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What Are the Goals of a Bachelors Program in Early Childhood Education?

Applicants to online bachelor's programs in early childhood education need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some programs require a minimum GPA and prerequisite coursework for admission.

Courses in bachelor's in early childhood education programs typically cover child development. Learners also study childhood creative development and special needs in early childhood development. Students complete general education coursework in math, English, and social and behavioral sciences.

Early childhood education bachelor's degree-holders can pursue careers as preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers. Graduates can also become childcare workers, special education teachers, and school counselors.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Early Childhood Education

What kind of jobs can you get with an early childhood education degree?

An early childhood education degree qualifies graduates for jobs as preschool and elementary school teachers, nannies, and childcare workers. Graduates can also become school counselors and school psychologists.

How long does it take to become an early childhood educator?

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Most full-time students earn their early childhood education bachelor's degree in four years. However, some states allow associate degree-holders to become preschool teachers.

What degree do I need to be a kindergarten teacher?

Kindergarten teachers need a bachelor's in early childhood education. They also need a state teaching license.

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Why Get a Degree in Early Childhood Education?

For learners who enjoy working with children, a degree in early childhood education can lead to rewarding careers impacting future generations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for preschool teachers to increase 18% from 2020-2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Early childhood educators can pursue a variety of positions. Elementary and secondary school teachers earn a mean annual salary of $50,520, according to BLS data. Daycare workers earn a mean wage of $32,190 per year.

The flexibility of online bachelor's programs in early childhood can benefit students with jobs or family responsibilities.

How Much Does an Early Childhood Education Degree Cost?

The cost of an early childhood education bachelor's degree varies by school. According to EducationData.org, a bachelor's degree costs an average of $35,720 per year. In-state residents pay an average of $9,580 per year for tuition. Out-of-state learners pay an average tuition of $27,440 per year.

Most full-time students earn their bachelor's degree in early childhood education in four years. Associate programs typically require two years.

Many schools offer early childhood education programs online and in person. Online bachelor's programs allow learners to work full time while pursuing their degree. In addition, distance learners save money on transportation costs and living expenses.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online students often save on costs associated with transportation, childcare, and housing. In addition, some schools let online learners pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency.

However, some schools charge online students an online access fee or a per-credit technology fee. Learners must also pay for books and supplies. Other expenses include graduation fees. Graduates may need to pay to obtain teaching licensure.

How Much Do Early Childhood Education Majors Make?

Early childhood education degree-holders can pursue careers as preschool, elementary school, and special education teachers. Elementary school teachers earn a median salary of $60,660 per year. Graduates can also choose careers in childcare and become childcare center directors. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $49,160.

Some positions, such as preschool teacher, do not require a bachelor's degree. However, a bachelor's degree can make candidates more competitive and may lead to higher earning potential. Management roles and specialized positions, such as childcare center director and school psychologist, may require a bachelor's or master's degree.

Courses in Early Childhood Education

Curricula for early childhood education students vary by program. However, learners typically complete general education courses in math and English composition. During their final two years of study, degree-seekers focus on major coursework. Students may concentrate in an area such as special education. Many programs require a hands-on practicum.

Coursework in early childhood education programs helps learners develop critical thinking skills. They also hone classroom management and curriculum building skills. In addition, students explore diversity and inclusion. Available classes vary by program. However, the following courses provide a sample early childhood education curriculum.

  • Integrating the Arts Into Early Childhood Education

    This course covers the role of dance, music, drama, and visual arts in education from pre-K to fourth grade. Students gain artistic experience and learn how to use the arts to connect with children in the classroom. Students also learn about the history and pedagogy of art forms.
  • Child Growth and Development

    Students in this course examine aspects of human development, with an emphasis on pre-K through age eight. Topics include the development of young English language learners and children with disabilities. Students learn to work with children from diverse backgrounds. Degree-seekers gain field experience at a local school.
  • Infant and Toddler Care and Education

    Students use knowledge of child growth and development to plan, implement, and evaluate educational curricula for infants and toddlers. They learn strategies for adapting curricula to include young students with developmental needs and disabilities.

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How to Become an Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers typically need at least a bachelor's degree. Those who teach in public schools must also hold a state teaching license.

Before students arrive, elementary school teachers prepare the classroom and perform administrative tasks. They may also provide tutoring. Educators typically teach many classes during regular school hours. They may meet with fellow teachers in the afternoons. Elementary school teachers grade student work, respond to emails, and prepare lessons during evenings and on weekends.

Licensure for Early Childhood Education

Licensure requirements for early childhood educators vary by state. Some states require preschool teachers to hold child development associate (CDA) certification. Candidates for CDA certification take a multiple-choice exam and must have completed coursework and field experience. Candidates also undergo an observation session. All states require certification and licensure for public kindergarten and elementary school teachers.

The CDA certification fee costs $425 for online applications and $500 for paper applications. States may offer income-based scholarships to eligible candidates. The certification requires renewal every three years. Renewal costs $125 for online applications and $150 for paper applications.

Top Online Bachelor's Programs in Early Childhood Education

true Florida International University

Florida International University offers an online bachelor of science in early childhood development that helps students gain an understanding of cognitive development. Learners explore early education theory and practical applications. This program does not lead to teacher certification.

This BS in early childhood development requires 120 credits and takes most students four years to complete. Core major courses include cultural and social foundations of education, art in early childhood, and early social and emotional development. In-state students receive a discounted tuition rate.

Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must submit all college transcripts. Transfer applicants who have completed fewer than 60 college credits must also submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores.

true Southwestern College

Online students at Southwestern College can pursue a bachelor of arts in early childhood education to prepare for careers as preschool teachers, elementary school teachers, and daycare directors. This program leads to licensure to work with children ages eight and below. Students who plan to work outside of Kansas should contact their state department for information about licensure requirements.

This online degree requires 124 credits. Full-time students typically graduate in four years. Major coursework explores topics including teaching young children with disabilities, infant development, assessment strategies in early childhood, and reading in elementary school. The program culminates in capstone student teaching experiences.

Students must earn at least a 2.75 GPA in all foundation and major courses. Applicants must have completed at least six college credits and must have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

true Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers an online bachelor of science in education that leads to an early childhood unified endorsement. Graduates can teach regular and special education in Kansas, to children from birth through third grade. Out-of-state students should research their state's licensure or certification requirements.

This online teaching degree requires 126 credits and takes four years to complete. Major core courses include emergent literacy, behavior strategies and support, the young child, and diverse learners. The curriculum also incorporates internships and student teaching. Learners can complete up to two internships per semester.

The program prepares learners for careers as teachers, administrators, and coordinators of early childhood education programs. Applicants must have a minimum 2.75 GPA. Competitive applicants have at least a 980 composite SAT score or a 22 ACT score.

true Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Online learners at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College can earn a bachelor of science in education with a specialization in preschool to grade three. This program is ideal for aspiring teachers who plan to work with young children in schools or childcare centers. This program can lead to dual licensure in early childhood and special education.

This online education degree requires 120 credits, including 87 major credits. Courses explore topics including educational psychology, emerging literacy, infants and toddlers, project-based learning, and early childhood administration. The curriculum also requires 21 credits of clinical experience and six credits of supervised teaching.

To enroll in the teacher preparation program or licensure track, students must have completed 40 hours of coursework and a tier-two field experience. Applicants also need satisfactory SAT or ACT scores and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

true University of North Carolina at Greensboro

University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers an online bachelor of science in early childhood. The university’s 2-Plus program is designed for students who hold an associate degree from a participating North Carolina community college. Students in the early childhood program can major in birth through kindergarten teacher licensure or early care and education. UNCG delivers online courses in asynchronous and synchronous formats.

Each major requires 120 credits and takes two years to finish. Learners complete field experiences in early childhood or classroom settings. Graduates often teach kindergarten, preschool, or daycare. The program also prepares learners for graduate studies.

The birth through kindergarten teacher licensure track can lead to North Carolina licensure. Out-of-state students should contact their state department to learn about licensure requirements.

Chaminade University of Honolulu

The online BS in early childhood education program from Chaminade is ideal for learners who plan to teach children aged two to six. The curriculum aligns with Hawaii state requirements and the National Association for the Education of Young Children standards.

This early childhood education degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Major core courses include children’s literature, developmentally appropriate practice, language arts curriculum and methods, and math curriculum and methods. Students also complete a seminar and field experience. Chaminade charges a per-credit tuition rate, and military members receive a discount.

Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 high school GPA and an SAT or ACT score of at least a 1000 or 19, respectively.

National University

National University offers an online BA in early childhood education for students who plan to pursue teacher or administrator licensure in California. The program prepares learners to work with children from birth through age five. Out-of-state students should ensure the program fulfills their state’s licensure requirements.

The online education degree requires 180 quarter credits, 45 of which students must earn from NU. Core courses explore topics including early cognition, early language and literacy, designing emergent curriculum, and play as pedagogy. The curriculum requires a field experience in an approved early childhood education setting.

NU charges a per-credit tuition rate and offers discounted tuition to active-duty military members and their dependents. Applicants who have not completed prerequisite college-level English and math courses must take a placement exam. Applicants without a minimum 2.0 GPA can apply for probationary admission.

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers an online bachelor’s in early childhood education program for aspiring kindergarten and elementary school teachers. This program is designed for associate degree-holders who want to pursue a specialization area.

The online BS in early childhood education requires 120 credits, and individuals with an associate degree can earn the bachelor’s in two years. The curriculum covers topics including classroom and behavior management, cognitive experiences for young children, language and literacy in early childhood education, and integrated science and math for young children. Students complete 150 hours of fieldwork in an approved preK-3 setting.

Students must pass three Florida certification exams. Applicants must have an associate degree in early childhood management or a similar discipline, must have completed a prerequisite teacher preparation course, and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University offers an online BA in early childhood studies that prepares students to work with children from birth to age eight. Graduates can qualify for credentials to teach K-12 or work in early childhood education.

This online degree requires 48 major units and takes 16 months to complete. Core courses include early childhood curriculum, social and emotional development in young children, learning environments for young children, and consultation and collaboration in early childhood intervention. CBU is a Christian institution and requires coursework in the Bible and foundations of Christian thought.

Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. Applicants with 24 or more transferrable credits receive preference. Candidates must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Witchita State University

Wichita State University offers an online bachelor of arts in education program that qualifies graduates to pursue state certification. After completing the program, graduates are eligible to apply for two licenses: elementary teaching and early child unified.

The BA in education requires 120 credits. Full-time students typically graduate in four years. Major coursework covers topics including learning assessment and evaluation, literacy strategies in content areas, integrating learning through the arts, and differentiated instruction for diverse learners. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.7 or better.

Incoming freshmen must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA, at least a 21 ACT score or 1080 SAT score, and a high school ranking in the top third of their graduating class. Transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in all college-level coursework.

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