What You Should Know About This Degree
Elementary education generally requires a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s is required only to teach at public schools in three states (Connecticut, Maryland, and New York). If you’re not in these states or take a position at a private school, a master’s degree is likely unnecessary but could help you earn a higher salary.
To teach in any state, you’ll have to earn a state-issued license or certification. This requires obtaining an academic degree (usually a bachelor’s), paying a fee, and passing an exam. Certification isn’t required if you want to teach in private schools or help children in non-school settings.
The master’s in elementary education programs that are available can be categorized into two groups. Some are intended for students who already have a teaching credential, while others are designed for students who need a master’s degree to earn a teaching credential. Choose a program that’s appropriate for your situation when applying.
Most of these programs have an in-person experiential component, such as a student teaching stint. This is generally true of on-campus programs as well as online ones. Make sure any such requirement fits your schedule.
Ask these questions to help you further evaluate master’s in elementary education degree programs:
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most of these programs are 30 to 45 credits, which typically takes about two years to complete if you enroll full-time. Attending part-time will extend the length of a program.
- What licensing or certifications are required? To work in public schools, you’ll have to obtain a state-issued teaching credential from the state where you wish to work. This normally requires a bachelor’s degree, but three states require a master’s. You’ll also have to pass a licensing or certification exam and pay a fee.
When you’ve identified good potential programs, find out what the application process entails. You can contact a program directly or check its website to learn about application materials and submission deadlines.
Also think about how you’ll cover the cost of tuition. Speak with program administrators about scholarships, grants, and need-based financial aid, and check with your employer to see if it offers tuition reimbursement.