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Why This Matters


    A graduate certificate will qualify you for the 11% of elementary teacher jobs that require this level of education as well as the 73% that only require a bachelor’s degree.


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects there to be little to no growth for elementary school teacher positions over the next decade. A higher level of education will help you get hired in this competitive job market.


    While the average salary for elementary school teachers is $61,690 per year, the top 10% of workers in this profession make more than $101,310.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online graduate certificate in elementary education programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education. Many of the programs on our list have been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of teaching-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online graduate certificate in elementary education programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

  • 63 hours to write this article
  • 45 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 78 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Programs

Best Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Programs Badge

Eastern New Mexico University

Ball State University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

When you’re comparing programs, it’s important to look at the type of certificate the school offers. If you’re wanting to specialize in a certain area or qualify for higher-level positions, you’ll need to make sure the certificate supports that.

Only apply to schools approved by a DOE-recognized accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). If your school isn’t accredited, you may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

To obtain a teaching position after graduation, you’ll need to be licensed as a teacher in your state. Requirements and deadlines vary, so you’ll need to check with your local board of education.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online graduate certificate in elementary education programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most graduate programs only require an appropriate undergraduate degree and GRE scores to be admitted. However, some post-bachelor’s certificate programs may require you to have an active teaching license or a certain amount of work experience before getting accepted.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? The certificate programs on our list range from only 6 credits all the way up to 36 credits. It’s possible to complete your certificate program in just one semester if the credits required are on the lower end, but most programs take one to two years.

As you’re narrowing down programs to your top choices, make sure to pay attention to deadlines. There will be due dates for applications as well as paperwork such as undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation. If you require assistance to pay for your education, you’ll also need to visit the financial aid office to see what’s available to you.

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