Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Programs

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Early childhood education (ECE) programs cover education theory and instructional methods for children through age eight. Generally, ECE programs provide instruction on how to teach children from preschool through second grade. You may also study infant-toddler education, which is normally facilitated by parents for children from birth to age two.

ECE professionals include teachers, paraeducators, child care center personnel, special education teachers, psychologists, and social workers. Earning a master’s in early childhood education will prepare aspiring teachers to lead young children as they develop cognitive and social skills.

HOW TO GET A MASTER'S DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Most master’s degree in early childhood education programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree and either prior work experience in education or teaching certification. Some programs also require minimum undergraduate GPAs or standardized test scores.

DOES MY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION MASTER'S INCLUDE ESOL?

Some early childhood education master’s programs include coursework or a specialization in English as a second language. However, not all programs include studies in ESOL. Read more here.

IS A MASTER'S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WORTH IT?

Graduates with a master’s in early childhood education command higher salaries than their counterparts with an associate or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or elementary education. Read more here.

WHERE CAN I GET A MASTER'S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION?

Several schools offer online master’s in early childhood education programs. Read more here.

CAN YOU GET AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION DEGREE ONLINE?

Today, many students are pursuing their master’s in early childhood education degree online. The flexible schedule and convenient platform are ideal for students who must balance their coursework with other commitments, such as childcare or a full-time job. Read more here.

Today, many students are pursuing their master’s in early childhood education degree online. The flexible schedule and convenient platform are ideal for students who must balance their coursework with other commitments, such as childcare or a full-time job. Most online ECE master’s programs are delivered in a hybrid (or ‘blended’) format, where students complete most assignments and exams online and receive supervised, hands-on training from established professionals in an internship or practicum course. These programs often culminate in a final capstone or research project, which allows students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they developed in school.

Workers with a master’s degree in early childhood education earn higher salaries and enjoy lower unemployment than workers with only a bachelor’s.

Read on to learn more about what you can do with a master’s degree in early childhood education, and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to upon graduation.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online ECE master’s students will explore the latest theories, educational models, and instructional strategies in the field. They will learn how to integrate games, activities, and sensory stimuli into lessons in order to engage with young learners. Learning how to monitor physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development is another program focal point. Other study topics include educational law and ethics, student-teacher relationships, and working with disabled children.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online ECE master’s programs are designed to work around your schedule. Most curricula follow an asynchronous timetable, allowing students to complete course requirements on their own time from the comfort of their home computer. You can also study away from your desk using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device with Wi-Fi accessibility. For additional convenience, online students are usually able to coordinate internships or practicum courses at a facility close to their residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION?

Students who graduate with a master’s in ECE will be well-prepared to work as teachers. Those who earn a degree specialization in areas like special education, curriculum development, or infant-toddler education will also bolster their career standing in niche dimensions of the field. The best online master’s in early childhood education programs prepare students for the licensure requirements in the state where they plan to work. Remember, public school teachers must be licensed in all 50 states, and most states also carry certification requirements for childcare center directors.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is a personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s in early childhood education programs in the United States. If you are considering obtaining a master’s degree in early childhood education, and you value the flexibility inherent in online education, be sure to take a look at these top schools.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 California State University-Fullerton RANKING SCORE 74.32 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 17% LOCATION Fullerton, CA

A leader in workforce and economic development in Southern California, California State University Fullerton enrolled more than 40,000 students in 2017. Among its notable academic programs, the master of science in education offers a choice of two concentrations: curriculum and instruction or educational technology.

Students complete the curriculum and instruction concentration over five semesters in the fall and spring, as part of a cohort group. This concentration focuses on the development of inclusive and responsive practices that enhance student learning. Courses include web design for instruction in schools, curriculum theory and development, and culture and education of Latino students, culminating in a required research seminar.

The educational technology concentration takes 16 months to complete. This concentration explores how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, but does not require any previous technology expertise. Coursework encompasses distance education in schools, educational technology leadership, understanding educational research, and multimedia design and development.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with teaching credentials or equivalent experience, and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in their last 60 units of undergraduate study. Tuition costs vary depending on whether students are California residents; in-state students receive discounted tuition. Most students qualify for some form of financial aid; 68% of CSUF students receive loans, grants, or scholarships.

CSUF’s College of Education offers numerous student resources to help students become better educators, including Club TEACH, and the Higher Education Leadership Organization (HELO).

CSUF applies the same standards to its online and on-campus programs. The university receives accreditation from the Western Association of schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).



Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education
Available concentrations: Elementary education
Tuition: $8,304/semester for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 59 credits
Program length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (657) 278-4731
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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2 Clemson University RANKING SCORE 68.90 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Clemson, SC

Opened in 1893 as a military school, Clemson University was the first traditionally white institution to desegregate in South Carolina. The school now serves over 20,000 students in more than 80 majors and 110 graduate programs. The master’s of education in teaching and learning can be completed in as few as 18 months. Designed for working K-12 teachers, specializations in the early childhood education master's degree online include STEAM, experiential learning for early childhood, and instructional coaching.

Applicants must provide three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must pertain to their teaching experience, with at least a 3.0 GPA in their last degree earned. The program accepts applications for summer entrance only. The program encompasses 30 credits: 18 in core pedagogical work and 12 in the student’s specialization. Fall and spring courses last for seven and a half weeks, with five-week summer courses in between. Students may take just one course at a time after their first summer semester.

Distance learners complete online courses asynchronously, provided they first complete an orientation module for new students. Students can complete the program entirely online. Tuition rates remain the same, regardless of state of residence. Students should explore financial aid options, based on their individual qualifications. Applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA from their last degree, with GRE or MAT scores in the top 50%. The application process also requires unofficial transcripts, a current resume, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and current employment in either a formal or informal education setting.

Clemson University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education: Teaching and Learning (Online)
Available concentrations: STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), experiential learning for early childhood, instructional coaching
Tuition: $5,987/semester in-state; $11,961/semester out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Yes

Contact
Phone: 864-656-4444
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 University of Alabama at Birmingham RANKING SCORE 68.54 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a doctoral research university and academic medical center that offers degree programs in the arts and sciences, business, engineering, the health professions, and education. UAB's School of Education is vested in academic excellence and research, administering programs that prepare educators to enhance P-12 education in the state -- and the world. Students benefit from access to affordable, state-of-the-art online instruction, and the school offers several master's degrees fully online, including concentration options such as elementary education, instructional design and development, and early childhood education.

UAB's 31- to 34-credit master's of education in early childhood education prepares graduates for careers as teachers in preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school. The licensure program, offered in hybrid and online formats for flexibility, is taught by renowned faculty in teacher education. Focus areas for this online master's in early childhood education program include developmental reading, primary math methods, teaching pedagogy, curriculum development in elementary, and early childhood education. Teacher certification coursework includes teaching N-6 math, science, and social studies; reading assessment and evaluation; and current issues in education. Graduates will be qualified for Class A teacher licensure in Alabama. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and Alabama Class B teacher licensure in elementary education.

The school also offers its 49 to 58 credit Alternative Master's Program for learners without certification (and who hold a bachelor's degree that is not in education). The program accommodates busy schedules with classes delivered online using Canvas, and on campus with flexible scheduling. It immerses educators in a standards-based, inquiry-focused curriculum that prepares them to use effective instructional strategies in the classroom. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA, and acceptable scores on the Alabama Educator Certification Assessment. Upon completion of the online master's of early childhood education, the graduate will be eligible for Class A teaching certification in ECE.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education - Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Program name: Master's of Arts in Education - Early Childhood & Elementary Education
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $626/first credit in-state ($396/each additional credit per term); $1,167/credit out-of-state ($935/each additional credit per term)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: ECY 600 Intro to Exceptional Learners
Credit requirements: 31-34 credits
Field education requirements: 3-credit practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 1; spring - November 1; summer - April 1
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT, Praxis Subject
Work experience: Teaching certification

Contact
Department phone: (205) 934-5371
Department email: [email protected] (Lynn Kirkland, Department Chair)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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4 Nova Southeastern University RANKING SCORE 67.84 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers several online graduate degrees, including a master of science in education with a specialization in elementary education. The program prepares students to teach kindergarten through grade six.

NSU’s online early childhood education degree focuses on teaching language and literacy, mathematics, science, and the arts. The research-based curriculum integrates practices in education with hands-on experiential learning. The program’s capstone course, conducted in an educational setting, provides graduates with professional experience. Students complete a portfolio.

In order to earn the master’s degree in elementary education, students must earn 40 credits. Courses include educational research, reading in the elementary classroom, and effective instructional and assessment strategies. Graduates also complete coursework in second language learning, including theories and strategies behind TESOL and teaching in a multicultural society. Master’s candidates must successfully complete the applied professional experience requirement.

Prospective students should complete an admissions application packet and submit official transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA in their undergraduate coursework in order to gain admission to the program, and accepted students must maintain an average 3.0 GPA.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Education
Tuition: $955/credit
Credit requirements: 40

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5

Contact
Phone: (866) 239-7345
Email: Contact form
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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5 Erikson Institute RANKING SCORE 66.12 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 1% LOCATION Chicago, IL

Erikson Institute is a premier independent institution noted for its groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood education. The school is the only graduate school in the United States exclusively focused on the development of children. Among the tenets of the school's programming are relationship-based education, a commitment to social justice, and high standards of excellence.

Erikson's online 38-credit MS in early childhood education program provides early childhood educators with in-depth knowledge and training in child development and learning, and the important role that families, communities, and culture play. This master's in early childhood education online is a 28-month cohort program wherein students collaborate with their peers as part of the learning process. ECE coursework focuses on the curriculum, effective teaching, and assessments for pre-K through grade three. Other areas of study include how to collaborate with adults; human development; the development of cognition, language, and play; and family and culture. An integrative seminar helps students apply the theories they have learned to their classroom practice. Students have the option of adding a specialization in bilingual/English as a second language (ESL) to their degree in order to meet the growing needs of ESL learners.

Students enrolled in the online master's in early childhood education program establish close relationships with faculty as they engage in self-reflection in a supportive learning environment. They are exposed to multiple perspectives and complexities as they learn with students from various ethnic, geographic, cultural, and professional backgrounds. They also benefit from access to a vast professional network of contacts in ECE, social services, and in the medical and legal communities.

Admission requirements into Erikson's online early childhood education master's program includes a 2.75 GPA at the baccalaureate level and a minimum of two years of experience in an ECE setting. According to the school, 75% of Erikson's students receive some form of financial aid, including federal loans and scholarships.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Science in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Bilingual/ESL
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $1,030/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 38 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: 28 months
Program start dates: January

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work experience: 1 year of supervised practical experience working with children ages birth-8 years old and 2 years full-time, post-baccalaureate early childhood work experience

Contact
Department phone: (312) 755-2250
Department email: [email protected] (Chip Donohue, Dean of Distance Learning)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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6 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus RANKING SCORE 65.88 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 12% LOCATION Denver, CO

As its name suggests, the University of Colorado Denver is located in urban Denver, a top-ranked city for young professionals. The school offers more than 120 majors and minors, and awards over 600 internships to students each year. UC Denver also administers more than 20 degree programs and 450 courses fully online.

CU Denver's School of Education and Human Development is the largest of its kind in the state and administers a 36-credit master of arts (MA) in early childhood education (ECE). The program prepares ECE professionals to meet the needs of young children and their families in today's increasingly diverse classrooms. Graduates also go on to work in other educational settings, for various child care initiatives and intervention programs such as Head Start, and with family support programs.

The school offers three concentrations: administration and leadership, diversity and inclusion, and teaching and learning. Coursework includes study of the ECE curriculum, language and literacy in young children, family centered practice, research in schools, and basic statistics. Students enrolled in this online master's in early childhood education program are required to complete 200 hours of fieldwork. A minimum 25-hour, supervised practicum is also required for students to work with infant/toddler, preschool, and primary grade, depending on experience.

Students typically complete the master's in early childhood education online program in two-three years. Though the program is delivered online, students must attend a three-day summer seminar in Denver each year of the program's duration. Those seeking to work as teachers will need to satisfy other licensure requirements of the Colorado Department of Education besides this master's in early childhood education program.

This accredited program's delivery accommodates the busy schedules of enrollees, 95% of whom work full-time. The school notes that the program is taught by accomplished professors and is highly rated among students. This is in part due to small class sizes, which foster personalized learning and interaction. About 70% of CU Denver students receive financial aid, making this an affordable degree program.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education and Human Development
Program name: Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Administration and leadership, diversity and inclusion, teaching and learning
Accrediting body: CAEP, CEC, NAEYC
Tuition: $448/credit

Delivery
Format: Online (3-5 day seminar in Denver in June)
Instruction style: Synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: 200 hours + 25 hours of supervised practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - April 15; spring - November 15
Work experience: Experience working with children

Contact
Department phone: (303) 315-4979
Department email: [email protected] (Sandy Snyder-Mondragon, Academic Advisor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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7 Brandman University RANKING SCORE 64.81 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 13% LOCATION Irvine, CA

Founded as a military school in Orange, California in 1861, Brandman eventually expanded into numerous civilian programs, many tailored to adult learners. One such program, the master of arts in education, leadership in early childhood education, focuses on students with an interest in administration through coursework in fiscal planning, marketing, human resources, and leadership.

Graduates can expertly analyze early childhood programs based on the standards of the National Association for Education of Young Children, and use theories of learning to enhance their curriculum. They also learn to analyze issues, such as ethics and curriculum design, within an educational context. Courses in the program include foundations of leadership in early childhood settings, public policy and fiscal planning for early childhood leaders, and leadership and human resources in early childhood settings, culminating in a capstone course. The program requires 30 credits.

Students can complete the program entirely online, however only California residents can enroll. Students can access online courses 24/7, and sessions run year-round, providing maximum flexibility for busy working professionals. Additionally, a hybrid option allows students to take courses at any of the 18 campuses across California. Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation, transcripts for all prior coursework, and a California Child Development Associate Teacher Permit or comparable credential. Online and hybrid programs incur the same tuition costs, offering discounts to active military service members and their spouses. Students may qualify for financial aid.

Brandman University receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and applies standards set by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC).


Program Overview
Program name: MA In Education, Leadership in ECE
Available concentrations: Curriculum and instruction, instructional tech
Tuition: $640/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits (42 credits for a degree with concentration)
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online and hybrid options available
Instruction style: Combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0 (2.5 if applicant meets certain admissions requirements)
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Yes

Contact
Phone: (800) 746-0082

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8 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 64.36 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 1% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1971, Liberty University holds rank as the largest private, nonprofit university in the U.S. and the largest university in Virginia. The school has offered online programs since 1985. Altogether, Liberty offers over 500 academic programs encompassing a Christian worldview, including the master of education in teaching and learning. The program focuses on preparing students to be K-12 education leaders through various cognates in subjects including early childhood education, elementary education, and history. Courses in the program include current issues in early childhood education, curriculum and methods for early childhood, behavior management, and leadership and supervision in education.

Students must complete 36 credit hours in the general program, or 48 in the school counseling concentration. Up to 50% of course credits may be transferred from another regionally accredited institution. Applicants must provide a minimum GPA of 3.0 from previous undergraduate studies. Students with a master’s degree or at least 12 graduate credits may earn acceptance into the program based on their graduate performance. Online courses take students eight weeks to complete, delivered asynchronously in the virtual classroom. Most students complete the program in four semesters, taking four classes in each term. Students earning a grade of C in two or more courses, or a grade of D or below in any course, may not apply those course credits toward their degree.

Online students receive a tuition discount compared to on-campus learners. Full-time students also pay a lower tuition rate than those studying part time. Military personnel, charged a lower rate than civilian students, pay the same tuition regardless of how many credits they take. Students who qualify may take advantage of financial aid opportunities.

Liberty University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education - Teaching and Learning
Available concentrations: School counseling
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits (48 credits for a degree with concentration)
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (800) 424-9596
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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9 Missouri State University-Springfield RANKING SCORE 63.95 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Springfield, MO

Founded in Springfield in 1905, Missouri State University set out with a goal of training teachers for southwest Missouri’s public schools. Today, with over 26,000 students, over 180 undergraduate programs, and 100 graduate programs, the university drives excellence among teacher preparedness programs across the state. Students can complete the master of science in early childhood and family development in just three semesters.

Students can choose to take all of their classes online, or complete some of their electives on-campus. Each student works with an assigned academic advisor to determine the best path of study for their online ECE degree. Courses include family advocacy, proposal development, educational research methodology, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Though some finish faster, most students finish the program in four semesters, alternating between course loads of seven and nine credits.

Online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency, though students pursuing electives on-campus or in a hybrid format pay a higher rate if they reside out of state. Financial aid awarded to qualifying students includes grants, loans, assistantships, and scholarships.

Eligible applicants earned a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher in the last half of their undergraduate program, and can provide GRE scores if registering for more than nine credits. The application process also requires a letter of intent and two letters of recommendation. Up to nine credits may be transferred from another institution, pending approval by an academic advisor. The College of Education awards 60 scholarships each year, including the William E. Albertson Memorial Scholarship and Educational Administration Scholarships, designed specifically for graduate students.

Missouri State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $285/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 34 credits
Program length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE if applicant earned below a 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (417) 836-8918
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 Mercer University RANKING SCORE 63.60 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION Macon, GA

Originally founded as a Baptist school in 1833 in Penfield, Georgia, Mercer University claims the distinction as one of the oldest schools in the U.S., serving over 8,600 students on 12 campuses and online. The master of education in early childhood education focuses on leadership, advocacy, best practices, and applied research. The program trains leaders to design, implement, and evaluate strategies and curriculums to suit the needs of diverse student groups. Graduates develop a better understanding of the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs and characteristics of young children, and learn how to best engage their students. Enrollees in the online early childhood education degree can choose an endorsement in autism, ESOL, mathematics, reading, or science.

Students begin courses in either August or May, and may study online or on campus. Online students can also meet faculty on campus through a hybrid option. The online program takes 12 months to complete, with each class spanning an eight-week session. Courses include school philosophy and teacher leadership, issues of diversity, theory of arithmetic, teaching strategies, and reading theory. Students must complete 30 credit hours in order to earn the degree.

Applicants must maintain a cumulative 2.75 GPA or better in their bachelor’s degree, and must hold certification, or meet initial certification requirements in early childhood education or a related field, to be considered for admission. The program also requires GRE scores. Students who do not meet minimum GRE score requirements may still qualify for admission, but must show evidence that they can complete graduate-level coursework. Georgia residents and out-of-state students pay the same tuition, and all may qualify for financial aid.

Mercer University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).


Program Overview
Program name: M.Ed. Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $590/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 12 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (800) 762-5404
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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11 University of Dayton RANKING SCORE 62.65 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION Dayton, OH

The University of Dayton is a top-tier, comprehensive Catholic institution located in Ohio. The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees that emphasize research. UD's educational programming is rooted in the school's Marianist tradition, which focuses on a holistic approach to education, and several offerings from the School of Education and Health Services can be completed online or in a blended format.

The school's master of science in education with a concentration in early childhood leadership and advocacy requires students to earn 36 or 37 credits. The curriculum features graduate leadership coursework, a master's core, and strand options, which include early childhood leadership and early childhood advocacy. The early childhood leadership strand consists of coursework in early childhood program and personnel management; curriculum instruction; regulations, licensing, and law in early care education; and managing finances and marketing. The early childhood advocacy strand features coursework in curriculum instruction; advocacy in early care and education leadership; and collaborating with families, professionals, and agencies. Two of these courses are considered workshops.

The concentration in early childhood leadership and advocacy is ideal for experienced professionals, such as program administrators, supervisors, teacher leaders, and other professionals who work in careers that advocate for young children and their families. All coursework is available online in a part-time format. On-site courses are also available.

Applicants must submit official academic records, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or resume to be considered. Those with an undergraduate GPA below 2.75 are also required to submit GRE or MAT scores.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education and Health Sciences
Program name: Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy (MSE)
Available concentrations: Early childhood leadership, early childhood advocacy
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $626/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36-37 credits
Field education requirements: Workshops

Program Length
Program options: Part-time

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required only if GPA under 2.75

Contact
Department phone: (937) 229-3103
Admissions email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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12 Auburn University RANKING SCORE 62.34 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Auburn, AL

Founded in 1862 as the East Alabama Male College, Auburn University became the first Southern land-grant college established separately from the state university, reclassified as coeducational in 1892. Today, the school occupies more than 1,840 acres in Auburn, Alabama, with over 25,000 students. Auburn offers two master’s degrees in early childhood education: a master of science and a master of education.

Each of the online master's in early childhood education require 30 credits to complete, available online or on campus. The master of education prepares graduates for the Alabama Class A professional education certification, while the master of science better suits professionals including community educators who do not require certification.

Courses include research studies in early childhood education, origins of thought, play and childhood education, and evaluation of programs in early childhood education. The course requirements for both degrees are similar, including research coursework and a thesis. The M.Ed. requires 24 credits of field courses and six credits of education courses, approved by a student advisor. The MS program requires an orientation to teaching and learning, instructional design and early childhood courses, and approved electives, culminating in a teaching and learning capstone.

Alabama residents and out-of-state students pay the same tuition costs. Financial aid opportunities include grants and fellowships, as well as a limited number of on-campus assistantships, for those who qualify. Applicants must complete a graduate application and provide three references. Admissions also requires a background check, GRE scores, and teaching certificate, for the master of education.

Auburn University receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


Program Overview
Program name: Early Childhood Education M.Ed./M.S.
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $610/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 30 hours
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Phone: (334) 844-6768
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Pacific Oaks College RANKING SCORE 61.53 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 10% LOCATION Pasadena, CA

Pacific Oaks College was founded 70 years ago with a culture-centered learning model and an emphasis in experiential learning. Pacific Oaks Children's School offers renowned, cutting-edge programs in infant and preschool education. Undergraduate and graduate education programs prepare educators in preliminary education and early childhood education with several areas of emphasis. Notably, the institution has developed anti-bullying and anti-bias programs, was one of the nation's first Head Start training sites, and fosters a community of change agents.

Pacific Oaks' 30-credit MA in early childhood education program prepares its graduates for leadership careers in schools, child care, organizations serving children and families, and in state agencies. Students enrolled in the school's online master's in early childhood education program learn best practices in how to support the educational experiences of young children with inclusivity and without bias. Working in diverse settings, they become versed in staff development, administration, and how to effectively work with children and families. The program -- which can be taken fully online and completed in two years full time, or four years part time -- does not lead to California K-12 teaching licensure. Study topics include privilege and oppression in ECE setting, public policy and its impacts on children and families, ESL and family integration, the effects of media on young children, and deployment's effects on families and children.

The school also offers a fully online, 63-credit MA in early childhood education: trauma studies, a program that equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to support traumatized young children. Areas of study in the online early childhood education master's program include trauma and early development, parental incarceration and its impact, the effects of substance abuse, and the acculturation process for immigrants. The program can be completed in two years full time and four years part time.

Some master's in early childhood education online courses include a fieldwork component, which distance students can fulfill in their community upon approval of the site by Pacific Oaks. Admission requirements for both programs include a bachelor's degree in ECE or child development.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education - Department of Early Childhood Education
Program name: Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Trauma studies
Accrediting body: WASC
Tuition: $1056/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Students who do not hold a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education or Child Development must have completed specific coursework
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Field education requirements: Hands-on experiences in real-world working environments

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - August 4; spring - TBA ; summer - April 24

Contact
Department phone: (626) 529-8415
Admissions email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 Ball State University RANKING SCORE 61.42 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION Muncie, IN

Indiana’s Ball State University began as a teacher training school in Muncie in 1899. The school changed its name in 1922 in honor of its benefactors, the Ball brothers, and expanded to support over 22,000 students across the U.S. and abroad. Today, the teachers college alone offers over 30 degrees and majors. Among them, the master of arts in education with a focus on early childhood education emphasizes administration, management, and leadership skills.

Students can earn the early childhood education degree entirely online, completing 30 credit hours over 10 courses. Curriculum encompasses early literacy development, early childhood program leadership, infant and toddler education, and education in a diverse society. Focus-area courses exceed the national requirements (nine credits or 144 clock hours in administration) for early childhood administrators. Students who complete the program also earn a certificate in early childhood program administration, as noted on their transcripts. In lieu of a degree, students may earn a graduate certificate in early childhood education by taking courses in the focus area only.

Students attending online can access the same services as those studying on campus, including technology support and advising appointments. Online students must complete an orientation which explains how to access student services and complete online courses. Tuition costs more for out-of-state students than for Indiana residents, and requires an additional technology fee. Additional fees apply for courses taken on campus in blended programs. Ball State offers an installment payment option. More than 75% of Ball State students receive some form of financial aid, including employer reimbursement and monthly payment plan options.

Ball State University receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Education with a Focus in Early Childhood Education
Tuition: $402/credit in state, $603/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE


Contact
Phone: (765) 285-8560
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Biola University RANKING SCORE 60.96 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 19% LOCATION La Mirada, CA

Established around a century ago, California's Biola University boasts an enrollment of around 6,200 on-campus students and online programming at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students are taught by seasoned instructors in classrooms featuring a 15-to-one student-faculty ratio, facilitating personalized learning and mentorship. Online learning at Biola incorporates the institution's strengths, including academic rigor, and faculty expertise.

Several online teacher preparation degree programs are offered, including the school's fully online, 30-credit MA in teaching with a concentration in early childhood education. Biola's master's in early childhood education online program prepares educators to work with infants through age four, and with kindergarten students to third graders. The program also strengthens teachers' understanding of the academic, developmental, social, and cultural needs of children, especially those in early childhood settings.

The program consists of three components: core coursework, a concentration of early childhood coursework, and a capstone experience. Core study areas include childhood development, school/family/community partnerships in urban settings, and classroom management in early childhood settings. A practicum provides educators with an opportunity to apply theoretic principles learned in a classroom setting; they see firsthand the role of the ECE educator in action, in particular their relationships with children and families.

This online master's in early childhood education can be completed in 18 months. Upon completion of the program, candidates will be eligible to apply for Child Development Permits from the state of California. Admission requirements include a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, acceptable GRE scores, and a Certificate of Clearance issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Note that fieldwork requirements must be completed in California. Biola requires online learners to verify computer literacy via a proficiency test. In addition to TEACH grants, a full suite of financial aid options are available, such as federal loans and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program name: Master's of Arts in Teaching
Available concentrations: Early Childhood (Education)
Accrediting body: CA CTC
Tuition: $592/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Primarily asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 18 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 1 ; spring - December 1; summer - May 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE (unless GPA of 3.5 or above)

Contact
Department phone: (562) 903-4752
Admissions email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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16 University of North Carolina at Greensboro RANKING SCORE 60.88 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 16% LOCATION Greensboro, NC

The University of North Carolina Greensboro offers a master of education in birth-kindergarten interdisciplinary studies in education and development. The program includes one of two concentrations: early childhood leadership and program administration or early childhood leadership and advanced teaching licensure. The former servers teachers, directors, and technical assistance providers who work with educators, while the latter caters to students who already possess a level-one standard professional or initial license. Students can complete the master's in early childhood education online in two years, including summer courses.

Jointly administered by the Departments of Specialized Education Services and Human Development and Family Studies, the 37-credit program prepares students for both education and community-based careers. Courses include introduction to inclusive birth-kindergarten services, theory and research in early childhood development, assistive technology for inclusive education, and contemporary issues in early childhood policy. All students must complete a professional portfolio, including a written component and oral defense, as part of their capstone experience.

Students can continue to work full time while pursuing the degree. Synchronous classes meet from 5-6:50pm ET. Students in the leadership and advanced teaching license concentration complete one or two courses (depending on program of study) with a three-hour per week field experience.

North Carolina residents pay a lower tuition rate than out-of-state students. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in early childhood or a related field, and an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Students seeking advanced teaching licensure must already hold an initial teaching license. Applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA can opt to take a single course as a visiting student and, if they pass with a B grade or above, will be considered for admission.

UNCG receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development
Available concentrations: Early childhood leadership & program administration, early childhood leadership & advanced teaching licensure
Tuition: $278.58/credit in-state, $534.41/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 37 credits
Program length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (336) 334-5307
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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17 Arizona State University-Tempe RANKING SCORE 60.84 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 84% LOCATION Tempe, AZ

Formed in 1886 as the Territorial Normal School, Arizona State University existed before Arizona gained its statehood in the U.S. Today, the school graduates over 20,000 students each year. Among its more than 150 online programs, the master of education in curriculum and instruction (early childhood education) focuses on meeting the educational, social, and emotional needs of children from birth through third grade.

The program consists of 10 courses, each delivered online over seven and a half weeks. This includes practicum placement which must be completed in person, as well as an applied project course. ASU offers six start dates per year, allowing students the flexibility to take courses tailored to their schedule. Basic technical requirements include only a computer and internet access. Students can access technical support 24/7.

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the second half of their undergraduate program, or a 3.0 GPA in an applicable master’s program. Applicants must also provide a personal statement, resume, proof of English proficiency, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. The program does not require GRE scores.

All online learners pay the same tuition rates. Financial aid opportunities include scholarships for qualifying students. Over 70% of ASU students receive some kind of financial aid, with more than $1 billion awarded in the 2012-2013 academic year to over 60,000 students. ASU now offers increased gift assistance to students who qualify, thanks in part to partnerships between the ASU Foundation for a New American University and the school's alumni and civic groups.

ASU receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges (NCAHLC).


Program Overview
Program name: Online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (Early Childhood Education)
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $10,728/semester
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (855) 342-2017
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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18 University of Northern Iowa RANKING SCORE 60.72 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 9% LOCATION Cedar Falls, IA

Founded as an orphanage in 1866, the University of Northern Iowa became a teacher training school in 1876 and today boasts over 90 majors and programs. Among them, the master of arts in early childhood education caters to classroom teachers of birth-to-grade-three students who hold current licensure. The online early childhood education degree delivers courses through a cohort model, offering two courses each semester.

The cohort model used by UNI delivers courses in a specific order. Students should aim for perfect attendance, however if they must miss a course they can discuss the issue with their program advisor to find a solution. Students can complete the program in just under two years. Courses include issues and trends in early childhood curriculum, assessment in early childhood education, and foundations of instructional psychology. The degree also encompasses a variety of research-based courses.

Online learners pay the same tuition rates regardless of where they live. Many students qualify for some form of financial aid. The program only begins once enrollment numbers meet minimum requirements for each session; teachers interested in pursuing a master’s degree from UNI should plan ahead for the next tentative program start date.

Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 may be considered for provisional admission. The program does not require GRE scores. Applicants accepted to the program can consult an assigned faculty advisor once courses begin. Students complete coursework through Adobe Connect and Blackboard’s eLearning system. Classes last for eight weeks and meet in the fall and spring semesters on Monday evenings.

The University of Northern Iowa receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


Program Overview
Program name: Early Childhood Education (MAE)
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $498/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Required

Contact
Phone: (319) 273-2504
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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19 SUNY at Albany RANKING SCORE 60.35 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 9% LOCATION Albany, NY

One of over 125 graduate programs at the University at Albany, the Master of Science in Early Childhood Education focuses on responsive teaching from birth to second grade, imparting a sense of empowerment onto both teachers and students. Courses include classroom literacy instruction, language acquisition, data-based decision making, and assessment in education. The program can lead to the professional early childhood education B-2 certification in the state of New York, or apply toward certification in another state. If studying outside of New York, students should explore individual certification requirements in their home state.

Students can earn the early childhood education degree online part time, taking two courses per semester, or complete the full-time version on campus. Applicants must graduate with a minimum 3.0 GPA from their bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, submit three references, and a questionnaire. Applicants must also meet teacher certification eligibility requirements, which vary depending on a student's individual course of study. The MS in early childhood requires initial or permanent certification in early childhood or childhood education. The university favors applicants with a strong background in education and a diverse liberal arts education, as well as demonstrable and effective teaching skills.

Online courses begin on the same dates as their on-campus equivalents, though some professors may grant access to Blackboard prior to the start date. Students can complete the program in five semesters.

While tuition rates are lower for New York residents than for out-of-state students, online students enjoy discounted rates overall, compared to on-campus programs. Some assistantships available from the School of Education and other financial aid options can provide further savings to master's degree candidates, including scholarships, grants, and loans.

University at Albany - SUNY receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).


Program Overview
Program name: MS in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $543/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years (part-time students)

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0

Contact
Phone: (518) 442-5100
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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20 Concordia University-Nebraska RANKING SCORE 60.35 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 2% LOCATION Seward, NE

Repeatedly renamed over the years, Concordia University, Nebraska began in 1894 as a German-speaking Lutheran seminary school. Today the university grants degrees to tens of thousands of students; Education majors represent for the largest academic group, though they make up less than half the overall school population. The master of education in early childhood education encompasses 36 credits over 12 courses, focusing on teaching children from birth to age eight.

The program’s curriculum adheres to guidelines set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Nebraska Department of Education. Courses include early childhood program organization and management, psychological foundations of teaching and learning, and language and literacy development. All students in the program complete a two-part action research project: a supervised field experience in which they evaluate program practices, and the application of these evaluations to develop an innovative approach to the teaching practice.

Students can earn the ECE degree online in just two years through classes lasting eight weeks at a time. The traditional progression encompasses one course at a time and takes 24 months to complete, while a fast track option allows students to take two classes simultaneously during some semesters, completing the program in 20 months. Concordia does not require GRE scores for admission. Self-paced and taught by instructors with diverse field expertise, online courses cost the same as on-campus and hybrid courses.

Concordia University, Nebraska receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Program Overview
Program name: Early Childhood Education M.Ed.
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $425/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (888) 505-2863

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21 Concordia University-Chicago RANKING SCORE 60.00 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 27% LOCATION River Forest, IL

A top institution in graduate and undergraduate education, Concordia University Chicago boasts an enrollment of more than 3,500 students in online and on-campus programs ranging from community counseling and gerontology to social services and education.

The school's 30-credit MA in early childhood education program is conducted fully online. It's also nationally recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, making it a top graduate degree program in ECE. This online master's of early childhood education degree can be completed in 12 or 24 months, full time or part time, and enrolls early childhood educators with at least two years of experience. It provides graduates with education and training in child and language development; assessment, research, theory, and practice of ECE programs; and family and community relationships. Coursework includes trends in ECE, observation and assessment, infant and toddler education for ages three to five, and an analysis of the curriculum for students ages six to eight. A capstone is required in which students design a project that demonstrates mastery of NAEYC standards.

This program does not lead to licensure -- program graduates with a teaching license in Illinois may enroll in additional programming leading to endorsements in English as a Second Language or Special Education. Graduates are prepared to work in ECE curriculum design and implementation in settings such as schools and child care centers, and are equipped to be leaders in organizations specializing in early childhood education/care. Application requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85.

This online early childhood education master's is notably affordable, with tuition locked in throughout continuous enrollment. Practitioners working in early care and education programs can apply for the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program, of which CUC is a beneficiary, and which will pay for a portion of the candidate's tuition (depending on funding availability).


Program Overview
Department: College of Graduate and Innovative Programs
Program name: Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Special education, ESL
Accrediting body: NAEYC
Tuition: $477/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 or 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 15
GPA: 2.85 minimum
Standardized tests: TAP
Work experience: 2 years of early childhood education

Contact
Department phone: (708) 957-5994
Department email: [email protected] (Sara O'Lena, Graduate Information Office)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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22 California Baptist University RANKING SCORE 59.94 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION Riverside, CA

Offering over 40 majors, California Baptist University Online caters to the needs of working professionals who value flexibility in their college education. Students in the master of science in education with a specialization in early childhood studies may apply experience for professional service or certification toward credits in the program. The online early childhood education degree requires 33 credits over as little as one year of study. Courses focus on the needs of children from birth to age eight, include theories of learning and teaching, international and comparative education, and advanced studies in early childhood development.

Classes begin every eight weeks, available across three semesters for year-round learning. Individual advisors help students to successfully plan and complete the degree, from enrollment through graduation. California Baptist University uses Blackboard, Telepresence, and Webex software to deliver classes, and offers academic support 24/7 through the Smarthinking platform.

Applicants must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA during undergraduate study, though students with a at least a 2.5 GPA may be considered under certain conditions. Sealed official transcripts, two recommendations, and a 500-word essay round out the application materials. The essay must explain the student's reason for pursuing the program, their professional goals, and why they chose California Baptist University. Tuition costs the same, per credit, regardless of a student's state of residence. Students may qualify for financial aid including grants, scholarships, loans, and veterans benefits. CBU also offers a monthly payment plan to help students reduce the up-front cost of the degree.

California Baptist University receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASC) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education
Available concentrations: Early childhood studies
Tuition: $634/credit
Credit requirements: 33
Program length: 12 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0 for unconditional admission, 2.5 for conditional admission
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (877) 228-5657
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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23 New Mexico State University RANKING SCORE 59.75 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 16% LOCATION Las Cruces, NM

Founded in 1888 as the first honors college in the state, New Mexico State University now occupies a 900-acre campus in Las Cruces, a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, four additional campuses across the state, and extension offices in all 33 New Mexico counties. The land-grant university enrolls over 16,000 students from all over the country and around the world, offering advanced teaching programs including the master of arts in education in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on early childhood education.

Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts from their undergraduate education, throughout which they must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also provide a professional resume, an essay no longer than four pages, and at least one year of early childhood education experience. The essay should address the student's motivation for applying to the program, discuss their strengths and weakness, and explain their plans for the degree. The program requires a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, and current experience teaching or working in a related occupation in education.

Students complete the online master's in early childhood education through Canvas CE 8. Though online and on-campus students pay the same tuition rates, distance learners also pay an additional course delivery fee. Students may qualify for financial aid including grants, loans, and scholarships. The program accommodates students in most states in the U.S., though online learners in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington may experience limited access and should check availability in their area. Students may take courses online in conjunction with attending classes at the main campus in Las Cruces.

NMSU receives accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Education in Curriculum Instruction (Emphasis Early Childhood Education)
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $3,133.50/semester in-state; $10,921.50/semester out-of-state
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Required

Contact
Phone: (575) 646-5702
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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24 University of Nebraska-Lincoln RANKING SCORE 59.27 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Lincoln, NE

A land-grant university chartered in 1869, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln maintains an open-door policy, accepting all students regardless of age, sex, color, or nationality. Among the school's programs designed to promote diversity and inclusion, both the master of arts and master of education in special education programs offer specializations in deaf and hard of hearing (pre-12), early childhood special education (birth to five), and visual impairments (pre-12). Both master’s degrees require 36 credits, including an optional specialization. Students can pursue additional graduate certificates in behavior, sensory disabilities, and early childhood special education simultaneously to the degree, though not guaranteed to be offered online. The certifications offer additional training, but do not provide licensure.

Students work with advisors to choose courses and create a plan of study. Courses include accommodating exceptional learners in the elementary or secondary classroom, managing challenging behavior, and methods and program planning for learners with autism spectrum disorders. Applicants must provide GRE scores, proof of proficiency in English, a statement of their personal and professional goals, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Though Nebraska residents pay a lower tuition rate than out-of-state students, all online students enjoy discounted tuition compared to on-campus costs. Many students qualify for financial aid through grants, loans, and scholarships. Students complete courses using a combination of online learning management systems, videoconferences, and email. Online students complete most courses asynchronously, though still held to weekly assignment deadlines. Students should expect to spend 3-4 hours per week, per credit hour. Faculty leading online courses address planning and expectations for each class.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).


Program Overview
Program name: M.A. and M.Ed. in Special Education
Available concentrations: Deaf and hard of hearing education, early childhood special education, visual impairments
Tuition: $346/credit in-state, $609/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30-36 credits -- depending on degree and specialization
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid for visual impairments concentration; 100% online for all other concentrations
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (402) 472-2141
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Twitter

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25 University of West Alabama RANKING SCORE 59.13 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 4% LOCATION Livingston, AL

The University of West Alabama serves traditional and non-traditional learners with educational programming that leads to undergraduate and graduate degrees in its liberal arts, sciences, business, and pre-professional programs. Embedded in the curricula are opportunities for students to develop high-demand skills such as critical thinking, leadership, and communication.

Among UWA's teacher preparation programs is the 34-credit MEd in early childhood education for certified teachers. Areas of focus include educational planning, educational research, technology and education, teaching reading, and developing a teaching portfolio. This fully online early childhood education degree is a class A certification-track program for graduates who meet state requirements. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in education, acceptable GRE and MAT scores, and a bachelor's-level teaching certification in early childhood education.

The school's Alternative Class A Program leads to an MEd/MA in early childhood education, P-3, or early childhood/elementary education, P-6. This program enrolls individuals who possess a bachelor's degree that is not in education, or those who do and would like to switch areas they teach. Students may choose a program area from one of the following: biology, general science, mathematics, English language arts, history, general social science, or physical education. A majority of courses can be completed online, but field experiences and internships must be completed in a school in Alabama, and students are required to attend some on-campus seminars or class meetings. The online master's in early childhood education leads to Class A certification in the state. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, and acceptable Praxis scores in the area of certification being pursued.

On average, students complete UWA's online master's program in about 18 months. However, students can complete it in less time by taking two classes per term, with each term lasting eight weeks. The school offers five online terms per year.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education - Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Program name: Master's of Education - Early Childhood P-3
Accrediting body: NCATE, CAEP
Tuition: $429/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: General survey course in Special Education
Credit requirements: 34 credits
Field education requirements: 15 hours of field teaching

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall I & II, spring I & II, summer I & II

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall I - July; fall II - August; spring I - October; spring II - January; summer I - March; summer II - June
GPA: 3.0 minimum; 2.75 minimum undergraduate & 3.0 minimum graduate for applicants with a master's degree
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Valid bachelor's-level Professional Educator Certificate in Early Childhood Education

Contact
Department phone: (205) 652-3421
Department email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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26 Martin Luther College RANKING SCORE 58.87 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 0% LOCATION New Ulm, MN

Owned and operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), Martin Luther College trains future leaders and teachers through both its on-campus programs in New Ulm, Minnesota, and its online degrees. One of MLC's online programs is the MS in educational administration with an early childhood director emphasis.

MLC's 36-credit degree in educational administration covers courses in child development, school law, leadership, budgeting, and management. Approved by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, the online program also prepares graduates to meet the standards for WELS's early childhood director positions. This degree features a six-credit capstone project in the form of an internship, research paper, or field research (students looking to become directors must take on internships).

As expected, the fully online early childhood education degree at MLC provides students with great schedule flexibility. In addition to asynchronous course delivery, students may customize their schedules, completing the degree within two to seven years. For admission into the MS degree with an early childhood director emphasis, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA. Once enrolled, all students gain access to the online resources at MLC including the library, research and writing assistance, and the graduate student network.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Educational Administration with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Director
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $315/credit
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (507) 354-8221
Email: [email protected]

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27 California State University-East Bay RANKING SCORE 58.58 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 32% LOCATION Hayward, CA

Situated on two campuses, California State University-East Bay (CSUEB) offers 50 bachelor's degrees, 35 master's degrees, and more than 50 online and hybrid courses. One of CSUEB's most varied programs is its MS in education with an option in early childhood education, which features a combination of face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes.

Students in CSUEB's online early childhood education program must complete some courses in-person; hybrid courses are offered evenings and weekends. Electives allow students to fine-tune their education into specific study areas such as child literature, environmental education, and mathematics education. Comprising 45-units and taking two years to complete, the program is capped off with a practicum and instructor site-visit. To date, CSUEB does not offer summer classes for this program.

The MS in education at CSUEB is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). For admission, applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, preferably in early childhood education or psychology. Some prerequisites may be waived for applicants with sufficient field experience. For transfer students, up to 13 units may be applied to the degree.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education, Early Childhood Education Option
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $8,268/semester in-state, $14,604/semester out-of-state
Credit requirements: 45 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.5
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (510) 885-3028
Email: [email protected]

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28 George Mason University RANKING SCORE 58.41 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Fairfax, VA

Located in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University enrolls nearly 35,000 students, boasts 10 colleges and schools, and delivers more than 50 programs through online and hybrid formats. One of GMU's online-hybrid degrees is the M.Ed in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in early childhood education for diverse learners.

Designed to train students to work with children and families from diverse backgrounds, the coursework in GMU's 30-credit M.Ed in curriculum and instruction is split evenly: half online, half on campus (the online instruction is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous study). While many of the programs allow online learners to study whenever and wherever they like, some courses do have scheduled study times.

The master's in early childhood education online is primarily for professionals with an ECE license. At minimum, applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. Once admitted to George Mason University, online students are granted access to academic advising, full library resources, and the learning solutions center to ensure they are given every opportunity to succeed.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
Available concentrations: Early Childhood Education for Diverse Learners
Tuition: $595/credit in-state; $795/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (703) 993-2892
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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29 Jacksonville State University RANKING SCORE 58.38 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 0% LOCATION Jacksonville, AL

Located in the Alabama city of the same name, Jacksonville State University offers learners more than 45 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and advanced certificate programs, and students at JSU engage in world-class learning rooted in rigor, one-on-one interactions, and student engagement. Distance learning opportunities are available in a wide range of areas, from computer science and applied engineering to nursing and education. Courses, delivered by Blackboard, are developed by instructional designers and educational techs with experience advancing programs that are high quality and engaging. Students also benefit from the academic and 24/7 tech support necessary for success in online learning.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers two online master's in early childhood education. JSU's 34 to 37 credit MS in education in early childhood education (P-3) leads to eligibility for a fifth-year teacher certification in ECE. Areas of focus include behavior and development, individualization of education for young children, issues and trends in ECE, enhancing learning using literature, and teaching writing in ECE. Admission requires fourth-year teacher certification in ECE, P-3, or P-5.

The school also offers its 40 to 43 credit MS in education in early childhood special education (P-3), a program that leads to eligibility for a fifth-year teacher certification in early childhood special education. Admission requires fourth-year teacher certification in ECE, P-3 or P-5, or any area of special education and gifted education. Core study areas include behavior and development, issues and trends in ECE, enhanced learning through children's literature, teaching reading and writing in ECE, and a practicum on educating young children. Admission for both programs also requires transcripts from all postsecondary institutions, acceptable GRE or GMAT scores, and a teaching certificate.

The school is notably affordable. More than 79% of students receive financial aid and JSU offers learners a full suite of options, including federal loans, grants, and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education - Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Program name: Master's of Science in Education - Early Childhood Education (P-3), Master's of Science in Education - Early Childhood Special Education (P-3)
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $382/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Survey course in Special Education
Credit requirements: 34-43 credits
Field education requirements: 3-credit practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: GRE, GMAT or MAT
Work experience: Bachelor's-level teacher certification in early childhood education P-3 or P-5

Contact
Department phone: (256) 782-5091
Department email: [email protected] (Janet Bavonese, Department Head) - Early Childhood Education; [email protected] (Cynthia Connor, Assistant Professor) - Early Childhood Special Education
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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30 Georgia Southern University RANKING SCORE 58.08 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 13% LOCATION Statesboro, GA

With educational programming that emphasizes academic excellence, experiential learning, and the preparation of future leaders and global citizens, Georgia Southern University is one of the state's top institutions. The school offers 124 degree programs at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels to about 20,500 students at its Statesboro campus and through distance learning. GSU delivers online learning via blended or fully online courses, providing adult learners with the opportunity to earn credentials flexibly from anywhere they have internet access. Online programs are taught by respected professors in classrooms with a 21-to-one student-faculty ratio.

GSU's MEd in early childhood education is a 36-credit program for candidates who hold a bachelor's and are eligible for a Georgia level-four certificate in ECE, or those who possess, or are eligible for, a Georgia Certificate of Eligibility for an Induction Certificate in ECE. Students in this fully online master's in early childhood education program learn developmentally appropriate practices and are immersed in field experiences working with diverse student populations.

Study areas in GSU's master's in early childhood education online program include curriculum and instruction, learning theories and application, educational research, and specialized courses in math, science, social studies, and language arts. The program's culminating course is the implementation of learned theory into practice in a P-5 classroom setting and GSU's curriculum, delivered via the Desire2Learn platform, is approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission and meets its certification upgrade requirements.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA and acceptable GRE or MAT scores. Applicants can expect to receive a decision within two or three weeks about their application. GSU offers financial aid options including loans, scholarships, and grants. Before applying, students are wise to determine if the program is offered in their state.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education - Department of Teaching and Learning
Program name: Master's of Education in Early Childhood Education
Accrediting body: NCATE, GaPSC
Tuition: $410/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 year
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: April 1
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized tests: MAT or GRE
Work experience: Professional Level Four Certificate in Georgia or an out-of-state equivalent

Contact
Department phone: (912) 478-1447
Department email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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31 Kansas State University RANKING SCORE 57.93 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Manhattan, KS

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University (K-State) has been making education accessible for distance learners since 1966. Today, K-State offers more than 70 online degrees including the MS in early childhood education.

In addition to core courses in family studies and contemporary family theories, students in K-State's master's degree program in early childhood education may opt for electives in program administration, childcare, and play facilitation. The degree also has the choice of a specific practicum area such as parent education or human development.

K-State prefers applicants to the online master's in early childhood education to have an ECE license, but applicants without one can still be granted entrance permitting they complete prerequisite courses alongside the master's degree. Additionally, all online students pay the same rate of tuition regardless of residence location, and are provided with various professional development opportunities such as workshops, forums, and networking events. Finally, when it comes time to complete an exam, K-State has relationships with a long list of testing centers throughout the country. Therefore, if a test is unable to be taken online, a testing location is likely nearby.


Program Overview
Program name: Early Childhood Education Master's Degree
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $563.30/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (785) 532-5575
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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32 University of North Dakota RANKING SCORE 57.84 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota provides educational programming in 225 areas of study to students from all 50 states and 85 different countries. The school oversees the number one online college in North Dakota, and a number of its online programs are nationally ranked, including its master of science (MS) in early childhood education.

UND's 32-credit online MS in early childhood education (ECE) is a non-licensure degree program that prepares teachers and leaders for settings such as public and private schools (birth through grade three), Head Start programs, and child care centers. UND's online master's of early childhood education program is delivered via Blackboard, combines theory and practice, can be completed in two years, and can be taken part time or full time.

The curriculum for this online early childhood education degree aims to develop student understanding of human diversity, and fosters reflectiveness in teaching and leadership. It also helps students create supportive learning environments, and integrates knowledge about special needs children into the curriculum. A two-credit practicum totalling 60 hours in an ECE classroom is required, but can be fulfilled in the student's community. The supervised field experience, which must be approved by UND, should expose students to children from different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.

Students entering the program do not need to hold a bachelor's degree in education, though it is helpful. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA on undergraduate work (2.75 may be accepted); no GRE is required. Applications are accepted in the spring, summer, and fall. There is no residency requirement, making this degree applicable for students in any state. However, out-of-state students must determine through their state's teacher licensing board if their program meets licensure requirements.

Other program highlights include semester-based courses and in-state tuition for students regardless of residency. Support services for online learners include online tutoring, tech support, library services, and advisory services.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Development - Department of Teaching and Learning
Program name: Master's of Science in Early Childhood Education
Accrediting body: CAEP
Tuition: $410/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Primarily asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 32 credits
Field education requirements: 2-credit, 60-hour practicum in an early childhood classroom

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2+ years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 1; spring - November 1; summer - April 1
GPA: 3.0 minimum GPA for junior and senior year of undergraduate study

Contact
Department phone: (701) 777-0826
Department email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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33 Concordia University-Saint Paul RANKING SCORE 57.57 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 12% LOCATION Saint Paul, MN

An institution of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Concordia University, St. Paul, offers students from all backgrounds career preparation via a challenging academic experience. Your classroom is wherever you are with CSP's online campus, which provides adult learners with access to degree programs at an affordable cost. Concordia Online administers several teacher preparation programs at the graduate level with concentrations such as curriculum and instruction, special education, and early childhood education.

The school's 33-credit MA in early childhood education is a non-licensure teaching program for busy adult students who seek to learn strategies and best practices they will need to interpret, evaluate, and apply research and theory in ECE. The program is delivered fully online in courses seven-weeks in length. Course topics include study in education research and application, ECE curriculum and instruction, observation and assessment, the theory and application of play, and diverse classrooms. The institution requires completion of a capstone that uses educational research to answer a particular question related to ECE education. CU-St. Paul's online master's in early childhood education incorporate the National Association for the Education of Young Children's professional standards.

Admission requirements for this master's of early childhood education online program include a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. The applicant must be a practitioner in the field and this must be demonstrated on his or her resume (the school accepts experience garnered through regular volunteerism educating young children). The program does not require GMAT or GRE scores.

CSP's tuition rates are some of the most competitive in Minnesota and the school offers a full suite of financial options. Notably, tuition is locked throughout continuous enrollment in the program and 92% of CSP students land jobs after graduation.The school boasts benefits for military service members, spouses, and veterans, including a $2,000 scholarship for graduate programs.


Program Overview
Department: Teacher Education
Program name: Master's of Arts in Education - Early Childhood Education
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $395/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: Must be currently working or volunteering as an educator of children

Contact
Department phone: (800) 333-4705
Admissions email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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34 University of Northern Colorado RANKING SCORE 57.32 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 16% LOCATION Greeley, CO

Located in Greeley, Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) established the state's first kindergarten program. The school's expertise in this field is one of the reasons UNC has such prolific education programs including its MA in special education with a concentration in early childhood special education.

In UNC's online MA program in special education, students take courses in special education program development, atypical child development, and parent-professional partnerships. They also learn how to assess children of different ages and develop individual educational plans (IEPs). In a later stage in the 36-48-credit program, required practicums provide MA students with the chance to apply their education in hands-on settings. Finally, before enrolling in the practicums, students must pass the Early Childhood Special Education PLACE exam.

While a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA are mandatory for acceptance into UNC's online MA program in special education, applicants are not required to be licensed teachers. That said, applicants without a teaching license must take the 12-credit Professional Teacher Education Program (PTEP), which makes the degree total 48 credits. Online programs at UNC are delivered asynchronously, but students in the Denver area can take face-to-face weekend classes at the Denver Center if they wish. Every online student is provided with access to career services, online library, and an extensive alumni network.


Program Overview
Program name: Special Education M.A. - Early Childhood Special Education Emphasis
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $525/credit in-state, $1,077/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 36-48 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (970) 351-2831
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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35 Texas A & M University-Commerce RANKING SCORE 57.18 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 22% LOCATION Commerce, TX

A leader in academic excellence, Texas A&M University -- Commerce offers enrolled students a world-class education featuring 144 areas of study at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. The institution serves a diverse community of learners with affordable and accessible programming. A comprehensive catalog of hybrid and fully online degrees are delivered in areas such as business, computer science, criminal justice, agribusiness, and education.

The 36-credit MEd, MS, or MA in early childhood education prepares graduates with knowledge of physiological and psychological development, curriculum theory, instructional strategies, and the management of classrooms for young children. Course topics for this master's in early childhood education online program include inquiry-based learning, child development, literacy development in the early years, and early childhood curriculum design. Graduates are prepared for roles in settings focused on young children. If the applicant has a bachelor's degree but no teacher certification in Texas, he or she can enroll in the Alternative Certification Post Bac Degree program, in which this degree and certification can be earned simultaneously. Students must complete a written comprehensive exam after all courses are completed.

Application requirements for this master's in early childhood education online program include a bachelor's degree with a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA, and Texas teaching license or acceptable grades on the ExCET/TExES exam. TAMUC offers financial aid options including loans, scholarships, and grants. Veteran and military services help soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors transition to civilian life. Support services for all online learners include tech support, an online bookstore, and library services. Online programming is not offered in Massachusetts.


Program Overview
Department: Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Program name: Master's of Education, Master's of Science, or Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Gifted and talented, ESL, bilingual education, master reading teacher
Accrediting body: SBEC
Tuition: $2,888/9-credit semester

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 1; spring - October 15; summer - March 15
GPA: 2.75 minimum overall or 3.0 minimum for last 60 undergraduate credits
Standardized tests: ExCET/TExES or GRE (unless valid Texas teaching certificate)
Work experience: Teaching certificate (Master's of Education only)

Contact
Department phone: (903) 886-5030
Department email: [email protected] (Donna McCrary, Program Coordinator)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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36 University of Missouri-Columbia RANKING SCORE 56.96 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION Columbia, MO

Located in Columbia, Missouri, the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) is the largest university in the state, offering more than 300 degree programs, nearly 90 of which are available online. One of these programs is the fully online M.Ed in early childhood education.

Requiring 30 credit hours of required coursework, Mizzou's online master's in early childhood education teaches students how to design and implement developmental programs for children at various age. Its emphases are special education and atypical behaviors. Students typically take one or two classes in each of the three semesters and may finish the degree in two years.

Applicants to Mizzou's online early childhood education degree program are expected to have a bachelor's degree in education (or a related field) with a 3.0 GPA. After being accepted, each online student is matched up with an advisor to help with registering, transferring credits, and preparing for online success. Also beneficial: Mizzou boasts a large online library, expansive career services, and a learning center for virtual tutoring in every subject available.


Program Overview
Program name: Early Childhood Education: Online Master's Degree
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $360/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 30 hours
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (573) 882-8524
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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37 West Chester University of Pennsylvania RANKING SCORE 56.15 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION West Chester, PA

West Chester University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1871 as an educator preparation institute. Today it offers more than 118 undergraduate and 103 graduate programs spanning numerous fields. The school also offers several graduate online programs, including a teacher preparation-focused option.

WCU Pennsylvania's online master of education (MEd) in early childhood education (ECE) is an advanced degree program that prepares graduates to become lead teachers, administrators, and advocates for young children and their families. Participants acquire advanced educational knowledge and through the course they develop a pedagogical practice that improves student outcomes.

This master's in early childhood education online program was developed based on 2009 NAEYC Advanced Program Standards and features two tracks: accomplished teachers and program administrators. The 33-credit accomplished teachers track includes study of legal issues in special education, career development and transition, language and literacy, and the effective integration of technology. Also consisting of 33-credits, the administrators track includes the aforementioned coursework in addition to leadership in ECE and small business management in ECE coursework.

Additionally, students in the master's in early childhood education online program engage in field experiences in the first semester and end the program with a culminating practicum. The practicum is supervised by highly qualified faculty with extensive experience in the field (including PK-12 teachers, principals, and superintendents).

Admission requirements for both tracks include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.8 GPA. Additionally, the teachers track requires Pennsylvania teaching certification, while students in the administrators track require a minimum of 12 months of experience in an ECE setting. Out-of-state students must determine through their state's teacher licensing board if the program meets licensure requirements. WCU's Department of Early and Middle Grades Education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and teacher certification programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. WCU offers a full suite of financial aid options.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Social Work - Department of Early and Middle Grades Education
Program name: Master's of Education in Early and Middle Grades Education
Available concentrations: Accomplished teachers, program administrators
Accrediting body: NCATE
Tuition: $531/credit in-state; $798/credit out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1 year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work experience: PA Level I certificate (or equivalent) and 1 year of full-time PK-12 teaching experience (accomplished teachers concentration); 1 year of professional experience in early and middle grades education (program administrators concentration)

Contact
Department phone: (610) 436-2944
Department email: [email protected] (Catherine Prudhoe, Program Coordinator)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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38 West Virginia University RANKING SCORE 55.93 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Morgantown, WV

For 50 years, West Virginia University's Department of Special Education has prepared students for careers in special education. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, WVU currently offers more than 30 degrees and 600 courses online including the MA in special education with a specialization in early childhood education.

In WVU's online special education MA, students learn to assess and respond to both typical and atypical development in children. The program also focuses on working with parents and families, and creating inclusive learning environments for children with special needs. At the end of the degree, students complete a project and a practicum. As with most of WVU's online programs, the 36-credit MA in special education is delivered synchronously with real-time sessions and scheduled class times. Finally, since there is no order of credit completion in the program and courses are offered at different times each year, students can typically start the program at any time.

For admission to WVU's early childhood education master's degree online, applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and certification in early childhood education. One of the primary draws to the eCampus at WVU is that all online students pay the same tuition, whether they live in the state of West Virginia or not. Online students at WVU also enjoy online resources, such as the digital library, academic support, and wellness services. Last, in addition to WVU's regional accreditation, the special education master's degree program meets professional standards of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Arts in Special Education
Available concentrations: Applied behavioral analyst, early childhood education, gifted education, multi-categorical special education, severe/multiple disabilities
Tuition: $562/credit for in- and out-of state students
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT, Praxis Core
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (304) 293-5703
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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39 Mercy College RANKING SCORE 55.3 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 23% LOCATION Dobbs Ferry, NY

Transforming students' lives through higher education is foundational to Mercy College's mission. The New York City area institution's catalog of more than 90 undergraduate, graduate degree, and certificate programs prepare students for successful careers, lifelong learning, and ethical living. The school is highly ranked in the state and nationally for affordability, high-quality academic programs, and online excellence. The school offers more than 30 degrees and 200 classes completely online, taught by professors dedicated to fostering the success of distance learners. Mercy College's online 39-credit master's of science in early childhood education: birth through grade two prepares graduates to be teacher candidates for New York State certification.

Topics covered include students with disabilities, language development and acquisition, literacy instruction, and evaluation and assessment in ECE. Students enrolled in this master's in early childhood education online program can also pursue additional certificates that require more coursework and fieldwork. Available certification areas include early childhood, birth to grade two; early childhood, birth to grade two and childhood education, grades 1-6, dual certification; and early childhood, birth to grade two, childhood education, grades 1-6, with students with disabilities, triple certification. Students are also required to complete a clinical to meet certification requirements.

By the end of Mercy's online master's in early childhood education program, graduates are effective educators capable of using evidence-based techniques, understanding the needs of diverse populations, and capable of using technology to deliver information and instruction. To complete the program, full-time students take nine to 12 credits each semester and students enrolled part time take three to six credits each semester. Admission requirements include a BS degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and acceptable GRE scores. Students may transfer a total of six credits with grade B or better into the program.

Mercy's e-learning includes online academic advising, an online learning center, and career services. The school offers a full suite of financial options, including loans and scholarships.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education - Department of Early Childhood and Childhood Education
Program name: Master's of Science in Early Childhood Education: Birth-Grade 2
Available concentrations: Grades 1-6, students with disabilities
Accrediting body: NCATE, NAEYC, ACEI
Tuition: $857/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 3.0 minimum GPA in mathematical processes, scientific processes, historical and social sciences, a language other than English, information retrieval, communications/humanities/written analysis and expression, artistic expression
Credit requirements: 39 credits
Field education requirements: 10 hours of classroom observation per course, student teaching capstone

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2+ years
Program start dates: September, January, May

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized tests: GRE

Contact
Department phone: (914) 674-7370
Department email: [email protected] (Elena Nitecki, Associate Professor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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40 Kennesaw State University RANKING SCORE 55.13 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 11% LOCATION Kennesaw, GA

Kennesaw State University is one of the largest universities in Georgia, with two Atlanta-area campuses, 150 degree programs, and more than 35,000 students. KSU is also an innovator in the educational world, offering more than 70 online degree and certificate programs including 16 degrees at the master's level. One such program is KSU's M.Ed in early childhood education.

KSU's online M.Ed in early childhood education is a 14-month cohort program designed to work cohesively alongside the standard elementary school teaching year. Since this program only accepts students certified in early childhood education, the expectation is that most students will be employed as teachers while working toward their master's. The core program helps students develop strategies for teaching specific school subjects in early childhood education such as language arts, sciences, and mathematics. Furthermore, the electives in the degree can be put toward a special education certificate or a teaching endorsement in the areas of elementary reading, teacher leadership, gifted education, and online teaching.

The requirements for admission into KSU's online early childhood education master's degree are a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and a teaching certificate in elementary and early childhood education. As part of the online experience at KSU, all students are provided with access to the online library, writing center, career services, and student wellness resources. Online graduate students receive additional benefits of a graduate library, as well as various professional development workshops.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $383/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 14 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Required

Contact
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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41 Brenau University RANKING SCORE 53.54 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION Gainesville, GA

Brenau University has offered online programs since 1998. Located in Gainesville, Georgia, the institution now boasts nearly 40 online degree programs and certificates including more than 20 at the master's level. One of Brenau's first online master's degrees is the M.Ed in early childhood education.

Among other topics, Brenau University's M.Ed in early childhood education teaches current and/or aspiring teachers to develop an advanced curriculum, incorporate various subjects into lesson plans, and help students from diverse backgrounds overcome educational challenges. The 34-credit degree consists of 12 courses including a comprehensive examination capstone and a clinic practicum, the latter of which allows students to create an educational plan and then deliver and assess its effectiveness.

For admission into this online early childhood education program, applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA and a teaching certificate. Online degrees at Brenau have no on-campus requirements, and all classes, which are capped at 20 students, are delivered asynchronously. Finally, all resources are available online including the library, career services, and student support services.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $685/credit
Credit requirements: 34 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (707) 718-5337
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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42 Grand Valley State University RANKING SCORE 53.12 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 4% LOCATION Allendale, MI

Grand Valley State University (GSVU) in Allendale, Michigan, enrolls 25,000 students and offers more than 130 degrees including several online and hybrid programs. One of those programs is the online M.Ed in instruction and curriculum with an emphasis in early childhood education, a nationally recognized option for aspiring teachers.

The 33-credit-hour degree aims to help teachers better evaluate, design, and enhance educational practices and policies. It prepares future child-development teachers and administrators of all kinds, providing them with the expertise to pursue different careers within the early childcare educational system. The program also emphasizes preparing students to teach in diverse and inclusive settings. At the end of the online degree, students may choose between a final project and a thesis. Students complete two three-credit practicum experiences in general education and inclusion programs with children in two of the three ECE age groups.

The program also features the early childhood endorsement (ZS), a special designation in Michigan that allows teachers to work in pre-kindergarten or special education programs. To meet the requirements for the endorsement, students must complete a six-credit practicum and the entire program is 27 credits.

GSVU's M.Ed in instruction and curriculum with an emphasis in early childhood education is a hybrid program. All students are provided with the same resources including tutoring, academic advising, and access to the library and career center.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Instruction and Curriculum: Early Childhood Education Emphasis
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $652/credit in-state and out-of-state
Credit requirements: 33 hours
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: N/A
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (616) 331-6650
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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43 Valdosta State University RANKING SCORE 52.91 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 14% LOCATION Valdosta, GA

Situated in Valdosta, Georgia, Valdosta State University (VSU) has been molding future educators since 1913, when it was established as a college for women with a two-year program in teacher preparation. Today, VSU maintains that tradition with various teaching degrees including the M.Ed in early childhood education, which runs on-campus and online.

Valdosta's 36-credit online early childhood education degree focuses on locating new trends in instruction and integrating new developmental strategies into lesson plans. Teachers also learn both formal and informal methods for assessing the developments of young children and how to create more inclusive learning environments. The program's capstone is an electronic portfolio that students develop over the course of the degree.

Since Valdosta's M.Ed in early childhood education leads to an advanced (T5) teaching certificate from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, a four-year teaching certificate in ECE (T4) is required for admission; this is in addition to a bachelor's degree with 2.75 GPA and ideally a BS in early childhood education. Once students begin the program, they have seven years to complete it. Online students also benefit from online library access, an online writing center, and student success center, which features tutoring and student workshops.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $293/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT if applicant applies with less than the minimum undergraduate GPA
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Phone: (229) 333-5925
Email: [email protected]

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44 Fitchburg State University RANKING SCORE 52.34 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 13% LOCATION Fitchburg, MA

Fitchburg State University has been in the business of teacher education since it was first established in 1894. Today, the institution, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, features several master's degrees dedicated to teacher training including the M.Ed in early childhood education with a professional licensure concentration.

Fitchburg State's M.Ed. in early childhood education consists of 36 semester hours and focuses on the developmental assessment of children and how teachers can better involve parents in the educational process. The program builds on knowledge gained in an initial licensure degree program, so applicants must be licensed teachers upon acceptance, with a bachelor's degree (Fitchburg does offer an initial licensure degree for students who do not qualify for the professional licensure concentration).

Students are allowed up to six years to complete the early childhood education degree at Fitchburg State, but the entire program can be completed in as few as two and a half years. All online students pay the same flat rate for tuition, regardless of where they live, and online tuition provides access to the Fitchburg State library, a variety of counseling services, and e-tutoring. Additionally, students benefit from the extensive career services available, which provide opportunities for mentoring, job workshops, and networking.


Program Overview
Program name: M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
Tuition: $319/credit for in- and out-of-state students
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Program length: 2.5 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 2.8

Contact
Phone: (978) 665-3144
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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45 Concordia University-Wisconsin RANKING SCORE 52.03 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 5% LOCATION Mequon, WI

While Concordia University-Wisconsin (CUW) has had a presence in Milwaukee for more than a century, it is clearly driven to meet the needs of today's and future students. Its distance learning system has allowed CUW to educate an additional 2,400 students and offer more than 40 online degrees and programs. As a program available completely online, the MS in early childhood education is one of the few programs of its kind in Wisconsin.

CUW's 30-credit online MS in education with a focus on early childhood is designed to help teachers better assess and accommodate the educational needs of a diverse student body and their families. The program also meets the needs for teaching licensure in Wisconsin and offers two specializations: one in accomplished early childhood teacher literacy, which helps teachers assess and develop age-appropriate language and literacy skills in children; the other in early childhood program administration, which focuses on laws, policies, and regulations in the ECE field. Both concentrations require a thesis seminar and a capstone portfolio. Finally, students take part in a practicum experience with two different age groups.

At CUW, online courses run asynchronously and start anytime. Students in the Wisconsin area have the opportunity to take classes in person or at one of the several statewide educational centers. CUW provides a number of high-quality student resources for online students including an online writing lab, peer-to-peer tutoring, professional tutoring, and career services. Online students are also paired up with a student success advisor to ensure that each process, from enrollment to graduation, is handled effectively. For admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and a 3.0 GPA.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education - Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Accomplished early childhood teacher literacy, early childhood program administrator
Tuition: $579/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (877) 436-7822
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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46 Stephen F. Austin State University RANKING SCORE 52.03 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 12% LOCATION Nacogdoches, TX

Taking its name from a particularly iconic Texan, Stephen F. Austin State University is located in the heart of East Texas. The school offers more than 120 areas of study in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and pre-professional programs, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. SFA Online makes programming accessible by breaking down the barriers that preclude many students from earning a degree, particularly distance and scheduling. More than 20 online degree programs are administered by the virtual college. Online programs are nationally accredited and taught by faculty trained and certified in the mode of delivery.

The James I. Perkins College of Education administers exemplary teacher preparation programs that are nationally recognized. The school immerses students in its Department of Elementary Education in the study of the pedagogical and technological best practices necessary to successfully educate young children.

Among the department's online programs is its 36-credit M.Ed. in early childhood education.​ This online master's in early childhood education program is delivered fully online to prepare a cadre of ECE professionals who work with children up to eight years old. Overall, students in the program learn child growth and development, classroom practice, learning strategies, and the factors that influence the behavior of young children. Students also have the option of adding a supplemental certificate to their Texas teaching certification in English as a Second Language or Bilingual.

The school offers classes for this online master's in early childhood education during the fall and spring semesters in half-term formats. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA (a minimum 2.8 GPA for the last 60 credits). The department does not require a GRE score for admission. SFA delivers online learning through the DL2 learning management program. A full suite of financial aid options, including grants and scholarships, are also available.


Program Overview
Department: James I. Perkins College of Education - Department of Elementary Education
Program name: Master's of Education in Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: ESL, bilingual
Accrediting body: NAEYC, NCATE
Tuition: $4409/semester full-time, in-state; $5849/semester full-time, out-of-state; $377/credit part-time, in-state; $497/credit part-time, out-of-state

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous and synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 6 credits of early childhood undergraduate courses
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2-4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.75 minimum cumulative; 2.8 minimum for last 60 hours.

Contact
Department phone: (936) 468-2904
Department email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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47 Concordia University-Portland RANKING SCORE 51.85 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 2% LOCATION Portland, OR

Ever since it was founded in 1905, Concordia University-Portland, located in Portland, Oregon, has made educating teachers one of its primary missions. Today, the school offers three M.Ed degree programs rooted in the same experience the institution has delivered for more than 110 years. There have been significant changes though. Each of the three master's degree programs is now offered fully online and are delivered asynchronously, and taken one at a time in a five-week session.

Concordia University-Portland's M.Ed in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in early childhood education instructs current and future teachers to design appropriate lesson plans and improve the children's assessment. The ECE concentration provides courses in play, literacy, and advocacy in early childhood education. Students also have a choice of capstone projects: a thesis, a self-study research project, or an action research project. The 30-credit hour program does offer hybrid study options, but no campus visits are required. In total, the degree typically takes one year to complete. While the early childhood education concentration may help prepare students for licensing, the degree does not directly lead to ECE licensure.

For entrance into the master's in early childhood education online, applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree with a 2.8 GPA. Online students at Concordia University are provided with 24/7 online library access, career services assistance, and access to the writing center. There are also health and counseling services, as well as a student resource center. Since online students at Concordia University work through their programs as a cohort, class sizes are kept small, and networking and collaborative opportunities are always available.


Program Overview
Program name: MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: N/A
Tuition: $697/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online and hybrid options available
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum 2.8

Contact
Phone: (888) 986-8148
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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48 Nazareth College RANKING SCORE 51.51 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 28% LOCATION Rochester, NY

Nazareth College has grown from a women's college of 25 students to a coeducational institution of nearly 3,000 students. Located in Rochester, New York, Nazareth College enrolls more than 700 graduate students. The College of Education alone has more than 15 programs, specializations, and certificates to choose from including the MS in inclusive early childhood education.

Students may select one of three tracks in Nazareth College's online master's in inclusive early childhood education: first, a 48-credit initial certification option for students who do not possess an ECE license or certificate; second, a 36-credit additional certification option, which provides students who possess an ECE license with an additional special education certification; and third, a 39-credit additional certification option for students who posses an ECE license but for a different age group than the one they wish to work with in the future. All three options can be completed between 14 and 20 months.

At Nazareth College, the early childhood education degree online could function as a hybrid program since the number of courses that require on-campus visits vary depending on the session. In addition to a capstone seminar, the MS in early childhood education features a supervised fieldwork experience course. While some of the courses may require on-campus visits, nearly all student resources are available online including library access, tutoring, and the writing center.


Program Overview
Program name: Master of Science in Education in Inclusive Early Childhood Education
Available concentrations: Initial and professional certification in both early childhood and students with disabilities, additional certification at the same developmental level, additional certification to changing developmental level
Tuition: $905/credit
Credit requirements: 36-48 credits depending on concentration
Program length: 14 months

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: minimum 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Recommended

Contact
Phone: (585) 389-2916
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook

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49 University of Missouri-St Louis RANKING SCORE 51.46 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 15% LOCATION Saint Louis, MO

One of the largest academic colleges at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) is the College of Education, which offers both traditional and online courses. For example, UMSL's online M.Ed in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education focuses on diverse learners in a global world and the integration of technologies into the classroom.

UMSL's 33-hour online M.Ed in elementary education degree requires students to complete an internship or practicum at a location of their choosing. Over the years, the College of Education has developed relationships with 30 local schools, all of which welcome UMSL students for practicums, and sometimes subsequent employment. Furthermore, UMSL has a University Child Development Center (UCDC), which acts as a "Lab School" for students to put their programs into practice.

For admission into UMSL's online early childhood education degree program, applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree with a 2.75 GPA. Students who do not meet this requirement may be admitted with a restrictive status and asked to meet certain standards, such as a 3.0 GPA over their first 12 credits. It is possible to obtain a teacher's certification alongside the master's degree at UMSL, but the admission requirements to enroll for this may differ based on the applicant. In addition to the student resources available through the College of Education, all UMSL online students have access to the online library, the writing center, and extensive career services.


Program Overview
Program name: M.Ed in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education
Tuition: $467/credit in-state, $1,146/credit out-of-state
Credit requirements: 33 credits
Program length: Two years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Cohort

Admission Requirements
GPA: Minimum 2.75
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Phone: 314-516-8669
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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50 DeSales University RANKING SCORE 51.07 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 6% LOCATION Center Valley, PA

Based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, DeSales University educates more than 3,000 students in the Catholic tradition. Operated by the Oblates of St. Francis, DeSales welcomes and respects students from all intellectual traditions. The university has won awards for its flexible, accelerated programs and certificates for adult learners.

One of these options is the hybrid master of education in early childhood education pre-K–4 and/or initial certification, which prepares future elementary school teachers and early childhood educators with the academic background to enter or advance in their professions. The program meets the requirements for initial certification for those not yet serving as teachers.

The full program requires students to complete 67 credits, including courses in educational foundations, accommodations, and adaptations. Students enroll in classes such as data driven assessment and instruction, teaching mathematical standards, foundations of English learning education, and history & philosophy of education. The program also requires two six-credit courses of pre-service teaching, sometimes called student teaching, which students take concurrently. It concludes with a three-credit capstone course called critical issues and research seminar.

Learners may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semesters, and the program runs on a typical academic calendar. As a hybrid curriculum, it offers in-person classes one week followed by online recorded classes the next week. The school provides some courses entirely online.

Students who have completed equivalent coursework at another regionally accredited university or college may apply to transfer credits into the program. Those who have gained prior learning experiences equivalent to a graduate course may also petition for a prior learning assessment.

DeSales' curriculum emphasizes relevance, uses technology, and fosters cultural diversity to prepare its alumni to contribute to a global society.


Program overview
Program name: Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education Pre-K–4 and/or Initial Certification
Tuition: $545/credit
Credit requirements: 30 credits for the M.Ed. ; 67 credits for certification and the M.Ed.
Program length: 5 terms for the M.Ed.

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0

Contact
Phone: 610-282-1100 x1461
Email: [email protected]
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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Online master’s of early childhood education programs prepare students to become greater educators. Although all programs share the same goal, most differ in style. Some programs are designed for part-time, working teachers, and others are taught full-time in a cohort-style. Students should think about cost, credit load, specializations offered, completion time, internship opportunities, and residency requirements.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Early Childhood Education Generalist This online master’s of early childhood education concentration exposes students to a wide range of educational techniques and topics. Students focus on finding fun and effective techniques to teach subjects to a group of students. Early childhood classroom teacher, multi-subject general educator
Early Childhood Administration An administration concentration adds a business and organizational component to the job. Students will learn about effective leadership techniques and develop administrative skills. Director of child care, elementary school administration, early childhood teacher
Early Childhood Special Needs Students learn about the history of disabilities legislation and work to find new approaches that support children’s needs. Learners also discover a variety of innovative and traditional teaching and learning techniques. Early childhood education special needs aide, teacher, or specialist

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Every early childhood education master’s degree online offers different classes. Most programs cover the same core curriculum though. These are some of the common program courses.

  • Curriculum Development: From pre-K through high school, curriculum development is one of the staples of teaching. Students in online master’s degrees in early childhood education will learn how to shape curricula and lesson plans in fun and engaging ways.
  • Math and Science for Young Children: Courses devoted to early childhood education on math and science, as well as literacy, are foundational to children’s lives. Students learn effective techniques for how to instill these core ideas at an early age.
  • Children, Families and Teachers: The dynamic between children, parents, and teachers can be difficult. Many schools offer a course on the best practices for this dynamic. Often this course is coupled with school legal and ethical issues classes.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION?

The average online early childhood education master’s degree requires 30-36 credits and can be completed in about two years. One of the biggest impacts on completion time is the role of internships and fieldwork. Many programs require some local internship work. Some courses have longer, part-time tracks for individually paced working professionals, and some programs feature residency requirements which can last several days.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PREPARES FOR

  • State-specific Certification: Each state has specific criteria for any form of teaching. Students should ensure that a program fits their resident state’s criteria before applying.
  • Early Childhood Teacher Certification: The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers this certification for teachers who meet their set of standards, which is frequently revised. The organization also helps educators earn the child development associate credential.

For a school to be accredited, it means that that school or program has met certain standards set by industry groups, peer institutions, and government agencies. Accreditation is also important for transferring credits and finding employment.

There are multiple forms of accreditation. Regional accreditation is given to U.S. colleges and universities by one of six region agencies that are recognized by the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Traditional brick and mortar universities and their online programs are typically regionally accredited. Any school can gain national accreditation. National accreditation is given by CHEA-approved organizations and is traditionally used for distance education and vocational learning. Credits earned at nationally accredited schools are not always easily transferred to regionally accredited schools.

The DOE and CHEA act as oversight bodies, recognizing legitimate accreditation agencies. These groups also help set the academic and operational standards a school must meet to become accredited.

Individual programs can also be accredited by industry groups. For early childhood development, The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation are the two most important accrediting bodies. You can find a list of accredited school on the DOE’s website.

Master vs Bachelor of Early Childhood Education

Students who earn a master’s degree enjoy more favorable job placement rates than their counterparts with less education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), master’s recipients across all industries face a 2.4% unemployment rate. Comparatively, the unemployment rates for bachelor’s and associate degree-holders are 2.8% and 3.8%, respectively. In education, the unemployment rate differences are even more pronounced. In a recent publication, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce explored career outcomes for employees with different educational attainment levels. Using data from this survey, we examined how educational attainment correlates with unemployment in ECE:

Educational Attainment Unemployment Rate
Recent Bachelor’s Graduate with Limited Work Experience 5.7%
Recent Bachelor’s Graduate with Limited Work Experience 5.7%
Experienced Bachelor’s Graduate 3.7%
Recent Graduate Degree Recipient with Limited Work Experience 2.4%
Experienced Graduate Degree Recipient 2.2%

Source: Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce

As the table indicates, even graduate degree-holders with minimal experience in the field face a much lower unemployment rate than experienced bachelor’s-holding graduates.

Earning a Living

In addition to better job placement rates, students who earn a master’s in ECE stand to earn higher salaries than their peers with a bachelor’s degree or less. The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report tallied salary expectations at the entry-level and mid-career stages for employees with different academic majors and educational attainment levels. Using this data, the next table examines salary projections for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree-holding professionals.

Degree Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ years) Salary Premium for Master’s Degree- Holders
Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education $23,100 $29,400 59.7% at Entry Level; 63.6% at Mid-Career
Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education $30,300 $38,000 21.7% at Entry-Level; 26.5% at Mid-Career
Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education $32,900 $42,300 12.1% at Entry-Level; 13.7% at Mid-Career
Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education $36,900 $48,100  

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table indicates, master’s-holders earn more than bachelor’s and associate earners by a considerable margin at both career benchmarks. However, it’s also important to note that your expected career earnings will vary depending on your job title. The next table looks at salary expectations for five ECE occupations at four different career stages.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Early Childhood Educator (ECE) $26,000 $30,000 $34,000 $39,000
Kindergarten Teacher $34,735 $40,046 $43,191 $47,505
Preschool Teacher $26,670 $29,076 $29,417 $30,215
Special Education Teacher (Preschool, Kindergarten or Elementary) $39,973 $43,926 $49,929 $54,788
Preschool Director $35,512 $36,663 $39,410 $40,844

Source: PayScale

Of the five careers listed, ECE educators enjoyed the highest career salary growth ― a 50% increase in annual earnings between the entry-level and late-career marks. Special education teachers and kindergarten teachers also saw significant salary growth. Finally, special education teachers earned the highest salaries at all four career stages.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with an online master’s in ECE will qualify for a variety of jobs. Below, we’ve covered four of the most common career pathways for graduates with a master’s in ECE.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: Teachers in kindergarten and elementary school classrooms help students build core skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and other basic skills. All kindergarten or elementary teachers who work at public schools must earn a teaching license or certification in all 50 states, and most states also require candidates to pass a background check. Private school teachers do not need to be licensed.

Special Education Teachers: Special education teachers specialize in instructing and helping students with physical or cognitive disabilities, as well as those with behavioral disorders and mental health problems. Most special education teachers maintain a private classroom at their school where special needs students can come study or develop other key skills. A teaching license is required in all 50 states for special education teachers who work at public schools.

Preschool Teachers: Preschool teachers are responsible for educating children five and under who have not yet entered kindergarten. They make lesson plans that cover core subjects like reading, science, and basic math.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: These directors oversee the teachers, support staff, and other personnel at pre-K childcare centers. Many preschools and childcare centers are located in public buildings, although some are operated in private homes. Many states require public and private childcare centers to earn certification before they can accommodate young children; some states also require preschool directors and their staff to become certified in CPR and first aid.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2014-24)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $54,550 6% (+87,800 jobs)
Preschool Teachers $28,570 7% (+29,600 jobs)
Special Education Teachers $56,800 6% (+28,100 jobs)
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $45,670 7% (+4,200 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different educational approaches is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for early childhood education professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children: In addition to accrediting college programs, the NAEYC offers a range of supportive services for professionals who teach and assist children from birth to age eight. Member benefits include discounted books and other resources, complimentary magazine and newsletter subscriptions, and access to ‘Members Only’ areas of the organization’s website.
  • National Child Care Association: The NCCA is an advocacy-driven organization that fights for classroom equality, safe learning environments, and educational funding. The website features a resource library, discussion forums, and links to webinars and continuing education opportunities.
  • Association for Early Learning Leaders: Founded in 1984, the AELL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to childcare center directors and administrators across the globe. The website offers a job board, online training and webinar programs, continuing education courses, and other professional development opportunities.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Programs of 2017
Rank School Location
1 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
2 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
3 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
4 Erikson Institute Chicago, IL
5 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
6 Concordia University-Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
7 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
8 Concordia University-Chicago River Forest, IL
9 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX
10 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
11 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
12 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
13 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
14 Pacific Oaks College Pasadena, CA
15 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
16 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY
17 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
18 Northwestern College Orange City, IA
19 Albany State University Albany, GA
20 Biola University La Mirada, CA
21 Champlain College Burlington, VT
22 University of South Alabama Mobile, AL
23 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, PA
24 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, AL
25 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM

Best Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Colorado - Denver Denver, CO
2 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
3 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
4 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
5 Erikson Institute Chicago, IL
6 Concordia University - Chicago River Forest, IL
7 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
8 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
9 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
10 Albany State University Albany, GA
11 Champlain College Burlington, VT
12 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
13 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro, PA
14 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Nacogdoches, TX
15 University of South Carolina - Upstate Spartanburg, SC
16 Shorter University Rome, GA
17 Texas A&M University - Kingsville Kingsville, TX
18 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, AL
19 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
20 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH