Most Affordable Online Early Childhood Education Programs of 2022

Pursuing a career in early childhood education shouldn't break the bank. We've rounded up 10 of the most affordable online programs and discuss how to apply to school.

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by Doug Wintemute
Published on December 21, 2021

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For students who want to support the development of young children, an online bachelor's in early childhood education leads to many career possibilities. These programs equip learners with a diverse skill set that they can apply to both teaching and administration positions, including education administrator and childcare center director.

This page explores online bachelor's in early childhood education programs in more detail, highlighting course requirements, career options, and the most affordable study options available.

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What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?

While a BA provides more general training and can lead to non-teaching careers, a BS tends to provide more focused teacher training and prepares graduates for a teaching license.

Bachelor's in early childhood education programs offer various pathways that can impact students' career options. Choosing the right route depends on each person's interests and goals.

Generally, these programs require 120 credits and take four years to complete. Many of the best programs also feature an internship that helps satisfy licensure requirements.

Curricula and career possibilities vary considerably by school, and specializations can open new doors. Compassionate and patient degree-seekers with an interest in working with children may consider pursuing concentrations in language development or specific age groups. Detail-oriented aspiring administrators and directors may prefer a curriculum development or leadership concentration.

Some schools also offer a choice between a BA and a BS. While a BA provides more general training and can lead to non-teaching careers, a BS tends to provide more focused teacher training and prepares graduates for a teaching license.

After graduation, learners often choose between certifications and licenses, which has a major influence on career pathways. For example, most teaching positions require licensure, so students need to understand their specific state requirements. Childcare directors may also require certification, such as the child development associate credential.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?

The list below details some of the most common early childhood education classes online that degree-seekers may encounter, along with some courses that may appear in all education programs.

Child Development

In this class, students learn about how children develop mentally, physically, and socially. The class covers various environmental factors that influence development, assessment, and identification processes. Learners also discuss how to help children manage different developmental issues. Degree-seekers assess how to support children based on their unique situations and needs.

Play-Based Learning

Students in this course learn how to create and facilitate play-based lesson plans. Learners also explore how and why play has such a strong impact on mental, physical, and social development.

Curriculum Planning

This course teaches students how to create lesson plans that encourage discovery and engagement with peers, instructors, and various environments. Common topics include play-based learning, imagination, and physical interactions. Students also learn how to evaluate children's knowledge.

Assessment and Evaluation for Young Children

In this course, students examine tools and methods for evaluating children in various educational settings. They look at ways to improve student outcomes through motivational techniques and challenges. Degree-seekers also learn how to identify special needs and overcome linguistic and learning barriers.

Center Leadership

This course teaches learners how to manage a childcare center, including finance and budgeting, staff training and development, and human resources. Students explore ways of livening up program design and community involvement.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree?

Graduates with a bachelor's in early childhood education can access many careers across educational settings. Licensure requirements for teaching positions vary by state, and these positions often require additional training.

Additional careers include childcare center director and educational administrator, which feature strong salaries. Job growth projections for educational administrators in childcare settings are nearly double the average rate for all occupations.

Learn more about child development careers on this page.

true Childcare Director

Childcare directors manage childcare centers and programs, ensuring that staff and educators follow procedures and protocols and meet the standards of the organization. They also handle budgeting, develop policies, and design programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 65% of these professionals work in childcare centers, 12% work in religious organizations, and 6% work in schools.

Childcare Administrator

Education administrators work in various schools and centers to manage tasks like finances, program admission, and staff support. They may also work in program design and communicate with families and the community. According to the BLS, most childcare administrators work directly in childcare services, but some work in the elementary school system or family services.

Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers design and implement lesson plans that teach basic skills to young students. They assess and address student needs and evaluate learners in various ways. According to the BLS, most kindergarten teachers work in the public school system.

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers support the development of students before they enter kindergarten, helping them with social skills and self-confidence. They observe students in various settings, looking for potential developmental concerns while developing programs that help children learn about the world and themselves. According to the BLS, preschool teachers typically find work in childcare centers, religious organizations, and public and private schools.

Childcare Worker

Childcare workers take care of the children in various educational centers, feeding, cleaning, supervising, and recording their activities throughout the day. They may also create lesson plans and activities based on observations and child interests. The BLS reports that most childcare workers are employed in childcare centers, although many are self-employed or work in private residences.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs

What skills do you need for early childhood education?

Early childhood educators who work in classrooms typically need problem-solving and communication skills, along with patience, resourcefulness, and creativity. Administrators and directors need leadership and organizational skills. All professionals should be able to design programs and evaluate students.

Is an early childhood education degree worth it?

Yes. Early childhood education graduates can access careers that pay decent salaries and feature large workforces. The field also allows professionals to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of children, their families, and the community as a whole.

What can I do with a bachelor's in early childhood education?

Depending on state licensure requirements, graduates can teach in childcare centers, preschools, and kindergarten classrooms. They can also manage childcare centers, work in education administration, and seek out policy-related positions in the government and nonprofit organizations.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in early childhood education degree?

According to the BLS, the top 10% of childcare center directors and education administrators make more than $52,000 annually. Childcare directors and education administrators earned a median annual salary of $49,160 in 2020.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in early childhood education?

According to the BLS, kindergarten teachers earned a median annual salary of $60,660 in 2020. Early childhood education graduates can often find work as kindergarten teachers if they also earn a state teaching license.

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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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