COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.


The Elementary Education major learns how to preside over what is essentially a one-room schoolhouse. In the early grades, teachers are responsible for giving instruction in all the basic subjects (reading, writing, ‘rithmetic—plus science, social studies, and the basics of health and physical education), as well as overseeing the general development of each of his or her charges. It’s a challenging and very rewarding field.

Some programs offer (or require) an area of specialization, such as early childhood, language arts, mathematics, or middle school instruction. When the academic work is complete, Elementary Education majors move into the classroom for the trial by fire known as student teaching. This practicum lasts at least one semester, but could go on for a full academic year.

The requirements for teacher certification vary from state to state. Check with the education department of your college to see if their requirements meet the standards of the state in which you want to reside and work. When you successfully complete the Elementary Education program, you have to take any certification examinations required by the state in which you want to work. Again, your school should help you make these transitions.


  • Child Growth and Development

  • Children's Literature

  • Classroom Management

  • Curriculum Planning

  • Educational Psychology

  • Foundations of Education

  • Methods of Teaching Mathematics

  • Methods of Teaching Reading

  • Methods of Teaching Science

  • Methods of Teaching Social Studies

  • Student Teaching

  • Technology for Teachers


A firm background in English, math, and science is required for all education majors. If your school offers classes in psychology or sign language, try and take them, too.