Online Elementary Education Degree Program

The need for well-qualified elementary teachers in today’s school systems is increasing and will continue to increase as the current generation of teachers retires from the workforce. Southwestern College Professional Studies offers adult learners the opportunity to complete their elementary education degree online in a format that allows for a more balanced approach to work, family and educational pursuits.

Complete Your Online Bachelor’s Degree in Education from a Distance

Professional Studies offers accredited online and on-ground elementary education programs for local and distance learners. All coursework – with the exception of student teaching requirements – can be completed completely online in 6- and 12-week courses for anytime, anywhere convenience.

Southwestern College’s elementary education degree online and on-campus programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Kansas State Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission. We’re also a proud member of the North Central Association

Military personnel may also want to check out Troops to Teachers, a U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense program that helps eligible military personnel begin a new career as teachers in public schools.

To learn more about earning your on-campus or online elementary teaching degree, contact us today.

Program Outcomes

The Southwestern College teacher education program is a student-centered learning community dedicated to optimal intellectual growth, preparation for leadership in the field of education, personal development, ethical values, and lifelong service in a world beyond cultural boundaries. The goals of teacher education program are in the Conceptual Framework. This states that the professional educator will:

  • possess wisdom of practice;
  • have the ability to facilitate student learning;
  • have the ability to interact effectively;
  • have the ability to reflect.
  1. The educator demonstrates the ability to use the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of each discipline he or she teaches and can create opportunities that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for all students.
  2. The educator demonstrates an understanding of how individuals learn and develop intellectually, socially, and personally and provides learning opportunities that support this development.
  3. The educator demonstrates the ability to provide different approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are equitable, that are based on developmental levels, and that are adapted to diverse learners, including those with exceptionalities.
  4. The educator understands and uses a variety of appropriate instructional strategies to develop various kinds of students’ learning including critical thinking, problem solving, and reading.
  5. The educator uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  6. The educator uses a variety of effective verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  7. The educator plans effective instruction based upon the knowledge of all students, community, subject matter, curriculum outcomes, and current methods of teaching reading.
  8. The educator understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continual intellectual, social, and other aspects of personal development of all learners.
  9. The educator is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community), actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally, and participates in the school improvement process (Kansas Quality Performance Accreditation [QPA]).
  10. The educator fosters collegial relationships with school personnel, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support all students’ learning and well-being.
  11. The educator demonstrates the ability to integrate across and within content fields to enrich the curriculum, develop reading and thinking skills, and facilitate all students’ abilities to understand relationships between subject areas.
  12. The educator understands the role of technology in society and demonstrates skills using instructional tools and technology to gather, analyze, and present information, enhance instructional practices, facilitate professional productivity and communication, and help all students use instructional technology effectively.
  13. The educator is a reflective practitioner who uses an understanding of historical, philosophical, and social foundations of education to guide educational practices.

Required and Core Courses

Education Coursework

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths
EDUC212 Education Entrance Seminar (1 credit hour)
EDUC215 Foundations of Education
EDUC216 Diversity Field Experience (1 credit hour)

Elementary Education Requirements

EDUC220 Educational Technology
EDUC280 Writing, Speaking, and Listening
EDUC318 Numbers, Computation, & Mathematical Processes
EDUC328 Instructional Strategies/P.E. (2 credit hours)
EDUC329 Child/Adolescent Literature (2 credit hours)
EDUC336 Introduction to the Reading Process
EDUC337 Science in the Elementary School
EDUC338 Math in the Elementary School
EDUC341 Reading in the Elementary School
EDUC344 Content Area Literacy
EDUC345 Social Science in the Elementary School
EDUC223 Fine Arts in the Elementary School
EDUC450 Introduction to Language and Linguistics
EDUC490 Teaching English as a Second Language

Professional Teacher Courses

Admission to Teacher Education required prior to enrolling in the following classes.
EDUC322 Educational Psychology
EDUC323 Introduction to Exceptionalities
EDUC359 Reading Practicum (1 credit hour)
EDUC437 Elementary School Methods and Management
EDUC440 Student Teaching Seminar (1 credit hour)
EDUC447 Observation and Supervised Teaching in the Elementary School (12 credit hours, 14 weeks)

All classes are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

General Education Requirements

Composition: Composition I and Composition II
Speech: Speech
Math: Statistics, or Higher Level Math
Health: Critical Issues in Health
Social Science: General Psychology
HUM 499 Responsibility for the Future
Humanities (3 credit hours)
The Arts (3 credit hours)
Other Cultures (3 credit hours)
Natural Science (4 credit hours)
A Developmental Psychology Course (3 credit hours)
HUM 499 Responsibility for the Future

The remainder of the requirements to reach graduation will come from your Competency Courses. See an admissions counselor for specific transfer credit substitutions.

Course Descriptions

Education Coursework

CORE101 Developing Academic and Professional Strengths

How does higher education help create the type of person that businesses want to hire? Learners will explore the answer to this question, and in doing so, help lay the foundation for academic and professional success. Each learner will develop a core set of skills needed to be both an effective college student and a successful professional in the 21st-century workplace. Learners will develop and practice practical strategies with which to become more efficient and effective learners, while also developing higher-order learning skills to reflect on critical issues relevant to both academic and professional environments such as personal responsibility and ethics.

EDUC212 Education Entrance Seminar (required for new students)

The course is designed to assist each prospective teacher in gaining a valid and comprehensive knowledge of what is involved in a teaching career and the application process to the Teacher Education Program at Southwestern College. (1 credit hour)

EDUC215 Foundations of Education

The course explores the theories and applications of educational philosophies for students’ use in both the classroom and their professional lives. Additionally, educational institutions will be examined from historical, economic, sociological, and political perspectives.

EDUC216 Diversity Field Experience

This course provides an opportunity for prospective teachers to observe, tutor, or mentor students in a school where there is a diverse population. (1 credit hour) Prerequisite: EDUC215. (Must be completed prior to enrollment in EDUC440, EDUC447, EDUC448, or EDUC449)

Elementary Education Requirements

EDUC220 Educational Technology

Students will investigate and evaluate the significant impact technology has on learning, motivation, and pedagogy. Students will interpret and implement the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T) and for students (NETS-S) and apply the NETS-T to construct valuable teaching experiences, as well as experiences to highlight student learning that reflect the NETS-S. Technology integration across the curriculum will be explored and students will develop and design lessons and use technology tools to support learning in an educational environment.

EDUC280 Writing, Speaking, and Listening

Students will familiarize themselves with the literacy components of writing, speaking, and listening. Students will refine their own writing skills, explore the writing process, understand the role of grammar in writing, and identify strategies to help pre-K through 12th grade learners develop their own skills. The skills needed to view and comprehend material, arrange it, and aid pre-K through 12th grade learners in the various ways information can be processed will also be addressed. Additionally, students will examine the benefits of cooperative learning in enhancing the speaking and listening skills of pre-K through 12th grade learners, as well as the characteristics of exemplary speakers and listeners in the classroom. Prerequisite: ENGL102.

EDUC318 Numbers, Computation, and Mathematical Processes

A course focusing on number sense, number systems, and their properties with an emphasis on analyzing the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) numbers and computation standard, benchmarks, and indicators. An introduction of theorists, theories, and developmental stages will be addressed and integrated into activities and lessons. Development and understanding of the five process standards, connections, and application with number sense in the classroom will be covered. All methods, concepts, and strategies will be applied to a classroom environment and differentiated for all learners.

EDUC328 Instructional Strategies in Physical Education for the Elementary Classroom Teacher

Designed for the K-5 classroom teacher, this course addresses the major concepts of health education, human movement, and physical activity as essential elements which foster a healthy lifestyle. Content includes health, nutrition, safety, impact of movement on brain development and learning, and integrates movement learning theories and practice across all curricular areas and instruction. (2 credit hours)

EDUC329 Children’s and Adolescent’s Literature

This course is a survey of literature K-12. Exploration of literature and relevant contemporary issues regarding literary works and pedagogy pre-K through 12th grade will be covered. (2 credit hours)

EDUC336 Introduction to the Reading Process

The course introduces prospective early childhood and elementary teachers to children’s speech and language development, the recognition and development of readiness skills, the overall scope of emergent literacy issues and an understanding of basic literacy development as well as appropriate methodologies for building the communication skills of students and curriculum and instructional resources that would integrate these skills in all curricular areas. In conjunction with regular course work, the prospective teacher will gain experience through practical application with a required 20 hour practicum in the public schools.

EDUC337 Science in the Elementary School

The course focuses on methods of science instruction, organizing and presenting science materials for instruction, observation of classroom science presentation, familiarization with current trends in science education, and the development of a background in the content areas of science.

EDUC338 Math in the Elementary School

A course focusing on principles and methods of mathematics instruction at the elementary level organized around the 13 math standards of the Kansas State Board of Education (adapted from NCTM guidelines). Development and presentation of math materials and units of instruction, familiarization with current trends in math curriculum and instructional methodology, and attention to evaluating and adapting instructional materials and delivery methods to the needs and learning styles of students are components of this course. Prerequisite EDUC 318

EDUC341 Reading in the Elementary School

A course that emphasizes the various methods of teaching and assessing reading, diagnosing reading problems, and developing programs to strengthen comprehension and vocabulary. Learners also practice adapting teaching strategies and content for special needs or learning styles. In conjunction with regular course work, students gain experience through practical application with a required 20-hour practicum in the public schools. Prerequisite EDUC336

EDUC344 Content Area Literacy

This course will address the content area literacy movement and the philosophy behind this approach to instruction in K-12. Schema activation for pre-reading, metacognitive monitoring for during reading and post-reading discussion building and critical thinking with be addressed. This course will also address vocabulary and concept development, study skills, effective writing prompts, assessments and considerations for special-needs and English language learners.

EDUC345 Social Science in the Elementary School

A course that emphasizes the relationship of the various social science areas and the elementary school curriculum. Content includes unit and instructional material, development and presentation, familiarization with current trends in social studies instruction. Emphasis areas include multicultural instruction, interdisciplinary unit development, and the methodology of content delivery.

EDUC223 Fine Arts in the Elementary School

The course provides a pre-service teacher with the design, implementation, and evaluation of fine arts (music, art, dance) learning activities that are developmentally appropriate, meaningful, and challenging for all K-6th grade students; and how those learning activities lead to positive learning outcomes that develop positive dispositions toward artistic explorations and expression.

EDUC450 Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Introduction to Language, Linguistics, and Culture in the Context of Second Language Acquisition. This is an introductory course in language and linguistics, which explores the nature, structure and diversity of language, emphasizing the phonological, syntactic and semantic patterns of English. Prospective teachers will explore the principles of linguistic systems and major theorists and schools of linguistic thought in anticipation of working with communities of nonnative English-speakers. Theories and research of secondary language acquisition will also be explored, along with the relationship of communication, culture, and identity as it relates to language learning. This course is designed as one of two courses to enable the learner to successfully prepare for the ESOL praxis.

EDUC490 Teaching English as a Second Language

Teaching English as a Second Language and Assessing Language Competency. This course provides the foundation for second language instruction by examining a broad range of methodologies to provide academic experiences for English Language Learners. (SIOP model included.) Application of these “best practice” concepts will be used to plan, implement, and evaluate instruction for ESOL students. An opportunity to volunteer with ESOL students for 8 hours during the course will be included.

**Program completion includes 23 additional hours of Professional Teacher Courses

Admission Requirements

Entering learners must have earned at least 6 college credits, a GPA of 2.5, and have three years of work experience.

Contact a program representative to evaluate your options.


The need for well-qualified teachers in today’s school systems is increasing. Southwestern College offers adult learners who want to become teachers the opportunity to complete an education degree in a format that is conducive to a balanced approach to work, family, and educational pursuits.