Why Should I Earn a Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Earn a degree from one of our 30 accredited online colleges for early childhood education and you’ll be on your way to making a lifelong difference in children’s lives. In recent years, countless studies have shown the critical importance of preschool education. The Economic Policy Institute found that children entering kindergarten underprepared are likely to stay behind through the rest of their schooling. By advancing your education, you can help early learners excel in the classroom for years to come. 

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Policymakers across the U.S. are working to expand access to quality preschool education, and that’s good news for aspiring teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of preschool teaching jobs is expected to grow by 7% by 2028. Moreover, several organizations, like T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® and Bright Horizons, offer scholarships as part of their commitment to increasing the number of highly skilled educators.

Why Is a Bachelor’s Degree Important?

In 2015, the National Academies of Sciences made a researched recommendation that all lead educators in preschool settings should have a bachelor’s degree. While some preschool teaching jobs only require an associate’s degree, you can expect that employers will increasingly prefer a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to rise to an administrative position.

What Are the Benefits of Studying Online?

Pursuing an online degree allows you to continue to work while improving your credentials. Your resume and bank account will thank you. Online programs are designed with working students in mind, so your studies won’t be all-consuming. Most importantly, you’ll be learning the latest best practices in early childhood education. And you can put these right to work to set your students on a path for success. 

What are the Best Early Childhood Education Degrees?

Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. To learn more, visit our methodology page. 

usm psychology minor

University of Washington

The University of Washington leads as the most highly regarded public university on this list. Currently, this Seattle-based school ranks at No. 22 on U.S. News & World Report’s Top Public Schools. Through UW’s fully online Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education, distance learners can earn the same respected degree as on-campus students.

UW’s BA in Early Care and Education is delivered through asynchronous online coursework. You can access class material whenever and from wherever. You’ll move through the program with the same group of peers, and most full-time students finish in two years. UW’s curriculum covers topics like child development and family studies, and it places a strong emphasis on service-learning.

Admission requires at least 70 previously earned undergraduate credits. You might have more eligible transfer credits, which will put you closer to the finish line. All students must earn a total of 180 credits to graduate.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Washington here.

EDU AOC 2 NationalUniversity

National University

Situated in San Diego, National University specializes in educational opportunities for working professionals. This institution only offers online programs or in-person classes during the evenings or on weekends. Moreover, NU’s four-week courses help students juggle multiple responsibilities. This short, intensive format allows students to quickly master a topic before moving on to the next. 

National University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (BAECE) both online and at one of 20 campuses across California and Nevada. With monthly start dates, students can begin pursuing this 180-credit-hour degree right away. Half of these credits comprise prerequisites and requirements for the major, while the other half focuses on general education requirements. 

NU’s BAECE curriculum covers topics like early language and literacy, play as pedagogy, and partnering with families. Each class in the curriculum requires field experience at an approved site, which might be a student’s workplace. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at National University here.

EDU AOC 3 LibertyUniversity

Liberty University

Led by a mission to train “Champions for Christ,” Liberty University is a large Christian institution based in Lynchburg, VA. This university has served distance learners since the 1980s when classes were completed through snail mail. Today, Liberty’s high-tech learning platform offers more than 400 online degrees.

Liberty’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education is a fully online, 120-credit-hour program. Up to 75% of this degree’s required credits can be transferred in, making this a great option for students who already have undergraduate credit hours. Otherwise, students typically take three and a half years to graduate. 

In this program, you’ll learn from faculty with teaching experience, delving into topics like the psychology of childhood and wellness in the early childhood setting. Each course takes eight weeks to complete. Students have the option to complete a field experience course, gaining hands-on experience in an approved classroom setting close to home. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Liberty University here.

EDU AOC 4 FloridaInternationUniversity

Florida International University

Florida International University may be based in the vibrant city of Miami, but more than 42,000 of its students pursue their studies online. Considering the strength of FIU’s online offerings, it’s easy to see why. Currently, FIU is tied at No. 58 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

FIU has a fully online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development. This degree requires 120 credit hours to graduate. However, students must already have 60 credits of lower-level undergraduate coursework to apply. Through asynchronous online classes that foster peer-to-peer discussion, students explore topics like educational psychology, art in early childhood, and early social and emotional development.

You can enroll in FIU’s program in the summer, fall, or spring terms. Upon admission, you’ll be assigned a support coach. This person helps align your course of study with your career goals, providing resources and encouragement throughout your academic journey. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Florida International University here.

EDU AOC 5 WilmingtonUniversity

Wilmington University

At Wilmington University, online students are anything but outliers. Around 44% of this school’s student body studies online. And if you want to take a class in-person when your schedule allows, Wilmington provides that option. Coursework in its Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Program is delivered online and at three Delaware-based campuses.

At Wilmington, students interested in teaching early learners will pursue a BS in Education Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. In total, 122 credit hours are needed to graduate; these include 41 credits in general education requirements, 21 credits in social and behavioral sciences, and 12 credits in fine arts, such as drawing, painting, and music appreciation. 

Thirty-nine credits are then focused on the major, six of which must be fulfilled through 45 days of a full-time teaching internship. You might be able to transfer up to 90 credits at Wilmington. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Wilmington University here.

EDU AOC 6 UniversityofCincinatti

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati’s robust online degree offerings are part of a commitment to making higher education available to more students. In fact, more than a quarter of UC’s graduates are the first in their families to earn a college degree. And this is an impressive degree to hold – UC ranks at No. 64 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Top Public Schools

UC’s fully online, 120-credit-hour Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education focuses on children from birth to age five. Students explore topics like children’s literature, collaborative teaming, and play and development. In addition to core coursework, UC offers three areas of focus: Pre-K, administration, and infant-toddler. 

UC provides a support system to ensure that students finish what they start. Upon enrollment, you’ll be assigned an orientation specialist who will show you how to access your online coursework. You’ll also receive an advisor and student success coordinator.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Cincinnati here.

EDU AOC 7 TexasTechUniversity

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Child Care is a seven-for-one deal. This fully online program is delivered by a consortium of seven universities. Gain admittance through Texas Tech, and this institution’s respected name will appear on your diploma. But you’ll be able to enroll in classes led by any of the university’s accomplished faculty.

This BS program’s 51-credit-hour curriculum consists of 12 core courses. Applicants must have at least 30 previously earned credit hours, and a course in lifespan human development is a prerequisite. 

In this program, you’ll learn about the healthy development of children from birth to age eight. You’ll also take a series of professional development courses covering, for example, working with families, technology and young children, and administration of early childhood settings. Three practicums are interspersed throughout the course of study. One of these requirements can be waived if you have relevant work experience. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Texas Tech University here.

EDU AOC 8 KansasStateUniversity

Kansas State University

Go above and beyond your bachelor’s by becoming a master. Kansas State University offers a Master’s in Early Childhood Education degree that can be earned entirely online. Not only is this degree flexible, but it’s also revered. Kansas State ranks at No. 42 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Master’s in Education Programs

This 30-credit-hour master’s program prepares graduates to not only excel as teachers but to also advance their careers to an administrative level. By undertaking scholarly research, students have the opportunity to improve early child care policy across the country. 

As a K-State online master’s student, you’ll learn from the same professors who teach on campus. You’ll choose a committee of faculty members who will help you create a plan of study that fits your specific goals for the program. All graduate students take six core courses. After that, this degree is highly customizable. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Kansas State University here.

EDU AOC 9 EasternKentuckyUniversity

Eastern Kentucky University

Established in 1906 as a teacher’s college, Eastern Kentucky University has a long history of educating teachers. Today, this institution’s academic offerings run the gamut, and students from far off can earn an EKU degree online. EKU is tied at No. 58 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

Eastern Kentucky offers an online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies with a Child Development concentration. This curriculum is delivered in eight-week terms, and online students learn from the same faculty who teach on-campus. 

At least 120 hours are needed to earn EKU’s bachelor’s degree. However, as many as 90 credits can be transferred in. You’ll work through class material on your schedule, and you’ll never need to visit campus. At EKU, you can also choose to further your credentials with the Early Childhood Director Certificate or the Infant/Toddler Care & Education Certificate. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Eastern Kentucky University here.

EDU AOC 10 ColoradoStateUniversity

Colorado State University

Colorado State University’s campus is the most sustainable in the U.S., and what could be more “green” than leaving your car in the garage by studying from home? This eco-conscious institution is invested in saving energy and saving its students’ time and money. CSU is tied at No. 11 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

CSU Online offers the same rigorous curriculum taught by respected faculty as on-campus programs. The fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies provides students with a well-rounded education that can be applied to an array of careers, including early childhood education, social services, or community outreach. 

Requiring 120 credits in total, you’ll take a series of required courses for the major, delving into development across the life cycle and deepening your research skills. Eleven courses make up the Early Childhood Professionals concentration, and a practicum is included. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Colorado State University here.

EDU AOC 11 UniversityofArizona

University of Arizona

While teaching young children, it’s likely that at least one of your students will dream of becoming an astronaut. Graduate from the University of Arizona, and you can tell them your alma mater has sent scientists into space! That’s right, the Wildcats have teamed with NASA on all of its planetary missions. 

In addition to its extraterrestrial accolades, Arizona ranks at No. 53 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools, and it’s tied at No. 11 among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Here, you can earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education (BAS ECE) entirely online, in-person, or in a hybrid format. 

This degree program is intended for students who already have an associate’s degree, and applicants must transfer in at least 60 credits from an accredited institution. Once enrolled, students complete core courses in early childhood education before undertaking a 15-week internship. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Arizona here.

EDU AOC 12 FortHaysStateUniversity

Fort Hays State University

Imagine paying only $5 for a semester’s worth of tuition. That’s what Fort Hays State University’s students paid when the school was first established in 1902. Today, FHSU remains true to its beginnings with the lowest tuition rates among Kansas’ public universities. With its strong online learning community, FHSU sets up students from across the country to take advantage of its low cost of attendance. And they do: 45% of FHSU’s students are online learners.

FHSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Unified Education. The “Unified” in the title signifies that graduates can serve in regular and special education settings. This program is comprised of 126 credits; this includes 55 general education credit hours, which can be waived if you already hold a bachelor’s degree.

FHSU’s curriculum focuses on working with children from birth to third grade. All classes are available online, and students undertake internships in three different age groups. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Fort Hays State University here.

EDU AOC 13 UniversityofNebraska Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, you can make a difference in young children’s lives by earning a completely unique degree: a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society (ECEMS). This online degree gives graduates a well-rounded understanding of early childhood education while also training them to serve young learners whose families move often – for example, children from military families or those facing homelessness.

Nebraska’s ECEMS program is delivered through a collaboration of 11 universities called the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance. Utilizing resources and accomplished faculty from each institution strengthens the program’s offerings. However, if you apply and are accepted by Nebraska, then Nebraska’s name will appear on your diploma. Ranked at No. 64 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools, this is an impressive name to tout.

This degree requires 120 credit hours, 45 of which are within the ECEMS major, including a capstone practicum. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Nebraska-Lincoln here.

EDU AOC 14 UniversityofSouthernMississippi

University of Southern Mississippi

Go after your goals and advance your education with a degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, whose motto proudly exclaims, “Southern Miss to the Top!” This is an institution that understands the needs of working students; more than 70% of its undergraduates study online. Furthermore, USM offers a long list of scholarships for incoming freshmen, and these are open to online learners.

USM’s Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Sciences offers a Child Development emphasis for aspiring teachers. This is a 124-credit-hour program, and at least 50% of these credits must be earned from USM. Core courses span topics from infant development and developmental disabilities in early childhood to family theories and personal and family financial management. 

As a USM student, you’ll complete a three-credit-hour practicum as your culminating experience. You’ll also have the opportunity to tailor your education to your professional goals with several electives.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Southern Mississippi here.

EDU AOC 15 MayvilleStateUniversity

Mayville State University

Located in North Dakota, Mayville State University’s online programs allow students from across the country to take advantage of its small, close-knit community and exceptional value. MSU boasts a private college’s class size at a public university’s cost. On average, its classes contain 15 students or less, and its four-year tuition is at least $4,000 less than other North Dakota public universities. Best of all, online learners pay the same low-cost tuition rates no matter where they live.

MSU offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education for teachers who want to work with children up to eight years old. In this program, students get the flexibility of an online degree without losing out on real-time learning opportunities. Some classes are delivered synchronously to promote discussion and interaction with peers and professors. 

This degree requires 132 semester hours, including a practicum and several field experiences.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Mayville State University here.

EDU AOC 16 NorthernArizonaUniversity

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University is based in Flagstaff, AZ, a city that often lands on the lists of the country’s best college towns. NAU’s picturesque campus is surrounded by mountains and a network of national parks, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. However, approximately 18% of the NAU Lumberjacks study online. Here, you never need to visit Flagstaff to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education.

NAU’s fully online BAS degree is designed for students with an associate’s degree. In total, students complete 120 credits, but at least 64 of these must be transferred in. If you graduate from an Arizona community college, you’ll get a bigger head start, as NAU accepts up to 75 credits from in-state institutions.

Your coursework will be evenly split between BAS requirements and the Early Childhood specialization. In addition to taking courses covering child development, literacy, and play education, you’ll undertake an independent study. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Northern Arizona University here.

EDU AOC 17 UniversityofMissouri

University of Missouri

As headlines warn of rising student debt across the country, the University of Missouri stands out for its affordable tuition rates. Nearly half of Mizzou graduates avoid taking on loans, and they earn a well-respected degree in the process. Mizzou holds the No. 64 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Top Public Schools

Mizzou offers online master’s degrees in early childhood education, early childhood special education, and early childhood special education/autism. Each requires 30 credit hours for completion. All coursework is delivered online, and no campus visits are required. Better yet, students living outside Missouri still pay in-state tuition.  

As a Mizzou student, you’ll take nine core courses exploring curriculum development and teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. Then, 15 credits will focus on early childhood education, delving into issues like instructional leadership, language acquisition, and working with families. Lastly, you’ll choose six credit hours of electives, which can include a practicum.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Missouri here.

EDU AOC 18 GrandCanyonUniversity

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University is located in one of the sunniest cities in the country: Phoenix. This Christian university is also only a three-hour drive from the natural wonder that gives it its name. Serving more than 60,000 online learners, GCU is well-accustomed to the needs of distance learners. Here, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education that utilizes a faith-based curriculum. 

GCU’s online bachelor’s program requires 120 credit hours for completion. Up to 40 of these are completed through general education requirements, but a majority of your studies – 80 credits, to be precise – will focus on your early childhood education major. 

Before graduating, GCU’s students participate in two student teaching experiences, each lasting eight weeks. One focuses on children from birth to preschool, and the other focuses on kindergarten to third grade. This program is designed to prepare graduates to take the exam for licensure in the state of Arizona. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Grand Canyon University here.

EDU AOC 19 UniversityofToledo

University of Toledo

Founded in 1872, the University of Toledo is a longstanding institution of higher education in Ohio. Today, its focus on nontraditional students has expanded its academic offerings with more than 50 online degree programs. UToledo seeks to make college affordable through scholarships specifically awarded to transfer and adult students. 

UToledo’s online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education is intended for students currently working in an early care and education program. This degree builds on a student’s professional experience, and applicants must also hold an associate’s degree. The program does not lead to licensure to work in a public school; rather, it focuses on preparing graduates to pursue a master’s degree or take on a leadership role within their organization.

At UToledo, you can earn your degree quickly. As long as you have the necessary prerequisites, you can earn this bachelor’s with just 64 credits in four semesters.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Toledo here.

EDU AOC 20 GraniteStateCollege

Granite State College

Granite State College is on a mission to “expand the perception” of what a student looks like. Here, adult learners are the norm, and GSC’s online courses come well-tested. In fact, more than 77% of its students study online. 

Granite State offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with two tracks: a pathway for certification in New Hampshire and a non-certification pathway. While both programs are delivered online, some courses may meet on one of GSC’s six campuses across New Hampshire. Each track requires 120 credit hours, and 80% of students transfer in with as many as 90 credits.

In both programs, you’ll cover subjects like child development, language arts and literacy, and young children with exceptionalities. The difference between the tracks lies in the scope of hands-on experience that’s required and whether or not you’ll undertake a series of state requirements designed to prepare you for the certification exam. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Granite State College here.

EDU AOC 21 SouthDakotaStateCollege

South Dakota State University

For more than 90 years, South Dakota State University has operated its Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education. In addition to overseeing the development of more than 100 early learners, this center offers opportunities for faculty and students to lead new discoveries in early childhood education. 

As a distance learner, you can benefit from SDSU’s accomplished Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership by earning its fully online Bachelor of Science in Early Education and Care. This program is delivered through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, a collaboration of universities that each provide online coursework for the degree’s requirements. This means as an EEC student, you’ll learn from faculty on SDSU’s Brookings campus as well as from faculty from seven other institutions.

SDSU’s students take 120 credit hours, 53 of which are dedicated to the major. Practicums are incorporated throughout the curriculum, and a 15-week internship is the final requirement.  

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at South Dakota State University here.

EDU AOC 22 UNCGreensboro

University of North Carolina Greensboro

When the University of North Carolina Greensboro opened in 1891, it was a women’s college. Today, it is one of the biggest co-ed public universities in the state, serving 20,000 students. UNC Greensboro’s online programs deliver the same quality education that students receive on campus but at a lower price. Here, online credits cost less than those completed on campus.

UNC Greensboro offers an online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with two concentrations: Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education and Early Care & Education. The former is for students seeking a license. 

These concentrations are intended for students who already have an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education from a North Carolina community college. Courses are delivered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. In this program, you’ll often have the flexibility to study when it’s most convenient, but you can also connect with your classmates and professors in real-time.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of North Carolina Greensboro here.

EDU AOC 23 UniversityofNebraskaKearney

University of Nebraska at Kearney

The University of Nebraska at Kearney prides itself on providing personal attention to all of its students, especially online learners. Online courses are capped at 30 participants, ensuring students receive individualized feedback from their instructors. 

At UNK, students can pursue a unique degree designed to fill in-demand positions across the state of Nebraska. UNK’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Family Advocacy prepares graduates for non-teaching roles in public agency programs or early childhood education centers. Students are trained to serve as family advocates, making home visitations with families to ensure a child is receiving all available educational and social services. 

This degree requires 120 credits, 59 of which are in the major. Students gain a foundational knowledge of early child development and educational methods while also delving into topics like counseling skills, families in crisis, and cross-cultural family patterns. All students participate in an internship and several field experiences prior to program completion. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of Nebraska at Kearney here.

EDU AOC 24 CentralMichiganUniversity

Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University’s Global Campus offers highly competitive online tuition rates, with a cost-per-credit rate of approximately $417. If you already work in an early child care center in Michigan, you might be able to further reduce the cost of your bachelor’s degree. As part of its initiative to retain highly skilled teachers across the state, the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children offers scholarships through its T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Michigan program. This financial assistance helps teachers reach their educational goals. 

CMU’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development and Learning is a 120-credit-hour program delivered entirely online. Approximately 43 credit hours focus on the field, covering topics like special education, program administration, and lifespan development. 

CMU’s program culminates with an eight-credit capstone experience. Students get supervised in-the-classroom experience at CMU’s Child Development and Learning Laboratory. With that said, students do have the option to fulfill this requirement online. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Central Michigan University here.

EDU AOC 25 ParkUniversity

Park University

Park University’s nickname is the Pirates, and like its mascot, this institution has set sail across the globe. In addition to its first campus in Parkville, MO, Park has expanded to 41 campuses. With that many locations, you’re likely to find a campus near you. However, you can earn a Bachelor of Science in Education Studies with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education completely online through this private, nonprofit university.

Park’s curriculum is steeped in on-the-job training, ensuring students are prepared to lead their own classrooms upon graduation. To complete your assignments, you’ll need to regularly interact with and observe young learners. Many of the required field experiences can be completed at your place of employment, but Park will also challenge you to complete practicums in other educational settings.

As a Park student, you’ll undertake 58 credits in the major. Additionally, you’ll choose a minor, like social work, psychology, or sociology. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Park University here.

EDU AOC 26 JacksonStateUniversity

Jackson State University

Situated in Jackson, MS, Jackson State University is a historically Black university, and it holds the No. 17 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list 2020 Best HBCUs. JSU serves just over 8,500 students, and roughly a quarter of its student body is enrolled in the College of Education and Human Development.

JSU’s Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education offers two online degree programs in the field. The Bachelor of Science in Childcare and Family Education is a non-licensure program requiring 122 credit hours. 

The Master of Science in Early Childhood Education is a graduate-level program requiring at least 33 credit hours. In addition to taking advanced courses in childhood development and education, you’ll learn how to conduct educational research. If you choose not to complete a research thesis, then you will need to take on three additional credit hours to graduate.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Jackson State University here.

EDU AOC 27 UniversityofWestAlabama

University of West Alabama

Located in the rural town of Livingston, AL, the University of West Alabama provides the cost-effectiveness of a public university with the intimate size of a private institution. This institution enrolls under 2,000 undergraduate students, around 10% of whom study online.

Through UWA Online, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development. This degree requires 56 general education credit hours, 63 program credit hours, and at least two elective credit hours, for a total of 123 credits. But here’s some more attention-grabbing math: UWA’s cost-per-credit is only $325. 

UWA’s bachelor’s degree takes between three and four years to earn. Students transferring from a community college can begin the program with up to 60 credit hours, while students from a four-year college can transfer in 90. Courses last eight weeks and examine topics like the importance of play, thematic teaching, and behavior management. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at University of West Alabama here.

EDU AOC 28 BallStateUniversity

Ball State University

Teachers typically have big hearts, and Ball State University is an institution known for its friendly campus. Based in Muncie, IN, all of Ball State’s students take a “Beneficence Pledge” to do good. The pay-off? The university completed nearly 60,000 hours of community service last year.

Not only is Ball State kind, but it’s technologically savvy too. This university ranks at No. 29 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. Here, you can earn a Bachelor of Science with an Early Childhood Education major. This online program is designed for aspiring teachers who want to work with children up to five years old. 

Ball State’s early childhood education degree requires 120 credits, 48 of which are in the concentration. If you already work in Indiana, a T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Indiana Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship might cover up to 80% of your tuition.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Ball State University here.

EDU AOC 29 WestVirginiaUniversity

West Virginia University

The West Virginia University Mountaineers are dedicated to their Morgantown community. WVU is one of only 6% of universities that have received the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. This accolade is granted to institutions that exhibit exemplary community engagement through service-learning and volunteer opportunities.

As an online student in WVU’s Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Studies, you’ll live up to its community commitment with as much as 36 hours of supervised field experience. This fully online bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours earned over the completion of 40 courses. Students also have the option to add Pre-K certification in the state of West Virginia to their course of study.

WVU Online’s coursework can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. This program is open to students who have yet to earn any undergraduate credits. Classes in your major will begin in your first semester. 

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at West Virginia University here.

EDU AOC 30 ArkansasStateUniversity

Arkansas State University

At Arkansas State University, you can earn a Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education in as few as 12 months. Moreover, graduate from A-State and you’ll join a network of more than 90,000 fellow alumni. This is the second-largest university in Arkansas, and online learning has been a priority since 2008. A-State has graduated more than 10,000 online students. 

A-State’s fully online MSE program requires 30 credit hours, and the total tuition is less than $10,000. This curriculum is designed to impart advanced knowledge while helping students conduct scholarly research that can shape best practices in the field. As an A-State student, you’ll be introduced to statistics, examine models of early childhood curriculum, and enhance your leadership skills.

Applicants must already have a teaching license to be eligible for this program. Additionally, instead of completing a thesis at the end of their studies, graduates compile a portfolio that shows their mastery of the concepts they’ve learned.

Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Early Childhood Education at Arkansas State University here.

Why is accreditation important?

Simply put, accreditation guarantees the quality of your education. Accrediting organizations are like higher education watchdogs – they make sure that a university is living up to regional or national educational standards. You can confidently enroll in a school that has earned this stamp of approval, knowing that you’ll learn from qualified faculty and that prospective employers will acknowledge the value of your degree.

There are two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. If a university has institutional accreditation, that means that the entire university is up to snuff, and it’s often granted by regional organizations like the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities or the New England Commission of Higher Education. 

If a school has programmatic accreditation, on the other hand, that means that its specific degree program is utilizing a curriculum that meets industry standards. For early childhood educators, a leading accrediting body is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. This organization has granted accreditation to 200 early childhood higher education programs, many of which are on this list. NCATE accreditation shows that a program has matched its student outcomes with the competencies that educators will need to succeed on the job. 

What will I learn with an Early Childhood Education Degree?

In general, academic programs in early childhood education focus on teaching children from birth to five years old. However, some universities extend this age group to third grade. In many programs, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a specialization in either birth to Pre-K or kindergarten to third grade.

As an early childhood education major, you’ll examine how children develop mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally during these years of rapid growth. You’ll learn how to develop a curriculum that incorporates educational methods through play, art, and music. You’ll also learn how to work closely with families of all socio-economic backgrounds to give early learners the best start in life. Also, special education courses are often incorporated into universities’ core curricula.

While the programs on this list deliver their coursework online, you’ll find experiential learning in every curriculum. After all, this is a career-focused degree, and students greatly benefit from opportunities to put new knowledge into practice. 

Do I need a license to teach preschool?

If your goal is to teach at a public preschool or elementary school, then you will need to be licensed in your state. In general, a state license requires a bachelor’s degree. Just one more reason why advancing your education is important!

Some of the programs on this list offer a licensure track, preparing graduates to sit for the exam in their state. However, since online programs cater to students across the country, they are often non-licensure programs. Why? Each state has its own requirements for a teaching license, and so it would be difficult for a university to prepare students for all exams. 

If you want to teach at a private school, then a license might not be necessary. It’s important to research the requirements of your prospective employers before you enter a program. Furthermore, it can’t hurt to reach out to a university’s program coordinator. This person can provide valuable advice on whether or not their program fits your professional goals. 

How much do early childhood educators earn?

The BLS reported an annual average salary of $29,780 for preschool teachers in 2018. If boosting your salary is a top priority, then your bachelor’s degree can help. In 2018, preschool and childcare center directors took home, on average, $47,940. Most states require that employees in these leadership positions hold a bachelor’s degree. 

Increasing access to quality preschooling has become a national priority, and increasing the pay for preschool teachers is also on the agenda. The rise in public preschool and Pre-K programs might help grow preschool teachers’ bank accounts, putting them on par with other elementary educators. The BLS found that preschool teachers serving in elementary schools were the highest earners with an average income of $46,770

Which states pay preschool teachers the most?

If you’re looking for the highest paying preschool teaching jobs, then you’ll need to head to the Northeast. According to the BLS, New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and New Jersey top the list. But if you are chasing a bigger income and the sun, then head to the No. 5 top paying state: Hawaii!

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out our Top 12 Accredited Online Colleges with Low Tuition and Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Associate Degrees