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Online Elementary Education Diplomas and Degrees

Individuals who want to teach elementary school-aged children need to obtain an elementary education degree and obtain certification to become licensed teachers in their respective State. An elementary education training program provides the knowledge and training needed to work with students from kindergarten to fifth or sixth grade, and the degree program is a combination of in-classroom instruction, role playing and teaching as a teacher's assistant for at least one semester.

Students who are interested in completing an elementary education degree from home may choose to complete their coursework online. Finishing an elementary education degree online is becoming an increasingly attractive option for students who need a flexible schedule, or for those who want to take courses on a part-time basis while gaining work experience in a related field.

Elementary Education Degree Program Information

An elementary education degree program is typically divided into three main components: classroom instruction, role playing or 'mock' teaching segments, and completing a work study or teacher's assistant training program. Each college or university that offers elementary education training has different requirements for their degree program, but most students will need to complete at least one semester, and up to one year, of a work study program in order to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in the field.

Students who wish to enroll in an elementary education degree program must have a high school diploma or GED, and have certain skills to be successful in the field. Students with a keen interest in working with young children, working in a high-stress environment, and teaching a variety of subjects using teaching methods that help very young children grasp fundamental concepts may be good candidates for pursuing an elementary education career.

Most degree programs can be completed within 2-4 years, and may include a specialization in special education or a particular subject.

Career Options with an Elementary Education Degree

Individuals who obtain a bachelor degree will receive certification to work as teachers at elementary schools. However, most schools will require the teacher to be licensed; graduates will need to obtain State licensure in order to teach.

Career options after completing a degree program and fulfilling all training requirements include:

  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Elementary School Reading Specialist
  • Elementary School Librarian
  • Elementary School Administrator
  • Elementary School Curriculum Developer
  • Daycare Instructor

Elementary education teachers can choose to work in either public or private schools, and may continue their education with a Master's degree where they can explore even more career opportunities including curriculum development, research, and educating other teachers on teaching principles.

Completing an Elementary Education Degree Online

Students who wish to complete their degree online can manage the in-classroom instruction portion of the program by downloading lectures, completing and submitting assignments over the web, and participating in discussion forums. However, students who are enrolled in an online training program will also need to complete a certain number of hours of field experience in order to complete their degree. Field experience requirements vary by school and level of the training program, but most students will need to complete at least 100 hours at an area educational institution to fulfill their degree requirements.

Elementary Education Courses and Classes

Elementary education degree programs involve completing general education requirements in communications, natural sciences, health and wellness, and social studies and then declaring a major.

A bachelor degree typically requires successful completion of the following courses:

  • Child Counseling
  • Reading
  • Special Education
  • Teaching Skills and Methods
  • Technology in the Classroom
  • Child Psychology
  • Social Skills Training
  • Education of Exceptional Learners
  • Teaching for Diversity
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Music Activities for Elementary Teachers

Elementary Education Career Employment Outlook and Job Prospects

Elementary education career options look promising as demand for experienced and well-trained teachers is expected to increase in the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook indicates that demand for elementary school teachers is expected to increase by as much as 14% by 2016, and those who continue their education beyond a bachelor degree can enjoy even better job prospects in the oncoming years.

The average annual salary for elementary school teachers range from $43,580 to $48,690 depending on the State, location of the school, and the years of experience the teacher may have. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that more than half of all elementary school teachers belonged to the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in 2006. These organizations are responsible for negotiating teachers' salaries and benefits.

Related occupations include:

  • Education Administrators
  • Childcare Workers
  • Social Workers
  • Athlete Coaches or Umpires
  • Counselors

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