Online degree programs in elementary education are ideal for professionals who want to be influential in children’s lives at a critical stage. Elementary educators work with children before they reach intermediate and high school. They often teach multiple subjects, depending on the grade level. Some might think that elementary education is simpler than secondary education. However, elementary education is a complex field that requires dedicated, well-educated teachers. For many future educators, online degree programs in elementary education provide the training they need to do the job well.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Elementary Education
An associate degree in elementary education is a two-year program that includes many core courses in the elementary education curriculum. An associate degree does not meet the minimum education requirement to apply for teacher certification or to teach in an elementary school setting. As a result, associate degree holders must transfer to a four-year degree-granting institution to complete their bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some aspiring teachers pursue an associate degree in elementary education to save on tuition costs before transferring to a larger university. Others want to explore the field before committing to a four-year degree.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Elementary Education
A bachelor’s degree in elementary education is the minimum degree level required to become an elementary teacher. Most schools require a four-year degree, a state-granted teacher certification, and supervised teaching experience for new teachers. Most online degree programs for elementary education combine subject courses with courses in psychology, sociology, and child development. Courses in teaching methods, curriculum design, and instruction will also be required. A bachelor’s degree program will generally include courses in writing and composition, social sciences, and foreign language as well. Courses discussing English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction may also be included.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Elementary Education
Online degree programs in elementary education are widely available at the master’s degree level. A master’s degree in elementary education can significantly broaden career opportunities. Educators with master’s degrees in elementary education may be more competitive in the marketplace and might also be eligible to teach community college courses in elementary education. A master’s curriculum will focus almost entirely on elementary education topics. Students will also have the opportunity to choose an area of specialization in most online degree programs in elementary education. Some master’s programs will require a thesis. However, many online degree programs in elementary education offer a non-thesis option.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Elementary Education
Online degree programs in elementary education are less common at the doctoral degree level. However, some universities offer individual doctoral courses or an online option. A doctoral degree in elementary education focuses on research and the development of proficient research and analysis techniques. After a few semesters of course work, students embark on a lengthy research process in which they explore an issue or research interest within the field of elementary education. They present their work in a doctoral thesis or dissertation, which is much more in-depth than a master’s thesis. Pending their completion and the department’s approval of their dissertation, students are awarded the doctoral degree. Please note, many online degree programs in elementary education have a residency requirement that brings doctoral students to campus for a short time.
Online Degree Programs in Elementary Education in the Work Place
Graduates with degrees in elementary education often become elementary school teachers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary school teachers can earn approximately $51,000 per year on average. However, salaries for teachers at all levels can vary significantly from one state to the next. The cost of living in the school’s state or area is one of the biggest factors affecting salary, as well as the candidate’s individual experience and qualifications. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that openings for elementary school teachers will grow by approximately 17% in the coming years, which is about as fast as average. However, job availability will vary, depending on the individual.