For those who want to work with children, there are a variety of avenues to take. Social services for children can take a number of forms and relate to a variety of fields, including law, healthcare, and education, among others. For those who finish their master's degree in child development, they can go on to hold titles such as childcare center management, child protective services manager, youth program director, and early childhood education specialist.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that for social and community service managers, there will an 18 percent growth in jobs between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average. This encompasses jobs in social work, protective services, and related fields. Even for preschool and childcare center directors, growth will still be faster than average in the same time frame, at 11 percent. Finishing a master's degree can help with placement and increase advancement opportunities, and doing so online can allow for individuals to still work full-time.
If you're considering finishing an online master's degree, be sure to first consider the length of the program. Many degrees can be completed in under two years if students take a full course-load. One may also want to consider whether or not courses are delivered synchronously or asynchronously, meaning whether lectures are live or accessible at students' convenience. Finally, many programs allow students to choose between a thesis or non-thesis option. Check out the 5 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Child Development below!
Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the 35 Most Affordable Bachelor's in Economics, from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. This ranking is based solely on the Average Net Price the school reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. This factors in fees and financial aid.
For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.
#5 CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PSYCHOLOGY WITH A CHILD AND ADOLESCENT SPECIALIZATION
Capella University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with a Child and Adolescent specialization. This program requires a total of 55 quarter credits, capped off with an integrative project. Students with prior graduate experience can transfer up to 15 credits to Capella. Students may also choose between a Guided Path delivery or a FlexPath delivery. The former has students progress through the degree at the university's structured and suggested pace, while FlexPath allows students to pace their own learning. Courses for this program include Adolescent Psychology, Topics in Child and Adolescent Development, and Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology.
Net Price: $15,667
#4 MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
Missouri State University allows students to complete a Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development. The program has a flexible completion time, and so students can typically finish it in as few as three semesters. At its end, students have to take a comprehensive exam. If they have completed prior graduate study, up to nine credits can be transferred into Missouri State. Courses for this program include Programming and Policy Issues for Early Childhood Settings, The Educational Role of Play, and Family Literacy. It is also worth noting that Missouri State University was ranked #32 on U.S. News and World Report's Top Public Schools list.
Net Price: $15,173
#3 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
MASTER OF CHILD AND FAMILY STUDIES
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a Master of Child and Family Studies degree that is designed for working professionals. The degree requires 37 credits of study, and students can choose between a thesis and a non-thesis option. The program follows a cohort model, and so students progress through the online coursework together. Ultimately, each student completes a comprehensive exam in order to finish their degree. As an interdisciplinary degree, students take courses in a variety of fields under the umbrella of child and family studies, including education and psychology. Examples of course offerings include Adolescence and the Family System, Intimate Relationship Development, and Adulthood and Parenting Across the Lifespan.
Net Price: $12,506
#2 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN CHILD & ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
At the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, Florida, students can complete their Master of Science in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health. The program requires 39-semester credits, and it is composed of core courses, thesis or applied field experience credits, and courses are taken within one's concentration. The degree also requires that students pass a comprehensive exam. Students choose from the following four concentrations: Developmental Disabilities, Research & Evaluation, Leadership in Child/Adolescent Behavioral Health, and Youth & Behavioral Health. As mentioned above, students also choose between the thesis track and the applied field experience track. There is also the option to complete a certificate in Addictions & Substance Abuse Counseling, which can be used for the education and training portion needed for licensure by the Certification Board for Addictions Professionals of Florida.
Net Price: $11,766
#1 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-GREENSBORO
MASTER OF EDUCATION IN BIRTH-KINDERGARTEN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES IN EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
The University of North Carolina-Greensboro tops off this list with its Master of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development. Students in this program choose from two concentrations: Early Childhood Leadership & Program Administration and Early Childhood Leadership & Advanced Teaching Licensure. The former of these is designed for those already in education as teachers, administrators, or staff members. The licensure concentration, on the other hand, is for students with a Standard Professional I or initial license. The degree in total is 37 credits, and many students work full-time while finishing the program. The classes are all offered online, but they are delivered synchronously, meaning students all come together through the online learning management system for a class in the evening.
Net Price: $10,496