Master’s in Elementary Education

Note: This page provides information for a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. For overall information on elementary education programs, please see our Elementary Education page.

Those who seek a Master's Degree in Elementary Education typically want to advance their careers in the field of education. Many want to master their craft in the classroom while others want to become teacher leaders or administrators.

Most likely, you will need the following items when applying to a Master's Degree in Elementary Education program:

  • Complete a full application and submit by the deadline
  • Provide copies off transcripts of all undergraduate work with GPA
  • Provide proof of teacher licensure or proof of an equivalent
  • Provide GRE scores when necessary
  • Provide a statement of purpose along with reference letters

Choosing an Online Master's in Elementary Education Program

When it comes time to choose an institution of higher education, both online or on-campus, it is imperative to know the school you choose is nationally recognized and reputable. In order to help you make a good decision, here are some questions you might want to ask:

Is the Program Accredited?

Finding an accredited program for Elementary Education is necessary. An accredited program has passed a rigorous peer review process - proving its ability to deliver quality education. If a program is not accredited, your degree will not be valid. CAEP and NCATE are the typical accrediting agencies for the field of education. For more information on accreditation, please visit: ed.gov/accreditation

How Long Has the Program Been Offered?

In general, the longer a program has been around the better. Do keep in mind that online learning is relatively new. With that said, you will not see online programs that have been in service for decades. However, if a school has not been around long enough to gain full accreditation, you might want to reconsider.

What Technologies Will Be Used to Facilitate Online Learning?

Online schools use virtual classrooms as a way to facilitate instruction. These online learning platforms allow students to access assignments, communicate with peers and instructors, view multimedia lectures, and submit assignments. Not all online programs use the same learning platforms. With that, it may be a good idea to preview the technology prior to signing on board.

What Resources Will I Have Access To?

Students services, such as resources, are a very important part of a college experience. Resources are tools to help you with your schoolwork. This may come in the form of online catalogs, technology support, advising, access to scholarly journals, multimedia libraries, and more. Resources help students succeed, so it is a great idea to learn about what will be available to you before signing on.

What Skills and Topics Are Covered?

A good online Master's Degree in Elementary Education program should be able to provide a clear and concise curriculum upon request. These learning goals and outcomes detail the knowledge and skills that will be acquired as part of the master's program. See how the program goals line up with your personal and career goals.

Do You Have Job Placement Information for Students Who Recently Graduated from the Program?

Alumni students are great resources. These recent graduates can act as career counselors and mentors. See how an online Master's Degree in Elementary Education has helped real people with their career. If given access to alumni, be sure to ask question about the program and what you can do to maximize your experience.

Is an Online Degree Right for You?

A Master's Degree in Elementary Education can be obtained online as an alternative to regular courses at a college or university. This may be a viable option for those working full time and/or with families. This eliminates the time needed to commute and attend class. However, online programs require participants to have good time management skills, as most assignments will be completed independently. If you are exploring online options, consider the following:

Variety of Programs

Since online degree programs can be taken from virtually anywhere, students are able to have a wider range of schools and programs to choose from. Traditionally, students would need to consider geographic location and proximity to a college or university before starting a program - that is not the case with online schooling.

Flexible Schedule

One of the most commonly noted upsides to online Master's Degree in Elementary Education programs is the flexible time schedule. Since weekly physical attendance in a college class or lecture hall is not required, students can complete their coursework whenever and wherever. This is especially great for students who have jobs and those who have families to care for. Online instructors usually post lecture videos to web portals. Students will then have the option to view the video on their own time. Online students can do their assignments and watch lecture videos early in the morning before work, on a lunch break, or late in the evening after dinner - whenever most convenient. Online schooling has taken away the fear of missing classes due to family obligations or work restrictions.

Tuition and Costs

Since many of the traditional costs are omitted, online master's degree programs can be cheaper than their traditional counterparts. Here are some things to consider about online degree programs:

  • No costs associated with relocation
  • No costs associated with room and board
  • No parking fees
  • No costs having to do with transportation, car maintenance, or gas
  • Students can maintain a source of income
  • Students may not need to pay out of state fees

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for online Master's Degree in Elementary Education students. Federal student aid through FAFSA is available for those who qualify. Additionally, many states offer grants and scholarships. Some schools may even offer grants and district level loan forgiveness to teachers who agree to work in low income schools for an established amount of time.

Fast Completion

There are many accelerated online Master's Degree in Elementary Education programs. These online programs allow students to finish degree requirements in a short amount of time. Additionally, most online programs do not require students to stick to a strict semester schedule. That being said, online students can take classes simultaneously and back to back - allowing them to complete more in a shorter amount of time.

Master's Program Course Topics

Pursuing a Master's degree in Elementary Education allows educators to strengthen their theoretical and practical experience in an area of interest like pedagogy, curriculum, or administration. In addition to methods studies, emphasis is placed on action research. While programs do vary from school to school, most programs contain the following elements:

  • Critically evaluate computer based learning and media in the classroom and throughout the school from a pedagogical perspective. Analysis includes issues and benefits to differentiated instructional methodology, troubleshooting, and its effect on students with varying learning abilities
  • Assessment and achievement for schools, classroom environments and individual students, which includes practice, strategies for time management and reporting criteria
  • Examining curriculum policies and best practices from a practical perspective
  • Examining educational movements throughout history in order to inform the fields' next steps when matched with current research and political climate
  • Further research into teachable subjects that also touch on cross-educational areas like literacy and numeracy, adult education, counselling, special education, and administration
  • Research cognitive processes, motivation, and educational psychology; practical application of the data to how these phenomena affect students' learning of core subjects like reading, writing, and mathematics
  • Research based survey of foundational literacy in its various forms; related instructional and management practices in today's diverse classroom
  • Successful inclusion of people with exceptionalities in the classroom and in society; emphasis on differentiated instruction and utilization of special education resources and personnel
  • Self-reflection of teaching practice and methods by which improvement can be made, by evidence-based skill-building; scholarly, practical and pedagogical perspectives
  • Practice and advocacy of transformative learning for each student and in every classroom
  • Survey of English as a Second Language methodology and how to instruct for both language acquisition and subject-instructional purposes
  • Analyze practice of adult education; focus on how adults learn and reflect on knowledge and how teachers can motivate and encourage adult learners
  • Critical evaluation of current curriculum design for various teachable topics
  • Critical analysis of the underlying methodology behind teaching literacy skills, including foundation skills, comprehension, study strategies, effective assessment, and review
  • Examination of the characteristics of learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, behavior differences, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual giftedness
  • Practical acquisition of learning and assessment supports for students with learning disabilities and other diagnoses
  • Evaluative approach to learning and cognition; how cognition specifically impact instruction, classroom management, and assessment practices
  • Literacy education and its impact on English pedagogy, how it is impacted by social and cultural influences, trends in literacy research, and assessment issues for mainstream, ESL and special education perspectives
  • Examination of research for the study elements, supports and applied motivation to aid students in the classroom environment and in task completion at home
  • Research into theory and practice of assessment and evaluation tools in learning with the intent to develop more effective tools
  • Research into the psychology of motivation for learners
  • Apply motivational practices to the instructional and classroom management framework

What Can I Do with a Master's in Elementary Education?

A Master's Degree in Elementary Education typically allows teachers to advance on the salary scale. Many districts will allow this to be the basis of becoming a school administrator if working on a higher degree or other certifications. Educators with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education may also become directors of elementary programs, educational specialists, coordinators, coaches, specialists, department heads, and more.

Professional Associations

Another way to excel in this field is to join professional associations or organizations. This is a great way to network and stay updated with current research and finding regarding elementary education. The National Education Association, for example, is the nation's largest professional employee group. The NEA is dedicated to advancing public education. In order to support growth in the field, they hold conferences, seminars, and training programs.