Best Online Early Childhood Education Programs

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Early childhood education (ECE) programs cover the educational theories, methods, and tools used to teach children from preschool through second grade. ECE also covers strategies parents can use to evaluate and educate their infants and toddlers. In addition to classroom teachers, many ECE graduates become paraeducators and classroom assistants, special education specialists, childcare center employees, and child psychologists.

A bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum educational requirement for most ECE professionals, including preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers. ECE bachelor’s programs equip students with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to lead lessons, games, and other activities for young learners. Most programs also feature required practicum components, which allow students to receive supervised training from established teachers in actual classrooms.

Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s in early childhood education online. Web-based programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as classroom-based options, and the flexible schedule is particularly convenient for students with jobs, childcare responsibilities, or any other commitments that make attending classes on campus difficult. Read on to learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to in this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

ECE bachelor’s programs teach students how to educate young children. Students are taught how to incorporate games, songs, art projects, and other engaging activities into their lesson plans. They also study procedures for evaluating young children in different academic arenas, and how to work with children who have learning disabilities or behavioral issues. Other areas of focus include state and federal laws governing public education, strategies for holding parent-teacher conferences, and ways to integrate disabled and gifted children into the classroom dynamic.

WILL AN ONLINE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Most online ECE bachelor’s programs follow an asynchronous (self-paced) schedule, which allows students to access course lectures and materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. The latest in educational technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For additional convenience, distance learners can usually coordinate practicum courses at schools and other training sites near their residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DEGREE?

Many ECE bachelor’s program graduates pursue careers as kindergarten or elementary school teachers; however, public school teachers at all grade levels must be certified or licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Public school licensure requirements vary by state, although the criteria may include successful completion of a state-issued licensing exam, a set number of classroom-based training hours, undergraduate grade point average, or specialization in specific academic subjects. A background check is usually also required. ECE roles that may not carry licensure requirements include private school teachers, childcare center personnel, and paraeducators.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online ECE programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you want to pursue an ECE degree, and you value the opportunity to study online, read on to learn more about the top online early childhood education programs in the country.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Florida International University71.953/549%Miami, FL

FIU is located in Miami, with more than half of its student body -- about 25,000 -- taking part in online learning. The bachelor of science (BS) in early childhood education program places a focus on the learning and development of young children from birth to age five, including cognitive and social-emotional developments, educational theory, and real-world practice. All students are paired with a success coach and have 24/7 access to courses, where students connect with peers and instructors. Flexible start dates allow students to begin their program at three separate times throughout the year. Curriculum covers topics in family engagement; assessment methods; children with special learning needs; literacy instruction; classroom management; and more.

FIU offers competitive tuition rates for both in- and out-of-state students at less than $350 per credit. Students use Blackboard Learn technology to access courses, among other online learning tools. Additional student resources are extensive and include an online library; bookstore; career services; counseling services; and much more.

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2Fort Hays State University68.473/543.01%Hays, KS

FHSU offers a BS in early childhood education -- early childhood unified. The degree is aimed towards aspiring teachers, administrators, or coordinators at the district levels. Graduates are prepared to work with children from birth to age eight. The "unified" in the degree title reflects the emphasis placed on preparing professionals for teaching students with special learning needs.

The early childhood education degree online curriculum prepares students for licensure in Kansas, though degrees are transferable as long as students complete other state-based requirements and certification exams. The Fort Hays program includes opportunities for internships and student teaching experiences. Courses may be synchronous or asynchronous. Online students have access to a comprehensive set of services, including academic assistance like free online tutoring and library services; career resources; software downloads and tech tutorials; and much more.

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3University of Cincinnati67.174/562%Cincinnati, OH

Graduates of UC's online early childhood education bachelor's degree program are prepared to enter teaching or related careers focused on the caring for and education of children from birth to five years of age. This program is ideal for those with an associate-level degree in early childhood education and/or who are currently working in pre-schools, daycares, and other early childhood development organizations.

The bachelor's degree in early childhood education with a birth-five major includes a blend of general education and major-focused content. Transfer credits from a qualifying higher education institution may be applied toward degree requirements. Students complete a fieldwork assignment, student-teaching practicum, and internship, and most do so in their current workplace setting. Students also learn from reflections on videotaped sessions of their teaching, done in collaboration with an assigned UC faculty advisor and on-site mentor. Faculty have experience as early childhood teachers or directors and are able to incorporate real-world applicability into lessons.

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4University of Nebraska at Kearney63.693/556%Kearney, NE

The bachelor of arts (BA) -- education in early childhood inclusion degree from University of Nebraska qualifies students to teach children from birth to age eight in general education classrooms and children up to age five in special needs settings. Students also choose a specialization in either birth to kindergarten or age three to grade three. Early childhood education online degree program requirements include on-site practicums and a supervised student-teaching experience.

This program is specifically designed for practicing teachers and teacher assistants, those in HeadStart programs, and those in related positions. As a degree completion program, most students transfer in all general education requirements from previous community college experience. Unique professional course topics include teaching in a democratic society and instructional technology and the preservice teacher. Curriculum covers math, literacy, and other core content; pedagogical and assessment approaches; administration considerations; and social-emotional and physical needs of young children. Courses are delivered via the Blackboard or Canvas LMS. Students also have access to 24/7 live chat support for technology issues and library services.

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5Granite State College59.563/550%Concord, NH

The Granite State online early childhood education degree is specifically designed for professionals working or volunteering in qualifying New Hampshire programs or educational settings. Field experience includes collaboration with professional teacher mentors and hands-on teaching and learning, and the program includes teacher certification in early childhood and/or early childhood special education. Students in the BS in early childhood education program learn best teaching practices for children in nursery school to grade three in public school settings. An optional Early Childhood Special Education certification allows students to expand career options and work with infants and children with special learning needs.

About 84% of students in the program are transfers, and Granite State has designed a special Transfer Pathways program that allows students with accredited early childhood associate degrees to transfer the maximum number of credits possible toward their degree requirements. Students can also earn credit based on prior qualifying military, professional, or voluntary experiences. Granite State offers the second-lowest tuition rates in New England for both in- and out-of-state students.

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6Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College59.133/562%Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

The CAEP-accredited baccalaureate degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods prepares students for an initial teaching license in Indiana for preschool to grade three classrooms and includes a concentration in mild intervention strategies for children with exceptionalities. The early childhood education online degree program offers innovative major courses like technology in education, project based learning in social studies, and effectively collaborating with families and community resources.

Online learning is designed specifically for adult students, with year-round start dates and accelerated eight-week courses. Students may earn prior credit towards their degree requirements by transferring credits, testing out of a course, or through prior learning assessment. Courses are delivered through the D2L Brightspace platform. Distance learners also have access to The Learning Resource Center, with online tutoring in a variety of subjects; library services; financial aid resources; and more. A variety of scholarship programs are available for military personnel and their spouses.

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7National University57.504/523%La Jolla, CA

National's BA in early childhood education program meets requirements for the Child Development Associates National Licensing program, as well as for child development permits in the state of California. The early childhood education degree online offers concentrations in early childhood administration, infant and toddler, or teacher education.

Graduates are specially prepared to individualize the learning environment and meet students' learning needs through appropriate curricula and pedagogical strategies. Curriculum covers a broad range of evidence-based early childhood learning practices and theory, with courses covering play as learning, parent empowerment, child advocacy, and more. A field experience is required in order to complete the program. Online students have access to helpful offerings like the SOAR portal, which provides career services, online tutoring, an online writing center, and more.

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8Concordia University – Portland56.414/545%Portland, OR

Concordia's online learning experience is designed to be interactive and engaging for adult learners, and often consists of video-based lectures, active discussion boards, chat rooms, audio-recorded conversations, and interactive learning activities. The online early childhood education degree provides the training necessary to work with children from birth to age five in educational settings. Students should note that the BS in early childhood education program does not result in licensure, which students pursue independently.

Coursework spans five semesters and is is meant to build on previous work experience or an associate-level degree in early childhood studies; a required internship takes place during a student's final semester. Students are assigned to an online cohort, which encourages networking opportunities and a peer support network. Concordia's asynchronous Online Learning Toolbox, the university's learning platform, includes the Blackboard LMS, email access, calendars, an assignment dropbox, and other tools that help students be successful in their program. At the start of the program, students work with dedicated transfer coordinators to maximize credit transfer value.

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9Southwestern College – Kansas55.974/551%Winfield, KS

Southwestern College's BA in early childhood education combines general early childhood and early childhood special education certification into one program, with graduates qualified to care for and teach children from birth to age eight. In addition to hosting an on-campus preschool at the college's Winfield, Kansas location, where many students complete their practicum experiences, Southwestern also maintains partnerships with special education programs throughout the country, like PALS (Preschool and Language Stimulation) and the REACH program.

Students interested in the online early childhood education bachelor's degree only need six post-high school college credits to apply for the program. Credit may also be granted for previous professional, military, or college experience. Curriculum includes a combination of general education; pre-professional education; exploratory education; admission to teacher education; and capstone-level courses. Inclusive and progressive content topics include technology in special education, teaching English as a second language (TESL), a diversity field experience, and much more. This program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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10Mount Vernon Nazarene University55.653/554%Mount Vernon, OH

The online early childhood education degree from Mount Vernon prepares students to earn their early childhood development license with grade four-five endorsement in Ohio, and to care for students from age three onwards. Offered through the Graduate and Professional Studies department, the BA in early childhood degree completion program is designed with an accelerated structure. Though students take only one course per month, the average program completion time is only 27 months and includes 510 hours (or a minimum of 12 weeks) of field experience.

Curriculum is taught through a Christian lens, incorporating biblical values and ethics. Faculty have professional early childhood experience, and students are assigned to small cohorts for networking and support opportunities. Curriculum covers the fundamentals of early childhood content, assessment and pedagogical strategies, cultural and community dynamics in education, and inclusion of students with special learning needs. Online courses are accessed through the Moodle LMS. Mount Vernon offers locked-in tuition rates for students who stay continuously enrolled.

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11California Baptist University55.544/559%Riverside, CA

CBU offers an early childhood education online degree that prepares graduates to work with children from birth to age eight, including students with special learning needs. The BA in early childhood studies program places an emphasis on teaching in a multicultural classroom, with curriculum rooted in Christian values and reflected in course topics like spiritual development of young children and foundations of Christian thought. Other child-centric course topics include STEM integrated with the arts, learning environments for young children, and the exceptional child.

Graduates are encouraged to be self-reflective leaders and decision-makers in their field. Average program completion time is about 16 months, less than two years. Accelerated courses start every eight weeks and are offered over three semesters during the year. Students have access to both a personal enrollment counselor and a student service advisor, who helps students plan for career goals. Online learners have access to an online Academic Support Center, which includes 24/7 Smarthinking Tutoring, as well as career services, financial aid services, and more.

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12Wilmington University52.393/535.06%New Castle, DE

Wilmington University is a liberal arts school located in New Castle, Delaware, offering an undergraduate curriculum that blends general education, fine arts, social and behavioral science, and major coursework. The BS in education studies with a concentration early childhood education does not include licensure or certification, something students must pursue separately, but the program is accredited by the nationally-recognized CAEP and is transferable across state lines. Online early childhood education degree curriculum includes an early care education internship, as well as the completion of an E-folio, through which students learn how to use various technology applications to enhance the learning experience. Students also complete an online learning orientation course to help ensure success throughout the program.

Up to 90 qualifying credits may be transferred from previous associate degree work. Courses are accessed through the Blackboard LMS, and students have access to the same services as students on campus, including career and financial aid; library; tutoring and online workshops (such as research and writing strategies); and more.

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13Fresno Pacific University52.283/559%Fresno, CA

A BA in early childhood development from Fresno Pacific equips graduates with the skills needed to educate and care for children from birth through age eight, including those with developmental and learning exceptionalities. Students are assigned to small cohorts of 12 to 24 other adults, and synchronous class meetings are held one night a week.

The early childhood education degree online curriculum is designed around the California Preschool Learning Foundations, published by the California State Department of Education and CAEP standards. Graduates are prepared to work in public or private schools, as well as other early childhood educational centers, and may also pursue further certification in elementary, special education, or counseling programs. Courses are structured in accelerated six-week formats and include topics like child's play and learning theory, biblical perspectives for educators, and human diversity and relations. Required elective credits may be waived with qualifying prior learning or military experience, or by passing qualifying exams.

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14Mayville State University50.213/539%Mayville, ND

Located in Mayville, North Dakota, Mayville State offers a BSEd in early childhood education, designed to meet the needs of nontraditional adult learners who are working full-time and have additional obligations. Graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to work in educational and care settings with children from birth through age eight. Students are also prepared to apply for teaching certification through grade three upon graduating from this CAEP-accredited program.

Though curriculum is based on licensing requirements in the state of North Dakota, the Mayville online early childhood education degree program is part of the National Association of Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate agreement and is transferrable across state lines. Though most classes can be completed online, students are required to complete intensive, hands-on coursework on campus during their second summer session as a senior. Students are encouraged to complete “essential” general education requirements before applying to the early childhood program, either online or through a qualifying local community college. Distance student services include academic advising; library services; free Smarthinking online tutoring; an online writing center; and more.

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15Chaminade University of Honolulu49.563/536%Honolulu, HI

The online early childhood education bachelor's degree program from Chaminade prepares educators to work with children ages two-and-a-half to six years in private schools and other educational settings. An optional program with a Montessori credential is also available. The BS in early childhood education curriculum is aligned with NAEYC standards and Hawaii state licensure requirements and is a combination of general education and major coursework. Curriculum includes fieldwork experiences and a senior seminar, as well as a broad range of course topics in content and teaching methods, educational technology, leadership applications, and more. Accelerated 10-week courses are offered during four semesters, with applications accepted year-round.

Courses are delivered via the Canvas LMS. Chaminade University offers its faculty membership in the Online Learning Consortium, an international and professional organization for online educators offering research-based teaching methods and workshops to help optimize the online learning experience. Distance learners have access to free Smarthinking tutoring services; online library databases; career preparation; advising services; and much more.

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16Vanguard University of Southern California48.364/554%Costa Mesa, CA

Vanguard University's BA in early childhood education degree is accredited by NAEYC and also meets the State of California education requirements for Title 22 and Title V community care centers. Graduates are prepared to integrate science/discovery, technology, creative learning, and core content into a holistic curricula for young children. The online early childhood education degree curriculum is rooted in a Christian framework and designed around requirements for Head Start; state preschools; Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI); CDA Credential; and those who work in private educational settings and family care centers. A seven-week early childhood education practicum is required for degree completion.

Courses are designed in accelerated, seven-week formats. Students already employed at an early childhood center may use their current workplace setting to complete fieldwork, but all students are responsible for arranging their own practicum experience and finding a lead teacher to serve as mentor -- an ideal option for proactive students. Courses are accessed via the Moodle LMS and distance learners have access to online writing consultations, learning disability services, counseling services, and more. Early educators who are members of ACSI are eligible to receive a 10% tuition discount.

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17Florida State College at Jacksonville48.042/535%Jacksonville, FL

Graduates from Florida State's online early childhood education bachelor's degree are qualified to to teach at the pre-K to grade three levels. Degree completers are also ready to earn the Florida Department of Education Professional Educator Certificate (PreK/Primary), an ESOL endorsement, and the Department of Children and Families Staff Credentials (VPK), which opens careers in a variety of public and private educational settings. Applications for the BS in early childhood education program are accepted year-round. Students develop a portfolio, pass three Florida teacher certification exams, and participate in a full-time, semester-long student internship.

Students may be eligible to earn credits toward degree requirements through a prior learning assessment. The bachelor's curriculum builds on Florida State's associate degree program in early childhood management. Upper-division courses include cognitive experiences for young children, teaching English language learners, and assessment and evaluation of young children. Online courses are accessed via Blackboard, with remote testing services available for distance learners.

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18University of Toledo43.263/546%Toledo, OH

The CAEP-accredited bachelor of education in early childhood education from University of Toledo prepares graduate to enter teaching roles or pursue graduate studies in teaching or administration. Designed as an accelerated, non-licensure program, the online early childhood education degree combines theory and research-based practice and is taught by professionals active in local, state, and national-level schools and educational agencies. Applicants are required to have a minimum 20-hour per week employment at an early childhood development center.

Curriculum places an emphasis on developing teacher leaders who form learning relationships with students and partnerships with students' families and community resources. The program is designed to be completed over two years. Students are assigned both a success coach and advisor and have access to many of the university's student resources, including online tutoring, library services, a dedicated IT help desk, and more. Students can chat online with admissions coordinators about program questions and policies.
This program is only available to students in participating NC-SARA states.

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19Lewis-Clark State College40.003/526%Lewiston, ID

Lewis-Clark offers a unique, active learning-oriented early childhood education online degree program. The BS in early childhood development degree provides hands-on practicum work throughout the program, with students spending an average of 8 to 10 hours at an approved practicum site each week. Students use content knowledge and pedagogical skills and theory learned in class to create and teach one lesson plan each week, under the supervision of an assigned mentor. Lesson plans are submitted through Blackboard, and students are also expected to read and evaluate lesson plans submitted by other students as part of their coursework requirements.

Students program also learn and practice observing young children in the classroom and then integrate resulting assessments into their weekly lesson plan. Student teachers also learn how to set up a learning environment into developmentally-appropriate, play-oriented learning centers for a diverse group of young students. In addition to Blackboard Support, online learners also have access to Read & Write literacy software for English Language Learners, as well as online library services.

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20Pacific Oaks College38.263/540%Pasadena, CA

Pacific Oaks' BA in early childhood education degree offers unique specializations are in either Trauma Studies or STEAM, which integrates art and design with engineering and math programs. Students pursuing their online early childhood education degree may also complete coursework necessary to earn either the multiple subject credential or the dual credential, which qualifies students to work with students in both general and special education settings. Graduates are prepared to design and teach in engaging and developmentally-appropriate learning spaces for children from birth to age eight.

Students learn how to choose, create, and implement curriculum and teaching strategies that are inclusive and adaptive to a diverse group of learners. The program allows students to transfer 60 credits from a regionally accredited program at a post-secondary educational institution, and students may also be eligible to earn credit for prior learning experience. Courses are accessed via the Canvas LMS, and students have access to an online library; ComPsych Student Assistance, which offers support and information for important life events and changes; an online bookstore; and more.

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Timeline
4 to 5 years
Program Costs
$30,000 to $60,000 for full tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Elementary Education, Special Education, Infant-Toddler Education, Health and Physical Education, English Education, Art Education, Music Education, Curriculum Development
Accreditation
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Association for Early Learning Leaders (AELL)

Job Placement

ECE graduates enjoy more favorable job placement rates than students who earn degrees in other fields. A recent survey by the National Center of Education Statistics looked at the employment outcomes for 25-29-year-old college graduates in various professional fields. Using data from this survey, the following table compares the unemployment rates of education degree-holders against the rates for college graduates who have earned a bachelor’s degree in other common fields of study.

Undergraduate Degree Field Unemployment Rate for 25- to 29-Year-Old Degree Recipients
Average for All Major Fields of Study 4.8%
Elementary Education 2.9%
General Education 3.3%
Education (Other) 3.3%
General Business 4.1%
General Engineering 4.4%
Communications/Communication Technologies 4.8%
Marketing/Marketing Research 5.0%
History 5.8%
Psychology 5.8%
Criminal Justice/Fire Protection 6.2%

Source:’Employment Outcomes of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients’ by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

As the data table indicates, the unemployment rates for all three education-related majors were 1.9% to 1.5% lower than the national average. And due to the steady demand for qualified educators in public and private schools across the country, employment experts predict that unemployment rates will remain steady for ECE graduates and other professional teachers in the years to come.

Earning a Living

According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in ECE earn, on average, $30,700 as entry-level employees and $37,500 after 10 years on the job. Comparatively, those who complete their education with an associate degree in ECE earn $23,200 as entry-level employees and $28,900 after 10 years. This amounts to a wage premium of roughly 29% to 32% for ECE bachelor’s-holders. Keep in mind that your salary expectations for specific positions should vary based on a number of factors, including a position’s specific job title, location, and your experience.

The following table looks at career growth rates for five of the most common ECE professions.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Early Childhood Educator (ECE) $26,000 $30,000 $34,000 $39,000
Kindergarten Teacher $34,735 $40,046 $43,191 $47,505
Preschool Teacher $26,670 $29,076 $29,417 $30,215
Special Education Teacher (Preschool, Kindergarten or Elementary) $39,973 $43,926 $49,929 $54,788
Preschool Director $35,512 $36,663 $39,410 $40,844

Source: PayScale

Of the five occupations listed on the table, special education teachers at the preschool, kindergarten, and elementary levels saw the highest career growth, a salary increase of 37.1% between the entry-level and late-career stages. Kindergarten teachers followed closely behind with a salary growth rate of 36.8%, and ECE educators saw their earnings rise by 33.3% after 20 years on the job. Salary growth was slower for preschool personnel; preschool teachers saw their salaries grow by 13.3% over 20 years, while preschool director salaries rose 15.0% over that same time period.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in ECE are qualified for dozens of jobs ― including positions at public elementary schools if they have also completed their state-specific licensure requirements. Below, we covered four of the most common careers for ECE graduates.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: Teachers at the kindergarten and elementary school levels focus on building core skills and knowledge in subjects like reading and writing, mathematics, science, and music. All 50 states require kindergarten and elementary teachers at public schools to obtain a teaching license or certification, and a background check is usually mandated as well.

Special Education Teachers: Special education teachers teach and support students with physical or cognitive disabilities, as well as behavioral disorders. At most public schools, special education teachers lead independent classrooms where students can receive individualized attention. Special education teachers at public schools must obtain a teaching license in all 50 states.

Preschool Teachers: Preschool teachers instruct children ages five and under. Since preschool is designed to prepare students for kindergarten, these teachers lead lessons involving core subjects like phonics, listening comprehension, and basic math.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: These directors oversee teachers and other personnel who work at pre-kindergarten childcare facilities. These facilities are usually located in either public buildings or private residences. In many states, public and private childcare center directors must become certified and receive comprehensive CPR and first aid training.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $54,550 6% (+87,800 jobs)
Preschool Teachers $28,570 7% (+29,600 jobs)
Special Education Teachers $56,800 6% (+28,100 jobs)
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $45,670 7% (+4,200 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Many students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education go on to pursue a master’s degree in this field. For more information about opportunities for grad students, please visit our Guide to Online Early Childhood Education Master’s Programs.

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning as much as you can about early childhood education is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for ECE educators. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children: The NAEYC offers a range of supportive services for professionals who teach and assist children from birth through age eight. Member benefits include discounted books and other resources, complimentary magazine and newsletter subscriptions, and access to ‘Members Only’ areas of the organization’s website.
  • National Child Care Association: The NCCA is an advocacy-driven organization that fights for classroom equality, safe learning environments, and educational funding. The website features a resource library, discussion forums, and links to webinars and continuing education opportunities.
  • Association for Early Learning Leaders: Founded in 1984, the AELL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to childcare center directors and administrators across the the globe. The website offers a job board, online training and webinar programs, continuing education courses, and other professional development opportunities.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Early Childhood Education Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Florida International University Miami, FL
2 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
3 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
4 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, OH
5 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
6 Vanguard University of Southern California Costa Mesa, CA
7 Southern Arkansas University Magnolia, AR
8 National University La Jolla, CA
9 Notre Dame College Cleveland, OH
10 Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston, ID
11 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
12 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
13 Mayvill State University Mayville, ND
14 Granite State College Concord, NH