Best Online Master's in Elementary Education Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Elementary Education Badge

The 14 schools on this list are the best value options for obtaining an online master's degree in elementary education based on alumni salaries and low tuition rates. Graduates of the #1 school, California State University-Fullerton, report earning a median salary of $80,100. The #2 school, Western Governors University has an affordable annual tuition rate of $7,080 for its M.A. Teaching - Elementary Education.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 California State University-Fullerton $13,374 $80,100
# 2 #2 Western Governors University $7,080 $76,900
# 3 #3 Saint Xavier University $12,075 $75,800
# 4 #4 University of North Texas $12,146 $66,900
# 5 #5 Kansas State University $17,800 $68,600
# 6 #6 Ball State University $9,765 $63,900
# 7 #7 Lesley University $11,050 $62,800
# 8 #8 University of New Mexico $4,583 $58,600
# 9 #9 University of Alabama $6,300 $58,400
# 10 #10 Liberty University $9,960 $59,800
# 11 #11 Troy University $8,892 $59,100
# 12 #12 Stephen F. Austin State University $6,060 $57,000
# 13 #13 Nova Southeastern University $20,500 $59,800
# 14 #14 Old Dominion University $8,925 $55,000
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Elementary Education Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 California State University-Fullerton

  • Annual Tuition: $13,374
  • Median Salary: $80,100
  • Locations: Fullerton (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The College of Education at California State University-Fullerton offers many degrees in the education field through its online platform. The curriculum across programs combines research and practice to develop culturally conscious teachers and professionals. One such degree is the Master of Science in Education in Elementary Curriculum, which offers concentrations in education for social justice and 21st-century teaching and learning. The program is available through the Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education. Core competencies include education equity, classroom integration with technology, and a student-centered approach to teaching. Accepted candidates can select a thesis or non-thesis option.

#2 Western Governors University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,080
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • Locations: Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Aspiring teachers with an undergraduate degree in a subject other than teaching or education may consider the fully online Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education from Western Governors University. The program’s curriculum covers classroom teaching strategies, assessment techniques, and course design specifically focused on the elementary level. Students typically complete their master’s degree in 18 months and are eligible to apply for licensure in all 50 states. WGU students can leverage the flexibility of the online classes to maintain their current lifestyles.

#3 Saint Xavier University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,075
  • Median Salary: $75,800
  • Locations: Chicago (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, provides distance learning candidates with online graduate degree programs that emphasize career-focused learning and flexibility. The online platform shares the same faculty as the campus-based classes. The College of Arts and Sciences hosts a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education for aspiring teachers. Students complete field experiences at a site approved by the Saint Xavier Education Department. Successful graduates will be qualified to apply for licensure for first grade through sixth grade in Illinois.

#4 University of North Texas

  • Annual Tuition: $12,146
  • Median Salary: $66,900
  • Locations: Denton (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of North Texas is a public institution in Denton, Texas, and one of the state’s largest schools. Graduates from the College of Education at UNT pursue positions as teachers, counselors, and administrators around the state. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in a field other than education who would like to pursue teaching as a career may consider UNT's online Master of Education in Teaching (MEDT). It is offered with two certification tracks: teaching grades four through eight and early childhood to sixth grade. The MEDT requires 24 hours of coursework at the elementary postgraduate level, plus 12 additional hours.

#5 Kansas State University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,800
  • Median Salary: $68,600
  • Locations: Manhattan (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Kansas State University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) through its virtual learning platform, K-State Online. The degree can be completed in 12 months. Most applicants have an undergraduate degree in a field other than education. Graduates will prepare for potential employment in teaching positions and are eligible to apply for teaching licensure in Kansas. The program is entirely online, with a 31-credit hour requirement. Students can select the MAT in Elementary Education track, which prepares graduates for teaching kindergarten through sixth-grade licensure.

#6 Ball State University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,765
  • Median Salary: $63,900
  • Locations: Muncie (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ball State University has two online graduate degrees for individuals interested in the field of elementary education: a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education. The MA in Elementary Education provides individuals with several specializations to best align with their career goals. The concentrations are Autism, Computer Education for Teachers, Early Childhood Education, English as a New Language, Gifted and Talented Education, Human Development and Learning, Middle School Education, Reading and Literacy Instruction, and Response to Intervention. The 30-credit curriculum does not lead to licensure. The MA in Mathematics Education has a specific concentration in Elementary and Middle School Teachers. This is also a 30-credit program that includes coursework in mathematics and pedagogy. Online learners use asynchronous tools and content through the Canvas learning management platform. Students have access to academic and technical support services, as well as career services, and the Office of Disability Services. The online programs at Ball State University earned Learner Support Program Certification through Quality Matters; Ball State is recognized as a Military Friendly institution as well. The GRE is not required and students may apply for fall, spring, or summer semesters. Prospective students should submit official transcripts and an application form (with fee). Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree with a 2.75 GPA and a current teaching license with at least one year of applicable experience.

#7 Lesley University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,050
  • Median Salary: $62,800
  • Locations: Cambridge (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Individuals pursuing an online master’s program in elementary education have three different degrees at Lesley University: a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Education in Mathematics Education, and a Master of Education in Science Education. The 33-credit M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction operates in accelerated eight-week sessions. Students have the option to choose a concentration in Elementary Education Generalist: English Language Learners, Elementary Education Generalist: Literacy, or Elementary Education Generalist: Mathematics. The Master’s Degrees in Science and Math Education are similar in structures, requiring 33-credit hours each though fewer electives. All of these degrees are designed for grades 1-6 and are completed part-time, in approximately two years. Additionally, individuals may select a non-licensure or licensure track. The professional teaching license is only applicable to students who already hold the Massachusetts Initial Elementary Education teaching license. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, using chat features and discussion forums. Students may access advising services, virtual tutoring, and resources from the Lesley University libraries. Application deadlines operate on a rolling basis. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree. To apply, students should submit a completed application form, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, proof of teaching license (if pursuing professional licensure), and a personal statement.

#8 University of New Mexico

  • Annual Tuition: $4,583
  • Median Salary: $58,600
  • Locations: Albuquerque (NM)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The College of Education at the University of New Mexico (UNM) has a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. This is a 32-credit hour program that emphasizes higher standards of student achievement, collaboration among colleagues, and improving school culture. The program can be completed entirely online with Blackboard learning management software in a platform called UNM Learn. Here, students may see their grades, assignments, discussion boards, syllabi, and information for virtually proctored exams. Video-conferencing tools are available with Blackboard Collaborative. The MA in Elementary Education has a concentration in Teacher Leadership as well, though it does not necessarily lead to licensure. There is no thesis requirement, though students will take a final seminar. UNM’s online programs are certified by Quality Matters. Accepted students have access to 24/7 IT support (via phone), tutoring services, digital materials from one of the UNM libraries, and academic advising. Students with a military background may use the UNM Veterans Resource Center. To be considered, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA minimum and an elementary or secondary teaching license. To apply, candidates should submit official transcripts, a letter of intent, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and the completed application form.

#9 University of Alabama

  • Annual Tuition: $6,300
  • Median Salary: $58,400
  • Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Alabama has an online learning branch called Bama by Distance, which offers a Master of Arts in Elementary Education designed for K-6 Certification. The 30- to 36-credit program is available entirely online, so teachers may continue working full-time while completing their degrees. Periodically, students will engage in practicum experiences. Each student may select one or two teaching fields in which to specialize. These include Language Arts, Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Online courses use Blackboard learning management tools, and participants correspond asynchronously via email and discussion boards. Using this platform, students submit all assignments and view class materials. Bama by Distance students have access to virtual tutoring, online library resources, and technical assistance via phone or email. Military students and veterans receive additional resources. Candidates must have a completed bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a Class B teaching certificate. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA and GRE or MAT scores are also required. Applications are accepted year-round. Along with the completed application form (with fee), prospective students should send in unofficial transcripts, GRE (or MAT) scores, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

#10 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,960
  • Median Salary: $59,800
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees are available entirely online in accelerated, eight-week classes. Liberty’s online program uses Blackboard's learning management software and employs asynchronous methods, such as discussion boards and pre-recorded materials. The 36-credit M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction offers a concentration in Elementary Education and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Students select either a capstone course in current issues in education or a directed practicum. The MA in Teaching is a 36-credit hour, 18-month program as well. Students may select a specialization in Elementary Education, which includes a practicum component. A 45-credit degree option allows students to receive an additional endorsement in Elementary Education or Special Education. Upon completing all coursework and practicum hours, along with passing required state assessments, graduates are eligible for a Virginia teaching license. Online students have access to Liberty's IT Help Desk, an online writing center, free e-tutoring, free Adobe software products, and resources from the Jerry Falwell Library. Liberty is recognized as a Military Friendly institution. Applicants to these programs online must have a completed bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and are required to send in official transcripts along with their application (with fee).

#11 Troy University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,892
  • Median Salary: $59,100
  • Locations: Troy (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Teachers seeking an advanced degree in elementary education may consider the Master of Science in Education from Troy University. This includes a specialization in Elementary Education (K-6). This is a 36-credit option that includes a capstone course. Areas of study include educational technology, research methodology, and educational psychology. The traditional program is available entirely online; classes are mostly asynchronous and use forums, messaging, and video-conferencing when appropriate. All course materials are housed through the Canvas learning management system. Classes run in nine-week sessions, and participants may complete the program either part-time or full-time. Troy University’s John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success provides academic advising, career services, disability accommodations, and writing and research help. Troy University libraries provide students with a live chat feature with a librarian for research assistance. Military and veteran students will receive additional support services. Candidates should have a completed bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA. Interested applicants to the online graduate programs at Troy University must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

#12 Stephen F. Austin State University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,060
  • Median Salary: $57,000
  • Locations: Nacogdoches (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) has over a dozen options for students pursuing a graduate degree online in the field of elementary education. A Master of Education in Elementary Education includes tracks for All-Level Professional Reading Specialist Certification, Content Emphasis, or Standard Elementary. All-Level Professional Reading Specialist Certifications may be focused in Early Childhood, Elementary Core, and ESL/Bilingual. There is even an option for a post-baccalaureate initial certification or a thesis. The Reading Specialist degrees requires a practicum component. The Content Emphasis may be focused in Early Childhood, ESL/Bilingual, or Reading. And the Standard Elementary option has a certification for grades 4-8 or EC-6 which includes an internship component. There is even an online Master of Music in Music Education with a concentration in Elementary/General Music. Students in this program may select to complete a thesis if desired. Programs are 30-31 credit hours plus a thesis, or 36 total credit hours without the thesis. Online content uses D2L’s Brightspace learning management software through which students can access articles and assignments for class. Online students may access the virtual tutoring and writing support, resources from the Ralph W. Steen Library, academic advising, and disability services. Interested candidates should have a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 overall GPA (2.8 in the final two years of undergraduate study). To apply, students should submit a completed application (with fee), GRE or GMAT scores, and official transcripts.

#13 Nova Southeastern University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,500
  • Median Salary: $59,800
  • Locations: Fort Lauderdale (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students in the Master of Science in Education program at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) can customize their degree with an optional concentration in Elementary Education. The MS in Education is available entirely online using Canvas learning management software. Faculty and students employ asynchronous tools, such as discussion boards, and synchronous real-time virtual lectures. Housed in the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education, the MS in Education focuses on teaching best practices for students in grades K-6. This is a 40-credit program that includes coursework in a variety of disciplines, including physical education, visual arts, second language learning, and assessment in reading. The curriculum includes an applied professional experience. Accepted students have distance learning resources including career services, academic advising, and access to the Alvin Sherman Library, Research, and Information Technology Center. Students with a military background can access veteran's services. Applicants to the graduate school online must submit a completed application form (with fee) and official transcripts from a completed bachelor's program with at least a 2.5 GPA.

#14 Old Dominion University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,925
  • Median Salary: $55,000
  • Locations: Norfolk (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Old Dominion University has an online Master’s of Science in Education with specializations for individuals seeking advanced coursework in elementary education. Program tracks include initial licensure in the state of Virginia for Elementary Teacher Pre-K-6, Elementary Education for currently licensed teachers, and an MS in Education in Mathematics Specialist with a concentration in Elementary Education. Each option is hosted in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies. The initial licensure program is a 41-credit degree that includes a practicum and an internship component. This is only for students with residency in Virginia or Washington, D.C. The licensed teacher program is a 30-credit cohort-based degree that is designed to improve teaching expertise. The curriculum can be completed in 18 months and includes a thesis. The Mathematics Specialist degree is a 33-credit hour program for currently licensed teachers. The curriculum includes an internship and leads to licensure endorsement as a math specialist (PreK-8) for the state of Virginia. Online coursework is mostly asynchronous; students are still expected to complete assignments and meet due dates. Some instructors do schedule live online meeting times. Most classes use web-based discussion boards and recorded lectures; content is housed via the Blackboard learning management platform. Online learners may access academic advising, 24/7 technical assistance, enrollment counseling, and virtual tutoring. Prospective students should have proof of teaching licensure (if required for their specific degree), a completed bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA, and relevant teaching experience. To apply, candidates should submit a completed application, official transcripts, and Praxis Core passing scores. The licensed teachers and math specialist programs require an essay and two letters of recommendation as well.

Online Master's in Elementary Education Overview

Program Requirements

Online master's programs usually take around two years to complete. Admission to a master's program will require a bachelor's degree, though it does not necessarily have to be in education. Tuition rates will vary depending on the program, but programs can be found for under $10,000 a year.


Classes that students might take during their studies include Foundations of Exceptionality, Curriculum Fundamentals, Teaching Mathematics, The Diverse Elementary Classroom, Legal, Regulatory, Educational Standards, and Ethics, and Principles of Behavior Management. Student teaching may also be required.

After completing a master's program in elementary education and completing any additional requirements by their state to gain licensure, graduates will be ready to start working in elementary school classrooms.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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