The first and biggest influence on a young child’s life is their parents. Not far behind is their elementary school teachers.
If you want to be one of the individuals addressing the challenges of 21st-century education, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education is the perfect place to start.
What are the options for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education?
Teachers who work in elementary schools need to have a strong grasp on a range of content areas, an excellent understanding of pedagogy and instructional strategies, and a knowledge of child development.
Both online and on-campus degree tracks can help you develop these skills. Choose the one that best fits your learning style, financial situation, and schedule.
If you think you’re a good candidate for distance education, take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degrees.
How much can you earn with a degree in elementary education?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2016 median pay for a kindergarten or elementary school teacher is $55,490 per year.
In general, pay increases with experience. PayScale data reveals a median salary for entry-level teachers of $39,440. Late-career elementary teachers earn a median salary of $56,405.
What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education?
Most undergraduate programs in elementary education lead to teacher licensure. The details of teacher licensure are different in each state. In most states, certified elementary educators can teach kindergarten or first grade up through fifth or sixth grade.
Some degree programs will focus on urban public school settings. Others might also prepare teachers for a job in a rural, private, independent, parochial, or international school setting.
What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education?
In almost all cases, a teacher licensure program will require candidates to complete a student teaching placement. This placement might be one or two semesters, depending on the state and the school. Other professional credentials (such as CPR certification) might be required by certain states.
What are the best residential bachelor’s degrees in elementary education?
We’ve examined data from individual college websites, U.S. News & World Report, PayScale, and the IPEDS database to create this ranking. Each school has been assessed for institutional reputation, incoming student test scores, tuition rates, financial aid, and other important factors that affect the value of a college degree.
Using a weighted average of all these factors, we assigned each school a composite score. This methodology allows us to bring you an accurate and comprehensive ranking of the best residential bachelor’s degrees in elementary education.
1. Brigham Young University
Rooted in a philosophy of faith, intellect, and character, Brigham Young University offers students the chance to grow both academically and personally. The university was established in 1875 through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, BYU enrolls nearly 30,000 undergraduate students. Ranked highly for affordability and academic quality, BYU earned the number five slot on Money Magazine’s list of Best Colleges. BYU provides an exemplary Elementary Education program for undergraduate students.
The Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education leads to initial teacher licensure in kindergarten through grade 6. The program is designed to prepare educators to teach in public school settings. Candidates for the B.S. in Elementary Education will complete the following courses:
- Exceptional Students: Principles of Collaboration
- Teaching Literacy in the Primary Grades (K-2)
- Foundations of Classroom Management
- Instructional Design and Assessment for all Learners
Several courses are strongly recommended (although not required) for Elementary Education majors, including Art for Elementary Teachers, Principles of Biology, and Expository Writing for Elementary Education Majors. Students will also take two out of three courses among Music, Drama, or Dance for the Elementary Classroom. Applicants to the teacher preparation program must have a GPA of at least 3.0.
2. Louisiana Tech University
Founded in 1894, Louisiana Tech University is located in Ruston, roughly an hour west of Shreveport. The university serves over 12,000 students, hailing from 47 states and 64 countries. The exceptional faculty members of Louisiana Tech have built a technology-rich environment that emphasizes research and interdisciplinary collaboration. This innovative community of faculty and students makes Louisiana Tech an excellent choice for aspiring elementary school teachers.
Louisiana Tech offers a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. This is a 126 credit hour program, including 54 credit hours of general education requirements. Other coursework is in teaching areas such as math, language arts, science, and social studies; in psychology and child development; and in teaching methodology. Required coursework includes:
- Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Difficulties
- Literacy Development through Word Study for All Learners
- Human Exceptionalities
- Classroom Management
The Elementary Education degree leads to licensure in kindergarten through grade 5. Other degree programs are available for Early Childhood Education (PK through grade 3), for Special Education (grades 1 through 5), and for various areas of Secondary Education (grades 6 through 12). The College of Education at Louisiana Tech is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and has held this credential since 1954. Roughly 73 percent of Louisiana Tech students receive some form of financial assistance.
3. Arizona State University
Arizona State University is ranked in the top 10 nationwide by Times Higher Education for the employability of its graduates. The university has also been recognized as a “Best Buy” school by the Fiske Guide to Colleges, one of just 20 public universities nationwide to earn the top honor. As of fall 2016, ASU has a total enrollment of over 98,000 students across its six campuses. ASU’s nationally recognized Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers an outstanding B.A.E. in Elementary Education.
The Bachelor of Arts in Education is available through the Tempe, Polytechnic, and West campuses. The program includes a clinical experience known as iTeachAZ, which provides students with the opportunity to work directly with children while receiving coaching from university faculty and highly qualified teacher mentors in partner schools. Candidates for the B.A.E. degree will complete courses such as:
- Instructional Design for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
- Language Method Management and Assessment
- Behavioral Strategies for All Students
- Quality Practices in the Collaborative Classroom
Graduates of the B.A.E. program will be eligible for certification in grades 1 through 8. Clinical experiences will begin in students’ junior year, when they will spend one day per week in a 1-8 classroom. During their senior year, students will complete a yearlong, full-time residency in a local school.
4. Purdue University
The main campus of Purdue University is in West Lafayette, Indiana. Regional campuses are located in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Hammond, and Westville. Through a series of interdisciplinary collaborations, the College of Education at Purdue offers an extensive array of programs for all aspects and levels of teacher preparation. The Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education allows students to go above and beyond the typical undergraduate experience.
The curriculum of the B.A. in Elementary Education focuses on two key aspects: K-12 STEM education, and social justice and diversity. Innovation, collaboration, advancement, and leadership are the guiding principles for the program. The B.A. is a 128 credit hour track. Required coursework for the Elementary Education degree includes:
- Learning and Motivation
- Introduction to Educational Technology and Computing
- Multiculturalism and Education
- Educational Policies and Laws
Successful candidates will graduate with an Indiana license to teach all subjects for grades K through 6 in public, private, or independent schools. Graduates will be able to take advantage of 43 interstate licensing agreements that will allow them to teach nearly anywhere in the country. Education students can pursue additional opportunities through the Undergraduate Research Training Program, the Honors College, and the Certificate in Collaborative Leadership program.
5. CUNY Hunter College
Established in 1870, CUNY Hunter College is now the largest college in the City University of New York. Hunter College, located in the heart of Manhattan, enrolls over 23,000 students through more than 170 areas of study. More than half of these students are the first in their family to receive a college education. The diversity of its student body and the exceptional commitment of its faculty are some of the distinguishing features of Hunter’s elementary education program.
The elementary education major at CUNY Hunter is known as the Quality Urban Elementary School Teacher program, or QUEST. The program leads to New York teacher certification in grades 1 through 6. QUEST is intended as a secondary major. Students in this track will be expected to also declare a major in one of the liberal arts or sciences. Required QUEST coursework includes:
- Art of Effective Teaching
- Health Education for the Classroom Teacher
- Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms
- Social Foundations in Urban Education
The QUEST program is a 36 credit hour track, taking place over either four or six semesters. The four-semester track is suited for transfer students or others who have already completed 40 or more credit hours of undergraduate coursework. The six-semester track is designed for students who enroll at Hunter College as freshmen.
6. Bucknell University
Serving a student body of roughly 3,600 undergraduates, Bucknell University is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania along the West Branch Susquehanna River. The university is well known for offering a holistic education that doesn’t just provide students with knowledge but also prepares them for a career. Bucknell offers both a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Bachelor of Science in Education.
The B.S. program with a major in Early Childhood Education leads to a teaching certification for PreK through grade 4. The B.A. in Education program is designed for students who are interested in one or more facets of education but are not pursuing licensure. This program offers a number of concentrations, including Educational Research, Contemporary Landscapes of Education, Learning and Development across the Lifespan, and more. Coursework available within the B.A. program includes:
- Immigrant Youth in U.S. Society
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Advanced Educational Foundations: Democracy and Education
- Psychology of the Exceptional Child
A minor in education is also available, with numerous options for specialization. Every class at Bucknell is taught by a faculty member rather than a graduate teaching assistant. Bucknell boasts a student-faculty ratio of 9 to 1. In 2016, PayScale ranked Bucknell third among all liberal arts colleges for alumni median lifetime earnings.
7. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University was the first public institution of higher learning in the state. (The “A&M” in its name once stood for “Agricultural and Mechanical,” but now the letters are simply a reminder of the university’s heritage.) Established in 1876, Texas A&M now enrolls over 62,500 students at its main campus in College Station. The undergraduate programs at Texas A&M provide opportunities leading to licensure for elementary education and for other levels.
The Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture offers a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in early childhood through grade 6. The degree track requires between 122 and 124 credit hours. Students of this program may complete courses such as:
- School, Family, and Community Dynamics in Early Childhood Education
- Strategies for Teaching Young Children
- Early Childhood and Adolescent Curriculum and Lesson Design
- Foundations of Education in a Multicultural Society
Juniors and seniors in the teacher certification program will spend a significant amount of time participating in elementary classrooms. As a junior, teaching candidates may tutor individual students, assist students in the library, prepare instructional materials, and provide other types of assistance to their mentor teacher. As a senior, students will take on more responsibility. They may co-teach with the mentor teacher, teach full school days, and attend parent conferences and faculty meetings.
8. Dallas Baptist University
Over 5,100 students attend Dallas Baptist University, representing 56 countries and 73 undergraduate programs. The 292-acre campus is located in the hills of Southwest Dallas, where it overlooks Mountain Creek Lake. With an average class size of just 11, DBU allows students to enjoy the benefits of a truly personalized educational experience. DBU’s elementary education programs are strongly committed to developing students into effective teachers and thoughtful Christian leaders.
Students who are planning to become classroom teachers will not declare an education major. Instead, they will enroll as an interdisciplinary major and complete the Educator Preparation Program. Graduates will be eligible for Texas certification for early childhood through grade 6. The coursework for the Educator Preparation Program includes:
- Development of Infants, Children, and Adolescents
- Discipline and Classroom Management
- Pedagogy of Fine Arts and Movement in the Elementary Classroom
- Diagnosing and Correcting Reading Difficulties
For qualifying students, DBU offers a series of dual bachelor’s degree/master’s degree tracks. The B.A. with Core Subjects Early Childhood through Grade 6 Certification can be combined with an M.Ed. in Reading and English as a Second Language, with an M.Ed. in Special Education, or with an M.A. in Teaching.
9. Boston College
Boston College is a leading liberal arts institution with a strong heritage in Jesuit educational philosophy. The College of Education at BC has been ranked the number one Catholic school of education in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 600 undergraduate students are enrolled in the BC College of Education, representing a diverse and highly motivated community of soon-to-be teachers.
The Elementary Education program incorporates field experiences in public, private, parochial, and independent schools. Students will have the opportunity to apply their skills in traditional, bilingual, alternative, and special needs classrooms. The Elementary Education major requires students to complete 54 credits in education core coursework and 33 credits in major-specific coursework, including:
- Child Growth and Development
- Learning and Curriculum in Elementary Schools
- Teaching about the Natural World
- Working with Special Needs
Students who successfully complete the degree track will be certified to teach grades 1 through 6 for children with and without mild disabilities. All candidates for the Elementary Education certification will complete six credits in a pre-practicum field experience, followed by 15 credit hours of full practicum. Boston College offers more than 150 placement sites for undergraduate practicum experiences. The Elementary Education program at Boston College has a 98 percent placement rate for its graduates.
10. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Students of Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College can choose from 194 undergraduate programs of study. Initially founded in 1853, the university has changed names and locations before settling on its current main campus in Baton Rouge on the banks of the Mississippi River. The B.S. in Elementary Grades Education allows students to engage deeply with the practice of teaching during their undergraduate experience.
The student teaching requirements at LSU are far more rigorous than the state-mandated minimum requirements. These field experiences ensure that students are fully prepared to begin their own careers as classroom teachers. Graduates of the program will be eligible for elementary education licensure for grades 1 through 5. Course titles for the B.S. in Elementary Grades Education include:
- Teaching, Schooling, and Society
- Education and Diverse Populations
- Characteristics of Learners with Exceptionalities
- Children’s Literature
The B.S. track for Elementary Grades Education requires between 120 and 128 credit hours. Applicants to the program must have a minimum ACT composite score of 22 or minimum SAT composite score of 1030. LSU ranks extremely well for affordability and return on investment. Ninety-two percent of LSU students receive some form of financial aid, and two out of three graduate with no debt.
11. Marshall University
With a main campus in Huntington and a second location South Charleston, Marshall University is one of the leading research institutions of West Virginia. The university was established in 1837 and today it offers 59 degree programs for its 9,500 undergraduate students. A little over 800 of these undergraduates are enrolled in the College of Education, the oldest academic college at Marshall University.
Students typically enroll in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundations (CIF) program at the end of their sophomore year. The program requires a total of 49 credit hours in teaching specialization courses, and 45 credit hours in professional education courses. Coursework within the professional education core includes:
- Educational Psychology and the Developing Learner
- Children with Exceptionalities
- Instructional and Classroom Management: Elementary Education
- Schools in a Diverse Society
Candidates will complete over 100 clinical hours in addition to the full-semester student teaching experience. Successful graduates of the CIF program for Elementary Education will earn teaching certification for kindergarten through grade 6. The bachelor’s degree program offers optional add-on endorsements for Special Education and for Early Childhood (Pre-K). Over 30 different educational certifications are available in total. The MU College of Education has been NCATE-accredited since 1954.
12. Bethel University
Since 1871, Bethel University has been a leading example of Christian higher education. The university’s student body of roughly 6,000 represents 65 Christian denominations. Bethel’s scenic lakeside campus is located roughly 20 minutes from downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis in the suburb of Arden Hills, Minnesota. The Bethel University Department of Education houses a range of rigorous undergraduate programs, including Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education, Mathematics Education, Social Studies Education, Music Education, and more.
The B.A. in Elementary Education leads to licensure for kindergarten through grade 6. Graduates will be prepared to teach in public, private, and international schools. Students will have opportunities to combine the core curriculum in teaching strategies and practices with minors or concentrations in specific content areas. Coursework for the Elementary Education major includes:
- Art Education in the Elementary School
- School Age Growth and Development
- Diversity in the Classroom
- Teaching in the Primary Grades
The B.A. program incorporates a built-in minor to allow students to specialize in an area of professional interest. Choices include Early Childhood, Spanish, Special Education in Mild Disabilities, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Alternatively, students may choose to pursue a license addition for Middle Grades in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies.
13. University of Maryland—College Park
Boasting a number of exceptional rankings for value and academic quality, the University of Maryland enrolls a student body of approximately 38,000. Kiplinger’s ranked UMD number eight among Best Value Colleges, and U.S. News & World Report ranked it number 22 among all public research institutions. The research- and practice-oriented teacher education programs at UMD provide an excellent training ground for the next generation of educators.
UMD offers a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree. This undergraduate track features a yearlong internship for all candidates. The program will lead to elementary licensure in the state of Maryland. Coursework for the B.S. in Elementary Education includes:
- Foundations of Education
- Looking Inside Schools and Classrooms
- Literature for Children and Youth
- Digital Learning Tools and Communities
Students applying into the UMD Elementary Education program must have already completed at least 45 credits of undergraduate coursework. A minimum GPA of 2.75 for all UMD courses is required, although a 3.0 is strongly recommended. The College of Education at UMD also offers a B.S. in Elementary/Middle Special Education, a B.A. in Art Education, a B.S. in Early Childhood Special Education, and numerous other degrees and minors for undergraduates.
14. University of Florida
With a 2,000-acre main campus in Gainesville, the University of Florida is public land-grant university and a leading research institution of the Southeast. The school was ranked second in the nation on Forbes’ list of Best Value Public Colleges, and also earned recognition from Kiplinger’s, U.S. News & World Report, and many other publications for its affordability and academic quality. The university’s unique programs provide an intensive teacher preparation experience that will set UF alumni apart from graduates of other schools.
The Unified Elementary Proteach (UEP) is a five-year program that culminates in a master’s degree and teaching licensure. Students may choose to pursue the single certification track for licensure in K-6 elementary education, or they may choose the dual certification track, with licensure in K-12 special education and K-6 elementary education. Both programs include a yearlong internship following the completion of the bachelor’s degree. The undergraduate portion of UEP leads to a Bachelor of Arts in Education. Undergraduate coursework for UEP includes:
- Introduction to Diversity for Educators
- Integrating Technology in the Elementary Curriculum
- Core Classroom Management Strategies
- Child Development for Inclusive Education
U.S. News & World Report named the teacher education program at UF 14th nationwide in its Best Graduate Education Schools ranking. The UF College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
15. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
Based in Ann Arbor, with additional campuses in Flint and Dearborn, the University of Michigan is consistently recognized as one of the top public universities nationwide. Times Higher Education named the University of Michigan number 14 on its World Reputation Rankings. Over 63,000 students attended the university as of the Fall 2015 term. The Elementary Education program at Michigan creates a balance of foundational content knowledge, best teaching practices, and the ethical obligations of teaching.
The Elementary Education teacher preparation track at the University of Michigan is an upper division program that students will begin in their junior year. Freshmen can apply to the Teacher Education Preferred Admit (TEPA) program for guaranteed admission in their junior year. The course sequence for the elementary education program includes:
- Educational Psychology
- Digital Technologies K-8
- Children as Sensemakers
- Teaching Students with Exceptionalities
Starting in the first semester of the program (junior year), students will spend six to nine hours per week in elementary classrooms. During the fourth term (the last semester of senior year), students will complete a 14-15 week student teaching placement. By roughly the 10th week of the placement, students will take on lead teaching responsibilities. Placement sites range from urban to rural and kindergarten through sixth grade.
16. University of Richmond
Located on a 350-acre campus 90 miles outside of Washington, D.C., the University of Richmond is within two hours of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Blue Ridge Mountains. U.S. News & World Report ranks the university at number 23 among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges. With a total enrollment over 4,000, Richmond offers more than 60 undergraduate majors. These majors can be paired with the innovative Teacher Education minor, which prepares students for certification at either the elementary level or secondary level.
State law in Virginia prevents students from majoring in education. Instead, students pursuing certification can enroll in a Teacher Education minor. By completing the coursework for the minor and a student teaching placement, candidates will be eligible for licensure for Pre-K through grade 6. The Teacher Education: Elementary minor includes the following courses:
- Content and Pedagogy for Elementary Science and Social Studies
- Assessment, Intervention, and Literacy Strategies for Elementary Readers
- Instructional Technology Applications for the Classroom
- Elementary Classroom and Behavior Management
All of the classes at the University of Richmond are taught by faculty members rather than graduate teaching assistants. The university proudly claims an 8-to-1 student-faculty ratio for undergraduates. Richmond offers need-blind admission and meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need.
17. High Point University
Founded in affiliation with the United Methodist Church, High Point University is a private liberal arts university located in High Point, North Carolina. The teacher preparation program at High Point is a recognized leader throughout the eastern United States. The program emphasizes academic rigor, personalized learning opportunities, and extensive field experiences. The Elementary Education program culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree and licensure for kindergarten through grade 6.
The B.A. track requires a total of 128 credits. Fifty of these credits come from the university core. Another 64 credits are major-specific courses, and the remaining 14 credits come from elective courses. Required coursework within the Elementary Education major includes:
- Students with Disabilities: Characteristics and Service Delivery Models
- Methods of Teaching Reading and Writing in the Primary Grades
- Technology Integration for Elementary K-6 Classrooms
- Using Data to Assess Student Impact in K-12 Classrooms
To receive a North Carolina teaching license, educators will need to pass the Pearson’s Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum tests. For the past three years, High Point students have had a pass rate above the statewide average for the reading, math, and multi-subject tests. Within six months of graduation, 95 percent of High Point alumni are employed or pursuing graduate education.
18. University of Iowa
As the oldest university in the state, the University of Iowa has roots going back to 1847. The school, with its main campus in Iowa City, enrolls over 24,000 undergraduate students. The University of Iowa is one of just 62 schools in the nation admitted to the prestigious Association of American Universities. The College of Education offers over 80 undergraduate and graduate programs of study, including an outstanding Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.
The elementary education program offers a path to certification for both undergraduate students and post-baccalaureate candidates. For undergraduates, the program typically begins during the student’s junior year. Candidates for the B.A. in Elementary Education will complete courses such as:
- Reading and Responding to Children’s Literature
- Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher
- Technology in the Classroom
- Assessment Instructional Planning and Practice
Students in an elementary education program may pursue numerous endorsements in addition to their main area of licensure. Programs are available for the Iowa Athletic Coach Endorsement (K-12), Deaf or Hard of Hearing Endorsement, Talented and Gifted Endorsement, and Teacher Librarian (K-12) Endorsement. The University of Iowa has a student-faculty ratio of 16 to 1, and 78 percent of its classes have fewer than 30 students.
19. University of Houston
The University of Houston is designated as a Tier One university by the Carnegie Foundation. It’s one of just 115 universities—among 4,700 institutions of higher learning in America—to earn this top distinction. Founded in 1927, the university now enrolls more than 36,000 undergraduates in 110 majors and minors. The world-class faculty, emphasis on research-based teaching strategies, and extensive field experience opportunities have earned national recognition for the UH College of Education.
The Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston offers a number of certification pathways. Students may pursue licensure as an Early Childhood (EC) through grade 6 generalist, EC through grade 6 bilingual generalist, or EC-6 generalist with ESL and Special Education Supplemental. The EC-6 Generalist track includes the following courses:
- Health of the Elementary Child
- Fostering Social Education
- Elementary Reading and Phonics Instruction
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Curriculum
Coursework for the early childhood through sixth grade generalist certification is also available through the UH Sugar Land campus. Among graduates of the UH teacher preparation program, 95 percent pass the TExES state certification exams. The four-semester clinical experience sequence in the elementary education program incorporates nearly 900 hours in the field and a full year of student teaching.
20. Taylor University
Taylor University was founded in 1846, making it one of the oldest evangelical Christian colleges in America. In the most recent rankings, Taylor was named second among the Midwest’s best regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report. This marks the 21st consecutive year that Taylor has appeared in the top three in the regional ranking. The Elementary Education major at Taylor features the strong academics and student-centered environment that have earned recognition for the university.
The Elementary Education major is available as either a B.S. or B.A. Students will have multiple options for minors and concentrations to customize their degree path. The program leads to licensure for kindergarten through grade 6. Core curriculum for the Elementary Education major includes:
- Educational Psychology
- Discipline and Classroom Management for Elementary Teachers
- Literature for Children and Adolescents
- Diversity in the Classroom
All students in the elementary education program will spend a full semester student teaching. The semester will be split between two different placement sites, with interns assigned to a different grade level at each site. This student teaching requirement may be completed in the United States or abroad. Eighty percent of Taylor students have an overseas experience during their time at the university. Among recent Taylor University graduates, 97 percent are employed or enrolled in a graduate program within six months of graduation.
21. University of Nebraska—Lincoln
A land-grant institution in the Big Ten Conference, the University of Nebraska—Lincoln was chartered in 1869. Today, UNL holds an R1: Doctoral Universities–Highest Research Activity designation from the Carnegie Foundation. The university has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education Scorecard for low costs and high graduation rate. The exceptional academic opportunities, accessible student support services, and affordable tuition all make UNL an outstanding choice for education students.
The Elementary Education program at UNL is nationally recognized for exemplifying the link between theory and practice. The program culminates in a Bachelor of Science in Education and a teaching license for kindergarten through grade 6. The course sequence incorporates three distinct field experiences, in addition to a semester of student teaching. Academic coursework for the program includes:
- Instructional Technology in Elementary Schools
- Working with Families in Communities and Schools
- The Arts in the Elementary School Curriculum
- Teaching English Learners in Elementary School
The UNL program can prepare students for a career as a community-based youth educator, business or corporate youth educator, or youth coach as well as an elementary teacher. The Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education has well-established partnerships with elementary schools all over Nebraska. Additional field experiences are available in other educational settings, such as science museums and study-abroad programs.
22. University of Southern Mississippi
Located 105 miles northeast of New Orleans, the University of Southern Mississippi has a 300-acre main campus in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss has received widespread recognition for its undergraduate programs, particularly in business and accounting, medicine and nursing, and education. Housed within the acclaimed Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, the Elementary Education program at Southern Miss leads to licensure in kindergarten through grade 6.
The B.S. in Elementary Education is based on an introductory, intermediate, and senior cohort. Each of these cohorts features gradually increasing field experiences in K-6 classrooms. The culminating experience is a semester-long student teaching placement, with two six-week internships in diverse K-6 classrooms. Candidates for the B.S. will complete courses such as:
- Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children
- Introduction to Literacy: An Integrated Language Arts Approach
- Computer Applications in Education
- Curriculum: Primary and Middle Grades
The B.S. in Elementary Education is available at the Gulf Park campus, the Hattiesburg campus, and fully online. The University of Southern Mississippi holds full accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The elementary education program in particular has won national recognition from the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI).
23. University of Arkansas
A doctoral research university in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System and the largest university in the state. The university ranked fifth nationwide in Kiplinger’s “25 Best College Values Under $30,000 a Year” list. With a dual focus on affordability and outstanding academic quality, education students can find a number of strong programs at the University of Arkansas’s renowned College of Education and Health Professions.
Students will complete 63 credit hours of general education requirements before formally applying to the Elementary Education program. The track leads to a Bachelor of Science in Education, as well as initial teaching licensure for kindergarten through grade 6. Coursework available within the Elementary Education major includes:
- Development and Learning Theories in the K-6 Classroom
- Classroom Learning Theory
- Arts Integration in the Classroom
- Emergent and Developmental Literacy
To apply to the Elementary Education track, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA on all UA coursework, and maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. The application process includes a writing sample and an interview with Elementary Education faculty. The B.S.E. degree track incorporates a total of roughly nine months of student teaching experience in public elementary schools.
24. University of Mississippi
With a student body of over 24,000, the University of Mississippi—known affectionately as Ole Miss—is the largest university in the state. It was the first university in the South to hire a female faculty member in 1885. Today, the university is among the fastest growing institutions of higher learning in the country. The Bachelor of Arts in Education degree from Ole Miss is a flexible, rigorous program that incorporates a Special Education endorsement.
The B.A.Ed. in Elementary Education is available at the main campus in Oxford, as well as the Tupelo, DeSoto, and Grenada campuses. Students will choose two concentration areas from the following: English, math, science, social studies, fine arts, foreign language, and computers. The degree requires a minimum of 122 credit hours. Required coursework includes:
- Education, Society, and the K-12 Learner
- Classroom Management and Behavioral Interventions
- Survey of Special Education Practices
- Reading Instruction in the Elementary School
The teacher preparation programs at Ole Miss have held continuous accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954. The School of Education has strong partnerships with the North Mississippi Education Consortium (NMEC) and the World Class Teacher Program (WCTP), which together provide professional development and mentoring for teachers, counselors, and administrators.
25. SUNY Oneonta
Winner of the 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award from INSIGHT into Diversity, SUNY Oneonta is celebrated for its atmosphere of inclusivity. The four-year college is located in the scenic Catskill Mountains of central New York, midway between Albany and Binghamton. Teacher.org and the National Council on Teacher Quality have both praised SUNY Oneonta for the strength of its undergraduate programs for teacher preparation.
SUNY Oneonta offers two nationally accredited tracks. One of these, the Childhood Education track, leads to licensure in grades 1 through 6. The other, the Early Childhood/Childhood Education track, is a dual certification option leading to licensure for birth through grade 6. Required coursework for the Childhood Education (grades 1-6) track includes:
- Child Growth and Development
- Issues, Philosophy, and Foundations in Education
- Integrating Technology into the Curriculum: Elementary School
- Differentiated Instruction and Assessment
The recently launched Teacher Residency Program allows teaching candidates to spend four days a week in elementary classrooms and one day a week on campus taking classes. About 12 students are selected for this two-semester program each year. All candidates will complete a student teaching experience in their final semester. The average class size at SUNY Oneonta is 24, and the student-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. The college boasts an 83 percent freshmen retention rate.
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Best Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees
Best Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees
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Best Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degrees
Best Bachelor’s in Elementary Education Degrees
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