Online Early Childhood Education Degree

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Helping Kids Shine
in the Classroom

Does positively impacting the lives of children in a classroom sound like a rewarding career? Then earning an early childhood education degree online might be the perfect next step. Online programs are an excellent option for people with busy schedules, especially those seeking advancement in their existing career. Anyone interested in taking an online program to begin or continue a career in early childhood education should read on to learn more about degree options, credentials and career opportunities.

National Median Annual Salary & Job Growth for Childhood Education

The bureau of labor statistics provides the following data about job growth in the Childhood Education industry. As well as the following national median salary data for several different careers in the field of Childhood Education.

Career National Job Growth(2014-2024) National Median Annual Salary(2014) Minimum Education
Preschool Teacher 7% $28,120 Associate degree
Child Care Worker 5% $19,730 High school diploma
Preschool and Childcare Center Director 7% $45,260 Bachelor’s degree
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher 6% $53,760 Bachelor’s degree
Special Education Teacher 6% $55,980 Bachelor’s degree
EXPLORE ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS TO BECOME A TEACHER search programs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Milestone Map: Early Childhood Educators

There is a variety of jobs for people with a degree in early childhood education to choose from as they begin their professional career. Their skills and qualifications will prepare them for jobs in child care programs, schools, government agencies or social service agencies. Below is an outline of possible milestones someone who earns an early childhood education degree online might accomplish.

Bachelor’s degree

Completes bachelor’s degree in social services at traditional university

Social services supervisor

Works as a hospital social worker at children’s emergency room

Master’s degree

Completes online master’s degree program in early childhood
education

New job

Earns position as director of family education center

National certification

Earns National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist

Conference
presenter

Presents at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference

Top Online Early Childhood Education Programs for 2017

Becoming an educator at the early childhood level is perfect for students eager to work with children, and achieving this goal begins with completing an online program in early childhood education. With the unique format offered with online learning, students can develop the same skills and knowledge as is offered in traditional, in-person courses. The first step to achieving this goal is finding the right school, which is why we’ve looked at programs offered around the country and compiled a list of the best available. Look below to find the best online early childhood education programs offered in 2017.

RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Mayville State University Score98.06
Net Price
Financial aid %76%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate39%

Mayville State University provides its students with a clear path to becoming an early childhood educator with its bachelor of science in early childhood education. After completing this degree, students will be eligible to test for state licensure to teach up to the third grade level, or children up to the age of 8. Graduates from Mayville also have the opportunity to apply to one of several available graduate-level programs to further specialize their learning. Mayville’s primary focus is in support its student’s academic needs, which is why several student service departments located on the Mayville campus are readily available for students seeking guidance or assistance.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Bay Path University Score98.02
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%

Becoming an educator at the early childhood level is made easy by studying in a bachelor of arts program in early childhood education with Bay Path University. This program is designed to teach students how to facilitate the social, mental, and emotional development of students up to the second grade level. Graduates from this program will be eligible to test for state licensure, as well as continue their learning in a graduate-level setting. Bay Path prides itself on being a thriving, inclusive community, which is why more than thirty student organizations are available to any student attending college at Bay Path University.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Vanguard University of Southern California Score97.65
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%

What makes earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Vanguard University of Southern California a unique experience is in its distance learning opportunities. Students will be able to complete the entirety of their bachelor’s program without every actually being physically present on the Vanguard campus. The early childhood education program will prepare students to be working with working with children up through early grade school age. All programs available at Vanguard are fully accredited and offer transferability to other institutions, if a student needs to relocate for personal reasons. Vanguard’s selection of degree programs is vast, allowing all attendees to pursue their passion.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Western Kentucky University Score96.68
Net Price
Financial aid %37%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%

Along with the several bachelor’s programs available at Western Kentucky University, there are also a selection of two-year associate programs for students to pursue, such as the associate degree in early childhood education. This program is designed to teach students how to create welcoming and enjoyable learning environments for children up through early grade school level. WKU supports its students both academically, through a large selection of student services, as well as financially. Financial aid coverage at WKU is available for all students who have met the specific application requirements. WKU is also the home to several Greek life chapters, allowing students to spend their downtime socializing with their peers.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Concordia University-Chicago Score96.42
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%

Concordia University in Chicago has been educating students for nearly 150 years, and it has been their goal to keep their programs up-to-date with modern technological advancements and the developing job market. Among CU Chicago’s numerous degrees is a graduate-level program in early childhood education, designed to prepare students with a proclivity for working with children further specialized knowledge to ensure they will be a valuable asset in any educational setting. CU Chicago is also the home to a large selection of student-operated organizations, including club sports, special interest groups, and Greek life chapters.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6Southwestern College Score96.33
Net Price
Financial aid %95%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%

For students interested in making a difference in the lives of young children, perhaps a bachelor of arts in education with an emphasis in early childhood education earned at Southwestern College would be a beneficial pursuit. Like all Southwestern College programs, the early childhood education emphasis utilizes a blend of applied learning situations as well as in-depth, theoretical learning in the classroom. As students will be spending much of their time on-campus, Southwestern College regularly holds on-campus events during the days and evenings for students to take part in, allowing them to change up their daily routine from time to time.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7University of Alabama at Birmingham Score96.19
Net Price
Financial aid %66%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate48%

The bachelor’s program in early childhood and elementary education offered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is geared towards students who are interested in becoming a teach at the early elementary level. UAB has partnered with Jefferson State Community College to develop a 2+2 program, essentially breaking a bachelor’s program into two years spent at each institution. Learning in this format is beneficial for students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree while not paying as much for tuition during their first two years. UAB also offers financial aid options for students who are feeling the strain of trying to pay for college.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Chaminade University of Honolulu Score96.05
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate36%

At just 44 credits, the master of arts in teaching with an emphasis in early childhood education available at Chaminade University of Honolulu is an excellent option for graduate students interested in expanding their knowledge of educational principles applicable to an early elementary and pre-K setting. Chaminade employs faculty members who have spent a large portion of their careers working in hands-on environments, giving them the practical experience needed to be an effective educator. Students attending Chaminade will be able to stay on top of their degree program by regularly meeting with academic advisors and peer tutors.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9North Carolina Central University Score95.99
Net Price
Financial aid %81%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%

North Carolina Central University give its students the chance to pursue a large selection of degrees, including a bachelor of science in early childhood education human sciences. NCCU’s goal with all of the programs it offers is to successfully prepare enrolled students for competitive and developing career paths by implementing encompassing, well-rounded general education opportunities as well as hands-on emphasis learning scenarios. Students enrolled at NCCU will have the benefit of utilizing on-campus computer labs, fitness facilities, and housing units. Students are also able to further socialize with their community by participating in one of NCCU’s student organizations.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10Concordia University-Nebraska Score95.96
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate63%

Working with children is a challenging and fulfilling career goal characterized by a deep desire to have a positive effect on a child’s educational development. This is why Concordia University in Nebraska offers a bachelor of science in education with an emphasis in early childhood education, allowing students to realize their potential as educators and achieve their career aspirations. Student life at CUNE is characterized by fostering social engagement and developing an atmosphere of academic productivity. Students attending CUNE are able to regulate their wellness by participating in intramural or club sports, as well as visiting the on-campus fitness center.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11University of the Southwest Score95.91
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate22%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12National University Score95.87
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate23%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13University of Toledo Score95.80
Net Price
Financial aid %85%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate46%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14Shorter University Score95.71
Net Price
Financial aid %97%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15Notre Dame College Score95.58
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate36%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Score95.56
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17Fresno Pacific University Score95.55
Net Price
Financial aid %96%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate59%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
18University of North Carolina at Greensboro Score95.19
Net Price
Financial aid %49%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
19Northern Arizona University Score95.13
Net Price
Financial aid %66%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
20University of Northern Colorado Score95.00
Net Price
Financial aid %79%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate45%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
21Jacksonville State University Score94.91
Net Price
Financial aid %56%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate29%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
22Arkansas Tech University Score94.85
Net Price
Financial aid %56%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate41%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
23Emporia State University Score94.81
Net Price
Financial aid %76%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate42%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
24Concordia University-Portland Score94.76
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate45%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
25Western Carolina University Score94.67
Net Price
Financial aid %67%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate48%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
26Northwestern State University of Louisiana Score94.40
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate36%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
27University of South Alabama Score94.37
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate37%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
28National Louis University Score94.23
Net Price
Financial aid %70%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate44%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
29Winston-Salem State University Score94.21
Net Price
Financial aid %67%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate40%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
30Prescott College Score94.20
Net Price
Financial aid %90%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate45%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
31University of Northern Iowa Score94.18
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate66%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
32Youngstown State University Score94.16
Net Price
Financial aid %45%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate32%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
33Stephen F Austin State University Score94.06
Net Price
Financial aid %52%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate44%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
34Mercy College Score93.89
Net Price
Financial aid %88%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate34%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
35Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses Score93.84
Net Price
Financial aid %19%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
36Florida International University Score93.72
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
37Concordia University-Saint Paul Score93.70
Net Price
Financial aid %85%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
38Southern New Hampshire University Score93.62
Net Price
Financial aid %71%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate59%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
39Texas A & M University-Commerce Score93.57
Net Price
Financial aid %52%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate36%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
40University of Colorado Denver Score93.08
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate45%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
41Albany State University Score92.50
Net Price
Financial aid %11%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate39%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
42Granite State College Score92.48
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
43University of North Dakota Score92.36
Net Price
Financial aid %30%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
44Georgia Southern University Score92.32
Net Price
Financial aid %8%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
45West Chester University of Pennsylvania Score92.19
Net Price
Financial aid %13%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate69%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
46State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota Score91.94
Net Price
Financial aid %11%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
47Florida State College at Jacksonville Score91.76
Net Price
Financial aid %15%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
48Wilmington University Score91.35
Net Price
Financial aid %20%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate34%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
49University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Score91.30
Net Price
Financial aid %14%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate60%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Eastern Wyoming College Score98.16
Net Price
Financial aid %63%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio

At Eastern Wyoming College, students may progress through a four-semester associate of arts program with an emphasis in early childhood education. This program helps to prepare students to develop the basis of their knowledge of the early childhood education field and guide them into a bachelor’s degree at a four-year school. Students will get the chance to work with faculty members who have spent several years working in the individual fields. EWC is also happy to offer its students financial aid coverage opportunities to help lighten the financial strain earning a degree can create.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Colorado Northwestern Community College Score97.20
Net Price
Financial aid %62%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

Earning an associate degree in early childhood education from Colorado Northwestern Community College helps to prepare students to play a key role in a child’s mental development. Teachers working with this specific age group will help guide the development of children ages 0-5, and will be tasked with the crucial jobs of facilitating language development, world understanding, and even early math and science skills. Students enrolled at CNCC may complete some of their courses online, if they feel an on-campus schedule is too disruptive to their daily routine. CNCC’s academic advisement office is always available to help students stay on the quickest and cheapest route to graduation.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Snead State Community College Score96.99
Net Price
Financial aid %65%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

At Snead State Community College, students may start their path to becoming an educator at the early childhood level by completing an associate of applied science degree in early childhood education. Students who graduate from this program will have developed skills in classroom management, communication, and leadership that employers are looking for in prospective educators. Snead facilitates its students’ success through offering several student services—academic advisement, tutoring, and career counseling, for instance—and hiring experienced faculty members who are eager to help with any student’s needs. In addition to the low tuition rate at Snead, students may also lighten their financial load by applying to receive financial aid.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Barton County Community College Score96.44
Net Price
Financial aid %71%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio

At Barton County Community College, students with dreams of becoming an educator at the K-6 level may choose to pursue an associate degree in early childhood education. This program is designed to develop the skills necessary to be successful in leading classroom settings. Barton CCC is characterized by passionate faculty members who are dedicated to imparting knowledge on their students, hands-on learning strategies, and the implementation of state-of-the-art learning equipment to facilitate student success. Barton CCC also works to emphasize community engagement as much as classroom work, which is why it is the host to several student clubs and on-campus events.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Dawson Community College Score95.82
Net Price
Financial aid %60%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

A key step to become an educator at the K-6 level is earning an associate degree in early childhood education, and at Dawson Community College, students can do just that. One of the benefits of studying at Dawson is its online learning opportunities, which allow students that would typically be unable to attend in-person classes to get the education needed to achieve their goals. While tuition costs at Dawson are low, they are still aware that earning a degree can be too expensive for some students, which is why they offer a number of financial aid opportunities, including federal aid, grants, and scholarships.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6College of Southern Idaho Score95.75
Net Price
Financial aid %46%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

The College of Southern Idaho boasts a large selection of degree programs for their students to select from, but if a student happens to be interested in becoming an early childhood educator, then an associate degree in early childhood education is for them. CSI offers associate degrees in two forms: the applied science degrees, which are designed to get students into the workforce immediately after completing two years of learning; and associate of arts/science degrees, which prepare students for transfer into a four-year school. Several CSI programs also have corresponding certificates to help enhance a student's’ resume without any additional learning.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7Casper College Score95.52
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

At Casper College, students with a passion for education and working with young children have the chance to pursue their goals as an early childhood educator by completing an associate of arts degree in early childhood education. This program will incorporate a balance of theoretical, in-class learning, as well as real-world experience, giving students the best chance at obtaining all necessary skills to secure a position at a preschool or childhood development center. Casper College supports its students through a variety of student service departments, including tutoring and technical support. Any eligible Casper College student is able to receive financial aid coverage in the form of scholarships, grants, and federal aid.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Allen County Community College Score95.27
Net Price
Financial aid %68%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

An associate of arts degree with an emphasis in early childhood education earned at Allen County Community College can lead to fulfilling careers in a variety of environments, including preschools and centers for childhood development. The goal of the associate of arts programs offered at Allen CC is to allow students to transfer into a bachelor’s program after graduation, but there are several options available to students who aren't interested in continuing their studies. Students who complete an associate of applied science degree with Allen CC will receive the knowledge and hands-on experience required to enter the workforce after just four short semesters.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9Maysville Community and Technical College Score95.25
Net Price
Financial aid %9%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

While working through Maysville Community and Technical College’s associate program in interdisciplinary early childhood education, students will cultivate a set of skills in understanding the mental, physical, and social development of children in grades K-6. This program leads to a number of successful careers, including teaching in a preschool setting, working in child development centers, or even working in rehabilitation clinics. Maysville works hard to ensure its students are exposed to the most fulfilling college experience possible, which is why they host a large number of campus events throughout the school year. Students attending Maysville can stay on track with their learning by studying at the campus tutoring center.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10Bay Mills Community College Score95.09
Net Price
Financial aid %53%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio

One of the unique benefits of pursuing an associate of arts degree in early childhood education offered at Bay Mills Community College is that this program can be completed in an entirely online format. This learning style is often beneficial for students who are too busy to attend traditional course sections, or for students who are living out of state. Online learning allows students to progress through their curriculum while cultivating skills in time management and personal initiative. Bay Mills Community College provides its students—both online and traditional—with a set of services designed to keep them on track, including personal tutoring and career counseling.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11Southwestern Oregon Community College Score95.02
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12Kansas City Kansas Community College Score94.90
Net Price
Financial aid %22%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13Lake Region State College Score94.88
Net Price
Financial aid %63%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14Cochise College Score94.87
Net Price
Financial aid %22%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15Nebraska Indian Community College Score94.73
Net Price
Financial aid %83%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16Henderson Community College Score94.66
Net Price
Financial aid %22%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17Truckee Meadows Community College Score94.41
Net Price
Financial aid %22%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
18Pamlico Community College Score94.36
Net Price
Financial aid %11%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
19Northeast Community College Score94.25
Net Price
Financial aid %38%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
20Gadsden State Community College Score94.21
Net Price
Financial aid %25%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
21Southwest Virginia Community College Score94.08
Net Price
Financial aid %58%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
22Bluegrass Community and Technical College Score93.85
Net Price
Financial aid %2%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
23Somerset Community College Score93.83
Net Price
Financial aid %8%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
24West Kentucky Community and Technical College Score93.80
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
25Montgomery Community College Score93.79
Net Price
Financial aid %19%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
26Three Rivers Community College Score93.77
Net Price
Financial aid %17%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
27Madisonville Community College Score93.72
Net Price
Financial aid %22%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
28Southwestern Community College Score93.68
Net Price
Financial aid %15%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
29Georgia Piedmont Technical College Score93.58
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
30Metropolitan Community College Score93.42
Net Price
Financial aid %20%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
31Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Score93.33
Net Price
Financial aid %9%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
32Gateway Community and Technical College Score93.31
Net Price
Financial aid %9%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
33Front Range Community College Score93.25
Net Price
Financial aid %9%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
34College of the Ouachitas Score93.21
Net Price
Financial aid %24%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
35Ashland Community and Technical College Score93.19
Net Price
Financial aid %7%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
36Owensboro Community and Technical College Score93.15
Net Price
Financial aid %4%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
37Stanly Community College Score93.10
Net Price
Financial aid %15%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
38Tidewater Community College Score93.02
Net Price
Financial aid %3%
#Online programs3
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
39Hazard Community and Technical College Score92.91
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Financial aid %19%
#Online programs3
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40Bladen Community College Score92.86
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Financial aid %2%
#Online programs2
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Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
41Spokane Falls Community College Score92.84
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Financial aid %14%
#Online programs3
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
42Shoreline Community College Score92.24
Net Price
Financial aid %19%
#Online programs1
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43Pima Community College Score92.19
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Financial aid %9%
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
44Jefferson Community and Technical College Score92.13
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Financial aid %1%
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
45Hopkinsville Community College Score92.12
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Financial aid %10%
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
46Surry Community College Score92.11
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Financial aid %11%
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Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
47Edgecombe Community College Score91.91
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Financial aid %8%
#Online programs3
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Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
48Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Score91.87
Net Price
Financial aid %4%
#Online programs3
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Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
49Fayetteville Technical Community College Score91.84
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

The Online College Experience: Key Features

Pursuing an online degree is an excellent option for people wishing to advance their careers or for traditional students who desire a flexible class schedule. There are several accredited online programs offering undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees, so it should not be difficult for aspiring educators to find an online early childhood education degree that meets their needs.

While an online learning experience will be different from the experience at a physical campus, the curriculum and the quality of the education will be quite comparable.

When researching online programs, prospective students should consider their time management skills since they will need to set aside time to complete lessons and assignments. Some classes may also have virtual group discussions or projects, so applicants should be prepared for the additional time commitment attached to such activities.

Most programs require a certain number of hours spent in a classroom setting as a student teacher. Advanced degrees in early childhood education may also require students to be on campus for presentations. Applicants should be aware of these requirements so they can plan accordingly.

Additionally, most colleges have specific software requirements to support their online portals, which is how students communicate with instructors and other students, receive and submit assignments, and access additional resources.

Types of Early Childhood Education Degrees

The degree level prospective students ultimately pursue will depend on the time they can dedicate to schooling, the type of job they plan to seek after graduation, and the degrees and prior college credits they already have.

  • Associate’s
    (18 to 24 months)
  • Bachelor’s
    (4 years)
  • Master’s
    (2 years)
  • Doctorate
    (4-8 years)
  • Education Specialist
    (2 years)
  • Certificate
    (10-12 months)
  • Specializations

An associate degree is a solid first step for someone beginning an academic career, as it teaches the foundations of education theory, curriculum planning and childhood development. Roughly 60 to 70 credits long, an associate degree qualifies students for positions as daycare providers, caregivers and teacher aides. However, many students transfer the credits earned from an associate degree program to a four-year bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education qualifies students to gain a state license and teach in public schools. In addition to providing a comprehensive understanding of childhood development, this degree, which is twice as long as an associate program, also imparts students with a comprehensive set of skills through specialized coursework in areas such as educational psychology and curriculum design. Many programs require students to gain hands-on experience in a classroom, but some waive this stipulation for students who are already working in a child care facility or preschool.

Master’s degree programs, which run between 30 and 50 credits in length, are typically for people who already hold a bachelor’s degree in education and are currently teaching, though some schools will consider applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject if they have work experience. Graduate programs generally require a research project, student teaching residency or both.

There are two types of master’s degrees available:

  • A Master of Education (MEd) is a graduate degree that prepares educators for a career beyond the classroom. While some with an MEd may choose to teach throughout their career, this degree allows for a wider range of options within the field of education, including curriculum development and administration.
  • The Master of Arts (MA) degree in early childhood education is for people who want to advance their teaching career. This degree emphasizes advanced coursework within specific subjects, in addition to developing educators’ overall teaching skills.

Taking an additional 50 to 60 credits after a master’s program to earn a doctoral degree in early childhood education affords graduates an in-depth understanding of early childhood education research, curriculum and policy. Doctoral programs include taking coursework, compiling a portfolio and completing a dissertation.

When considering a doctoral degree, degree seekers should determine if a Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a better choice. For those seeking hands-on leadership roles, an EdD may be a better fit since it is tailored to people pursing leadership roles in education, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. A PhD is designed for those interested in devoting their careers to research or focusing on sociology of education, policy or cognitive development.

An EdS is designed for those who have already completed a master’s degree program. Holders of this degree have the ability to shape policies, programs, practices and systems that affect the lives of young children. While earning a degree, students will explore the many influences affecting child development and learning; analyze topics such as child development, family partnerships and effective practices; and learn strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children.

Graduate certificate programs, which require bachelor’s degrees for entry, are composed of a handful of courses that provide supplemental education to meet the needs of professionals. Certificate holders will get specialized knowledge in the field of early childhood education without the time commitment of a master’s degree.

Specializations within early childhood education degrees can be pursued in some graduate and postgraduate programs. These academic concentrations may focus on the following:

  • Early childhood (pre-K)
  • Integrated teaching through the arts
  • Specialist teacher of reading
  • Curriculum development
  • Administration of early childhood programs

Core Classes in Early Childhood Education Degrees

The core classes students take while earning an early childhood education degree online will provide them with an understanding of children’s growth and development and the skills needed to create an effective and engaging curriculum.

Early Childhood Literacy

Students gain the skills needed to teach young children how to read and write during their preschool years. This course also covers the progression of communication, language and literacy.

Child Growth and Development

This class provides educators with a general understanding of child psychology and teaches them to recognize how genetics and environmental factors affect children’s growth and development.

Early Childhood Curriculum and Methods

Students in this course prepare curricula and practice teaching strategies involving behavior management and the creation of positive learning environments.

Play and Learning

Play is an important way young children both build new skills and explore the world around them. Educators will learn how to develop and implement play experiences that enhance the learning experience of young children.

Child, Family and Community

This class prepares educators to positively connect children’s worlds with adult society by better understanding interactions among families, schools and communities.

Deciding on a Early Childhood Education Program

Before enrolling in an online degree program, several things should be considered, such as the length of time to complete the program and whether there are specialized areas of study available. Here are a few more things prospective applicants should do:

  • Ask whether the curriculum prepares students for state licensing exams, especially if the program is based in a state other than the one in which you plan to teach.
  • Check that the college and its online program are accredited.
  • Ensure that you have met the academic prerequisites before applying.
  • Speak with other students and instructors to better understand the aims of the program.
  • Find out if there are additional resources available to online students and new graduates, such as academic counseling and assistance with job seeking.
  • Confirm that any financial aid you have qualified for is accepted by the college.
  • Research the kinds of internships and field experience opportunities available through the school.
  • Be aware of any additional costs you may incur while earning your online degree. These may include books, software and travel for practicums.

The ABCs of Accreditation

Earning an online degree from an accredited program is important for several reasons. For one thing, it means certain academic standards have been met. More importantly, attending an unaccredited college negatively affects one’s qualification for financial aid, prospects for licensure and employment opportunities following graduation. One of the major accrediting agencies specifically for education and early childhood education is the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, although students earning an associate degree will likely find themselves in a program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young People. For more information on types of accreditation, visit our Online Guide to Accredited Colleges & Universities.

Prepping for a Bachelor’s
in Early Childhood Education

To ensure successful completion of an early childhood education degree online, it can be helpful to make a list of necessary steps to complete before classes begin. The following list is an example of some important deadlines and steps for enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program, although it’s important to remember that each program has its own requirements and deadlines.

Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1

Take SAT or ACT

1 year
Step 2

Apply to online colleges

9-12 months
Step 3

Submit financial aid documents

9 months
Step 4

Speak with college counselor to determine classes and register

4 months

Step 5

Graduate from high school with minimum required GPA

3-4 months

Before going back to school, there are several things people with a passion for early childhood education can do to gain experience and prepare for a career:

  • While in school, find a job in a child care center or preschool to get hands-on experience and become familiar with the work environment.
  • Volunteer at an after-school program for elementary school children to observe how certified teachers interact with students and solve problems that arise.
  • Take additional psychology and communication classes to get an even better understanding of the concepts discussed in child development classes and gain skills necessary for working with peers and communicating with parents.
  • Take a summer job at a day camp to see firsthand how important play is to learning for young children and witness creative ways to teach complex concepts to children.
  • Join a professional development group such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or the Association for Early Learning Leaders (AELL). These groups often offer access to professional development opportunities, both online and in-person, as well as provide a network of other professionals in the field who can prove invaluable during a job search. Organizations often have a discounted student membership rate.

Careers in Early Childhood Education

Since there are many degree levels, there is also a variety of career opportunities to pursue with an early childhood education degree, covering everything from child care to leadership.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers educate and care for children before they enter kindergarten. Teachers are responsible for preparing students for the next steps in their education by familiarizing them with basic reading, writing and science concepts. Additional topics covered in preschool include colors, shapes, numbers and letters. Mainly, however, preschool instructors help students develop social skills through group and one-on-one activities. If any emotional or developmental issues seem to be present, it is the responsibility of the teacher to notify the student’s parents.

Child Care Worker

Child care workers are responsible for providing general care for children when their parents are not available. At the very minimum, they attend to basic needs such as feeding and bathing. Some child care centers may also provide activities to help prepare younger children for kindergarten or assist older children with homework assignments. Even teachers who are not working in a formal school setting may be asked to organize a curriculum that provides opportunities for children to learn about the world around them.

Preschool and Child Care Center Director

Directors oversee all aspects of a center by managing facility staff members, monitoring daily activities, developing the curriculum and preparing budgets. Over half of those working as directors are employed by child day care services. Although directors work in schools and child care centers, the nature of the role means much of their time is spent in an office, but this doesn’t mean they don’t spend time in the classroom! The success of their center relies on maintaining standards related to staff performance, curriculum execution, student development and relationships with parents. A career as a director should appeal to educators attracted to leadership and administrative duties.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work in public and private schools. Their schedules vary depending on the school district’s academic calendar. Teachers are responsible for creating and implementing lessons covering subjects such as reading, science, math and social studies. They also help students gain real-world skills so they can effectively communicate and cooperate with their peers. Outside of the classroom, teachers spend time grading assignments and exams and meeting with parents to update them on their child’s academic progress.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers are specially trained to work with students who have a range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. For students with mild to moderate disabilities, general education lessons are adapted to meet their abilities. These teachers also teach basic literacy skills and communication techniques to students with more severe disabilities. Instead of developing one curriculum for each subject matter, special education teachers create individualized education programs (IEPs) tailored to each student. These IEPs are assessed and updated throughout the school year based on the student’s progress and goals.

After School:
Teaching Credentials and Professional Certifications

Following graduation from an accredited college, aspiring teachers will need to pass exams for licensure in the state they wish to teach in. Other credentials and certifications are also available to people with early childhood education degrees who are looking for an edge when applying for jobs.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Credential

Before enrolling in a degree program, applicants should confirm the curriculum fulfills the state requirements, especially if the college is based in another state. Afterwards, graduates need to obtain certification in their state. State-specific requirements can be found on the U.S. Department of Education website. Most states require the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited university

  • Submitted application for licensure

  • Passing grade on the state-issued competency test

  • Verified teaching experience or work experience (some states waive student-teaching requirements for full-time teachers)

  • Copy of valid, state-issued identification and/or proof of permanent residency

  • Criminal background check, including fingerprints

Early Childhood Education Teaching Certifications

In addition to state certifications, other professional organizations offer certifications for early childhood teachers. These certifications enhance one’s credibility as an instructor and can help an educator stand out from other graduates during a job search. (It is worth noting that in order to teach at a Montessori school, teachers must complete a special Montessori teacher education program.)

Some well-respected professional certifications include:

Similar Online Education Degrees

Of course, the field of education has career paths for many types of students. Aspiring educators should look into the following programs as well:

Online Degrees in Secondary Education:

An online degree in secondary education prepares teachers to work with students in grades 7-12. Secondary school teachers typically teach a single discipline, so their degree coursework will include a concentration in that subject. Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are available online.

Online Degrees in Elementary Education:

Elementary school teachers teach young students through eighth grade introductory concepts in core subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies. A degree provides an educator with the skills necessary to develop and implement curriculum, create an effective classroom environment, and meet the needs of diverse learners.

Online Degrees in Special Education:

Special education instructors work with K-12 students with mild to moderate disabilities. Coursework covers topics such as assessing students with disabilities, managing behavior and developing an individualized education program (IEP).

Online Resources for Early Child Educators