Best Online Degrees in Early Childhood Education
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An online bachelor's degree in childhood education gives students the knowledge and skills they need to educate young minds.
Graduates who earned a bachelor of early childhood education online can pursue roles like preschool teacher and childcare center director. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for preschool teachers and preschool and childcare center directors to grow 1-2% between 2019 and 2029.
Students who pursue an early childhood education bachelor's degree online have the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities.
What Degree Do You Need for Early Childhood Education?
An early childhood education degree online prepares graduates to teach children from infancy until they are about eight years old—typically through the third grade. Some programs have both a non-licensure and a licensure track, and some even prepare students for initial licensure tests for working with grades K-3. Other specializations include birth through kindergarten, age three to grade three, preschool, infants/toddlers, parent and family education, child learning and development, and administration.
A typical online program for early childhood education takes four years to complete and typically include field experience. Some programs confer bachelor's degrees, requiring prospective students to have an associate degree or equivalent experience to enroll.
An early childhood education program typically covers models of growth, assessment methods, classroom management techniques, learning through play, language development, literacy skills, interpersonal communications, and strategies for cultivating family and community relationships. Students learn to meet the developmental needs of children from diverse backgrounds and understand the roles adults play in their lives. Students also learn to create curricula and teach math, science, language arts, social studies, health, and the arts.
Featured Early Childhood Education Programs
Choosing an Online Early Education Degree Program
Take your time when exploring your options for earning an online degree in early childhood education. The first school you find might not be the right choice for you. You have many online programs to choose from, so don't be scared to set the bar high and be selective. Note that in-state universities generally cost less than out-of-state universities. For example, you can save money by enrolling in a Texas-based school if you live in Texas.
- Program Cost: The first thing to look at when researching colleges is price. Private universities often cost more than public universities, but that doesn't mean the education is necessarily better. However, you should be wary of programs that are significantly cheaper than most, as they might not be accredited. Online school rankings can help you evaluate cost and quality.
- Transfer Policies: Always check a school's transfer policies. While you might feel set on a certain school or program, you might change your mind later, so its good to keep your options open. Most regionally accredited schools have transferable credits, but some credits only transfer as electives and not as degree credits.
- School Size and Type: Before enrolling in an early childhood education degree online, ask yourself whether you would prefer a public or private college. This helps to narrow down your choices. If you prefer more one-on-one attention from your professors, a private institution is the way to go. If you don't mind larger class sizes, you can save money by attending a state school.
- Program Length: If you want to focus most of your attention on completing your degree quickly, enroll in a full-time or accelerated program. If you have a busy schedule and prefer a slower pace, enroll in a part-time program. Typically, full-time students complete bachelor's degrees in four years, while part-time students take 6-8 years.
- On-Campus Requirements: If you want to study completely from the comfort of your home, or if you live in a different part of the country from your university, pay close attention to on-campus requirements. Some courses require supervised tests or in-person advisor meetings, so double-check your program's requirements.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs
UW, founded in 1861 and one of the oldest West Coast universities, enrolls more than 47,000 campus-based and online students each year.
UW offers an online bachelor of arts in early care and education degree-completion program. It blends theory, research, and hands-on application to prepare students for careers in child care, parent support, education, or social services. All students take the same courses, including equity in early dare and education, family and community engagement, and exceptional children. Students must also complete a senior project.
Applicants must transfer at least 45 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
Founded as a women's college in 1891, the now-coed UNCG welcomes nearly 20,000 students.
The university's online bachelor of science in early childhood education degree-completion program offers two concentrations: birth through kindergarten teacher licensure or early care and education (non-licensure).
Applicants must hold an associate of applied science degree in early childhood education from a North Carolina community college under the 2Plus program. UNCG offers rolling admission with fall and spring semesters.
Established as Montana State Normal School in 1893 and now part of the public Montana State University System, UMW serves more than 1,300 students per year.
With UMW's bachelor of science in early childhood education, students must choose a concentration, such as special education, business, or a subject area like math. Course requirements include positive child guidance, infant/toddler development and group care, and creative curriculum and development. All students complete a supervised practicum experience.
Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA or a class ranking in the top 50%, plus proof of writing and math proficiency through standardized test scores or course grades.
A small, rural university founded in 1889 and a North Dakota University System member, MSU enrolls 1,200 learners annually.
MSU's online bachelor of science in education in early childhood education prepares students for North Dakota licensure in birth to third grade. Students in other states should check their state licensure requirements for details. All enrollees take strategies in the elementary school, reading assessment and intervention, and teaching English language learners. The program also requires a student teaching assignment and an electronic capstone portfolio.
Applicants must submit official transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 2.0. Those under age 24 must also submit ACT or SAT scores.
The oldest and largest university in South Dakota, SDSU serves more than 3,200 students per year.
SDSU offers a bachelor of science in early education and care as part of a consortium of universities. The non-licensure program prepares students for careers in childcare centers, before or after school care, and Head Start. All students must complete a series of practicum experiences that add hands-on learning to classroom theory.
Applicants must submit official transcripts and ACT scores.
Regent, a private Christian university founded by Pat Robertson, enrolls 10,000 students annually.
Regent offers a non-licensure online bachelor of science in early childhood education from a Christian perspective. Alongside traditional general education requirements, all students must take three Christianity courses. Major requirements include guiding young children, child and adolescent growth and development, and three electives such as marketing principles or business law. All students must complete a three-credit practicum.
The test-optional university requires applicants to submit transcripts and a personal statement.
A private university established by the Society of Mary in 1955, Chaminade welcomes 1,700 students every year.
Chaminade's online bachelor of science in early childhood education also offers an optional Montessori credential track. Both tracks require music, art and creative movement in early childhood education, and educational technology. Students in both tracks must also complete two fieldwork/student teaching placements.
Applicants must submit official transcripts.
Established as Eastern Oregon Normal School in 1929 and now part of the public Oregon University System, EOU serves 3,000 students per year.
EOU offers a non-licensure online bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in early childhood education. The bachelor of arts requires foreign language credits, while the bachelor of science requires additional science credits. Both tracks focus on child development, health, and technology in the first core. Core 2 looks at the processes and procedures of teaching.
Freshman applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA. Transfer students need a college GPA of 2.25, while those holding an Oregon transfer associate degree need a college GPA of 2.0.
Established in 1872 as a private arts and trade school, the northern-outpost UT enrolls nearly 20,000 students each year.
UT offers an online fast-track bachelors in early childhood education for students with an associate degree in the same major. The non-licensure program, which takes just four semesters to complete, requires a field placement every term.
In addition to the associate degree, applicants need a GPA of 2.7 or above. They must also be currently employed at least 20 hours per week in an early care and education program for preschoolers, infants, or toddlers.
A private United Methodist university opened in 1857, CMU serves roughly 1,150 students annually.
CMU offers an online bachelor of science in early childhood education that prepares students for Missouri teacher certification. Students from other states should check their state requirements for details. In addition to general liberal arts courses, all students take professional education classes such as foundations of education and certifications in reading and writing with young children. Students must complete a series of field experiences throughout their program.
Admission requires transcripts reflecting a GPA of 2.5 or above and a minimum ACT of 21 or SAT of 1050.
Brandman, a private university system established in 1958, admits only students with 12 or more transferable credits to its bachelor's programs.
Brandman offers a fully online bachelor of arts in early childhood education. Besides traditional liberal arts courses, the program requires such core courses as principles and practices of teaching young children, dual language learners and their families, and the intentional, reflective teacher. All students must complete two practicum placements and a final capstone course.
Admission requirements include official transcripts and a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Established in 1966 and part of the Florida College System, FSCJ enrolls more than 23,000 students annually.
FSCJ offers an online degree-completion bachelor of science in early childhood education. The program prepares students for a professional educator certificate in PreK/Primary with an ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) endorsement and a VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) credential through the Department of Children and Families.
All enrollees must complete a 150-contact-hour field experience in VPK and a full-semester Monday-through-Friday internship. Students also need to create a professional portfolio and pass three state teacher certification exams.
Minimum requirements include an associate degree with a GPA of 2.5 or above, a successful background check, and a passing grade in the general knowledge exam for Florida teacher certification.
A private Christian college founded as an academy in 1882, Northwestern welcomes 1,400 online students annually.
The college offers an online bachelor of arts in early childhood education degree-completion program. Reflecting Northwestern's Christian worldview, the program requires that all students take one religion course. Required major courses include resiliency and wellness for educators, supporting language and literacy development in preschool, and learning with digital media. Students must also complete a professional portfolio.
Applicants need an associate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
WBU, a private Baptist university established in 1908, now enrolls roughly 5,000 campus-based and online students per year.
WBU's online bachelor of applied science in early childhood education follows an inverted degree model. Students apply occupational or technical training and experience to an applied associate degree and then apply the associate degree to the bachelor's degree. All students must complete 36 credits of early childhood education courses and 12 credits of practicum or internship placements.
For admission, WBU asks for official transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.
Liberty, a private, evangelical Christian school founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971, approaches education from a strong Christian perspective. The university serves over 100,000 students, primarily online, each year.
Liberty offers a non-licensure online bachelor of science in early childhood education. All students take three Christianity courses alongside general liberal arts requirements. Major topics cover principles of education, educational philosophy for teachers, and developmental psychology. All students must complete a field experience and an interdisciplinary education capstone.
Admission requirements include official transcripts and a minimum 2.0 GPA
Founded as a teaching college in 1886, today NLU welcomes 7,000 learners annually.
The university's bachelor of arts in early childhood education prepares students for state licensure in early childhood and self-contained general education, with an optional endorsement in special education or English language learners (ELL). All participants take cores like applied educational psychology, language and early literacy development, and methods of teaching math. Students must also complete three practicum placements and a student teaching experience.
The program uses a two-part admissions model. Applicants to the university must submit official transcripts showing a minimum 2.0 GPA. Enrollees must then maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 in all core courses for full admission to the major.
CBU, a private Southern Baptist school established in 1950, welcomes over 11,000 students per year.
The university's online bachelor of arts in early childhood studies prepares graduates for working with children ages eight and below in formal and informal learning environments. In addition to general education requirements, all students must take two Christian theology courses. Major coursework includes cognitive development in Infancy and early childhood, spiritual development in young children, and adult supervision.
Applicants must submit official transcripts reflecting a minimum GPA of 2.0.
A private Baptist college founded in 1922, Bluefield enrolls more than 1,100 students annually.
The college's non-licensure online bachelor of science in early childhood education prepares students for careers as teacher's assistant, church preschool teacher, or child advocate. Participants must take two Christian studies courses. Major courses cover guiding young children, Introduction to the exceptional child, and literature for young children. The program culminates with a two-semester practicum experience.
The college matches prospective students with a personal admissions counselor to conduct the admissions process.
Established as the Denver Bible Institute in 1919, CCU educates more than 7,500 students.
CCU offers an online bachelor of arts in early childhood education with or without licensure. The licensure program meets Colorado state requirements. Those in other states should check local requirements or select the non-licensure track. The licensure program requires student teaching, while the non-licensure program requires site-based field experiences.
Applicants must submit a photo ID and proof of high school graduation.
NU, a private university institution formed in 1971, serves just under 17,000 enrollees annually.
The university's online bachelor of arts in early childhood education meets licensure requirements for California. Out of state students should check their local state guidelines for more information. All students must participate in various field experiences, which typically require a background check and a TB test. Depending on the site, students may also need to show proof of recent vaccinations.
Applicants must submit official transcripts showing a GPA of 2.0 or above.
Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the below accredited online early childhood education programs based on quality, types of courses offered, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the schools reputation for providing quality online degrees.
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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
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The Advantages of Studying Early Childhood Education
While graduates with associate and bachelor's degrees can both work in early childhood education, earning a bachelor's degree has additional benefits. Graduates with a bachelor's degree can work as lead preschool teachers, preschool directors, and elementary teachers for K-3 students. Meanwhile, associate degree graduates can only work in lower-level education jobs, like assistant preschool teachers.
Earning a master's in early childhood education provides even more opportunities. With a master's degree, you can work in advanced fields like curriculum development or principalship, or you can become a college professor who teaches early childhood education.
For most early childhood education careers, a bachelor's degree will suffice. If you're undecided about whether to pursue a higher degree or not, consider the potential salaries of careers in early childhood education.
Average Salary by Degree Level in Early Childhood Education
Accreditation for Online Early Childhood Education Degrees
When it comes to choosing an online master's in early childhood education online degree, accreditation should be a top priority. Schools can earn regional accreditation, national accreditation, or programmatic accreditation. Regional accreditation means the school's accrediting agency is approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
National accreditation agencies, on the other hand, operate nationwide and usually focus on vocational schools. Programmatic accreditation focuses on subjects and usually serves as a secondary accreditation. Generally, regionally accredited school are more prestigious than nationally accredited ones. Also, their credits transfer more easily between institutions.
While the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA don't grant accreditation, they do oversee accreditation agencies to ensure integrity. To learn more, check out CHEAs list of accrediting bodies for private, state, and community colleges. For programs in early childhood education, you should also research programmatic accreditation, which is handled by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Early Childhood Education?
It typically takes full-time students 4-5 years and part-time students 6-8 years to complete an early childhood education bachelor's degree online. If you prefer to complete your degree faster, look for an accelerated program that allows students to double up on credits. Most students with full-time jobs prefer to enroll as part-time students, but it is possible to work part time while also going to school full time.
Since tuition costs keep rising, completing your degree in a timely manner can save money. Most accredited schools require about 120 credits for graduation. That means if you want to graduate in four years, you need to take at least 15 credits per semester.
Courses in an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program
- Principles of Development in Infancy: To understand toddlers, it is helpful to understand developmental stages. In this class, students learn the normal stages of development over the first few months of a child's life. This course also covers recognizing and intervening in developmental problems that begin during infancy.
- Health, Safety, and Nutrition: As an early childhood education professional, you must meet each child's physical needs. In this class, students learn health, safety, and nutrition basics, including what children should eat, how to prevent dangerous accidents, and how to foster a healthy learning environment. When adults meet children's physical needs, the children are able to focus on learning and developing.
- Child and Family Development: Children grow and change a lot from ages 3-6. In this course, students learn the stages of child development and how family units affect the process. Through this course, students learn normal characteristics for each early childhood stage, allowing them to identify children who are developmentally behind.
- Relationships in Today's Families: No two family units have exactly the same dynamics, and learning about the differences can help educators understand how to best communicate with and motivate young children. Unfortunately, some children come from broken homes, and teachers must be sensitive to a child's home life.
- Classroom Experience: Online early childhood education programs require practical classroom experience. In this class, students work in a classroom setting under a lead teachers supervision. Students apply their studies to practical situations and practice creating and implementing lesson plans.
Early Childhood Education Degree Career Information
Graduates with an online degree in early childhood education can work in the public or private education sectors. You should choose your career path based on your personality and interests. For example, if you're an extrovert, you might enjoy working as a co-teacher. If you love motivating others and organizing tasks, a preschool director is probably more your speed. Below are a few example professions for early childhood education degree holders.
Careers in Early Childhood Education
Preschool directors oversee the daily operations of preschool facilities. They hire employees, assess lesson plans, communicate with parents, and handle student enrollment. Directors must be flexible and calm under pressure, as no two days are ever the same.
Kindergarten teachers work with children ages 5-6 in an elementary school setting. These teachers help students ease into elementary school. They also create lesson plans for basic subjects like reading, writing, and rudimentary math.
Daycare directors are responsible for managing the daily operations of daycare centers. They typically oversee the care of children under the age of five and help develop early childhood education programs to prepare children for preschool and kindergarten. They also manage teaching staff, work with parents, and uphold the policies of the center.
Frequently Asked Questions About Forensic Science Bachelor's Degrees
A degree in early childhood education is worth it if you wish to work with children and their families as a preschool director or Kindergarten teacher. The average salary of early childhood education degree graduates is $46,000.
Yes. Private daycare and preschool teachers do not need a college degree to work. However, individuals who hope to work in public preschools and wish to negotiate higher salaries should earn an associate or bachelor's degree.
Yes. A bachelor's degree in early childhood education prepares students to work as preschool and kindergarten teachers and daycare directors.
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