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Elementary Education and Teaching


Elementary education and teaching programs prepare people to teach grades one through eight.

In elementary education and teaching students learn to teach all subject areas to young children. They learn to plan lessons and projects designed to motivate and challenge students. They also learn to counsel students and work with families.

Elementary education and teaching programs include topics such as:


Most teaching programs require students to complete a practicum, or student teaching experience, before graduation. As student teachers, students work in a classroom under the supervision of a licensed teacher.


Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in elementary education and teaching. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities also offer graduate programs in elementary education and teaching. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Some programs require you to complete an admissions process separate from their general undergraduate admissions process. In such a case, you typically apply to the program after your freshman or sophomore year.

Program admissions vary. However, for all programs, you need good grades. You also usually need to complete some combination of the following requirements:

Depending on the program, you may first need to complete foundational education courses before you can apply to the teacher education program. Some schools require that students pass reading, computation, and writing skill tests. In some states, a criminal records check and child abuse registry clearance are required before beginning student teaching.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation.

You should major in elementary education or a related field. If you don't, you should take as many education courses as possible. Direct experience working with elementary-aged children might be necessary.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Programs also include methods classes in the following areas:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

The core courses are often either a more thorough or more directed study of issues and topics that are introduced in undergraduate courses for this program. You also take courses in research methodology and statistics to prepare you to do independent research.

Most programs require you to complete a student teaching practicum, which is a hands-on opportunity to apply what you've learned in elementary education settings. You might teach third graders in an urban public school. You could also teach first graders in a small rural charter school. Whatever the setting, you benefit from the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced elementary teacher.

Also, in some programs, you get the opportunity to take a pre-practicum course. This gives you some field experience before you are given the full responsibility of teaching a course. You would work closely with a teacher and supervisor, observing and assisting in classroom and teaching activities.

Things to Know

You can earn a bachelor's degree in your chosen field (such as history) and then earn a Master in Education (MiT) degree. This degree usually requires about one additional year of study.

You need to be licensed to teach in public schools. All states require you to have at least a bachelor's degree and a certain amount of supervised practice teaching experience. Some states also require that you have a master's degree.

Part of the licensure requirements of many states includes one or more tests such as the Praxis exams.

Because some states don't have official certification processes, you need to develop a teaching portfolio. This showcases your teaching vision, achievements, and competency to potential employers. As a student, you can start compiling samples of syllabi and student work that you've graded, as well as other materials that reflect your growth and development as a teacher. You can also include a statement of your teaching philosophy and career objectives.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Central Washington University - Wenatchee

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Antioch University

Central Washington University - Des Moines

City University of Seattle

Everett Community College

Highline College

Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest

Montessori Institute for Teacher Education at Spring Valley

North Seattle College

Northwest University

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Spokane Community College

Spokane Falls Community College

Washington State University Health Sciences - Spokane

Whitworth University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

WGU Washington

Tacoma Area

Central Washington University - Pierce County

Clover Park Technical College

Evergreen State College, The (Tacoma Campus)

Pacific Lutheran University

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College Puyallup

Tacoma Community College

University of Puget Sound

University of Washington - Tacoma

Tri-Cities Area

Heritage University (Pasco (Tri-Cities Area))

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

Vancouver Area

Clark College

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Centralia College

Columbia College - Whidbey Island

Grays Harbor College

Lower Columbia College

Saint Martin's University

Western Washington University

Yakima Area

Central Washington University - Yakima

Heritage University

Yakima Valley College

Yakima Valley College (Grandview)