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Explore the elementary education bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire elementary education bachelor's degree leads to licensure to teach grades 1-8 in Wisconsin elementary and middle-level schools.

One of the largest majors at UW-Eau Claire, the elementary education major is a competitive and selective program that offers rigorous coursework, partnerships with local school districts and strong collaboration among exceptional faculty. Exploring topics like classroom management, relationship development, social justice and inclusive practices, you'll learn effective teaching strategies for all types of learners. 

Courses cover a variety of teaching methods, instructional materials and evaluation techniques for multiple subjects, including reading, mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, physical education and the performing arts. A required, certifiable minor in an area of your choice will further enhance knowledge in a specific content area. This interdisciplinary approach will help you to develop a broad understanding of elementary and middle school curriculum as a whole and will prepare you to teach all subjects. 

Professional development and career preparation are key focuses of the program. In addition to a full semester of student teaching, you will also have multiple opportunities to assist teachers in their classroom, helping you to build your leadership skills, identify your preferred teaching style and round out your resume and portfolio. Prior to graduating you will complete a capstone seminar, where you will refine and demonstrate competence in instructional planning, instructional delivery and other collaborative and professional practices.

Many UWEC education majors choose to take their learning a step further by studying abroad, enrolling in cultural immersion programming or participating in the National Student Exchange program. These experiences allow you to explore new societies, traditions and educational practices across the globe, shaping you into an informed, culturally competent teacher. 

Upon graduation, you'll have uncovered your own personal philosophy of education and be ready to educate, mentor and guide your future students. Our alumni go on to change lives and communities for the better, ensuring that children obtain the knowledge and skills needed to not just grow — but to thrive. 

Educating on and off the mat

Thanks to Team IMPACT, Samuel Sedelbauer, a 10-year-old fourth-grader who has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, had the unique opportunity to join the Blugold wrestling team. And elementary education major Sam Melton jumped at the opportunity to help him.

Working alongside Team IMPACT, a national organization that matches children who have serious or chronic illnesses with college sports teams, Sam helped create a plan for working with Samuel and introducing him to the sport. Sam knew how to show Samuel his love for wrestling and all that sports — and the Blugold team — could offer him. But what he didn't expect was just how much Samuel could offer them as well. It's a lesson, he said, that will better prepare him for his career in teaching — and one that reaffirmed he has chosen the right major. 

"Working with Samuel has really impacted me in wanting to work with children," Sam said. "I love kids — their intensity and their love for learning and trying new things. The biggest thing Sam has done is to just encourage us all to take advantage of every opportunity.” 

Elementary education degree scholarships

UW-Eau Claire has built a supportive community and alumni network that can help students pay for college. Currently, dozens of scholarships are available to elementary education majors. For example, the Amy and Murray Snodgrass Scholarship offers two scholarships (up to $8,838!) for those interested in teaching the first four grades of elementary school.

Blugolds can also apply for the David Page Teaching and Education Scholarship, which awards $2,000 to a student who demonstrates financial need, or the Anna M. White Scholarship, which awards $1,300 to a student who has shown a proven commitment to a career in the teaching field. We are pleased to give you the funds you need to get the most out of your education.

Learn more about which resources are available to you by checking out our scholarships page.

Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire

Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible.

To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on academics and your elementary education degree. 

Learn more about our financial aid process at UW-Eau Claire.

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Education studies students in Tucson for immersion abotu culturally responsive teaching

Shaping culturally responsive educators

A spring break immersion program is helping future teachers learn how to create culturally responsive instruction. For 10 days UWEC students observed Tucson Unified School District teachers, learning how students' unique cultural strengths can be identified and nurtured to promote achievement and a sense of well-being about their cultural place in the world. The growing approach has been shown to be effective in eliminating the achievement gap between demographics in diverse populations — and is one that left quite an impact on Chelsea Ennen.

"In future classrooms, I will take more initiative to teach about a variety of cultures and through different lenses," she said. "It will be important to understand that I do not know everything about other cultures, so I will need to allow students to share their own personal stories, culture and familial history." 

The program is an excellent example of the many unique learning opportunities available to students and speaks to how well our future teachers are prepared to make a positive, lasting impact on all of their students. 

Quick facts

Elementary education program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major requires a minor.
Student organizations
  • Aspiring Educators
  • Blugold Beginnings
  • American String Teachers Association (ASTA)
  • Collegiate National Association for Music Educators (CNAfME)

Licensure information

The United States Department of Education requires institutions to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Please note:

  1. The licensure information assumes that a student has obtained a Wisconsin Teaching License PRIOR to applying for a teaching license in another state.
  2. "Meets requirements" means that a student is eligible for a license with stipulations, typically for 1-3 years, in that state. The stipulations are likely to be specific testing requirements and/or competency through a course or examination of the history, culture and/or constitution of the specific state. In some instances, additional stipulations might be added.
  3. State licensure requirements may change at any time. While the listing will be updated annually, a student must be aware that any particular state could move from Does Not Meet to Meets to Undetermined and back again over the course of a degree program.
  4. Licensure questions should be referred to the Teacher Education Program Office (tep@uwec.edu).

The requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming, District of Columbia

The requirements of this program do not meet licensure in the following states: Delaware, New Jersey, New York

It has not been determined whether the requirements of this program meet licensure in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Elementary education bachelor's degree program highlights

Expansive studies. Curriculum throughout the major introduces you to the roles and responsibilities of a professional educator at the elementary and middle school level and prepares you to become a culturally responsive teacher. Courses explore how to teach diverse learners, how to motivate and engage students in their learning and how to assess student learning using a variety of approaches. Through a series of courses and experiences emphasizing reflection, decision-making and collaborative leadership, students develop knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary for effective teaching in the 21st century.

Exceptional preparation. A semester spent student teaching will give you firsthand experience working with children in your own classroom. To introduce you to multiple learning environments and show you what it's like working with different ages, the semester is divided into two nine-week placements — one at the elementary level and one at the middle school level. This unique approach can help you identify your preferred career path and give you direct experience at each level of your certification.

Study abroad opportunities. Education studies offer education-specific study abroad programs, where you will be immersed in local schools and communities around the globe. Explore how different societies educate their youth and gain new ideas about how educators reach their students. Being able to develop teaching techniques in another country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won't want to miss. 

Connection to local employers. To help you explore career opportunities and make valuable connections, we host an annual Education Job Fair, an on-campus career fair specific for those looking to enter the field of education. This event is an excellent opportunity to make connections and submit your resume for current and future job openings.

Cultural immersion and service-learning experiences. Many education majors choose to take their education to the next level by participating in cultural immersions. You may participate in programming at the Aldine School District in Houston, Texas; volunteer in classrooms in the Washington D.C. area; or work as a teacher’s aide in Tucson, Arizona. These experiences often lead to new ways of thinking and a better understanding of others. 

What jobs can you get with an elementary education degree from UWEC?

UW-Eau Claire has earned a reputation for the quality of its preparation of teachers — and you don’t have to look very far to find a Blugold educator. Our renowned program produces top-notch teachers who make learning a joy wherever they go. UW–Eau Claire graduates teach in every public school district right here in the local Chippewa Valley and can also be found throughout Wisconsin and the United States. Because our students are certified to work with a wide range of age levels, and a certifiable minor enhances content knowledge in a variety of areas, our graduates are in high demand. 

Where are elementary education alumni now?

UW-Eau Claire has helped me to become independent, find my voice, and be able to do what I am passionate about — teaching.

Hannah Salzwedel Elementary Education
Future teachers gain cultural competencies in DC

Creating a safe place

Elementary education major Annie Klecker is determined to ensure that all her future students will find her classrooms to be welcoming and inclusive. And lessons learned during a recent immersion program will help her do just that.

Working in Milwaukee as well as Maryland and Washington, D.C., Annie was among several Blugolds who recently came together to help educate and learn from a variety of diverse learners. The UWEC team focused on the social and historical contexts of schooling and education across the U.S., including the impact of race, class, gender, language, sexual orientation, disability and other differences. The unique program aims to help students become culturally relevant teachers, which is one the best ways to promote the success of all children and youth.

“I gained experience working in a classroom full of kids who were all different from me in many ways, which will help me be more prepared to teach students in my future classroom who have different cultural backgrounds than my own," Annie explained. "It also really reinforced my goal to be an elementary school teacher, as well as my belief that differences are something we should embrace and celebrate, rather than try to hide, especially in elementary grades.”

 

Elementary education bachelor's degree program curriculum

Curriculum within the elementary education bachelor's degree covers content and teaching strategies appropriate for students in grades 1-8. Completion of the major leads to Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence: Regular Education licensure. In order to graduate, students must also select and complete a second major or minor. A certifiable minor is a requirement of the Department of Public Instruction for elementary education majors; however, students may also wish to pursue a second major which is not a DPI requirement.

Common minor pairings include teaching - general science, teaching - language arts, teaching - learning disabilities and teaching - science of coaching. Popular second majors include French, German and Spanish. 

Classes for elementary education majors may include:

Learn more about the elementary education major in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor's degree in elementary education? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Learn more about the education studies department

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