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Why This Matters


    According to a survey conducted by O*NET, 11% of teachers reported that they were required to have a graduate-level certificate. Another 73% reported only needing a bachelor’s degree.


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects jobs for elementary school teachers, except those working in special education, to grow by about 4% from 2019 to 2029. This is considered average growth.


    Elementary school teachers earn about $65,000 annually, but those with more years of experience or working in states like California, Massachusetts, or New York can earn significantly more.

Our Research

All of the programs in this guide are available in either online or hybrid formats, and certificates awarded include those in online instruction, early childhood teaching, and special education, among others.

As we were putting together this list, we also ensured all of the programs were accredited by recognized bodies including the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Middle States Association of the Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE), and the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE).

  • 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

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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.

Regional accreditations are considered the gold standard when it comes to vetting postsecondary programs, but national accreditations are also acceptable. Specific accreditations to look for with a graduate certificate in elementary education include the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE).

Jobs for elementary teachers are expected to continue to grow at an average pace compared to other careers. This means there will likely be plenty of jobs for teachers, and those with graduate certificates may have an edge over other applicants.

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’re applying for financial aid, you’ll also need to visit the financial aid office to see what’s available to you.

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