By Iris Stone
Updated July 2016
For individuals with a love of children, earning an online elementary education degree can put them on the path to a rewarding career.
Elementary school teachers are very important members of society who take on a large amount of responsibility for their jobs. They act not only as educators, but also as caretakers, counselors, and motivators for their students, often putting in far more than 40 hours a week with no additional pay. This may seem like a stressful job, but for some people, it is a dream come true.
If you have often dreamt of becoming an elementary school teacher, the first step is to get an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. These programs are convenient in that they often provide state licensure and sometimes even offer supplemental credentialing opportunities or endorsements in specific subjects. What’s even better is that many universities offer these degrees online, allowing you to achieve your goals without even leaving the house! Of course, most credible programs require you to complete hands-on teaching experiences and/or internships, but you can usually fulfill these credits on your own time.
Using information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database, we have compiled a list of the 9 least expensive accredited online bachelor’s degree programs in Elementary Education. Of the dozens of accredited online colleges we researched, these schools offer the best bang for their buck. Their tuition rates are low but their quality is high, and many have received awards and been recognized for their great achievements. We present them in order of most expensive to least expensive.
Cheap Online Elementary Education Degree Program Rankings
9. University of Southern Mississippi
Elementary Education – B.S. (Licensure) Online
The University of Southern Mississippi is not just a great public institution, but also the flagship school for teacher education in the state. Professors are highly experienced and have a background in both instruction and research. The accredited online elementary education degree is comprehensive and thorough, and graduates leave with not just an elementary teacher’s license, but also a supplemental reading endorsement. In addition, students can earn another endorsement in an area of their choice, such as English, Social Studies, Math, Science, or Foreign Language. USM stands apart from other teaching institutions due to its reputable accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and Forbes has ranked this top online college on its lists of best southern universities.
Tuition: $6,744/yr (In-state) $15,024/yr (Out-of-state)
8. University of Phoenix
Online Bachelor of Science in Education/Elementary Teacher Education
The University of Phoenix is one of the largest accredited online colleges in the country. It offers a plethora of degree opportunities at every level, including a B.S.Ed. in Elementary Teacher Education. Unlike some other online degrees, the affordable online elementary education degree program at Phoenix is meant for students with no prior teaching experience. Classes start with the basics and cover all aspects of academic theory, including the “Foundations of Education” and “Models and Theories of Instruction.” As a top online college, Phoenix offers classes and certification opportunities all across the country, although students seeking licensure in Iowa must take additional steps. In addition to top-notch classes, the school also has high-quality professors; in fact, 94% of students participating in a College Prowler survey rated the teachers as highly knowledgeable.
7. Northcentral University
Elementary Education – Bachelor of Education Online
Northcentral University is an affordable online college with multiple specialization options within the education field. This includes degrees in Secondary Education, Special Education, and Elementary Education. Designed as a supplement to the curriculum offered at Rio Salado College (see below), Northcentral’s curriculum requires the completion 0f 30 career-specific courses. Therefore, it is ideal for students who have already graduated from an Associates program or have extensive previous academic experience. Classes include enticing subjects like “The Role of Teacher Leadership in Elementary Education,” and “Assessment of Student Learning in Elementary Education.” Thanks to its regional accreditation, 100% doctoral faculty, and flexible online college classes, Northcentral has been named a top online college by the Open Education Database, the Guide to Online Schools, and even U.S. News.
6. Fort Hays State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
The online college bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Fort Hays State University is perfect for students who want a career in K-6 education. Students learn not only about academic theories, but also study practical applications of their knowledge and take on field experiences each semester. The cheap online elementary education degree program is particularly appealing to Kansas residents, as these students will graduate with a license to teach in the state. The 127-credit program includes nearly 50 credits within the major and another 14 hours of student teaching. FHSU is committed to providing an education a cut above what other top online colleges provide, and over 90% of students consider themselves highly satisfied with their experience at the school.
Tuition: $4,358/yr (In-state) $12,821/yr (Out-of-state)
5. Bemidji State University
Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education Online
Bemidji State University offers a unique online college program in Elementary Education that dedicated students can complete in just three years. BSU utilizes the Distributed Learning in Teacher Education program (DLiTE), which allows students to take the vast majority of classes online. However, members of the online elementary education undergraduate degree program must participate in three face-to-face classes per year in the Minneapolis area, making it an ideal choice for residents of the Northern Midwest. Completion of the program leads to licensure in the state of Minnesota, so graduates can immediately begin looking for work. U.S. News & World Report currently lists this top online college as one of the 100 best universities in the Midwest.
4. Daytona State College
Online Bachelor of Science in Education – Elementary Education
Students in the Elementary Education program at Daytona State will benefit not only from high-quality online college classes but also from a curriculum that emphasizes reading and ESOL instruction. Attendees of the online elementary education bachelor’s degree program learn about the ethics of education, diversity in the classroom, and developing student excellence, and will even graduate with a state license qualifying them to teach in Florida. A regionally accredited online college, DSU offers the flexibility for students to transfer credits from other schools and requires learners to demonstrate mastery in various Subject Area Competencies (SAC) and Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAP). All these qualities and more have led U.S. News to list Daytona State as one of the 10 best online colleges in the country.
Tuition: $3,321/yr (In-state) $12,391/yr (Out-of-state)
3. St. Petersburg College
Elementary Education (K-6) B.S. Degree Online
Another Florida-based institution of higher learning, St. Petersburg’s online college program in Elementary Education meets all the state’s education certification requirements. It qualifies graduates to teach grades K-6 and also provides both ESOL and Reading endorsements. The online elementary education degree curriculum is customized to help learners adapt to the educational environment in Florida, and focuses on public school teaching and diverse placements in primary and intermediate grades. Students can enhance their classroom time with practicums, research, and internships that provide hands-on learning opportunities. For several years running, SPC has been considered one of the best online colleges in the state and a true leader in distance education.
Tuition: $3,232/yr (In-state) $11,477/yr (Out-of-state)
2. Western Governors University
Online Bachelor of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (K-8)
Western Governors University is a top online college that is fully accredited and a popular choice for students who want to attend college online. The school’s education program is officially titled a B.A. in “Interdisciplinary Studies,” but covers all aspects of K-8 education and leads to teacher licensure. WGU also has a generous transfer policy, which allows students with previous experience to accelerate their curriculum and graduate sooner. As evidence of its caliber, WGU was the first completely online college to be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is also considered the #1 secondary teacher education program in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).
1. Rio Salado College
Online Bachelor of Education B.Ed. – Elementary Education Grades 1-8
Rio Salado College is another great option for getting an online education and is partnered with Northcentral College (see above). RSC’s program covers elementary education from grades 1-8 and prepares graduates to take the state-approved exam (APEA/NES). In order to ensure that it is producing future educators who will be successful, this cheap online college requires that all students achieve “B’s” or higher in all major courses. And speaking of cheap, Rio Salado has rock-bottom tuition rates that can be made even more affordable with financial aid awards and benefits for military members and veterans. Despite its low price tag, this top online college doesn’t sacrifice quality; Forbes, the report “Winning by Degrees,” and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have all recognized the school for its caliber and great value. Rio Salado College is a great option for earning your online elementary education degree.
Tuition: $1,974/yr (In-state) $7,758/yr (Out-of-state)
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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.
This concludes our ranking of the top cheap online elementary education degree programs.