Most Affordable Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees

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Enhance your impact in the classroom with an affordable online masters’ degree in elementary education!

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If you want to work with young children and become a leader in your school, then a master’s in elementary education is probably in your future.

Whether you’re already a working teacher or looking to obtain your first teaching license, a master’s degree is a great way to learn new skills – and open doors to other career possibilities in the world of K-12 education.

But a master’s in education does more than expand employment possibilities. The U.S. Department of Education reports that high-quality teacher preparation can make a dramatic impact on student outcomes – even outweighing negative factors like poverty.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees

Rank School Location
1 California State University, Fullerton Fullerton, CA
2 Marshall University Huntington, WV
3 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
4 Troy University Troy, AL
5 University of North Alabama Florence, AL
6 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
7 University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke, NC
8 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
9 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
10 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY

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What kind of master’s in elementary education degree should you get?

Not all master’s in elementary education are created equal. And one of the biggest distinctions to be made is between degrees that lead to licensure and those that do not. If you don’t already have a teaching license and need one, look for those that provide initial teaching licensure – and make sure it will be accepted in your home state.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into a master’s program but can’t leave your home or work to do so, don’t despair! There are plenty of good, accredited online options available. Online programs provide both affordability and flexibility while providing a path to an advanced degree that employers will respect.

For more information, check out our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for a Graduate Degree.

How much money do people make with a master’s degree in elementary education?

Salaries vary widely state by state – but master’s degrees in Education generally do pay off. In an article by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational careers rank among the professions in which having an advanced degree delivers a “relatively high” payoff. That’s strong language for the BLS. Here are some examples of the difference a master’s makes to median annual wages:

  • Education Administrators with bachelors only: $52,000
  • Education Administrators with masters: $75,000 ($23,000 annual wage premium)
  • Elementary teachers with bachelors only: $42,100
  • Elementary teachers with master’s degree: 54,000 ($11,900 annual wage premium)

What can you do with a master’s degree in elementary education?

Well, obviously you can teach. And a master’s degree provides advanced skills that will greatly enhance your classroom practice.

But there are also a number of non-teaching careers that make good use of a master’s in education. From school administration to educational consultancy or even corporate training – you’ll gain organizational and leadership skills that you can put to work in a number of careers. Here are some jobs you might qualify for:

  • Principal or Administrator
  • Special Education Teacher
  • School or Career Counselor
  • Instructional specialist
  • Content Developer (writing lesson outlines or standardized tests)

What are the requirements for a master’s degree in elementary education?

Admission requirements vary widely depending on the degree program. Program websites are valuable sources for admissions information, and scouring these for specific requirements is a good idea. But here are a few common requirements:

  • All programs require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Many master’s programs are intended for experienced teachers and require an initial teacher’s license for admission to the program.
  • Some programs require standardized test scores like the GRE.
  • For programs that don’t require a teaching license, you may need to provide evidence that you have experience working with children in some capacity.

What are the most affordable online master’s in elementary education degrees?

At College Choice, we know you’re looking for good value for your master’s degree. But spending hours perusing the National Center for Educational Statistics website isn’t really a good use of your time.

So we’ve done it for you. We’ve found 25 cheap, accredited online master’s in elementary education programs and ranked them according to their net price. The net price takes into consideration the extra fees that many schools pile on top of their per-credit tuition rate, so you can feel confident that the price you see will reflect what the school will expect you to pay.

We hope this ranking helps you find a great – and affordable – program!

2018 Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. California State University, Fullerton
    Location

    Fullerton, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in the Southern California city of Fullerton, California State University, Fullerton is a public research university and the largest institution of the 23-campus California State University system. The universitys commitment to accessibility and affordability has led them to invest in strong online programming, and their online graduate education programs currently rank among the top 50 nationally by U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    California State University, Fullertons Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education offers an online, NCATE-accredited Master of Science with an emphasis in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction. Intended for currently working teachers who want to prepare for curriculum and instructional leadership in their district, coursework provides advanced instruction in a number of areas that will help you the needs of diverse learners. Core courses include:

    Survey of Educational Research Graduate Studies: Learning Theory for Classroom Use Curriculum Theory and Development

    Notables

    California State University, Fullertons online MS in Curriculum and Instruction is a 30-credit program comprised of three core courses, four courses in the Curriculum and Instruction concentration, electives, and a culminating experience. This is a great option for licensed elementary teachers CSU Fullertons online programs are renowned for their outstanding programs and competitive tuition.

  2. Marshall University
    Location

    Huntington, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Huntington, West Virginia, Marshall University is a mid-sized public research university and one of the oldest in the state. The University is focused on providing a world-class education for their students both online and on campus. And their College of Education and Professional Development provides high-quality programs for educators.

    Program Features

    Marshall Universitys College of Education offers an online Master of Arts in Education with an Elementary Math Specialist concentration. Students gain a foundational knowledge of progressive mathematics pedagogy and the latest in teaching techniques, combined with specific content-area coursework. The Math Specialist concentration leads to an Elementary Math Specialist Certificate in the State of West Virginia. Courses include:

    Educational Research and Writing Mathematics for Elementary Teachers Educational Evaluation

    Notables

    Marshall Universitys online MA in Education is a 36-credit program comprised of 15 credits of core coursework, 18 credits of concentration-specific courses, and a capstone experience. The program is offered in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Education to provide elementary teachers with an avenue to attain an Elementary Mathematics Specialist endorsement on their teaching license.

  3. Western Governors University
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, Western Governors University is a private, non-profit, online university. The school aims to make education truly accessible and employs a competency-based learning model that makes learning flexible and efficient for adult students. The National Association for Teacher Quality has ranked WGU as the best value in teaching programs nationally.

    Program Features

    Western Governors Universitys Teachers College offers an online, NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education which leads to licensure in all 50 states. This is an ideal program for those with a bachelors degree in a non-teaching field. Youll gain all the skills you need to run a classroom, and as well as specific content knowledge. Courses include:

    Foundational Perspectives of Education Mathematics for Elementary Educators Psychology for Educators

    Notables

    WGUs MAT in Elementary Education is a competency-based program comprised of online coursework and a supervised practicum experience. Students can complete the program as quickly as they master competencies, making the program uniquely flexible. And students pay a flat tuition rate for a six-month term so the more classes you take, the cheaper your degree becomes.

  4. Troy University
    Location

    Troy, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1887 as a teachers college, Troy University is a public institution that ranks among the top 100 regional universities in the South according to U.S. News and World Report. Troys nationally-ranked online programs have extended the reach of their quality, affordable programs nationally and internationally. And Troys College of Education has a long history of academic excellence providing students around the globe with flexible degree options.

    Program Features

    Troy Universitys College of Education offers a CAEP-accredited, online Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Elementary Education that prepares students for leadership. The purpose of Troys Master of Education graduate program is to develop innovative, informed, reflective decision makers with outstanding pedagogical training. Students receive one-on-one attention from experienced instructors, and core courses include:

    The Master Teacher Research Methodology Collaboration for Inclusion

    Notables

    Troy Universitys online MS in Education is a 36-credit program designed for practicing teachers in public or private school settings. Courses are 100 percent online though some courses are also available on campus for students who prefer a hybrid program. Troys program also allows for flexible course planning, so that students are not confined to regimented course sequences and can take full- or part-time course loads. All teacher education certification programs are approved by the Alabama State Department of Education.

  5. University of North Alabama
    Location

    Florence, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Florence, AL, the University of North Alabama is a public university that ranks among the top 35 public regional universities in the South. The university blends a sense of tradition with innovative programs, offered both on campus and online. And UNAs College of Education offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, preparing students for rewarding careers.

    Program Features

    The Department of Elementary Education at the University of North Alabama offers an online, CAEP-accredited Master of Arts in Education program that leads to Alabama Professional Educator Certification in collaborative teacher/special education, and elementary education. This program is intended for working teachers who want to increase their knowledge and classroom effectiveness. Courses include:

    Methods of Action Research The Master Teacher Issues in ECE and EED

    Notables

    The University of North Alabamas MA.Ed. in Elementary Education program is comprised of 33 graduate credits, 18 of which are required core courses. For admission to UNAs masters programs, youll need a valid bachelors-level professional educator certificate in the same field in which youll be seeking a Class A Professional Educator Certificate. The university also requires MAT and GRE scores for admission.

  6. Eastern New Mexico University
    Location

    Portales, NM

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A relatively small state university located in Portales, NM, Eastern New Mexico University ranks among the top 100 regional schools in the West from U.S. News and World Report. The school has been making great strides in online learning, providing high-quality programs in diverse areas including Education at the undergraduate and graduate level.

    Program Features

    Eastern New Mexico University offers an online Master of Education in Pedagogy and Learning with a concentration in Elementary Education. The Pedagogy and Learning program is perfect for alternative licensure candidates in elementary education since coursework from the online licensure program can be counted toward the M.Ed. degree plan. Students in the program complete both the Pedagogy and Learning emphasis with the Elementary Education concentration. Courses include:

    Trends in Mathematics and Science Creativity Across the Curriculum

    Notables

    All students in Eastern New Mexico Universitys 36-credit M.Ed. program complete nine credits of core courses in the Pedagogy and Learning Emphasis. The remainder of the credit hours come from the Elementary Education concentration. If you dont already have a teaching license, check out ENMUs alternative licensure program in Elementary Education. All 21 credits apply directly to the M.Ed. program, so youll end up with a teaching license as well as a masters degree.

  7. University of North Carolina at Pembroke
    Location

    Pembroke, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the most diverse universities in the nation, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a public university with a mission to promote excellence in teaching and learning. Though the University has a relatively small student population, it ranks among the top 50 public regional universities in the South and is home to online graduate education programs nationally-ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    UNC Pembrokes School of Education offers an NCATE-accredited online Master of Arts in Education: Elementary Education which leads to certification. Designed for experienced teachers, the program will prepare you to become a leader, researcher, and master practitioner. The university cultivates an inclusive and collaborative community of online learners, engaging in inquiry, reflection, and practice. Courses include:

    Effective Educational Leadership Applied Educational Research Language, Literacy, and Diversity

    Notables

    UNC Pembrokes online MA.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 36-credit program comprised of eight required courses and four guided content courses. For admission to the program, youll should hold a Standard Professional I teaching license in elementary education and two years of full-time teaching experience is recommended. On completion, youll be eligible for a masters level teaching license through the NC State Board of Education.

  8. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Indiana State University is a public research university that consistently ranks among the best schools in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report. The University blends research and teaching, providing space for personal and intellectual growth and the Bayh College of Education has a long standing tradition of producing excellent teacher leaders.

    Program Features

    Indiana State University Bayh College of Education offers an online, NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Elementary Education which leads to licensure in the State of Indiana. Designed for working teachers who are passionate about positively impacting their students, the curriculum covers a wide range of areas from research in education to advanced child psychology. Students choose one of three concentrations:

    Early Childhood Education Literacy Primary/ Intermediate

    Notables

    Indiana State Universitys online M.Ed. in Elementary Education is a 32-credit-hour program comprised of 14 credits of basic professional courses and 18 credits in a concentration area. The program takes around 18 months to complete full-time, but students can choose their own pace of study. Graduates earn an Indiana professional licensure in elementary education or early childhood education (provided they have the required five years of teaching experience).

  9. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located along the Monongahela River in the small city of Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University is a public research institution that ranks among the top 100 public universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report. The universitys College of Education and Human Services offers a variety of academic programs, including online graduate education programs that rank among the best in the country.

    Program Features

    West Virginia Universitys College of Education and Human Services offers an online, NCATE-accredited Advanced Master of Arts in Elementary Education. Designed for individuals who currently hold a teacher certification in elementary education, the program provides expanded knowledge of learning, teaching, and the issues facing educators today. Courses cover content, curriculum, and classroom management, including:

    School Curriculum for Classroom Teachers Twenty-first Century Teaching and Learning Problem Solving in Mathematics

    Notables

    West Virginia Universitys online Advanced MA in Elementary Education is a 30-credit program that is comprised of ten required courses. For added flexibility, WVU offers three program start dates in fall, spring, summer. The program takes about two years to complete on a part-time basis, and youll need a current teaching certificate for admission to the program. This program does not lead to state licensure.

  10. Western Kentucky University
    Location

    Bowling Green, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    A public university located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University ranks among the top public regional universities in the South. The university, which was originally founded in 1906, has gone through a significant transformation in recent decades. This effort has led to high rankings for both their on-campus and their acclaimed online programs including their online graduate programs.

    Program Features

    Western Kentucky Universitys College of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Education: Elementary Education for Teacher Leaders. As a student, youll learn to address classroom management, differentiated instruction, and most importantly, improve student learning. On graduation, youll be ready to help close achievement gaps and develop equitable practices to meet the needs of diverse learners. The six specializations include:

    Elementary Education Elementary Mathematics Specialist Endorsement English as a Second Language Endorsement

    Notables

    Western Kentucky Universitys online MA.Ed. in Elementary Education for Teacher Leaders is a 30-37 credit program divided into two instructional components 10-16 credits of Professional Education and 15-21 credits in the specialization. This program is both highly affordable and highly customizable, with five possible additional endorsements. Youll need a valid teaching certificate in elementary education for admission.

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