in the field. Many online degree programs in education are available, including elementary education bachelor’s degree online programs and online master’s in elementary education programs. Elementary education degrees cater to your interests and offer a variety of concentrations, so don’t feel boxed into a specific subject or grade level. By earning a flexible online degree, you can steer your own future — just as you’ll steer those of your students as a teacher.

Online Elementary Education Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $7,960 15.91% 2 years N/A N/A N/A
Bachelor's $16,525 10.32% 4 years $32,000 $45,000 N/A
Master's $16,700 9.75% 1+ years $48,000 $59,000 5.4%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

In order to work at a public elementary school, a bachelor’s degree is required. Fortunately, many elementary education degrees online are offered at this level. Public elementary school teachers must also have a state license or certificate, and some states require teachers to pursue a master’s degree upon completion of licensure. Many online elementary education programs are designed for working professionals earning a master’s degree, and online master’s in elementary education programs offer a variety of concentrations that allow you to build expertise in a specific area and boost your job prospects.

Online Elementary Education Degrees

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Online Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education

An associate-level elementary education degree online will prepare you to work as an elementary school teaching assistant. This degree typically takes two years to complete and material often transfers to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. The average cost of college tuition per year is roughly $9,000; a two-year degree means less loans and a faster route to employment. Teaching assistants aid teachers in classroom management, help implement lesson plans, and provide extra support for individual student needs. With an associate degree, you can also become a preschool teacher or a library assistant. Many elementary education degrees online offer associate degrees with concentrations in child development and early childhood education.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Developing literacy; children with challenging behaviors; child observation and assessment

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Early childhood education, early intervention assistant, child development

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Assistant teacher, preschool teacher, library assistant

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $24,900 for assistant teachers, $28,570 for preschool teachers, and $27,930 for library assistants

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    From 2014-2024: increase of 6% for assistant teachers, decrease of 7% for preschool teachers, and a decrease of 5% for library assistants.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education

With a bachelor’s in elementary education degree online, you can be a classroom teacher, special education teacher, or you can choose to focus on a specific subject like science or math. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement to be a teacher. It will provide you with the knowledge to create and implement lesson plans, engage students creatively, and care for their educational and developmental needs. An elementary education bachelor’s degree online typically takes four years to complete and requires a student-teaching internship. An elementary education bachelor’s degree in special education will prepare you to work with students with a variety of needs. Many schools offer elementary education bachelor degrees online.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Teaching diverse populations; classroom management and communication; curriculum and instruction; diagnosis and intervention in reading

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Elementary education, visual disabilities education, special education, K-6 Education

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Kindergarten teacher, elementary school teacher, special education teacher

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $54,550 for kindergarten teachers, $54,550 for elementary school teachers, $56,800 for special education teachers.

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    From 2014-2024: increase of 6% for kindergarten teachers, increase of 6% for elementary school teachers, and increase of 6% for special education teachers.

Online Master’s Degree in Elementary Education

An online master’s in elementary education builds upon an elementary education bachelor’s degree online, or it can facilitate a career change. If you have a bachelor’s degree in math or English, for example, earning a master’s degree in teaching will improve your marketability to teach in those areas. Earning a master’s degree typically translates to earning more money. Many online elementary education programs offer a variety of concentrations to choose from, such as curriculum and instruction or early childhood. An online master’s degree allows teachers to transition to administrative roles, such as a principal or consultant.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Child development, research in elementary education, classroom management, child psychology applied to education

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Elementary education, early childhood education; enhanced teaching practices; reading and literacy instruction

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Elementary school teacher, elementary school principal, instructional coordinator

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $54,890 for elementary school teachers, $90,410 for elementary school principals, and $62,670 for instructional coordinators

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    From 2014-2024: increase of 6% for elementary school teachers, increase of 6% for elementary school principals, and increase of 7% for instructional coordinators.

Online Doctorate Degree in Elementary Education

A doctorate in elementary education opens the door for many career opportunities, including positions as an elementary school principal, a researcher and/or professor at a university, or consulting work for teacher training programs. If you’re really ambitious, you could do all three. A principal plans curriculum and collaborates with teachers, while also addressing school infrastructure, like coordinating bus schedules and implementing severe weather drills. College professors are often expected to conduct research, as well as teach. A doctoral degree generally takes about five years to complete, including writing a dissertation. Online elementary education programs are available at the doctorate level.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Philosophy of education, statistical methods in educational research, psychology and human development, dissertation

  • COMMON MAJORS

    EdD, PhD

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Elementary school principal, college professor

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $90,410 for elementary school principals and $72,470 for college professors

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    From 2014-2024: increase of 6% for elementary school principals and increase of 13% for college professors

Online Elementary Education Choose Your Career

Average Elementary Education Salaries

$45,670
$20,230
$54,550
$54,550

Childcare Center Director

Salary: $45,670
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
7% 64,000 Bachelor's N/A

A childcare center director is in charge of the daily operations of the center. This includes hiring and training employees and offering professional development workshops. The director establishes the culture of the facility, including how employees interact with each other, children, and parents. The childcare director creates budgets and monitors inventory, sets fees, and communicates fee payment expectations with parents. The director makes sure that state regulations are followed. A successful director has good organizational and communication skills. Pursuing an elementary education degree online is a great way to begin fulfilling your dreams of becoming a childcare center director.

Childcare Worker

Salary: $20,230
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 1,260,600 High School Diploma or Equivalent N/A

Childcare workers supervise children while their parents are away. They are responsible for maintaining a record of the children in their care, and tending to each child’s specific needs, including dietary requirements and administration of medication. Childcare workers ensure that children’s nutritional and hygienic needs are met and regulate important activities such as nap time and potty training. Childcare workers supervise play and provide engaging activities for children, such as singing and arts and crafts. They are also responsible for maintaining a clean and well-organized classroom.

Kindergarten Teacher

Salary: $54,550
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
6% 1,517,400 Bachelor's State licensure required for public schools

A kindergarten teacher is often the first educator that children will come in contact with. Therefore, successful kindergarten teachers are warm, compassionate, and understanding. Kindergarten teachers help children learn to read, write, and comprehend basic math. They also help their young students adapt to the structure and behavioral expectations of school. Kindergarten children are typically 5-6 years old and are very demanding. As a kindergarten teacher, you will be on your feet a lot. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a kindergarten teacher, consider an elementary education degree online.

Elementary School Teacher

Salary: $54,550
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
6% 1,517,400 Bachelor's State licensure required for public schools

An elementary school teacher is one of the most important figures in a child’s life, and an online elementary education degree can prepare you for this critical role. Children spend a large part of their days in the classroom, and a good teacher is often key to a child’s future academic success. Duties of an elementary educator include teaching a variety of subjects, including reading, math, and science. Teachers help children learn how to navigate the daily stressors of life. The ability to plan and implement goals is critical for effective teaching. Classroom management is an important part of a teacher’s responsibilities. This requires creativity and patience. Earning an elementary education degree online will set you on track to become an elementary school teacher.

Online Elementary Education Professional Requirements

Certified Childcare Professional (CCP)

The Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential is designed for teachers who want to demonstrate their knowledge of early childhood development and their mastery of the principles and techniques of working with young children. It is required for those who have yet to complete their degrees or for teachers with degrees in an unrelated field. It can take up to a year to earn the CCP, but the timeline varies from student to student based on their training.

Is it required?

Yes

How long will it take?

1 year

Childhood Development Associate (CDA)

If you want to take the next step in your career, you may benefit from the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education. The Childhood Development Associate (CDA) can be earned in four areas: Preschool (center-based), Infant/Toddler (center-based), Family Child care, and Home Visitor. The CDA is “the sole nationally recognized ECE credential, accepted in all 50 states and U.S. territories.” It is highly recommended. 120 hours of formal early childhood education training is needed. You’ll also need 480 hours of professional experience in the appropriate age group, observation by a Council for Professional Recognition certified Professional Development Specialist, a CDA examination, and a statement of ethical conduct.

Is it required?

Recommended

How long will it take?

Varies

American Board for Certified Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)

The ABCTE is an online, self-paced program certifying educators in several subjects and is recognized in 12 states across the U.S. Whether you should get this certification or not depends on the state you live in. But the certification can be used in place of a master’s degree to get a temporary teaching license. This credential is a teaching certification providing professionals with an alternate pathway to becoming a teacher if they do not have traditional early childhood education degrees, for instance. It involves two exams: a subject area exam and a pedagogy exam.

Is it required?

Varies

How long will it take?

Varies

National Board Certification

National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education in the United States. It is highly recommended. NBCTs are recognized for having met the highest standards set by the profession. While each state has its own licensure system, this credential signifies that the teacher has gone beyond state standards. Certification is awarded in 25 areas, from pre-K through 12th grade. Educators can complete the certification process in one year; some may take several years.

Is it required?

Recommended

How long will it take?

Varies

State Specific Licensure Requirements

Each state has its own licensure requirements for educators. Click on State Specific Licensure Requirements, click on your state on the map to see the requirements.

Is it required?

Varies

How long will it take?

Varies