Study Elementary Education at the University of Montana

Get more than 200 hours working with children and youth before student teaching when you earn your bachelor's degree in elementary education at UM.

As an elementary education teacher, you'll play a powerful role in the learning experiences of young people, and help to set a foundation for their future success. Our program provides meaningful opportunities to engage with children in their classrooms — including in our on-site Learning and Belonging Preschool. You'll be guided by experienced K-12 teachers and other professional mentors. You’ll also have opportunities to participate in student teaching experiences available across the country and around the world.

The elementary education bachelor's degree program at the University of Montana is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


hours with children before student teaching


professional mentors


dollars in scholarships awarded annually

What can you do with a degree in elementary education?

Our elementary education program prepares you to teach any subject in kindergarten through eighth grade, anywhere in the world. UM teacher candidates graduate, earn initial teaching licensure and are hired locally, across Montana and the nation, and internationally. You may also qualify for a specialized field such as literacy, special education or teacher-librarian through additional coursework and classroom experience.

What is elementary education?

Elementary education is the first stage of formal education in the United States. Depending on where you teach, elementary school can include classes from kindergarten through eighth grade.

As an elementary school teacher, you work with students of many different age groups. You have a classroom of your own, and you are responsible for teaching content areas including language arts, social studies, science, math and more.

Why employers choose UM graduates

  • UM elementary education majors score 13 points higher on average than the required Montana score on the Praxis content exam.
  • The cumulative GPA of all students admitted into our Teacher Education Program significantly exceeds national accreditation requirements, with the most recently admitted cohort holding an average GPA of 3.2.
  • Engaging research opportunities prepare our students to be innovative teachers and educators.
  • Extensive, one-on-one faculty mentorship makes our students competitive and career-ready.

Elementary education jobs

Elementary education bachelor's degree graduates look forward to teaching careers in both public and private elementary schools. Other potential jobs for majors in elementary education include:

  • School guidance counselor
  • Librarian
  • Instructional coordinator
  • Education consultant
  • Substitute teacher

Elementary education salary

In Montana, average annual earnings for kindergarten teachers: $51,900. The average for elementary school teachers is $52,160.


Video: Teaching to inspire: The UM Teacher Education Program

Students in the University of Montana's Teacher Education program discuss their experiences and how the curriculum has prepared them to teach.

Student Success Story: Haley VonGoedert

“There's no way you come out of UM's teacher education program without a commitment to teaching to and being responsive to a culturally diverse curriculum. That's something I'm really proud of, and I think that focus is distinct to UM.”

— Haley VonGoedert, UM education major

Beyond the classroom: Experiential learning in the elementary education bachelor's degree program

Our degree in elementary education blends content, general education and professional licensure coursework with real-world teaching experiences, preparing you to teach kindergarten through eighth grade.

Elementary education field experiences and student teaching

As an elementary education major at UM, you'll spend more than 200 hours rich in experience, learning and reflection with elementary school children and youth even before you begin student teaching. This includes working in our Learning and Belonging Preschool, which is part of the Phyllis J. Washington Education Center.

Student teaching opportunities are available across Montana, nationally and internationally.

Career development in the elementary education program

Earn your elementary education degree at UM and learn to teach as part of a community, with peers and faculty who will support, challenge and inspire you. Our faculty members are experienced P-12 teachers who understand the unique role of elementary school teachers, and they are here to support you every step on your journey. When you earn your bachelor's degree, the people you met in your freshman class will be there to celebrate with you at graduation.

Networking and professional development for elementary education majors

Many of our students find job opportunities through the variety of field experiences built into our elementary education program curriculum. Experiential Learning and Career Success at UM offers an Educator's Career Fair, through which you can connect with employers and explore elementary education jobs. The application process to the Teacher Education Program is also designed to help you prepare for job interviews, as well as when you apply to student teach.

Student organizations and facilities for elementary education majors

The Phyllis J. Washington Education Center features a beautiful on-site preschool, state-of-the-art classrooms, cozy study spaces, a lovely atrium and courtyard, and a coffee shop. The Learning and Belonging Preschool includes materials and furnishings arranged in learning centers designed for small groups of children. These centers include block play, art, writing, science and discovery, math, dramatic play, and sensory.

Elementary education students are also welcome to take part in the Educators Rising student group at the University of Montana.

Explore classes for elementary education

The elementary education major includes content coursework, general education coursework and professional licensure coursework. Required courses span a wide range of content areas, covering topics such as science, social studies, language arts, math and more. 

View all classes for the bachelor's degree in elementary education at the University of Montana.