Elementary Education, Graduate Certificate

Elementary Education, Graduate Certificate
22 Credit Hours
Admits: Fall, Spring & Summer
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Program Tabs


Embark on a rewarding career in elementary education with the UNC Charlotte Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education, tailored for individuals aiming to become licensed elementary school teachers in North Carolina. This 22-credit hour program is specifically designed for those who have obtained a bachelor's degree in a field other than education and are seeking a transformative career change into teaching.

Program Overview:

Our Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education is a comprehensive pathway for aspiring educators to achieve the North Carolina Standard Professional I teaching license. This esteemed certificate prepares you for the classroom with a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical teaching experiences.

Ideal Candidates for the Program:

  • Career changers seeking to leverage their bachelor's degree in a new direction.
  • Individuals aiming to acquire a North Carolina teaching license.
  • Professionals interested in advancing towards a Master of Arts in Teaching.

What You Will Learn:

The program emphasizes real-world experience in public school settings, ensuring students develop the necessary skills, knowledge, and professional disposition. Key components include:

  • Clinical Experiences: Engage in hands-on teaching across diverse educational settings, including opportunities to work with children of varied ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Learn to apply educational theories in practice, assess student learning effectively, and make a positive impact on students from grades K-6.

Program Flexibility:

Designed with working professionals in mind, our program offers 100% online coursework coupled with in-person practicum and student teaching requirements. This blend ensures flexibility and convenience for students balancing education with other commitments.

Path to Licensure and Beyond:

Completing our Graduate Certificate not only can lead to licensure in North Carolina but also opens doors to further educational pursuits, including the possibility of advancing towards a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Request More Information

Connect with an Enrollment Specialist today to learn more! Complete the For More Information box on this page or contact us using the links below.


Application Deadlines:
This program offers admission on a rolling basis. Priority application deadlines are:

  • August 1 (fall)
  • December 1 (spring)
  • May 1 (summer first half term)

*Note: these are the final posted deadlines for all application materials to be submitted, including transcripts, references, and completed background check.

Admissions & Requirements:

  • Complete the Graduate School Admission Application.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a university accredited by a US Department of Education-recognized institutional accreditor.
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 (If you do not have at least a 2.7 GPA, please see our GPA Forgiveness process).
  • Copies of unofficial transcripts from all academic coursework beyond high school.
  • A statement of purpose.
  • Two online professional recommendations coming from individuals in a supervisory capacity (i.e. principal or manager) and/or academic reference (i.e. professor).
  • A clear criminal background check, which will be requested after application submission. The cost of this will start at $18 and could take 2-4 weeks to be processed. Please note your application cannot move forward until this step is complete.
  • The online Graduate Certificate Program requires classroom observation hours to be completed in the state of North Carolina.

Semester 1

  • ELED 5110: Developing a Productive and Equitable Learning Environment (2) online
  • READ 5111: Essentials of Literacy Instruction (3) online 

Semester 2

  • ELED 5210: Essentials of Teaching Mathematics to Elementary School Learners (3) online 
  • READ 5211: Methods for Literacy (3) online

Semester 3

  • ELED 5310: Teaching and Assessment of Mathematics for Elementary School Learners (3) online
  • READ 5311: Literacy Assessment and Tiered Interventions (3) online

Semester 4

  • ELED 6470: Graduate Student Teaching and Internship (5) 

*This final course is a full-time internship requiring employment as an elementary teacher in an approved elementary school or a non-paid placement with a licensed teacher in a public elementary school. It requires application and approval during the semester prior to the internship.

All teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education.

Internship/Student Teaching

The graduate-level student teaching/internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the initial Standard Professional I teaching license. A GPA of 3.0 or above in the graduate certificate coursework is required to be eligible for the student teaching/internship. Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time, semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and University faculty. Lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of School and Community Partnerships to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the student teaching/internship experience and licensure requirements. This contact should take place at least one semester before student teaching. The prerequisite for the student teaching/internship is completion of all program coursework, a GPA of 3.0 or above, an application for the course by the established deadline, and approval of the department.

Clinical Field Experiences

All courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school/agency settings. During the Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education program, all students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least three significantly different settings.

Clinical field experiences provide opportunities for helping all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups. During clinical experiences, students apply theories and understandings gained in coursework, analyze K-6 student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners. The first semester requires a minimum of 30 hours of clinical experiences.  The second semester requires a minimum of 36 hours of clinical experiences.  The third semester requires a minimum of 40 hours of clinical experiences These structured experiences can take place in multiple settings such as neighboring schools or districts, after-school programs, or in the schools and classrooms in which the candidates work or are placed by the Office of School and Community Partnerships.

Candidates who are lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences. Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor. A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment. Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.

To view the current program curriculum, please visit the website for the Teacher Education Advising and Licensure office.


*Rates are subject to change*


  • $288.82 per credit hour

Outside of NC Non-Resident:

  • $536.98 per credit hour


  • $1,098.21 per credit hour

Find more information regarding tuition and fees here ».