Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education

by TBS Staff

Updated September 26, 2022

reviewed by TBS Rankings Team
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Masters in Early Childhood Education Online

Graduates with an online master's in early childhood education dedicate their careers to working with children from birth to age eight. Early childhood education is a growing field; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that preschool director positions will increase 11% by 2026. Earning a master's degree prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field. For example, teachers who complete a master's in early childhood education qualify for director positions as well as lead teacher roles.

With specializations including early childhood administration and early childhood special education, prospective students can customize the degree around their interests. An online early childhood education degree benefits working educators who need a flexible, accessible degree option.

Choosing an Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Program

Early childhood educators can benefit from the advanced coursework in an early childhood education master's degree online program. An ECE degree online prepares graduates for careers as lead preschool teachers, preschool directors, and childcare center directors. When choosing between online master's in early childhood education programs, prospective students must evaluate the program's strengths, requirements, and specializations.

Most master's programs in early childhood education provide core courses in assessing young children's learning, play-based learning, and leadership in early childhood education. However, the requirements and specializations vary widely. Some programs require a capstone experience, while others allow students to choose between writing a thesis or completing additional coursework.

Some online ECE degrees also offer concentration options. Some master's in early childhood education online programs focus on administrative training, which appeals to educators considering director-level positions. Other programs offer specializations in special education and inclusive education. While some programs provide a set curriculum, others let students customize the degree with electives.

By researching early childhood education degree online programs, educators can find one that fits their interests and career goals. Graduates apply the knowledge gained in a master's program throughout their careers in early childhood education.

Featured Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Degrees

Best Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Programs

#1

University of North Dakota

School Information
Location Grand Forks, North Dakota
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate students seeking an online early childhood education degree can enroll in the master's program at the University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks. The master's in early childhood education program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants without a degree in early childhood education or a related field may need to meet prerequisite requirements to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

University of North Dakota at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 81%

Total Online Master's Programs: 28

Program Name: Master's in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,534

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,434

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#2

Arkansas State University

School Information
Location Jonesboro, Arkansas
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's degree in early childhood education at Arkansas State University, located in Jonesboro, offers high academic quality. The MSE in early childhood education program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with higher earning potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in early childhood education. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. The program encourages applicants to gain experience in early childhood education before applying to the program.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Arkansas State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 80%

Total Online Master's Programs: 19

Program Name: MSE in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,986

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,972

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#3

West Chester University

School Information
Location West Chester, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 77%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

West Chester University offers a flexible online master's in early childhood education. The M.Ed. in early childhood education program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in early childhood education. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

West Chester University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 75%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: M.Ed. in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

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#4

Biola University

School Information
Location La Mirada, California
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's degree in early childhood education at Biola University, located in La Mirada, offers high academic quality. The M.A.Ed. program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. A master's degree can also train candidates for positions in new industries.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on early childhood education. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The master's program recommends a background in early childhood education for applicants.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional connections by attending virtual networking events.

Biola University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 70%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: Education, M.A.Ed. (early childhood)

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,394

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,394

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#5

University of Colorado Denver

School Information
Location Denver, Colorado
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in early childhood education degree at the University of Colorado Denver uses a flexible distance learning format. The master's in early childhood education program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree also helps candidates pursue new career paths.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on early childhood education. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in early childhood education or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

University of Colorado Denver at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 67%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master's in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,786

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,590

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#6

Stephen F. Austin State University

School Information
Location Nacogdoches, Texas
Admission Rate 68%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Stephen F. Austin State University, located in Nacogdoches, offers a flexible online master's in early childhood education. The master of education in early childhood education program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. Earning a master's degree often helps candidates move into a new career path or advance in their current field.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in early childhood education. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Stephen F. Austin State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 68%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of education in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,112

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,708

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#7

University of Alabama at Birmingham

School Information
Location Birmingham, Alabama
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's in early childhood education program, offered by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, ranks as a top program. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their master of arts in education degree from the program. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to early childhood education. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The program encourages individuals to gain early childhood education experience before applying.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

University of Alabama at Birmingham at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Program Name: Master of arts in education in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,100

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,188

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#8

Northwestern College

School Information
Location Orange City, Iowa
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's degree in early childhood education at Northwestern College, located in Orange City, offers high academic quality. The M.Ed. in early childhood program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and higher earning potential. A master's degree can also lead candidates to new career paths.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to arrange professional internships at approved locations in their local area. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Northwestern College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 70%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: M.Ed. in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,030

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $6,030

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#9

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in early childhood education degree at Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master's in early childhood education program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to early childhood education. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. The master's program recommends a background in early childhood education or a related field for those applying.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 67

Program Name: Master's in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,980

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,980

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#10

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

School Information
Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's in early childhood education degree at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, located in Natchitoches, prioritizes flexibility. The master of education in early childhood education program uses a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for advanced roles in the field. A master's degree allows candidates to move up the career ladder or pursue a new professional path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to early childhood education. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants with prior experience in early childhood education or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 82%

Total Online Master's Programs: 17

Program Name: Master of education in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,738

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,526

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#11

University of South Alabama

School Information
Location Mobile, Alabama
Admission Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of South Alabama, located in Mobile, enrolls master's students in its online early childhood education program. The M.Ed. in early childhood education program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new professional path entirely.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to early childhood education. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees can add to their resume by pursuing internship opportunities at approved locations in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

University of South Alabama at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 79%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Early childhood education M.Ed.

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,956

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $15,912

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#12

University of Houston-Clear Lake

School Information
Location Houston, Texas
Admission Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Houston-Clear Lake enrolls master's students in its online early childhood education program. The MS in early childhood education program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in early childhood education. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees complete internships in their local community to gain real-world experience. Internships and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

University of Houston-Clear Lake at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 74%

Total Online Master's Programs: 8

Program Name: Early childhood education MS online

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,920

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,568

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#13

Concordia University, Nebraska

School Information
Location Seward, Nebraska
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 64%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate students interested in a master's in early childhood education can earn their degree from Concordia University, Nebraska, located in Seward. Graduates train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree from the M.Ed. in early childhood education program. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in early childhood education. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants without an early childhood education background may need to complete prerequisite courses to enroll in the program.

Online enrollees complete internship programs in their local area to gain hands-on experience. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Concordia University, Nebraska at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: M.Ed. in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,650

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,650

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#14

Northern Arizona University

School Information
Location Flagstaff, Arizona
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in early childhood education degree at Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, uses a flexible distance learning format. The master of education in early childhood education program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. After completing a master's degree, candidates often pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in early childhood education. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants who majored in early childhood education or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local community. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Northern Arizona University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 85%

Total Online Master's Programs: 25

Program Name: Early childhood education, master of education

Graduate Tuition In State: $10,305

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $19,522

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#15

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

School Information
Location Edinboro, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate students seeking an online early childhood education degree can enroll in the master's program at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. The master of education in early childhood education program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can also help candidates pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to early childhood education. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants with a background in early childhood education typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master of education in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,288

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,932

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#16

Portland State University

School Information
Location Portland, Oregon
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 48%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in early childhood education program at Portland State University, located in Portland, offers a flexible online format. The master's in early childhood program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing graduates for decision-making responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates may advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum examines theoretical and practical perspectives on early childhood education. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. The master's program recommends a background in early childhood education for those applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete internship requirements at approved sites in their own community. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Portland State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 96%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master's in early childhood: inclusive education

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,718

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $17,847

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#17

Boise State University

School Information
Location Boise, Idaho
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 51%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate students seeking an online early childhood education degree can enroll in the master's program at Boise State University. The M.Ed. in early and special education program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing graduates for increased responsibilities and roles with higher earning potential. A master's degree often helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in early childhood education. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. Applicants without a background in early childhood education may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Boise State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 77%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: M.Ed. in early and special education

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,110

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $24,030

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#18

Albany State University

School Information
Location Albany, Georgia
Admission Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 23%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Graduate students interested in a master's in early childhood education can earn their degree from Albany State University. The master of education in early childhood education program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. With a master's degree, candidates advance their current career or more into new career paths.

The master's curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in early childhood education. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants without a background in early childhood education may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling.

Online enrollees can often complete professional internships at approved locations in their own community. The program encourages graduate students to expand their professional connections through internships and networking events.

Albany State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Admission Rate: 66%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Early childhood education, master of education

Graduate Tuition In State: $3,438

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,716

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#19

Champlain College

School Information
Location Burlington, Vermont
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 65%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master's in early childhood education degree at Champlain College, located in Burlington, uses a flexible distance learning format. The online master's in early childhood education program strengthens specialized skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles with higher earning potential. With a master's degree, candidates also pursue new career opportunities.

The master's curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners take electives and other specialized courses to gain career-specific training. Applicants without a background in early childhood education may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Champlain College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 85%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: Online master's in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $14,310

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,310

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#20

Concordia University, St. Paul

School Information
Location Saint Paul, Minnesota
Admission Rate 98%
Graduation Rate 51%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master's in early childhood education program offered by Concordia University, St. Paul ranks as a top program. The MA in early childhood education program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in early childhood education. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The admission requirements include a background in early childhood education or a related field.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Internships and networking events help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Concordia University, St. Paul at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 98%

Total Online Master's Programs: 20

Program Name: MA in early childhood education

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,550

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,550

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Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

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.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Program?

With so many options for students who wish to earn their early childhood education degree online, prospective students must consider the variations between programs. Some may require a practicum or field experience, while others may not. In some states, an online early childhood education degree may meet the qualifications for a teacher's license. Because each program is different, prospective students should closely research their top choices.

The Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Early Childhood Education Prepares For

The Council for Professional Recognition provides this credential for candidates who meet the professional requirements, including experience working with children from birth to age five. The credential requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, and an online early childhood education degree meets the qualifications. The National Early Childhood Education Accreditation agency offers a certification as a child care professional for candidates with childcare experience at a licensed childcare provider. While the credential does not require a master's, graduates with an online master's in early childhood education meet the qualifications. Several states use the certification for director-level positions.

Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Careers

Graduates who have earned an early childhood education degree online can pursue several career paths, working with children from birth to age eight. Some prefer to stay in the classroom as preschool teachers, childcare workers or early childhood special education teachers, while others move into administration. In certain states, preschool directors must meet educational requirements, such as earning an advanced degree.

Preschool Teachers

Preschool teachers care for children before they enter kindergarten, teaching language, motor, and social skills. They work in both public and private schools, including in Head Start programs. Although entry-level positions only require an associate degree, an online early childhood education master's degree often qualifies candidates for lead positions.

Median Salary: $28,990 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 10%

Preschool Director

Preschool directors and childcare center directors supervise staff, design programs, and oversee daily activities. While a bachelor's degree meets the entry-level requirements, some states require additional education. Students can fulfill these requirements by earning a master's in early childhood education online.

Median Salary: $46,890 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 11%

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students with learning, mental, physical, and emotional disabilities. Some focus on early childhood special education, working with children from birth to age eight. Earning an early childhood education degree online with a focus in special education prepares graduates for careers in special education.

Median Salary: $58,980 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 8%

Accreditation for Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Degrees

Accreditation provides critical information about an educator preparation program and an institution of higher learning. As a voluntary process, accreditation stands for both academic excellence and a commitment to improve. Regional accreditation is the most popular institutional form, and unlike national accreditation, regional accreditation meets the qualifications for federal financial aid and transfer credits. In addition to institutional accreditation, many educator preparation programs, including master's in early childhood education online programs, hold specialized accreditation.

Recent changes in educator accreditation can confuse prospective students. In 2013, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) merged to create the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Today, CAEP is the gold standard in educator accreditation, but because of the accreditation cycle, many programs still technically hold NCATE or TEAC accreditation. These institutions will receive CAEP accreditation after undergoing their next successful accreditation process.

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