Online Master’s in Child Development Programs 2021

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The study of mental, emotional, and physical development from birth through adolescence, child development addresses various learning challenges and developmental setbacks. Child development programs often feature curriculum concentrations studying particular age groups or developmental issues.

Earning a master’s degree in child development can lead to careers such as teacher, administrator, or social worker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports kindergarten and elementary teachers and preschool and childcare directors earning median annual salaries of $59,420 and $48,210, respectively. Social workers make a $50,470 median annual salary and enjoy job growth projections of 13% during 2019-2029. See below to learn more about online child development degree jobs, coursework, benefits, and financing.

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  • Is child development a good career?

    An online child development degree can lead to many meaningful careers supporting the next generation. Many master’s in child development graduates enjoy above-average salaries and job growth protections.

  • What can you do with a child development degree?

    Master’s in child development degree-holders often work for schools, nonprofits, and childcare facilities. Common jobs include teacher, administrator, counselor, and child life specialist.

  • How long does it take to get a master's degree in child development?

    Master’s degrees usually take two years to finish. Many accelerated online programs offer quicker timelines by running short, intensive courses throughout the year.

  • Can you become a teacher with a child development degree?

    Public school teachers need state certification, which typically requires specific coursework, training, and an examination. Online child development degree coursework and internships may count toward some of these education requirements.

Why Get a Degree in Child Development?

Childhood development degrees cultivate advanced skills useful in various professional and personal contexts, including family life. Online child development degrees’ flexible schedules allow working professionals to maintain their jobs and income while studying.

Earning an online childhood development degree can help working professionals specialize their knowledge and skills. Specialization and degree advancement often leads to promotion or career transition. Promotion to social and community service manager positions yields a median annual salary of $67,150.

According to December 2020 PayScale data, master’s in child development graduates average $48,800 annually. As of March 2021, master of social work in child development graduates average $55,600 annually. Some master’s graduates pursue related doctoral degrees and become postsecondary teachers, earning a $79,540 median annual salary.

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How Much Does a Child Development Degree Cost?

Master’s degree costs vary widely by program, school, and location. College Board’s 2020 Trends in College Pricing reports in- and out-of-state students at four-year public institutions paying an annual average of $10,560 and $27,020, respectively. Private four-year schools average $37,650 annually, making them the most expensive option. Master’s degrees typically take two years to finish, meaning average tuition costs range from $21,120-$75,300, depending on the type of school.

The same report indicates that college tuition averages vary widely by state. Average in-state tuition at New England colleges often costs twice or three times that of states such as California, Wyoming, Florida, or New Mexico.

For an affordable master’s degree in child development, consider an online degree at a public university. Note that online learners often qualify for in-state tuition, even at out-of-state schools. Online childhood development degrees often cost considerably less than on-campus equivalents due to discounted tuition and absence of commuting or residency costs. Online enrollees may also save on campus-related student fees.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

Affordable Colleges Online provides an affordability calculator to help prospective students plan their educational financing. By entering current income, living expenses, and financial aid offerings, users can estimate their online master’s degree in child development’s net cost.

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How Much Do Child Development Majors Make?

Salaries for child development degree jobs depend on position, credentials, employer, and sector. Child development undergraduates may find entry-level jobs as childcare workers, earning a $24,230 median annual salary. Master’s in child development degrees meet or exceed minimum degree requirements for various higher-paying jobs. These include preschool or childcare director, social worker, and social and community services manager. According to the BLS, median annual salaries for these jobs fall between $48,000-$68,000.

Many online child development degree-holders work in education. With appropriate certifications or licenses, child development master’s graduates may qualify for jobs including school counselor, kindergarten and elementary teacher, or K-12 administrator. Median annual salaries for these careers range from $57,000-$99,000. Master’s graduates sometimes pursue related doctoral degrees and become college professors or researchers.

Courses in Child Development

Child development master’s programs usually feature courses in research methods, learning theory, and ethics. Enrollees develop advanced skills in assessment, communication, curriculum design, and counseling. Most master’s programs require internships, plus an original thesis or capstone project that hones research and writing skills.

Common online child development degree concentrations include infancy, child life, and special needs development. Many programs also offer specializations such as administration or child and family policy. The following sample course topics appear under various titles in many master’s in child development programs.

  • Learning, Cognition, and Assessment

    This course surveys various human learning theories, including social learning, constructivist, cognitive, and behavioral approaches. Participants study principles, practices, and tools for teaching and assessment. Aspiring teachers and educational psychologists benefit from this course.

  • Early Childhood Education Foundations

    This core course explores early childhood education history, theory, issues, and trends. Learners analyze current research, create a personal child education philosophy, and cultivate advanced observation and assessment skills. The course proves valuable to childcare and preschool teachers and administrators. Many master’s in child development degrees feature specializations in early childhood education.

  • Infant and Child Development

    Child development programs explore this broad subject area through single or multiple core courses and curriculum concentrations. Beneficial for aspiring childcare workers and teachers, this course surveys theories on infant and child cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and physical growth. Students gain familiarity with contemporary issues in the field, including common family, cultural, and legal problems.

Certifications and Licensure for Child Development

A master’s in child development meets degree requirements for some careers, but graduates may benefit from additional professional credentials. Teachers and social workers often need licensure from state boards. Some employers expect child development professionals to hold child life or development certifications. See below for descriptions of some common child development professional credentials.

Early Childhood Education Teacher License

These state-issued licenses qualify holders to teach preschool and early elementary education. Requirements vary by state, but usually include a related degree, passing scores on various assessments, and supervised internships and professional experiences.

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Certified Child Life Specialist

This credential usually serves child life professionals who support children in medical facilities. The Association of Child Life Professionals awards this five-year credential. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree with ten related courses, 600 hours of supervised clinical child life experience, and a passing score on the Child Life Professional Certification Exam.

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Child Development Associate

The Council for Professional Recognition offers the widely-recognized CDA credential. Applicants must meet experience requirements, submit an appropriate portfolio, and pass a CDA assessment test and verification visit. Specific requirements vary based on chosen specialization. CDAs often work as early childhood education teachers and administrators.

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Scholarships for Child Development

Some online master’s in child development enrollees qualify for scholarships or grants. Often awarded based on financial need or academic merit, they do not require repayment and can help defray educational expenses. Many scholarships serve underrepresented minority learners. Master’s in child development students may qualify for opportunities like those below.

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation Graduate Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: The EAF scholarships go to graduate students who demonstrate a minimum 2.5 GPA and an impressive history of community service. Only full-time students at accredited, degree-granting schools qualify. Applicants submit a resume, recommendation letters, a financial-needs analysis, and a description of scholarly plans.

    Amount: Varies

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  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program

    Who Can Apply: The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid administers the TEACH Grant Program. Child development degree-seekers may qualify with participation in a TEACH Grant eligible program at a participating school. Recipients agree to teach full-time at a low-income school for four years after graduation.

    Amount: Up to $4,000 annually

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Online Master’s in Child Development Programs 2021

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