If you enjoy working with children and have a passion for teaching, you might consider earning an online elementary education degree. Earning your bachelor’s degree will prepare you to become a certified teacher in your state. And this training is crucial if you want to have a successful career. Elementary school teachers are essential members of society who take on significant 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.
The 20 Best Online Elementary Education Bachelor’s Programs Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer undergraduate elementary education programs online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
After compiling a list of all the colleges that offer elementary education degrees online and meet the above criteria, we then collected data in four categories:
- Program Popularity: Out of all the education students, how many choose specifically to major in elementary education? In other words, how successful is the elementary teaching program at attracting undergraduates to their degree over another education-focused option? To find out, we looked at the percentage of all education program graduates in the 2015-16 school year who earned their degree in elementary education.
- Overall Strength in Education: How many different education bachelor’s degrees does the school offer? A large number indicates a college that is willing to devote a lot of time, resources, and faculty expertise to training future teachers.
- Accreditation: Has the program obtained CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) accreditation? Not only did schools earn points for having an accredited program, but they earned more if CAEP has given their elementary education degree “nationally recognized” status.
- Affordability: What is the average annual cost of attendance?
After collecting and sorting all the information, we ranked the candidates according to their performance in each area. Finally, we summed up the results and gave each school a final score using a curve so that the top-scoring program earned even 100 points.
Read more about the best cheap online bachelor’s degrees in elementary education below!
Cheap Online Elementary Education Degrees Rankings
20. University of Wisconsin-Superior
Online BA/BS in Elementary Education (P-6 or 1-8)
You have two options for earning a cheap online bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Wisconsin – Superior, making this a flexible program that should appeal to many applicants. The first is a major in pre-K through sixth grade, and the second is a major in first through eighth grade (essentially enabling you to teach middle school). You’ll also bring focus to your studies by choosing one of 11 minors, such as science, languages or social studies. And thanks to a student teaching internship at either the elementary or middle school level, this program leads to licensure in the state of Wisconsin.
Average Tuition & Fees: $11,875/yr
19. Midway University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (K-5)
Midway offers one of Kentucky’s top online elementary education degrees, thanks to its small class size, flexible scheduling, and generous financial assistance. The degree primarily aims to prepare Kentuckians for licensure in the Bluegrass State. However, thanks to reciprocal agreements and a broadly relevant curriculum, students might also qualify for certification in other states. Along the way, you’ll complete coursework in both elementary and middle school education, with classes that span the pragmatic (“Mathematics for Teachers I and II,” for example) to the theoretical (e.g. “Multicultural Education” and “Foundations of Literacy”). Finally, you’ll participate in a 12-credit student teaching experience to round off your studies.
Average Tuition & Fees: $23,350/yr
18. St Andrews University
Online Bachelor of Arts degree and initial licensure in Elementary Education (K-6)
If you’re looking for a curriculum with strong a strong focus on teaching theory, check out St. Andrews University. The school requires education majors to take a series of Pedagogical Studies classes as they pursue this top elementary education program online. That being said, St. Andrews also puts plenty of emphasis on hands-on work. For example, students must complete a three-part professional residency that includes specific work in classroom management, as well as a more traditional student teaching assignment. This strong blend of pedagogy and practicality works together to create a standout program, leading to K-6 licensure in North Carolina.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,874/yr
17. Judson College
Online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Alabama’s Judson College takes pains to ensure that its affordable elementary education degree online program mirrors the experience of its on-campus degree. For example, you’ll take all classes with the same cohort of students, giving you the chance to forge meaningful professional relationships and interact with your peers. Plus, you’ll benefit from a dedicated mentor who can help guide you through your studies. However, it’s worth noting that this program caters exclusively to Alabama residents. That is, the degree leads to provisional certification only in Alabama, and a team of instructors will travel throughout the state – but not beyond it – to observe you during field experiences.
Average Tuition & Fees: $17,376/yr
16. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Online Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (P-6)
As indicated by its name, Southwestern Assemblies of God University incorporates a strong Christian perspective into all its programs – including its accredited online elementary education degree. In fact, the school views teaching as a calling and encourages you to demonstrate God’s love to your students. As you progress through the curriculum, you’ll learn how to create an open classroom environment while meeting state instruction and assessment guidelines. After graduating, you can seek licensure in Texas – and perhaps some other states, although non-Texas residents should check their local requirements before applying.
Average Tuition & Fees: $19,860/yr
15. The Baptist College of Florida
Online BA in Elementary Education (K-6)
BCF’s affordable elementary education degree online program best serves in-state residents, but aspiring teachers in other states can still benefit from the curriculum. You’ll just need make sure that you take your own state’s required standardized tests to graduate. Other program perks include ample hands-on experience (including two internships and a reading practicum) and a fair amount of conceptual and theoretical classwork. Note that the curriculum also integrates an 18-credit Biblical/Theological Foundation course requirement. Baptist students will especially appreciate this series of classes, which touch on the message of the Bible, the Christian worldview, and how to incorporate ministry in your own life.
Average Tuition & Fees: $10,800/yr
14. Ottawa University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
Thanks to Ottawa University’s “life-friendly” policies, adults can earn an accredited online bachelor’s degree in elementary education while working and meeting other commitments. This flexible program lets you transfer up to 80 credit hours, which can save you both time and money. You’ll also find a dedicated team of instructors who are ready to help you succeed, along with an elementary education curriculum that readies you for licensure in both Kansas and Arizona. Required courses such as “The Exceptional Child,” “Foundations of School in a Diverse Society,” and “Integrating the Fine Arts” demonstrate the breadth of the program, while the two student teaching capstones let you put what you’ve learned into practice.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,205/yr
13. Bemidji State University
Online BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
Minnesotans who can’t commute regularly to Bemidji State University’s campus will appreciate that the school offers its top elementary education program online. That being said, the hybrid degree require occasional campus visits. In addition to taking final exams in person, you’ll also complete face-to-face sessions in Minneapolis three times a year. Beyond this unique hybrid model, BSU also stands out for its four available endorsements in math, social studies, science, and communication arts and literature. Adding one of these to your B.S. brings focus to your degree and results in an “add-on” license in Minnesota.
Average Tuition & Fees: $8,394/yr
12. Hobe Sound Bible College
Online BA in Elementary Education
At Hobe Sound Bible College, you’ll find a cheap online bachelor’s degree in elementary education with plenty to offer beyond low tuition. First, you can tailor your studies with one of three minors: TESOL, Counseling, or Missions. The latter demonstrates the school’s commitment to its Christ-centric foundations and is a unique option you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Furthermore, Hobe Sound is conveniently located near public and private schools, plus has an on-campus “master school” that locals can take advantage of to meet student-teaching and experiential learning requirements. Finally, the school offers certification in Florida and the chance to attend a statewide teaching convention along with your classmates.
Average Tuition & Fees: $6,320/yr
11. University of Alaska Southeast
Online BA in Elementary Education (K-8)
If you plan to teach in Alaska, you’ll definitely want to consider the University of Alaska Southeast. However, you’ll need to be a resident of the state before you apply to this accredited elementary education program online. That’s thanks to Alaska’s stringent supervision requirements, which mandate that all students must complete a nine-month intensive internship at a school in-state. The hands-on experience caps off three years of coursework in both the methodology of teaching and the application of said methods. At the same time, you’ll become familiar with the unique facets of teaching in such a large and diverse state.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,630/yr
10. East Carolina University
Online Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (K-6)
East Carolina University’s affordable online elementary education degree has some specific (and restrictive) admissions requirements. Namely, you’ll need to take a two-year sequence of prerequisite courses at a North Carolina community college before you’re eligible to transfer into the program. Fortunately, the school’s website clearly lists the required coursework, and the dedicated Office of Educator Preparation can help you plan your approach. And in exchange for all this preparatory work you’ll gain access to a flexible, cohort-based program that offers both part-time and full-time schedules. Plus, you’ll be able to complete all your courses online (other than the full-time internship) and have an opportunity to earn an additional licensure in reading.
Average Tuition & Fees: $14,976/yr
9. University of Southern Mississippi
Online BS in Elementary Education (K-6)
The University of Southern Mississippi has one of the best options for current teacher assistants out of all the schools appearing on this elementary education degree online program ranking. The school designed its B.S. specifically for practicing TAs, allowing you to become certified as a teacher while continuing to work full-time. The 100% online program touches on all subjects necessary for K-6 teachers, and it includes an especially strong series of literacy courses. And when it’s time to complete your student teaching assignment, Southern Miss will let you do so in your current classroom of employment (assuming your teaching district signs off on that arrangement, of course).
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,094/yr
8. Fort Hays State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (K-6)
Fort Hays State University describes its affordable online elementary education degree as “forward-thinking” – and rightly so. The program produces teachers who can use up-and-coming educational technology to its full potential, making them extra competitive as they launch their careers. What’s more, this B.S. works to prepare you for licensure in Kansas by incorporating both field experiences and an internship in diverse settings. You’ll even complete clinical rotations in designated areas – e.g., classroom management, instructional technology, special education – to ensure you acquire hands-on experience in the topics most relevant to your career field. Lastly, you’ll have the option to participate in the immersive Teacher Residency, where you’ll spend two years in the field as you complete your online coursework.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,655/yr
7. Western New Mexico University
Online Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
Western New Mexico University takes a straightforward, disciplined approach to its B.S. in Education program. You’ll begin by taking classes in “Contextual Knowledge,” which cover topics such as using technology in the classroom and multicultural education. A “Foundations of Education” class then sets the stage for your “Application and Reinforcement” courses, which focus on specific elements of teaching – classroom management and literacy, for example. Finally, you’ll round off this affordable elementary education degree online program with a student teaching capstone. Note that participants who don’t live in the Silver City region will need special permission to teach in their own school districts.
Average Tuition & Fees: $9,736/yr
6. Northern Arizona University
Online Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education (1-8)
On this elementary education program online ranking, Northern Arizona University stands out for its rigorous K-8 teaching curriculum. The coursework (which will qualify you for licensure in the Copper State) is closely aligned with CAEP guidelines and incorporates five concentrations to bring additional focus to your degree. You can choose to specialize in History/Social Studies, Humanities, Language/Cultural Diversity, Science, or Math (with sub-concentrations in K-6 and middle-school math). And if those options don’t meet your career goals, you can substitute a certificate in Early Childhood Education in place of a concentration.
Average Tuition & Fees: $12,831/yr
5. Western Governors University
Online BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Elementary Education
For a flexible and affordable online bachelor’s degree in elementary education, look to Western Governors University. Because this institution caters to working adults who want to grow their careers, it approaches its teaching degree a little differently. Instead of earning a degree that leads to licensure in a specific state, WGU education students pursue a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, giving them the flexibility to seek licensure anywhere. Another unique feature? The program uses a competency-based approach that awards you credit for demonstrating mastery of skills – no matter how long it takes you – rather than for simply completing courses over a set time period.
Average Tuition & Fees: $6,070/yr
4. Sterling College
Online Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education
Once you enroll in Sterling College’s accredited elementary education degree online program, you’ll join a school with a history of producing not only well qualified but highly successful graduates. Along with Sterling’s degree ready you for licensure in Kansas, the program is staffed by enthusiastic faculty members who can help you find clinical teaching experiences in your community and advise you on the best ways to meet your career goals. And if you already have a bachelor’s degree, faculty will work with you to develop a pathway towards earning your Kansas state licensure without duplicating coursework.
Average Tuition & Fees: $24,250/yr
3. University of North Carolina Wilmington
Online Elementary Education Undergraduate Program (K-6)
Aspiring teachers in southeastern North Carolina will appreciate the UNC Wilmington’s distance learning program. Not only can you complete all your coursework online as you work towards licensure, but the solid working relationship between UNC and southeastern North Carolina elementary schools means that you can easily take part in field experiences in your own community. Led by instructors who excel in online education, the degree also includes concentrations in ESL, Fine Arts, International Studies, and more. Plus, while pursuing this top elementary education program online, you’ll have the option to participate in education-specific international experiences. You might shadow teachers in London, learn about the classroom experience of refugees in Amsterdam, or observe instruction in Ethiopia.
Average Tuition & Fees: $13,936/yr
2. Central Methodist University
Online Bachelor of Science in Education – Elementary Education (1-6)
If price is a key factor for you in choosing an accredited online bachelor’s degree in elementary education, pay special attention to Central Methodist University. The tuition at this Missouri school averages just under $5,800, making it one of the most affordable options on this list. You won’t sacrifice any quality with this budget option, however: the curriculum includes a blend of hands-on and in-class learning that helps you both develop your skills and ground them in theory and best practices. In addition, the degree emphasizes the need to create learner-centered communities and uses research in cognitive psychology to help you create memorable learning experiences for your students.
Average Tuition & Fees: $5,870/yr
1. Mayville State University
Online Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education
With its accommodating transfer policy, low tuition, and use of interactive video conferencing, Mayville State University easily earns a top spot on this online elementary education degree ranking. MSU’s hybrid B.S.Ed. Program includes both online and on-campus classes, making it best suited for students local to one of Mayville’s five North Dakota sites. It’s also an especially good option for students who have earned an associate’s degree in Minnesota or Wyoming, as Mayville works with schools in those states to arrange for transfer into the B.S.Ed. Program. Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll find a broad curriculum that highlights diversity and the use of technology. You’ll also get to choose from unique minors like Library Media and Information Science.
Average Tuition & Fees: $7,664/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap online bachelor’s degrees in elementary education in the US!
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