Elementary education appeals to many prospective students due to the combination of meaningful work and opportunities to teach in a variety of academic settings. No two days are ever the same for elementary school teachers, with responsibilities ranging from lesson planning and teaching to working with parents and grading tests and homework assignments. These teachers must instill foundational skills to serve students over the rest of their lives, and while the work may sometimes be challenging, it’s always rewarding.
Earning an elementary education bachelor’s degree online ensures prospective employers that graduates have the knowledge and skills they’ll need to thrive in the classroom. In addition to instilling theories related to how students learn differently and how to bring out the best in every child, students also get hands-on experiences in the classroom through fieldwork and student-teaching opportunities. Some of the skills you can expect to develop include creativity to engage students, patience to work with those with varying abilities and from different backgrounds, physical stamina to withstand long days, and resourcefulness to create excellent lesson plans.
Elementary education is a meaningful field that provides countless opportunities for you to feel like you’re making a difference at a crucial stage in the lives of your students. Teachers can also expect to earn a stable salary in a field marked by strong job security. Upon graduation, you can expect to earn a median salary of $54,550 annually, with excellent job prospects for the foreseeable future: The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will add approximately 88,000 jobs by 2024.
Below, we’ve ranked the most affordable online elementary education degrees in the country. These schools offer an academically rigorous program at an affordable price, preparing you for a rewarding career without requiring you to shoulder the burden of unnecessary debt. If you’re considering a career in the field, and you want to earn your elementary education degree online, be sure to take a look at these top schools.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
|Value Score 6.80|| |
UNCW was founded in 1947 to serve returning veterans and today the school offers more than 52 undergraduate degree programs, including an online elementary education degree. UNCW’s distance education arm provides students with a variety of options for their classwork. Courses are available entirely online or in a blended format, which requires students to attend some classes on campus. The school’s bachelor of arts in elementary education is aimed at undergrads who want to make a difference in K-6 classrooms. The program requires students to complete 64 credits in education and 18 in an academic concentration, and it can be earned entirely online. Distance learners will also enjoy having full access to the school’s digital library materials and its Technology Assistance Center.
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Fort Hays State University
|Value Score 6.60|| |
Located halfway between Kansas City and Denver, Fort Hays State is a public university governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. More than 60 percent of the school’s 13,000 students attend FSHU’s Virtual College, where they are able to pursue an affordable degree; FHSU charges a lower tuition than 98% of schools in the nation.
Fort Hayes’s BS in elementary education is a nationally renowned program that prepares the next generation of teachers. The curriculum is divided into four parts: general education coursework (55 credits), professional studies (26 credits), major courses (34 credit hours), and student teaching (12 credits). The school places a premium on hands-on educational experience, and the school has an immersive teacher residency in elementary education program that can be integrated into the curriculum. FHSU also offers a robust career services program that helps recently minted graduates search for jobs and prepare for interviews.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
|Value Score 6.35|| |
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a four-year Catholic, liberal-arts school in a tiny town just outside of Terre Haute, Indiana. The oldest Catholic college in the state, SMWC welcomes students of all faiths and began enrolling men in 2015.
SMWC offers several web-based baccalaureate programs, including an elementary education degree online. The school’s BA in education: kindergarten-grade 6 degree is accredited by the National Council on Teacher Accreditation and prepares students for licensure in Indiana (those who live elsewhere should check with the requirements in the states where they plan to teach). The 120-credit curriculum is rigorous, and applicants must complete 40 hours of college credits while maintaining a 2.75 GPA or better. SMWC was one of the earliest proponents of distance education and Woods Online continues that tradition by offering affordable and nationally renowned online bachelor’s degrees.
|Value Score 6.29|| |
Midway was incepted as a Christian school for orphan girls in 1847, and the university only became fully coeducational in 2016. The college retains a covenant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), though students from every faith are welcome.
Midway has historically had a strong department of education, and that legacy continues to this day. The school offers a cheap online bachelor’s in elementary education. The program requires students to complete 120 credits to graduate. Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA or better, pass an entrance test and PRAXIS exam, complete 20 non-classroom field hours, sign the Kentucky code of ethics, deliver two professional recommendations, earn a C or better in several EDU classes, submit a portfolio, and complete a telephone interview. Online courses are offered on an accelerated eight-week basis, five times a year.
University of Southern Mississippi
|Value Score 6.08|| |
USM is a large, public research institution 100 miles to the northeast of New Orleans. The school was founded in 1910 as a small teacher’s college, and USM’s education department remains one of the strongest parts of the school.
Southern Miss offers an affordable online elementary education degree. Aimed specifically at students who are already working in schools, the program provides a convenient pathway to a teaching degree. Asynchronous courses allow teaching assistants to remain at their current job, and online classes are held to the same high standards as those found on campus. Applicants must maintain a 2.75 or better GPA, and submit test scores from the SAT, ACT, GRE, or Praxis exams. Courses are accessible through the Blackboard platform; distance learners have access to technical support 24/7.
Hobe Sound Bible College
|Value Score 6.06|| |
Hobe Sound is a small, four-year, Christian institution. Affiliated with the conservative holiness movement, HSBC provides students with a Bible-centered education in the Wesleyan tradition.
HSBC offers an online bachelor’s in elementary education that prepares teachers for work in Christian schools and churches. A quarter of the 129-credit-hour curriculum is dedicated to religious training, and all courses are inspired by scripture. Distance learners must complete 45 credit hours of general education, 27 hours of professional education, 27 hours of elementary ed, and 18 hours of elective credits to graduate. Students must also put in seven semesters of work in the field, which includes time spent as a student teacher.
The Baptist College of Florida
|Value Score 6.05|| |
Founded by a group of ministers in 1943, the Baptist College of Florida is located on a 160-acre campus in Graceville, 90 miles northwest of Tallahassee. The school offers more than 20 fields of study, most of them theologically based, and all of them can be pursued online. BCF allows students to pursue a cheap elementary education degree online. The BA in elementary education program is a 127-credit-hour offering designed for prospective teachers who want to work in P-6 classrooms. The curriculum covers 18 hours of Biblical study in addition to the 33 credits of general ed and the 61 credits of elementary education required. Students must also complete 12 hours of fieldwork. Most classes are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to consume lectures at their convenience, and to earn their degrees while they work. Courses follow the same schedule and are offered at the same tuition price as their on-campus equivalents.
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Western Governors University
|Value Score 6.05|| |
WGU was founded by the governors of 19 western states in 1995 to meet a widespread problem in the West – rapid population growth and diminishing budgets for public education. They founded WGU, an entirely online university with no classrooms but a robust set of distance education programs. The innovative school measures success not by how much time a student has spent at a desk but on how competent they are in their fields. WGU features a generous transfer credit policy and allows students to test out of material they’ve already mastered. The school is student-focused, career-oriented, flexible, and affordable; the median age among students is 37.
As part of its online suite, WGU offers a cheap elementary education degree online. The school’s BA in interdisciplinary studies (K-8) is designed for teachers with a variety of ambitions: whether you endeavor to be a substitute, a teacher’s assistant, or a full-time employee, you’ll fit in at WGU. The program typically requires distance learners to spend about 15 hours per week on school, and full-time students can graduate within two years. All distance learners participate in a student teaching program, and graduate with professional portfolios.
University of Louisiana at Monroe
|Value Score 6.03|| |
Set on the bayou in Monroe, ULM is home to more than 8,500 students. The school’s education offerings are nationally recognized for both their quality and affordability. ULM’s affordable elementary education degree online prepares teachers to work with young children. The 120-credit, BS in elementary education includes five major components: general studies, teaching methods, content-area studies, integrative studies, and field experience. Classes are offered in accelerated eight-week sessions, five times a year. ULM uses Moodle to facilitate its online program; the school’s computing center is available to help students with any issues they encounter using Moodle.
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|Value Score 5.91|| |
Home to more than 100,000 students, Liberty University rightly calls itself the “largest Christian university in the world.” Founded in 1971 by evangelist Jerry Falwell, Liberty has exploded since the arrival of the internet, and now offers more than 545 programs of study.
LU offers a cheap elementary education bachelor’s degree online, and the program approaches early education from a Christian perspective. The BS in elementary education interdisciplinary studies curriculum explores educational theory, direct instruction, and classroom trends in public, private, and Christian schools. Graduates are eligible for a teaching certificate from the Association of Christian Schools International. Students can also study for a fifth year to receive a master of arts in teaching.
Chaminade University of Honolulu
|Value Score 5.89|| |
Chaminade is Hawaii’s only Catholic university, and it was founded in the Marianist tradition, which places a premium on education. Chaminade features an extensive selection of web-based degrees, including an affordable elementary education bachelor’s degree online. The 120-credit curriculum includes 21 credits of pre-major requirements in classes like intercultural communications and child development, and each major section of coursework is followed by a Praxis exam. Graduates from the BS Elementary Education program are certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade in over 40 states, through the national teacher’s reciprocity agreement. Chaminade also offers a baccalaureate program in early childhood education.
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University of Alaska Southeast
|Value Score 5.75|| |
Alaska Southeast was founded in 1987, in a merger between the University of Alaska Juneau and two community colleges. In the 20 years since, the school has grown into a strong public research university with more than 3,500 students, set amidst the natural splendor of the Tongass National Forest.
The school’s e-Learning campus was developed to provide an opportunity for Alaska’s rural and remote students, though it’s open to everyone. The school offers a 120-credit, four-year online bachelor’s in elementary education degree that can be pursued entirely online. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, preparing students to teach multiple subjects to K-6 kids. Participants spend more than 1,200 hours in classrooms, learning how to teach by teaching. They create their own lesson plans and run their own classes: here they can work with a mentor two and a half days a week, and gain experience under a veteran instructor’s tutelage. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, pass Praxis competency exams, and write an essay on their educational theories prior to their senior year.
Western New Mexico University
|Value Score 5.39|| |
Founded as a school for teachers in 1893, WNMU continues its tradition of educating educators to this day. Located in Silver City, a small, artsy burgh surrounded by the 3.3-million-acre Gila National Forest, the school is now a comprehensive public university with a student body 3,500 strong.
The BS in elementary education offering is part of the broader Teacher Education Program at WNMU. Each degree consists of four parts: general education, major-specific degree requirements, professional education, and teaching in the field. Students must pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessment or the National Evaluation Series test and the Teacher Competency tests to proceed to the field practicum level. The in-state tuition rate at WNMU is among the lowest in the country.
|Value Score 5.39|| |
Asbury is a non-denominational, evangelical Christian university named for the founder of American Methodism. It was established in 1890 by a circuit-traveling preacher who felt he had been divinely led to educate others.
Asbury’s online elementary education program is a 124-credit, cohort-based offering. Transfer students may transfer up to 75 credits from community colleges or other schools. All distance learners are required to complete nine credits in Biblical studies, before moving on to the rest of the curriculum. Popular core classes include human growth and development and classroom management. All digital resources at Asbury’s Kinlaw Library are available to remote learners, and students can always reach the help desk if they need technical support. Students are required to travel to Kentucky to complete their clinical requirements.
|Value Score 5.21|| |
Many people confuse Judson College with Judson University; after all, both are Christian schools with extensive online campuses. Judson College, however, is a women’s school, the fifth-oldest in the United States and the most affordable all-female institution in the nation. Affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention, Judson College offers study in 20 different fields to a very small student body of 350. Additionally, the school maintains a long-standing institutional commitment to teaching, not research.
Judson’s virtual classrooms have been nationally ranked for both their quality and value, and they are open to men and women alike. The online bachelor’s in elementary education degree is considered among the best and most affordable programs of its kind in the country. To graduate, students must complete a minimum of 128 credit hours, all general education core requirements, and 15 elective credits (if no minor is declared). Distance learners can complete the degree entirely online.
|Value Score 5.13|| |
GWU is a thriving, regional, four-year university with strong Baptist ties. The school educates more than 4,500 students each year, many of whom study entirely online.
Gardner-Webb has developed a slate of digital programs, including a cheap elementary education bachelor’s degree online. The curriculum for the BS in elementary education explores human development from ages 5-12, along with cultural issues among young pupils, communication, and interpersonal relationships. Distance learners must take courses in art, math, physical education, science, and social studies. Graduates are qualified for licensure in North Carolina; students from other states must consult local requirements. Online students can access several online resources, including help from GWU’s Writing Center.
|Value Score 5.06|| |
Limestone is a four-year liberal arts school chartered by the state of South Carolina. A non-denominational Christian institution, it’s based in the city of Gaffney, the “Peach Capital of South Carolina” and home of the fictional Frank Underwood.
Christian ideals still permeate through the coursework at Limestone, even through the school’s online courses. Aspiring teachers can pursue their degree entirely online in LU’s online BA in elementary education. The 123-credit curriculum prepares teachers to work in K-6 classrooms by focusing on written and oral communication, lesson prep, working with students from diverse backgrounds, and assessing the needs of students of all levels of ability. Limestone prides itself on its affordability, and 98% of students receive some form of financial aid.
|Value Score 5.05|| |
Drexel serves a student body of more than 25,000 students, spread across three Philly campuses and online. Drexel was an early proponent of distance education, and the school has one of the largest suites of online programs in the country.
Drexel offers a BS in education that prepares graduates to teach in elementary schools. One of the most affordable online bachelor’s in elementary education degrees in the nation, the program is intended for part-time students who have some previous college education. The curriculum can be completed in just two and a half years, depending upon the number of credits you already have. A concentration in special education is also available. To graduate, distance learners must complete 12 consecutive weeks of student teaching.
University of Wisconsin – Superior
|Value Score 4.95|| |
UWS was incepted as a teacher’s college, and the school continues to offer a strong education program. UWS’s elementary education degree online is accredited by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and its licensing is recognized by several other states. Students in the acclaimed teacher education program are required to declare a minor before they can earn their BA in elementary education. They must also complete a field practicum and visit Superior for courses in health and human performance — which are offered in three-week summer blocks — and for student teaching orientation. UWS’s Distance Learning Center provides tutoring, writing help, and career services to remote students.
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|Value Score 4.87|| |
Not to be confused with Vermont’s Sterling College, Sterling College in Kansas is a private, four-year Christian school dedicated to spreading the word of God through “servant leaders.” All students at Sterling receive some form of financial aid.
Sterling prides itself on providing affordable web-based degree programs, including an online bachelor’s degree in elementary education. The program is taught primarily online, although students are occasionally required to visit the campus on Saturday’s. Graduates with a BS in elementary education from Sterling are prepared to teach in both Christian and public elementary schools. Classes start at six different times per year, allowing distance learners to enroll at their convenience.
Southwestern Adventist University
|Value Score 4.53|| |
SAU’s distance education platform offers several baccalaureate programs that can be earned online, including an elementary education degree. The school’s BS elementary education curriculum takes a hands-on, experiential approach to training the next generation of educators. The program is immersive, and provides an opportunity for prospective teachers to engage with the community. Aspiring teachers complete remediation projects with at-risk students and conduct literacy tutoring at night. They help with the Special Olympics, and do “microteaching episodes,” where they observe instructional methods in real classrooms. They must also complete 14-week internship in a local school district. More than 90 percent of SAU’s first-year teachers pass their licensure exams. Teaching students must complete a minor in addition to their general education requirements.
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