An online master’s degree in elementary education offers a number of advantages to teaching professionals. First, it allows educators to advance their knowledge in K-6 education, making them more marketable to employers and more confident in the classroom. In addition, teachers who hold a master’s degree can often earn higher salaries then their counterparts with only an undergraduate degree. Lastly, earning such a degree online allows current teachers to continue working, bringing in a salary and learning on the job while logging into online classrooms in their free time.
Below we have listed the 15 cheapest online colleges that offer master’s degrees in elementary education. Our original search produced more than two-dozen potential candidates, but in our commitment to “best value” schools we have chosen to include only those with the lowest tuition rates, according to information gathered from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator database. Fortunately, these affordable schools also offer some of the best online master’s degrees in elementary education available, proving just how much you can get for your money. We have listed them in order from the most to least expensive, assigning public schools an approximate value based on the average of their in-state and out-of-state tuition rates.
15. University of Missouri St. Louis
Online MEd: Elementary Education/Early Childhood
The University of Missouri St. Louis offers a completely online master’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in Early Learning to educators who are passionate about social justice, creative technology, and meeting the needs of diverse student populations. Students may apply in fall, spring, or summer and take five core courses and six electives, typically completing the program in two years. Award-winning faculty teach classes in a flexible format to accommodate busy adult learners. Student support services like career planning, counseling, tech support, and student retention are available. U.S. News & World Report named UMSL to its list of Best Education Schools in 2015.
Tuition: $9,415/yr (In-state) $23,764/yr (Out-of-state)
14. Regent University
Online Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, M.E.d.
Educators looking for an accredited online master’s degree in Elementary Education leading to licensure in a flexible format can look to Regent University to meet their needs. This program focuses on helping teachers further hone their skills in lesson planning, education assessment, and diagnosing learning problems. Teachers can complete this degree in as little as 18 months after completing coursework in areas such as Teaching Reading, Multicultural Education, and Applications of Technology for Teaching and Learning. Students typically progress in cohorts, which allows for collaborating with fellow professionals. The Online Education Database ranked Regent the #2 best Overall Online School.
13. Norfolk State University
Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education PreK-6 (Online)
Norfolk State University’s online master’s degree in Elementary Education is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in the arts or sciences who want a license to teach K-6 grades. This two-year, four semester program offers courses in Diagnostic Reading, Classroom Management, and Human Growth and Development, culminating in a student teaching internship. NSU is committed to student success, which is why it offers quality web-based learning programs along with actively involved instructors, mentors, and a certified personal training counselor. Military members and veterans should note NSU’s accolades for being a 2013 Top Military Friendly University and a 2013 Military Best for Vets College.
Tuition: $7,126/yr (In-state) $20,596/yr (Out-of-state)
12. East Carolina University
Online Master of Arts in Education – Elementary Education
Professional educators with an elementary education teaching license are encouraged to advance their knowledge in the masters’ degree in elementary education online at East Carolina University. Working adults enjoy the flexibility of completing their coursework entirely online while attending either full-time or part-time. Students work closely with both faculty members and peers on cutting-edge research projects designed to advance the field of education. Students may also create an individualized study plan focusing on areas such as digital literacy, teaching English as a Second Language, library sciences, or gifted education. College Prowler ranked ECU a top 250 school with high ratings for its academics, technology, and diversity.
Tuition: $6,143/yr (In-state) $20,256/yr (Out-of-state)
11. Indiana State University
Online Elementary Education M.E.d.
Indiana State University offers an affordable online master’s degree in Elementary Education with specializations available in literacy, early childhood, and primary/intermediate. Depending on their schedule, students may choose to complete the 32-credit hour program in as little as 18 months or as many as seven years. The department offers coursework in Research, Philosophy of Education, and Advanced Child Psychology along with a choice of electives depending on a number of specializations. ISU offers financial aid to qualifying students and is also an approved veterans’ benefit institution. U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings named ISU #124 on its list of Best Education Schools.
Tuition: $8,256/yr (In-state) $17,992/yr (Out-of-state)
10. University of North Dakota
Online Master of Science (MS) in Elementary Education
The online master’s degree in Elementary Education at UND is perfect for K-6 teachers looking to increase their knowledge about educational technology, assessment strategies, and curriculum development. This flexible two-year program offers three start dates per year and all students pay the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency. Highly qualified faculty with doctoral degrees and extensive experience deliver instruction through a mixture of live and recorded lectures online. The professors conduct the live lectures on evenings and weekends so students never have to come to campus. U.S. News & World Report named UND to its 2015 list of Best National Universities in the nation.
Tuition: $7,508/yr (In-state) $17,794/yr (Out-of-state)
9. University of North Carolina Charlotte
Online M.E.d. in Elementary Education
The University of North Carolina Charlotte offers a master’s degree in Elementary Education online for experienced educators seeking to hone their craft and become instructional leaders. Students typically attend part-time, taking courses via Moodle and Saba Meeting with a mixture of synchronous classroom meetings, research, and assignments. In addition to completing coursework in three phases covering Developing Perspectives, Collaborative Inquiry, and Investigative Leadership, students may choose to concentrate in an area like Academically or Intellectually Gifted, Instructional Systems Technology, or Special Education. Admission is in the fall only. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNC-Charlotte the #86 Best Grad School in Education.
Tuition: $6,107/yr (In-state) $18,636,yr (Out-of-state)
8. San Diego State University
Completely Online Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education and Secondary Education
Teachers seeking a quality graduate program in education that is both affordable and flexible will be impressed with SDSU’s Master of Arts in Teaching. The program’s mission is to engage students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds in inquiry based teaching and learning and to promote higher order critical thinking skills. Courses are available 100% online via Blackboard and include both live online group work and recorded lectures and discussions. This online master’s degree in elementary education may be completed in only one year by taking foundation courses over the summer, sociocultural and diversity courses in fall, and capping the program in the spring with a research-based course and capstone project. Forbes ranked SDSU #47 in the West.
Tuition: $6,766/yr (In-state) $17,926/yr (Out-of-state)
7. University of Mississippi Online
Online Master of Education in Elementary Education
The University of Mississippi, or “Ole Miss” offers a 100% accredited online master’s degree in Elementary Education taught by full-time faculty which students can easily complete in fewer than 18 months. This affordable and highly reputable program offers a flat tuition rate regardless of residency, and U.S. News & World Report named Ole Miss a Top 100 Education School in its grad school rankings. The admission deadline is March 1 and students typically begin coursework in the summer and graduate at the end of the following summer. Classes such as Differentiated Instruction, Literacy Connections, and Measurement and Evaluation prepare graduates to use the latest in research and technology to become master teachers in the K-6 classroom.
Tuition: $6,760/yr (In-state) $17,728/yr (Out-of-state)
6. Slippery Rock University
Online M.E.d. in Elementary Education
Slippery Rock’s online master’s degrees in Elementary Education are an especially good fit for those who are passionate about literacy. The program offers both a specialization in K-12 reading and an optional Instructional Coaching Literary Endorsement. Students learn from faculty with doctorate degrees in small classes, ensuring quality education and meaningful peer interaction. Graduates are prepared to serve as classroom reading teachers, developmental study skills specialists, resource specialists, or consultants. The Distance Education program is committed to helping all online students succeed at their own pace by providing the same quality services and support as on-campus students. College Prowler ranked Slippery Rock above average in nearly all categories including academics, technology, and diversity.
Tuition: $9,027/yr (In-state) $12,529/yr (Out-of-state)
5. University of Phoenix
Online Master of Arts in Education/Elementary Education
Even if you have a degree in another field or have been outside the education field for several years, you can still be well prepared to give back in the classroom with University of Phoenix’s cheap online master’s degree in elementary education. Because of Phoenix’s large network of campuses, this affordable program actually leads to licensure in many states. Projections indicate that this field will continue growing over the next decade, with employment of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teacher employment forecast to increase by 13%. The Best Colleges ranked the University of Phoenix the #3 Top Online School in the U.S. for 2015 in part for its Education programs.
4. University of North Alabama
Online Master of Arts in Education Degree (MAED) – Elementary Education
The best elementary educators know how to weave together theories in education with everyday practical knowledge. Students graduating from the University of North Alabama will be prepared to step into that role and even apply for certification. This online college offers a flexible schedule and all the tools that are vital to distance education. Courses include Survey of Students with Disabilities, Methods of Educational Research, and Family Involvement in the Education of Young Children. U.S. News & World Report ranked UNA among the best regional universities in the Southern United States.
Tuition: $7,078/yr (In-state) $12,670/yr (Out-of-state)
3. Delta State University
Online Elementary Education Master of Education
Delta State University has tailored its top online master’s degree in Elementary Education program to allow students to advance in the field without disrupting their everyday work schedule. Delta State faculty, who come from a diverse array of teaching backgrounds, equip you online learners not only with theoretical principles, but also real-world elementary-education practices. Delta State uses the Canvas online college tool to make it easier for students to collaborate with faculty and each other, no matter their location. Best Education Schools gave Delta State’s education programs a five-star overall rating and ranked it as the #6 education school in Mississippi.
2. American Public University
Online M.Ed. in Teaching – Elementary Education (Non-Licensure Concentration)
American Public University, an affordable online college, prepares students to become efficient and effective K-6 teachers who influence the lives of their students. Students learn best practices in classroom management, as well as effective communication skills for interacting with parents, students, and other teachers. Courses include reading and writing, literature, math, and physical education. All courses – besides student teaching – are available online, and graduates are eligible for elementary education certificates in West Virginia. GetEducated.com named APU to its list of “Best Buys” in online master in teaching degree programs.
1. Western Governors University
Online MAT Elementary Education K-8
Students looking to make a difference in the lives of young learners will find a great match in Western Governors University’s Master of Arts in Teaching program for Elementary Education. WGU has designed their curriculum to prepare students to become highly qualified teachers with desirable credentials. Potential students for this online college program include retired military personnel, career changers, and others who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Faculty members cover both theoretical principles and practical strategies. MastersInEducation.com rated WGU as having one of the top online MAT programs in the country, and the school’s impressive reputation draws many people to its online master’s degree in elementary education each year.
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.