The period of formal education after pre-school 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 an online masters in elementary education. This degree allows them to build on their teaching skills by exploring innovative knowledge and skills in the education and instruction that aligns with their academic interests. After completing their online elementary education masters, individuals can work as kindergarten and elementary school teachers.

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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 Online Masters in Elementary Education

An aspiring graduate student must opt for the right program which enhances their future. When choosing a master’s, it is essential to keep in mind some vital factors such as the institution’s ranking, coursework, student services, the institution’s infrastructure, the experience and quality of the faculty, and affordability. OMC teams have scanned hundreds of elementary master’s degrees across the country and closed in on the best ones. Here is the list of the best masters 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 Masters in Elementary Education 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. Masters in elementary education online programs are popular over their offline counterparts because they allow students to keep their current jobs while pursuing their degrees. Students also have the option of in-person or blended/hybrid programs that combine in-person and online classes. Some universities offer masters in elementary education online for in-service teachers who already have a bachelor’s in education to upgrade their teaching skills.

Masters in Elementary Education Degree Types

There are three types of online masters 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 with 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 Masters 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 masters 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 as well as 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 

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Elementary Education Online Programs

An online masters in elementary education requires 30 to 48 credits to complete. 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 
  • Basic Concepts in Elementary Education 
  • Education in a Diverse Society 
  • Elementary School Curriculum 
  • Discipline and Classroom Management 
  • 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 masters 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. 

Accreditation for Masters 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 make sure that the institution that is offering the program has been granted either national or regional accreditation. Some of the accrediting bodies in the United States are: 

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) 
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC

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

Timeline for graduation from Online Masters in Elementary Education Programs

Most masters in elementary online degree programs require 30 to 40 credits and about 2 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 masters is an intensive mode of study that require 1 to 2 years to complete the degree, depending on the program.  

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

Online Masters in Elementary Education Programs Admission Requirements

A masters 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 masters 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 Resume or Personal Statement 
  • Minimum Two Letters of Recommendation (academic or professional depending on the requirement) 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores (varies by the university) 

Online Masters in Elementary Education No GRE Programs

Students applying for graduate programs need to give the Graduate Record Examination (GREand 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 who have several years of experience in the field of education may also be exempted. Here are some of the online master’s in education no GRE programs: 

Accelerated Online Elementary Education Programs

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

  • Merrimack College – offers an M.Ed. in Elementary Education that consists of 36 credit hours with 9 courses, each course running for 8 weeks in length. 
  • Pacific Oaks College – offers an M.A Education in Elementary Education that can be completed in 1 to 1.5 years. 

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 which 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 knowledge on the subject that can be useful for students. Here are a free masters in elementary education online courses: 

Course Offered By Description 
Courses on Teaching Primary Kids One Education One Education offers a few academic courses in teaching and education. 
Courses on Education and Teaching EdX EdX offers courses on a wide range of topics in education and education policy. 
Courses on Teaching Strategies and Classroom Setting Coursera Coursera offers a few free courses on topics such as education, teacher training, educational policy, etc. 

How to Pay for an Online Masters in Elementary Education Programs

Online masters in elementary education costs differ from institution and program. Tuition, course material, and travel are the main costs students must pay for, 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 their 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 graduate 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 also have the option of applying 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 Masters in Elementary Education Online Programs

Graduate students have an opportunity to 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 of the scholarships for masters in elementary education online programs: 

Barbara A. Cooley Master’s Scholarship

Barbara A. Cooley Masters scholarship is awarded to a graduate-level student who is currently studying in a health-related education program in an accredited university in the United States.

Amount/Award:  $1,000 

Deadline: October 15, 2023

Isabel M. Herson Scholarship

The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority National Educational Foundation offers the Isabel M. Herson Scholarship for graduate students enrolled in elementary or secondary education programs. 

Amount/Award  :$500 to $1,000 

Deadline  :TBA

Leon Bradley Scholarship 

Full-time minority graduate students in the field of education can apply for the Leon Bradley Scholarship Program, which pays for all educational expenses.

Amount/Award :$3,500 

Deadline:May 29, 2023

STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarships

The AFCEA Educational Foundation offers scholarships to graduate students pursuing their studies to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects at schools in the United States.

Amount/Award :$2,500 

Deadline  :May 31, 2023

FAQs about Divinity Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is online elementary education?

The first stage of formal education for children from 6 to 11 is known as elementary education. It is also known as primary education, where children learn the foundation skills that prepare them for secondary education.

What can you do with a masters in elementary education?

After obtaining a masters in elementary education, graduates can work in education in different roles such as teachers, principals, teacher assistants, educational consultants, curriculum developers, and many more.

Can I teach with a masters in elementary education?

Is an elementary education master’s degree worth it?

What can you do with an elementary education masters?

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Elementary Education Graduates

After earning their online masters 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 masters 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 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS), elementary teachers have an annual median salary of $61,350 with a job outlook of 7% between 2020 to 2030, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. 

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

OccupationMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030) Job Description 
Instructional Coordinators $63,740 10% (as fast as average) Instructional Coordinators overlook teaching standards and school curricula.  
Elementary School Principal $98.420 8% (as fast as average) Principals of elementary schools oversee all aspects of the school, including everyday activities. They plan curricula, supervise employees, and ensure that kids have a safe and productive learning environment.  
School and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510 11% (faster than average) School counselors assist students in developing academic and social skills as well as post-secondary plans. Career counselors and advisors assist students in developing skills, exploring careers, and selecting an educational program that leads to a career. 

Certifications and Licensing for Elementary Education Graduates

Certification assures the public that instructors and teachers have the necessary 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. 
  • Passing certification exams that examine fundamental skills, instructor ability, and topic knowledge. 

More information on certification requirements in each state is available on  

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

National Board Certification 

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, as well as to 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. Teach to Lead
    Teach to Lead is an initiative by the U.S Department of Education, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). This program aims to expand teacher leadership opportunities and advance student outcomes through newsletters, seminars, professional collaborations, and more. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, and also organizes conferences and other events, and provides consulting services and instructional resources. 
  5. 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.

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