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.

What are the most affordable early childhood education programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 University of Washington Seattle, WA
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 University of Nebraska Lincoln Lincoln, NE
4 National University La Jolla, CA
5 University of Nebraska Kearney Kearney, NE
6 Wichita State University Wichita, KS
7 The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
8 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
9 University of Wisconsin River Falls River Falls, WI
10 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL

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.

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Washington

Seattle, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

UW offers an online bachelor of arts in early care and education that prepares students for careers in education, social and mental health services, and childcare. Learners take classes completely online with asynchronous delivery.

To graduate with a bachelor's in early care and education, students must earn a total of 180 quarter credits. However, students must hold at least 70 credits before entering the program. Major core courses include equity in early care and education, engaging interactions and environments, early childhood curriculum, and child observation and assessment. The curriculum also includes service learning courses, where students can work alongside early childhood education professionals.

Applicants can gain more information about the admissions process by attending a virtual information session. UW is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

2

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

FIU offers an online bachelor's in childhood education that prepares students for careers in child development, childcare, and education for children from birth to age eight. Learners can pursue the degree entirely online.

This BS in early childhood education degree requires 120 credits, including 30 credits in major-specific courses. It takes full-time participants four years to complete. Courses include issues in early childhood education, early social and emotional development, family literacy and the young child, and language and literacy development.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma, possess a minimum 2.5 GPA, and submit competitive SAT or ACT scores. FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

3

University of Nebraska Lincoln

Lincoln, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

UNL offers an online bachelor's in early childhood education in a mobile society that prepares students to work in childhood education settings with families who are highly mobile — particularly military families, immigrant families, families that travel for a living, and families living in poverty. This program is part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, which utilizes coursework provided by seven universities.

This BS in early childhood education degree requires 120 credits, which degree-seekers can complete in four years. Courses are delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format. Core courses include child development, child guidance and classroom environments, development of curriculum for children, and understanding and adapting for developmental differences.

Applicants must have a high school diploma and a minimum 2.5 GPA. All distance learners pay the same tuition, regardless of residency. UNL is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

4

National University

La Jolla, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

NU offers an online bachelor of arts in early childhood education that provides students with a foundation in child development and learning, including topics such as brain development, parent empowerment, early cognition, emerging literacy, and child advocacy. The program is available online or on campus.

This BA in early childhood education requires 180 quarter credits — with 45 major-specific credits — and takes four years to complete. Core major courses include early cognition, early language and literacy, designing emergent curriculum, and play as pedagogy. The curriculum also includes field experience courses that meet requirements for teacher licensure in California.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma and a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students without prior college-level English or math credits must take the ACCUPLACER exam. NU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

5

University of Nebraska Kearney

Kearney, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

UNK offers an online early childhood inclusive bachelor of arts program designed for those who want to teach children from birth through age eight in educational settings, as well as children from birth through age five in special education settings.

This BA requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Courses are delivered online with in-person supervised student teaching and school-based experiences in a participant's community. Enrollees can specialize in birth through kindergarten or age three to grade three. Courses include phonics and word study, literacy assessment, primary grade literacy, and serving young children with special needs.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and an SAT score of 1040 or higher or an ACT score of 20 or higher. UNK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

6

Wichita State University

Wichita, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

WSU offers an online bachelor's in early childhood education/elementary education for students who want to work with young children in educational settings. The program leads to licensure in Kansas but does not guarantee licensure outside the state. Licensure options include early childhood unified (birth through third grade), elementary education (K-6), and early childhood unified and elementary education.

This online bachelor's degree in early childhood education degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Courses include creating a production-centered classroom, social and emotional learning in the school community, and universal design for learning. Each enrollee must serve as a paraeducator during the program and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate.

WSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

7

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

UNCG offers an online bachelor's degree completion program in early childhood education as part of the UNCG 2 Plus program for students who earned associate degrees from participating North Carolina community colleges. Participants choose to follow one of two degree pathways: birth through kindergarten online teacher licensure or early care and education online.

To graduate, students must earn 60-66 credits beyond their associate degree. Core courses include school-age development, infant and child development, and assessment and planning for inclusive birth through kindergarten programs.

Applicants to the 2 Plus program must have completed an associate degree. UNCG accepts up to 64 transfer credits from other institutions. The university is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

8

West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

WVU offers an online bachelor of science in child development and family studies for students looking to work with preschool children in childcare and educational settings. This program meets the West Virginia Department of Education's requirements for pre-K certification.

This BS in child development and family studies requires 120 credits, which learners can complete in four years. Core courses include families across the lifespan, introduction to marriage and family, infant development, and research methods and data analysis. WVU also offers a certificate in early childhood education.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma and a minimum 2.5 GPA. WVU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

9

University of Wisconsin River Falls

River Falls, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

UWRF offers an online bachelor of science in early childhood with a teaching certificate option for students who want to pursue employment as administrators or teachers in childcare centers and preschools. Teaching in early childhood classrooms at public schools requires licensure, and the certificate option allows students to meet state licensure requirements.

Students can enroll primarily online but must occasionally visit campus for in-person Saturday sessions. The curriculum of this online BS in early childhood allows students to complete field experience and student teaching requirements in their local areas.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or the equivalent), a minimum 2.75 GPA, and satisfactory scores on a basic skills test. UWRF is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

10

University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

UA offers an online bachelor of science in human environmental sciences, early childhood education for students who want to work with children from birth through age eight in childcare settings or as non-licensed teachers. Students can choose a concentration in early childhood development or early childhood practitioner. This program is not a teacher certification program.

This early childhood education degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses include human lifespan development, infancy and toddlerhood, preschool development, and child development. Degree-seekers can transfer up to 60 credits.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or the equivalent), acceptable ACT or SAT scores, and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students who have been out of high school for more than four years are not required to submit standardized test scores. UA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.