If you love young children and want to teach them and help them in their development, the early childhood education industry is a suitable place for you. The qualifications for jobs in the field vary but many employers will require you to have a degree. If you want the flexibility of earning a degree at your own time and schedule, there are schools that offer online programs. To help you choose the right school, we evaluated online schools and chose the best early childhood education online degrees. Our top degrees include one associate’s degree, three bachelor’s degrees, and three master’s degrees.
We looked at various factors to determine our selections. We looked at cost, special features, reputation, and accreditation. Accreditation was an especially important consideration because it can affect your job search and further education prospects. There are two basic types of accreditation, regional and national. Regional accreditation is preferred because it is recognized by more employers than national accreditation. Also, credits and degrees earned from regionally accredited institutions are accepted by more schools if you choose to transfer to or earn a graduate degree from another school. Because of these reasons, all of our selections are degrees from regionally accredited institutions.
Here are our top online degrees in early childhood education:
- Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (Post University)
- Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (Western Governors University)
- Bachelor of Science in Child Studies (Post University)
- Master of Science in Education – Early Childhood Education (University of the Southwest)
- Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (Kendall College)
- Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (California University of Pennsylvania)
- Master of Science in Early Childhood Education (Erikson Institute)
Post University’s associate degree in early childhood education prepares you to work in schools as well as private or corporate environments.
As a student, you will learn child development and psychology. Also, you will gain the skills of teaching math, science, literature, and social studies to children. The degree program includes practicums that can be done at an arranged site near you.
If you want to be certified as a teacher in the future, you can transfer into a baccalaureate degree program.
Post’s classes are small and interactive. They are scheduled in eight week accelerated modules. The online courses offer the same curricula as the on campus courses. You will learn from the same faculty who teach on campus. They have PhD degrees and real world experience in the topics they teach.
Upon graduation, your diploma will not specify “online” degree. Instead, you will receive the same official, traditional diploma as the on campus students.
Western Governors University (WGU) offers one of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation. 120 credits are required to graduate.
WGU is the only exclusively online school in the U.S. to receive accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This agency is the premier accreditor of teacher preparation degrees and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
NCATE accreditation is a strong endorsement of the quality of WGU’s early education program. The NCATE accrediting team reviewed WGU’s early education curriculum to ensure that graduates have the skills and knowledge to become effective teachers.
Post University already made our list of top online degrees with its associate’s degree so it comes as no surprise that the school also has a great bachelor’s program.
Post’s Bachelor of Science in Child Studies combines classroom instruction and field work to provide a balanced curriculum designed to prepare you for a rewarding career. The early childhood education coursework is based on the educational standards set forth locally and nationally by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Post’s online format is very flexible. The university offers eight-week accelerated modules six times a year (every other month starting January). You will not have to wait many months to get started on your degree.
Typically, students enroll in two courses per module. If you have the time and energy to handle more than two courses, you can discuss this arrangement with an academic advisor.
If you want an online master’s degree that prepares you to earn a teaching license in Early Childhood Education (Birth to Third Grade), University of the Southwest has a degree for you.
Southwest’s Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education is relevant degree that helps you develop knowledge and skills in the following areas: child development, growth, and learning; family and community collaboration; curriculum creation and implementation; and safety and health. The classes are online and your practicums can be completed in your area.
The School of Education at Southwest abides by the National Council for Teacher Education Standards developed by the National Collegiate Association of Teaching Educators. In 2004, the Council determined the school to be in continuing compliance with the standards for an additional seven years.
Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education (Kendall College)
Regional accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Kendall College’s online bachelor degree in early childhood education includes student teaching elements in pre-primary and primary levels. Also, the school uses the Virtual Field Experience™ to help you see how the best teachers interact with their students in different settings. This innovative feature combines DVDs, lesson plans, assessments, student work samples, and teacher journal entries to give you a rich learning experience.
Kendall’s degree program prepares you to apply for the Illinois Type 04 Certification. While the certification is specific to Illinois, it is similar to the teaching certificates in other states. You should check with your state department of education to find out the requirements of its licensure. Your state may recognize an Illinois certificate and allow it to be used to gain similar licensure in your state.
181 quarter credit hours are required to graduate.
Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (California University of Pennsylvania)
Regional accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
If you are looking for a master’s program, you can’t go wrong with enrolling at California University of Pennsylvania, or Cal U for short. Cal U’s online Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is a 33 credit graduate program for certified teachers interested in earning additional certification in Early Childhood Education.
The degree is affordable with a tuition rate lower than average. Also, you will receive a strong education because the school is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
As a student, you will learn how to apply the knowledge of child development to different educational settings. You will be prepared to work in public schools (pre-K to fourth grade), preschools, Head Start programs, child care organizations, and parenting and family support programs.
Master of Science in Early Childhood Education (Erikson Institute)
Regional accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
As a graduate school that focuses solely on early childhood education and development, Erikson Institute is able to deliver a strong education to its students. Erikson’s online Master of Science in Early Childhood Education is designed especially for teachers with three or more years of post-baccalaureate work experience.
The 28-month degree program is structured in a cohort. You will work with the same group of students for the duration of the program. The cohort learning environment gives you time to build beneficial relationships as you learn from and collaborate with your peers. The power of interpersonal relationships enhances learning, interaction, and support and helps you complete the degree successfully.
Along with imparting knowledge and providing opportunities for practical application, Erikson’s faculty emphasizes developing self-awareness as a professional competency to become a more effective teacher.