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Online Bachelors in Elementary Education

Earning an elementary education bachelors degree online walks students through how to effectively create, teach, and evaluate lesson plans to students from kindergarten through high school. Some important topics include assessing each student’s progress and how to use technology to improve class engagement.

Did You Know?

As of the fall of 2016, there were about 50.4 million students in American primary and secondary schools combined. This includes 35.4 million pre-K through 8th grade and about 15.0 million grades 9 through 12.

Essentials of Elementary Education

Elementary education studies all of the steps and processes to effectively teach students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Sometimes, the specific age groups and grades of elementary education are broken into different distinctions, which are listed here.

  • Elementary or Primary Schools: Kindergarten through 5th Grade
  • Middle or Intermediate Schools: 6th grade through 8th Grade
  • Secondary or High Schools: 9th grade through 12th Grade

Keep in mind that many U.S. states have different ways of separating grades. For instance, some states may not have a middle school classification, which means elementary school may go all the way through 8th grade. Other states may have other distinctions. Check with your state for more information as this may affect your choice of elementary education bachelors degree online. 

Elementary Education Bachelors Degree Online: What You’ll Learn

While pursuing an elementary education bachelors degree online, programs teach the essentials of providing elementary school children with a solid foundation so that they may excel and achieve their educational goals.

As a result, many programs examine the different methods of engaging students in analytical, creative, and critical thinking. Typically, a number of elementary education courses also focus on how to use modern technology to enhance lesson plans and promote engagement.

By studying the different approaches to teaching, students may cover how to create exercises that help elementary school children build a solid foundation of learning. These skills may help them continue growing, and they may use them for the rest of their lives.

These teaching techniques may be especially effective in helping students to close the achievement gap. The achievement gap is the negative effect of certain disadvantageous factors on student learning, such as a disability or coming from a low-income or ethnic-minority family. This is measured by metrics such as students' grades and test scores. Therefore, many elementary education programs look at how to reach students of different backgrounds, cultures, and learning styles.

Important Topics in Elementary Education

Online elementary education bachelors degree programs are designed to prepare you for the classroom setting. Therefore, courses typically cover the concepts and theories so that you may grasp how to effectively evaluate the effectiveness of current teaching methods and how to improve your own strategies.

Check out the list below for some of these important topics in elementary education.

  • Exploring modern trends in education and their benefits
  • Evaluating educational methods, such as differentiated learning and direct instruction
  • Analyzing different approaches to classroom management and discipline
  • Researching evidence-based learning concepts

Typically, schools that offer an elementary education bachelors degree online also cover a number of other fundamental topics in teaching. These may include curriculum design, lesson plan creation, and how to assess the progress of each student. Each school has a unique design and course of study. Therefore, specific topics and approaches may vary.

Common Elementary Education Courses

Many elementary education online courses focus on studying all of the principles necessary for effective teaching. Typically, these revolve around creating lesson plans that keep students engaged and help them understand the curriculum. It may also include creating and grading tests and quizzes, as well as preparing students for standardized tests.

Normally, elementary education bachelors degree online courses will also analyze different approaches in using technology and enforcing classroom rules. This may help students to stay focused and engaged on current lessons.

Some of the specific elementary education courses you may take include those listed here.

  • Early Literacy Instruction, K-6
  • Mathematics, Primary and Middle Grades
  • Computer Applications in Education
  • Exploring Social Studies Content
  • Foundations of Teaching and Learning
  • Health and Movement in Elementary Classrooms
  • Classroom Management and Discipline
  • Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
  • Instructional Planning and Presentation in Elementary Education
  • Educational Assessment

Usually, elementary education bachelors programs also require that you complete a number of general education courses in order to earn your degree. These may include courses in business, history, art, and other subjects. However, each school is different. Therefore, you should check with a few options to find a school that matches your goals.

Student-Teaching Requirements

To become a licensed teacher, all states require that you have performed a certain number of student-teaching hours under the supervision of an experienced teacher.i While the exact hours may vary from state to state, most elementary education bachelors degree online programs ask that you perform 12 consecutive weeks of full-time student teaching.

Your student-teaching segment of your elementary education bachelors degree online may help you with the following concepts.

  • First-hand experience in a classroom
  • How to adapt lesson plans to engage students
  • Apply principles learned at class
  • Understand levels of discipline and how children react

Effective elementary education may help shape the minds and discipline of young students. Therefore, student-teaching may provide you with valuable experience so you feel comfortable in the classroom upon earning your degree.

Available Concentrations for Your Online Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education

A number of online elementary education bachelors programs offer concentrations. These may provide you a chance to tailor your course of study to provide extra focus on one particular field. As a result, choosing a concentration may help make you more proficient in the field of your choosing.ii

Some of the available concentrations in elementary education include those listed here.

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Special Education
  • Foreign Language
  • Science

Keep in mind that some schools may offer additional concentrations and other schools may not offer any. Therefore, you should research a few schools to find a perfect match for you.

Difference Between Elementary Education and Secondary Education

Most elementary education bachelors degree online programs cover kindergarten through 12th grade. However, some programs focus courses and topics up to 4th, 5th, or even 8th grades.

Often, elementary school teachers teach a number of subjects to students throughout the day. On the other hand, many intermediate and secondary school teachers teach one subject or a group of similar subjects. Therefore, concentrations may be perfect for students who wish to teach middle school or high school as opposed to an elementary school teacher who covers all subjects.ii

Online Bachelors Elementary Education: Basics

Earning an elementary education bachelors degree online strives to prepare you to be a knowledgeable, ethical, and caring teacher in modern society. Therefore, while many courses focus on the principles and concepts of effective teaching methods, a number of topics also include how to connect with students, parents, and colleagues.

As parents trust their children’s teachers, one of the most important parts that elementary education bachelors degree programs look at is how to effectively communicate with parents. These conversations may include any or all of the following topics.

  • Curriculum Goals
  • Assessment of a Child
  • A Child’s Progress and Development
  • Observation of a Studentiii

Some schools may perform class exercises to develop these conversational skills. This may provide you the experience in relaying important information to parents. However, each school has a unique design.

Admissions Requirements for Elementary Education Bachelors Degree Programs

Most online elementary education bachelors degree programs ask that you have earned a high school or equivalent diploma. Some schools may have additional requirements, which are listed here.

  • High School GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • All transcripts
  • SAT or ACT Scores
  • Interview

Specific admissions requirements vary, depending on the school. For instance, some schools ask that you pass a basic skills test to determine if you need any additional courses. Check out a few schools to find one that matches your goals.

Is Elementary Education a Bachelor of Arts or Science?

Elementary education bachelors degrees can be either a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA). Both BA and BS elementary education degrees typically take the same amount of time and have similar requirements.

One of the main differences is that BS degrees normally offer fewer electives and require more courses inside of the major. On the other hand, BA degrees may offer students a chance to take a number of liberal arts electives. This may provide you a more well-rounded, general education.

Some schools are set up so that, if you pursue a BA, you may study the subjects listed here.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Reading
  • Special Education

In addition, some schools allow you to pursue a BS degree in more technically focused subjects only, such as mathematics or science. However, check with a few different schools to find one that is structured in a way that matches your goals.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Teaching Degree?

Most full-time students can earn their elementary education bachelors degree in four years. However, this may depend on when courses are available and the specific design of a school.

Normally, it takes longer for a part-time student to earn their bachelors degree.

Elementary Education Bachelors Degree Graduation Requirements

Earning an elementary education bachelors degree has many similar requirements as other bachelors degrees. However, typically programs strive to prepare you to become a licensed teacher, which includes student-teaching.

In order to earn your elementary education bachelors degree online, many schools ask that you complete the following.

  • Complete all required education courses
  • Complete all required general education courses
  • Meet student-teaching requirements

Some schools may have additional requirements, such as maintaining a minimum GPA or completing a student portfolio. However, check with a few schools to find one that is a perfect fit for you.

Elementary Education Accreditations

While there are a number of regional accreditations for online elementary education bachelor degree schools, there is one important national accreditation to look for. It is awarded by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The goal of CAEP is to assure quality in educator preparation. Therefore, they look for programs that show the qualities listed here.

  • Prepare new teachers to know subjects and students
  • Have clinical training that prepares graduates to effectively teach
  • Continually self-assess and conduct evidence-based research

These, and other requirements, help students, parents, and schools believe that graduates from accredited schools are prepared to teach effectively upon graduation. However, if a school isn’t accredited it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad school. It simply means that you need to perform more independent research to determine the quality of the degree.

What Can You Do with a Bachelors in Elementary Education?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of kindergarten and elementary school teachers to increase 6% during the 10 years from 2014 to 2024. That is an increase of more than 87,000 jobs.iv

However, upon earning your elementary education bachelors degree online, that is not the only teaching position you may pursue. Some of the other positions, and their 2015 median annual salary, are listed here.

  • Kindergarten Teachers: $51,640
  • Elementary School Teachers: $54,890v
  • Middle School Teachers: $55,860vi
  • High School Teachers: $57,200vii

All of these teaching positions have similar requirements, though each of the different age groups has their own challenges.

For instance, high school students may deal with stress of having a part-time job or preparing for the SATs. On the other hand, elementary school children may be more prone to distractions and disturbances in the classroom.

To become a public school teacher at any of these levels, you need to have earned a bachelors degree and taken a position as a licensed teacher. To teach in a private school, there may be other requirements.viii

Additional Certifications in Elementary Education

In order to become a licensed teacher, every state requires that you have earned a bachelors degree. There are a number of additional requirements that vary from state to state. Some of the most common requirements are listed here.

  • Complete Student-Teaching
  • Pass General Certification Test
  • Background Check
  • Graduate with Minimum GPAix

Keep in mind that each U.S. state has their own rules. Check with your state to find your specific requirements. Typically, programs that offer a bachelors degree in elementary education know the requirements for many states. Therefore, you should be aware of the rules while pursuing your degree to make sure that you meet all requirements.

Take the Next Step

Do you enjoy helping children reach their goals? Are you looking to have a positive impact on the future of society and your neighborhood? Then move forward on earning your elementary education bachelors degree online!

Click on any of the sponsored listings to learn more about each school. You can even reach out to your favorites directly to request more information. Find the perfect school for you and apply today.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm#tab-4 [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-2 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-2 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-6 [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-5 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm#tab-5 [vii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-5 [viii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-4 [ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-4