2019 Best Online Master's in Elementary Education Programs

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This list highlights 19 schools, all of which offer affordable online master's in elementary education programs. 10 schools have tuitions under $10,000. University of New Mexico has a notably low tuition of $5,952 and a median salary of $58,600, earning it #12 on our list. Mercy College has an impressive median salary of $89,000, ranking #1.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Mercy College $14,824 $89,000
#2 #2 San Diego State University $13,116 $82,900
#3 #3 California State University-Fullerton $8,304 $80,100
#4 #4 University of Southern California $52,164 $85,500
#5 #5 Saint Xavier University $8,050 $75,800
#6 #6 University of North Texas $8,100 $66,900
#7 #7 St. John's University $20,295 $67,900
#8 #8 Ball State University $11,088 $63,900
#9 #9 Lesley University $10,725 $62,800
#10 #10 Texas A&M University-College Station $20,422 $61,200
#11 #11 Liberty University $9,960 $59,800
#12 #12 University of New Mexico $5,952 $58,600
#13 #13 University of Alabama $5,910 $58,400
#14 #14 Troy University $17,784 $59,100
#15 #15 Stephen F. Austin State University $5,880 $57,000
#16 #16 Touro College $10,350 $57,000
#17 #17 Old Dominion University $8,520 $55,000
#18 #18 West Virginia University $8,415 $52,300
#19 #19 Concordia University - Saint Paul $9,240 $50,400
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $14,824
  • Median Salary: $89,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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One of the top-ranked universities for early education degrees, Mercy College tops our list with a median salary of $89,000 at a reasonable cost of $14,824 per academic year. Mercy offers distance-based students the chance to complete online master's degree programs in elementary education including an M.S. in Early Childhood Education: Birth-Grade 2, an M.S. in Childhood Education: Grades 1-6 (Dual Degrees), and an M.S. in Teaching Literacy, Birth-Grade 12. All of these programs range from 33 to 36 credits and can be completed either partially or fully online. Focusing on early childhood education, these programs prepare working professionals and other degree-seeking online students for careers in the education system.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,116
  • Median Salary: $82,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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San Diego State University offers an innovative online Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Specialization in PK-12. The program, open to teachers and administrators alike, focuses on strategies for technology use in schools. Whether working at the classroom or legislative level, graduates are equipped to advance the integration of technological skills in the classroom as it supports the development of students’ critical thinking abilities. This degree lasts 15 months and follows the cohort model, connecting students with a group of like-minded peers for the duration of their studies.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $8,304
  • Median Salary: $80,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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California State University, Fullerton offers several online graduate options for students interested in elementary education aimed at addressing the needs of diverse learners in contemporary schools. Its Master of Science in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction degree program offers students the chance to specialize in Education for Social Justice, Technology, and 21st-Century Teaching and Learning. In addition to foundational education classes, coursework may include special focuses like Current Issues in Bilingual-Bicultural Education and Web Design for Instruction in Schools. These online programs accommodate the busy schedules of working teachers, allowing them to continue their studies without taking time away from their own classrooms.

  • Annual Tuition: $52,164
  • Median Salary: $85,500
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Through USC Online, the University of Southern California provides distance-learning students the tools necessary to complete a fully online degree program in several areas of study. Master degree-seeking professionals and students can complete an M.A. in Teaching with five areas of concentration: Multiple Subject Teaching, Secondary English, Secondary Mathematics, Secondary Science, Secondary Social Science. These specific concentrations are geared toward K-12 education and help working professionals further establish the skills necessary to excel through its 30+ hour program, which is divided into four categories for convenience: Foundations, Teaching Methods, Language and Literacy, and Field Experience and Capstone Portfolio. With an annual tuition rate of $52,164, USC is not the least affordable option but the academic rigor more than makes up for the cost.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,050
  • Median Salary: $75,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Saint Xavier University, a private, Catholic university located in Chicago, was founded as a women's institution in 1846 for the expressed purpose of cultivating better community and educational leaders. With its online programs, such as its M.A. in Teaching Elementary Education, Saint Xavier provides both a traditional, on-campus and nontraditional, online catalyst for degree acquisition. The online program is an asynchronous format specifically designed to meet the needs of Illinois teacher candidates and paraprofessionals. Upon completion, students will have completed all the necessary criteria as outlined by the Illinois State Board of Education for teaching grades 1-6.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,100
  • Median Salary: $66,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of North Texas has an innovative approach to degree acquisition as one of the top online degree providers, with over 40 programs across all education levels. Known for its education department, UNT Online offers distance-based students the opportunity to complete an M.Ed. in Teaching, with certificate and degree options for Grade 4-8 and EC-6. In addition, students can receive an M.S. in Early Childhood Education in one of the university's online accelerated programs, which allows students to complete a graduate degree in as little as 12 months. Each of these programs requires no less than 30-credit hours and includes courses that seek to help degree-seeking professionals navigate the diverse world of childhood education and succeed in their career goals.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,295
  • Median Salary: $67,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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St. John's University was created in affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church, but today boasts students from all religious backgrounds and provides opportunities for thousands of distance-learning students through its top-of-the-line online platform. St. John's offers graduate degree-seeking students the opportunity to complete a degree in education without being on campus. Their 33-credit hour M.S. in Education in Teaching Children with Disabilities in Childhood Education (1-6) program gives students the tools and experience needed to rear special needs and neuro-atypical students with the knowledge necessary to make their dreams come true. The cost-effective program includes courses like Curriculum Adaptation and Modification Planning for Exceptional Students and Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,088
  • Median Salary: $63,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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For elementary and childhood graduate degree hopefuls, Ball State has one of the largest online pools with 13 available degree programs ranging from Gifted and Talented Education and Applied Teaching Practice to Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a concentration in Autism. Offering the greatest breadth of degree options, Ball State's innovative approach to higher education allows students to earn their degree while working as teachers at their own pace through its online platform. And with a low annual tuition rate, students can expect the same, great education for a fraction of the traditional price.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,725
  • Median Salary: $62,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Lesley University is a relatively small, private college in Cambridge that specializes in education, writing, and other liberal arts disciplines. Lesley gives distance-learning graduate hopefuls unique options with M.A. and M.Ed. programs in areas such as Elementary Education Generalist and Curriculum and Instruction: Elementary Education Generalist Literacy. With a total of four degree options for graduate degree-seeking educators, interested distance learning students can expect the M.A. option to focus on classroom readiness and the complexities of working with children in a teaching capacity, while the M.Ed. options are designed for people interested in developing and exploring the pedagogical and theoretical applications of curriculum for streamlining elementary achievement.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,422
  • Median Salary: $61,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Texas A&M University is one of the largest universities in the nation with a student body that exceeds 60,000, including students enrolled in distance education programs. Their online platform offers four M.Ed. degrees designed for working professionals and otherwise busy students seeking further credentials in elementary and childhood education. These online programs include an M.Ed. in Educational Administration with an emphasis in PK-12 Educational Leadership, an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Creativity and Cognition, and an M.Ed. in Educational Technology. Each of the programs requires a minimum of 36-credit hours completed over the course of five semesters and lets online students, regardless of location, complete the courses for a nominal cost on par with in-state tuition.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,960
  • Median Salary: $59,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
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As a fully online Christian college with over 110,000 active students, Liberty University is one of the largest educational institutions in the world. Liberty offers the majority of its educational opportunities online where over 90 percent of its student body earns their degrees. For students interested in elementary education, the university offers graduate options in teaching elementary education, curriculum and instruction for elementary education, and general teaching elementary education. All of these 36-hour programs are designed to lead degree-seeking professionals to licensure in the field of elementary education. Examples of courses offered through these programs are Teaching Mathematics, Language Acquisition and Instruction, and Teaching the Natural and Social Sciences.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,952
  • Median Salary: $58,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The University of New Mexico is classified as a university with a high level of research activity by Carnegie. They extend their reach by providing opportunities through their online platform, UNM Online, which has options for distance-learning graduate students interested in elementary education. With an M.A. in Elementary Education complete with an additional Teaching Leadership track, working educators can obtain a degree through asynchronous, 32-credit hour coursework. The programs focus on teaching educators how to interpret critical issues and implement new ideas in the increasingly complicated American education system. To be admitted to this innovative program, hopefuls must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 from an accredited university, as well as a valid teaching certificate.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,910
  • Median Salary: $58,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Through its two centuries of operation, the University of Alabama has been on the cutting edge of academic technology and now offers online degrees with self-paced courses through their online platform, Bama By Distance. Bama By Distance offers a fully accredited M.A. in Elementary Education that requires 30 to 36 hours to complete. While online, the program does require students to participate in practicum experiences in a physical classroom in order to better understand how to operate in a high-paced, classroom environment. To be admitted, students must have a bachelor-level teaching certificate from a properly accredited university.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $17,784
  • Median Salary: $59,100
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Through its online platform, Troy Online, Troy University offers 37 graduate degree programs, including four options for degree-seeking online students interested in elementary and childhood education. Troy Online offers two M.S. degree plans: Elementary Education (K-6) and Early Childhood Education (P-3). Each of these also has a track for those interested in becoming a specialist. All options consist of 36-credit hours completed through 9-week courses, evenly broken down into two categories: required courses and teaching field courses. For a price of $494 per credit hour, these online degree plans have an average cost of approximately $17,784 for the entirety of the two-year program.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,880
  • Median Salary: $57,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Stephen F. Austin State University is a public university in the rural town of Nacogdoches, Texas, with a student body of 13,000. It is best known for its agriculture and education departments, which offer opportunities for distance-based students through SFA Online. SFA Online has four M.Ed. programs for graduate students interested in elementary education, including Standard Elementary and All-Level Professional Reading Specialist Certification - Elementary Core. In addition, it offers a Master of Music in Music Education, Elementary & General Music option for music educators. These programs range in length from as little as 18-hour certification options to 36-credit hour programs. Each is also affordable, with a typical 30-hour master's degree program costing about $7,360.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,350
  • Median Salary: $57,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Touro College is one of the few universities in America that is rooted in the tradition and values of Judaism. While that is its foundation, the college operates as a non-sectarian university that allows students of all religious experiences and backgrounds to complete their degree through traditional, on-campus courses or fully online programs. Known for its education program, Touro offers an online M.S. in Childhood Education and Special Education, Grades 1-6, which includes courses aimed at teaching students about child development and how to serve the educational needs of new learners.  The 41 credit hour program is broken down into two areas: required core and childhood track. The required core is 15 credits, while the childhood track is 26 credits.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,520
  • Median Salary: $55,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Established in 1930, Old Dominion University is a public university specializing in research opportunities. They have been offering online degrees since 1994 and are heralded as one of the largest online degree providers in the nation, particularly among publicly-funded colleges. One of its top programs, the M.S. in Education in Elementary Education for Licensed Teachers, offers a unique opportunity for working school teachers to get a graduate degree through asynchronous courses that are specifically designed for their busy schedules. This graduate program includes 30 credit hours of coursework, which includes a capstone thesis class. Aside from being a flexible option for degree-seeking students, Old Dominion's online programs offer a cost-effective tuition rate for distance students: $523 and $568 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,415
  • Median Salary: $52,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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West Virginia University offers over 200 degrees and has a population of 32,000 students across its three campuses and distance-based programs. Students interested in the field of elementary education have the opportunity to earn a fully online MA in Advanced Elementary Education. Online students enjoy the same tuition rate as in-state students, $594 per credit hour, without the added costs of student service fees. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, West Virginia University offers working professionals the opportunity to complete their graduate education online, while receiving the same quality education and coursework that on-campus students receive. With this degree, graduates can expect to find employment in public and private elementary schools across the nation, including careers in special education.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,240
  • Median Salary: $50,400
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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With no admissions tests, small liberal arts college Concordia University offers distance-learning students interested in elementary education a seamless entry into degree acquisition. Its fully online M.A. in Teaching with a licensure option takes about two-and-a-half years to complete and while self-paced, does require a weekly one-hour synchronous audio/visual chat. It includes courses like Effective Teaching, Educational Research and Applications, and Inclusion in Diverse Classrooms to make sure students are able to teach in any educational environment while being mindful of the circumstances of their students. In total, the program consists of 42-credit hours and the K-6 licensure option is only available for Minnesota residents and requires students to pass a series of Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations.

Online Master's in Elementary Education Overview

Program Requirements

Online master's programs usually take around two years to complete. Admission to a master's program will require a bachelor's degree, though it does not necessarily have to be in education. Tuition rates will vary depending on the program, but programs can be found for under $10,000 a year.

Curriculum

Classes that students might take during their studies include Foundations of Exceptionality, Curriculum Fundamentals, Teaching Mathematics, The Diverse Elementary Classroom, Legal, Regulatory, Educational Standards, and Ethics, and Principles of Behavior Management. Student teaching may also be required.

After completing a master's program in elementary education and completing any additional requirements by their state to gain licensure, graduates will be ready to start working in elementary school classrooms.

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