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|
|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.
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.