Online Elementary Teaching Degrees

Elementary education covers the ages from 3 to 13, during which children build skills in literacy, mathematics, science, communication and behavior, arts, and culture. Elementary education includes preschool through grade 8 and may be broken down into several stages: preschool and kindergarten, primary grades 1-3, secondary grades 4-6, and middle school grades 7 and 8.

Teachers at this level develop age-appropriate lesson plans, guide students through assignments and group activities, administer tests, and apply educational tools such as software in the classroom. Online elementary teaching degrees are designed to prepare you for these and other responsibilities.

Elementary teaching: education and training

Most elementary school teachers enter the field with a bachelor's degree. Some states require a college degree for teacher licensure, and a few even require that teachers complete a master's degree in education within a specified period after they begin to teach.

Online elementary teaching degrees are available as associate, bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs. Teaching certificate programs target aspiring teachers who have a bachelor's degree in another field. For established teachers, a critical career advancement tool is the Master of Education, or M.Ed., which can be a key qualification for K-12 administrative positions.

Career outlook and salary

Elementary education is in a period of moderate growth, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the mean annual salaries for some related careers as of May 2010:

  • Preschool teacher, $29,200
  • Kindergarten teacher, $51,550
  • Elementary teacher, $54,330
  • Special education teacher, Pre-K or elementary, $55,220

The BLS expects robust demand for teachers with specialized skills in science and mathematics, special education, and bilingual education.

What's affecting the field of elementary education?

Enrollment in elementary education rose steadily from 1990 to 2010, according to the government's National Center for Education Statistics, and this trend is expected to continue through 2019. Urban and rural school districts, as well as rapidly growing states in the South and West, could see high demand for educators with elementary teaching skills.

The field of elementary education is embracing technology, with tools such as interactive whiteboards, online communities and virtual reality games. An article on the Department of Education's website suggested that use of technology encourages active student participation and collaboration with peers -- not to mention computer skills. Online elementary teaching degrees give you experience with Web-based instruction methodologies and can prepare you for innovations in public and private education.

Elementary Teaching Schools

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