For some educators, helping a young child meet a developmental or educational milestone resonates like nothing else in the world. Not everyone is equipped to handle the demands of educating infants and toddlers, but those who are enjoy a rewarding career where they can watch children grow and prepare them for elementary school.
As the country’s population expands, more and more educators are needed to teach young children. In fact, the BLS projects that the need for early childhood care specialists will rise approximately 17% by 2022. Most preschools and daycares prefer to hire teachers with a degree in early childhood education (ECE), and with demand for ECE degrees rising, colleges are increasingly offering the program online. This allows working adults to pursue a degree without disrupting their current professional or familial responsibilities.
Below, we’ve ranked the top online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs. Each school on our list offers specialized training and prepares students to educate young children in a flexible format. Read on below to learn more about the best bachelor’s in early childhood education online programs in the country.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
|Greensboro||1400 Spring Garden St|
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
UNCG offers a multidisciplinary human development and family studies (HDF) program focusing on the crossroads of social and behavioral sciences as they pertain to early childhood development. The program offers two concentrations: birth through kindergarten teacher licensure and early care and education. UNCG's early childhood education bachelor's degree online program emphasizes culture, diversity and internationalization, studying early child development across cultural, school and family contexts.
|La Jolla||11255 North Torrey Pines Road|
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
National University’s online bachelor's degree in early childhood education program provides students with the skills and field experience they need for a career in early childhood development. Students can pursue one of several concentrations relating to infant and toddler development, teacher education and early childhood administration. Courses are taught asynchronously, and online students enhance their classroom experience through discussion boards, lectures, readings, quizzes and interactive presentations.
Florida International University
|Miami||11200 S. W. 8 Street|
Miami, FL 33199
The ECE program at Florida International prepares students for rewarding careers in a variety of childhood specialist roles. Students focus on the cognitive, language and emotional development of children from birth through five years old. The early childhood education bachelor's degree online program themes include educational psychology, special needs children, community and beginning literacy.
Students use Blackboard for course deliverables, including lectures, readings and assignments. For webinars and live synchronous meetings with peers and faculty, Florida International uses Adobe Connect.
University of Cincinnati
|Cincinnati||2624 Clifton Avenue|
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063
Cincinnati offers an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education that prepares graduates for professional careers in early childhood development. Online coursework meets the competencies outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Graduates often become preschool teachers, infant or toddler specialists and program administrators in early childhood settings.
Aside from field assignments, the degree is available entirely online and facilitated through Blackboard. Upon enrollment, a student orientation specialist guides each student through a technology orientation to acclimate distance learners with the program.
|Searcy||915 E. Market Ave.|
Searcy, AR 72143
At Harding, students may pursue a degree in birth through kindergarten education (B-K). This comprehensive program blends coursework in ECE, child development and special education. By diversifying the fields of study in the B-K program, students can obtain teaching licenses in both general and special education.
Access to online materials, syllabi, assignments, quizzes and discussion boards is available through the Canvas learning management system.
Granite State College
|Concord||25 Hall Street|
Concord, NH 03301-3471
Granite State's online bachelor degree programs in early childhood education prepare graduates to obtain both the N-3 certificate in early childhood education and the Birth-8 certificate in special education. The program helps students understand current neurological research on children and its implications for teachers and students. The online program is supported by Moodle, a platform students can access to view course materials, check grades and participate in discussion forums.
|Winfield||100 College Street|
Winfield, KS 67156-6224
Southwestern College offers an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education. The program also encompasses early childhood special education, providing students a versatile teaching license upon graduation. The ECE program offers courses on infant development, child psychology and educational psychology.
In addition to their on-campus preschool, Southwestern College has partnered with early education programs across the country to provide students with practical learning opportunities. The school's distance courses are supported by Blackboard. Southwestern encourages students to "test-drive" one of their courses for free to determine if they like the online format.
California Baptist University
|Riverside||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
The ECE program at California Baptist is designed for students interested in pursuing a teaching credential in early childhood education and early childhood special education. Students learn how to create developmentally appropriate educational curriculums and are taught how to assess educational progress in toddlers.
While some online programs cater only to transfer students, CBU encourages freshmen to apply as well. Online coursework is managed through Blackboard, which also hosts online labs, lectures and discussion forums.
Arkansas Tech University
|Russellville||Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave|
Russellville, AR 72801-2222
The ECE program at Arkansas Tech provides students with a thorough understanding of child development. As part of the curriculum, students learn the value of play for infants and toddlers, and are taught how to foster language development and healthy teaching environments for young children. The program also demonstrates how family dynamics affect child development.
|Irvine||16355 Laguna Canyon Road|
Irvine, CA 92618
Brandman's ECE program allows distance learners to study child development through guided fieldwork with children and faculty. The curriculum uses evidence-based practices regarding early brain development, and students learn to integrate childhood development theories into a classroom environment. Coursework is developed internally and assignments are transmitted through Blackboard.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
|Jacksonville||501 W State St|
Jacksonville, FL 32202
The ECE program prepares students for teaching careers in preschool through third grade in public and private settings. All students are required to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations prior to graduation. Additionally, students are required to complete over 150 hours of fieldwork in Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten Program.
Utah State University
|Logan||Old Main Hill|
Logan, UT 84322-1400
Graduates from Utah State's ECE program are prepared for careers in child care, early intervention, child welfare and teaching prekindergarten through third grade. Students can pursue several practicum and field experiences, and select an emphasis of their choice. Options include multicultural education, arts methods, healthy living and differentiated teaching strategies.
Students are permitted to take up to 12 credits at Utah State prior to matriculating. The school distributes all online coursework through its proprietary learning portal. Courses either follow the traditional semester schedule or FLEx plan for independent learning.
City University of Seattle
|Seattle||521 Wall Street, Suite 100|
Seattle, WA 98121
City University offers a bachelor's in education with an endorsement in early childhood education. The program introduces students to recent research in cognitive and brain development, while also demonstrating the importance of culture, the community and play in early childhood growth. Students are allowed to complete their coursework entirely online or supplement online classes with Saturday school in a hybrid delivery option.
The school creates its own course content, videos and discussion topics. These are made available to students through Blackboard.
Mayville State University
|Mayville||330 Third Street NE|
Mayville, ND 58257-1299
Mayville State's ECE program prepares students to teach children from birth to age eight, or to focus on more specific fields like educational psychology and special needs education. The program develops leadership skills in its students, preparing them to work with families and with children with disabilities.
Notre Dame College
|Cleveland||4545 College Rd|
Cleveland, OH 44121-4293
The early childhood education license is one of two licensure tracks available to students at Notre Dame College. Students are taught current educational research as it pertains to the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession, ensuring their preparedness for the field upon graduation. Graduates pursue careers as child care workers, preschool-elementary teachers, special education instructors, principals and school administrators.
Central Methodist University - College of Graduate and Extended Studies
|Fayette||411 Central Methodist Square|
Fayette, MO 65248-1198
CMU's program in child development is geared towards students seeking careers in a field that doesn't require a public school teaching certificate. Coursework provides students with the skills they need to establish and manage daycare centers. Careers relating to commercial or non-profit childcare initiatives are also available for graduates.
Central Methodist delivers its online courses through its own myCMU platform. Courses run for eight weeks apiece.
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City||4001 East 700 South, Suite 700|
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
WGU's ECE program is unique in its competency-based learning approach. Students are required to complete WGU’s own "assessments" to determine competency in the field of early childhood development. All assessments are accompanied by a study guide and recommended resources to help students along the way. Assessments last six months and students are graded on a pass or not pass basis. Distance learners must also complete a capstone or a professional portfolio to graduate.
WGU provides its own student portal as a means to structure communication and connectivity across classes.
|New Castle||320 Dupont Hwy|
New Castle, DE 19720
Wilmington offers their online BS in education studies as an entry-level major. The program is intended for students who would like to work with young children in positions that do not require teaching licensure, or for students wanting to obtain licensure at a later date. The online curriculum introduces students to learning theory, child development and education best practices.
All of Wilmington’s online courses are supported by Blackboard, providing distance learners with constant access to course materials, lectures, discussions and tech support.
The University of Montana Western
|Dillon||710 S Atlantic|
Dillon, MT 59725-3598
The online ECE program at Montana Western is designed for students who want to teach young children. Graduates are prepared to work with children through the age of eight in an array of childcare settings. Students take courses that integrate developmentally appropriate curricula with social, emotional and trauma informed practices. Montana Western uses Moodle as its online learning management system to host assignments, facilitate discussion forums and provide access to course materials.
|Parkville||8700 NW River Park Dr|
Parkville, MO 64152-3795
Park offers an online BSE program in early childhood education to students pursuing teaching certification for children from birth through grade three. The degree is offered both online or in a hybrid format for local students. Coursework includes several specialties, such as family study, language and literacy development, and emotional learning for young children.
Park University uses the Pearson eCollege learning management system to transmit course materials, lectures, quizzes and discussions to distance learners.
State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota
|Bradenton||5840 26th St W|
Bradenton, FL 34207
This ECE program is geared for students who want to teach infants and toddlers in Florida. Graduates of the program are prepared to teach children through the age of four. As part of the program, students fulfill the necessary requirements to become Head Start teachers and administrators as well as children’s services workers. The school uses Canvas as its online learning management system.
|Prescott||220 Grove Ave|
Prescott, AZ 86301
Prescott offers an online ECE program for students pursuing careers in early childhood development. Students are exposed to theoretical and in-person observational learning experiences online and in their home states. The school also offers courses in child growth and development, child guidance and classroom management, and early language and literacy for students interested in becoming educators.
Prescott University employs its own MyClassroom portal to serve as its online learning management system.
Working with young children is meaningful and exciting for most teachers; 77% of graduates from ECE programs report that they feel their work makes “the world a better place.” Elementary school teachers earn an average salary of about $45,000, with higher earning potential as they gain experience or move into educational administration. The combination of a rewarding career and a good salary draws many prospective teachers to the field.
Graduates from online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs find a variety of career possibilities awaiting them. Most ECE programs prepare students for several different career paths, allowing them to pursue the specialty of their choice. Many work in elementary schools, teaching between kindergarten and third grade. Graduates also work as childcare specialists, educational administrators and children’s services workers.
One of the keys to success in an ECE program is finding the right educational facility for your internship or practicum. Fieldwork is a requirement in most ECE programs and a significant part of your education will be spent outside of the virtual classroom. Here, you’ll encounter young children in a professional context for the first time, and it’s important to find a facility with an educational mission that matches your intellectual and professional interests. A successful internship prepares you for the kind of work you’ll do upon graduation, and it’s critical that your educational focus aligns well with your fieldwork and desired position after school.
Ultimately, an online ECE degree prepares students to effectively work with infants, toddlers and elementary school kids. Degree holders become influential development figures in the lives of children, and play a large in role shaping the adults of future generations.