Students who enroll in a program to earn their online certificate in elementary education will typically already have a bachelor’s degree but now want to earn state licensure to teach in public schools. Common courses include classroom management and assessment, reading and language arts, literacy, teaching practice, elementary science, elementary mathematics, and curriculum develop, among others. Students will also need to ensure they have a proper foundation in the core subject area or areas they wish to teach; otherwise, supplementary course work may be required.
Types of Elementary Education Certificates
If you are interested in earning an online certificate in elementary education, you will find a growing number of flexible options. Most online schools feature an asynchronous curriculum, which means students do not have to “attend” class at a specified time. This allows working students, busy parents, or those with limited travel options, the ability to pursue their teaching certificate. Classes frequently include topics in classroom management, teaching practice, learning psychology, educational assessment and evaluation, literacy, reading and language arts, elementary science, elementary mathematics, and curriculum design. While each school will have their own requirements for admission, here are a few common criteria to consider as you continue researching your certificate options:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
- Official transcripts for all undergraduate work
- Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
- Application form and fee
In most cases, students can earn their teaching certificate in elementary education in less than one year. Factors such as how many classes you opt to take at once, the specific number of credits required for the program, any breaks from the program, and how long it takes you to complete your student teaching requirements will all influence time to completion. Despite the lack of face-to-face instruction and in-person collaboration with peers, students can still work on group projects or presentations through the use of web conferencing, chat, and streaming video technology. Professors will also use e-mail and the virtual learning platform to provide feedback for online students.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders?
Once students earn their certificate and receive appropriate licensure as outlined by their state, they are eligible to pursue jobs as teachers in both public and private elementary schools. For those interested in working in school administration or curriculum development, a master’s program could be necessary; though gaining some classroom experience first is often beneficial. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the demand for elementary school teachers should increase by 17% over the projection period of 2010 to 2020. The average growth rate for all occupations during this time frame is estimated at 14%.
The mean annual salary reported for elementary school teachers as of 2012 was $56,130. However, please keep in mind, these statistics are only estimates. Actual pay and job openings will vary based on your location, level of experience, the economic climate, and the specific position and employer.