The formative years of students start when they are young, which makes elementary education an integral part of their learning process. Unlike higher education institutions, elementary schools usually only require at least a bachelor’s degree and state-issued certification or an elementary education teaching license.
Generally, elementary education programs can enhance your credentials by equipping you with the necessary knowledge and skills integral to improving student outcomes.
A master’s in elementary education does not only develop your pedagogical skills. You will also get to expand your professional connections and help you make a positive impact on student learning, and develop individualized education programs, for example.
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Enhance your credentials as an Elementary Education professional while holding your post as a teacher in your current school! We selected the best online graduate programs based on these factors:
- 100% online or hybrid learning format to offer a flexible and convenient choice of coursework and class attendance for education professionals,
- An extensive curriculum that emphasizes the core courses to excel in the discipline, while promoting the skills to thrive in the Elementary Education sector,
- A comprehensive Elementary Education coursework, enabling graduate students to enrich their knowledge in the field for purposes of career advancement,
- An excellent team of academic professors who are terminal degree holders with impressive Elementary Education credentials,
- A top-rated Learning Management System on which the online classes are facilitated,
- A number of student support programs are overseen by industry professionals who assist graduate students in their academic journey and guide them in career planning,
- Emphasizes affordability by giving students federal financial aid opportunities,
- Seamless credit transfers, as well as accelerated options, as applicable,
- Appropriate accreditation from academic bodies to prove the legitimacy of the online graduate program, and its compliance with the ruling academic standards,
- Positive feedback from the Elementary Education community, including associations and industries that utilize the discipline
Read our Methodology page for a comprehensive look at our ranking process.
20 Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education
Western Governors University
With the official approval of the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation, this online master’s in elementary education program also leads to teacher licensure.
- The degree equips you with content knowledge and teaching skills to help you connect with every kind of learner.
- Earning this online degree can prepare you for teaching certification in all 50 states which will allow you to become a teacher wherever you live.
- There are eight professional courses that you need to complete, focusing on a variety of topics such as social and emotional learning and educational technology, and diversity in the classroom.
- The program requires the completion of 26 courses along with a professional portfolio which includes your resume and Philosophy of Teaching Statement.
- Some of the courses covered in the program include Elementary Mathematics Methods, Language Arts Instruction and Intervention, Elementary Reading Methods and Interventions, Elementary Disciplinary Literacy, and Children’s Literature, among others.
Standout Features of Western Governors University’s MA in Teaching – Elementary Education Program:
This master’s degree holds national recognition from the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). It was designed by experts from the university’s Education Program Council, which guarantees its quality.
University of Missouri – St. Louis
An innovator in digital education, the University of Missouri in St. Louis has a variety of online programs designed for working professionals. One of them is the Master of Education in Elementary Education.
- The program gives you an opportunity to engage in Action research within the classroom or in educational work settings.
- You will learn how to identify problems of practice and collect and analyze data to improve learning outcomes.
- The courses are designed to build on your strengths and build your educator effectiveness, including three foundational courses, two concentrations, and two teacher research courses.
- The program can be typically completed in two or three years, with a course load of one or two classes every semester.
Standout Features of Western Governors University’s MA in Teaching – Elementary Education:
Known for its strong research and teaching faculty, this master’s degree program is ideal for early childhood and elementary teachers, specialists, and those who world in informal or international educational settings. The three concentrations offered in this online degree provide opportunities for courses leading to a certificate in an emphasis area.
University of New Mexico
Established in 1889 as New Mexico’s flagship institution, the University of New Mexico extends its academic offering to distant learners. One of its offerings is the Master of Arts in Elementary Education, an advanced professional development program that equips teachers with essential leadership skills.
- To earn the online master’s in elementary education program, you need to complete a total of 30 credit hours.
- With an emphasis on teacher leadership, this advanced elementary education program gives you the opportunity to lead in schools and classrooms.
- Offered as a Masters Plan II Option program, this master’s degree does not require a thesis completion.
- You need to hold a valid teaching license and achieve a GPA of 3.0 as an undergraduate to get admission into the program.
Standout Features of the University of New Mexico’s Master of Arts in Elementary Education Program:
The program’s focus on leadership gives elementary school teachers the opportunity to become educational leaders who advocate for higher standards of student learning. You are expected to create new possibilities and affect positive change in school culture through collaboration with colleagues, elementary education students, and the community.
With a demonstrated history of offering award-winning and high-quality online programs, Boston University is one of the universities that offer elementary education programs. One of which is the Master of Education in Curriculum & Teaching, designed to support the development of practicing educators by equipping them with pedagogical content knowledge.
- This online master’s in elementary education program requires you to complete 36 credit hours, typically within 18 to 24 months.
- When you enroll in the program, you have the option to choose one content tracks, which includes the Elementary Education concentration.
- You can choose courses that focus on both content and pedagogy that are relevant to the elementary education track.
- The program offers multiple start dates.
- This online program offers asynchronous classes with flexible live sessions.
Standout Features of Boston University’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching Program:
This master’s degree is offered under the university’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, which means the program reflects its commitment to the preparation and advancement of research and scholarship.
Mississippi College is considered the oldest high learning institution in the state of Mississippi. They offer affordable and fully online programs, one of which is the Master of Education in Elementary Education.
- The program’s flexible learning format allows multiple start dates and accelerated coursework, making it an ideal choice for elementary school teachers.
- At the completion of this online master’s in elementary education, you are prepared to apply to the Mississippi Department of Education.
- Offered under the Mississippi College Teacher Education and Leadership Department, this master’s degree is accredited by the CAEP Accreditation Council.
Standout Features of Mississippi College’s Master of Education in Elementary Education Program:
This online master’s degree program is 100% online and takes as little as 10 months to complete with 30 credit hours. It was designed with the diverse learning needs in elementary school environments in mind.
Worcester State University
A champion when it comes to academic excellence, Worcester State University offers access to online degree programs. The ME in Elementary Education is one of them.
- Available 100% online, this master’s degree is ideal for working professionals and can be completed in as few as 14 months.
- While this ME program does not lead to initial licensure, the degree can be used to self-petition for professional licensure in Massachusetts.
- An online master’s in elementary education can help you develop and provide high-quality instruction to young students.
Standout Features of Worcester State University’s Master of Education in Elementary Education Program:
This master’s in elementary education program is taught by experienced faculty practitioners to broaden your understanding of educational theories and research that apply to instructional practice and policy.
Lesley University has a range of academic programs on offer, whether in the arts, education, counseling, or even visual arts. They are one of the higher learning institutions in the country that offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education program.
- The 33-credit master’s degree can be earned fully online in about two years.
- Some of the required courses included are Dimensions of Teaching and Learning, Dimensions of Equity, Action and Research Seminar, Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, and Classroom and School Inquiry.
- At the end of the program, you are expected to apply the content knowledge and exemplary instructional practices you earned in diverse educational settings.
Standout Features of Lesley University’s Master of Education in Elementary Education Program:
Approved for a Professional teaching license in elementary (1-6) by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this master’s in elementary education can lead to a teaching license.
University of Alabama
Dedicated to academic excellence, the University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. It is suitable for busy professionals who want to build their knowledge base and skill set by earning an advanced degree that will eventually lead to K-6 certification.
- With multiple start dates, applications to this degree program are accepted all year round.
- This master’s program has accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
- In order to get admitted into the program, you will need a bachelor’s level teaching certificate in elementary education along with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Consists of 30 to 36 credit hours, the program covers subjects such as Introduction to Educational Research, Early Childhood, and Elementary School Curriculum, and Guiding Early Childhood and Elementary Pupil Learning, among others.
Standout Features of the University of Alabama’s Master of Arts in Elementary Education Program:
The program gives you the opportunity to choose two specializations among a variety of options. This includes Language Arts, Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
Florida International University
True to its mission of being at the forefront of innovative online education, Florida International University caters to busy professionals with its range of academic programs available online.
- The program is designed to empower you in making changes in the classroom and take up leadership initiatives in the school.
- The program is composed of 6 accelerated eight-week terms for a total of 36 credit hours.
- Understanding curriculum and instruction approaches within elementary schools are one of this master’s in elementary education program’s emphasis.
- The program can be earned within 12 months.
- New incoming graduate students can avail of limited scholarships on offer.
Standout Features of Florida International University’s Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction: Elementary Education Program:
The Elementary Education track can help you broaden your perspectives as elementary education teachers and understand education issues and needs. It is designed to help you meet the needs of the growing minorities of students in urban settings.
Emporia State University
Emporia State University has a demonstrated track record of preparing teachers through its nationally acclaimed teacher education programs. The MS in Curriculum & Instruction: Effective Practitioner PreK-12 is designed to improve your skills in the classroom and maximize student achievement.
- This fully online master’s degree requires you to complete 33 credit hours in as few as 12 months.
- The rigorous coursework focuses on contemporary classroom and instructional practices, methodology, and strategies.
- Some of the core courses you need to complete include Curriculum Leadership, Supporting Technology Integration for School Leaders, Developing Authentic Assessments, and Models and Strategies, among others.
- In this graduate program, you will learn how to design and implement a curriculum for grades PreK-12.
Standout Features of Emporia State University’s Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction – Effective Practitioner PreK-12 Program:
Students can take the dual-degree option. This will allow you to earn your Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and an MS in Educational Administration together, letting you save time and money.
Ball State University
Ball State is a veteran in teacher’s education, established as a Teachers’ College in 1918. It offers its MAE in Elementary Education that plays to the strengths and interests of elementary teachers, giving them a wide range of areas of focus and specializations.
- The degree program consists of 30 credit hours.
- The MAE has 3 possible Concentrations: Elementary Education, Early Childhood Development, and Reading/Literacy.
- Classes are kept to around 20 students to maximize interaction between peers and their instructors.
- Ball State University is a member of the Quality Matters Program and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the National Association for the Education of the Young Child (NAEYC), and the CEAP – Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Standout features of Ball State University’s MAE in Elementary Education program:
Ball State’s MAE is one of the most customizable programs in the United States. Aside from the 3 main concentration areas, the degree program also has Specializations that you might want to add to your degree, which include Autism, Human Growth & Development, and Educational Technology.
Arizona State University
The ASU offers graduate degrees that cater to a wide range of focus areas. Their Master of Education in Elementary Education is designed for prospective students with any bachelor’s degree who want to work in grade K-8 education.
- The M.Ed degree program has a total of 32 credit hours.
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution are required.
- This elementary education master’s degree is ideal for students who do not plan to seek teacher certification. For those who do, ASU also offers this degree program in a Teacher Certification Track.
- The curriculum is designed to help you create the best learning environment possible for K-8 education, with core courses on classroom management, instructional methods, and research, and a number of applied projects.
Standout Feature of Arizona University’s Master of Education in Elementary Education Program:
Arizona State University’s Teachers College consistently ranks high in terms of the country’s best education programs. According to US News’ school rankings, ASU’s Teachers College is the only US College of Education to land in the top 15 in both its on-campus and online graduate education degrees.
University of North Dakota
The University of North Dakota’s M.Ed in Elementary Education is for licensed teachers and educators who want to advance their skills in areas that include curriculum design, educational technologies, multicultural education, and more.
- The degree program has 30 Credits and can be completed in 2 years.
- The program requires that you already have teacher licensure & experience, and a GPA of at least 3.0 to be eligible.
- The degree program follows a structured asynchronous class format. Instructional materials vary, and you get to communicate with your instructors and peers through different platforms.
- The elementary education master’s degree is similar to the on-campus program in terms of content and design. Your transcript and diploma are also the same.
- The UND’s teacher education programs are CAEP-Accredited, and its online programs are HLC-Accredited.
- The UND uses the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) as the main framework for its course design.
Standout Features of UND’s M.Ed in Elementary Education Program:
As an online student, you also get to access UND’s Workshops through the School of Graduate Studies. You also get online access to the Chester Fritz Library, the UND Writing Center, and UND’s Career Services.
Eastern New Mexico University
Eastern New Mexico University offers an MA in Education that has a Curriculum and Instruction concentration and an Elementary Education emphasis. Its core courses include Science, Math, and Reading content, and emphasizes Differentiated Instruction and working with students of diversity.
- The ENMU’s MA in Education degree contains 36 Credit Hours.
- Highlights of the degree program’s concentration area include courses on Bilingual Education and Teaching Multicultural Heritage of the Southwest.
- Except for the course on Multicultural Heritage (BLED 578), all classes and coursework are delivered asynchronously.
- Online students can access free tutoring services and the ENMU Writing Center. Also, the ENMU has various online resources such as the Golden Library and an Online Counseling Service.
- The ENMU’s on-site facilities are available for online students who can visit the campus.
- The final requirement for the degree is a choice of either writing a thesis or completing a comprehensive exam. You have to be present on-campus for the thesis defense or the exam.
Standout Features of ENMU’s MA in Education Degree Program:
The ENMU has the second-lowest tuition in New Mexico for Master’s degrees, and one of the most affordable graduate degree tuition rates throughout the United States.
Drexel University’s Master’s in Elementary Education is offered with a Teacher Certification Track, emphasized towards Pre-K to 4th-grade teaching. This degree program is designed for students with the right Bachelor’s degree to attain state certification while earning their Master’s Degree.
- Drexel University’s Master’s in Elementary Education has a total of 45 credit hours.
- A bachelor’s from a regionally accredited institution and a GPA of 3.0 or higher are required.
- The program coursework is 100% online, except for the required Field Experience component. Also, Drexel University will work with any out-of-state student to find the most convenient field placement location for them.
- The program also offers an add-on Special Education Certification which requires completing 8 additional courses and a practical exam. Drexel University also offers an Online Master’s Degree in Special Education if you’re interested in further pursuing special education.
- Drexel is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation.
- The program is eligible for financial aid.
Standout Features of Drexel University’s Master’s in Elementary Education Degree Program:
The degree program is aimed at earning a teaching license. The certification is obtained in Pennsylvania, however, Pennsylvania has reciprocity agreements with almost all US States.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University offers a 100% online MAT designed to get you ready to apply for a K-6 teaching license in the state. This accelerated program is ideal for career shifters who may not want to wait for 2 years to finish a Master’s Degree.
- The MAT is a 12-month accelerated program that has 31 credit hours.
- The degree follows a cohort model, which means you can progress and graduate together with your classmates.
- KSU also offers a 100% online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Elementary/Middle-Level Education.
- There is no out-of-state tuition rate for non-residents of Kansas
- Kansas State’s Professional Education Unit is recognized by the NCATE – National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the KSDE – Kansas State Department of Education.
Standout Features of Kansas State University’s MAT in Elementary Education Program:
The degree program is designed as a preparation for earning licensure in the State of Kansas. KSU reports a 97.5% passing rate for their MAT graduates who have taken the Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and the Principles of Teaching & Learning exams.
The M.Ed in Elementary Education by Merrimack College is designed to prepare those wishing to earn their Initial License to teach in grades 1-6 in Massachusetts. The degree program is designed to give insights into the various skills and instructional strategies of elementary education through a balance of coursework and field experience.
- The degree program has 36 credits and consists of self-paced online coursework.
- The degree program has 9 courses, each 8 weeks long and worth 4 credits each.
- The full practicum has a total of 450 hours (15 weeks) and is worth 4 credits. Field placements are arranged at schools within Massachusetts.
- The program is recognized by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and conforms to the rules of Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge.
Standout Features of Merrimack College’s M.Ed in Elementary Education:
The degree program is aimed at earning licensure. The courses are designed as a preparation for you to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and you will be given preparation assistance.
If you decide not to pursue earning your license, you will still be able to complete the degree as a personalized non-licensure Master’s Degree.
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern’s MAT with a concentration in Elementary Education is ideal for prospective students of varying backgrounds who want to shift careers into teaching young children. The degree program contains coursework required for initial teacher certification and has required field placement time within the State of Georgia.
- Georgia Southern’s fully online MAT is ideal for those coming from non-education backgrounds who have bachelor’s degrees from regionally-accredited institutions.
- The program has 45 credit hours and can be completed in 2 years.
- The program follows a cohort format and is a full-time program. Online classes are held 5-7 days per week.
- Field experience requirements for the program have a total of 900+ hours.
- If you’re a current teacher or education professional, you might want to consider Georgia Southern’s online Master of Education in Elementary Education degree program instead.
Standout Features of Georgia Southern University’s MAT in Elementary Education:
The program is designed with licensure as an end goal. Graduates will be eligible for a Georgia T-5 Elementary Education Certification, after completing the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators content assessment (GACE) and the Educator Ethics Assessment required by the State of Georgia.
North Carolina State University
NC State University offers a Master’s in Elementary Education which is unique for its specific focus. Their program is designed to advance classroom teachers’ knowledge and practice in teaching Mathematics and Science to elementary students. Students can opt to earn either an M.Ed or a Master of Science degree.
- The program is for those who hold current licenses. An entrance exam is not required.
- The M.Ed consists of ten courses totaling 30 credit hours. The MS option has 3 additional credit hours of thesis preparation.
- The program follows a cohort format, which aligns with your schedules and fosters a strong professional community.
- You can either take the Mathematics or Science specializations. Math cohorts start in odd-numbered years.
- Aside from financial aid options for eligible students, NC State University also offers a monthly payment plan.
- NC State also has an accelerated MAT in Elementary Education degree program, which is delivered in a hybrid format.
Standout Features of NC State’s Master’s in Elementary Education Program:
Graduates of the Mathematics cohorts earn a Mathematics Specialist add-on to their K-6 teaching license in North Carolina. Science cohorts likewise earn the Science Specialist add-on.
University of West Alabama
The University of West Alabama offers an M.Ed in Elementary Education that equips teachers with advanced teaching concepts for the K-6 grade levels. This degree is ideal for educators looking for a Master’s Level Certificate, and for those seeking career advancement in classroom and specialty roles.
- The UWA M.Ed in Elementary Education has a total of 34 credit hours; 19 of these being Professional Courses and 15 being Field Education courses.
- This master’s program is designed for working teachers. A valid Bachelor’s Level Professional Educator Certificate is part of the elementary education admission requirements.
- Topics covered in the program include educational planning, educational research, counseling for multicultural populations, and more.
- The UWA also offers an Alternative Class A Program for their M.Ed, ideal for those seeking a teaching career or looking to change their teaching area.
- The UWA is accredited by CAEP and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and Schools Improvement (SACS CASI)
Standout Features of the UWA’s M.Ed in Elementary Education Program:
The UWA has a Mentor Collective program that links you one-to-one with a mentor that guides you through the course. Mentors in turn get to build better networks and leadership skills.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect to learn in a Master’s in Elementary Education degree program?
This degree program is specialized since it deals specifically with the K-6 grade levels, but a wide range of courses are still taught.
You can expect to be taught theories and approaches to teaching, how to develop appropriate teaching material, and how to use various tools and approaches to create the best learning environment for children.
Do I need a teaching license before I can take a Master’s in Elementary Education program?
Not all of the time. Some universities offer degree programs that are designed for those coming from other backgrounds and want to shift careers to teaching, such as Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs. Other M.Ed degrees do require you to have teaching experience at the very least or be actively teaching at the time of applying.
Will my teaching license work for all states?
It depends. Many universities offer degree programs that prepare you for the specific licensure requirements in the state they’re in, and the most straightforward path would be to earn your online degree from a university in the same state you’re in, or plan to teach in.
License reciprocity between states is a complex topic, and you’ll have to check for specific details on a state-by-state basis.
Earning a master’s degree in elementary education can help advance your career, even allowing you to take on leadership positions in schools and beyond. Start your journey by doing a school search to know the best institutions that offer quality elementary education programs.