Derick de Souza
Written By - Derick de Souza

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The period of formal education after preschool between the ages of 5 to 11 is known as Elementary Education. Students interested in teaching children or who want to take up a leadership role in the school system can choose to study for an online master’s in elementary education. This degree allows them to build on their teaching skills by exploring innovative knowledge and skills in education and instruction that align with their academic interests. After completing their online elementary education master’s, individuals can work as kindergarten and elementary school teachers.

Online Masters in Elementary Education

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

Aspiring graduate students must opt for the right program that enhances their future. When choosing a master’s, it is essential to consider some vital factors such as the institution’s ranking, coursework, student services, infrastructure, the experience and quality of the faculty, and affordability. OMC teams have scanned hundreds of elementary master’s degrees nationwide and closed in on the best ones. Here is the list of the best master’s in elementary education programs online:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
North Carolina State University
2101 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama 36849
The University of Alabama
739 University Blvd, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487
Ball State University
2000 University Ave, Muncie, Indiana 47306
Oregon State University
1500 SW Jefferson Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
1 Morrow Way, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania 16057
East Carolina University
East 5th Street, Greenville, North Carolina 27858
University of North Carolina
9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223
Mississippi College
200 South Capitol Street, Clinton, Mississippi 39058
University of North Dakota
264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202
Lesley University
29 Everett St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Georgia Southern University
1332 Southern Drive, Statesboro, Georgia 30460
University of Louisiana at Monroe
700 University Avenue, Monroe, Louisiana 71209
University of Central Missouri
108 W South Street, Warrensburg, Missouri 64093
The University of West Florida
11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, Florida 32514
Troy University
University Avenue, Troy, Alabama 36082
University of North Alabama
One Harrison Plaza, Florence, Alabama 35632
Old Dominion University
5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, Virginia 23529
Indiana State University
210 N 7th St, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809
St. Thomas University
16401 NW 37th Ave, Miami Gardens, Florida 33054

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

An online elementary education degree prepares students to work with diverse children and families. It will help them broaden their understanding of research and educational theories to apply them to practice and policy. Students can also choose from a specialty area such as gifted and talented education, educational technology for teachers, autism, human development, learning, etc. The program’s curriculum is between 30 to 40 credit hours, depending on the university, program format, coursework, and concentration. Master’s in elementary education online programs are popular over offline ones because they allow students to keep their current jobs while pursuing their degrees. Students can also use in-person or blended/hybrid programs that combine in-person and online classes. Some universities offer master’s in elementary education online for in-service teachers who already have a bachelor’s in education to upgrade their teaching skills.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

An online master’s in elementary education requires 30 to 48 credits. Students must opt for different core courses and electives and complete assignments and projects to meet the elementary education coursework requirements. While some programs may require students to complete a capstone, others may require a thesis. Most programs have similar courses in an elementary education master’s, some of which include but are not limited to

  • Foundations of Measurement
    In this course, students explore the principles and practices of educational assessment. Topics include measurement theory, assessment methods, data analysis, and interpretation. Students learn to design, administer, and evaluate assessments to support effective teaching and learning in elementary school settings.
  • Basic Concepts in Elementary Education
    In this course, students explore fundamental principles and theories underlying elementary education. Topics cover child development, learning theories, curriculum design, pedagogical approaches, and classroom management strategies essential for effective teaching in elementary school environments.
  • Education in a Diverse Society
    In this course, students examine the impact of diversity on educational practices and policies. Topics include multicultural education, inclusion strategies, equity, social justice, and culturally responsive teaching methods to foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.
  • Elementary School Curriculum
    In this course, students explore theories, design, and implementation of elementary school curricula. Topics cover curriculum development, standards alignment, instructional strategies, assessment methods, and differentiation to meet diverse learner needs and promote academic achievement in elementary education settings.
  • Discipline and Classroom Management
    This course teaches students strategies for creating positive and effective learning environments. Topics include behavior management techniques, conflict resolution, fostering student engagement, establishing routines, and creating supportive relationships to promote a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning in elementary classrooms.

Some of the core courses in a Master’s in Elementary Education program may include:

  • Human Growth and Development and Child Development
  • School, Family, and Community Partnerships
  • Language Development in Elementary Schools
  • Understanding Data to Inform Teaching and Learning in Elementary Schools
  • Effective Use of Technology in the Classroom
  • Teacher Leadership
  • The Teaching of Reading in the Elementary School
  • Instructional Planning in Elementary Schools
  • Mathematics Instruction for Elementary Teachers
  • Principles of Differentiation in the Elementary Classroom
  • Trends and Practices in Teaching and Reading
  • Research in Elementary Education

Upon graduating from an online master’s in education degree program, individuals will be primed to take on responsible roles in academics and education, backed by the knowledge and skillset they would have acquired. Some skills they will go on to use are the ability to:

  • use their leadership skills in schools and education-related organizations;
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that pertains to the field of education;
  • use their knowledge to create a diverse and balanced curriculum for elementary education;
  • effectively organize and administer education that is relevant, culturally sensitive, and developmentally appropriate for elementary school students in grades 1 through 6;
  • make judgments and solve problems based on the data they collect both within and outside of the classroom;
  • effectively deliver instruction to meet the needs of all learners using conceptual, pedological, and theoretical knowledge;
  • demonstrate the standards of professionalism that are associated with achieving success in the field of education and beyond; and
  • demonstrate a profound comprehension of educational philosophy as well as reflective practice.

Master’s in Elementary Education Degree Types

There are three types of online master’s in elementary education. They are the Master of Arts or MA in Elementary Education, the Master of Science or MS in Elementary Education, and the Master of Education or M.Ed. In Elementary Education.

Master of Arts in Elementary Education

The Master of Arts or MA Elementary Education leans heavily on the humanities and liberal arts, with a strong foundation of theoretical understanding that can help those who want to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation.

Master of Science in Elementary Education

The Master of Science or MS Elementary Education emphasizes more technical or scientific foundations. This degree type is technically oriented and adopts a practical approach to elementary education.

Master of Education in Elementary Education

The Master of Education in Elementary Education or M.Ed. Elementary Education focuses on educational research and different methods of teaching. It also provides students various classroom assessments, learning, planning, classroom management, and curriculum development skills. Essentially, a master’s in elementary education is a specialization of a master’s in education.
Note: The Master of Education in Elementary Education is also known as EdM in Elementary Education.

Other Related Degrees:

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education is often regarded as the most prestigious teaching degree available to educators working in elementary schools. This degree emphasizes classroom instruction, interactions, teaching methodology, and pedagogy.

Master of Science in Teaching (MST) in Elementary Education

The Master of Science in Teaching (MST) in Elementary Education is similar to the MAT but is more practical-based and scientific in its approach to teaching at the elementary level.

Specializations in Master’s in Elementary Education Programs

Specialization at a graduate level helps students strengthen their skills and has some benefits, such as higher salaries, industry recognition, and better career prospects. Even though an online master’s in elementary education is, in many ways, a specialization, there are a few programs that emphasize a core area within the subject. Here are some such core or specialization areas for master’s in elementary education:

  1. Reading Instruction 
    This specialization provides students with advanced knowledge of theory, practice, and research in reading and language. Graduates can teach and take up leadership roles in curriculum, literacy coaching, professional development, or reading instruction.
  2. Early Childhood/Elementary Special Education
    This Specialization equips students with evidence-based practices at an advanced level to support children with developmental disabilities. After graduating, individuals can work in schools to help children with learning disabilities.
  3. Elementary and Secondary School Administration
    Through this emphasis, students are provided with theoretical knowledge and specific skills to make appropriate decisions and identify problems in school administration. Upon graduating, individuals can take on various leadership roles in school administration.
  4. Early Childhood
    Through this emphasis, students will learn to examine professional practice and program and curriculum planning in early childhood settings. Graduates can pursue careers as program developers, educators, curriculum developers, and educators for early childhood.

Some other areas of concentration within elementary education include: 

  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Elementary Math
  • Academically or Intellectually Gifted
  • Enhancing Teaching Practices

Timeline for graduation from Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

Most master’s in elementary online degree programs require 30 to 40 credits and about two years to complete. However, the coursework, capstone or thesis, concentration, program structure, synchronous or asynchronous classes, and other variables determine the exact duration of a program. Students can take up studies either full-time or part-time:

Full-time: A full-time master’s is an intensive mode of study that requires 1 to 2 years to complete the degree, depending on the program. 

Part-time: A part-time master’s is a flexible mode of study spread out over more time. It is best suited for individuals with full-time jobs or family obligations. Students can complete their part-time master’s within 2 to 5 years.

Accelerated Online Elementary Education Programs

Students who wish to complete their master’s in a shorter time or faster can pursue an accelerated master’s degree. They can opt for credit transfers and fast-track programs and earn their degree faster. Integrated programs are available that combine bachelor’s and master’s degrees. One of the other advantages of accelerated degrees is the low cost at which students can complete their master’s in a shorter period. Usually, students who pursue an accelerated program finish their master’s in one year or less. Here are a couple of the accelerated online master’s in elementary education programs:

Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs Admission Requirements

A master’s in elementary education online has a set of requirements that aspiring students need to meet to get admitted to the program. Each institution has different requirements and criteria depending on the program structure. Here are the most common master’s in elementary education admission requirements:

  • Application Fee
  • Application Form
  • Official Transcripts of universities or colleges attended
  • An Undergraduate Degree from an accredited university of 3.0 G.P.A or more
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Graduate Résumé or Personal Statement
  • Minimum Two Letters of Recommendation (academic or professional, depending on the requirement)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (varies by the university)

No GRE Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

Students applying for graduate programs must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit their scores while applying for a graduate degree. However, some colleges and programs waive this requirement under certain circumstances. For instance, students with a higher GPA may not be required to submit the GRE score, or those with several years of experience in the field of education may also be exempted. Here are examples of universities offering the online master’s in education with no GRE:

Accreditation for Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

Accreditation is the process of evaluating higher education institutions to maintain the standards of educational quality. It is a nongovernmental process based on peer evaluation, and it serves the dual purpose of ensuring quality and promoting continuous improvement. Because a school’s accreditation determines whether students can transfer credits between institutions and whether they are eligible for federal financial aid, students need to ensure that the institution offering the program has been granted either national or regional accreditation. The six regional accrediting bodies in the United States are:

Online accredited master’s in elementary education can also be programmatically accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)5. CAEP is the only nationally recognized accrediting agency for educator preparation.

Free Elementary Education Courses Online

There is no free online master’s in elementary program available as an option for students. Nevertheless, there are a few free courses in the field of elementary education that can enhance one’s knowledge and skills. These free courses are not accredited and cannot be used in the job market, but they add additional expertise on the subject that can be useful for students. Here are some free master’s in elementary education online courses:

CourseOffered ByDescription
English Course – Conversations in the Present (Elementary level)6AlisonThis course explores the present tense. Learners explore using present tense verbs for everyday actions, ‘be’ verb usage in conversations, capitalization rules, and requests. Additionally, they master asking and answering basic questions and study travel-related English vocabulary.
Global Education for Teachers7Class CentralThis course enhances educators’ confidence in integrating global issues into teaching. Participants receive CPD training on addressing global issues and fostering global citizenship in schools. Aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.7, which aims to cultivate global citizenship among students worldwide, catering to teachers in diverse educational settings.
ICT in Primary Education: Transforming Children’s Learning across the Curriculum8Class CentralThis course explores the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in primary education worldwide. Based on the UNESCO Institute of IT in Education studies, the course examines diverse school examples. It fosters collaboration among educators, headteachers, and policymakers, sharing insights and best practices.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Elementary Education Online Program

Online master’s in elementary education costs differ from institution and program. Tuition, course material, and travel are the main costs students must pay, with travel being an exception for online students. The tuition fee for an online master’s in elementary education ranges from $9,500 to $19,000 or more, depending on the institution. Apart from working full-time while studying, there are several funding mechanisms students can examine to fund their graduate programs. Here are a few funding possibilities:


Students with an excellent academic profile can apply for scholarships. Other factors too can make a student eligible for scholarships, such as cultural heritage, community, socio-economic background, etc. Students are given scholarships based on merit and can be awarded by individuals, national organizations, the private sector, and industry-related organizations.


Grants are offered to specific areas of research or education or specific target groups. They are not focused on the student’s academic accomplishments or success alone but target factors that a regular scholarship may not cover, particularly financial need.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships allow students to work for the university while pursuing their degrees. They assist their institution, faculty member, or department by teaching undergraduate students or helping in program development or other academic activities in return for a stipend or fee waiver.

Student Loans

Students can also apply for loans to fund their education. Although student loans come at a lower interest cost than other loans, they can become a burden if the installments are not paid back in time, leading to mounting debt.


Students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form to review their eligibility and possibly receive financial aid from the United States Federal Government.

Read about Scholarship Scams and learn more about college funding from the Financial Aid Guide.

Scholarships for Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

Graduate students can fund their own education by applying for scholarships. Scholarships help students reduce their educational expenses considerably. Students can apply for scholarships based on their academic success or other merits in sport, music, art, or their field of study. Here are some scholarships for master’s in elementary education online programs:

Barbara A. Cooley Master’s Scholarship9Barbara A. Cooley Master’s scholarship is awarded to a graduate-level student currently studying in a health-related education program at an accredited university in the United States.$1,000October, annually
Isabel M. Herson Scholarship10The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority National Educational Foundation offers the Isabel M. Herson Scholarship for graduate students enrolled in elementary or secondary education programs.$500 to $1,000Varies
Leon Bradley Scholarship11Full-time minority graduate students in the field of education can apply for the Leon Bradley Scholarship Program, which pays for all educational expenses.$3,500May 17, annually

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master’s in Elementary Education Graduates

After earning their online master’s in elementary education, graduates typically work in schools with elementary children. They can also take up other roles in leadership or designing curricula, creating instructional material, etc. Graduates also have the option to work in government agencies and school districts as administrators or officials.

Apart from teaching, there are other roles in elementary education where graduates can use their online master’s in elementary education. Here are some job positions:

  • Curriculum and Assessment Specialist
  • School Operations Manager
  • District Grant Writer
  • Instructional Coach
  • Academic Support Teacher
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Instructional Design Specialist
  • Education Writer and Editor
  • Professional Development Consultant (also Educational Consultant)
  • Museum Educator
  • Youth Program Director

The list below highlights the statistical data by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for a few career options students can consider after earning an elementary education online master’s:

OccupationMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030) Job Description 
Instructional Coordinators12$66,4902% (as fast as average)Instructional coordinators manage school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop, implement, and assess educational material, organize teacher training, analyze student test data, and recommend teaching techniques and technologies. Additionally, they mentor teachers to enhance their skills and ensure effective curriculum delivery and continuous improvement in education quality.
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals13$101,3201% (little or no change)Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee all school operations, ensuring a safe, productive learning environment. They manage staff, establish curriculums, counsel students, evaluate teachers, meet with parents, and organize professional development. Principals also handle budgeting, security, scheduling, and reporting on student achievement data to foster academic success and school efficiency.
School and Career Counselors and Advisors14$60,1405% (faster than average)School counselors assist students in developing academic and social skills and post-secondary plans. Career counselors and advisors assist students in developing skills, exploring careers, and selecting an educational program that leads to a career.
High School Teachers15$62,3601% (little or no change)High school teachers prepare students for post-graduation life by teaching academic subjects and essential skills for college or the workforce. They plan and deliver lessons, assess students, adapt to class changes and grade assignments, communicate with parents, provide individualized support, prepare for standardized tests, and manage classroom discipline and supervision.

Certifications and Licensing for Elementary Education Graduates

Certification ensures that instructors and teachers have the knowledge and abilities to do their jobs well. A teacher’s ability to effectively touch the lives of their students can be demonstrated by obtaining elementary school certification, which automatically licenses them to teach or take up other careers within elementary education. Because each state has its own certification or certification requirements, the geographical location of a graduate and where they desire to work is a critical factor. Every state requires aspiring educators to take a few steps and fulfill specific requirements, which primarily entail:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an approved university.
  • Completion of a particular amount of semester hours in a student teaching primary education program.
  • Completion of a set number of semester hours in one of the following subjects: math, science, language arts, reading, or history.
  • Pass certification exams examining fundamental skills, instructor ability, and topic knowledge.

More information on certification requirements in each state is available on TeachingcCertification.com16

Another broad-based certification for online master in elementary education graduates to consider that is recognized in many states is:

National Board Certification17
The National Board Certification, awarded by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), was created to help teachers grow, retain, and be recognized for their achievements and drive continuous improvement in schools across the country. It is the highest and most prestigious qualification a teacher can earn.

Additional Resources for Elementary Education Professionals

An online master’s in elementary education student can benefit from a wide range of resources if they join an association. Career aid and certification programs are some of the more common features offered by these organizations. Additionally, tapping into other available resources can provide deeper insights into classroom management tactics, teaching methodologies, and curricular ideas. Here are a few resources to get started:

  1. National Education Association (NEA)
    The National Education Association (NEA) aims to promote and advance educators in all aspects of public education, from preschool through graduate programs. Discounted legal services, discussion forums, lesson plans, and other classroom activities are all available to members.
  2. Association of American Educators (AAE)
    The Association of American Educators (AAE) provides legal protection, liability insurance, and up to $500 in scholarships and grants to its members. AAE also publishes a newsletter, as well as a back-to-school resource guide and other materials. This organization’s website includes a blog with weekly educational news updates.
  3. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
    The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is a global community of teachers, administrators, superintendents, principals, and education advocates who work together to support children and enhance education. This organization publishes books about teaching, learning, and educational leadership, organizes conferences and other events, and provides consulting services and instructional resources.
  4. WeAreTeachers
    WeAreTeachers is an online media brand for educators that aims to inspire teachers and help them succeed through sharing practical classroom ideas, providing teacher-to-teacher advice and humor, and publishing daily articles, videos, and giveaways. The site has a long list of free teaching resources on various subjects for children of all ages.

FAQs About Master’s in Elementary Education Online Programs

What is online elementary education?

A Master’s in Elementary Education is a graduate-level program designed to deepen educators’ understanding of teaching methods, curriculum development, and child psychology specific to elementary school-aged children. It prepares teachers to effectively instruct and manage classrooms, fostering academic and social-emotional development in elementary school settings.

What can you do with a master’s in elementary education?

Can I teach with a master’s in elementary education?

Is an elementary education master’s degree worth it?

How are exams conducted for an online master’s in elementary education?

Is having prior teaching experience necessary to pursue an online master’s in elementary education?