The 25 Best Master’s in Elementary Education Online for 2019

By BCR Staff
September 2018

Getting an online master’s in elementary education is a great way to advance your career, especially if you would like to become a principal, administrator, curriculum coordinator, or school counselor. Principals, for example, make a median salary of more than $94,000, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% growth in the field over the next 10 years.

Now is an exciting time to be a school leader. Education professionals drive student learning using innovative technologies and best practices.

In this ranking, our editors examine our picks of the top 25 Online Master’s for Elementary Education programs. For more generalized information regarding distance learning visit our ranking of the top online colleges.

 

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $35,000—1 points
  • Under $30,000—2 points
  • Under $25,000—3 points
  • Under $20,000—4 points
  • Under $15,000—5 points
  • Under $10,000—6 points
  • Under $5,000—7 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master’s in Engineering Programs

  • Top 5— 5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options

  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

 

Our editor started with a list of 35 colleges and then used our customized ranking methodology to shortlist the TOP 25. We were able to narrow these initial findings by applying a few factors such as affordability (average net price is capped at $35,000), program customization, return-on-investment, and career prospects. Finally, we used information from U.S. News & World Report as well as from each school’s website to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition receives the higher ranking.

Check them out below!

 

#25 – St. Xavier University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 6

Website

This online master’s in Elementary Education program prepares students for an Illinois Professional Educators License with an endorsement to teach grades one through six.

Students join a cohort and meet online for evening classes. Prospective teachers must make room in their schedules for required field experiences. Students do their teaching practicum at sites approved by the university. The school may allow paraeducators to fulfill some of their student teaching requirements at the school at which they work. Distance learners must maintain a 3.0 for the duration of the program, and no grades lower than a “C-“ will count toward their degree.

Saint Xavier requires that candidates finish all classwork within five years of beginning the program. The program accepts up to six transfer credits from an accredited university completed within the past five years.

Tuition Fee: $575 per credit hour

 

#24 – University of Maine

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 6

Website

UMaine’s College of Education serves as Maine’s largest provider of graduate and professional teacher education and educational policy research. The college’s master of elementary education follows a 33-credit curriculum that highlights the leadership role of the teacher. It also factors in methods of improving student performance in light of state and national standards. Several of the eight required classes focus on action research, including the practicum and the teaching seminar. The College of Education uses these two courses as a culminating project rather than a thesis.

Educators can use the three available electives to concentrate in an area of interest. The university recommends selecting classes in technology, special education, and content areas. UMaine will accept up to six transfer credits toward the degree from an approved graduate-level program. Students have six years to complete the program from the time of matriculation.

Tuition Fee: $549 per credit hour

 

#23 – West Virginia University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 6

Website

This online advanced elementary education master’s is top-rate in the country. The school created the program for licensed teachers hoping to enhance their curricular, leadership, and classroom-management skills. The school laid out the 30-credit course of study for completion in two years.

The university’s curriculum consists of 10 classes that explore subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, reading, and writing. Program participants also explore curriculum and instruction, theories of teaching and learning, and research and ethics. A capstone in technological integration typically concludes the program. Students should check their state’s standards for advanced certification to determine whether the program meets their needs.

Tuition Fee: $594 per credit hour

 

#22 – Samford University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 7

Website

Samford offers a master’s in elementary education online that provides a supportive, cohort-based community of educators. Taking no more than two classes at a time, working teachers can earn their degrees in 16 months. The program emphasizes leadership and research, preparing teachers to assume more responsibility in their schools and districts. They learn administrative skills and advanced pedagogical techniques and conduct practitioner research that can change not only their classrooms but schools everywhere. Most classes run asynchronously.

Samford promotes standards-based teaching and inquiry-based classroom instruction. The school aligns the 30-credit curriculum of its master’s in elementary education with national certification standards by exploring assessment strategies, diversity issues, technological integration, and action research.

Tuition Fee: $813 per credit hour

 

#21 – University of Central Missouri

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 7

Website

The University of Central Missouri based the curriculum of their online master’s in elementary education program on the standards set by the National Board Standards for early and middle childhood education. The program centers around a core of seven classes in subjects like instructional practices, curriculum development, research and development, and foundations of childhood education. The program also emphasizes leadership.

Students must earn 30 total credits to receive their degrees. The university formats classes asynchronously, and they follow traditional eight- or 16-week semesters. UCM accepts up to 12 transfer credits. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree earned with a GPA of 2.5 or better, proof of teacher certification, and a recommendation attesting to the applicant’s suitability for a graduate-level program. Distance learners pay in-state tuition, and UCM consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most affordable schools.

Tuition Fee: $348.50 per credit hour

 

#20 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 7

Website

The University of West Florida built this online master’s of elementary education program for educators who want to add an advanced degree to their resume, and the school stresses that the degree does not lead to licensure. The 36-credit curriculum prepares teachers to step into roles in instruction and leadership. Students enrolling in the elementary education specialization select another cognate in a subject like reading, professional training, or career and technical education.

Distance learners must complete seven classes in the core, including a nine-credit educational investigative sequence. Only grades of “C“ or higher may apply toward the degree. Most professors conduct courses asynchronously, though some may feature live sessions.

Tuition Fee: $1029.24 per credit hour

 

#19 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 7

Website

UNK’s online master’s in elementary education requires four core classes: research, democracy, diversity, and technology. Degree candidates must complete 36 credits in total. Educators interested in pursuing a content-area endorsement may need to add additional credits. Most classes run asynchronously, but several courses, including a required practicum, include student-teaching hours in classrooms. UNK recommends that distance learners dedicate 9-12 hours of study per week per three-credit course.

All students pursuing a master’s in education must complete a special project/comprehensive examination to receive their diploma. The requirement consists of three parts: the project, the departmental exam, and the College of Education Survey of Desired Outcomes.

Tuition Fee: $340 per credit hour

 

#18 – Auburn University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 8

Website

Auburn University created its online master’s in elementary education programs to appeal to two distinctly different teachers. It prepared the master of education version of the degree for teachers already in possession of licensure hoping to earn their Class A license in Alabama. Alternatively, the university aims its master of science in elementary education online for educators who want a graduate-level education but do not need certification.

Students can complete both tracks through the web, working largely asynchronously. Though both master’s tracks require students to complete 30 credits, they vary in their curricula. With its licensure focus, the master of education program delves into pedagogy, requiring 24 credits in the teaching field and six adviser-approved credits. Students must take the advanced survey of exceptionality if they failed to complete a special education course at the undergraduate level.

The master of science takes an interdisciplinary approach. Candidates must complete a one-credit orientation to teaching and learning, take 15 hours of elementary education courses, fulfill 12 adviser-approved electives, and pass a final capstone course in teaching and learning.

Tuition Fee: $535 per credit hour

 

#17 – California State University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 8

Website

Cal State Fullerton’s elementary education department carries accreditation from the prestigious teacher preparation agency NCATE. The department follows three guiding principles: equity, community, and knowledge and wisdom. Its master’s in elementary education online prepares teachers for leadership roles in elementary classroom teaching, technology in education, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and staff development.

Cal State’s 30-credit curriculum breaks down into several sections. Distance learners must earn nine credits in core coursework, 12 credits in an area of concentration, and six in electives. Students select a thesis, a research seminar, or a project as their culminating experience. Instructors deliver most of the coursework asynchronously.

Applicants must submit previous collegiate transcripts showing a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits. They should have successfully completed a teacher credential program.

Tuition Fee: $3,588 per semester (for full-time status students)

 

#16 – University of Mississippi

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 8

Website

The University of Mississippi’s Online M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a regionally accredited program. The School of Education constructed the 30-credit program to enable students to complete the degree in one to two years by taking two courses at a time. The university recommends the degree for prospective school administrators, consultants, curriculum developers, and professional development coordinators. Teachers who already hold their Mississippi teaching license can earn a pre-K endorsement through the program.

The degree takes a curriculum and instruction approach, exploring subjects like educational research, differential education, advanced curriculum theory, measuring and evaluating students, and internet use in the classroom. Most professors use an asynchronous format, allowing students to work when it fits their schedules.

Tuition Fee: $ 465 per credit hour

 

#15 – Nova Southeastern University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 9

Website

Nova Southeastern hosts dozens of programs on its virtual campus, including an online master’s in elementary education. The 40-credit program emphasizes language, literacy, science, math, and the arts. The program also carries accreditation from the prestigious National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (NCATE).

Nova Southeastern’s master of science in elementary education curriculum focuses heavily on practical pedagogy, with teachers learning the latest instructional methods. Most professors deliver coursework in an asynchronous format, and the university does not require students to complete residencies or intensives.

Tuition Fee: $995 per credit hour

 

#14 – University of Southern Mississippi

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 9

Website

The University of Southern Mississippi hosts an online master’s in elementary education focused on curriculum and instruction. The university developed the 30-credit curriculum for working teachers who can complete the program entirely online.

Roughly half of the master of education in educational curriculum and instruction(elementary education) curriculum consists of core requirements. These courses explore reading, mathematics, social studies, early childhood education, and language arts. Classes largely run asynchronously, though some professors may schedule real-time video lectures. Students need another 12 credits in electives to fulfill the requirements for the program.

All graduate students at USM must complete instruction in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) during their first semester. USM uses CITI to ensure the integrity of its programming, and all program participant must complete one of the “Common Courses.” These modules typically take 2-5 hours. Every master’s candidate at USM must also pass a comprehensive exam.

Tuition Fee: $509.12 per credit hour

 

#13 – University of New Mexico

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 9

Website

The University of New Mexico created the 32-credit program to prepare the next generation of educational leaders, both in classrooms and in school districts.

Cohorts for the program begin in the fall of each year. The university constructed the program such that students can finish their studies in a little over two years of taking two courses at a time. During the summer semester, they add a third course. Coursework takes teachers through social justice, research methods, personnel management, data-driven learning, and curriculum development.

UNM’s online courses run both asynchronously and in real time. They follow the traditional 16-week semester schedule, except in summer when they shorten to eight weeks.

Tuition Fee: Resident – $277.82 per credit hour  |  Non-resident – $937.96 per credit hour

 

#12 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 10

Website

Liberty University

Accredited by the NCATE, the 36-credit master of arts in teaching combines educational theory with in-class experience. Coursework delves into math, the natural sciences, literacy, and language acquisition. Students gain insights into curriculum development and classroom management techniques. They must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Liberty allows as many as 50% of credits to transfer into the program. The university grants students up to five years for completion.

All of Liberty’s online degree programs follow an accelerated, eight-week schedule, and professors set no login times, allowing students to work at their own convenience. While most work runs asynchronously online, the university requires distance learners to visit Lynchburg for three on-campus intensives. These residencies contribute to the completion of student-teaching requirements. Successful completion of Liberty’s master of arts in teaching program lays the foundation for teacher certification in Virginia.

Tuition Fee: $415 per credit hour

 

#11 – Western Carolina University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 10

Website

WCU designed the 30-credit curriculum of its master of arts in education for working teachers, who typically complete the program in two years. Students must earn 12 credits in the professional core and 18 in elementary education. They must also produce a professional portfolio to qualify for graduation. Successful graduates qualify for a master’s in education and earn a recommendation for advanced competencies licensure from the state of North Carolina. WCU accepts up to six transfer credits toward the program.

Coursework emphasizes research, educational psychology, and the development of content-area knowledge. Elementary teachers select from concentrations in literacy, STEM disciplines, and academically and intellectually gifted education.

Tuition Fee: $756.72 per credit hour

 

#10 – University of Pittsburgh

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 10

Website

The 36-credit curriculum focuses on diversity in learning and the role of education in society. Distance learners must complete six credits of core courses, three in research methodology, three in special education, six in electives, and nine in content-specific pedagogy. Students select between a thesis or a research project. During the last term of the program, they must pass a comprehensive exam that synthesizes everything they learn. Teachers already in possession of graduate-level certification automatically qualify for 12 advanced credits.

PittOnline conducts most of its classes asynchronously. Online courses follow the traditional 12- to 15-week semester, and online learners complete everything required through the internet.

Tuition Fee: $920 per credit hour

 

#9 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 11

Website

The University of Alabama at Birmingham crafted its online master’s in elementary and early childhood education using the latest constructivist theories. The 31- to 34-credit curriculum takes participants through subjects like teaching pedagogy, child development, developmental reading, methods of primary math, and classroom management. The program emphasizes standards-based practice, inquiry-focused methods, and cultural sensitivity. Electives allow students to tailor their degree to their career goals and personal interests.

The university does not license teachers but recommends graduates to Alabama’s Department of Education for certification. Students from other states should research whether the program’s standards meet their state’s requirements. UAB expects students to complete the program within five years.

Tuition Fee: $407 per credit hour

 

#8 – University of Hawaii

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 11

Website

The University of Hawaii’s College of Education set up its master of education in teaching distance program as a hybrid. Candidates do most of their learning on the web, but they must travel to Oahu to participate in required field teaching sessions. The school established the two-year program to ready students with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than education for licensure as teachers. Because of this, the 45-credit curriculum slants heavily to student teaching. Students work full-time as part of a 25-member cohort, and they earn a stipend for teaching in their last semester.

Distance learners begin their field teaching in their first semester and sit for their license by their third semester. The university places students in local schools, though online learners must make their own travel arrangements to Hawaii. Candidates must complete a culminating paper or project to earn their degree. Some students need to fulfill additional coursework requirements, depending upon their undergraduate degree.

Tuition Fee: $650 per credit hour

 

#7 – University of North Dakota

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 11

Website

University of North Dakota’s online master’s in elementary education emphasizes inquiry, collaboration, and reflection, and teachers learn how to help students become active instruments in their own education. The university formatted the course of study to last six semesters, including two summer sessions. Most educators earn their diplomas in a little over two years while continuing to teach. The program requires no travel to Grand Forks.

The program takes two tracks. Track one, available in thesis and non-thesis options and open to licensed and non-licensed teachers, prioritizes research. Track two comes only as a non-thesis program for non-licensed teachers.

The 32-credit curriculum runs largely asynchronously, though some classes do require students to attend “live“ web sessions. Candidates must complete 90 hours of student teaching, but they may do so in or near their own community. The university allows students to transfer a maximum one-fourth of the credits needed.

Tuition Fee: $915.14 per credit hour

 

#6 – Ball State University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 12

Website

ball-state-university

Ball State created its online master’s in elementary education to accommodate the schedules of working educators, and approximately 500 students enroll in the program each year. The university’s Teachers College enjoys a national reputation for quality and boasts accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The master’s in education online program caters to a teacher’s own interests and personal goals. The course of study emphasizes leadership and allows educators to add concentrations in several areas, including autism, reading, human development, response to intervention, and English as a second language.

Completion of any of these fields leads to specialized certification. No matter which track a student pursues, they must earn at least 30 credits to graduate and complete a focused study in research. Every graduate of the program also receives a certificate of early childhood program administration.

Tuition Fee: $603 per credit hour

 

#5 – University of North Carolina – Charlotte

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 12

Website

UNC Charlotte created its master of education in elementary education for veteran North Carolina teachers who want to add an advanced license to their list of credentials. Available entirely online, the program promotes a global, culturally sensitive educational philosophy. Distance learners enroll part-time and complete the program in three years or less. Educators select from among a variety of focus areas, including anti-racism, academically and intellectually gifted, English as a second language, and instructional systems technology.

UNC Charlotte breaks the curriculum of its online master’s degree in elementary education into four parts. Phase I develops perspectives in cultural diversity. Phase II revolves around collaborative inquiry and research. Phase III includes investigative leadership. The final phase consists of electives and the concentration area. Most classes run asynchronously, but some may require real-time components.

Tuition Fee: $872 per credit hour

 

#4 – Troy University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 13

Website

The university offers a master’s in elementary education online that gives students the option of taking some classes on campus. Optimized for working teachers, the program allows educators to continue in the classroom while furthering their career goals. Distance learners can earn all 36 credits through the web on a full- or part-time basis, or take classes on campus. Most classes run asynchronously in accelerated, nine-week terms.

Troy recommends the elementary education master’s to teachers who want advanced credentials or want to continue on to a doctorate. Many graduates take leadership roles after completion of the program. The curriculum emphasizes lesson planning, student assessment, and development of research proposals. The program divides the curriculum between required core classes and teaching field courses.

Tuition Fee: Resident – $494 per credit hour   |  Non-resident – $988 per credit hour

 

#3 – Oregon State University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 13

Website

Students in Oregon State University’s master of arts in teaching with an option in clinically based elementary education program enroll in a cohort and complete most of their academic work online. In the first year, they teach as substitutes in Beaverton schools while taking classes. During the second year, participants teach full time in the classroom, earning a stipend. Graduates leave with an accumulated 650 hours of internship and practicum experience.

The program requires three prerequisite courses: civil rights and multicultural issues; purpose, structure, and function of education in a democracy; and learning across the lifespan. Students must complete fingerprinting and background checks before working in classrooms.

Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. OSU admits one cohort per year and offers a flat tuition rate for all distance learners.

Tuition Fee: $538 per credit hour

 

#2 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 14

Website

East Carolina University established its online master’s degree in elementary education for working teachers. Not a licensure program, it serves as an advanced degree for educators who already hold a K-6 elementary teacher’s license. The 36-credit curriculum includes focused study in one of three concentration areas: content pedagogy, gifted education, and English as a second language. Graduates leave eligible for M-level licensure in North Carolina. Teachers should check with their own states to find out the requirements for advanced licensing.

Program participants can enroll on a part- or full-time basis and complete all credits through the web. Most coursework runs asynchronously, though some professors hold real-time sessions. The curriculum splits into three parts: students must complete 12 credits in the professional core, 15 credits in the elementary core, and nine in their focus area.

Tuition Fee: 877.35 per credit hour

 

#1 – North Carolina State University

Online Master’s in Elementary Education

POINTS – 14

Website

NC State hosts a mostly online master’s in elementary education online in a hybrid format. Aimed at students seeking their first license to work in K-12 classrooms, the program consists mostly of web-based courses but also requires distance learners to travel to Raleigh for face-to-face classes. The university created the program for initial licensure and not for practicing teachers seeking advanced credentials or pre-doctoral studies.

The program’s competencies include the integration of technology into the classroom, the ability to work with families and communities, and sensitivity to cultural diversity. The school constructed the curriculum around 15 credits of core courses. Degree seekers must complete an additional 18 credits in electives and in a specialty area. Specialties include language arts, elementary reading, elementary science, and instructional practice.

The program follows an accelerated schedule, and full-time students earn their degrees in a year and a half.

Tuition Fee: $452.88 per credit hour

 

This concludes our ranking of the top online master’s in elementary education. Thanks for checking us out!

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