One of the most frequently asked questions about online elementary education degree programs is that of practicums. Practicums, also known as student teaching, is required for all students who are interested in earning teaching licensure in order to work in classroom settings. While some online programs do require practicums, not all do; this article will prepare students to find the best program possible.

Degree Types

Not all education programs will provide a pathway for an initial or advanced teaching license, something that is required by law in the United States. Some programs focus on academics and research; these programs are for students who are interested in studying the field of education, not those who wish to become teachers. Practicums are generally only required for teaching programs. Information on degree type and if any practicums are mandatory for graduation can be found on the program’s website or by contacting the department directly.


Students can become teachers at the undergraduate level in the United States. However, in order to do that, as spoken about above, they must complete a practicum within their program. Practicums are supervised teaching positions that enable students to get on-hands training in the classroom from veteran teachers. It also serves to provide licensure candidates with the necessary work experience required to obtain licensure in their state of residence. Because of this, practicums are generally required for educators; those who wish to work in educational management may find that it is recommended but not mandatory. Anyone who wishes to work in any facet of elementary education should complete at least one of these student teaching programs to ensure they understand how to work with young children.

Licensure and Accreditation

Students who wish to work as elementary education teachers will be required to obtain licensure before they can begin to work in schools. In the United States, this is done by completing a degree that is accredited by the Department of Education and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education or a similar accrediting body. Accredited programs are the only ones that may pave a pathway forward towards licensure; this is because these schools meet the educational requirements for the licensure exam. In addition, students will also be required to complete a practicum, which is a form of supervised teaching in a real-world classroom. This satisfies the work requirement for licensure exams in all states.


Requirements for an elementary education practicum vary by school. However, there are a few common requirements. A criminal background check and CPR training is often required, especially if a student has chosen to work with special education students. Personal and professional references are also required to provide the school where a student would be undertaking their experience with an understanding of who they are letting teach in their classroom. Most importantly, students in online programs are tasked with finding a proper setting for their experience as well as getting a preceptor, or supervisor, at that location to agree to help guide them through the program.

Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Elementary Education Degrees Online

Becoming a teacher is an incredible opportunity to be a positive influence, especially if an individual chooses to teach elementary education. But there more than a few ways for a professional to use their education, along with their practicum experience, to build a business; Forbes published an article on how two former teachers took their experience online and have built up an incredible company for themselves. But it all starts with an education, and online programs enable working students to complete their degree and their practicums with little to no disruption to their lives.