Elementary Education

Helping children become excited about learning can lead to a rewarding career in elementary education. Nearly 40 percent of all undergraduate students in the University of Northern Iowa College of Education major in elementary education through the Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Department. This division offers students many opportunities to observe teachers in action in diverse classroom settings and also participate in teaching.

Excellence in program organization

The elementary education major, the largest program in Iowa, includes a carefully planned sequence of courses that lead UNI students to deeply understand children and how they learn.  This major may be combined with courses in early childhood education or middle school/junior high education. In addition, all students majoring in elementary education choose a minor in an area such as art, science, literacy, educational technology, physical education, or special education.

Find out more on elementary education as a major

Hands-on learning

In elementary education classes, and all C&I classes, university students learn through hands-on experiences. For example, in a class on science teaching methods, UNI students actually do the activities they will teach in an elementary classroom. Classes in how-to teach include state-of-the-art techniques and skills based on best classroom practices. Our award-winning faculty is known nationally and internationally for their contributions to education.

Varied classroom teaching opportunities

Here are some of the ways UNI students become involved in diverse classroom settings:

  • Observe elementary classroom teachers and conduct small-group and large-group lessons for a minimum of 100 hours.

  • Participate for an entire week in an area classroom while studying teaching methods in UNI classes.

  • Choose from a wide variety of classroom settings to complete a full semester of student teaching in Iowa or in other states and countries.

"The elementary education program provides students with countless opportunities to get involved in the classroom, and students are encouraged to evaluate why their teaching practices are important for children's learning."   -- Elementary education student

Providing teachers around the world

Earning a teaching degree from UNI in elementary education is as close as you can get to a guarantee that you'll find a teaching job. Recently, 80 percent of UNI teacher education graduates have found teaching jobs - the others decided on another career path.  Of those new teachers, 72 percent are teaching in Iowa schools. UNI's elementary education graduates are recruited by school districts from all over the nation and around the world at the UNI Overseas Recruiting Fair, one of the foremost teacher recruiting events.

Online master's degree

An elementary education M.A.E. degree is offered by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, in conjunction with Continuing and Distance Education.