Top elementary education programs in the nation boast highly experienced faculty, low student to faculty ratio, relatively low tuition cost, multiple research opportunities and hands-on training experiences. While prospective elementary educators might select a program based on geographic location or other personal preferences, top colleges across the nation offer multiple research opportunities, student teaching experiences and training for teaching diverse learners.
Michigan State University’s elementary education graduate program ranks at or near the top of collegiate national rankings. MSU's integrated major trains students to teach all elementary grades while focusing on language arts, math or social studies. In the midwest region, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's elementary education program also reaches the top ranking, so is a selective program that elementary educators can pursue. The undergraduate education program offers several pathways for licensure, including early and middle childhood, special education and English as a second language.
For those who yearn to study elementary education in the Northeast region, the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, located in New York, offers several elementary education training programs, including inclusive education and elementary science education. CU ranks at or near the top of multiple college ranking systems that review elementary education. CU's Teacher College has a total enrollment of greater than 5,000 students and nearly 150 faculty members. Harvard University, located in Massachusetts, ranks as one of the best education school in the nation, due to their quality of faculty, research opportunities and high graduation rate. Courses geared toward elementary educators discuss the effects of childhood trauma, informal learning and cultural challenges facing young students.
Heading to the Western states, the University of Washington's elementary education program offers several elementary educator training options, including undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs and leadership development programs. It's ranked in the top 10 for elementary education by collegiate ranking systems. Courses incorporate hands-on student teaching and research opportunities into traditional classroom experiences. Stanford University's School of Education ranks highly in multiple categories, including top ranking in education policy and curriculum and instruction.
In the South, Vanderbilt University, located in Tennessee, offers undergraduate and graduate elementary education programs. Vanderbilt's Peabody College teaching program is one of the top-ranked in the nation. The University of Georgia ranks high on the list of top elementary education programs. The early childhood education program prepares teachers to instruct kindergarten through fifth grade during multiple classroom observations and student teaching experiences.
- Washington Monthly: 2013 National Universities Rankings
- University of Washington: Elementary Teacher Education Program
- Teacher’s College, Columbia University: Elementary Inclusion Education
- University of Wisconsin-Madison: School of Education
- The University of Georgia College of Education: Academic Programs - Early Childhood Education
- Vanderbilt University: Elementary Program
Amy Pearson earned dual bachelor's degrees in management and horticulture. She is a licensed elementary teacher for kindergarten through sixth grades. Pearson specializes in flower and vegetable gardening, landscape design, education, early childhood and child development.