Elementary Education

Elementary Education

At Drake, we believe the best way to become a successful elementary school teacher is to spend four years as an active participant in preschool to sixth-grade classrooms.

Your experiences in Des Moines metropolitan area schools will begin during your first year of study and continue until you graduate with the skills needed to be a licensed instructor.

As one of the largest programs of our kind in the Midwest, we have partnerships with 15 area school districts, offering our students the opportunity to student teach and engage in field experiences at small, large, urban, rural, public and private schools. 

Course Requirements

To earn a bachelor's degree from Drake, students majoring in education need to fulfill the requirements of both the Drake general curriculum and the School of Education curriculum, and complete at least one full endorsement.

The School of Education curriculum requires the completion of five pre-requisites for admittance into the Teacher Education program, plus 10 other courses, two one-credit seminars and a student teaching experience. The State of Iowa requires that elementary education majors complete a total of 24 credit hours of additional coursework, 16 of which can be applied to Drake’s general curriculum.

Our flexible curriculum gives you the specialized skills you’ll need to teach a variety of subjects in schools around the globe. Students commonly earn two or more teaching endorsements, giving them maximum flexibility to teach in areas including:

Careers and Internships

A Bachelor of Science in Education: Elementary Education from Drake University gives you a leg-up to teach in the United States or abroad. Iowa’s rigorous teaching licensure requirements are easily compatible with licensure requirements for most of the 50 states and meet the prerequisites for teaching at overseas schools operated by the Department of Defense.

Drake’s wide alumni and professional network often translates into numerous and varied career opportunities. 

At least 60 percent of all Iowa school administrators hold at least one degree from Drake — and we’ve graduated more than 2,000 current Iowa teachers, counselors and administrators. 

As an elementary education major, you’ll have a chance to complete six field experiences before student teaching during your senior year. You’ll begin observing classrooms during your first year in order to experience a variety of educational settings at all levels of elementary certification, preschool through sixth grade. In your sophomore year, you’ll complete a 40-hour practicum in two local elementary classrooms. A variety of field experiences in your junior year are designed to give you a variety of methods instruction and prepare you for student teaching. As a student teacher, you’ll spend 15 weeks in Iowa preschool through sixth grade classrooms under the mentorship of an experienced teacher.

You can gain additional enriching experiences through University or community organizations. For example, students can tutor adults as part of the Drake School of Education Adult Literacy Program, act as student mentors for the Drake Community Center, volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, and even collaborate with faculty on research projects through Undergraduate Research Assistantships. Other tutoring opportunities are available through area service agencies.

Student Organizations

The Drake Education Association helps students get involved with fundraisers for local schools, activities for teacher appreciation day, and other social and professional activities related to teaching and education.

Our students may also join Kappa Delta Pi (KDPi), an international honor society dedicated to scholarship and excellence in education. Membership of the local chapter of KDPi is by invitation to sophomores of excellent academic standing who demonstrate worthy education ideals, an intention to continue in the field of education, a high degree of professionalism and notable leadership qualities.

Honors and Accreditations

Drake University has been on the approved list of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since that association was established in 1913. Since reorganization of the Association in 2000, Drake University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Teacher Education and Educational Leadership programs are accredited by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.


For any questions about this program, please reach out to the individual below.

Catherine Willson Gillespie, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean

Email: Catherine.gillespie@drake.edu