Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01

Americans have long known the importance of education for all of its citizens, which is why an online Master’s in Elementary Education is a good choice for working teachers. These educators are the first foray into the education system and they have the responsibility of providing a foundational education that will serve their students through high school and then college or university. While it is possible to complete this duty with a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree gives teachers more tools.

Since many teachers who are interested in graduate education also work full-time, an online degree is perhaps the best option for them. Online courses offer a variety of flexible options, ranging from accelerated degrees to part-time programs that enable the educator to work on their degree one course at a time. The ranking below provides all of the necessary information that an interested educator needs in order to make a decision.

Methodology

Research for this list was conducted using the National Center for Education Statistics website. With the help of the College Navigator Database search engine,  an initial pool of 90 schools was curated. From the initial 90 schools, the final 10 that are listed below were chosen based on in-state graduate tuition rates.

Ranking Low-cost Online Elementary Education Master’s

10. Indiana State University

Terre Haute, Indiana

Online Master of Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $7,422

Indiana State University confers an online Master’s in Elementary Education that is perfect for working teachers. This degree does not require a teacher to have a license; in fact, licensure can be earned through the successful completion of this program. This is a 100 percent online program that can be completed in 18 months with full-time study. Courses are delivered asynchronously and are on the traditional 16-week term schedule. The degree comes with three concentrations, including Early Childhood, Literacy, and Primary/Intermediate. This program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and can lead to primary professional licensure in either early childhood or elementary education. Students can expect to complete 32 credit hours of coursework and a seminar for graduation. Sample courses include The Elementary Curriculum, Development Through the Lifespan, and Building Innovative Curriculum in Literacy.

9. Delta State University

Cleveland, Mississippi

Online Master of Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $7,422

Students interested in a Master’s in Elementary Education online degree will be happy with the offering from Delta State University. This school provides a 100 percent online program for working teachers and educators that will enhance their knowledge of teaching. Students should know that a valid Class A license is required to apply for this program. Courses are delivered online and through the asynchronous format in order to ensure that educators can study when and how they choose. It is also possible to earn this degree in just one year of part-time study. Students will be expected to complete a teaching practicum as part of the requirements for graduation; this can be completed in a student’s community. Other requirements include at least 30 credit hours of coursework, a portfolio, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Education in the Intermediate Grades, Effective Instruction in the Elementary School, and Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education.

8. University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Online Master of Arts in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $6,750

The University of Alabama confers an online Master’s in Elementary Education that is designed specifically for educators interested in earning advanced teaching licensure. This degree is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The program is delivered 100 percent online through the use of asynchronous and synchronous courses. Students will also be expected to complete practicums in their community in order to apply the concepts and skills they are taught in their courses to a real-world scenario. The curriculum is made up of a major core and one or two teaching fields, which includes Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, and Literacy. The program requires 36 credit hours of coursework, field practicums, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Educational Research, Guiding Pupil Learning, and Elementary School Curriculum.

7. Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Online Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $5,926

Western Illinois University confers an online elementary education master’s degree that was designed for educators who wish to advance in their career. This is a non-licensure program, meaning students will not be eligible to sit for teaching licensure in their state. This program is delivered 100 percent online through asynchronous courses and does not require practicums for graduation. The curriculum focuses on providing a well-rounded advanced education on elementary education, touching on everything from various subjects taught at the primary school level to research and technology and how they have made a difference in the classroom. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project, a capstone course, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Teaching of Elementary Mathematics, Reading in Early Childhood, and Phonics for Decoding and Spelling.

6. Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Online Master of Science in Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $5,926

Missouri State University confers an online Master’s in Elementary Education that has a stated focus on allowing the educators to tailor their degree plan to their specific needs. This is a 100 percent online program that is delivered asynchronously; it can be completed in as little as two years with part-time study. Students can choose to specialize in one area of elementary education, including Science, Social Studies, and Reading. The program of study follows the two-course structure, meaning that students study part-time, enabling them to move quickly through the degree. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exam for graduation. Sample courses include Research Seminar in Elementary Education, Educational Research Methodology, and Standards-Based Integrated Curriculum, Learning, and Teaching.

5. Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

Online Master in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $5,084

Teachers who choose Eastern New Mexico University will find an excellent elementary education master’s online degree that focuses on curriculum and instruction. This is a 100 percent online degree that requires only one residency; students must travel to campus in order to complete their final project option, which is a one-day event. All other courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously and can be completed in as little as two years with full-time study. Students will have access to online tutoring services, databases, publications, and an online library to help them with their online coursework. This program requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and either a comprehensive exam or thesis. Sample courses include Creativity Across the Curriculum, Teacher as Researcher, and Critical Pedagogy in Educational Reform.

4. Appalachian State University

Boone, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $4,788

Appalachian State University confers an entirely online Master’s in Elementary Education that is perfect for teachers who wish to hold advanced licensure. This program requires that students hold a valid Class A level teaching licensure in North Carolina, meaning this program is best suited for in-state teachers. The degree is 100 percent delivered online with asynchronous courses and in a cohort format. Students will not be required to take an internship or practicum unless they have no previous student teaching or work experience working with K-6 students. This degree requires 39 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Assessment to Improve Learning and Inform Teaching, Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, and Recent Trends and Issues in Education.

3. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Online Master of Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $4,511

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has an incredible offering for teachers who are interested in an online Master’s in Elementary Education. This degree comes with six different concentrations, including Special Education, Anti-Racism, and English as a Second Language. The program was designed specifically for North Carolina teachers who hold a Class A teaching license and wish to advance their licensure distinction. This is a 100 percent online program with asynchronous and synchronous courses taught in the traditional 16-week term schedule. Students will note that this degree does not require practicums or field placements for graduation. This degree requires 33 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Instructional Differentiation and Leadership for Diverse Learners, Theories of Human Development and Learning in Cultural Contexts, and Research Methods.

2. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $4,487

Teachers who have a Class A license in the state of North Carolina who wish to advance to Class M licensure for K-6 teaching will want to check out East Carolina University. This is a 100 percent online degree that can be completed in 18 months with full-time study and two years with part-time study. All courses are available online and are delivered as either asynchronous or synchronous classes. Students will be required to take on specializations, such as gifted education, library science, or English as a second language. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a research project or thesis that includes an oral report or defense, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Introduction to School Leadership, Concepts and Principles of Early Childhood Education, and Methods and Materials in Gifted Education.

1. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Pembroke, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Education in Elementary Education

Website

Tuition: $3,342

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a great and cheap elementary education master’s program for teachers who hold a valid teaching license in the state. Students will note that work experience is recommended, but not required. This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students will complete all of their necessary requirements online through the use of asynchronous and synchronous courses; they will also be given the chance to utilize the school’s online tools, such as online tutoring and the e-bookstore, in order to help them complete their plan of study. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a seminar, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Language, Literacy, and Diversity, Curricula Design and Choices, and Effective Educational Leadership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are My Career Options for an Online Master’s in Elementary Education degree?

There are several career options available for this degree, but the most popular one is that of an elementary school teacher. Even this one job, however, can be vastly different from teacher to teacher. They can work in private, public, and charter schools, not to mention boarding schools; they can work overseas as ESL teachers at prominent educational establishments; with a specialization, they can become in-demand gifted and special education teachers; and more.

It is also possible for these professionals to work as directors or headmasters of schools, become principles, or even move into an administrative role within their school district. Some professionals may even go so far as to open their own private elementary school, enabling them to provide students with an intimate school setting to help them focus on learning.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

The current average median pay for an elementary school teacher is $92,510. This number accounts for teachers from public, private, and charter schools; states and union-regulated pay; and general and specialized teachers. It also accounts for work experience; starting salaries may be as low as $72,000.

Teachers will remember that private schools, especially boarding schools, pay significantly higher than public high schools. Also, states with strong teacher unions have higher starting wages that tend to even out around ten years into the job. Last but not least, teachers who specialize in ESL or Special Education often make more money than their traditional counterparts because they have a specific set of skills.

What are the Various Disciplines of Elementary Education?

Elementary education is a subfield of education, making it the most apparent discipline. However, there are others, like psychology, social work, leadership, management, administration, social justice, law, and more. Teachers are often juggling different responsibilities, including taking care of their students, adhering to state and federal law as it pertains to the classroom, acting as a careful observer of developmental issues within a child, and more.

What are Some of the Requirements for Entering Into a Graduate Elementary Education Program?

All programs require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Generally speaking, schools will expect an applicant to have earned their undergraduate degree in education, if not elementary education specifically. Some schools may offer students the chance to enter their graduate program with an undergraduate degree in another subject, but it is very rare.

Most graduate programs in elementary education do require proof of a teaching license that is in good standing. This is because many programs require students teach in classrooms as part of the requirements for the degree. In America, teachers must hold a valid teaching license; this goes for student teachers at the graduate level as well.

Work experience is also highly encouraged but rarely required for this degree. Many schools find that students with at least two years of work experience in the classroom fare better than a student who has just finished their undergraduate degree. This is because they have had time to apply concepts and skills in the classroom while students who have a degree but have never taught may still not feel confident in their education.

Can an Online Program Lead to a Path Towards Licensure as a Teacher?

Yes, some online programs can lead to licensure as a teacher. There are a variety of factors at play, however, so it is advisable for students to already hold licensure before moving into graduate study. This is simply because so many graduate programs require a license in order to apply for their degrees.

A pathway to initial licensure at the graduate level is almost of unheard of, but advanced licensure is possible. Programs often make a note of whether it is possible for a student to earn advanced licensure in elementary education with the successful completion of the degree. The information is usually posted on the program website and includes the requirements students will need to meet before sitting for the exam.

A word of caution for teachers who are thinking of out-of-state programs: many states will not recognize a Master’s in Elementary Education from an out-of-state school for licensure purposes. Students are highly encouraged to check with the Department of Education in their states, as well as NCATE, to see if they can earn a degree out of the state and have it count towards licensure.

Elementary school education remains vital to the successful growth of America’s young people and teachers are at the forefront of that. A graduate degree in the field will only help to serve educators in creating an environment where young children can thrive. Professionals who are interested in earning an online Master’s in Elementary Education will be able to find at least one school on this list that helps them reach their goals while providing them with the flexibility and affordability they require in their own graduate education.

GSH Staff
July 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top Ten Most Affordable Elementary Education Online degrees for 2018.