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2023 Best Online Elementary Education Degrees

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 5/29/2023
2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Elementary Education Badge

An online bachelor’s degree in elementary education is designed for aspiring teachers who want to positively impact their students’ futures. Elementary education degree programs focus on the skills needed to teach kindergarten through eighth grade, including lesson planning and classroom management. Typically, an online bachelor’s in elementary education, or early childhood education, will include courses like Learning Theory, Educational Psychology, and Curriculum and Instruction. In addition, prospective students can expect to complete an internship, capstone course, and several hours of supervised student teaching in the classroom. 

Graduates of an online bachelor’s in elementary education may obtain further education by getting an online master's in elementary education. Others may decide to directly pursue careers in education, like elementary teachers, education consultants, and education administrators. 

View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.

2023 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Elementary Education Badge
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Online Elementary Education Bachelor's Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Elementary Education Degrees

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 Wilmington University 88 88 $41,661
# 2 #2 St. Petersburg College 86 $41,290
# 3 #3 Southern Utah University 80 $40,144
# 4 #4 National University 77 $39,572
# 5 #5 Northern Arizona University 72 $38,858
# 6 #6 Saint Leo University Online 70 $38,620
# 7 #7 Drexel University 70 $38,545
# 8 #8 Indian River State College 66 $38,030
# 9 #9 Kansas State University 65 $37,947
# 10 #10 University of Louisiana - Monroe 61 $37,373

#1 Wilmington University

  • Salary Score: 88
  • Median Starting Salary: $41,661
  • Locations: New Castle (DE)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Wilmington University (WilmU) is a private, nonprofit institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Education Studies - Elementary Education K-6 (Non-Licensure). Totaling 120 credit hours, the degree can take four years to complete at a full-time pace. WilmU’s acceptance rate is 100%, and it has a 45% graduation rate.

WilmU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous online learning via Canvas. This program’s curriculum is designed for students seeking educator roles that don’t require a license. Sample courses are E-Folio, Assistive Technology, and Creating Environments for Learning. Prospective careers for graduates include child care center administrators, curriculum developers, and camp directors.

#2 St. Petersburg College

  • Salary Score: 86
  • Median Starting Salary: $41,290
  • Locations: Clearwater (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

St. Petersburg College (SP College) is a public institution that offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, which requires 120 credit hours. Full-time students can expect to complete the program within four years. The college accepts 100% of applicants, with 33% of students graduating.

At SP College, online students complete coursework asynchronously via the learning management system (LMS) D2L Brightspace. This online bachelor’s in elementary education gives students the skills and knowledge to become licensed or non-licensed elementary teachers. Some of the courses are Learning Theory and Student Development, Curriculum and Instruction, and Classroom Management and Communication K-12. Students are required to complete internships, a capstone course, and 220 school-based hours. Potential career opportunities for graduates include instructional coordinators, health educators, and teacher assistants.

#3 Southern Utah University

  • Salary Score: 80
  • Median Starting Salary: $40,144
  • Locations: Cedar City (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

At Southern Utah University (SUU), a public institution, prospective students can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Totaling 120-123 credit hours, the degree program can take four years to complete on a full-time basis. SUU’s acceptance rate is 76%, and it has a graduation rate of 53%.

SUU students complete their online coursework asynchronously and synchronously through the popular LMS Canvas. The program’s curriculum provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills to become successful teachers. Sample courses are Educational Psychology, Human Development through the Lifespan, and Educating Exceptional Students. Students must complete a teaching practicum to graduate. Alumni often become elementary teachers, community education officers, and education administrators.

#4 National University

  • Salary Score: 77
  • Median Starting Salary: $39,572
  • Locations: La Jolla (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

National University (NU) is a private, nonprofit institution that offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Development with an Inspired Teaching and Learning Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (California) requiring 180 quarter units (or 120 credit hours). Full-time students can expect to spend four years completing this program. NU’s acceptance rate is 89%, and 34% of students graduate.

NU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous remote learning through Blackboard. This online program gives students the strategies and techniques to provide an elementary education curriculum. Sample courses include Diversity: Development and Education, Ethical and Legal Issues, and Play as Pedagogy. Students must complete 45 quarter units on NU’s campus. The program’s graduates may pursue careers as career advisors, librarians, and homeschool consultants.

#5 Northern Arizona University

  • Salary Score: 72
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,858
  • Locations: Flagstaff (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public institution offering an online Bachelor of Science in Education - Elementary Education - Learning and Pedagogy, which requires 120 credit hours. It can take four years for full-time students to complete this program. The university accepts 82% of applicants, with 59% of students graduating.

NAU facilitates asynchronous and synchronous virtual learning on the Blackboard LMS. An online bachelor’s in elementary education covers the techniques, skills, and knowledge required to be successful in the education field. The program’s courses are Elementary School Curriculum - Learning and Pedagogy, Educational Psychology for Educators, and Assessment and Eligibility of Exceptional Children. It's also required that students complete an independent study and student teaching experience. Potential careers for graduates are instructional designers, elementary teachers, and after-school program directors.

#6 Saint Leo University Online

  • Salary Score: 70
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,620
  • Locations: St. Leo (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At Saint Leo University — a private, nonprofit university affiliated with the Roman Catholic church — students may enroll in an online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. This award-winning program prepares teacher candidates for Florida certification for teaching grades K-6, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and reading endorsements. Students are required to accumulate more than 800 hours of clinical experience, and the school provides advisors who assist online students in finding field placements.

Saint Leo students use the Desire2Learn online platform to access course materials, submit assignments, and engage with classmates and instructors.

#7 Drexel University

  • Salary Score: 70
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,545
  • Locations: Philadelphia (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Drexel University, which is a private, nonprofit institution, offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education requiring the completion of 180 quarter credits. Students can focus on either preK-4 teaching or special education. The preK-4 curriculum covers child development, literacy, and family partnerships, while the special education curriculum focuses on modifying curricula and using technology to address learners' needs. The program is designed to prepare graduates for teacher certification in the state of Pennsylvania. However, elementary education majors can also choose a non-certification track for those who want to work in education outside of the classroom, perhaps in curriculum design or administration.

Online education students access their coursework through Drexel Learn. The school has an 83% acceptance rate and a 78% graduation rate.

#8 Indian River State College

  • Salary Score: 66
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,030
  • Locations: Fort Pierce (FL) (and 4 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Indian River State College (IRSC) is a public institution of higher education. The school offers an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with optional reading and ESOL endorsements. The curriculum is designed to train teachers for the state of Florida by including courses in classroom management, lesson planning, curriculum design, and child development. Through IRSC's Educator Preparation Institute, individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than education can complete a one-year online program that prepares them for teaching licensure.

IRSC uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver its online courses. Distance education students have access to academic, library, and tutoring resources.

#9 Kansas State University

  • Salary Score: 65
  • Median Starting Salary: $37,947
  • Locations: Manhattan (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Kansas State University, commonly known as K-State, is a publicly operated university. Its online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. Newly admitted students are considered pre-professional education majors, and they must fulfill several general education and major-specific requirements before they can be admitted into the professional education program, where they will complete upper-division courses and student teaching requirements. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to become educators in the state of Kansas.

A unique feature of K-State's online elementary education program is the use of video recording and critiques to help teacher candidates improve their teaching skills. K-State supports online students with academic, career, and technology resources.

#10 University of Louisiana - Monroe

  • Salary Score: 61
  • Median Starting Salary: $37,373
  • Locations: Monroe (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Louisiana - Monroe (ULM) is a public institution of higher education offering an online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In addition to general education classes, enrollees take courses in teaching methods and instruction, content areas such as math and science, and integrative studies. Graduation requirements also include clinical and field teaching experiences. ULM's elementary education program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

At ULM, online learners access their course materials and communicate with peers and instructors through the Moodle learning management system. ULM has a 70% acceptance rate and a 54% graduation rate.

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Overview of Online Elementary Education

While an online associate degree is not enough to work as a teacher, there are associate degree programs designed specifically to ease the transition to a four-year bachelor's program in elementary education.

Bachelor's programs in elementary education can be found online, and this is the minimum level of education that must be completed in order to work as an elementary school teacher.

There are also master's programs online, and there are programs available for those who don't have a teaching background and who want to switch careers, or those who work in education but want to earn an advanced degree.

An online doctoral program may be an appropriate choice for someone who is interested in working at the university level as a professor or in research, or in top leadership or administration positions within the field of education.

Lastly, there are various online certificates available for current teachers and aspiring teachers alike. Certificates can be earned by those who have a bachelor's in a subject not related to education or teaching, but who want to go into teaching without committing to a master's program. Licensed educators may earn additional endorsement certificates online in order to add to their skill sets. For example, a licensed elementary school teacher may choose to earn a certificate in teaching math at the elementary school level.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Elementary Education

Those seeking a flexible way to earn their bachelor's in elementary education may be interested in pursuing their degree online.

Program Requirements

This type of program can be found at colleges and universities and typically takes four years and 120 credits to complete. Some programs may have an option to complete a fifth year in order to also earn a Master's in Teaching and licensure. Admission to one of these programs will require a high school diploma or GED, and may also require such application materials as an admissions essay or statement of purpose and SAT or ACT test scores. The cost of tuition will depend on the program attended, but will likely be at least $12,000 a year.


Students will learn about teaching methods, lesson planning, and classroom management, as well as how to cater to a variety of students who may have unique needs, such as ESL students or students with a disability. Student teaching will also likely be required. Some programs might have teaching certification preparation built into the program, while others will not.

Upon graduating with a bachelor's in elementary education individuals will be qualified to find work in public schools at the elementary level—if their program included a licensure component—or to seek out the necessary additional requirements for licensure based on their state. They can also sometimes find work in private schools without certification. Graduates will also be prepared to move on to master's-level programs in the field of education.


When choosing a degree program, an important thing to keep in mind is accreditation. There are three main types of accreditation: national, regional, and programmatic. National and regional accreditation have to do with accrediting the school as a whole and making sure that the school meets certain standards of quality. National accreditation focuses mostly on vocational or trade schools while regional accreditation deals with degree-granting schools. Accreditation is important for many reasons, including ease of transferring credits, access to federal financial aid, and an assurance that future employers will see the degree as valid.

Programmatic accreditation is when an organization that specializes in a certain subject area accredits programs within that subject. For instance, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the current main accrediting body for education programs. CAEP was formed when The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Students looking to get a degree in teaching or education should make sure that they are enrolling in a program that has received programmatic accreditation. Either way students enrolled in a program accredited by one of these agencies can be sure that they are receiving a quality education that will prepare them well for their future career.

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Teaching Certification

In order to work as an elementary school teacher within the public school system, an individual will need to become certified. The requirements to earn a teaching certificate will differ from state to state, so aspiring teachers should check on the requirements for the state that they want to teach in. Some typical requirements include earning a bachelor's degree, completing student teaching, and passing a certification examination. Continuing education may be required to keep certification up-to-date, and some states want teachers to earn a master's degree after they have earned their certification. There are also programs in every state that allow those who have a bachelor's degree in a non-teaching related subject to go through extra training in order to become a certified teacher. This type of certification is known as an “alternative route.”


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