The Most Affordable Online Early Childhood Education Programs

Badge with 2-Line TitleOnline Bachelor'sin Early Childhood Education2017
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Are you interested in teaching young children, but worried that you don’t have the time to go back to school for your degree? If so, an an online bachelor’s program in early childhood education might be the perfect fit for you. Students in an online ECE program can pursue their degree without disrupting their current professional obligations. For those concerned with cost, affordable online early childhood education degree programs are available. As with comparable campus programs, they prepare students to effectively teach and mentor young children in a variety of early development settings. As part of the degree, students can also prepare to pursue professional teaching licensure in their home state. Graduates of early childhood education online programs often go on to rewarding careers as preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers and administrators.

If cost is a driving factor in your decision, it’s tempting to look for the cheapest online early childhood education degree available, but true affordability takes into account so much more. As you evaluate prospective schools, it’s important that you distinguish between a cheap college and an affordable one. A cheap school offers low tuition and nothing more; an affordable online early childhood education program combines reasonable tuition with a good education, high graduation rates, low student loan default rates, and positive employment outcomes.

Below, you’ll find our list of the 25 most affordable online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs in the country. Factoring in a variety of metrics, our College Affordability Score has identified the best online programs in early childhood education. If you’re thinking about returning to school for your degree, and are interested in taking classes online, be sure to take a look at these top programs.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1 Florida International University 70.00 3/5 Miami, FL

FIU offers an affordable online early childhood education degree with an early childhood development track. Coursework prepares students for careers in education, childcare, and child development for children through the age of five. The curriculum is designed to provide classroom management and assessment methods, literacy development, and cultural diversity training.

Undergraduates are paired with a success coach for the duration of their time at FIU. Students may enroll in this fully online program during the fall, spring, or summer session. Though prices vary for in-state and out-of-state students, affordable per-credit tuition rates make FIU’s program one of the most affordable online early education degrees in the country.

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2 University of Nebraska at Kearney 69.05 3/5 Kearney, NE

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an entirely online early childhood education degree. As part of the program, students can pursue an early childhood inclusive (ECI) specialization or an early childhood and family advocacy major. Coursework in the ECI program is intended for in-service teachers who are looking to gain teacher endorsement and classroom experience, while the newly developed family advocacy program is intended for non-teaching professionals working with young children 0-5. Both majors require students to complete 120 credits to graduate; the ECI option requires students to complete some on-site work in addition to their online classes.

Advisors can help online students coordinate their field experience and on-site student teaching hours at a location near their place of residence. The school offers a variety of financial aid packages, including merit scholarships and awards for military students and veterans, along with a generous credit-transfer policy.

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3 Florida State College at Jacksonville 68.57 2/5 Jacksonville, FL

FSCJ’s BS in early childhood education provides teachers with a well-rounded set of educator resources in the classroom. Graduates are prepared for teaching positions within preschool and kindergarten classrooms, along with childcare centers and other educational settings. The degree requires students to complete 120 credits.

Students enrolled in online programs through FSCJ’s Open Campus have access to a robust set of virtual learning resources. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system; additional academic support includes access to iTunes U, online counseling, and proctored testing opportunities. Diverse financial aid options, including scholarships specifically intended for Open Campus students, help FSCJ offer one of the cheapest online early education degrees in the nation.

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4 Fort Hays State University 68.33 3/5 Hays, KS

Fort Hays State’s BS in education offers an early childhood unified option, along with elementary and elementary with special education minors. Graduates receive an endorsement to become teachers in regular or special education for children, from birth to age eight; they are also qualified to pursue licensure to practice in their state.

Students enrolled in online FHSU programs have access to a personal academic advisor who helps guide their virtual learning experience. Coursework is delivered through Blackboard using streaming tools, including Skype and email. Fort Hays State’s Virtual College keeps student fees low and the school’s tuition rate is one of the lowest in the country.

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5 Wilmington University 63.57 3/5 New Castle, DE

Wilmington’s BS in education studies features a concentration in early childhood education. Coursework emphasizes the importance of incorporating new technology-based teaching and learning techniques in the classroom. In addition to the general education and social behavioral science curriculum, students take general education requirements and courses in the fine arts; students must complete 122 credits and an internship to graduate.

Courses are delivered through Blackboard using video conferencing and other resources that that emphasize a collaborative, experiential learning-oriented environment. Several financial aid packages (including military-friendly awards), generous transfer policies, and select discounted-course rates make Wilmington’s program one of the most affordable ECE degrees in the country.

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6 Mayville State University 62.86 3/5 Mayville, ND

Mayville State offers an online BS in early childhood education. The degree is designed for teachers currently working in the field of early childhood education who are looking to pursue licensure in their state. Though most coursework is completed online, students are required to attend one block of courses on the Mayville State campus during the second summer session. The degree requires students to complete 135 credits, including a seminar and field experience.

Class sizes in MSU’s distance programs are kept small, often with less than 20 students in each course, to ensure each student receives personal attention. Online courses and on-campus courses are taught by the same experienced, full-time faculty.

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7 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 59.76 3/5 Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods offers an early childhood education degree online, with a focus in preschool-grade three education/mild intervention. The program prepares students for careers in teaching, education development, and special education, and to pursue licensure in their home state. The curriculum includes diverse education topics spanning development, culture, and the social sciences. Students must complete 118 credits to graduate, including both a capstone project and clinical experience.

Distance programs at Woods Online are modeled after the school’s on-campus programs. The variety of financial aid packages at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods -- including several scholarships geared toward students in online programs -- make the early childhood education program an affordable option for distance learners.

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8 Granite State College 57.14 3/5 Concord, NH

Granite State offers an early childhood education online degree, and allows students to pursue teaching licensure as part of the program. Through both core curriculum and field experience, students learn how to harness the power of technology to implement effective classroom teaching methods along with traditional pedagogies. To graduate, students must complete a field experience and a culminating teaching experience and seminar.

Granite State’s innovative online learning model incorporates technical skill development into the regular curriculum. Online coursework is delivered through Moodle, with additional support available through the one-stop MyGranite portal. Financial aid, including special scholarships for distance learners and comprehensive military and veterans awards, is available to online students.

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9 Fresno Pacific University 52.86 3/5 Fresno, CA

Fresno Pacific’s online BA in early childhood development is a degree-completion program. Applicants should have an associate degree or at least 60 transferable baccalaureate credits. The program prepares students for careers as educators or counselors within regular or special education. Graduates may work in public or private elementary schools, or alternative educational settings providing child counseling or advocacy services.

Fresno Pacific’s online curriculum was designed with the working professional in mind. Distance programs also incorporate a Christian worldview and biblical principles to prepare students to synergize their knowledge and faith professionally and throughout their lives.

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10 Chaminade University of Honolulu 52.14 3/5 Honolulu, HI

Chaminade offers an early childhood education bachelor’s degree online, with an optional Montessori credential. The program is intended for students pursuing a career in private school education, or within a related field of development for children ranging two-and-a-half to six years old. The degree requires students to complete 120 credits, including a two-part field experience and seminar course.

Chaminade’s online course offerings are designed with flexibility in mind. Many programs can be tailored to include hybrid or blended courses, and to accommodate field experience requirements regardless of where you live. Distance courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Financial aid -- including a variety of scholarships based on merit, cultural affiliation, and religious beliefs -- is available to eligible distance learners.

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11 Mount Vernon Nazarene University 51.19 3/5 Mount Vernon, OH

MVNU offers an online early childhood education degree-completion program. Graduates are prepared to pursue endorsements and state licensure to teach children from preschool to grade five. The curriculum helps students develop relevant jobs skills and prepares them to integrate new technology into the classroom. The degree requires a combination of core, general education, and prerequisite courses, including a field experience, practicum, and seminar.

Online programs at MVNU are designed specifically with busy adult learners in mind. Distance courses are taught by accomplished faculty with real-world experience in the field, and classes are delivered asynchronously through Blackboard for maximum convenience. Distance learners can apply for a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships, and can tailor their tuition payments with customizable payment plans.

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12 Lewis-Clark State College 50.71 3/5 Lewiston, ID

Lewis-Clark State offers an online early childhood education degree-completion program. The program is intended for students with an AAS in early childhood education or a related field, along with applicants who have some college experience. The degree prepares students for careers as educators, counselors, specialists, or administrators within preschools and other childcare settings. Students must complete 120 credits, including an integrated seminar in ethics and values. LCSC employs only highly-qualified instructors, faculty, and staff-members with online learning experience. Students can book an appointment with an instructional designer to better understand the virtual coursework model.

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13 University of Toledo 45.95 3/5 Toledo, OH

Toledo’s early childhood education bachelors degree online is a fast-track program that does not offer a licensure option. Designed for students with an associate degree in ECE or a related field, online early childhood education bachelor’s degree coursework prepares students for careers as educators and administrators in private institutions, daycare facilities, and a variety of other childcare settings. The degree requires students to complete two semesters, each comprising 16 credit hours, that combine field experience with the core curriculum.

The university offers a variety of resources to keep online classes relevant and effective for distance learners. The school requires specialized training for online instructors, and also offers a live chat feature for student technical support, along with video tutorials for self-guided assistance. Through the Blackboard learning management system, students can not only complete courses but also find information on the instructional design model and the school’s quality control efforts within the virtual classroom. Online and on-campus students are eligible for the same financial aid opportunities.

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14 National University 45.71 4/5 La Jolla, CA

National University offers an online BA with a major in early childhood development, featuring a preliminary multiple subject teaching credential for California residents only. Students learn communication techniques, curriculum development, and teaching strategies that promote ethical and effective learning in classrooms, from preschool through grade three. Graduates are prepared to pursue state licensure to teach in early elementary classrooms.

Online programs at National are designed to be dynamic and interactive. The school’s academic advisors can help facilitate required field experience for online students wherever they are located. All distance courses are completed through Blackboard.

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15 University of Cincinnati 47.38 3/5 Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati’s early childhood education degree online explores academic, behavioral, and social issues affecting classroom instruction, and the care of infants, toddlers, and preschool students. The curriculum is designed to build on associate-level coursework in helping students develop and implement effective learning environments for toddlers. Though the program does not include a licensure option, graduates are eligible for educator, consultant, specialist, and administrator positions in the field.

Students use several comprehensive learning management systems to complete their online coursework, including Catalyst, Canopy, and Blackboard. The school offers a wealth of financial aid options and financial planning services for all distance learners.

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