Early childhood education focuses on the development of children 1-8 years old. This field offers several promising careers, including positions as educators and administrators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many early childhood education positions available to bachelor's degree-holders provide median annual wages that exceed the national average.
The best early childhood educators usually are compassionate and want to help children. With a bachelor's in early childhood education, graduates can pursue careers as preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school teachers. Read on for more information about the degree and careers in the field.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|2||University of Washington - Seattle||Seattle, WA|
|3||University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point||Stevens Point, WI|
|4||Eastern Washington University||Cheney, WA|
|5||California Baptist University||Riverside, CA|
|6||University of Wisconsin - River Falls||River Falls, WI|
|7||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||Saint Mary of the Woods, IN|
|8||Central Methodist University||Fayette, MO|
|9||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|10||The University of Montana - Western||Dillon, MT|
- How We Rank Schools
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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs
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Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Based in Miami, Florida International University is a leader in distance education. The institution delivers more than 100 remote undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a fully online bachelor of science in early childhood education. Throughout a 120-credit curriculum, students develop in-depth understanding of the social/emotional, cognitive, and language development of young children.
Major coursework covers educational psychology, family literacy, and teaching students with exceptionalities in inclusive settings. Learners round out their studies by taking three electives. This bachelor's in early childhood education does not result in teacher certification.
FIU offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must earn a minimum 2.5 GPA on all lower division coursework.
University of Washington - Seattle
|Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
The University of Washington offers 17 fully online bachelor's programs that students can complete within two years. UW offers a bachelor's in early childhood education that emphasizes the latest educational research and best practices. UW delivers coursework asynchronously through Canvas.
The curriculum features classes in child observation/assessment and positive behavior support. Students also learn to develop effective curricula and educational programs. The program culminates in a senior project, in which candidates present a professional portfolio.
Applicants need at least 70 transferable credits earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The cohort program offers start dates in the fall and spring.
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
|Stevens Point, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point serves over 9,000 students each year and now offers an online bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Delivered in a hybrid format, the program combines asynchronous online coursework with on-campus experiences.
Required classes include human growth/development, methods and materials for teaching reading, and educational technology. Learners also develop the skills to support students with special needs. They gain hands-on experience by completing practica and student-teaching sessions.
Although UWSP prefers the ACT, the school also accepts SAT scores. UWSP awards merit and major-specific scholarships. UWSP's school of education provides its own financial aid opportunities and career development resources.
Eastern Washington University
|Cheney, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Eastern Washington University maintains its flagship campus in Cheney, serving 12,600 students annually. EWU delivers over 90 online and hybrid academic programs, which include a bachelor's in early childhood education. Qualifying candidates can concurrently enroll in the teacher education program, preparing to earn a Washington teaching certification.
Students take required courses in early literacy, art in the elementary school, and assessment in early childhood education. They learn best practices for creating blended curricula that support the needs of diverse children. All students complete field experiences, a practicum, and a capstone project.
Applicants need a minimum 2.8 GPA. They must submit adequate ACT/SAT scores or achieve designated results on the Washington Educator Skills Test.
California Baptist University
|Riverside, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
California Baptist University provides more than 40 online majors and concentrations, including an online bachelor's in early childhood education that teaches students to create and oversee developmentally appropriate learning environments for young children. Most candidates complete the 48-credit major in 16 months.
Upper division requirements cover cognitive development in infancy and early childhood, STEM integrated with the arts, and the exceptional child. Students learn to administer early childhood programs with regards to quality standards and sensitivity toward diversity. They also complete a research seminar, developing the skills to succeed in graduate academics. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously through Blackboard.
To enroll in this bachelor's in early childhood education program, applicants need a 2.0 minimum GPA. CBU prefers students with at least 24 transferable credits.
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
|River Falls, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
The University of Wisconsin River Falls champions affordable and career-focused education. Students choose from over 70 areas of study across four colleges, including an online bachelor's in early childhood education. Accepted students can pair their degree with a Wisconsin early childhood teaching certification.
The curriculum covers educational psychology, preschool curriculum, and supervision and management of early childhood programs. Students develop the specialized skills to teach and create curricula for K-3 mathematics and integrated reading/language arts. All learners in the program complete 100 hours of student teaching.
Applicants need an associate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also demonstrate satisfactory performance on basic skills assessment through either the ACT, SAT, or PRAXIS.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
|Saint Mary of the Woods, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
Chartered in 1846, Saint Mary-of-the Woods College is the oldest Catholic post-secondary school in Indiana. Today, the institution delivers 50 academic programs, including an online bachelor's in early childhood education. Students can choose between hybrid and entirely online delivery methods.
The curriculum covers core topics like growth/development and ethical foundations of education. Candidates also delve into mild disabilities, content area literacy, and special education law. They complete 21 credits of clinical experiences before engaging in supervised teaching sessions.
Applicants pursuing the licensure track need 40 transfer credits earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA and adequate ACT/SAT scores.
Central Methodist University
|Fayette, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Central Methodist University delivers more than 25 online programs through its College of Graduate and Extended Studies, including a bachelor's in early childhood education that prepares students to earn Missouri teaching certification. Asynchronous classes span eight and 16 weeks to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals.
Students take required classes like materials for teaching content classes and psychology of the exceptional child. They develop program administration skills and the ability to tap into family and community resources. Students gain hands-on experiences by completing a field experience and student teaching hours.
Admissions criteria include a minimum 2.5 GPA and adequate ACT/SAT scores. CMU offers scholarships for incoming freshmen, transfer candidates, and education majors.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University maintains a comprehensive catalog of online certificates and degrees. Distance learners can enroll in a bachelor's in early childhood education to cultivate the leadership skills and pedagogical knowledge to engage students of all backgrounds. By taking accelerated eight-week classes, learners can graduate within 3.5 years.
Courses include educational psychology, classroom management, and instructional practice for differential instruction. Students learn to create settings that foster wellness in young children. They round out their degree by completing a field experience and capstone project.
Applicants need a 2.0 minimum GPA. Liberty maintains a generous transfer policy that lets students fulfill up to 75% of their degree requirements with external credits.
The University of Montana - Western
|Dillon, MT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
The University of Montana Western offers a catalog of programs that includes a bachelor's in early childhood education. UMW offers most of the program's general education and core classes online, allowing students to complete the degree in a hybrid format.
The curriculum covers topics like positive child guidance and management, meeting the needs of families, and cultural diversity. Students also examine the goals, benefits, and limitations of current assessment practices. All learners in the program complete one course at a time. Working with a personal advisor, learners choose advanced coursework in an emphasis area, such as special education, business/management, or safety and nutrition.
UMW offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. First-time applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. The university offers several scholarship opportunities, including the Reach
Higher Montana award for state residents.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?
A bachelor's in early childhood education can prepare students for many careers, depending on their interests and choices. Students with patience and problem-solving skills who wish to be directly involved in the development process may become educators, whereas those with detail-oriented minds and analytical skills may pursue administration.
An online bachelor's in early childhood education takes approximately four years to complete.
An online bachelor's in early childhood education usually features around 120 credits and takes approximately four years to complete. Most programs require a classroom practicum. After graduation, students can take an examination to qualify for teaching licensure in most states.
Depending on their interests, students can choose from an array of concentrations in their program. Before committing to a specific discipline, learners should consider their career goals and check state requirements. Some possible concentrations include the following:
- Kindergarten education
- Elementary school education
- Policy and advocacy
- Educational technology
- Child and youth development
Learners may also choose between a BA and a BS degree, which may lead to different career options. For example, the BA typically provides a more general emphasis, which can help students transition into non-teaching and related fields. The BS offers more focused training, which prepares degree-seekers specifically for teaching licensure. Schools typically do not prefer one degree over the other.
Still looking for the right fit? Discover similar degree programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?
While curricula can vary considerably by program, many bachelor's in early childhood education programs feature similar core curricula. The list below outlines some of the standard courses in all types of education programs, along with some specific early childhood education online classes.
- Child Development
This course teaches students about development principles for young children, including the impact of environmental and biological elements. Students learn how to deal with different situations and conditions and how to implement appropriate support strategies.
- Curriculum Development
In this course, students learn about the leading theories in curriculum planning and design. Covered topics include the various factors that influence curricula and ways children respond to different material and lesson structures. Learners also examine how to properly assess children, incorporate important content, and ensure participants make in-class connections.
- Center Administration
This course focuses on the administration and management of early care centers. Students delve into various leadership strategies, financial management, and communication skills. Some versions of this course may explore more complex topics such as policy development, program creation, and family and community integration.
- Creating Inclusive Environments
In this course, students learn to encourage participation among all young children through lesson plan design, environment staging, material usage, and engagement. These environments help children self-regulate and build confidence.
- Current Issues in Early Childhood Education
In this course, learners look at the critical issues, trends, and best practices in the field. Students also learn how to critique early childhood education issues and explain how and why existing childcare programs touch on key developmental milestones.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree?
Early childhood education graduates enjoy access to a rich field, including teaching and administrative positions at various levels and settings. The BLS projects 4% job growth for kindergarten and elementary school teachers between 2019 and 2029.
Learn more about child development careers on this page and discover where a bachelor's in early childhood education can take you.
- Kindergarten Teacher
These professionals work in kindergarten classrooms, guiding and supporting students in various ways. They create lesson plans and inclusive environments that encourage and stimulate young children. They also help learners manage and overcome challenges. These teachers can work in public and private schools.
- Childcare Administrator
Childcare administrators oversee the planning and coordination of various activities at childcare centers. They may help create programs, handle finances and documentation, and communicate with families and the community.
- Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers support students who have disabilities, creating and implementing lesson plans that address their learners' unique needs. These teachers need to assess each student, create individualized education programs, and determine effective evaluation methods for them.
- Childcare Director
Childcare directors oversee the business and activities of childcare centers, including staff management, program design, and policy implementation. These professionals issue funds for new programs and develop standards for the center and staff.
- Preschool Teacher
Preschool teachers work in classroom settings with children up to the age of five, supporting development through lessons, communication, and engagement strategies. They design activities, evaluate progress, and look out for developmental problems to discuss with parents.
Early Childhood Education not for you? Check out these related careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs
- Is early childhood education a good major?
A bachelor's in early childhood education can lead to careers as a teacher, administrator, or care director. For degree-seekers who want to have an impact on child development, this major provides access to some of the most direct and influential pathways available.
- What can I do with a bachelor’s in early childhood education?
With a bachelor's in early childhood education online, graduates often pursue teaching licensure, although requirements vary by state. They may also qualify for managerial roles in childcare centers. Graduates can pursue a more advanced degree, which can lead to principal positions in schools and policymaking roles in governments.
- How many early childhood education majors get jobs?
According to the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, early childhood education majors boast some of the lowest unemployment numbers of any field. The 1.76% unemployment rate for the field is nearly twice as low as the national pre-Covid-19 unemployment rate of approximately 4%.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in early childhood education?
Salaries in the field vary considerably. However, according to the BLS, kindergarten teachers earn a median annual salary of over $59,420. Childcare administrators earn a mean annual salary of $53,690.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in early childhood education?
Among early childhood professionals, kindergarten teachers earn the highest median annual salary. However, the top 10% of childcare directors earn more than $82,000 per year.