Introduction to Early Childhood Behavior Management, Instructional Design, Child Development, Instructional Resources and Technology
Early childhood education, child care management, teaching education
Preschool teachers, family support specialists, teacher’s assistants, childcare workers, Head Start teachers
The median salary for a family support specialist is $30,830 per year, $24,900 for a teacher’s assistant, and $20,320 for childcare workers.
Job prospects in the field of early childhood education are favorable, and are expected to increase by approximately 5% through 2024.
If you want to make a difference in young children’s lives, becoming a teacher is one of the most fulfilling ways to inspire, educate, and contribute to the development of the next generation of students. Graduates from early childhood education programs typically become preschool teachers, childcare center directors, and kindergarten teachers. The degree requirements for early childhood educators vary depending on the state, and can range from an associate degree to a master’s with certification.
Schools always need more creative, patient, and organized teachers who love working with children. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a job growth rate of about 7% for early childhood educators between 2014 and 2024.
Online early childhood education programs are a convenient option for working professionals who want to advance their skills on a flexible schedule. For more information on early childhood education degrees, read on to learn about the many career opportunities available in the field and the academic requirements needed to earn a job.
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Online Early Childhood Education Degrees
|Degree||Avg Degree Cost||Avg Loan Default Rate||Time Commitment||Early Career Pay||Mid-Career Pay||Unemployment Rate|
The degree you need depends on the educational setting and the state. Preschool teachers in states with Head Start programs, for instance, must have at least an associate degree; in other states, they may need early childhood education degrees at the bachelor’s level. BLS notes that your job prospects will increase with a postsecondary degree in the field, and many professionals choose to earn an online bachelor’s in early childhood education while they are working. Additionally, many preschools require national certification, such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) or the Childcare Professional (CCP).
Online Early Childhood Education Degrees
An early childhood education bachelor’s degree online is a field that promotes the development and growth of future generations. To help stimulate this integral profession and place greater emphasis on accessibility to quality programming, the federal government established several nation-wide initiatives. Programs like these and the increase of dual-income households help underscore the importance of qualified childhood education professionals and improved childcare programs. While some students may take alternate paths to the profession, a bachelor’s degree prepares you for some of the best positions in the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, early childhood education professions, like preschool teachers, are projected to grow 10%, which is faster than the average career. With a bachelor’s degree in the field, you also qualify for leadership positions, like preschool director. The BLS also projects these positions to grow faster and pay more than the national average.
Additionally, you can transfer the skills from these programs into careers in other professions, including education-related positions or positions outside the education industry altogether. While the process of choosing a school and program can appear daunting, the following list can help. Below, we identify the best early childhood education bachelor’s degree options online.
Children’s Literacy, Educational Psychology, Classroom Management
Psychology, education, child care management, special education
Preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, preschool and childcare center directors, Head Start teachers
The median salary for preschool teachers is $28,570; $54,550 for kindergarten and elementary teachers; $45,670 for preschool and childcare center directors.
The BLS projects a 7% increase in preschool teachers from 2014 to 2024, 6% for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, and 7% for preschool and childcare center directors.
Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Rankings
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Brandman University||Irvine||$$$$$||16355 Laguna Canyon Road|
Irvine, CA 92618
With more than 25 campuses in California and Washington, plus asynchronous online programs available, Brandman makes its courses and degrees accessible and convenient for students from all over. In the online BA in early childhood education, learners gain the skills to develop and deliver educational and care programs for children under the age of eight.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online includes 42 credits at the general education level and 51 credits in core course requirements. Students make up the remaining credits through electives and transfer credits. In the core program, learners cover topics in teaching dual language learners and methods for becoming a reflective teacher. The core program also includes two practicums and a final capstone project.
For program admission, applicants need a 2.0 GPA and a minimum of 12 transferable credits. In addition to credits from previous undergraduate study, students can earn credits from advanced placement tests, military service, or by completing the Brandman Track 12-credit program. Some states may issue residency restrictions, so students should verify their eligibility status. All students pay the same tuition rate.
|2||Florida International University||Miami||$$$$$||11200 S. W. 8 Street|
Miami, FL 33199
FIU incorporates more than 20 years of experience delivering online learning into each of its online programs. The school offers more than 40 undergraduate programs online, and classes run asynchronously to accommodate a variety of schedules. The online BS in early childhood education prepares students for careers in early education for children up to the age of five.
Requiring 120 credits in total, the early childhood education degree online includes 30 professional education credits, 30 early development credits, and nine preselected elective credits. The remaining credits come from student's transfer courses from their associate degree. FIU offers three start dates each year.
For admission into the program, applicants need a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits with a 2.5 GPA. Applicants with a lower GPA may submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores for consideration. Once enrolled, students are paired with a success coach to assist them throughout their degree. While online students can complete the degree from a distance, in-state students also benefit from online courses by paying a lower tuition rate than nonresidents.
|3||University of Washington||Seattle||$$$$$||1400 NE Campus Parkway|
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
Online learning at UW allows students to earn one of more than 15 degrees through asynchronous online delivery. The online BA in early care and education provides students with the latest techniques and best practices revolving around educating and supporting young children. To earn the degree, students need to complete a total of 180 quarter credits.
The early childhood education degree online features two pathways to choose from: the core pathway, which provides development and care training and allows students to enter a variety of professions; or the teaching and learning pathway that offers additional courses in teaching-specific disciplines. Students can complete either pathway with full-time study in two years or with part-time study in three years.
At UW, students begin the program with a cohort and work their way through coursework together. The program includes service learning components in which students apply their training to a practical setting. No matter where they live, online students pay the same tuition. For successful admission, applicants need a minimum of 70 transferable quarter credits with a 2.5 GPA.
|4||Liberty University||Lynchburg||$$$$$||1971 University Blvd|
Lynchburg, VA 24515
Liberty offers online students more than 30 years of experience with distance learning. Students in the online BS in early childhood education learn the latest educational and development theories, along with the ideal instruction methods that accompany that learning. This program helps prepare students for teaching licensure and a master's degree pathway.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online requires students to complete 39 to 42 credits in general education courses, more than nine credits in major foundational courses, 48 credits in the core program, and a minimum of three elective credits. While the course load and transfer credits awarded influence the program length, most students complete this degree in less than four years and do so through asynchronous study.
For program admission, applicants need a high school diploma and a 2.0 GPA in all previous study. While transfer students may receive up to 75% of the degree credit requirements via transfer, students must complete at least 50% of the major at Liberty. All online students pay the same tuition rate.
|5||University of Cincinnati||Cincinnati||$$$$$||2624 Clifton Avenue|
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063
UC boasts a history of more than 200 years, but the school continues to innovate, particularly with its online programs. The school offers nearly 100 degrees, many with flexible asynchronous study. With the online BS in early childhood education, students gain curriculum skills for children under the age of five, along with an understanding of childhood literacy and assessment. The degree may qualify students for pre-K teaching licensure.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online includes an 87-credit core program and a nine-credit focus, plus three credits in mathematics, three credits in natural sciences, and 18 credits in free electives. For the focus, students can choose between pre-K, administration, and infant-toddler. Some options may include an internship. UC features three start dates throughout the year, and students can complete the degree in less than four years.
Applicants must possess a high school diploma or a GED. Transfer students need a 2.5 GPA in all undergraduate coursework. Students must complete at least 30 credits at UC and earn a 2.8 GPA overall to graduate.
|6||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant||$$$$$||106 Warriner Hall|
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
In addition to its Mount Pleasant campus programs, CMU offers more than 30 online programs. Online courses combine flexible asynchronous delivery with interactive and engaging synchronous sessions. The online BS in early childhood development and learning prepares students to teach children in a non elementary setting while accommodating the diverse needs of children and their families.
The 124-credit early childhood education degree online includes four types of courses: general education, core, concentration, and planned electives. As part of these requirements, students complete required credits in development and family courses, learning, and trends and international applications. Learners also complete a final capstone project in teaching.
For admission, applicants need a high school diploma and a 2.0 GPA or a GED. CMU may consider candidates with a lower GPA, permitted they submit a strong personal statement. While all online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live, lower-division credits cost less than upper-division credits.
|7||University of Nebraska - Lincoln||Lincoln||$$$$$||14th and R St|
Lincoln, NE 68588
At UNL, the online programs derive from the school's 100-year experience delivering distance education programs. In the BS in child, youth, and family studies with an emphasis in early childhood education in a mobile society, students learn how to care for and educate children from highly mobile families. The program focuses on training for children under the age of eight.
To earn the early childhood education degree online, students must complete 120 credits with a 2.0 overall GPA. The program comprises courses in general education topics, early childhood education courses, and electives or a chosen minor. Though course loads and transfer credits vary by student and change the program length, students typically complete the degree in less than four years.
For successful admission, applicants need a minimum of 30 semester hours completed at the undergraduate level with a 2.5 GPA. Candidates also need to boast an SAT score of 950 or an ACT score of 20, along with sufficient high school transcripts.
|8||California Baptist University||Riverside||$$$$$||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
At CBU, online students can choose from more than 40 online bachelor's degrees. The online BA in early childhood studies prepares students to work with a diverse group of children under the age of eight. The program delves into childhood growth and development, plus assessments and learning planning.
Requiring 124 semester units in total, the early childhood education degree online comprises 48 credits worth of courses in the major, 40-43 credits worth of general education courses, and the remaining courses in transfer credits and electives. The major component of the program typically takes students 16 months to complete.
For admission, applicants need a minimum of 24 transferable credits from previous undergraduate study, plus a 2.0 GPA. CBU may consider candidates with a high school diploma or a GED. Transfer students may receive up to 100 transfer credits overall but no more than 30 at the upper level. Online students benefit from asynchronous courses and a standard tuition rate regardless of where they live.
|9||Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff||$$$$$||1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center|
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4132
For more than 20 years, NAU offered online programs for students from all over the country. The school now delivers more than 45 degrees at the bachelor's level alone, like the BAS in early childhood. In addition to acquiring teaching and development skills, students in the online program gain leadership, technology, and policy training as it relates to childhood education.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online includes a minimum of 64 credits acquired from an associate degree, 21 credits from required courses, 21 credits from the early childhood specialization, and the remaining credits from electives. This online program runs asynchronously within the traditional semester system, though NAU also offers more free-flowing, competency-based study for some courses.
For admission, applicants must have an associate degree. NAU may award up to 75 transfer credits. To satisfy the residency requirements, students must complete at least 30 credits at NAU with a 2.0 GPA. Online students gain access to academic support and library resources.
|10||National University||La Jolla||$$$$$||11255 North Torrey Pines Road|
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
NU offers more than 90 online programs, which students can obtain via asynchronous study. The online BA in early childhood education trains students for effective leadership in the educational world. The curriculum focuses on maximizing learning outcomes through appropriately designed lesson plans and learning environments.
To finish the early childhood education degree online, students must complete 180 quarter units. At NU, a minimum of 70.5 quarter units must come from general education credits. Students also take four courses in preparation for the major, 12 courses in the major, and a minimum of four courses dedicated to a concentration or in electives.
Applicants need a high school diploma with a 2.0 GPA for admission. They must also complete the ACCUPLACER test or submit SAT or ACT scores. While all online students pay the same tuition and can complete the entire degree online, students should verify the program meets their home state's employment regulations for teacher education.
|11||The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa||$$$$$||739 University Blvd|
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0166
UA offers more than 80 online programs, including the online BS in human environmental sciences with a concentration in early childhood education. This program provides students with the skills to help guide children under the age of eight through their developmental stages. At UA, all online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of where they live.
In the 120-credit early childhood education degree online, students complete 14 courses in the major, including courses in lifespan human development, educational statistics, and parent and family development. The core program also includes an internship. While students benefit from schedule flexibility, with primarily asynchronous courses and customizable course loads, some classes may only run during certain semesters.
For admission, applicants must possess at least 24 undergraduate credits with a 2.0 GPA or a high school diploma, and strong scores on the GRE and GMAT. Transfer students may receive up to 60 credits for an associate degree but must complete at least 30 credits at UA to graduate.
|12||Fort Hays State University||Hays||$$$$$||600 Park St|
Hays, KS 67601-4099
With nearly 200 programs to choose from, online students at FHSU study during the hours they wish. The online BS in early childhood unified prepares students for careers working with children under the age of eight. The unified component of the program provides learners with the skills necessary for special education.
Requiring 126 credits overall, this early childhood education degree online features 55 credits in general education, 20 credits in professional studies, and 22 credits in the major. The program also includes 17 credits for internships and 12 credits for student teaching. Since the degree prepares students for licensure in Kansas, applicants should verify their home state's requirements prior to applying.
For admission, applicants need a high school diploma with a 2.0 GPA and ACT or SAT scores. Applicants with a GED and strong standardized test scores may also apply. For transfer students with more than 24 transferable credits, FHSU accepts candidates with a 2.0 GPA.
|13||University of Nebraska at Kearney||Kearney||$$$$$||905 W 25th St|
Kearney, NE 68849-1212
UNK offers 10 programs at the undergraduate level, including the online BS in early childhood inclusive. This program equips students to work in child education settings with children under the age of eight and special education environments with children under the age of five. The online courses run asynchronously throughout each of the school's three semesters.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online comprises courses in general education, professional training, and program-specific training. Students then choose a specialization of birth through kindergarten or age three to grade three. For candidates interested in working in non teaching settings, UNK offers an online BS in early childhood and family advocacy. This 120-credit program prepares students to accommodate children and families in various public agencies and programs.
At UNK, applicants must possess a high school diploma or a GED with strong ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must have a 2.0 GPA in all undergraduate credits. While distance students can complete online degrees from their home state, Nebraska residents pay a lower tuition rate.
|14||Fresno Pacific University||Fresno||$$$$$||1717 S. Chestnut Ave.|
Fresno, CA 93702
FPU offers online courses and programs, including five bachelor's degree completion programs. Students in the online BA in early childhood development completion program learn to work with children under the age of eight, addressing their needs and accommodating their development. The program also provides training for working with students with special needs. At FPU, all online students pay the same tuition rate.
The early childhood education degree online features 39 units of required courses that students must complete at FPU. This takes the typical student approximately 18 months. Learners complete the remaining credits through electives, transfer credits, and general education courses. Students without an associate degree may join a general education cohort at FPU to acquire the credits.
For admission into FPU, applicants need a high school diploma, a GED, or an associate degree. To start the early childhood program, candidates require a minimum of 60 transferable units with a 2.4 GPA. Online students gain access to academic support, career services, and library resources.
|15||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg||$$$$$||118 College Drive # 0001|
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
One of 15 undergraduate degrees available online at USM, the online BS in child and family studies emphasizes child development in educational and human services environments. The program prepares students for teaching licensure in the state of Mississippi, but it also offers a solid foundation working with children and families everywhere. Courses primarily run asynchronously, though some classes may feature scheduled sessions.
To earn the early childhood education degree online, students must complete 124 credits total, including 41-43 general education credits, 55 credit in the major, and 18 additional credits via electives. Learners complete an internship as part of the general education component and a practicum in the core program.
For admission, applicants need a high school diploma with a 2.0 minimum GPA, plus strong ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students also require a 2.0 GPA. While out-of-state students typically pay higher tuition rates at USM, all online students pay the same tuition rates as residents.
|16||Mississippi State University||Mississippi State||$$$$$||Lee Boulevard|
Mississippi State, MS 39762
One of six online bachelor's programs available from MSU, the online BS in elementary education prepares students to teach children from pre-K through sixth grade. Learners also choose to concentrate in early childhood or middle school education. Though the program prepares students for teaching licensure in Mississippi, students should verify other state's requirements.
The early childhood education degree online requires the completion of a minimum of 123 credits, including courses in general education, professional education, the chosen concentration, and electives. The program also includes field experiences and internships. Most students complete the program in four years.
For admission, applicants must possess a high school diploma with a 2.5 GPA overall, plus ACT or SAT scores and a minimum of 40 hours working with children. Transfer students may receive up to 61 transfer credits. The program starts in the fall or spring, and all online students pay the same tuition rate.
|17||Mount Vernon Nazarene University||Mount Vernon||$$$$$||800 Martinsburg Rd|
Mount Vernon, OH 43050-9500
One of six online programs at the undergraduate level, the online BA in elementary education at MVNU allows students to complete the degree from a distance and outside traditional work hours. Students in the program gain the skills and qualifications to pursue teaching licensure and positions working with children in pre-K through fifth grade. Though the program may prepare graduates for teaching licensure in Ohio, students from other states should verify their home state's guidelines.
While students must complete 120 credits to earn the early childhood education degree online, they dedicate 54 credits to the major. In the program, they learn curriculum building, assessment, and development skills. Learners also complete 600 clinical hours in the program. MVNU requires students to complete a series of general education and professional education courses prior to starting the program if they do not already possess them.
For admission, applicants need a 2.5 GPA across all previous undergraduate coursework. Students without prior undergraduate training must possess a high school diploma or a GED, plus SAT or ACT scores. Online courses combine asynchronous and synchronous delivery.
|18||Mayville State University||Mayville||$$$$$||330 Third Street NE|
Mayville, ND 58257-1299
With small class sizes and flexible class schedules, the online programs at MSU provide students with educational opportunities they might not otherwise receive. The online BS.Ed. in early childhood education caters to working professionals in childcare and prepares students to educate children under the age of eight. Graduates of the program may qualify for teaching licensure in North Dakota, though students should verify other state's requirements.
The early childhood education degree online requires 132 credits total, including 46 credits in core courses, 47 credits in professional education courses, 36 credits in essential courses, and some electives. The program also includes field experience requirements. While most online classes at MSU run asynchronously, some classes run synchronous sessions. All online students, regardless of where they live, pay the same tuition. Applicants must possess a high school diploma with a 2.0 GPA, along with strong ACT or SAT scores, for admission.
|19||West Virginia University||Morgantown||$$$$$||Stewart Hall, 1500 University Avenue|
Morgantown, WV 26506-6201
At WVU, online students can choose from more than 30 online degrees, many of which offer flexible course loads and primarily asynchronous study. In the online BS in child development and family studies, students prepare for a career educating children up to a pre-K level. While the program follows the state's educational guidelines for teaching professionals, it also emphasizes advocacy and leadership in the field.
The 120-credit early childhood education degree online includes 40 courses overall. Online students benefit from choosing between a certification option and a non certification option for birth through pre-K education. Students complete 31-37 credits in general education courses, 24-49 credits in the emphasis, and up to 43 credits via electives. Most students complete the degree in less than four years.
For admission, applicants need a 2.5 GPA. WVU may require SAT or ACT scores from some candidates. All online students at WVU pay the same tuition rate. To graduate, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA across all courses in the emphasis.
|20||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||West Terre Haute||$$$$$||1 St Mary of Woods Coll|
West Terre Haute, IN 47876-1099
One of 13 bachelor's degrees available online, the BS in education with a concentration in pre-school to grade three offers students a blended program emphasizing developmental education for students under the age of eight and special education training. The program includes mild intervention training and follows the state requirements for teaching professionals in Indiana, so nonresidents should verify it meets their home state's eligibility for licensure.
The early childhood education degree online requires students to complete 120 credits and maintain a 2.0 GPA. The program includes 15 credits in core education courses, 51 credits in developmental courses, and 21 credits in clinical experience courses, plus a series of general education and elective courses.
At SMWC, online courses typically run synchronously through an accelerated eight-week session. Some courses may feature a 16-week term instead. For admission, candidates must possess a high school diploma, plus SAT or ACT scores.
Master’s programs in early childhood education address child development and teaching strategies for children up to age eight, preparing students for careers as educators, specialists, instructional coordinators, administrators, and advocates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% increase for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, an 11% increase in instructional coordinators, and a 10% increase for preschool teachers from 2016 through 2026. The U.S. Department of Education labels many locations as teacher shortage areas, indicating a strong demand for field workers.
Earning a master’s helps teachers perfect their skills for better classroom performance and qualifies them for more advanced positions. Instructional coordinators, for example, must hold a master’s, while a kindergarten or elementary teacher only needs a bachelor’s. Instructional coordinators’ median salary ($64,450) surpasses that of kindergarten and elementary school teachers, who earn a median salary of $57,980.
These numbers, along with the BLS’s growth projections, suggest that a higher degree can create more career opportunities offering higher earning potentials. This page examines some of the best early childhood education master’s programs across the U.S.
Education and Psychology, Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education, Foundations of Educational Leadership
Special education, English, education
Kindergarten and elementary teachers, preschool and childcare center directors, elementary, middle and high school principals
The median salary for kindergarten and elementary teachers is $54,550; $45,670 for preschool and childcare center directors; and $90,410 per year for elementary, middle, and high school principals.
The BLS projects most positions in the field to grow by approximately 5%.
Early Childhood Education Master’s Degree Rankings
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Brandman University||Irvine||$$$$$||16355 Laguna Canyon Road|
Irvine, CA 92618
Brandman University in Irvine, California began as Chapman University College. This private institution boasts a 92% student approval rating, accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and placement on the U.S. News & World Report's list of most innovative schools.
Brandman offers a master of arts in education with an emphasis in early childhood education leadership. This 30-credit program prepares students for administrative and management positions concerning curriculum development, finances, and communication. Students learn to create programs reflecting the National Association for the Education of Young Children's guidelines through courses such as seminars in curriculum studies and comparative education. Degree seekers must also complete an early childhood program evaluation capstone.
To pursue this master's in early childhood education online, candidates must boast California residency and relevant certification, such as the child development associate credential or the California child development associate teacher permit. Applicants must also submit two recommendation letters.
|2||Arizona State University - Skysong||Scottsdale||$$$$$||1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 200|
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Arizona State University's history dates back to 1885 with the creation of the Territorial Normal School. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, ASU educates more than 98,000 learners each year, with 26,200 attending the Skysong campus. Recognized alumni include Air Force Major General Margaret H. Woodward, fashion designer Kate Spade, and Congressman Ed Pastor. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this public institution.
The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College delivers a 30-credit master of education in curriculum and instruction, concerning early childhood education. The curriculum addresses policy, advocacy, management, and technology as they relate to children age eight or younger. Coursework includes emergent literacy and mathematics in early childhood education. Candidates must also complete in-person fieldwork.
Students can also choose a 45-credit master's path that includes certification. This online master's in early childhood education prepares students for teaching careers in preschool through third grade. Graduates can also pursue careers as school psychologists and administrators.
ASU offers graduate certificates in autism spectrum disorders, applied behavior analysis, gifted education, and English as a second language for further credentials.
|3||Concordia University - Portland||Portland||$$$$$||2811 NE Holman Street|
Portland, OR 97211-6099
Founded in 1905, Concordia University in Oregon embraces Lutheran Christian traditions. As of 2016, Concordia University - Portland educated 5,455 students. This private school holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and offers classes with an interactive 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Degree seekers can pursue Concordia's master of education in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in early childhood education. This concentration explores field innovations and research for improving children's education. Required courses include contemporary educational thought, theories of teaching and learning, and play in early childhood education, along with an action research or practitioner inquiry capstone. Each online course lasts five weeks and follows an asynchronous delivery format.
Candidates can obtain this master's in early childhood education online degree in one year, with no in-person attendance. Students can earn several scholarships, including the Title I Teacher's Scholarship, and receive free textbooks. Admission requires a minimum 2.8 GPA and a statement of intent.
|4||Liberty University||Lynchburg||$$$$$||1971 University Blvd|
Lynchburg, VA 24515
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia was founded in 1971. The private school educates more than 100,000 students with curriculum grounded in Christian ideas. It also offers more than 600 programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation to Liberty.
The School of Education offers a master of education in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in early childhood education. This program trains learners to build age-relevant curricula by exploring child behavior and educational legal concerns. Degree seekers must earn 36 credits in courses such as curriculum evaluation, advanced child development, and organization and administration of preschools. Learners must also complete a directed practicum or a capstone addressing current issues in education.
This program holds accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Learners can obtain this master's in early childhood education online in 1.5 years, but they must boast a minimum 2.5 GPA. Candidates can shorten their program length by transferring in up to half of the program's required credits.
|5||Concordia University - Saint Paul||Saint Paul||$$$$$||1282 Concordia Ave|
Saint Paul, MN 55104-5494
Located in Minnesota, Concordia University - St. Paul began in 1893. This private institution affiliates with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
CSP's master of arts in education with an emphasis in early childhood education reflects the principles of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. These principles focus on improving classroom practices through theories and research. Students complete 33 credits in seven-week classes such as ethics for educators, effective research writing, methods in early childhood programming, and language development and emergent literacy. The department also requires a capstone course. This program does not lead to certification or licensure.
Applicants must have paid or volunteer experience in education and submit a personal statement and resume. Admission also requires a 3.0 GPA. Resident and nonresident students pay equal per-credit tuition for the program, and the university offers certificates in parent coaching and leadership, which also prepare learners for advanced careers in education.
|6||California State University - Fullerton||Fullerton||$$$$$||800 N State College Blvd|
Fullerton, CA 92831-3599
CSU Fullerton began in 1957, and its first graduation took place in 1960. Nearly 40,000 students attended this public school in Spring 2019. The U.S. News & World Report rank CSU Fullerton among the top public schools and national universities, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges provides accreditation to the institution.
The College of Education delivers a master of science in education with a concentration in elementary curriculum and instruction. This program includes an emphasis in early childhood education. To earn this online master's in early childhood education, learners complete 30 units, including courses in research and curriculum for math, science, reading, and other early childhood subjects. Students must also complete a culminating project, a research project, or a thesis.
Admission requires field experience or prior graduation with a teaching credential. Applicants should also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students can obtain scholarships for programs through the College of Education, such as the College of Education Book Scholarship or the Educational Advocacy Scholarship for Titan Dreamers.
|7||Ball State University||Muncie||$$$$$||2000 University Ave|
Muncie, IN 47306
The Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division began in 1918 and changed names to Ball State University in 1965. Located in Muncie, Indiana, this public school boasts more than 22,000 learners and a 93% career placement rating. Ball State ranks among the U.S. News & World Report's top public schools and national universities, and it holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
The university offers a master of arts in education with a focus in early childhood education that helps learners improve classrooms for children up to eight years old. The 30-credit program includes classes in early literacy development, child development, and play and creativity in early childhood. Degree seekers can also pursue graduate certificates in literacy instruction and enhanced teaching practice for elementary teachers.
Candidates earning this online master's in early childhood education can pursue doctorates through Ball State, specializing in elementary childhood. However, the department may not deliver these programs online.
|8||Brenau University||Gainesville||$$$$$||500 Washington Street SE|
Gainesville, GA 30501-3668
Brenau University began in 1878 and currently educates around 3,500 students annually. This private, nonprofit institution in Gainesville, Georgia ranks on the U.S. News & World Report lists for regional universities in the South, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation to Brenau.
The school's master of education in early childhood education helps current teachers improve their learning strategies through planning and application. The program requires at least 34 credits in classes like special education for classroom teachers, issues in reading, methods of educational research, and computer literacy in education. Candidates must also complete clinical experiences and a capstone exam or research project.
Learners may finish the program in less than two years. However, this master's in early childhood education online degree does not count toward certification requirements. Candidates can, however, obtain certification endorsements in areas such as autism, coaching, English as a second language, and reading. Applicants must boast a teaching certificate and at least two years of field experience.
|9||University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus||Denver||$$$$$||1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400|
Denver, CO 80217-3364
Nearly 20,000 students studied at the University of Colorado Denver's campuses in fall 2018, including 4,326 learners at the Anschutz medical campus. The Higher Learning Commission grants accreditation to this public university.
The School of Education and Human Development at The University of Denver offers a master of arts in early childhood education with concentration options in teaching and learning, diversity and inclusion, and administration and leadership. Students with current teaching licensure can also pursue a special education endorsement or license through this program.
Learners must complete 30-42 credits in classes like curriculum in early childhood education and language and literacy in young children. The department delivers these courses in cohorts. As of 2020, each online cohort starts during fall terms. The university offers certificates in areas such as linguistically diverse education, school counseling, literacy, and information and learning technologies.
|10||Concordia University - Nebraska||Seward||$$$$$||800 N Columbia Ave|
Seward, NE 68434-1556
The Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod started Concordia University - Nebraska in 1894. Today, the private, nonprofit school educates over 2,500 learners through its interactive 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Over 80% of the school's faculty boast the most advanced degrees for their discipline. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Concordia.
The school's master of education in early childhood education focuses on child development and learning techniques for children age eight or younger. Students explore research and modern field advancements for engaging communities, families, and faculty in the learning process.
Obtaining this early childhood education master's degree online requires 36 credits in eight-week classes, covering topics such as thought in education and psychological foundations of teaching and learning. Candidates must also complete an action research project. Most degree seekers graduate in two years. Fast-track students can graduate in 20 months. This program reflects the National Association for the Education of Young Children's standards and boasts accreditation from both the Council for the Accreditation for Educator Preparation and the Nebraska Department of Education.
|11||Mercy College||Dobbs Ferry||$$$$$||555 Broadway|
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy College started in 1950 under the guidance of the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy began awarding four-year degrees in 1961. The school's current enrollment surpasses 9,000 and represents over 30 countries. More than 60,000 individuals enjoy alumni status there. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides accreditation to this private, nonprofit school.
The School of Education offers three options for an online master's in early childhood education, including two accelerated paths for a bachelor's and master's: behavioral science and early childhood education and psychology and early childhood education. Both paths require 144 credits and focus on children up to the second grade. Candidates can also pursue a 48-credit master of science in teaching students with disabilities for classrooms up to the sixth grade. Mercy's education programs boast accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
|12||California Baptist University||Riverside||$$$$$||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
The California Southern Baptist Convention created California Baptist University in 1950. As of fall 2018, 10,486 students attended this private, nonprofit institution. Located in Riverside, CBU ranks among the U.S. News & World Report's most innovative schools, best value schools, and top regional universities in the West. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits CBU.
The institution offers a master of science in education with a specialization in early childhood studies that examines curriculum, teaching strategies, and child psychology. It also addresses educational theories and effective communication. Courses for this 33-credit program include advanced studies in early childhood development, survey of educational research, critical issues in special education, and international and comparative education. The degree prepares learners to work in classrooms or in management and program development professions.
Candidates can earn this master's in early childhood education online degree in one year, with out-of-state learners experiencing the same tuition rates as in-state students.
|13||University of West Alabama||Livingston||$$$$$||Station One|
Livingston, AL 35470
The University of West Alabama welcomed its first learners in 1839. Today, this public university in Livingston educates more than 2,800 online learners and ranks among U.S. News &World Report's top regional universities in the South. UWA also holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Candidates can pursue two early childhood education master's degrees through UWA. The master of education in early childhood development focuses on child psychology and education strategies, but it does not lead to licensure or certification. The master of education in early childhood education P-3 deals with research, child development, and specific learning needs, such as special education. This master's track involves certification.
Both degrees require 34 credits of eight-week classes, covering topics such as foundations of education, technology and education, and educational statistics. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits these programs. Learners can finish either degree in one year. Out-of-state students pay the same tuition as in-state candidates.
|14||University of Missouri - Columbia||Columbia||$$$$$||105 Jesse Hall|
Columbia, MO 65211
The University of Missouri - Columbia began in 1839 and currently boasts more than 300,000 alumni and 30,000 students. This institution ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for top public schools, national universities, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this school.
The College of Education offers a master of education in learning, teaching, and curriculum with an emphasis in early childhood education. This program teaches learners to create and oversee programs for children ages eight and younger. Candidates focus on strategies for helping special needs and troubled children, as well.
This master's in early childhood education online requires 30 credits in fully online courses like curriculum development, language and early literacy development, and advanced assessment in early childhood. The degree relates to teaching positions for preschool, Head Start programs, and elementary and special education classrooms, but it does not lead to licensure or certification. Admission requires relevant field experience and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Online students pay resident tuition.
|15||Concordia University - Chicago||River Forest||$$$$$||7400 Augusta|
River Forest, IL 60305-1499
Concordia University - Chicago began in 1864 and boasts ties to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This private, nonprofit school educates more than 4,000 graduate learners through an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. CUC ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for best value schools and regional universities in the Midwest. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this institution.
CUC offers a master of arts in early childhood education, which explores the stages of development for children ages eight or younger. Candidates must complete 30 credits through courses such as infant and toddler curriculum, developmentally effective instruction for diverse learners, and a practicum in research in early childhood education. This early childhood education master's degree adheres to the National Association for the Education of Young Children's principles.
Applicants should boast two years of related experience. Individuals who already hold an Illinois license may pursue credentials in English as a second language or special education after earning this degree. Learners can complete this program in one or two years for professions in advocacy, administration, and policy.
|16||Mercer University||Macon||$$$$$||1400 Coleman Avenue|
Macon, GA 31207
Georgia Baptists started Mercer University in 1883. This private school in Macon educates 8,756 learners from over 50 countries and boasts accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercer among the top national universities, best value schools, and best colleges for veterans.
The Tift College of Education delivers a master of education in early childhood education exploring pedagogy, child development, and research for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Learners must complete 30 credits in classes such as contemporary curriculum practices in early childhood education and introduction to educational research. Candidates also pursue credentials related to STEM, reading, mathematics, English as a second language, and autism.
Applicants must meet standards for level-four certification in a related area and boast a 3.0 GPA. Online students can only enter the program starting in fall and summer semesters. Candidates can complete this master's in early childhood education online in 12-16 months. Graduates may quality for level five certification in Georgia.
|17||New Mexico State University||Las Cruces||$$$$$||2850 Weddell Street|
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
Las Cruces College began in 1888, and the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts dates back to 1889. The two schools combined in 1890 and became New Mexico State University in 1960. Today, this NASA Space Grant College educates over 15,000 students from 90 countries and ranks among U.S. News & World Report's top public schools and national universities. The Higher Learning Commission accredits the university.
NMSU offers a master of arts in education in curriculum and instruction emphasizing early childhood education. The program addresses community and organizational concepts of early childhood education, along with educational programs and research. Courses for this 33-credit early childhood education master's degree include multicultural education, literacy development in early childhood, and leadership and advocacy in early childhood. The department also offers optional endorsements, such as credentials for reading and teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Students can complete the program in two years, but they may graduate sooner by transferring up to 50% of credits. In-state and out-of-state learners pay equal tuition, though military students earn a discount.
|18||University of Northern Colorado||Greeley||$$$$$||Carter Hall - Rm 4000|
Greeley, CO 80639
The University of Northern Colorado in the city of Greeley began in 1889. Around 13,000 learners currently attend UNC, with 81% of undergraduate candidates studying full-time. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC as a top national university, and the Higher Learning Commission accredits this public school.
Students interested in early childhood special education master's programs online should consider UNC's master of arts in special education with an early childhood special education emphasis. This 36-credit program explores cultural diversity and various learning needs for children ages eight and younger. Degree seekers must complete practicums with infants and toddlers, three- to five-year-olds, and five- to eight-year-olds. Learners must also take courses in assessment, research, literacy, and family involvement as they relate to education.
Applicants need a 3.0 GPA, a resume, and a statement of teaching beliefs and personal goals. Full-time candidates can graduate in two years. Prior credits or licenses may quicken graduation time.
|19||Martin Luther College||New Ulm||$$$$$||1995 Luther Court|
New Ulm, IA 56073
Martin Luther College began in 1995 after Northwestern College and Dr. Martin Luther College combined. This private institution has ties to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and educates learners through an interactive 11-to-one student-to-professor ratio. The Higher Learning Commission accredits this Christian university.
The school's master of science in educational administration offers two concentrations, including an early childhood director emphasis. The program requires 36 credits in classes such as educational leadership, school business administration, early childhood curriculum, and legal and ethical issues in early childhood. Candidates must also complete an internship, thesis, or project to earn this online master's in early childhood education.
Online students can read MLC's Issues in Lutheran Education blog, which addresses topics such as play in early childhood classrooms, educational technology, and special needs students. Distance learners can also access library documents, including e-books and online journals.
|20||Clemson University||Clemson||$$$$$||201 Sikes Hall|
Clemson, SC 29634
Clemson University in South Carolina began in 1889. This public school prioritizes research and boasts approximately 25,000 students who learn through an interactive 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The U.S. News & World Report ranks Clemson among the top national universities, best colleges for veterans, best value schools, top public schools, and most innovative schools. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Clemson.
The university provides a master of education in teaching and learning with three specialization options, including experiential learning for early childhood. This program targets teachers who want to advance in their careers.
To obtain this online master's in early childhood education, candidates complete 30 credits in courses such as contemporary issues in assessment, classroom-based research, and curriculum theory. The program requires extensive fieldwork and a capstone project. Students may complete this program in 1.5 years. Candidates can also choose the STEAM and instructional coaching concentrations for the master of education degree.
|21||University of North Dakota||Grand Forks||$$$$$||264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193|
Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193
The University of North Dakota started in 1883, making the school older than its state namesake. The Grand Forks institution educates more than 13,000 students, offers over 250 organizations and clubs, and ranks on the U.S. News & World Report's lists for national universities and top public schools. UND holds accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
The school delivers a master of science in early childhood education that trains students to create age-appropriate curricula for children under eight and engage family and community in the educational process. The curriculum includes classes like foundations of reading instruction, language development and cognition in children, and introduction to early childhood special education. The program also requires fieldwork and adheres to National Association for the Education of Young Children's principles.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits this 32-credit program. Learners can earn this master's in early childhood education online degree in two years or more.
|22||University of West Georgia||Carrollton||$$$$$||1601 Maple St|
Carrollton, GA 30118-0001
The University of West Georgia started as a two-year school in 1906. In 1957, the public institution in Carrollton expanded to a four-year option. UWG included 13,733 students in the fall of 2018 and awarded over 2,600 degrees for the 2017-18 academic year. The U.S. News & World Report ranks UWG as a top national university, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits the school.
UWG provides a master of education with a major in early childhood education that addresses curricula, ethics, and child development. Courses for this 36-credit master's in early childhood education online degree may include literature for the young child, classroom management for early grades, and family/community involvement for school improvement. Candidates can fulfill all program requirements in 1-2 years.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits this program. Admission requires a relevant bachelor's or level four certification. Applicants must also demonstrate a minimum 2.7 GPA.
|23||Texas A&M University - Commerce||Commerce||$$$$$||2600 South Neal|
Commerce, TX 75429-3011
Texas A&M University - Commerce began in 1889 and currently educates around 10,000 students. The school's cumulative financial aid awards typically surpass $75,000,000 each year. The U.S. News & World Report lists this institution among the top national universities. TAMUC boasts accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students can pursue a master of education, art, or science in early childhood education through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This program guides students in developing curricula, overseeing classrooms, and teaching in age-appropriate manners for children in the fourth grade or younger.
This online early childhood education degree requires at least 36 credits and provides paths for students who either hold or do not hold teaching credentials, along with a thesis option. Common classes may include child development and literacy development in the early years. Students must also pass a comprehensive exam of multiple choice and essay questions to graduate.
|24||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro||$$$$$||1400 Spring Garden St|
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro welcomed its first 198 learners in 1892. As of fall 2017, the school's enrollment surpassed 19,000. This military-friendly institution ranks on U.S. News & World Report's lists for top public schools and national universities, and it holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The School of Education offers a master of education in birth-kindergarten interdisciplinary studies in education and development. Students can focus on early childhood leadership or advanced teaching licensure to explore community engagement and teaching strategies for diverse classrooms. The program includes classes in curricula, leadership, and assessment, along with fieldwork and a capstone portfolio with an oral component.
This online master's in early childhood education prepares students for careers as teachers, curriculum designers, administrators, and consultants. Admission into this concentration mandates an initial teaching credential.
|25||California University of Pennsylvania||California||$$$$$||250 University Ave|
California, PA 15419-1394
California University of Pennsylvania began in 1852. The school educated more than 7,000 learners in the 2018-19 school year. The U.S News & World Report ranks Cal U as a top regional university in the North, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits the public school.
Cal U offers a master of education in early childhood education, exploring developmental stages and age-appropriate teaching methods. The program targets candidates with teaching licensure and experience in early childhood, elementary, or special education classrooms.
Students must take 30 credits of asynchronous courses in literacy development, advanced psychology of learning, and early childhood curriculum and assessment. Applicants whose teaching experience is not in early childhood education must also complete an internship. Learners progress through courses in a cohort format.
This program holds accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and prepares graduates for careers in K-12 schools, preschools, and Head Start programs.
Early Childhood Policy, Social Contexts of Learning, Curriculum Development, Research Issues and Assessment Techniques
Education, education and human development
High school principals, researchers and advisors, leaders in teacher training, instructional coordinators, teachers of education professionals (professors)
A high school principal earns a median salary of $90,410 per year; $62,270 for instructional coordinators; $72,470 for postsecondary teachers.
Principalship positions are expected to grow 6-13% through 2024.
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Average Early Childhood Education Salaries
|Growth Rate 2014-2024||Number of Jobs: 2014||Degree||Certifications|
|6%||1,517,400||Bachelor's||State licensure required for public schools|
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work in public and private schools teaching students basic subjects such as math, English, and reading. They also evaluate student aptitudes, grade assignments, monitor student progress, help students overcome challenges, and supervise them during lunchtime or recess. These professionals require at least a bachelor’s degree, such as an online bachelor’s in early childhood education. Effective teachers must have patience, creativity, and enjoy working with young people.
|Growth Rate 2014-2024||Number of Jobs: 2014||Degree||Certifications|
|5%||1,260,600||High School Diploma or Equivalent||N/A|
When parents and other relatives are unable to care for their children, they turn to childcare workers. They work in centers, which may include their own homes or the homes of children they care for. They monitor the safety of children, organize and supervise meals, change diapers, ensure children have enough rest and playtime, and monitor their development and keep record of their progress. The position requires excellent communication and instructional skills, patience, and stamina. While not always required, professionals who complete online early childhood education programs will be more qualified and stand out to employers.
|Growth Rate 2014-2024||Number of Jobs: 2014||Degree||Certifications|
Childcare center directors are responsible for running the day-to-day operations at their facility. This includes supervising preschool teachers and childcare workers, providing professional development to staff, developing programming and standards, working with staff to interact with parents, and preparing budgets. Candidates who earn their bachelor’s in early childhood education online are typically qualified to work as childcare center directors.
|Growth Rate 2014-2024||Number of Jobs: 2014||Degree||Certifications|
|7%||441,000||Bachelor's||CDA or CCP|
Preschool educators teach children basic skills, such as shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. They create and implement a curriculum targeting different areas of childhood development, design activities for students to explore and develop their skills and interests, and record each student’s progress. Creativity, patience, and great communication and organization skills are vital. Earning an online bachelor’s in early childhood education will qualify you to work as a preschool teacher at most schools.