Home > Top 25 Online Master’s in Elementary Education for 2018

Top 25 Online Master’s in Elementary Education for 2018

An online master’s degree in elementary education is aimed toward teachers who wish to improve their pedagogical efficacy or individuals who wish to transition into elementary education from another field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of elementary school teachers is projected to grow at the average rate of 7% between 2016 and 2026. This indicates that the need for educators at the elementary level has expanded and is expected to continue to do so for the next decade. If you are passionate about education and enjoy being around young children, getting an elementary education master’s online can help turn that passion into a career.

What are the Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education Programs?

1

Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL

Degree Master of Science in Education (Elementary Education with ESOL Endorsement)
Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 39%

The master of science in education (elementary education with ESOL endorsement) at Nova Southeastern University is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education who wish to teach at elementary school level. The 60-credit program culminates in at least three months of a full-time internship at a school. This internship gives the student experience in classroom responsibility and lesson planning. Courses cover method and theory in teaching reading, science, and other elementary school subjects. Applicants should have minimum quantitative and verbal GRE scores of 1000, or pass grades in CLAST, General Knowledge Test, or PRAXIS I.

2

East Carolina UniversityGreenville, NC

Degree Master of Arts in Education-Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 22%

For those who already hold a K-6 elementary teaching license, East Carolina University offers a specialized online master's degree in elementary education. The master of arts in education-elementary education teaches students skills in problem-solving, teaching integrated language arts, and leading curriculum revision and implementation. The 60-credit program allows students to focus on specialized areas such as teacher leadership, teaching English as a second language, and teaching the academically gifted. Core courses highlight research planning and team-based communication skills.

Applicants are required to provide GRE or MAT scores, or have at least 10 years of teaching experience, and have a minimum GPA of 2.7. Application deadlines are September 1st, February 1st, and March 1st, for spring, summer and fall semesters respectively.

3

Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA

Degree Master of Arts in Teaching-Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 22%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 82%

The master of arts in teaching - elementary education program at Liberty University is made up of 36 credit hours. The program is specifically designed to give students elementary school teacher licensure with national accreditation. The program provides a teaching internship so students can apply the methods, theories, and strategies learned during the program. The curriculum is based on teaching math, arts, social sciences, language acquisition, and reading. This online master's in elementary education does have some on-campus requirements which must be completed at the attractive 7,000-acre main campus in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Students may transfer half of overall program credits from another university. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students already holding a master’s degree may use those grades for assessment.

4

Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL

Degree Master of Science in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 93%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 74%
Online Enrollment 11%

Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, offers a 30-credit elementary education master's degree online. The master of science in elementary education prepares prospective teachers to plan lessons and assess student performance. Elective options include Christian education and missions, teacher leadership, assessment strategies, and action research. The program prepares teachers for social diversity in the classroom. Graduates are able to integrate technology into teaching.

Applicants must have passing scores on the MAT or GRE or a prior graduate degree. Applicants must also hold a class B teaching certificate in early childhood or elementary education. Conditional application deadlines are July 15th, November 15th, and April 15th for fall, spring, and summer semesters respectively.

5

Slippery Rock University of PennsylvaniaSlippery Rock, PA

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 68%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 12%

Based in a small town in Butler County, Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University was founded in 1889. SRU offers two online master of education in elementary education degrees. The first degree option focuses on K-12 reading. This 30-credit program qualifies students for Pennsylvania reading specialist certification. There are several variations of this degree that offer different levels of reading and teaching certification. The second degree option focuses on K-8 math and science instruction.

Several elective options are available for the research portion of the programs, including univariate statistical methods and qualitative research practice. Two courses require hands-on work experience, enabling students to test their new skills and knowledge. Applicants are assessed on an individual basis.

6

Ball State UniversityMuncie, IN

Degree Master of Arts in Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 17%

Based in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University offers an online master's in elementary education with a focus on personal customization. The master of arts in elementary education is a 30-credit program that has three core focus areas: early childhood education, enhanced teaching practices, and reading and literacy instruction. Other focus areas are also available, such as teaching autistic children, teaching high-ability children, and using computers as teaching tools. Each focus area leads to a graduate certificate in that specialization. BSU also offers specialized master’s degrees in K-12 mathematics education, special education, and technology education. All programs explore current trends in research, highlight social diversity, and emphasize school and family community. Applicants should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75.

7

The University of AlabamaTuscaloosa, AL

Degree Master of Arts in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 54%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 9%

Located in Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama has been providing classes to distance learners since 1983. The online master of arts in elementary education consists of 30-36 credits in foundational courses, electives, and an area of specialization. Students choose one or two specializations from the following: science, mathematics, literacy, social studies, and language arts. Foundational classes include computer-based instruction and elementary school curriculum.

Applicants should hold an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Additionally, students should already have a certificate in elementary education. Students can begin the program at any semester in the four-semester year, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Over 30 scholarships are available specifically to students of UA’s College of Education, including the Curry Bedsole Adams Endowed Scholarship and the Anna and Harold Paige Scholarship Fund.

8

University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, AL

Degree Masters of Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 60%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 55%
Online Enrollment 20%

The University of Alabama at Birmingham offers the master's of education in early childhood and elementary education either fully online or in a hybrid format. Students can complete a traditional master’s consisting of 31 to 35 credit hours or an alternative master’s consisting of 49 to 58 hours. The alternative master’s program is for students who do not already have teaching certificates and wish to earn them. Electives include child psychology and Piaget learning perspectives. The school also offers a master’s degree in reading education.

Application deadlines are June 1st, November 1st, and April 1st for fall, spring, and summer terms respectively. Applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 2.75 and passing scores on ETS Core and Praxis tests. Applicants must also clear a criminal background check.

9

University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND

Degree Master of Science in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 82%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 22%

Located in Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota was founded in 1883 and has been accredited since 1913. The school’s 32-credit master of science in elementary education combines educational theory with hands-on experience. The program can be completed in two years or six semesters. All students must complete a 90-hour practicum in an elementary school. Students can complete this practicum at an elementary school near where they live. Live classes are available during evenings and weekends.

Students can begin the program at the start of any term. Application deadlines are August 1st, December 1st, and May 1st for fall, spring, and summer terms respectively. Teaching licenses are not a prerequisite for application. All students pay in-state tuition regardless of residency status. UND’s online courses are not usually eligible for tuition waiver programs, although some scholarships such as the Ben & Ruth Gustafson Continuing Education Endowment still apply.

10

William Carey UniversityHattiesburg, MS

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 54%
Online Enrollment 13%

William Carey University in Biloxi, Mississippi, offers several online degrees, including the online master of education. Students can choose from 10 concentrations, including elementary education, emotional and behavioral disorders, disabilities, English, and art education. Students may pick two or more concentrations or can simply take electives in whatever interests them. Courses place a heavy focus on foundational subjects such as mathematics, social studies, and reading. Other core courses include the teacher as researcher, the historical and philosophical background of teaching, and lesson planning. Applicants should have a GPA of 2.75 and passing scores in PRAXIS I and II.

11

Southwestern Assemblies of God UniversityWaxahachie, TX

Degree Master of Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 28%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 38%

Established in 1943, Southwestern Assemblies of God University is located on a 70 acre campus in Waxahachie, Texas. SAGU grounds itself in Bible-based teaching and Pentecostal theology. The master of education in early childhood and elementary education is a 36-credit program which covers all aspects of elementary curriculum, with additional focuses on advanced reading practices, classroom management, and implementing research technology. SAGU places emphasis on teaching in diverse cultures and using differentiated strategies. The school teaches ethics based on its Christian mission. All students must complete a practicum of 14 consecutive weeks.

Current applications qualify for a grant of $750 per semester. Potential students must receive recommendation from SAGU’s counsellor using the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis. Students must hold a GPA of 3.0 in order to apply.

12

California University of PennsylvaniaCalifornia, PA

Degree Master of Education: Elementary Education (PreK-4)
Admissions Rate 85%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 50%
Online Enrollment 33%

Located 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, California University of Pennsylvania’s online master's degree in elementary education focuses on grades preK-4. The 54-credit program is comprised of courses such as the advanced psychology of learning, behavior analysis, and special education. Cal U’s online master's in elementary education emphasizes assessment and evidence-based practices. The program is offered with or without certification. Some courses require an on-campus presence.

Candidates for Pennsylvania teaching certification require passing PECT scores and completed foundational coursework such as college-level mathematics and US History. Applicants should have earned a GPA of 2.8 in their last 48 credits of undergraduate study.

13

University of Northern IowaCedar Falls, IA

Degree Master of Arts in Education-Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 68%
Online Enrollment 6%

The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls offers a 30-credit elementary education master's degree online. The highly structured program is designed to be completed in five consecutive semesters, including a summer term. Students take four credits in research, a seminar, and foundational coursework in elementary school instruction. The program begins every other fall when a cohort is filled. Enrollment is now open for fall 2019. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0, although applicants with a GPA of 2.75 will be considered.

14

University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotte, NC

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 63%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 53%
Online Enrollment 5%

The online master's degree in elementary education at UNC Charlotte is made up of 31 credits in three phases: developing perspectives, collaborative inquiry, and investigative leadership. Students can choose from six concentrations: teaching the academically gifted, anti-racism, teaching English as a second language, mathematics, instructional technology, and special education. Core phases cover classroom leadership for diverse learners, cultural contexts, and issues in global and urban environments.

Applicants must hold a teaching license and bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Applicants should also have a GPA of 3.0 and include their GRE and MAT scores. Courses are typically semester-specific and need to be taken in specific order.

15

Southeastern UniversityLakeland, FL

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 46%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 40%

Located in Lakeland, Florida, Southeastern University was founded in 1935 as a Pentecostal Christian institute and continues to educate a Christ-centred community. SEU’s 36-credit online master's degree in elementary education is designed for working teachers. The curriculum focuses on advanced methods in teaching arts and sciences, as well as classroom diversity and child development in different cultural contexts. Students take two electives of their choice, including teaching English as a second language. The program can be completed in 18 months of full-time study or 24 months of part-time study. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0, or at least three years of teaching.

16

Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZ

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 77%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 52%
Online Enrollment 20%

Northern Arizona University’s master of education in elementary education is designed for practicing teachers. This 30-credit online master's degree in elementary education is highly customizable; students choose half of their own courses during the required core phase. The program has three options: the K-12 reading emphasis, the continuing professional emphasis, and the certification preparation option. Reading instruction courses feature the study of phonics. Certification courses include advanced methods in teaching children with disabilities. The certification concentration requires some in-person presence, and comprises 43 credits overall. The curriculum is specifically designed to meet the standards of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

17

Meredith CollegeRaleigh, NC

Degree Master of Education
Admissions Rate 60%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 62%

Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, boasts a high job placement rate for graduates of their master of education program. A high percentage of alumni work as teachers, and many of them have won national and state educator awards. The online elementary education master's degree consists of 33-36 credits. Courses include advanced educational psychology, Web 2.0, teaching ESL, and various practicum opportunities. The program is typically completed in two and half years.

Deadlines are July 1st for fall, November 1st for spring, and April 1st for summer. Applicants should include scores from the GRE or MAT. They should also hold a current teacher’s license. Applicants currently working as teachers who wish to renew their teacher’s license may take graduate level courses without taking a degree.

18

University of West GeorgiaCarrollton, GA

Degree Master of Education with a Major in Early Childhood Education
Admissions Rate 57%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 39%
Online Enrollment 16%

UWA offers an online master of education with a major in early childhood education. The program is 36 credits, usually completed over 12-24 months. Courses include teaching directed readings, creative dramatics, and parent education. UWA’s program focuses on the role of home, family and community in elementary education. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an overall GPA of 2.7. Alternatively, applicants should hold a Level 4 Early Childhood Education teaching license. Application deadlines are July 1st, November 15th, April 15th, for fall, spring, and summer terms respectively.

19

Mercy CollegeDobbs Ferry, NY

Degree Master of Science in Childhood Education, Grades 1-6
Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 37%
Online Enrollment 12%

Founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy College is one of the most affordable private colleges in New York. The school’s master of science in childhood education, grades 1-6 is 36 credits. The program focuses on language development and literacy acquisition, as well as foundational topics in the arts and sciences. Each class requires a corresponding ten-hour fieldwork experience. Students in this program can earn an initial teaching certification, a certification in teaching students with disabilities, and a certification in adolescence education. Students may also enroll in the school district advanced leadership certificate program. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a relevant bachelor’s degree. All applicants must submit GRE scores.

20

University of South AlabamaMobile, AL

Degree Master of Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 73%
Graduation Rate 36%
Online Enrollment 20%

The University of South Alabama in Mobile offers a 30-credit elementary education master's degree online. The program is designed to prepare students for the class A professional elementary education (K-6) certificate. Foundational courses include microcomputing systems, instructional planning, and teaching trends. Students must take a class on special education or diversity in the classroom. The program includes nine credits of electives so students can choose the classes that most interest them. Applicants should hold a class B professional elementary education (K-6) certificate. They must also submit PRAXIS, MAT, or GRE scores.

21

University of MobileMobile, AL

Degree Master of Arts in Education
Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 45%
Online Enrollment 4%

The University of Mobile was founded by the Alabama Baptist State Convention in 1959. The school’s master of arts in education is available with an early childhood track, elementary track, or combination of the two. The core section is made up of 27 credits, including 12 credits in the specialization.The program leads to a class A certification in early childhood education or elementary education. Semesters of are 16 weeks in length and students can begin in any semester. Applicants must hold a relevant bachelor’s with a GPA of at least 2.75. They must also have a B level teacher certification in early childhood education or elementary education. GRE and MAT scores are not necessary.

22

Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond, KY

Degree Master of Arts in Education-Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 71%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 21%

Located in Richmond, Eastern Kentucky University offers more than 40 online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and certificates. EKU offers a 30-credit online master's degree in elementary education. The school also offers specialized programs in preK-12 literacy, school media librarian, and special education. Classes are taught in eight-week terms. Graduates may qualify for several certificates, including Kentucky teacher leader endorsement.

Applicants can transfer up to nine credits. They must hold an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 or include GRE or MAT scores. Furthermore, applicants must currently hold a state teaching license and include scores from the Praxis core academic skills for educators tests. Many departmental and foundation scholarships are available, and can be found listed on the university website.

23

University of North AlabamaFlorence, AL

Degree Master of Arts in Education-Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 58%
Default Rate 15%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 38%
Online Enrollment 15%

The University of North Alabama’s online master's degree in elementary education is designed to give graduate students class A professional educator certificate. The 30-credit program includes six credits of electives, nine credits of foundational professional studies, and 12 credits in specific teaching fields. A further three hours focus on personalized research.

Applicants may transfer up to 12 credits and should hold a minimum GPA of 3.0, a combined GRE score of 800, a minimum MAT score of 388, or a relevant Praxis II score. Furthermore, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification in elementary education or a related field. Those without a teaching license may wish to apply for the alternative class A program variant, which leads to initial teacher certification.

24

Western Illinois UniversityMacomb, IL

Degree Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education
Admissions Rate 60%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 53%
Online Enrollment 8%

Western Illinois University offers a master's in elementary education online. Online students may choose from one of two specializations, elementary curriculum or literacy education. The program requires 24 credits in foundational topics such as how to assess and differentiate instruction in the classroom. Students can choose from ten online elective courses, including characteristics of learners with disabilities, language arts for diverse learners, and phonics for decoding and spelling. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.75. All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based Western Commitment Scholarships of between $2,000 and $10,000 per year.

25

Arkansas State UniversityJonesboro, AR

Degree Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 17%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 40%
Online Enrollment 24%

Arkansas State University offers several online master’s degrees in education, including K-12 special education, early childhood education, reading, and educational leadership. Courses are seven weeks in length, with most programs designed to be completed in 20 months of full-time study. The course on elementary school curriculum covers topics such as curricular revision and how to select activities. A supervised teaching practicum is also required. An additional course is required for those seeking Arkansas licensure. Applicants must hold a valid teacher’s license and have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Elementary Education Program

Deciding where to get your elementary education master’s online is a difficult decision. It requires the evaluation of several different programs based on the length, format, curriculum, and cost that works best for you. An online master’s degree in elementary education is typically 30 to 36 credit hours and can be completed in a year. Foundational courses focus on the elementary school curriculum and instruction practices effective for younger learners. Some programs may offer areas of specialization within the degree, such as reading and literacy instruction or early childhood education. Other programs may require teaching practicums.

In addition, verify that your program of choice is either regionally or nationally accredited. Generally, regional accreditation is considered more prestigious by employers. Regional accreditation gives you more flexibility to transfer credits from one school to another. National accreditation is more focused on vocational applicability. Either way, ensure that the accrediting agency is recognized by the US Department of Education.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Elementary Education Programs

While an online master’s in elementary education may seem applicable only to the occupation of elementary school teacher, this is not the case. There are many other career trajectories you could undertake after graduating with this degree. For instance, education administrators facilitate the day-to-day operations of an elementary school. Instructional coordinators or curriculum designers may also work for the school district in revamping the elementary curriculum. There are several jobs available to those who complete an elementary education master’s online but do not necessarily want to become a teacher.

The following table presents the descriptions of five possible career trajectories in elementary education and their respective median salaries.

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Elementary Education Master’s Degrees

The education sector has been expanding and with it, the demand for elementary school teachers, administrators, and curriculum coordinators. The table below illustrates the projected increase in employment opportunities between 2016 and 2026. As you can see, employment prospects are generally positive. However, salaries may still vary depending on whether you’re employed at the school or district level, whether you work at a public or private school, what subject you teach, and where you are located. For example, superintendents employed by the district will generally make more than a school administrator at any particular school.

Employment Growth for Elementary Education
Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026
1,410,900 1,514,900

Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Elementary Education Master’s Programs

Regardless of specific position or location, your salary will increase as you gain experience in the elementary education field. However, positions may differ in starting salary and salary growth rate. For instance, an education administrator’s starting salary is, on average, $12,000 higher than an elementary school teacher’s starting salary. The table below also illustrates that an education administrator’s salary increases by roughly the same increment every five to ten years while an elementary school teacher’s salary increases by slightly higher increments every five to ten years (although still not surpassing an administrator’s salary).

The table below presents the average median salaries of three occupations in elementary education based on experience.


To determine the best online master’s in elementary education programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in elementary education programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.