2024 Best Online Certificate in Elementary Education [Graduate Programs]

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An elementary education certificate is a graduate program that enables students and professionals to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue licensure as elementary teachers.

Best Online Certificate in Elementary Education

Graduate certificate programs offer you the opportunity to gain advanced and valuable skills in a short amount of time. Completing a certificate program in elementary education can help you enter the in-demand and essential field of education.

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Current education professionals may also pursue this certificate if they do not yet have the credentials to specifically teach students at the elementary level.

Online Elementary Education Certificate Programs

Woman taking Online Elementary Education Certificate

A certificate in elementary teacher education is an academic award that teaches students the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient elementary school educators.

Students who pursue graduate certificate programs are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree, such as an on-campus or online bachelor’s degree in education. Many students and professionals earn this certificate to gain foundational skills in the field and prepare for elementary teaching licensure. Current elementary teachers may also pursue a graduate certificate to expand their skills and grow their expertise.

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What makes certificate programs unique is that they allow students to take graduate-level classes in a shortened amount of time. Professionals may pursue a certificate to accelerate their educational and career goals.

It’s common for graduate certificate programs in elementary education to cover topics like the following:

  • Reading and language arts
  • Teaching practice
  • Elementary science
  • Elementary mathematics

Studying these subjects, as well as many others, can help you become an elementary education professional or advance in the field.

Most graduates pursue teaching licensure and go on to become kindergarten teachers or elementary school teachers in public or private schools. A graduate certificate may also help you qualify for roles in curriculum development or education administration.

Depending on the school, accredited coursework from a graduate certificate program may also count toward a related masters degree.

Elementary Education Careers & Salaries

Elementary Education Certificate Careers & Salaries

An elementary education teaching certificate can help you qualify for positions in teaching. Most graduates use this certificate to become elementary school teachers, nurturing and guiding the next generation of people and professionals.

Current elementary education professionals may also pursue a graduate certificate to increase their earning potential and grow their expertise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of careers related to the field of elementary education.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
K-12 Education Administrators $101,320
Instructional Coordinators $66,490
Special Education Teachers — Kindergarten and Elementary School $62,390
Elementary School Teachers $61,690
Kindergarten Teachers $60,490
Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,140
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $50,820
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $49,690
Preschool Teachers $35,330
Teacher Assistants $30,920

Instructional coordinators and principals are typically required to hold masters degrees, but a graduate certificate may help you qualify for some positions in curriculum development and education administration.

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The jobs you can qualify for will likely depend on your experience level, your employer and school district, and your geographic location. For instance, while a teaching licensure is required for educators in public schools, some private schools do not require their teachers to hold state licensure.

Elementary Education Certificate Curriculum & Courses

students getting Elementary Education Certificate in group work

An elementary education teaching certificate will require you to take a variety of courses. Here’s a list of some standard classes to help give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Introduction to Teaching Strategies and Professionalism Expectations: In this course, you’ll discover the necessary classroom management techniques that promote student growth.
  • Creating and Managing Engaging Learning Environments: This course teaches you how to encourage social interaction, engagement in learning, motivation, and collaboration among students.
  • Foundational Literacy Skills: This course teaches you how to mold students into proficient readers.
  • Methods of Structured English Immersion for Elementary Education: This course provides an overview of various instructional programs’ historical, educational, and legal foundations for those learning the English language.
  • Survey of Special Education: Mild to Moderate Disabilities: You’ll study the unique educational needs of students who have mild to moderate disabilities that affect their ability to learn.
  • Enhanced Learning Plans for Diverse Classrooms Capstone: This course involves the study of data to determine areas in which education can be improved.
  • Introduction to Elementary Education: You’ll study the foundation of education, including theory, history, and current research.
  • Education in a Diverse Society: This course will help prepare you to become an educator who can handle the different needs of students from different backgrounds.
  • Educational Programs for Young Children: You’ll study the theories and program models for early childhood education.
  • Observation and Assessment in Elementary Education: You’ll study various assessment methods that can allow you to develop better, more robust, curricula.

These are some of the types of courses you may encounter in your studies. You can review and compare the courseloads of different programs to gain more information.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Elementary Education Certificate

Here are some standard admissions requirements for a graduate certificate in elementary teacher education:

  • Bachelor degree and undergraduate transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent
  • GRE or GMAT scores (if required)
  • Resume or CV

Every program is different and can have unique admissions requirements, so it’s beneficial to review the specific criteria of your programs of choice. You can also reach out to your prospective schools with any questions you may have regarding the online application or overall admissions process.

Accreditation

University offering Elementary Education Certificate

Attending a school that has regional accreditation can have a number of benefits. Regional accreditation status is given to institutions that have been evaluated by a regional accredited agency and have been found to consistently provide students with a high-quality education.

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So, earning a graduate certificate from an accredited school could certify the quality of your education. Employers are more likely to recognize and acknowledge academic credentials that are awarded by accredited schools. Enrolling at an accredited institution can also be an eligibility requirement for receiving certain forms of financial aid.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Elementary Education Certificate Financial Aid

It’s common for graduate students to seek financial assistance. If you plan to apply for aid to help meet the upfront costs of your education, then there are number of resources and options you can explore.

For many, the primary form of assistance is the aid administered by the government in the form of student loans. Your eligibility for need-based aid will depend on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your state may also use your FAFSA information to determine if you qualify for any state aid programs.

Additional forms of aid include scholarships and grants, which can be offered by a variety of sources. For example, most schools and professional organizations offer scholarship programs based on various criteria. You can research and apply for scholarship opportunities online.

Many employers also provide tuition reimbursement programs or other forms of tuition benefits for employees who are furthering their education and professional development.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Elementary Education?

Elementary School Teacher teaching history in class

A graduate certificate in elementary education may open the doors for a few different careers in education. Many students and professionals earn this academic certificate in order to pursue elementary teaching licensure.

As a result, many graduates go on to become kindergarten teachers or elementary teachers in public or private schools. Others may pursue work as instructional coordinators or school administrators. Some of these positions, though, may require at least a masters degree.

Speaking of which, courses from an accredited graduate certificate may transfer to a related masters degree program, depending on the school.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Elementary Teaching Certificate Online?

Woman getting Elementary Teaching Certificate Online

An elementary education teaching certificate can vary in length depending on the school and the program. That said, they generally take students less than 1 year to complete and require approximately 12 to 21 credits for completion.

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Some students take as little as 6 weeks to complete a graduate certificate program, but others take as much as 2 years. There are various factors that may influence the duration of the program. Some of these factors include your enrollment status, your courseload, the total number of credits required, and any potential breaks taken during the program.

What’s the Difference Between an Elementary Education Certification vs. Certificate?

Here are some of the key differences between elementary education certificates and elementary teacher certification.

Elementary Education Certificate Elementary Education Certification
  • Short-term course of study offered by a college or university
  • For students and current professionals
  • Often a pathway to a masters degree or teaching licensure
  • Professional credential offered by an industry organization
  • Often requires work experience
  • Can demonstrate your specialties in the field

Certificate programs may help you prepare for professional certification in elementary education. Requirements for certification can vary depending on the state or organization.

Is an Elementary Education Certificate Worth It?

Elementary School Teacher discussing in class

Yes, an elementary education certificate is worth it for many students. Students and professionals who choose to earn this certificate often have a love for education and a desire to help others reach their educational goals.

Earning this type of graduate certificate could help you pursue state licensure for teaching kindergarten and elementary school students in public and private schools. Qualified educators will likely remain essential to the workforce and society at large.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4% job growth is expected for elementary school teachers over the next ten years, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer programs online or in a hybrid format.

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University offers a graduate certificate in Elementary Education program online. The program is intended to be attended part time. The completion of at least 27 credit hours is required. The program commonly admits each year in spring, summer, and fall terms.

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ball State University

Ball State University

Ball State University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in Enhanced Teaching Practice for Elementary Teachers. Concentrations are commonly available in Classroom Management, Classroom Assessment, Technology Use, Reading and Writing Instruction, and Differentiated Instruction.

The program requires the completion of 15 credits and covers topics like development, educational technology, assessment, family and community engagement, and literacy.

Ball State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University offers an online program for an Alternative Licensure Certificate in Elementary Education. This program is intended for pursuing an initial K-8 teaching license in the state of New Mexico. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours.

Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University offers a graduate certificate in Elementary Education program in a hybrid format. The program is geared toward holders of a bachelor’s degree in a separate field wanting to earn initial teacher certification. Classes are typically 6 weeks long and are offered using a blend of asynchronous online and in-person evening classes.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in Effective Teaching in Elementary Schools. Potential courses include Reading Process and Practices, Management of the Elementary Classroom, and Mathematics Education Theory and Practice. Classes are usually 16 weeks long. Applications are commonly considered on a rolling basis.

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Alaska – Southeast

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska–Southeast offers a graduate certificate in Elementary Education K to 8 program online. The program is intended for residents of Alaska interested in gaining the skills and knowledge required to sit for teaching licensure exams. The curriculum consists of 30 to 33 credit hours. While classes meet online, 6 credits of student teaching in the field are also required.

The University of Alaska – Southeast is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Missouri – St. Louis

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The University of Missouri–St. Louis offers an online program for a graduate certificate in Elementary School Teaching. The program aims to teach skills in classroom management, curriculum design, educational technology, and family engagement. The completion of at least 45 credits is required.

The University of Missouri – St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Carolina – Charlotte

University of North Carolina - Charlotte

The University of North Carolina–Charlotte offers a certificate in Elementary Education program online. Common classes include Developing Equitable Learning Environments, Methods for Literacy, and Teaching Assessment of Mathematics. The completion of field experiences in at least 3 significantly different settings is required. The program typically admits for the spring and summer terms.

UNC Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University offers a graduate certificate in Teaching Elementary Education program online. Classes cover concepts like equity, educational ethics, classroom management, curriculum and instruction, and methods for teaching reading, social studies, mathematics, and science. The program requires the completion of 27 credit hours.

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in Elementary Reading and Literacy. The program is intended for holders of a bachelor’s degree interested in gaining initial teaching licensure. The program requires the completion of 15 credits. Time to program completion varies due to the flexibility in setting pace and course load.

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Elementary Education Certificate Online

student taking Elementary Education Certificate Online

Earning an online certificate in elementary education can help prepare you for licensure as an elementary school teacher. This certificate could also be beneficial for current education professionals who want to sharpen their skills, grow their qualifications, and increase their earning potential.

Plus, a graduate-level education is often necessary for positions in curriculum development and education administration. Graduate certificates from accredited schools may also count toward related master degree programs.

If you’re wanting to begin or advance your career in elementary education, you could begin researching accredited universities today to find online graduate certificate programs that align with your interests.

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David Garcia
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David has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Film from Syracuse University. While in school, much of his time was dedicated to Syracuse’s literary magazine, both as a writer and editor. David’s current interests include literary and film studies as well as social justice.