California Elementary Education Graduate Programs & Schools

Elementary education graduate programs aim to prepare students for a role in K-12 learning: touching on subjects from in-classroom teaching, administration techniques, to research and curriculum planning. With the variety of programs available, students with all levels of education may find a degree program that addresses their own graduate goals. Current teachers and those newly joining the educational field alike may benefit from seeking perfect elementary education graduate programs.

Pursuing an Elementary Education Graduate Program: The Basics

Elementary education graduate programs may offer master’s, doctorates, and graduate certificate tracks. To those currently in the teaching field, earning a graduate degree could potentially lead to career enhancement – many educational centered positions require advanced degrees. If you currently do not have a bachelor’s degree in education, earning a master’s in elementary education degree or a graduate certificate from a state-approved program may be a great first step into the world of teaching.i

Since an undergraduate degree is required for teaching licensure, a master’s degree in elementary education may not seem as vital. But here are a few facts that show how great a master’s degree program could be.

  • Some states require teachers to seek out advanced degrees after earning their initial teaching certification.ii Check your state’s guidelines to ensure all criteria are met.
  • Education admins who have earned their master’s degree have wage premium of $23,000 over their colleagues who earned only a bachelor’s degree.iii
  • With additional education, teachers may progress career-wise into roles such as instructional coordinators, administration leadership, or even principals.iv

Which Elementary Education Graduate Degree Program May Be Perfect for You?

Choosing an elementary education graduate program may seem intimidating – there are a lot of choices! Write down your own degree requirements: how long do you want to be in school? What is your academic objective? Do you want to study in the classroom? Answering these questions may help you pick out a perfect program to fit your life, schedule, and goals.

Some Elementary Education Graduate Programs do require students to take state licensure exams prior to required coursework. Check your course catalog to ensure that requirements are met prior to scheduling.

Master’s in Elementary Education Programs

As with many degrees, admission requirements for elementary education master’s programs may differ based on the school. Programs may require applicants to hold a 2.0 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA and submit GRE scores. Other general admissions requirements may be letters of recommendation, personal essays, CVs and resumes, and a professional teaching portfolio. Elementary education master’s programs may take between 1-3 years to complete, depending on whether the course is accelerated or the student is handling a full-time or part-time course load. Program lengths vary by school.

Some elementary education masters programs offer a licensure option to help new teachers prepare to enter the field. For those just beginning their foray into the teaching world, this could be an important factor. These programs may not only cover important topics in the classroom, but also integrate field requirements to give new teachers hands on experience. Schools that do not offer a licensure elementary education masters program may solely accept currently licensed teachers.

Masters in Elementary Education programs typically fall into one of three categories.

  • A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Elementary Education is a great degree program for those looking to pursue in-classroom teaching. MATs may focus on elementary academics like math, social studies, and physical education. This degree program may be especially beneficial to those newly joining the teaching profession, as it focuses on general teaching methods and common curriculum in K-12 schooling.
  • The Master of Science in Elementary Education program is similar to an MAT in that its aim is to support teachers in the classroom. The M.S. differs by emphasizing educational research and analysis to identify trends in order to better influence the system as a whole.
  • Master of Education in Elementary Education programs, like the other two programs, touches on aspects of classroom teaching. However this degree program places its academic focus on creative problem-solving to address educational hurdles such as literacy development, teaching method, and curriculum planning.

Every elementary educations masters program may have slightly different curriculum and goals. Therefore it's best to read the full course list for preferred programs and contact schools direclty.

Elementary Education Doctoral Programs

To apply to a elementary education doctorate program, schools may require a GPA of 3.0 to 4.0 as well as GRE scores. Graduate programs leading towards a doctoral degree may involve intensive coursework; because of this, a degree program may take between 4 to 6 years to complete.  Program lengths vary by school.  Programs may require a master’s degree in education in order for admission, so this program may not be the best choice for those just beginning their teaching career.

  • Doctorate of Education in elementary education (EdD) gives its attention an interacting with the educational system, enabling students to handle a variety of contemporary issues from the vantage point of administration, research, and professional positions. Candidates may draw from existing educational breakthroughs to implement new curriculum innovations to better serve K-12 educational systems.
  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) may require candidates to research new educational theories and methods to reshape the current standard of practice. Focusing less on in-classroom implementation, PhD candidates may deal more with organizational management. The track may be ideal for students whose aim is to change teaching method.

Many doctoral programs may require a dissertation as part of their coursework. Check your school’s course catalog to ensure all class criteria are met.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs in elementary education are designed for students who already earned a baccalaureate degree and looking to make the jump to teaching without going through the lengthy processes of earning a master’s or doctoral degree. This means that those applying may not be required to currently hold a baccalaureate degree in education. These programs may be markedly faster, taking anywhere from 1 to 2 years to complete. Program lengths and courses may vary by school, but courses typically cover:

  • Teaching theory & method
  • Elementary academia
  • Extracurriculars

Some programs may even offer internships or applicable field work to ready students to enter the classroom.

Students earning a graduate certificate may be charged with passing all state issued teacher licensure exams. Be sure to check with your school to make sure all criteria are met.

Accreditation

The U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation. The NCATE accredits schools, colleges, and departments of education in U.S. colleges and universities, as well as non-university entities that prepare educators for P-12 schools[v].

Elementary Education Graduate Programs Formats

After selecting the elementary education graduate degree program that may be perfect for you, it’s time to see what learning format fits your lifestyle and schedule. Elementary education programs are presented in many ways, there is bound to be one that enables you to balance life, work, and school.

  • On-campus elementary education graduate programs may be perfect for students seeking a more traditional campus experience. These programs may offer social learning experience, placing you smack dab in the middle of a campus community. Professors, peers, and academic resources are all easily accessible on campus. Schools may also offer online courses as part of their catalogs, so flexibility as your schedule develops is highly doable.
  • Online elementary education graduate programs may be ideal for students who prioritize time and flexibility. Students pursuing online coursework are able to access classes and assignments on their own schedule, making it a great asset when you’re actively teaching! Additionally, some schools may offer live-streamed lectures or online class chatrooms to give online students a taste of the on-campus experience.

Find a Perfect Elementary Education Graduate Program Today!

Whether this is only your first foray into the world of teaching, or you’re an educational veteran looking to expand your technique, a graduate degree in elementary education might be a great way to get the ball rolling. To begin browsing Gradschools.com for the perfect program, select your preferred program and format. You can always narrow your search down by selecting your state or city – who knows, an ideal elementary education graduate program might be right out your front door!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm#Education | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [v] ncate.org/

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