Free Online Lectures and Courses for Elementary Education

If you are interested in becoming an elementary school teacher, you are not alone. The elementary education field gives motivated teachers a chance to connect on a personal level with countless students, and, with that, the opportunity to lead children into the rest of their lives. And elementary education professionals make a good living; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elementary education professionals earn a median annual salary of $53,090 per year.

The field of elementary education is varied; its professionals have the ability to customize a degree and career thanks to the broad selection of specializations and courses found in most programs, some of which we’ll review below.

Sample Courses

Courses vary from program-to-program, but students of elementary education can expect to take general education requirements that are expected of most students, as well as a set number of upper division credits that pertain specifically to elementary education. Upper division courses may include the following: foundations in childhood education, special education, and the methodology behind math, language arts and science. Typically, students are also expected to participate in student teaching, a semester or quarter long program that provides the student-teacher with a real classroom experience under the supervision of a mentor.

Possible Specializations

Specializations allow future elementary school teachers to focus on a specific area of education, and may include early childhood education or special education, depending on the courses offered at your school or any of your own relevant skills. Teachers may also specialize in a number of subjects including math, science, English, technology, art, music and home economics, to name a few. Using your specialization is a great way to connect with students and to demonstrate your passion for a specific subject. Having a specialization may also make you more marketable to a potential employer.

Degree Types

The career options available to you upon graduation will depend on the degree level you’ve acquired. Generally, degree level also dictate salary, job outlook and work environment. The following four sections will detail what each degree offers.

Associate

To become an elementary school teacher, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree; however, there are many schools that offer an associate degree in elementary education, which will help prepare students for a bachelor’s degree program. Associate degree programs will likely require a variety of math, English and science courses, with a focus on childhood development.

Often, associate degree programs are offered at a lower cost and through local area community colleges, making it easier for some students to access the prerequisites they need to transition to a bachelor’s degree program when they’re ready.

Bachelor’s

A bachelor’s degree generally takes four years to complete, but may vary on a program-to-program basis. Students may also have the option to add a minor or two to their studies, offering the ability to acquire a specialization pertinent to elementary education; specialities may include Teaching English to Foreign Students, Special Education or Urban Education. Teachers with a bachelor’s degree have the option to become licensed to teach in the public school system. Some private schools, on the other hand, don’t require the same licensing, so it’s important to check when applying for a position.

Master’s

A student who advances to a master’s program will likely spend two years taking courses that relate to their specific interests within the field of elementary education. Specializations are one way for a student to round-out their education while preparing for a specific career after college. Specializations vary from program to program; at Goucher College, for example, specializations include: Athletic Program Leadership and Administration, School Mediation, and At-risk and Diverse Learners, among many others.

One career option that is available to professionals with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education is elementary school principal, a career that will earn you an average median salary of $87,760, according to the BLS.

A master’s degree, unlike the bachelor’s, opens up doors to managerial and administrative positions, making it a great degree option for individuals who wish to take on a leadership role as opposed to teaching.

Ed.D.

Educators who receive an Ed.D. in elementary education are eligible to teach at the university level upon graduation. Research based courses and in-depth study of educational issues are the hallmark of what a student can expect upon entering such a program. Ed.D. grads have the opportunity to enact change in the field of education, and may become known as an expert in their field of study, like Achieving the Dream’s president and CEO, William Trueheart, Ed.D. Many Ed.D. students have gone on to write books, hold lectures and publish empirical research.

Ideal Candidates for Elementary Education Degree

Aspiring elementary education professionals should have a strong desire to work with elementary-aged students, as well as the patience, enthusiasm and ethics to go along with that desire. Great communication skills are necessary, as elementary school teachers must speak with parents and other teachers on a regular basis. The ability to self-motivate is important, too, since teachers often grade coursework outside of regular school hours. Finally, organization skills are an asset to the elementary education professional, who must develop and implement lesson plans, as well as hold conferences, plan school-wide events and maintain order in their student’s portfolios.

Career Pathways

Elementary Education graduates and new professionals will be challenged by the ever-changing education landscape. With new standards and student and teacher requirements, there is no room for boredom in the field.

The need for qualified and reputable elementary teachers is always present in America. According to the BLS, the growth rate for elementary teachers is 12%, average for all occupations.

In addition to researching degree programs, it may be wise to use professional organizations, online teaching communities and free online courses that will help advance your skill set and jumpstart your career.

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Elementary Education Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • American Education Research Journal

      Empirical and theoretical studies in education will be found in this academic publication that focuses on social and institutional analysis as well as teaching, learning and human development.

    • Computers & Education

      Technically-based, this journal covers all areas of the intersection between communication technology and computers and education, training and cognition.

    • Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics

      Applying statistics to educational and behavioral problems, this journal offers critical review of current practices, presentations of methods and innovative applications of existing methods.

    • Review of Educational Research

      Publishing "critical, integrative reviews of research literature bearing on education," this academic journal also includes methodological, theoretical and historical reviews.

  • Trade Magazines

    • American Teacher

      Covering a wide range of topics of interest to K-12 teachers, this magazine from the AFT includes teaching resources, member profiles and information on union ...

    • EdDigest

      Designed for school leaders, elementary educators also benefit from the wide array of articles and reviews to help them improve learning outcomes and student ...

    • Education Week

      Touted as the "most trusted source of news and analysis" for K-12 issues, this magazine published by Editorial Projects in Education brings teachers the latest ...

    • Harvard Education Letter

      Bi-monthly, this magazine is published by the Harvard Education Publishing Group and covers a wide range of topics including PreK-3rd, Tech Talk and Engagement ...

Elementary Education Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • ACEI Mini Grants

      Deadline: Varies

      Award Amount: $500

      Open to ACEI members, these grants fund education projects to enhance teacher education and improve classroom instruction.

    • ACEI Student Scholarship

      Deadline: December 1

      Award Amount: $300

      ACEI members who demonstrate promise as educators are eligible for this grant that subsidizes the cost of attending ACEI events.

    • American Federation of Teachers Robert G. Porter Member Grants

      Deadline: March 31

      Award Amount: $1,000

      AFT members may apply for these grants designed to implement ideas to help union members "reclaim the promise of a more just society for all." (bottom of page)

    • Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship

      Deadline: September 30

      Award Amount: Varies

      Funds proposals to conduct UNESCO work and is open to college and university students who wish to participate in international collaboration.

    • Richard A. Baker Graduate Student Travel Grant

      Deadline: April 1

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Available to support graduate-level research, this award may be used to fund a dissertation, thesis, film, article, documentary, exhibit or website.

  • Scholarships

    • AFCEA STEM Scholarship

      Deadline: April 1

      Award Amount: $5,000

      Education and other majors with a 3.0 GPA or higher and a demonstrated commitment to STEM teaching are eligible to apply.

    • AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars

      Deadline: March 31

      Award Amount: $8,000

      Children of AFT members who demonstrate commitment to community service and the role of unions in society are eligible for this scholarship.

    • American Montessori Society Teacher Education Scholarship

      Deadline: May 1

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Candidates who are accepted or currently enrolled in an AMS-affiliated education program are eligible for this scholarship.

    • Aspiring Educator Scholarship

      Deadline: November 1

      Award Amount: $1,000

      This scholarship is available for elementary educators seeking a special education specialty.

    • BHD Endowed Scholarship

      Deadline: April 1

      Award Amount: $2,500

      Students with bachelor's degree in a non-education field who pursue a graduate degree in education are eligible for this scholarship.

    • Haberman Star Teacher Scholarship

      Deadline: April 18

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Community college students seeking undergraduate, alternative and post-baccalaureate certification may apply for this scholarship.

    • Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship

      Deadline: March 1

      Award Amount: $5,000

      Minority students with a 2.5 GPA or better and who have been accepted or are enrolled at an Illinois college at least half-time are eligible for this ...

    • Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship

      Deadline: Varies

      Award Amount: Varies

      Providing funds to higher ed institutions, this funds scholarships and stipends to "prepare STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers."

    • Teacher Quest Scholarship

      Deadline: Varies

      Award Amount: Varies

      Eligible applicants have at least a 3.0 GPA and are enrolled at least half time in a higher education institution with an accredited teacher education program.

Elementary Education Internships

  • ACEI Internship

    Deadline: N/A

    Interns with this 8-12 week position in Washington, D.C. conduct online research and data gathering to contribute to briefing papers prepared by ACEI staff.

  • Advocates for Children of New York Summer Internship

    Deadline: N/A

    Students work on policy initiatives with staff and also provide services directly to families and children during this 10 week internship.

  • Lutz Children's Museum Internship

    Deadline: N/A

    At this children's museum in Manchester, CT, interns work to create programs in natural science, art and animals to enrich the lives of young children.

  • Optimum Health Solution

    Deadline: N/A

    The Elementary Education Intern, a non-paid position, researches and plans lessons, games and craft projects to teach kids about healthy eating.

  • Project Scientist Internships

    Deadline: N/A

    Focusing on early education in science, technology, engineering and math, these summer internships provide students with the opportunity to facilitate hands-on STEM education for children.

Elementary Education Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • Kappa Delta Pi

      KDP is the international honor society in education and fosters excellence in education and fellowship among teachers with access to research, resources and ...

    • Pi Lambda Theta

      PLT is a national honor society for educators that offers its members professional development and networking opportunities, including at its Future Educators ...

  • Professional Organizations