The Best Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs

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An online bachelor's degree in childhood education gives students the knowledge and skills they need to successfully educate young minds.

Graduates who earned a bachelor of early childhood education online can pursue in-demand 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 7% between 2018 and 2028.

Top Ten Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

#1 University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
#2 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
#3 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
#4 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE
#5 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
#6 Florida International University Miami, FL
#7 Wichita State University Wichita, KS
#8 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
#9 University of Toledo Toledo, OH
#10 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA

Students who pursue an early childhood education bachelor's degree online have the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

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4

University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Lincoln, NE

About this school

Chartered in 1869 as a public, land-grant university, the University of Nebraska Lincoln was the first school west of the Mississippi River to grant doctoral degrees. UNL enrolls more than 25,500 students from all 50 states and 136 countries annually at both its physical campuses and online. A leading provider of distance education programs for more than 100 years, UNL offers more than 50 programs through online and blended study.

UNL's online early childhood education bachelor's degree offers a concentration in inclusive early childhood education (birth through grade 3). Emphasizing inclusion, the 120-credit curriculum prepares educators to apply education, intervention, and prevention strategies in working with exceptional children. Topics include life skills for success and family science. Students who complete the curriculum meet requirements for an inclusive early childhood education teaching certificate endorsement in Nebraska.

Distance learners must complete a professional practicum, student-teaching experiences, and a capstone course to earn the degree. Students must complete at least 30 of the final 36 credits of the degree in residence at UNL or at the university's Kearney or Omaha campuses.

Graduation Rate
69%
5

West Virginia University 

Morgantown, WV

About this school

A public land-grant institution founded in 1867, West Virginia University has five physical locations across the state and an online division. WVU's total enrollment nears 30,000 students, including students from all 50 states, all 55 West Virginia counties, and 118 countries. The university offers more than 380 majors and programs across 14 academic colleges, including hundreds of online programs and courses.

WVU offers an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education that requires 120 credits and 40 courses, including introduction to child development and family studies, infant toddler language and literacy, and early socio-emotional growth. Students may choose a birth-through-age-five/Pre-K certification track, a certification plus Pre-K special needs endorsement track, or a non-certification track. Graduates who complete a certification or certification/endorsement track qualify to apply for Pre-K teacher licensure in West Virginia.

The program requires a child development practicum, a hospital child life practicum, and multiple teaching practica and field experiences. The curriculum culminates in a seminar and senior thesis presentation. Applicants must pass the Praxis Core exam and maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.75 for admission into the BS in early childhood education if they plan to pursue a track leading to certification or endorsement.

Graduation Rate
60%
6

Florida International University 

Miami, FL

About this school

A pioneer of distance education for more than 20 years, the online division of Florida International University enrolls more than 42,000 students each year. FIU delivered its first online course in 1998, followed by its first fully online degree in 2003. Today, FIU Online offers hundreds of programs and thousands of courses in over a dozen academic fields. To date, students have collectively completed more than three million credits through FIU Online.

FIU students can earn an early childhood education bachelor's degree online by taking 120 credits in three major curricular areas: professional education, early development, and pre-selected electives. The degree does not lead to teacher certification. The curriculum emphasizes the cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of children from birth to age eight, including coursework in literacy development, classroom management,and children with special needs. The program offers multiple start dates each semester.

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and complete at least 60 lower-division core credits for full admission into the program. Additionally, prospective students must complete an associate degree from an accredited institution or satisfy general education prerequisite coursework toward the bachelor's degree. FIU prepares graduates to pursue a teacher-certification program or become childcare workers, preschool directors, or early childhood specialists.

Graduation Rate
58%
7

Wichita State University 

Wichita, KS

About this school

Established in 1895, Wichita State University underwent a major expansion in 2012, including online programs. WSU recently doubled the size of its physical campus over the span of four years, now enrolling more than 16,000 students in hundreds of programs. Students may also choose from more than 40 online degrees and certificates across seven academic schools.

WSU's bachelor of arts in education includes an early childhood unified/elementary education teacher apprentice program. Students who earn the early childhood education bachelor's degree online qualify to pursue elementary teaching and early child unified licensure in Kansas. Applicants can follow one of two curricular paths based on whether or not they completed an associate of arts degree in elementary education or general studies. Students must complete 120 credits, including 65 credits of WSU requirements.

Students who hold an AA degree must complete a four-part internship in lieu of a student-teaching experience. Applicants who do not hold an associate degree must complete a four-part field experience and an internship to graduate. Additionally, students must complete an applied learning or research project and the Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio to qualify for licensure and fulfill degree requirements.

Online students may start the BA degree in any semester, with fall and spring semesters spanning 16 weeks each. The summer term lasts eight weeks.

Graduation Rate
73%
8

University of North Carolina at Greensboro 

Greensboro, NC

About this school

Established in 1891, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is one of 16 institutions in North Carolina's university system. As the largest state university in the Piedmont Triad region, UNCG enrolls more than 20,000 students in on-campus and online programs. Students at UNCG may choose from more than 125 undergraduate and 80 graduate programs.

UNCG's early childhood bachelor's degree completion program is designed for students who previously earned an associate degree from a community college in the North Carolina system. Students may choose from specialties in birth-through-kindergarten teacher licensure or early care and education. The curriculum covers early childhood general education, social and behavioral sciences, and early childhood special education. The online early childhood education degree-completion program spans seven semesters and requires two practica.

UNCG accepts applications on a rolling basis, and students may start the program in the fall or spring semester. UNCG offers dedicated pre-admissions and career advising for students in the program. Distance learners complete courses asynchronously and can access support resources including writing assistance, the library, and disability services through UNCG's Student Success Center.

Graduation Rate
53%
9

University of Toledo 

Toledo, OH

About this school

Founded in 1872, the University of Toledo joined the Ohio university system in 1967. UT operates a main campus, a health sciences location, and an online division that offers dozens of programs to distance learners. The university enrolls more than 20,500 students annually, many of whom take courses online.

UT's online bachelor's degree in early childhood education prepares graduates to earn licensure as a Pre-K-through-third-grade teacher in Ohio. Students may also pursue additional endorsements in grades four and five. The 129-to-137-credit, four-year curriculum emphasizes educating gifted and talented children, effective teaching practices, and early childhood literacy assessment and remediation. Students must complete a practicum and a student-teaching internship and seminar.

In the program, students must complete a field experience of at least five semesters -- nearly double the length of most other universities. Students who hold an associate degree in early childhood education or child development can earn a non-licensure bachelor's degree online in two years through UT's 2+2 program.

Graduation Rate
4 7%
10

Regent University 

Virginia Beach, VA

About this school

Founded in 1977 by Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, Regent University is among the nation's premiere Christian colleges. Through its physical and online campuses, Regent enrolls more than 11,000 students from around the U.S. and 76 countries annually. The university offers more than 135 programs across 10 schools and colleges.

Regent's BS in early childhood education is a non-licensure program that prepares graduates to become caregivers for children aged zero through eight. The curriculum emphasizes business, management, and education skills, all incorporating a Christian worldview. Students must complete at least 120 credits in lesson planning, assessment techniques, and best practices for innovative learning services. Students must also complete an early childhood education practicum in a classroom setting to close the degree.

Regent charges the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of residency. Each course lasts for eight weeks, and students may begin the online bachelor's degree in childhood education at one of eight start dates per year. Resources dedicated to online learners include academic advising, technology support, career services, and military and veterans support. Additionally, Regent offers live-streamed services of its campus chapel fellowships and life groups promoting students' spiritual growth.

Graduation Rate
59%
11

South Dakota State University 

Brookings, SD

About this school

The state's largest and most comprehensive higher learning institution, South Dakota State University enrolls more than 11,500 students from all 50 states and 83 countries annually. SDSU offers more than 160 graduate and undergraduate programs across its main campus in Brookings, its various regional sites, and online. The university boasts more than 80 years of off-campus and online learning programs.

SDSU's online bachelor's degree in early childhood education offers a specialization in birth to age eight. The program prepares graduates for licensure as K-third-grade teachers in South Dakota or as childcare workers, preschool professionals, or Head Start instructors. The curriculum consists of 120 credits. Students must complete one student-teaching experience in a Pre-K or kindergarten classroom and another in a first-, second-, or third-grade class.

Students must pass the Praxis I: Core reading, writing, and math exams to advance to major coursework in the program. SDSU accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants must submit ACT scores along with their official high school and college transcripts.

Graduation Rate
56%
12

Central Michigan University 

Mount Pleasant, MI

About this school

Opened in 1892 as a teacher's college, Central Michigan University offers more than 300 graduate and undergraduate programs across eight academic schools. CMU boasts the highest-possible Carnegie classification as an R1 doctoral research university and enrolls more than 21,700 students annually, including over 8,000 taking courses through its Global Campus and CMU Online.

CMU's online bachelor's degree in early childhood education best suits students seeking non-elementary childcare, preschool, and Head Start employment opportunities. All students must choose a minor. Minor options include political science, psychology, coaching, and geography. The curriculum requires coursework in development and family, learning, and trends and international applications. The program culminates in a capstone in lead teaching in early childhood.

Students with maximum transfer credits for previous college experience may qualify for a wider variety of minor options. Online applicants may qualify for financial aid through Michigan's TEACH Early Childhood program. CMU charges the same per-credit tuition rate for undergraduate courses in this program regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
62%
13

University of Nebraska at Kearney 

Kearney, NE

About this school

Established in 1905 as a teacher training school, the University of Nebraska Kearney has evolved into a liberal arts institution. UNK offers more than 170 majors and 20 pre-professional programs across three academic schools, delivered both on site and online through the eCampus. Students may choose from more than 30 fully online degrees and hundreds of online courses.

UNK's bachelor of arts in education offers an emphasis in early childhood inclusive experience. The 120-credit program awards an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education and leads to certification for early childhood inclusive teachers from birth to age eight in regular classrooms and from birth to age five in special education classes. Students must choose a specialization in either birth through kindergarten or age three to grade three.

The curriculum includes general studies, professional, and program-specific coursework, including classes in literacy assessment, typical and atypical growth and development, and serving young children with special needs. Students must also complete five field experiences before graduating.

UNK accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year, and students may start the online BA during any semester. Distance learners can access comprehensive assistance through UNK's technology help desk. The university also offers online admissions advising and library and financial aid support services.

Graduation Rate
58%
14

Mississippi State University 

Mississippi State, MS

About this school

As Mississippi's premiere agricultural and mechanical college, Mississippi State University enrolls more than 22,000 students on campus and online annually. MSU offers more than 175 undergraduate majors and graduate programs across eight academic colleges. Students at MSU may choose from more than 50 online graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates.

MSU's online bachelor of science in elementary education is the only program of its kind in Mississippi. Students may choose a concentration in early childhood or middle school. The curriculum includes ongoing supervised field experiences in PreK through sixth-grade classrooms and a student-teaching internship, culminating in a full-time student-teaching internship during the final semester.

Students may enroll in the online bachelor's in elementary education in the fall or spring semesters. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit two recommendations from educators, sufficient ACT or Praxis Core scores, and proof of liability insurance. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate 40 hours of experience working with children. MSU charges the same per-credit tuition rates to all distance learners regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
58%
15

Chaminade University of Honolulu 

Honolulu, HI

About this school

Hawaii's only Catholic college and one of three Marinist schools in the U.S., Chaminade University of Honolulu delivers holistic education programs in liberal arts disciplines. Students may choose from more than 25 graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates across six academic fields. Chaminade also offers 12 bachelor's completion degrees online.

Chaminade's online bachelor's degree in childhood education requires 120 credits in general education, major, and elective coursework. Additionally, some students may need to satisfy pre-major requirements before moving on to the major's curriculum. The program culminates in a two-part seminar and field experience. The BS in early childhood education follows guidelines set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and graduates are prepared to become educators of children ages 2.5-6.5.

Chaminade charges the same per-credit tuition rate for all undergraduate students regardless of residency. Military students and veterans may qualify for tuition discounts. Chaminade offers various forms of financial aid specific to distance learners, including a scholarship specifically for online undergraduate students. Learners complete coursework over 10-week terms and may begin the program at one of four start dates in the fall, winter, spring, or summer semesters.

Chaminade assesses each student's transfer credits on a case-by-case basis through admissions advising.

Graduation Rate
59%
16

Fresno Pacific University 

Fresno, CA

About this school

Opened in 1944, Fresno Pacific University operates five campuses throughout California's Central Valley, plus an online division, and enrolls approximately 4,000 students annually. Students at FPU may choose from more than 145 graduate and undergraduate programs, including more than a dozen available online, all of which are taught from a Christian perspective. FPU also operates a biblical seminary both on campus and online.

FPU's online bachelor of arts in early childhood development offers a 39-credit degree completion curriculum. Topics include advanced child growth and development, biblical perspectives for educators, and guidance in social and emotional behaviors. Students must complete a practicum in child observation during the first semester. Most learners who complete the early childhood education bachelor's degree online graduate in 18 months.

Applicants must have a minimum of 60 transferable baccalaureate college credits and a GPA of at least 2.4. Students complete courses online as part of a cohort. The curriculum follows the seven competency categories identified by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is aligned with the California Preschool Learning Foundations. Undergraduate students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
66%
17

Northern Arizona University 

Flagstaff, AZ

About this school

Founded in 1899 as a public research university, Northern Arizona University enrolls more than 30,700 students, including 5,600 distance learners. NAU offers more than 200 programs across nine academic colleges and NAU Online. Students may choose from dozens of online programs offered in competency-based and traditional formats.

NAU's bachelor of applied science in early childhood education offers a completion program in specialized early childhood curriculum for educators of children from birth to age four. NAU honors up to 75 transfer credits for an associate degree, which fulfills university core requirements. The curriculum requires additional major coursework and electives totaling 120 credits. Students must complete a supervised practicum as part of the program's early childhood specialization requirements.

Students complete the majority of courses asynchronously. Students can access 24/7 technology support through the NAU Help Desk during the spring and summer semesters. Additional support for online learners includes mentorship, advising, tutoring, and library resources. NAU charges all distance learners the same tuition regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
52%
18

Northwestern College 

Orange City, IA

About this school

Affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, Northwestern College enrolls more than 1,400 students from 35 states and 18 countries annually. NWC offers bachelor's and master's degrees both on campus and online. The college's class sizes are typically capped at 14 students, and the school has a graduate job placement rate of 99.5%.

Students completing NWC's early childhood education bachelor's degree online can graduate in two years. The program requires students to complete a minimum of 33 credits in subjects like child development and assessment, curriculum development, and behavior and education policy. Graduates qualify for paraprofessional and lead-teaching opportunities in Head Start, infant/toddler, and preschool programs for children from birth to age eight. Students complete a sequence of eight-week early childhood courses online, including a practicum.

Applicants must hold an associate degree, which satisfies NWC's undergraduate core requirements. Students must also complete a core course called Christian Story I. The program offers multiple start dates throughout the year. Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in residence at NWC. Financial aid specific to the BA in early childhood includes the TEACH Early Childhood Scholarship and the Child Care WAGE$ program.

Graduation Rate
69%
19

Colorado Christian University 

Lakewood, CO

About this school

Established in 1914, Colorado Christian University ranks among the top interdenominational Christian colleges in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. CCU enrolls nearly 8,500 students from all 50 states and 21 countries annually. Students may choose from more than 50 graduate and undergraduate degrees on campus and more than 80 programs offered online.

CCU's BA in early childhood education requires 120 credits, including 42 professional core credits. The curriculum prepares students to teach in Pre-K through third-grade classrooms and leads to teaching licensure in Colorado. Students complete 130 hours of field experiences over the first two semesters and one full-time, semester-long student-teaching practicum. Course topics include program assessment, psychological foundations of teaching methods, and curriculum development, all incorporating a Christian worldview.

CCU charges distance learners the same tuition regardless of residency. Military servicemembers and dependents may qualify for additional tuition discounts for completing courses while stationed at a military base. Students complete online courses asynchronously, with most courses running 5-10 weeks. CCU operates on a block-semester system with multiple start dates throughout the year.

Graduation Rate
52%
20

Eastern Kentucky University 

Richmond, KY

About this school

Established in 1906 as a teacher training facility, Eastern Kentucky University expanded to award degrees in other areas in the 1930s. Today, EKU is one of the leading liberal arts institutions in Kentucky, enrolling nearly 15,000 students annually across a 22-county region and online. Students may choose from more than 30 degrees offered through EKU Online.

EKU's online bachelor's degree in childhood education requires 120-125 credits and offers a focus in child development. Coursework includes interaction and guidance, foundations of the early childhood professional, and early childhood observations and assessment, culminating in two early childhood practicum experiences. Students may apply credits toward the Child Development Associate credential or state licensure, so long as those credits are aligned with the standard of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Students may complete the early childhood education bachelor's degree online through an accelerated format consisting of eight-week courses in the fall and spring semesters and six-week courses over the summer term. EKU offers free online tutoring, career services, and library access. Students may take up to two classes per term, completing most coursework asynchronously. EKU accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward the online bachelor's degree; however, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits in residence at EKU.

Graduation Rate
47%
21

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 

Stevens Point, WI

About this school

Comprised of three campuses and an online division, the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point enrolls more than 7,200 students annually. UWSP offers more than 100 graduate programs through on-campus and distance delivery methods. Students may choose from programs across four major areas: fine arts and communication, letters and sciences, natural resources, and professional studies.

Students earning the early childhood education bachelor's degree online at UWSP can gain practical experience in pre-K-12 classrooms to supplement their online coursework. The BS in early childhood education incorporates multiple supervised practica, including an immersive, six-week student-teaching internship. Major coursework covers educational technology, early childhood special education, and human development.

UWSP encourages distance learners to join relevant pre-professional organizations such as Kappa Delta P and the Student Council for Exceptional Children and Aspiring Educators. Students enrolled in the online BS in early childhood education receive dedicated advising, career development, and financial aid services. UWSP offers a variety of scholarships specifically for undergraduate education students.

Graduation Rate
62%
22

Fort Hays State University 

Hays, KS

About this school

The first classes at Fort Hays State University convened in 1902 at what was then the infirmary at Fort Hays, a long-abandoned army post. FHSU eventually expanded from a teacher-training facility to a comprehensive liberal arts institution. Today, the university enrolls more than 15,500 students snnually, and distance learners may choose from more than 200 degrees and certificates delivered through FHSU Online.

FHSU's early childhood unified program culminates in a bachelor of science in education and includes coursework in special education, leading to an early childhood unified endorsement. Graduates can also seek a teaching license in Kansas and may teach in traditional or special education classrooms. The curriculum consists of 126 credits. Students must complete a three-part internship and two student-teaching experiences -- one for children from birth to age five and another for kindergarten to third grade.

Candidates who hold a bachelor's degree may be able to skip some general education coursework requirements. Applicants who hold an associate degree or at least 45 completed college credits may apply as transfer students. Prospective students must submit ACT or Praxis Core test scores. The university offers dedicated academic advising, career development services, and financial aid support for distance learners in the early childhood program.

Graduation Rate
44%
23

Prescott College 

Prescott, AZ

About this school

Founded in the 1960s, Prescott College was established with the intention of becoming the "Harvard of the West" in the United States. Today, Prescott College encompasses three physical locations and an online division. Students may choose from 40 programs, with more than 35 offered entirely online. The college is rooted in liberal arts, environmental, and social justice disciplines.

Prescott College's 120-credit, online bachelor's degree in childhood education includes an interdisciplinary curriculum, drawing from education, environmental studies, the arts, psychology, and cultural and regional studies. Students must complete coursework in categories including competence, the liberal arts, upper-division, and teaching orientation, culminating in a capstone senior project.

Students must complete a practicum and a student-teaching experience to earn the degree. The program also emphasizes nature and place-based learning tools. Students who complete the early childhood education bachelor's degree online receive an institutional recommendation for Arizona teacher certification for children from birth to age eight. All learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
39%
24

Mount Vernon Nazarene University 

Mount Vernon, OH

About this school

Founded in 1968 under the auspices of the Church of the Nazarene, Mount Vernon Nazarene University offers liberal arts programs taught from a Christian worldview. MVNU enrolls more than 2,200 students on campus and online annually, with 585 students enrolled exclusively in distance courses and programs.

MVNU's online bachelor's degree in childhood education prepares graduates for dual licensure as both general education teachers and intervention specialists in Ohio. Students must complete a total of 99 credits in professional education, major, and cognate coursework. The program also requires a field experience, like an elementary intervention lab for grades K-5, professional development and student teaching seminars, or a full-time student-teaching experience.

With an emphasis on experiential learning, the BA in elementary education exceeds the minimum field experience requirement for teaching licensure in Ohio. MVNU honors the TEACH Scholarship for students aspiring to teach in high-need areas after graduation and also awards endowed scholarships for qualifying education students. Distance learners can opt to complete a portion of their student-teaching experiences through a study-abroad program in Central or South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, or Africa.

Graduation Rate
59%
25

California Baptist University 

Riverside, CA

About this school

California Baptist University opened its doors in 1950 under the California Southern Baptist Convention. Today, CBU serves more than 11,000 students annually and offers more than 120 programs on campus and over 40 online.

CBU's online bachelor's degree in early childhood studies emphasizes holistic child development and growth, covering cognitive, socio-emotional, and perceptual-motor skills. The program requires 48 credits, and most students complete the program in 16 months. CBU also offers a credentialing program for K-12 teachers seeking licensure and a certification program for students aspiring to become early childhood education specialists.

Unique course topics include spiritual development of young children, foundations of Christian thought, and an overview of the Bible. All distance learners must complete a research seminar in early childhood. CBU prefers applicants with at least 24 transferable college credits; however, applicants may also submit official high school transcripts. All applicants should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. CBU charges the same tuition for all distance learners regardless of residency.

Graduation Rate
55%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology

Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Ranking Guidelines

Best Online Programs - Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education

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.

What Degree Do You Need for Early Childhood Education?

An early childhood education degree 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, infant/toddler, parent and family education, child learning and development, and administration.

Some programs serve as a bachelor's degree completion program, requiring prospective students to have an associate degree or equivalent experience to enroll.

A typical online school for early childhood education takes four years to complete and typically include field experience. Some programs serve as a bachelor's degree completion program, 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 role adults play in their lives. Students also learn to create curricula and teach math, science, language arts, social studies, health, and the arts.

The Advantages of Studying Early Childhood Education

What Can I Do With an Education Degree?
What Can I Do With an Education Degree?
There is no better way to positively impact the lives of children or assure a brighter future for our world than to become an educator.
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While graduates with associate and bachelors degrees can both work in early childhood education, earning a bachelors degree has additional benefits. Graduates with a bachelors degree can work as lead preschool teachers, preschool directors, and elementary teachers for K–3 students. Meanwhile, associate degree graduates only qualify for lower–level education jobs like assistant preschool teacher.

Earning a masters in early childhood education means even more opportunities. With a masters 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 bachelors degree will suffice; however, if youre undecided about whether to pursue a higher degree, consider potential early childhood education salaries.

Average Salary by Degree Level

Early Childhood Education Degree Salary Information

With a degree in early childhood education, you can work in the public or private education sectors. You should choose your career path based on your personality and interests. For example, if youre 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.

Salary Based On Experience

Preschool Director

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.

Entry Level

$35,000

Mid-Career

$40,000

Experienced

$42,000

Late Career

$48,000

Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers work with children ages 5–6 in an elementary school setting. These teachers help students ease into elementary school. They also deliver lesson plans for basic subjects like reading, writing, and rudimentary math.

Entry Level

$36,000

Mid-Career

$41,000

Experienced

$49,000

Late Career

$54,000

Daycare Director

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.

Entry Level

$33,000

Mid-Career

$38,000

Experienced

$38,000

Late Career

$37,000

Choosing an Online Early Education Degree Program

When exploring your options for earning an online degree in early childhood education, take your time. The first school you find might not be the right choice for you. We live in an age where you have many online programs to choose from, so dont feel afraid to set the bar high and be selective. Note that in–state universities generally cost less than out–of–state universities. For example, if you live in Texas you can save money by enrolling in a Texas–based school.

Program Cost

The first thing to look at when researching colleges is price. Private universities often cost more than state universities, but that doesnt 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 schools 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 dont 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 bachelors 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. While most programs dont have them, some courses require supervised tests or in–person advisor meetings, so double–check your program requirements.

Accreditation for Online Early Childhood Education Degrees

When it comes to choosing a masters in early childhood education online program, accreditation should be a top priority. Schools can earn regional accreditation, national accreditation, or programmatic accreditation. Regional accreditation means the schools accrediting agency is approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

When it comes to choosing a masters in early childhood education online program, accreditation should be a top priority.

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, and as such their credits transfer more easily between institutions.

While the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA dont 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 5–5 years and part–time students 6–8 years to complete an early childhood education bachelors 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.

If you prefer to complete your degree faster, look for an accelerated program that allows students to double up on credits.

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 Bachelors 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 childs 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 childs 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 a childs physical needs the child is able to focus on learning and developing.

Child and Family Development

From ages 3–6, children grow and change a lot. 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, which allows them to identify children who are developmentally behind.

Relationships in Todays 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 childs home life.

Classroom Experience

Even 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 Membership Associations

Division for Early Childhood

DEC offers exclusive professional development opportunities, conferences, job boards, and webinars. It focuses on providing educators with resources to help them best serve children with special needs.

National Association for the Education of Young Children

>NAEYC hosts annual conferences, trainings, and webinars. It also provides helpful resources, including a list of the most helpful childhood education books, articles about industry topics, and a blog written by fellow educators.

National Black Child Development Institute

As an educator, you must be able to serve diverse students. NBCDI hosts annual conferences and provides members with culturally–relevant and research–based curricula focusing on the needs of black students. Members also receive access to exclusive social media networking groups.

ZERO TO THREE

This organization hosts educational conferences and virtual events that educate childcare providers on infants complex needs. It also provides members with a scholarly journal featuring articles about early education topics like promoting healthy eating habits and helping students form routines.

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