Last Updated: April 13, 2017
Aristotle said that “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” If what he said is true, then teaching is a noble and necessary art indeed.
Today our schools employ three million teachers and rely on 27,000 programs in 2,000 separate institutions for training teachers. The demands on teachers are growing, and the need for highly-skilled and qualified teachers grows along with it. Teachers today prepare 180 lessons a year in a variety of subjects and are with young people for seven hours a day. They are expected to prepare lessons, problem solve, deal individually, lead small groups, facilitate projects, grade papers, meet with parents, and remain positive in the face of opposition.
Not only do elementary teachers face these constant challenges, but within each lesson they must break down the day into smaller segments while managing, in some cases, 30 or more children. The emotional, physical, and mental demands to teach the young requires robust training and moral perseverance.
We have all experienced the good teachers and those . . . not so good. There are teachers that make an impact—who inspire, instruct, discipline, and accompany on the journey we call life. Parents know this when their son or daughter comes home reporting the fun they had in class, and the parent notices this was not mere entertainment, but meaningful learning instilled by a teacher who has mastered the craft.
In hopes to effectively train more teachers in response to the growing need, our colleges and universities are striving to meet the challenge. Many schools are strengthening student teaching, that is the mentor, supervisor, and teacher/candidate’s relationship in the training process because studies show it is perhaps the most vital component.
Others are increasing expectations with higher selection criteria. All are continuing to address which classes are most relevant for effective training and increasing research-based, data-driven, and tech-integrated training. With the help of various national organizations, many institutions are making strides to train smarter, better, and higher-skilled teachers.
The National Council for Teacher Quality 2016 Landscape in Teacher Preparation examined 875 traditional undergraduate elementary programs. Because the demands placed on elementary teachers to teach early reading, social studies, math, literature and more in a structured and loving learning environment, schools were rated in these key areas.
The NCTQ stressed the need for stronger early reading and math preparation, classroom management, and selection criteria for entering programs. Another organization striving to meet the challenge of preparing teachers for the 21st century is the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners.
They offer seven key questions to guide research into a program’s effectiveness. We have examined key findings from these institutions and compared Elementary Education programs around the nation.
If you feel called to teach and are looking for a program that will prepare you for the demands of the noble art, you need to choose wisely. At College Choice that is what we’re all about, helping you make a choice that will put you on the path to success.
There are many ways to evaluate teacher education programs: accreditation, testimony, relevant coursework, a strong student teaching experience, and affordability are critical factors. In narrowing down your options, we always recommend a visit to campus, conversations with students, staff, and if possible graduates that went through the program.
Our Top 35 Bachelor’s in Elementary Education ranking is rooted in three criteria scores: a school’s reputation score, calculated using selected categories of statistics from publicly available sources such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and college websites, an affordability rating using net price calculators, an average early salary (from payscale.com), and specific program ratings from the National Council for Teacher Quality 2016 ranking.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Tuition: $10,002
“John Purdue believed that education was the flame that lit the world.” Purdue University’s College of Education offers undergraduate majors organized across six colleges with shared curriculum goals and jointly-appointed faculty. The current Dean Maryann Santos commented, “As part of a research-intensive institution, we value rigorous scholarship and discovery.” For undergrads in education who are interested in researching teaching and learning, the College provides the Undergraduate Research Training Program (URT). There is also an Honors Program and Study Abroad opportunities led by College of Education faculty, as well as the ability to complete student teaching in Honduras or Germany.
A look at the Elementary Education program reveals relevant coursework and early and frequent field experiences, both vital to outstanding teacher preparation. Specifics of the program include four areas of focus: diversity, technology, field experience, and performance assessment. After completing required coursework and fieldwork, students are eligible for licensure in the State of Indiana. With 43 interstate licensing agreements, graduates will be able to teach almost anywhere in the country. Taken together, with a net price of $7460, an NCTQ rating in the 99th percentile, and an all-around excellent program and reputation, Purdue University ranks #1 on our list.
Texas A & M University - College Station
College Choice Score: 98.06
Average Tuition: $10,176
Texas A & M University is home to over 64,000 students and countless opportunities to develop talents for just about any career or calling. It is an especially first-rate place to become a teacher. TAMU is a leader in training teachers in many fields, including bilingual education, math, and science. The College of Education & Human Development fulfills the University’s mission to be “dedicated to the discovery, development, communication, and application of knowledge” by offering 19 undergraduate degree programs and seven minors through four academic departments. Responsible for the preparation of teachers, the Teaching, Learning and Culture department places “high value on collaboration, diversity, critical thinking, creativity, democratic governance and global leadership.”
This collaboration happens in real time and in the real world if you are preparing to teach. The Elementary Education degree, called the EC-Grade 6 Generalist Certification Program trains teachers through coursework and a “heavily field-based program.” The program is enhanced by the Cultural Diversity requirement for all students, and opportunities for teaching in over 20 faculty-developed international experiences is available. With a respected reputation, an average early salary of $58,500, a NCTQ rating in the 99th percentile, and a net price of $13,700 Texas A & M belongs at the top of the list.
College Choice Score: 97.57
Average Tuition: $6,814
The oldest department of Marshall University is the College of Education and Professional Development. Founded as a normal school in 1867, COEPD has been training teachers for well over a century. The School now offers over 20 degrees with 11 special centers with 70 dedicated and experienced faculty to over 3000 students.
There are three traditional elementary education degrees: Early Childhood Education, Early Education PreK-K, and Elementary Education K-6. All education degrees include coursework and field experience. Elementary Education candidates spend up to 600 hours during their program of study. Also important is the outstanding early reading training at Marshall, a critically important area of preparation highlighted by research at the NCTQ. Incidentally, the NCTQ scored Marshall’s Elementary Education program in the 98th percentile. In addition to a quality program at MU, there are numerous centers which aim to advance collaboration in service to the the community of learners in West Virginia and those training to educate the youth. To name a few of these outstanding centers: the Appalachian Studies Association, Autism Training Center, COE Research & Policy Center, HEART Tutoring Program, June Harless Center for Rural Education Research and Development, MU Child Development Academy, MU Early Education Center, and MU Early Education Outreach Program.
Louisiana Tech University
College Choice Score: 97.35
Average Tuition: $6,814
The College of Education at Louisiana Tech University has a tradition of excellence. The C of E is the largest at LTU and is “committed to being a leader in education; a catalyst for learning, research, and action.” The C of E also provides professional development programs and opportunities for teachers, students and administrators. Teachers benefit from SciTec’s NASA Resource Center and the Idea Place center and museum. At-risk students have the Louisiana GEAR Up program, and administrators learn from events such Law Day to stay updated and informed on important legal concerns.
The Elementary Education degree at LTU is nationally recognized by the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). There are three programs in Elementary Education: Early Childhood Pre-K-3, Elementary Education 1-5, and Elementary Special Education. All the programs consist of 120-130 credit hours and field work in local schools with mentor teachers. When the program is completed, students are given additional help and resources to pass the PRAXIS exam required for state licensure through LTU’s College of Education PRAXIS Academy. With a net price of $8,905 and average early salary of $53,900, the investment also makes good financial sense.
The University of Texas at Arlington
College Choice Score: 96.29
Average Tuition: $9,208
The College of Education (CoEd) fits right into The University of Texas at Arlington’s Strategic Plan 2020 mission “to be a global leader of excellence in the education sciences.” The estimated $63 million in economic impact is commendable, and if trends remain, growth will be significant in the coming years.
Teacher training at UTA is rooted in evidence-based instruction, outstanding educational supports, and sound leadership. All instruction, programs, services, and staff are guided by the Partners for the Future initiative. This focuses on “fostering critical, creative thinkers” through three core areas: Professionalism, Knowledge, and Leadership. All of these enterprises equates to a reputation of training teachers who understand what it takes in our society to be successful. The CoEd offers Elementary Education Bilingual and ESL for Pre-K-6 and the Middle-Level Education Program which consists of three tracks: 4-8 English Language Arts and Reading and Social Studies, 4-8 Math and Science, and 4-8 Generalist. Since the net price is $11,742 and the average early salary is $60,600 the return on investment is amazing. Combined with a solid reputation and NCTQ ranking of the 97th percentile, this top-ranked elementary education program deserves a high ranking.
University of Wyoming
College Choice Score: 94.23
Average Tuition: $4,892
The University of Wyoming has been providing young men and women a quality education since 1886. Recognizing the need to train teachers for our diverse and globalized society, the University created the Wyoming Teacher Education Program (WTEP).
Providing an Elementary Education degree with a choice of four concentrations and the potential to add an endorsement is attractive. Concentrations include Interdisciplinary Early Childhood, Creative Arts, International Education Studies/American Cultural Diversity, and Environmental Studies. Coupled with a net price of $12,148 and a great reputation, University of Wyoming demands consideration if you’re called to teach. The program is 120 credit-hours with courses in general university studies and professional studies such as content pedagogy. Lastly, something important to consider when choosing a school’s teacher program is the school’s philosophy of field experience. Most programs have this as a component, but digging a little deeper reveals the quality. For example, at UW the College ensures that students are assigned to master teachers in districts designated as Professional Learning Communities, or PLC’s. Sheer hours are necessary but not sufficient for student teaching success. Time musts be combined with strategic and quality placement. When considering all the angles, UW’s Elementary Education program stacks up as one of the best in the nation.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
College Choice Score: 93.83
Average Tuition: $5,674
The University of Alaska Fairbanks enrolls 10,000 students, mostly from Alaska. Due to the unique cultural, linguistic, historical and geographic features of Alaska, the education and training of teachers is honed for helping local communities. Having excellent relationships with local schools and partnerships for mentor teachers gives students the best training that Alaska offers. For an affordable net price of $8,741, a high score of the 99th percentile from NCTQ, and an average early salary of $42,700, the UAF degree is respected and valuable.
Specific program details include four components: general UAF core course such as Native Cultures of Alaska, specific courses designed for elementary educators such as Child Psychology, integrated courses and fieldwork in preparation for the capstone year-long internship, and the capstone itself that pairs candidates with proven mentor teachers. All these components fulfill the requirements of the Alaska Teacher Standards for Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers as well as standards set by the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
CUNY Hunter College
College Choice Score: 93.44
Average Tuition: $6,782
Founded in 1870 and serving more than 23,000 students, CUNY Hunter College knows how to educate. Continuing Hunter’s reputation for quality in all endeavors, the School of Education offers numerous degrees. Since all students in any education field are required to fulfill requirements for a liberal arts or sciences major in addition to the specific education training requirements, graduates are indeed knowledgeable. These high academic expectations make the Hunter College School of Education vision of training “deeply thoughtful, knowledgeable and highly effective teachers” reality.
To meet the ever-present demand for effective elementary teachers, the School of Education offers two elementary options: Early Childhood Education (PreK-2) and The Quality Urban Elementary School Teacher (QUEST) program (grades 1-6). Both programs lead to certification as a teacher in New York. In the critical area of student teaching, Hunter ranks high. According to NCTQ the program provides regularly spaced intervals of observation, clearly communicates to school districts the desired characteristics of cooperating teachers, and asserts its critical role in selection of cooperating teachers. For a net price of $10,944 and an average early salary coming in at $46,900, students will be pleased with the return on investment.
University of Houston
College Choice Score: 92.76
Average Tuition: $8,759
The diverse and growing city of Houston requires highly trained and professional educators. The College of Education at the University of Houston meets the challenge, and the Dean of the College, Robert H. McPherson is leading the way. He was recently invited by the Council of Academic Deans from the Research Education Institution to help promote high standards for educator preparation.
The University’s education of teachers is gaining national attention. One unique idea, especially if you are a student in Houston considering teaching, is Teach Forward Houston. This program is a partnership between the Houston Independent School District and University of Houston to bring students back into the classroom upon their college graduation. The motivation is free tuition in exchange for teaching four years in the HISD after graduation. At U of H, students seeking to teach elementary school earn a B.S. in Teaching & Learning and then receive certification through the Teacher Education Program in Early Childhood generalist, EC Bilingual Generalist, EC-12 Special Education, English, Language Arts, Reading 4-8, Math 4-8, Social Studies/ History 4-8, or Science 4-8. In 2007, the Program was honored as the Distinguished Program in Teacher Education by the Association of Teacher Educators.
University of Southern Mississippi
College Choice Score: 92.18
Average Tuition: $7,334
The University of Southern Mississippi has been training teachers for over 100 years. This breadth of experience gives students studying to be educators at USM a distinct advantage. All the education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Students in the College of Education abide by the Education Code of Ethics and the Standards for Professional Practices. Since Southern Mississippi is known for the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, one of North America’s leading research centers in children’s literature, students who choose to earn an Elementary Education degree benefit from more than just classes.
Nationally recognized by the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), and ranked high by the NCTQ, the undergraduate Elementary Education degree is top-notch. Those who complete the requirements (and licensure) are qualified to teach K-6 and can be endorsed in one content area and a reading endorsement for Mississippi. To earn an additional endorsement requires 21 hours in either English, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Math, or Science. Like many other programs, a student teaching experience is the capstone, and at Southern Mississippi, students spend a minimum of 30 hours in observation and practicum experiences before their 16 weeks of student teaching.
choose to earn an Elementary Education degree benefit from more than just classes.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
College Choice Score: 91.92
Average Tuition: $9,714
Founded as a land-, sea-, and space-grant university, LSU is known for its extensive research. What may be less known is the outstanding elementary education program. The School of Education offers two undergraduate programs in teacher education: Early Childhood Education PreK-3 and Elementary Education 1-5. All education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP); the Early Childhood Education program is also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) by adhering to the organization’s Professional Preparation Standards.
One of the advantages of choosing LSU for elementary education is their cohort-style training. Students learn, collaborate, plan, and reflect in cohorts as they move through the program. The personal relationships and power of collaboration offer advantages not otherwise experienced, not to mention networking that may last a lifetime. Also notable is the student teaching experience. Showing LSU’s commitment to this vital component of teacher preparation, the requirements far surpass the state minimum. The return on investment makes financial sense as well. LSU’s net price is $13,500 and the average early salary comes in at $49,500.
University of Maryland-College Park
College Choice Score: 91.01
Average Tuition: $7,056
The College of Education at University of Maryland offers three undergraduate programs in teacher education: Early Childhood Education PK-3, Elementary Education 1-6, and Special Education 1-8. In addition to completing general coursework and maintaining a GPA above 2.75, UM students must show a commitment to fieldwork and student teaching. The minimum 100 days and 650 clock hours required for student teaching is praiseworthy. Also worthy of mention is UM’s Foundational Competencies. These are meant to create professional teachers. They are a comprehensive set of non-academic expectations that teacher candidates must demonstrate at various stages during their teacher preparation programs.
Academic achievement is demonstrated in elementary education graduates who earned an average GPA of 3.64. Some notables of the program at UM by NCTQ are early reading and elementary mathematics, which both received an A rating. The outcomes standard, which ranks an institution’s ability to use the data of graduates and other sources to track, monitor, and improve the program received a “strong design,” the highest given. Related to this is the College’s newly revised blended early childhood, special education program that leads to dual certification. Lastly, UM is part of a national initiative to implement edTPA, a performance-based teacher assessment system and licensure process for pre-service teachers.
Arizona State University - Tempe
College Choice Score: 90.34
Average Tuition: $10,158
Arizona is a great state to teach in and Arizona State University is an excellent school to get a teaching degree. At ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College students receive relevant training for the noble art of teaching through traditional coursework, intentional fieldwork and student teaching, and the tech-tools necessary to be successful in our digital world. There are three different Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education at ASU: The dual program in special education and elementary education, the program in elementary education with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, and the elementary education certification for grades 1-8.
The clinical experience is guided by iTeachAZ, a program that is “unmatched in Arizona.” Due to the high demand in Arizona for teachers, many students receive job offers during their student teaching. Elementary education is growing at 15.8 percent in Arizona with a median salary of $53,400. If you’re considering a degree at ASU, be sure to factor in the affordable net price of $12,893 as well as high ratings from the National Council on Teacher Quality. ASU earned A grades for student teaching and classroom management, and an A+ in selection criteria (click here for explanation) which only 13 percent of the 875 institutions evaluated received.
University of Mississippi
College Choice Score: 89.17
Average Tuition: $7,444
The University of Mississippi is classified as an “R1: Doctoral University — Highest Research Activity” by Carnegie and enrolls 25,000 students. With a tradition of excellence across various fields, the elementary education program might be overlooked; however, if you’re interested in teaching elementary students with an endorsement in special education at a great value, Ole Miss may be a perfect fit.
The School of Education bases their training on the Conceptual Framework of “Educators as Reflective Professionals.” This includes being lifelong learners, effective communicators, problem solvers, users of technology, and advocates of diverse learners. With a student-centered philosophy as an approach and knowledge-, standards-, and research-based techniques, the School is effective. UM offers an Elementary Education degree (1-6) with Special Education Endorsement (K-12). The program consists of 122 semester hours and two concentration areas selected by the candidate in the areas of English, math, science, social studies, fine arts, foreign language or computers. The NCTQ ranked the program high in early reading and math preparation and noted a respectable score for classroom management. Like other programs at Ole Miss, the value is noteworthy. The average early salary is $42,400 and the net price is $14,918.
University of Arkansas
College Choice Score: 88.59
Average Tuition: $8,522
In 1871, with eight students, a little money, and a lot of commitment, the University of Arkansas was born. Now 140 years later, the land-grant University makes a considerable impact on the fabric of our economy and nation. The elementary education program is surely part of this contribution. With the ever-present need for passionate and professional educators, U of A is getting the job done, and done well.
The College of Education and Health Professions prepare candidates for initial teacher licensure in Elementary Education (K-6) through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Admission to the Bachelors of Science in Education Elementary Licensure is competitive. Faculty permission and an average GPA of 3.0 is required to get into the program (above the common 2.5 GPA of other schools), for example. This is one reason the NCTQ ranked the University in the 99th percentile. The College ranked high in every standard the NCTQ evaluates from selection criteria to classroom management, other than the average to low ratings in early reading and student teaching. All in all, the University of Arkansas is one of the more selective programs, strong in every area, yet is still affordable with a net price of $14,693.
University of Iowa
College Choice Score: 88.52
Average Tuition: $8,104
With just over 31,000 students, the University of Iowa is one of the nation’s top public research universities, a member of the Big Ten conference since 1899, and an Association of American Universities member since 1909. In the Hawkeye tradition of excellence, the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning offers an Elementary Education degree (K-6) with opportunities to specialize. Recognized by NCTQ for a strong selection criteria, students must have 3.0 GPA and a minimum of 10 volunteer hours to be considered for admittance into the College, to name a few.
A prominent strength of the program is in the area of classroom management. Also, noted by the NCTQ is the College’s strong score in outcomes, which demonstrate a college’s commitment to gathering the data needed for teacher preparation accountability. The School is ranked 98 percent overall by the NCTQ. Here at College Choice we found that UI’s net price of $14,558, average early salary of $40,300, and high reputation score resulted in making our Top 20. Lastly, should you choose IU, you may be interested in the Tomorrow’s Teachers Today Living-Learning Community in the residence halls.
College Choice Score: 87.28
Average Tuition: $13,266
About 25 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina and 71 miles north of Columbia, South Carolina, is Rock Hill, home to Winthrop University. Winthrop is a public liberal arts college serving 6,000 students.
The B.S. in Elementary Education and the Early Childhood Education programs are for undergraduates who wish to earn an initial South Carolina teaching certification. Through the College of Education, students are prepared to teach in 21st century schools, develop research-based strategies, and integrate available technology. The CAEP-accredited programs consist of 125 credit hours and are capped by field experiences in the Macfeat Laboratory School, which provides links to current classroom practices for early childhood students. Study abroad opportunities are available for undergraduates during designated semesters. Elementary Education students as well as the College are guided by the standards set forth by the Association for Childhood Education International. Winthrop University’s undergraduate elementary education program earned an overall 98 percent ranking from NCTQ, with an A+ in early reading and an A in early math. Scores like that and an affordable net price of $15,426 with an average early salary of $40,400 illustrates quality and value.
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
College Choice Score: 86.67
Average Tuition: $8,367
The University of Nebraska has eight colleges on two campuses in Lincoln with over 100 classroom buildings and research facilities. The School has approximately 25,000 total students and boasts many famous alumni, including geneticist George Beadle, investor Warren Buffett, comedian Johnny Carson, and author Willa Cather.
UNL offers two traditional undergraduate elementary education degrees: Elementary Education K-6 and a dual-program Elementary and Special Education K-6. The College of Education and Human Sciences, through the Department of Teaching and Educational Leadership, provides training that is effective in multiple areas. Meeting NCTQ standards in five areas, something few colleges achieved, the overall program score is adequate to strong. The College makes an effort to connect theory and practice with the Scholar-Practitioner Model, which includes three field experiences. It should be noted that all of their education programs require early experiences in the field, a distinction UNL takes pride in. As for value, local principals seek out UNL grads indicating that program graduates are in fact, well prepared. The net price is $15,648 which makes UNL affordable, though the average early salary is slightly lower than others on the list at $37,600. “If you want to be hired first, perceived best and proven better, this is the place for you.”
College Choice Score: 86.22
Average Tuition: $7,870
SUNY Oneonta is located in Central New York in the city of Oneonta. Oneonta is about halfway between Albany and Binghamton. Liberal-arts education and civic engagement at SUNY Oneonta are known for being excellent. Sixty-three percent of 2015 graduates were employed within three months of graduation, a notable statistic worth considering.
Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Teacher Education Program enrolls 1,032 teacher education students, 27 school counseling students, and 196 student teachers working with 391 cooperating teachers. The School of Education and Human Ecology offers two undergraduate elementary degrees: Childhood Education K-6, and a dual-program Early Childhood/Childhood Education, including 13 concentrations. The net price of $15,401 combined with the early average salary of $54,100 makes the return quite attractive.
Should you decide SUNY is the place for you to learn to teach, you will experience at least 100 hours of field experience prior to the full semester of student teaching. Coursework features all the relevant preparation from child psychology to integrating technology.
University of Richmond
College Choice Score: 86.08
Average Tuition: $48,090
Located in beautiful Richmond, Virginia, the University of Richmond has five schools offering undergraduate, master’s, and law degrees. A private, and highly selective liberal-arts school of 4400 students, UR has an impressive 8:1 student to faculty ratio which maximizes learning.
The NCTQ puts UR in the 81st percentile for teacher prep and gave an A rating for selection criteria. Since one of the overarching concerns of the NCTQ in teacher prep programs is not being selective enough, it demonstrates UR is leading the way. The School of Arts and Sciences Department of Education offers an Elementary Education PreK-6 degree. The degree is a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with an Education Minor and Elementary Endorsement. Students who wish to teach elementary children earn a minor; the program requires admission into the Teacher Licensure Preparation (TLP) program. The TLP offers the coursework required by the Virginia Department of Education to become a licensed teacher and is approved by the Virginia Board of Education and nationally accredited by TEAC. The return on investment makes financial sense as well with UR’s net price coming in at $21,744 and the average early salary at $51,800. In sum, the education programs keep UR’s reputation as an institution that expects achievement and produces results.
College Choice Score: 85.37
Average Tuition: $10,430
Wilmington University is a private doctoral research institution located in historic New Castle, Delaware serving 20,000 total students. For those in or out of state interested in becoming an elementary school teacher, Wilmington deserves a look. In the quest for the best teacher preparation, the quality of the program should be foremost. Wilmington’s quality is top notch. The financial picture also looks good. The net price is $22,094 and the average early salary is $52,200.
Given an overall 97 percent rating by the NCTQ, the program specifically prepares students well in relevant elementary content, practical classroom management training, and a distinctive approach to student teaching. Student teaching is the capstone experience after three Practicums, each 50 hours with additional time in seminars. Candidates then require prior approval from the Office of Clinical Studies and a 3.00 cumulative GPA, no Incomplete grades, passing PRAXIS Core and PRAXIS II scores, a sealed Federal and Delaware CBC (Criminal Background Check) Report, a recent TB/PPD (less than a year old), a completed CPR (Child Protection Registry Form) and a completed health form. This year-long-residency program (an alternative to traditional student teaching) is preparing teachers who are qualified and confident, which is why it’s becoming nationally recognized and appreciated.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 84.11
Average Tuition: $6,381
Tracing its origins to 1853, and continuously operating since 1906, this public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university enrolls over 50,000 students. In addition to its outstanding accolades, 56 percent of students graduate with no student loan debt. The School is known for a great engineering, business, law and medicine, though the College of Education should not be overlooked.
The net price is $14,600 and the average early salary is $44,600 making the financial consideration attractive. The value is accentuated by their solid overall reputation and specific excellence in their Unified Elementary ProTeach program. This is a 5-year program ending in a Master’s degree in education. Students choose single-track Elementary Education K-6 or the dual-track Elementary and Special Education. Notables of the program include over 300 hours of fieldwork in classrooms and community-based settings starting in the first semester and culminating in two full semesters of students teaching, integrated technology training, and how to teach English language learners. The program is recognized by the NCTQ for solid preparation in reading and classroom management and is given an overall rating in the 86th percentile.
Brigham Young University-Provo
College Choice Score: 83.39
Average Tuition: $5,150
“Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” Brigham Young University is a private research university whose enrollment is nearing 37,000. Students are 99 percent Mormon and come from over 100 countries and all 50 states, though most come from Utah.
BYU’s David O. McKay’s School of Education offers a B.S. in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education. All three of the programs end in licensure for the state of Utah and are fully accredited. “Elementary Education emphasizes ways to help elementary students enhance their thinking abilities, build their confidence in exploring new ideas, and become self-motivated independent learners.” Taking students through general education coursework and moving into professional practice knowledge and pedagogy, the degrees end with student teaching. Admission is selective, which the NCTQ scored an A+. Pre-admission includes a minimum 3.0 total GPA and minimum 21 composite ACT score (20 English and 19 Math) or 1000 composite SAT score (450 Verbal and 450 Math) and admission to the Teaching Program includes a 3.0 GPA (and maintaining it), a background check, and a Technology Skills Assessment.
Dallas Baptist University
College Choice Score: 82.39
Average Tuition: $24,890
Dallas Baptist University sits atop 292 acres on the hills of southwest Dallas overlooking Mountain Creek Lake. DBU educates 5100 students according to the Christian worldview. Dallas Baptist University offers seven associate degrees, 72 bachelor’s, 29 master’s programs, and two Doctoral Degree Programs.
The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with Early Childhood through Grade 6 Certification prepares students to teach in today’s world. The Educator Preparation Program at Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and approved by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to prepare, train, and recommend candidates for certification. True to the Baptist affiliation, all subjects are taught from a Christian perspective and students are expected to integrate their faith. The program is selective and strong in elementary content, math, and classroom management. The NCTQ ranked DBU’s elementary program the best in the nation in 2014. Admission includes a minimum 3.0 total GPA, a background check, agreement to a Code of Ethics, letters of recommendation, and more. You certainly get more that you pay for with a net price of $24,700 and early average salary of $62,900. All in all, DBU’s top-ranking program and Christian integration may be a perfect fit for you to live your calling.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 80.83
Average Tuition: $13,856
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor offers just about every degree possible with over 200 undergraduate majors, 100 doctoral and 90 master’s programs and is considered a “Public Ivy.” According to the latest national data, the University of Michigan spends more on research – $1.29 billion in 2015 – than any other U.S. public university. Perhaps overlooked with the attention garnered by research spending, U-M offers a respectable education degree at a great value. The net price is $15,757 and the average early salary is $46,200.
The undergraduate elementary teacher education program prepares you to teach in: Elementary K-5 All Subjects, and K-8 All Subjects Self-Contained Classroom. The program is a Bachelors of Arts in Education with the last four terms the intense preparation for specific certifications. The U-M elementary teacher education program “is centered on teaching practice, content knowledge for teaching, and a set of ethical obligations.” The ethical obligations include nine areas that are integrated in the course and fieldwork such as Competence, Equitable Access, and Subject-Matter Integrity and 18 High Leverage Practices, from posing questions about content to setting up and managing small-group work. Lastly, all students in the program choose a focus or “Teaching Major” that becomes a minor: Language Arts, Mathematics, Integrated Science, or Social Studies.
College Choice Score: 80.70
Average Tuition: $30,270
Lux et Fides or “Light and Faith” is the motto of Taylor University. Founded in 1846, it is one of the oldest evangelical Christian colleges in the nation and currently enrolls 2500 students. Ranked high for value, quality academics, and now undergoing a large capital expansion, the University is established and growing. Taylor offers a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, leading to a K-6 elementary generalist license approved by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Students take general education requirements, professional preparation classes like child psychology and classroom management, and choose a concentration in subject matter, for example, special education, biology, social studies or language arts.
Field work starts freshmen year and is included in all four years of the educational program at TU. Since Taylor is centered in the Christian faith, students have opportunities to go on short-term mission trips to inner-city schools to work with at-risk students, and other outreach events that include teaching. The capstone student teaching consists of two semesters, two assignments, and carries the option of domestic and international teaching. With an NCTQ overall rating of 99 percent, and an A+ in early reading, the program is exceptional.
College Choice Score: 80.65
Average Tuition: $34,140
Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana is a small Christian liberal-arts institution. The School takes faith seriously as all students are required to take a Bible class and Introduction to Theology as part of the liberal-arts requirements. BU also has chapel three days every week as a spiritual component to campus life. The School is home to almost 1500 undergraduates and offers 50 areas of study.
Bethel offers an Elementary Education K-6 degree leading to licensure in the State of Indiana and is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The four-year program includes built in minors in Early Childhood, Spanish, Special Education in Mild Disabilities, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). The education program is known for providing real-world, hands-on teaching experience, as well as excellent mentoring. At Bethel, field experience starts freshmen year and the College is helped by their Kindergarten Lab on campus. With a net price at $27,963, a favorable job employment rate and an average early salary of $44,700, the financials add up to a good investment.
University of Dayton
College Choice Score: 80.45
Average Tuition: $39,090
The University of Dayton has been around since 1850 and is the largest private school in Ohio. The Department of Teacher Education, part of the School of Education and Human Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education (PreK-3) and Middle Childhood grades 4-9.
The program is guided by a Catholic, Marianist educational philosophy of “community engagement, leadership and service” and the early childhood principles set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Division of Early Childhood and the Council for Exceptional Children. After general coursework and professional classes, students choose a focus area. These areas include endorsements, certificates and concentrations in prekindergarten special needs, young catechetical leaders, sign language (a partnership with Sinclair Community College), education abroad, leadership, foreign language, or a self-designed focus area to name a few. The School puts special emphasis on hands-on collaboration and experience, thus field experiences begin the first year. The campus and department provide marvelous resources such as the state-of-the-art Bombeck Family Learning Center and the Urban Training Center. The Middle Childhood degree is also excellent. It requires two areas of content for licensure as well as the general and professional credits with fieldwork. The NCTQ rated Dayton’s program in the 98th percentile.
York College of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 78.95
Average Tuition: $18,240
York College in York, Pennsylvania has 4,000 full-time undergraduate students and 300 graduate students. The College has a great ambiance with a charming quad surrounded by beautiful buildings on 190 park-like acres. One of the most popular majors at York is education.
York’s Early Elementary Education program (EEE) qualifies graduates to licensure in Pennsylvania for PreK-4. Since YCP “believes the best teachers are the products of the best preparation,” they bring teachers into the classroom early and often. Coursework required for completion of the degree include classes on the cognitive, social and emotional development of young children, language and literacy development of children, teaching methods, how to address students with special needs, and strategies for English Language Learners. Another crucial area to determine quality preparation is classroom management, something many first-year teachers wish they had more of. The NCTQ gave York’s EEE program a B in this area. As for financial considerations, the net price is affordable at $21,770. Considering that 91 percent of graduates are employed and/or in graduate school and the average early salary is $52,700 it makes the case that the investment pays off.
College Choice Score: 74.43
Average Tuition: $50,152
Bucknell University’s seal shows the sun, an open book, and waves. The sun symbolizes the light of knowledge, while the book represents education surmounting the storms of life. This is fitting for this competitive and academically excellent school in beautiful Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
The Department of Education at Bucknell offers 16 programs that lead to certification in Pennsylvania. Bucknell offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) and the potential to earn an English as a Second Language (ESL) Specialist certification. BU’s program is selective in that students must be admitted first to the Pre-Certification, Initial Preparation Program (Pre-CIP). This requires a 3.0 GPA, two math courses, a composition, and an American History class. Next comes coursework ending with the capstone, student teaching.
When seeking the best fit for you and your dreams of teaching, financials are a major consideration. Adding to Bucknell’s quality program, with an overall NCTQ rating of 86 percent, the investment and return are good. The net price is higher than others on the list at $35,677, but so is the average early salary coming in at $57,400. All in all, Bucknell’s Elementary Education is one of the best in the nation.
The College of New Jersey
College Choice Score: 73.06
Average Tuition: $15,466
Located in Ewing, New Jersey only 10 miles from Princeton and an hour from Philadelphia and New York is The College of New Jersey. The beautiful Georgian Colonial campus is a picturesque place for the 7400 students studying at the TCNJ. The College is selective in admitting only 49 percent of applicants. Since TCNJ was first established in 1855 as a normal school, the training of teachers has a deep history.
The School of Education offers two undergraduate elementary options: A Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood (PreK-3) and Elementary Education (K-6) with a content area certification. Both degrees require students to select one of the following second majors: Art, Biology, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, iSTEM (Math/Science/Technology), or Women’s & Gender Studies. A GPA of 3.0 is expected to be maintained and a passing score on a state-approved test of basic skills: SAT, ACT, or PRAXIS Core. TCNJ’s net price is $20,146 and the average early salary comes in at $48,600. With a commendable 93 percent retention rate and a 86 percent graduation rate, you can be sure your experience, training, and money are well worth the work.
College Choice Score: 73.03
Average Tuition: $49,324
The first institution of higher education in Boston was Boston College. The main campus is a historic district and adorned with green spaces and paths surrounded by collegiate gothic architecture. The private Jesuit College is known for academic excellence and research and enrolls 14,000 total students. The School is selective with an admissions rate of 29 percent; the student to faculty ratio is 12:1.
The Lynch School of Education offers a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Graduates also earn a Sheltered English Immersion endorsement to apply to their initial licensure and can earn English Language Learner certificates. In addition, BC Elementary Education graduates earn a major or interdisciplinary major in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. A look at the program reveals a breadth of classes from the University Core to professional classes, with experiential learning in various settings: Public, private, parochial, independent, bilingual, alternative, special needs either domestic or through study abroad options (though study abroad options do not fulfill the Methods requirements, they do provide valuable experience). With a 98 percent placement rate in education or education-related positions, you can feel prepared and confident a BC education will lead to employment.
High Point University
College Choice Score: 72.69
Average Tuition: $32,430
Founded in 1824 by Methodists, and located in High Point, North Carolina, the School now enrolls 4,500 students from more than 47 states and 36 countries and is growing. “During the past decade, HPU has invested more than $1.6 billion in academics, facilities, student life, technology and scholarships.”
At High Point University, the School of Education’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education is “based within the liberal arts tradition; it is rigorous, field-centered and highly personalized.” Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the North Carolina State Board of Education, graduates are eligible for licensure in K-6 classrooms. Early Reading and Student Teaching both received A’s from the NCTQ, who gave HPU an overall rating in the 97th percentile. Noting specific areas of high scores is wise as one of the defining marks for a quality education program, and one area to note is the student teaching. Also, in today’s complex digital and visual world, elementary programs need to follow HPU’s lead in effective training in early reading. A net price of $36,927 is higher than others on the list, though taken together with the programs high ratings and average early salary of $48,500, and the case can be made for its worth.
College Choice Score: 67.83
Average Tuition: $27,900
Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University was originally established in an old Army base to serve GI’s. It is now an interdenominational Christian university that serves 2700 students by offering outstanding engineering, liberal arts, aeronautics, education, business, science, and psychology degrees.
The School of Education offers degrees in Elementary Education: Early Childhood (PreK-6), and 4- 8 Grade Certification. These degrees may add English as a Second Language or Special Education Certification, and/or a Reading Minor. Some notable courses in the program are Remediation of Reading Difficulties and Classroom Management and Organization for the Elementary School. Field experience is a priority and begins freshmen year. Students also benefit from LETU’s on-site Pre-K learning lab. According to the State Board for Educator Certification/Texas Education Agency LETU’s teacher education program has produced more teachers than any other Texas private institution in the past decade. Not only is the number high, the quality is too: Two Texas Education Agency (TEA) Intern of the Year Awards, five Texas Directors of Field Experience (TDFE) Student Teacher of the Year Awards, and a 98 percent pass rate on teacher certification exams over the past three years. With results like these it is clear Letourneau is a solid choice.
Southern Methodist University
College Choice Score: 65.99
Average Tuition: $48,190
Southern Methodist University is located in Dallas, Texas and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Committed to “shaping world changers” the School serves 11,000 students who come from all 50 states and 90 countries.
To teach in a Texas public school requires a teaching certificate as outlined through the Texas Education Agency. This is achieved at SMU through the Simmons School of Education and Human Development’s Bachelor of Science Educational Studies major. Student choose this primary major, maintain a 2.5 GPA in core classes (as well as other requirements), and then enter the School of Education in one of the two certification tracks for elementary education, either EC-6 or grades 4-8. After completing coursework common to most programs in child development, methods, and the capstone student teaching experience, candidates are eligible to receive licensure. The overall program is strong, and specifically the NCTQ gave SMU an A on selection criteria and a B on classroom management. The net price is higher than others in the top 35 at $36,602, however, the early average salary is one of the highest at $54,400. Considering the strong program, return on investment, small classes, and beautiful campus at SMU, this could be the perfect place to learn your calling.