Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Liz Simmons, MS
by
Updated November 21, 2023
Edited by
An online early childhood education degree can prepare you to help young children. Learn what to expect from an early childhood education program in this guide.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

An online early childhood education degree prepares enrollees to work with young children. Find out how to earn this credential and choose the right program.

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Overview

People who love working with young children typically pursue early childhood education degrees to qualify for work as preschool teachers, preschool or childcare directors, and assistant teachers. Common workplaces include daycare centers, preschools, elementary schools, and early childhood centers.

Early childhood education programs develop skills in classroom management, curriculum development, and child advocacy. Students can also gain leadership, communication, and organizational skills. Some online early childhood education programs include teacher licensure, while others do not.

A typical curriculum in early childhood education covers topics like child development, diversity in education, individualized learning, and support for dual language learners. Students may also learn about special education, classroom organization, and emerging literacy assessment methods.

The Best Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Programs

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS — see sources section for more details.

#1 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

The University of Washington

  • Location-markerSeattle, WA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,629
  • Out-of-state$37,998
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate56%
  • Students Enrolled48,149
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment11%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Western Governors University

  • Location-markerSalt Lake City, UT
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,380
  • Out-of-state$6,380
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled147,866
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,721
  • Out-of-state$16,529
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate58%
  • Students Enrolled58,836
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Central Methodist University

  • Location-markerFayette, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,950
  • Out-of-state$5,950
  • Retention Rate67%
  • Acceptance Rate100%
  • Students Enrolled3,429
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Grand Canyon University

  • Location-markerPhoenix, AZ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$16,424
  • Out-of-state$16,424
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate81%
  • Students Enrolled103,427
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Mayville State University

  • Location-markerMayville, ND
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,025
  • Out-of-state$9,038
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate53%
  • Students Enrolled1,168
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment68%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Aspen University

  • Location-markerDenver, CO
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,545
  • Out-of-state$4,545
  • Retention Rate61%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled9,563
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Location-markerJacksonville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,095
  • Out-of-state$7,947
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled22,344
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment89%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

National University

  • Location-markerSan Diego, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,320
  • Out-of-state$13,320
  • Retention Rate45%
  • Acceptance Rate89%
  • Students Enrolled18,070
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Walden University

  • Location-markerMinneapolis, MN
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,139
  • Out-of-state$10,139
  • Retention Rate33%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled49,695
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

University of Phoenix

  • Location-markerPhoenix, AZ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,552
  • Out-of-state$9,552
  • Retention Rate42%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled89,763
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Charter Oak State College

  • Location-markerNew Britain, CT
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,656
  • Out-of-state$10,056
  • Retention Rate50%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,634
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Northwestern College

  • Location-markerOrange City, IA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$32,700
  • Out-of-state$32,700
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled1,496
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment46%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Liberty University

  • Location-markerLynchburg, VA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,791
  • Out-of-state$14,791
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate50%
  • Students Enrolled93,349
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Colorado Christian University

  • Location-markerLakewood, CO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$24,160
  • Out-of-state$24,160
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled7,839
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment57%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Northwest Florida State College

  • Location-markerNiceville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,496
  • Out-of-state$9,552
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled5,004
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Location-markerGreensboro, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,422
  • Out-of-state$19,581
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled19,764
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment94%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Location-markerMarion, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,871
  • Out-of-state$8,871
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled10,944
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

Eastern Oregon University

  • Location-markerLa Grande, OR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,830
  • Out-of-state$20,520
  • Retention Rate70%
  • Acceptance Rate94%
  • Students Enrolled2,853
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Early Childhood Education Degrees Online

The University of Montana Western

  • Location-markerDillon, MT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,523
  • Out-of-state$15,913
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate52%
  • Students Enrolled1,334
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment74%
  • AccreditationYes

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.

Rankings Methodology

Featured Online Education Degrees

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The Advantages of Studying Early Childhood Education Online

While graduates with associate degrees can pursue early childhood education employment, a bachelor’s-level education can provide additional benefits. Bachelor’s degree-holders can work as lead preschool teachers, preschool directors, and elementary teachers for K-3 students. Individuals with associate degrees can only work in lower-level education jobs, like assistant preschool teachers.

Earning a master’s in early childhood education can deliver even more opportunities, such as roles in advanced fields like curriculum development or principalship. Graduates can also qualify for college professor employment to teach early childhood education.

For most early childhood education careers, a bachelor’s degree will suffice. If you’re undecided about pursuing a higher degree, consider the potential salaries of careers in early childhood education.

Featured Early Childhood Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Which Online Early Education Degree Program is Right for Me?

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. Many institutions offer online programs, so it can be beneficial to remain discerning and selective.

Schools may charge discounted tuition to in-state learners. For example, Texas residents can often save money by enrolling in Texas-based schools. Some online programs offer flat-rate tuition to all enrollees, regardless of location.

  • check-circleProgram Cost: As you research tuition and other fees, consider that private institutions typically cost more than public schools. 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.
  • check-circleTransfer Policies: Always check a school’s transfer policies. While you might feel set on a certain school or program, keeping your options open can be beneficial. Most accredited schools have transferable credits, but policies differ among institutions.
  • check-circleSchool Size and Type: Before enrolling in an early childhood education degree online program, consider each school’s public vs. private status. If you prefer closer attention from professors, a private institution may offer a better option. If you don’t mind larger class sizes, you can save money by attending a state school.
  • check-circleProgram 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.
  • check-circleOn-Campus Requirements: Some courses require supervised tests or in-person advisor meetings. If you want to study from the comfort of your home or live in a different part of the country from your university, pay close attention to on-campus requirements.

Early Childhood Education Careers and Outlook

Early childhood education is a versatile degree and can open the door to various careers. Some early childhood education degree-holders earn teaching credentials and work in elementary schools or special education.

Common careers for students who earn an online early childhood education degree include preschool teacher, childcare worker, preschool and childcare center director, and teacher assistant.

Early Childhood Education Careers and Salaries
Early Childhood Education CareerMedian Annual Wage
Preschool Teachers$37,130
Childcare Workers$30,370
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors$54,290
Teacher Assistants$35,550
Special Education Teachers$67,190
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

This data represents a small sampling of the careers available to early childhood education graduates. Explore some of the best online programs in early childhood education below.

Featured Online Special Education Degrees

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Accreditation for Online Early Childhood Education Degrees

Always ensure that your online master’s in early childhood education is accredited. Accreditation occurs at the institutional and programmatic levels. Institutional accreditation indicates that the school has undergone a voluntary evaluation of its student resources, outcomes, and curriculums.

Attending an accredited institution ensures that you can receive federal financial aid and transfer credits between schools. Programmatic accreditation focuses on departments and programs within schools and usually serves as a secondary accreditation. The primary accreditors for early childhood education programs are the Teacher Education Accreditation Council and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accreditation agencies to ensure their integrity. To learn more, check out CHEA’s list of accrediting bodies for private, state, and community colleges.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Program?

  • Principles of Development in Infancy: In this class, students learn the normal stages of development over the first few months of a child’s life. This course also covers methods of recognizing and intervening in developmental problems that may begin during infancy.
  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition: Enrollees learn about what children should eat, how to prevent dangerous accidents, and how to foster a healthy learning environment. When adults meet children’s physical needs, kids can focus on learning and developing.
  • Child and Family Development: Children grow and change significantly from ages 3-6. In this course, students learn children’s stages of growth and how family development can affect the process. Enrollees explore normal characteristics for each early childhood stage, allowing them to identify children who may have developmental delays.
  • Relationships in Today’s Families: No two family units have 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 real-world classroom experience. In this class, students work in classroom settings under lead teachers’ supervision. Enrollees develop familiarity with creating and implementing lesson plans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degrees

What is the best degree for early childhood education?

The best online early childhood education degree depends on your career goals and personal interests. In general, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education offers excellent preparation for most early childhood education careers. However, you can consider a master’s degree if you want to pursue leadership or administrative roles.

What is the difference between a BS and a BA in early childhood education?

Both types of bachelor’s degrees usually require the same number of credits and prepare students to pursue careers in the early childhood education field. However, a BS usually requires more math and science classes, while a BA focuses on the arts and humanities.

How long does it take to get a degree in early childhood education?

A typical bachelor’s degree in early childhood education takes about four years for full-time students to complete. Some online programs may offer accelerated options with shorter degree completion timelines. Associate and master’s degrees usually take about two years of full-time enrollment.

Is a degree in early childhood education worth it?

In general, early childhood education is not a very lucrative field, but professionals perform fulfilling work helping young children. Earning an early childhood education degree can put you in a better position to ask for raises and promotions than peers without formal education.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

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