The 20 Best Online Bachelors in Early Childhood Education
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children and BLS, the need for early childhood educators continues to rise, especially in light of the continuing advancements in early childhood science which point to the critical importance of the period in human life. While some professionals used to get by with an associate’s degree, increasingly schools are requiring teachers and administrators to have at least obtained a bachelor’s. With this specialized training, teachers will be able to handle all the challenges in the early childhood classroom, which include not only basic curriculum needs, but also behavioral, social, and other essential needs. An online degree is a perfect fit for working professionals looking to solidify or advance their careers in the field, or inexperienced students wanting to pursue a career in ECE.
Featured Online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs
1. Granite State College
Granite State College offers a BS in Childhood Education with and without certification, depending on the needs of the student. The latter of these consists of 120 total undergraduate credits, with specialized tracks in Child Services, Advocacy, Allied Health, Education Services, and Administration and Leadership. The certification option is highly customizable, with the student almost wholly in charge of constructing a curriculum that best fits their preferred career track. Both the certificate and non-certificate option include a capstone course. For students already holding an associate’s degree, GSC also offers a degree completion track that foregoes general education requirements already fulfilled. Granite State has a generous transfer credit policy, and credits may be waived by previous learning, academic credit, or through testing. The program emphasizes field-based learning to give students the maximum amount of field experience and adheres to the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- Tuition per credit is $325.
2. Florida International University Online
Florida International University Online offers a BS in Early Childhood Education that consists of 120 total undergraduate credits, 30 of which are dedicated to professional education. Some example courses include Early Childhood Educational Programs, Issues in Early Childhood Education, Special Needs of Children and their Families, Child Development, Early Social and Emotional Development, and more. Students also take 9 credits worth of electives to tailor the coursework. FIU pairs each student with a personal success coach to advise them along the way, and the online learning platform is available 24/7, encouraging an intimate, highly collaborative learning experience. In order to accommodate students’ busy schedules, there are three entry dates throughout the year and coursework is flexible. Up to 60 credits may be transferrable. Please also note that this is a non-certification track.
- Tuition per credit is $333.
3. University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education designed specifically for preschool, daycare, and early learning educators and administrators. (Note that you must be employed in the field and working at least 20 hours per week in order to apply. This is also a non-licensure track.) As an accelerated track program, students can complete all coursework in two years on a 16-semester hour model – 9 online, 7 field. All students receive a personal success coach to advise them throughout their studies and a robust online platform, complete with eTutoring, and IT Help Desk, and an eLibrary. The curriculum has been approved by the NCATE and is premised on the following principles: 1) the teacher is the decision-maker, 2) learning is relationship-based, 3) families are integral to learning, 4) learning should be tailored to individual children. For students’ convenience, Toledo accepts transfer credit which may accelerate coursework.
- Tuition per credit is $335.
4. Western Governors University
Western Governors University offers a BA in Early Childhood Education that consists of 120 total undergraduate competency units. Among the required classes are Professional Practice in Early Childhood Education Integration, Literacy Integration, Literacy Application, Instructional Planning & Strategies, Preclinical Experiences, Promoting Development and Learning in Early Childhood Education, and more. Also students must also complete a personal portfolio, capstone, or both, in addition to completing a supervised teaching practicum. The competency-based education allows students with prior academic credit, learning, or work experience to transfer many credits in, accelerating coursework. To best accommodate students’ busy schedules, WGU is a highly flexible program and provides a dynamic, easy-access learning portal available 24/7 that increases collaboration and cohort-based learning.
- Tuition per credit is $250.
5. UMass Online
UMass Online offers a BA in Education with a concentration in Early Care and Education that consists of 120 total credit hours. (For interested students, UMass also offers a concentration in Children’s Learning and Development.) Designed for both full-time working professionals in the field or new students needing an online option to fit into their schedules, UMass offers maximum flexibility and entry points in September and January. Furthermore, UMass an extremely generous transfer policy of up to 100 credits, which can be gained from prior coursework, a portfolio, professional training and certifications, military training, and/or credit exams and evaluations. The university’s online learning platform is easy to use and provides students with an intimate, collaborative learning environment. Graduates will also benefit from a robust alumni base of nearly half a million, which may help job prospects.
- Tuition per credit is $385.
6. University of Phoenix
The University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Education/Early Children Education. Some example classes include Early Childhood Growth And Development, Ethics And Social Responsibility In Education, Developmentally-effective Learning Environments, Community And Family Engagement, Early Childhood Literacy Development, Exceptionalities Of The Young Child, and more. The curriculum aligns with the Interstate Teaching Assessment and Support Consortium’s (InTASC) standards and he National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards, but note does not culminate in certification. Clinical experience is particularly emphasized, and students make use of field work to gain valuable real-world practice. Phoenix also offers numerous ways to accelerate coursework through credit transfers, which may through CDA certification (21 credit waived) or through prior learning or work experience.
- Tuition per credit is $415.
7. Concordia University
Concordia University’s Bachelor of Arts in Child Development consists of 42 credit hours. Some examples classes include Writing for Educators, Ethics in Early Childhood Education, Children’s Play and Learning, Human Diversity & Relations, Child Social & Emotional Growth, and more. All courses are delivered via accelerated 7-week modules and offered several times throughout the year in order to accommodate students’ busy schedules. In addition, the curriculum follows the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for initial professional preparation. Upon graduation, students will be able to handle all challenges presented in Early Childhood Ed, from developing individualized lesson plans to creating comfortable, proactive learning environments. Note that in order to be considered, students must be at least partially employed in the Childhood Education field. An associate’s degree is also available.
- Tuition per credit is $420.
8 (tied). City University of Seattle
The City University of Seattle offers a Bachelor of Arts in Education with Teacher Certification and optional Dual Endorsements, consisting of 180-192 total undergraduate credits. Major classes include Foundations in Early Childhood Education, Cognitive Development and Brain Research, Family, Culture and Community Connections, Pre-Primary and Primary Curriculum and Instruction, and Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Infants and Toddlers, among others. Students also partake in a rigorous field education via a series of internships and practicum designed to reinforce core concepts and provide valuable real-world experience. Thanks to a generous transfer policy, students may transfer up to 90 credits to waive lower-level and general education requirements. Completion of the degree will satisfy requirements for certification in the state of Washington.
- Tuition per credit is $340.
10. Park University
Park University’s Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education requires 120 total undergraduate credits, 90 of which are dedicated to the major. (Up to 30 credits of general education may be transferred in from prior learning experience or academic credit.) Some major courses include Educational Psychology, Issues in Diversity & World Culture, Early Childhood Principles, Education of Exceptional Children, Family Involvement in Early Childhood Education, Social and Emotional Learning in Early Childhood, and more. Students will also complete several practicum throughout the course of the program to reinforce core concepts and allow maximum real-world experience. Students must apply separately to the certification program in order to receive the certificate. For interested students, Park University also offers degrees in Elementary Education, Middle School Education, Secondary Education, and Education Studies.
- Tuition per credit is $369.
11. Kaplan University
Kaplan University offers a BS in Early Childhood Education that consists of 180 total undergraduate credits, 103 of which are dedicated to the major. Major classes include Early Childhood Development, Child and Adolescent Psychology, Observation and Assessment, Child Safety, Nutrition, and Health, and more. All students must also complete a capstone course. All classes are taught by experienced professionals in the field, and in order to accommodate students’ busy schedules new classes begin every month. Kaplan graduates will be prepared to tackle the challenges of the early childhood classroom right off the bat, and may also choose to pursue further master studies or certification. For interested students, an associate’s degree may be available, as well.
- Tuition per credit is $371.
12. Aspen University
Aspen University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education that consists of 120 total undergraduate credits, 40 of which are dedicated to the major. Major courses include Professionalism and Growth in the Early Childhood Field, Skills for Early Childhood Teachers, Children with Special Needs, Infant and Toddler Mental Health, Early Childhood Research, Curriculum for Young Children, and more. In addition, students take a wealth of electives and must complete a capstone in order to graduate. While designed for students seeking the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, note that Aspen’s program does not culminate in certification. Students may also accelerate coursework with previously earned academic credit.
- Tuition per credit is $150.
13. Kendall College
Kendall College offers a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education that consists of 180-183 total undergraduate credits, 92 of which are dedicated to the major. In addition, students all complete 12 credits in an internship or capstone and take 20-23 credits in their chosen concentration. These concentrations include Administration and Leadership, Childhood Nutrition, English as a Second Language (ESL), Grant Management, Infants and Toddlers, Small Business Management, and Special Education. Among the required courses for the major are Child Development, Technology Integration in the Classroom, Children’s Literature, Emergent Literacy, Legal Aspects of Early Childhood Administration, and Staff Management and Human Relations in Early Childhood Programs. Kendall’s curriculum are aligned with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Consortium (INTASC). For residents of Illinois, a licensure-track is available. Additional endorsements and approvals may also be available.
- Tuition per credit is $504.
14. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati offers a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Among the major courses include Educational Psychology, Learning Early Care & Education Online, Introductory Child Development, Developmental Transitions, Creative Arts in Early Care and Education, Infant and Toddler Care and Education, Developmental Concerns and Family Partnerships, and Social Issues in Early Care and Education. In addition, students may further tailor their coursework by choosing between 3 focuses: Pre-K, Infant, and Administration. Cincinnati’s curriculum aligns with the the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Students with previous academic credit or an associate’s may be able to accelerate coursework through transfer credit; otherwise, students can expect to graduate in 4 years. There are three entry points in the year.
- Tuition per credit is $1,092.
15. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education that consists of 120 undergraduate credits, 80 of which are devoted to the major. Classes include Foundations of Early Childhood, Educational Psychology in Early Childhood, Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom, Early Literacy Development, Instructional Methodologies for Teaching, and more. To further tailor coursework, students may choose to take up to 6 credits of electives, as well. Practicum experiences are embedded throughout the curriculum in order to reinforce core concepts and provide students with real-world practice. For students in the state of Arizona, GCU’s degree leads to licensure. Note also that as a a Christian university, religious components may be incorporated throughout the general education requirements.
- Tuition per credit is $470.
16. Brandman University
Brandman University offers a BA in Early Childhood Education is ideal for working professionals looking to advance their careers. In addition to a rigorous curriculum aligned with the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Professional Preparation Standards for Initial Licensure and the California Early Childhood Educator Competencies. As a practice-based degree, students gain valuable real-world experience throughout their coursework, including two practicums and a culminating capstone course. In addition, thanks to the university’s focus on aptitude, students with more experience in the field – either through work or previous academic credit- may accelerate coursework. With over 20 locations in California, Brandman is also consistently ranked as one of the top online degrees for military veterans.
- Tuition per credit is $500.
17. Post University
Post University offers a BS in Child Studies consisting of 120 total undergraduate credits, 33 of which are dedicated to the major. Major courses include Children’s Literature and Language Arts, Teaching the Exceptional Child, Emergent Literacy, Curriculum Approaches in ECE, Child Development, and more. To reinforce core concepts and provide valuable real world experiences, students also must complete several practicums and a capstone field experience. Post’s curriculum also includes core studies in Behavioral Science, which include classes in Educational Psychology, Learning Theory, Language Development in Young Children, Sociology of Marriage and the Family, and more. Note that the curriculum aligns with the standard NAEYC guidelines, though this degree does not culminate in licensure. All online coursework is available 24/7, and Post gives student maximum flexibility to accommodate busy schedules.
- Tuition per credit is $505.
18. Vanguard University of Southern California
Vanguard University of Southern California offers a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education consists of 120 units. Among the major units include Guiding the Young Child’s Behavior, The Exceptional Child and the Inclusive Classroom, Music and Movement for the Young Child, Math and Science for the Young Child, Promoting Children’s Well-Being, Advancing Early Childhood Programs through Technology, and Early Communication Skills and Literacy in Multilingual Communities, among others. Note that as a Christian university, religious components are incorporated throughout the degree in the major and general education courses. All courses are delivered via accelerated 8-week modules, and up to 80 units may be transferred in. For interested students, an associate’s degree is also available, as well as a 30-unit certificate program.
- Tuition per credit is $1,188.
19. Ferris State University
Ferris State University offers a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Among the major areas of focus include early childhood development, nutrition, first aid, children’s literature and child psychology, in addition to general education requirements. While classroom studies and theory are an essential part of the curriculum, Ferris State especially emphasizes a practice-based learning in order to reinforce core concepts and provide students with valuable real-world experience. All students complete their field work at Tot’s Place, a Ferris-owned and operated childcare service that serves as a training and observation laboratory for early childhood education. Students with transfer credits from previous learning may accelerate coursework. All students are allowed flexibility in order to accommodate busy schedules.
- Tuition per credit is $731.
20. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education that consists of 127 total undergraduate credits, 49 of which are dedicated to the major. Among the major courses are Emergent Literacy, Creative Expressions in Early Childhood, Curriculum in Early Childhood, Kindergarten Education, Child Care Management and Administration, Reading and Language Arts Methods, Behavior Strategies & Support, and Assessment in Special Education. In order to reinforce core concepts and provide valuable real-world experience, students are required to complete several internships. Students also complete credits in professional studies and student teaching to gain licensure. This program is especially tailored to working professionals and offers students maximum flexibility to accommodate busy schedules.
- Tuition per credit is $569.
- Affordability (1/3): the average out-of-state tuition per credit hour
- Flexibility (1/3): if the program offers additional specializations and/or an accelerated track
- Academic Reputation (1/3): the rank of the school’s parent institution according to US News
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