Online Elementary Education Degree Programs

See top schools, look inside programs, and get the info you need to enroll and pay for your online degree in elementary ed.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

2022’s Best Online Elementary Education Degree Programs

An elementary education degree prepares graduates to move into a K-6 educational setting. Elementary school teachers help their students learn and grow throughout the important formative years. But getting that far means choosing a degree program that offers a mix of quality, affordability, and convenience. To help you find the right one, we’ve created a list of the top accredited schools for online elementary education degrees. Learn more about this year’s top schools below.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

1
Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 59%
Online Students 12,174
2
Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 52%
Online Students 11,071
3
Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 70%
Online Students 4,221
4
Niagara University

Lewiston, New York

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 2,137
5
Buena Vista University

Storm Lake, Iowa

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 115
6
Towson University

Towson, Maryland

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 1,710
7
Merrimack College

North Andover, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 3,130
8
City University of Seattle

Seattle, Washington

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 6:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 0%
Online Students 368
9
Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 717
10
The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 24,765
11
Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, Mississippi

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 90%
Online Students 14,756
12

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 46%
Online Students 18,681
13
University of Missouri-Columbia

Columbia, Missouri

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 18,312
14

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 80%
Online Students 14,189
15

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 17,806
16

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 9:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 98%
Online Students 133
17
Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 36%
Online Students 14,997
18
University of Mississippi

University, Mississippi

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 8,963
19
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 42%
Online Students 17,725
20
Salem State University

Salem, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 1,863
21
Texas State University

San Marcos, Texas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 31%
Online Students 23,961
22
Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,574
23
East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 15,367
24

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 5,816
25
Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 7%
Online Students 22,893

A Detailed Look at Online Elementary Education Degrees

Elementary Education

Earning a degree in elementary education used to mean visiting a campus for all your coursework. With the growth of online learning and its continued integration into mainstream higher education, you can now take a majority of your courses either partially or fully online. Fully online courses tend to be those of an academic nature, where there’s no need for face-to-face interaction with students. Partially online courses may combine online elements with in-person training to ensure you know how to work with students and peers effectively. Let’s take a closer look at the types and levels of elementary education degree programs online and what you’ll face in each.

Online Certificates in Elementary Education

There are numerous certificates for those interested in elementary education; there are also two main levels available. The entry-level certificate requires students to take up to one year of education where they learn foundational concepts for working with and educating children in grades K-6. The graduate certificates are available to those who have already completed their bachelor’s degree and need certification or further training in one particular area. In the case of entry-level certificates, you won’t be able to achieve licensure; those who opt for graduate certificates are likely already licensed or well on their way to becoming so. Most certificates can be completed entirely online.

Online Associate Degrees in Elementary Education

Those who choose to earn an associate degree will not be eligible to obtain licensure to teach; however, this degree can help graduates find rewarding support roles in a school system, such as teaching aide, childcare specialist, or educational assistant. In many cases, this associate degree program can be completed entirely online, but some schools do require a hands-on component. Keep in mind that the associate degree can also serve as an excellent stepping stone to the bachelor’s degree later on.

Skills learned at this level:

  • Maintaining the health and safety of children
  • Providing balanced nutrition for children
  • Basics of child psychology
  • Teaching techniques

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Elementary Education

The bachelor’s degree is the standard level of education needed to become licensed or certified to teach in any state. The bachelor’s degree takes four years of full-time study to complete. Though much of the coursework can be delivered online, students need to complete the hands-on teaching practicum in order to graduate. The core skills learned at this level prepare graduates to move into the classroom and begin honing their skills. Here’s a quick list of top skills you learn:

  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom management
  • Understanding educational trends
  • Using technology in the classroom
  • Hands-on teaching experience

Online Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education

Though the master’s degree is often an expectation for those in administrative work, some schools are now requiring that new hires either hold their master’s degree in education or agree to obtain one within a certain period of time, such as five years. The master’s degree builds on the practical lessons learned in the bachelor’s degree pursuit, focusing more on theory, research, and evidence-based practice that helps graduates think critically about the issues facing children in all grades today. Many of these programs are entirely online. Core skills learned at this level include:

  • Curriculum development
  • In-depth communication skills
  • Problem-solving tactics
  • Leadership techniques

Online Doctorates in Elementary Education

The most common degrees at this level are the EdD and the PhD. The EdD tends to focus more on administration and classroom application, while the PhD delves into research and academia. A terminal degree is often required for those who want to advance to the highest positions in education, such as that of superintendent over a school district or region. At this point, all coursework can be taken online, although those who choose to complete a dissertation track might have to show up in-person to defend their work before a committee. Skills learned at this level include:

  • Advanced leadership skills
  • Understanding of human resources
  • Research methods
  • Financing and budgeting for schools

Online Elementary Education Degree Concentrations

Concentrations

If you have a particular area of interest when it comes to elementary education, a degree specialization (or concentration) is the best way to do it. Specializations help an educator grow their career in a certain area, preparing them to dive deeper into the subject matter. When working with K-6 students, specializations have a more targeted focus on creating and teaching lessons, developing language skills, and best practices for leadership of students and colleagues. Here are a few of the options available.

Curriculum & Instruction

This specialization focuses strongly on creating curriculums for a variety of schools, classrooms and even individual students, such as those with special needs.

Educational Leadership

Those who want to take the lead in the next generation of educators can turn to this concentration, which helps students understand the best techniques and tools for effective leadership within a school, district, region, or state.

Gifted & Talented

Some students have unique gifts that must be fostered outside of the traditional classroom curriculum. Gifted and talented students need a teacher who understands their unique needs and can create instruction plans that challenge them.

Reading

One of the cornerstones of solid instruction, reading is vital to every aspect of academic success. This concentration focuses on helping children understand the value of reading, techniques to make reading easier, and help in becoming a reading coach for those who need a little extra push.

Special Education

This concentration helps guide aspiring teachers in the best ways to teach students who have mental, emotional, learning or physical disabilities or challenges. Graduates will finish the program with a comprehensive list of skills by which to help the children who need it most.

STEM

This concentration focuses on teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the classroom (note that some might be called “STEAM” for the addition of the arts in the curriculum). This focuses on helping graduates understand how the disciplines fit together.

Supporting Language Learners

For those learning English as a second language, or those who are learning a different language from their native tongue, this concentration helps ensure teachers have the proper tools to help those students thrive in a traditional classroom setting.

Technology in the Classroom

As tech becomes more common in the classroom, this concentration embraces the movement by teaching students how to incorporate multimedia in instruction design.