elementary

Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education
Top 25 Online Education Degrees 2020

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Best Online Masters Elementary Education

In the midst of a COVID-19 lockdown we are all looking around and asking questions about whether or not we are on the right path. Some people have been furloughed. Some were taken off the track they were on non-consensually. Others wonder if what they have chosen is sustainable in the world that will re-open after this virus becomes a memory. What is your story? 

There is so much uncertainty about when classrooms will open again or how the world has and will change. One thing is for sure, in this moment, online learning might be the best investment you can make. We know there will always be young people that have to learn how to read and write among many other life skills that go beyond what is taught at home. Maybe you already have an associates degree in early childhood education? Or maybe you have a bachelor’s degree and want to take the next step in your career. An online elementary education masters degree can open many doors in a moment when the only doors you see are the ones in your home. This degree path leads to careers that will remain in demand even when all of the restaurants around us are closing (sorry to sound morbid). Also, what better way to learn right now, but with the certainty of your location- in the comfort of your home. So, brew yourself a cup of coffee, grab a snack, and take a look at the degrees that we have sourced for you. We used a metric that takes into account these three factors:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Success Rate of Graduates

We then ranked the programs according to the synthesis of the Best Of in these categories. You will see that there are many different focal points within this list. Some schools require no in person contact, while others have a fieldwork component that is paramount to the coursework. 

1

North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Raleigh, NC

North Carolina State University offers an online elementary education masters degree program. This is a fast paced program that leads to a teaching license at an accelerated rate. Students can complete the program in just one year and a half if they commit to full-time status. The course of study was designed to synthesize theory and practice as they relate to creating inclusive classrooms. The mission of the program not only focuses on diverse classrooms culturally and in terms of ability, but in regards to technology and a variety of access points. Young people ages K-12  and their development are who students are prepared to work with. The online format is designed to be both flexible and convenient, and each student is required to participate in an entire semester of student teaching. 

Degree Title: MAT in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 33 credit hours-one year and a half-full time

2

Auburn University
Auburn, AL

Auburn University offers an online elementary education masters degree that was designed for students to expand their approach to teaching in innovative classroom environments.  They expect prospective students to already hold a teaching certification that is initial level. Graduates of the program can apply for an Alabama Class A professional educator certification. Students will participate in 15 hours of elementary education coursework, 1 hour of orientation that is focused on learning and teaching, 12 hours of electives that must be approved by an advisor, and a comprehensive capstone specifically on teaching and learning that is 2 credit hours. There is a variety of grant and fellowship offerings for students who are interested in financial aid opportunities. Some students may also qualify for teaching assistantships. The online format is both flexible and convenient, with many aspects that can be made maliable with an advisor’s approval. 

Degree Title: MEd or MS in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 30 hours

3

The University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL

The University of Alabama’s distance learning program, also known as Bama By Distance, offers an online elementary education masters degree. A K-6 Certification can be achieved in this program, as well as the chance to earn a childhood education P-3 Certification. This program is perfect for specifically on the go adult professionals. Most of the students who participate are already working full-time as elementary educators and require a program that can conform to their already set schedules. Practicum experiences are embedded into the program and will be the vehicle that brings online students into classroom environments. The curriculum builds on foundations that are research heavy and engage topics including curriculum building and best teaching practices. Applications for the program are accepted throughout the year. The program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

Degree Title: MA in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 30-36 credit hours

4

California State University-Fullerton
Fullerton, CA

Cal State Fullerton offers an Online masters degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. This program focus is unique, as it specifically builds leadership in curriculum creation from a pool of elementary education professionals. Students will choose one of the following focus points: technology in education, elementary classroom teaching, meeting the needs of diverse learners, early childhood education, math/ science education, staff development in public and private schools, and professional inquiry. The program is made up of 9 credit hours of core coursework, 12 credit units of coursework in the concentration, 6 elective units, 3 units of culminating experience, among other sections of classes. The concentration classes can include topics such as: Equity, Access, and Opportunity for all Learners in Math and Science Education, Technology and Problem Solving in Schools, Web Design for Instruction in Schools, among many others. 

Degree Title: MEd in Elementary Curriculum

Length of Program: 30 credit units

5

Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

Appalachian State University offers an online elementary education masters degree that is known for being flexible and comprehensive in reach. Students will have the opportunity to have a personalized experience for those who are inclined to teach in classrooms of K-12 graders. This program specifically answers to the mandates of the North Carolina Excellent Schools Act that are designed for Masters level education programs for teachers. Participants will study all that pertains to the learner who is elementary aged, as the information applies to the evaluation and learning process. Students will also learn how to make complex decisions accordingly as they relate to complex developmental factors in the student and the environment. A culminating M licensure for elementary level grades is achieved in this program. Prospective students must have a teaching license, Level A from North Carolina, or a similar credential from another state. 

Degree Title: MA in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 39 credit hours

6

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte, NC

The University of North Carolina in Charlotte offers an online masters degree in Elementary Education program that is designed for the busy working professional. This program is expressly offered part time, so as to not cut into the busy lifestyle and career path of students with full time life commitments that may include classroom facilitation and family obligations. The format is 100 percent online and as aforementioned, very flexible. The challenges that come with working in specifically urban environments are specifically addressed in this program. Some of the classes include: academically or intellectually gifted, anti-racism in urban education (ARUE), elementary mathematics, literacy, and STEM. The coursework looks at issues such as globalization, multiple worldviews, and cultural knowledge as they apply to practical projects and coursework. They admit students in the Fall, Spring and Summer. 

Degree Title: MEd in Elementary Education

Length of Program: depends on the concentration 

7

University of Mississippi
University, MS

The University of Mississippi offers an online elementary education masters degree program with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. They prioritize teaching excellence by putting to the test research based best practices and theories of reading, literacy and mathematics as they apply to a variety of classroom settings. There is a required fieldwork component that brings students into classroom environments for a minimum of 45 hours throughout the length of the program. Each student will also participate in a capstone project that culminates their experiences in the course of study. Graduates of the program are ready to be master educators, bringing to the classroom the latest best practices in the field. They are also the ones who are writing research and networking with colleagues to make classrooms more accessible for all young learners. Prospective students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above in previous academic coursework. 

Degree Title: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary Education

Length of Program: 30 credit hours

8

Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University offers a comprehensive online elementary education masters degree program through their e-campus. This program has a full-time licensure option that prepares students to show best teaching practices in a variety of elementary classroom environments. One of the unique aspects about this program is that students will have hands-on experiences from the beginning. This may be a dealbreaker for some, as the program does not offer as much flexibility as some of its counterparts, because of the contact hours required, though all of the coursework is conducted online. The program has a strong collaboration with the school districts that surround Portland, Oregon, which is where students will participate in their co-teaching exercises. The online forum allows students to engage in classroom discussions with their peers and faculty without any face-to-face contact. OSU is accredited regionally by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. 

Degree Title: MAT – Elementary Education

Length of Program: 51 credit hours

9

East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

East Carolina University offers an online elementary education masters degree program that provides students with best practices in teaching through research based theories and practice opportunities. Students will learn how to assess and navigate the needs of individual students while engaging them in the collaborative classroom environment. Not only will classroom experience be stressed throughout the curriculum, but students will also learn leadership skills, and other pertinent topics like grant writing and professional development. Each student will choose a focus for their academic path, which may include: working with English or other language learners, content expertise, and/ or a licensure in teaching intellectually or academically gifted students. Students will partake in a 6 hour thesis program if they choose to not engage in a concentration. ECU offers many resources in terms of career support and advising, including an online database. 

Degree Title: MAEd – Elementary Education

Length of Program: 36 credit hours

10

Georgia Southern University
Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern University offers an Online Masters in Education Program that focuses on Elementary Education P-5. This course of study emphasizes working amongst diverse populations of students and employing  developmentally relevant coursework. There is a fieldwork component that is imperative to the success of the students’ experience in the program. The skills associated with inclusion of technology for the purposes of learning are stressed in the program outline. Collaboration with other community organizations are supported, many of which support regional development and cultural experience. The professional education core requirements include: transforming learning with technology, action research in elementary settings, and learning theories and assessment. Prospective students must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning, and also hold or be eligible for a level four elementary education certificate. Their previous coursework must be a 2.5 GPA or above. 

Degree Title: MEd in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 36 credit hours

11

University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota offers a Masters of Science in Elementary Education that is delivered entirely online. This program is designed for both students who hold a teaching certification and those who do not. The focus of the coursework is serving students from K-8th grade in a variety of educational settings.  The program fosters reflection, confidence and responsiveness. The curriculum engages topics that relate to planning, implementation, and evaluation of research strategies that are related to best classroom practices. Students will study and practice the fundamental needs of diverse students who come from culturally diverse households. All students will have the opportunity to practice curriculum development, primary education, educational technologies, differentiated instruction, and lesson planning. Many graduates work in elementary schools scattered throughout the region. 

Degree Title: MS in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 32 credit hours- completion in 2.5 years or more

12

Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University offers a completely online masters of education degree program.  Every class can be completed in 8 weeks time with many start dates per year. This program follows evangelical christian teachings, which are integrated into all of the coursework. Students will engage in coursework that focuses on best practices, theory, and teaching methodology that will allow students to build on their skill set and potentially make the choice to go on and achieve a certification. This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Though the program consists of 36 credit hours, students will have the opportunity to participate in a 45 credit hour optional track that allows students to pursue an endorsement in a particular area of focus. Students can complete the program in as little as one year and a half. 

Degree Title: MAT in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 36 credit hours

13

University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS

The University of Southern Mississippi offers an online elementary education masters degree.  The foundations of learning are vigorously addressed in the program, as Southern Mississippi values the drive of their students. They show this by providing an unprecedented amount of personal support for the working teacher. Their unique curriculum allows for each student to shape their learning experience, by offering  flexible online classes and dedicated instructors. Each student will have the opportunity to receive advice from a staff member trained to support students towards advancement in their field. Southern Mississippi’s Masters of Education program specifically touches upon Educational Curriculum and Instruction as it prepares career educators with high quality accredited coursework. USM offers a licensure prep program for students seeking to obtain a teaching license. The program is known for their exceptional faculty members who are experts in their fields of teaching. 

Degree Title: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary

Length of Program: 30 Credit Hours 

14

University of Nebraska at Kearney
Kearney, NE

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an online masters degree in elementary education through their e-campus. The specific focus of the degree is Curriculum and Instruction in early childhood education which provides students with a foundation in assessment and teaching methods. Students will learn how to be master educators in their field and also learn the skills to play other key roles in this in-demand career path. The particular population students will be training to serve are young people ages K-6th grade, in a variety of learning environments. The program itself is not a track to achieve a certification, but there are ways to meet this goal if desired. It is possible to customize the degree path with specializations that include elective courses and address special topics. There is the opportunity to get a specialized endorsement in the discipline of English as a Second Language. 

Degree Title: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary Education

Length of Program: 36 credit hours

15

Ball State University
Muncie, IN

Ball State University offers a Masters of Arts degree in Elementary Education that is delivered online. This is considered one of the most customizable paths to obtaining a masters degree in the field, as they allow the students to take the lead in their own learning. Each participant will choose a degree path that is well paired with their interests such as: educational technology for teachers, working with gifted and talented students, human development and learning, middle school education, english as a new language, response to intervention, and more. Program completion will not lead students to a licensure. Each class has no more than 20 students, ensuring an intimate community feeling. All of the on-site resources that are technology based are available to online students virtually. The program itself supports the assessment model for Indiana based teachers. 

Degree Title: MA in Education – Elementary

Length of Program: 30 credit hours

16

Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC

Western Carolina University offers an online Masters degree in elementary education with a focus on comprehensive elementary. Students can choose to take the program on a full time or part time basis. With full time status the coursework can be completed in 24 months time. Students have three concentration options including: AIG, STEM, and Literacy. Students will learn the most up-to-date research based education strategies, an expansive repertoire of content understanding, and a framework of child psychology and development. Students will also hone decision making skills as well as classroom management and communication. The coursework is made up of core classes, electives, and what are considered track courses, of which are specific to the students academic and career goals. There are many financial aid opportunities for students in all education fields through the university and beyond. 

Degree Title: MAEd – Comprehensive Elementary

Length of Program: 30 credit hours

17

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
Pittsburgh, PA

The University of Pittsburgh offers a Masters in Education degree program in Elementary Education that is delivered online. This professional degree path is for students who want to enrich their teaching skills and have more to offer in diverse classroom settings. There are no specific prerequisites for the program, although they encourage students who have graduated from other programs at the University of Pittsburgh to apply. Prospective students can apply for the program year round and are admitted on a rolling basis. Pitt Online is known for offering programming that is commiserate with on campus options. Their faculty is the same for both online and traditional coursework. The format is designed to be accomodating of busy professional adults who have careers and home lives to juggle while completing their coursework. There are also many ways to utilize transfer credits. 

Degree Title: MEd in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 36 credit hours

18

University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO

The University of Central Missouri offers an online masters of science in elementary education curriculum and instruction. This program was designed to support advanced practice in elementary education, as well as early childhood education. Students can complete the coursework from anywhere in the world. The program is entirely online, and is designed to be incredibly flexible. Classes can be tailored to the students schedule and life obligations, and the degree can be met in the timeframe that works for the student. The list of key competencies that inform the program are based on the objectives put out by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). A teaching certification is required to participate in the program from any of the 50 states or territories. Prospective students must have graduated from a regionally accredited school to qualify for the program. 

Degree Title: MSE in Elementary Education Curriculum and Instruction

Length of Program: 30 credit hours

19

The University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL

The University of West Florida offers an online masters degree program in Teacher Education and Educational Leadership. The program is designed for students who are already working in the field of education and want to deepen their practice and advance to the next level of their careers. Each student will undertake seven core courses that consist of 21 credit hours. They will then have the opportunity to take cognate courses that are relevant to their academic and professional goals, with the support of an advisor. The specialization offerings include: Elementary Education Comprehensive, Middle Level Education Comprehensive, and Secondary Education Comprehensive. There are lots of opportunities for fieldwork experience and proper advising to support students to choose something that is to their unique benefit. Please note that not all states allow for the online options, so it is important to check the state authorization status on their website to confirm that this is an appropriate program for your needs. 

Degree Title: MEd in Curriculum and Instruction – Elementary Education Comprehensive

Length of Program: 30 credit hours

20

Troy University
Troy, AL

Troy University offers a masters in elementary education that is offered entirely online. Students will never need to step foot onto a campus, as even their resource materials are online. In fact, they offer a variety of education certification programs for grades K-6. The program enables students to continue working full time in the field of education while completing the program. Students are allowed to participate in the course of study with full time or part time status. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The specializations that are offered in this path of study include the following: Collaborative K-6 (special ed) Alternative-A, Collaborative K-6 (special ed) traditional, Elementary K-6 Alternative A, and Elementary K-6-traditional. Many students utilize this program and subsequent field work opportunities to pursue graduate study in anthropology among other disciplines. 

Degree Title: MA in Elementary Education

Length of Program: Depending on Specialization 

21

University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, HI

The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a Master of Education in Teaching Program that is delivered entirely online. This program was tailored expressly for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than teaching, but want to enter the discipline. The online format is delivered to accommodate students who are working full time alongside their studies. There are some face-to-face requirements, though the program is very flexible. Students will learn the ins and outs of working in diverse settings with diverse student populations. The program has developed partnerships with local public, private, and charter schools and formed partnerships to create licensure opportunities. They are proud that their alumni have a great track record, which includes three teachers who were awarded Teachers of the Year in the state of Hawaii. 

Degree Title: Master of Education in Teaching – Elementary

Length of Program: 46 credit hours- generally completed in 2 years

22

Samford University
Birmingham, AL

Samford University offers an online masters of science degree program in elementary education. Students in the program will learn best practices in teaching students ages K-6th grade. The online format is well designed for students who continue to work full time while completing the program. Each student will be placed in a cohort that will move through the program with them. This allows students to engage in community based learning and activate peer support opportunities. Many veteran teachers choose this program for a variety of reasons, one being the level of flexibility and accelerated pace. Graduates of this degree path will build mastery in a variety of topics including assessment strategies to impact student achievement, instructional adaptation for student diversity, inquiry based instruction in the elementary classroom, and standards driven leadership. 

Degree Title: MSE in Elementary Education 

Length of Program: 30 credit hours- completion in little as 16 months

23

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Slippery Rock, PA

Slippery Rock University offers a Masters of Education program in Multiple Elementary Concentrations that is delivered online. All of the online programs are designed to be comprehensive and flexible at the same time, enabling students to work full time while undergoing the coursework. There are options to add certifications and endorsements that include: applied research, statistics, and measurement certificate, special education-autism endorsement, and online teaching certificate. There are a variety of financial aid opportunities that students can access including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities. Students will have access to the on campus faculty that are experts in their field. There are also many opportunities on campus advising for students to get support to determine the right course of study for them. One of the options is a fully online Master of Education in Technology for Online Instruction. 

Degree Title: MEd – Multiple Elementary Concentrations

Length of Program: Depending on the concentration

24

Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University offers a Masters of Science in Elementary Education that is delivered entirely online. Students will learn how to excel in classroom environments with students ages K-6. The topics that are covered are expansive, including: mathematics, literacy, science, language, and arts. Some of the classes include: Educational Research for Practitioners, Assessment in Reading, Instructional and Assessment Strategies, teaching of science in elementary school, and teaching social studies in a multicultural environment, among many others. There is a capstone project that is designed to be considered applied professional experience. Students will work in an educational environment where they will have a variety of reflection opportunities including journal entries that will be added to a final portfolio. They advise students to be in touch with their education state department or enrollment services representative to make the final decision if this program fits their state’s requirements for certification. 

Degree Title: MS in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 40 credit hours

25

University of New Mexico-Main Campus
Albuquerque, NM

University New Mexico

The University of New Mexico offers an online elementary education masters degree program through their college of education. Teacher leadership is the primary focus in this degree program. Though this particular course of study does not meet the requirements for students to achieve an administrative licensure, it does provide many opportunities for career advancement. The program is delivered in the cohort model, and cohorts begin together every fall. This structure enables students to have many opportunities to work together and provide peer support for each other’s trajectory. Online students have access to all of the same library resources as on campus students, as well as renowned faculty members. Some of the classes offered include: social justice in education, advanced instructional strategies, student leadership in a democratic society, and effective teaching and student learning, among many others. 

Degree Title: MA in Elementary Education

Length of Program: 32 credit hours

Will Schools Trust an Online Master’s in Education?

The answer to this is absolutely, yes. In some cases it won’t even be acknowledged that the degree is online. Even if it is clear that it is an online degree, it will not matter. Many working teachers choose online programming so they can continue teaching while working towards their advanced degree. This says a lot about the work ethic of an educator and what they are capable of accomplishing. Accredited online teaching degree programs are truly designed to meet all of the needs of working professionals in the field who are looking for advancement. Many schools provide access to comprehensive career advising as well, so all of the possibilities for success are embedded into the programming. In our list you will find the best online colleges for teaching degrees if you look closely and are clear about what is best for you personally. 

Why Should I Get a Master’s in Teaching?

There are many reasons people decide to get an advanced degree in teaching. The automatic obvious answer is that they want to achieve a higher salary potential. Many students, however, are interested in gaining a new skill set or specialization that will allow them to pursue a specific aspect of classroom facilitation. Let’s consider- what qualifications do you need to become a teacher? There are many hoops teachers must jump through to gain the proper certifications to be in the classroom. The critical piece of this, however, is that what makes a successful educator often goes beyond the degrees and paperwork required. Teachers must pick this path out of a love for working with students and the subjects for which they teach. It is imperative in today’s world that teachers are able to work in diverse settings with ease. They must also have the skills to effectively manage a classroom full of people coming from different cultural experiences. Many times teachers want to shift their focus and begin working in special education, or develop a skill as a literacy specialist, for example. Pursuing such paths are great reasons for teachers to choose to invest in an advanced degree program. 

Can I Make More with an Online Master’s Degree in Education?

A teacher salary with a masters degree is generally near $51,000 according to Payscale. This, however, is slightly variable depending on where you live. Generally, the first year an elementary school teacher has their advanced degree, they make just over $2,000 more than they did without the degree. Their pay does increase, however, each year, and the degree will ultimately have significant payoff in the long run. A non-master’s degree elementary school teacher generally makes around $45,387. Also, there are many ways to find funding for this degree path, in which case, students can easily graduate without a lot of debt to make up for in a salary increase. 

There are many reasons one may choose to get an advanced degree in teaching. It is definitely a personal choice, but a degree that pays off in financial gain as well as satisfaction.