Students enrolled in a bachelor's in elementary education with an emphasis on grades K-5 will learn the core subjects and professional practice fundamentals they need to work as teachers. Common courses include classroom management, educational psychology, foundational in teaching, diversity and inclusion and core content. In addition, students will also complete supervised practice teaching assignments. Once they earn appropriate licensure, as outlined by their state, they will be able to teach in both public and private elementary schools.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
Most entry-level elementary teaching positions only require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree and state teaching certification. The specific requirements can vary by state, so please be sure to verify the program you are interested in meets requirements in your area before enrolling. In some cases, students may also opt to continue on to a master’s level program after a few years of classroom experience. The foundational course work completed as part of a four-year degree program will serve as an excellent foundation for this graduate study.
Inside an Elementary Education (K-5) Bachelor’s Degree Program
Students researching programs in elementary education will likely find an expanding number of options when it comes to online learning. Most distance programs run in an asynchronous format, meaning there are no scheduled class times. Instead, students are free to log in to the virtual learning platform at any time and from any location with online access. This provides the flexibility working adults, busy parents and those with travel restrictions need to pursue higher education. Technology such as chat, e-mail, interactive discussion boards, web conferencing and streaming audio and video help to keep students connected to their peers and professors on a regular basis as well.
This type of program will usually take four years of full-time study. Students can, of course, expect variations depending on transfer credits brought in, the number of classes required for the program, level of enrollment and any breaks taken. Classes may include topics such as classroom management, child development, learning psychology, teaching practice, learning assessment and evaluation, diversity and inclusion and core content courses in reading and language arts, elementary mathematics and elementary science. Undergraduates will also need to complete student teaching assignments, though these can be arranged remotely for online students.
What’s Next for Elementary Education (K-5) Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Once students complete their online bachelor’s, they will need to earn their teacher certification. The specific requirements for this will vary by state, but after they have earned their licensure, graduates can pursue teaching jobs with both public and private elementary schools. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a relatively strong job outlook for elementary school teachers with demand expected to grow by 17% from 2014 to 2024 ― more than double the 7% growth anticipated for all occupations during the same period.
In 2014, the reported average annual wage for elementary school teachers, excluding special education, was $56,830. However, it is important to note, these statistics may not always reflect actual pay or job openings in your area. This will depend on the cost of living, your level of experience, the general job market and the specific employer.