Best Online Child Development Programs
Our experts have ranked the top online bachelor's in child development programs. Use the information below to compare schools by cost, convenience, and academic quality. Find your path forward today.
Updated August 16, 2022
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Earning a bachelor's in child development can lead to career opportunities in this field and in many related positions.
For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 12% growth for community and social service occupations from 2020-2030 and 10% growth for education, training, and library positions.
www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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Most bachelor's in child development programs require approximately 120 credits and take around four years of full-time study to complete.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduate students at a four-year public institution was $9,400 in 2019-2020. The average cost at a nonprofit private institution was $36,700 during that same academic year.
However, students can often save money on tuition and fees by enrolling in online programs.
Read on to learn more about bachelor's in child development programs, including admission requirements, coursework, and potential careers.
Online Child Development Degree Overview
An online bachelor's in child development program suits empathetic, patient learners. They should enjoy working with children and want to help them reach their full potential.
Throughout the program, learners can develop the practical communication skills and the theoretical knowledge they need to advance in their child development careers and help children thrive.
Most online bachelor's in child development programs take four years of full-time study to complete. Most curricula consist of approximately 120 credits.
The coursework pulls from various fields like biology, psychology, and sociology to delve into the cultural, social, and medical factors that can affect the ways children develop and learn.
Possible concentrations within child development programs include counseling and family services, early childhood education, and juvenile delinquency.
Many programs include a practicum, internship, or fieldwork experience in a child development setting. Students who enroll in online programs can usually arrange to complete these experiences at sites in their local communities.Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
Popular Online Bachelor's in Child Development Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Courses in a Child Development Online Bachelor's
Growth and Development of Children
Students in child development programs often take this survey course during their first semester. Learners study development processes from prenatal stages through early elementary school.
Child Social and Emotional Growth
This course explores children's social and emotional growth from birth through early elementary school. Covered topics may also include forming relationships with peers and attachment.
Children's Play and Learning
This course focuses on different theories and historical perspectives concerning the effects of play on learning.
Infants and Toddlers
Learners study the development of toddlers and infants. Covered topics in the course may include best developmental practices, creating autonomy, and the effect of environments on development.
In this course, future educators learn to create a curriculum of developmentally appropriate children's books. This course includes a review of different authors and children's literature.<1>Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Child Development Degree?
Education is an in-demand and popular field. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 10% growth for all education, training, and library occupations. This rate eclipses the average projected growth rate for all U.S. careers (8%) during that period. For preschool teachers, the BLS projects 18% job growth between 2020 and 2030.
Students usually don't pursue degrees in child development for money. In most cases, they seek a career where they can have an impact on children's lives and help them thrive. According to the BLS, preschool and childcare center directors earned a median annual salary of $49,160, as of May 2020.
See where a bachelor's in child development can take you. Learn more about education careers.
Many graduates with a bachelor's in child development choose to pursue the CDA credential. This professional certification demonstrates competency in the field. It may improve your chances at landing preschool teacher and childcare center director jobs.
Degree-holders who want to work with slightly older children or earn higher teaching salaries can pursue master's degrees in teaching and elementary education.
School districts generally pay higher salaries to teachers who hold advanced degrees, so a relevant master's degree may provide a significant return on investment.
Job Outlook and Salaries for Graduates
Preschool or Childcare Center Director
These professionals manage daily operations at preschools and childcare centers. Possible duties include managing staff, creating programming, and handling budgets. These directors often need a bachelor's degree, experience working in child development, and the child development associate (CDA) professional certification.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $49,160
Kindergartners are often the oldest students child development degree-holders work with. Kindergarten teachers prepare lesson plans that provide students with the basic skills and knowledge they need throughout elementary school. Kindergarten teachers who work in public schools need a state-issued teaching license.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $60,660
Preschool teachers work with students younger than 5 who have not yet started kindergarten. They prepare lesson plans and curricula to help young learners develop foundational skills. These professionals need at least an associate degree, so a bachelor's in child development may provide an advantage when applying for these jobs.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $31,930
Special Education Teacher
These professionals create lessons for students dealing with learning, emotional, and mental disabilities. Special education teachers who work in public schools need a state-issued teaching license. They also need a relevant bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $61,500
These professionals help clients face challenges in their daily lives. They work in schools, healthcare facilities, governmental organizations, and nonprofit agencies. A bachelor's in child development can provide the first step toward a career as a social worker who primarily works with children. These positions also require a state-issued license.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $51,760Child Development Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Child Development Program?
According to NCES, the average cost of tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates at a four-year public institution was $9,400 in 2019-2020. The average cost at a nonprofit private institution was $36,700 during that academic year.
In addition to tuition and required fees, make sure to factor in the true cost of each program by considering all other associated fees.
For example, online students avoid paying campus room and board costs. And many programs allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition rates. But online students may have to pay additional technical fees.
When choosing between online programs, prospective students should decide whether they prefer synchronous or asynchronous course delivery. Synchronous programs require students to attend live, online sessions, while asynchronous programs do not. Students can also choose to enroll part time or in accelerated programs.
Part of the appeal of distance learning is that prospective students feel they don't have to consider location when choosing a college. However, it might still make sense to go to a nearby school. Most online bachelor's in child development programs include a practicum or fieldwork. So it may be easier for your school to help you find a placement site for these experiences if you live nearby.
Accreditation demonstrates that a school has completed a third-party review process verifying the quality of its programs and services. You should only attend schools that hold accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid. And employers may not recognize your degree during the hiring process.
Student support can provide a major boost in making the most out of a program, especially for online students. Before you enroll at a school, make sure to research advising, mentorship opportunities, internship placements, tutoring, and networking opportunities.
In most cases, admission requirements are the same for on-campus and online bachelor's in child development programs.
In rare cases, in addition to the requirements listed below, some schools may ask prospective students to complete an interview with a program alum or a member of the admissions department.
- Test Scores
- Letters of Recommendation
- Official Transcripts
All programs require that prospective students fill out an application. Schools use these forms to collect basic information like names and addresses. Many schools that offer child development bachelor's programs use application systems like the Common App or Coalition App. They allow prospective students to apply to multiple schools at once.
Fewer schools now require standardized test scores for admission. However, for many programs, you will still be asked to submit ACT or SAT scores. Others maintain test-optional policies, allowing applicants to submit scores if they feel that those scores will strengthen their chances of admission.
Undergraduate programs may require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. In most cases, you should ask former high school teachers for these letters. Make sure to ask potential recommenders several months in advance to give them enough time to write a strong letter and meet deadlines.
Many child development programs require applicants to submit an essay explaining why they are interested in the field. Through the Common App, prospective students can also submit a general statement of purpose that goes out to every school where they are applying.
Prospective students must submit official transcripts from prior schools. For online bachelor's in child development programs, you should submit official high school or GED transcripts. If you have already completed some college coursework, you should submit transcripts from the school you attended since you may be able to earn transfer credits.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Child Development Programs
Is a bachelor's in child development worth it?
The value of any college degree depends on the student. However, many graduates find that a bachelor's in child development is worth the investment.
A bachelor's in child development can provide a pathway to rewarding, stable, and in-demand careers for students who want to work with and help children. Graduates can pursue entry-level employment in several educational settings.
They can also prepare to pursue master's and doctoral degrees that may lead to managerial and other leadership positions in the field.
What can I do with a bachelor's in child development
Degree-holders can pursue work in preschools, childcare centers, and elementary school classrooms. With additional education and licensure, they can also pursue careers as child welfare social workers.
Bachelor's degree-holders in child development can also pursue master's or doctoral degrees in child development or education. These degrees may lead to teaching careers, as well as academic, social science, and research positions. Most of these positions pay higher salaries than jobs that bachelor's degree-holders in child development can pursue.
Are child development majors in demand?
Yes. The BLS projects above average growth for nearly every child development career between 2020 and 2030. For example, the BLS projects jobs for preschool teachers will increase by 18%. This projected growth rate translates to approximately 86,400 preschool teacher positions across the nation during that decade.
Keep in mind that demand varies by school district, location, and individual school. Some school districts might list openings but may be slow to respond to applications because of staffing or budget shortages.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in child development?
Most students do not pursue bachelor's programs in child development for the money. However, many degree-holders can earn salaries above the median annual salary of $41,950 for all U.S. workers.
According to the BLS, as of May 2020, kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn a median annual salary of $60,660, while preschool and childcare center directors made $49,160. Preschool teachers earned $31,930, but the projected job growth for these professions (18%) is higher than the projected job growth for all U.S. occupations (8%) from 2020-2030.
Salary potential for child development professionals depends on employer, location, experience, and professional certifications. Earning CDA status can also help maximize your income and qualifications.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in child development?
The highest-paying job with a bachelor's in child development is special education teacher. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $61,500, as of May 2020. The top 10% of earners in the field made more than $100,570 a year.
Keep in mind that salary potential depends on several factors, including education level, experience, employer, and location. Special education teachers who work in public schools can find out their exact salaries by checking their district's salary schedule.
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