Best Online Associate in Child Development Programs

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August 19, 2021

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An associate in child development incorporates elements of psychology, social sciences, and early childhood education. Earning an introductory degree in child development can prepare students to become educators, social workers, and family and child advocates.

Many associate programs qualify students for child development associate (CDA) certification. Child development specialists focus on the development of children from birth to age eight. Many graduates of associate in child development programs also pursue careers in fields like special education and early childhood education.

Online associate degrees in child development can also lead to a bachelor's degree in child development, early childhood education, or social work.

What Are the Best Online Associate in Child Development Programs? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa, OK
#2 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR
#3 Western Oklahoma State College Altus, OK
#4 Walters State Community College Morristown, TN
#5 Roane State Community College Harriman, TN
#6 Dakota County Technical College Rosemount, MN
#7 North Central Missouri College Trenton, MO
#8 Redlands Community College El Reno, OK
#9 Murray State College Tishomingo, OK
#10 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, OK

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Best Accredited Online Associate in Child Development Programs

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Northern Oklahoma College View School Profile Tonkawa, OK

Northern Oklahoma College delivers an associate of arts program in child development that prepares learners to enter the childcare field upon graduation. Students can complete classes online. Graduates may pursue positions like childcare assistant, Head Start teacher, and public school teacher's aide.

This 61-credit associate degree takes two years to complete. In addition to general education requirements, courses focus on child health, infant/toddler programming, and behavior and development of children. Students can also attain two certificates as part of the AA program: a certificate of mastery in child development and a certificate of administration of childcare programs.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED documentation and ACT or ACCUPLACER scores. Competitive applicants have a minimum ACT score of 19. Northern Oklahoma College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arkansas Tech University View School Profile Russellville, AR

Arkansas Tech University offers an online associate of science in early childhood education that prepares graduates to serve children in public and private sectors. This program meets guidelines for the child development associate credential. Additionally, the general education credits earned in this program can be applied to the school's bachelor of professional studies in child development.

This online associate degree requires 60 credits and can be completed in two years. Coursework includes child growth and development, foundations and theories in early childhood education, curriculum for early childhood education, and developmentally appropriate practices and activities for young children. Students also complete a nine-credit practicum.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED documentation. Arkansas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Western Oklahoma State College View School Profile Altus, OK

Western Oklahoma State College offers an online AAS in child development that prepares learners for entry-level positions in Head Start programs, daycare programs, and public schools. This program is designed for graduates who want to enter the early childhood workforce upon graduation (rather than pursue further education).

This online child development associate degree requires 63 credits and can be completed in two years. Core coursework covers topics like behavior and guidance, health and safety, children's literature and language, and socialization and support of young children. The curriculum culminates with a capstone practicum.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Students who have an ACT score lower than 19 are required to take the ACCUPLACER exam. Western Oklahoma State College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walters State Community College View School Profile Morristown, TN

Walters State Community College's online associate of applied science in early childhood education prepares learners to work with infants, toddlers, and young children up to the age of eight years. Graduates are eligible to apply for the child development associate credential and pursue work at childcare centers and preschools.

This associate degree requires 61 credits and can be completed in two years. Coursework includes classes like safe healthy learning environments, early childhood curriculum, development of exceptional children, and developmental assessment. Students also take two practicum courses, which require the completion of supervised clinical experience in early childhood education settings.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts (or the equivalent) and ACT or SAT scores. Students over the age of 21 years who have not taken college-level math and English courses must take the ACCUPLACER exam. Walters State Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Roane State Community College View School Profile Harriman, TN

Roane State Community College offers an online associate of applied science in early childhood education for graduates who want to work with children during their early developmental years. This program leads to a child development associate credential and allows students to begin working toward a bachelor degree. Roane State Community College's job placement rate after graduation is 97%.

Participants must complete 64 credits, which takes two years. Core courses cover developmental assessment, lifespan development psychology, and language and literacy in early childhood. To graduate, students must also complete a practicum and an exit exam.

Roane State Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Dakota County Technical College View School Profile Rosemount, MN

Dakota County Technical College's online associate of science in early childhood education program prepares students to transfer to an early childhood teacher licensure program. Coursework develops competencies related to child development theory and educational practice, nutrition and safety, and cultural sensitivity.

This 60-credit associate degree takes two years to complete. Courses include child growth and development, interpersonal communication, learning and creativity in early childhood, and observation and assessment. Students must earn a "C" or better in all major courses in order to graduate.

Applicants should submit high school transcripts and take the ACCUPLACER exam. Students who have completed college-level math and English courses or have earned competitive ACT or SAT scores may be exempt from taking the ACCUPLACER exam. Dakota County Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

North Central Missouri College View School Profile Trenton, MO

North Central Missouri College offers an online associate of applied science in early childhood development that prepares graduates to work with young children after graduation.

This two-year AAS in child development requires 60 credits, including 15 credits of general education coursework and 45 credits of major coursework. Core courses cover topics like child development, creative expression and play, observation and assessment, and emergent language and literacy.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT test scores. If test scores are more than three years old, students may need to take placement testing. North Central Missouri College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Redlands Community College View School Profile El Reno, OK

The online associate degree in child development offered by Redlands Community College prepares learners for rewarding careers in childcare. This program easily transfers to bachelor's tracks at the University of Central Oklahoma and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Graduates can also obtain the child development associate credential.

Students who work more than 30 hours a week may qualify for scholarships. Among these scholarships opportunities is the Scholars for Excellence in Childcare award, which provides financial aid for childcare workers.

To qualify for this program, applicants must work in a one-star plus OKDHS or tribal-licensed childcare facility as a teacher or childcare provider; they must also have been employed at that location for at least six months before enrollment. Redlands Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Murray State College View School Profile Tishomingo, OK

Murray State College's online AAS in child development program prepares learners for careers in child developmental services. Graduates can pursue positions as childcare teachers, Head Start teachers, and early intervention specialists.

This online associate degree in child development includes 30-31 credits of general education courses and 33 credits of courses in child development. Students typically graduate in two years. Core courses include infant and toddler programs, curriculum and planning, cognitive activities, and administration of childcare centers.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT scores. Students may be required to complete transitional English or math courses prior to being admitted into college-level courses. Murray State College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Tulsa Community College View School Profile Tulsa, OK

Students at Tulsa Community College can complete an AAS in child development entirely online. Participants prepare to work in settings with preschool-aged children or pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university.

Child development enrollees must earn 60 credits, including courses in programming for infants and toddlers, children with special needs, and child and family in the community. They also complete a practicum in an appropriate setting and six credits of electives, choosing from classes like American sign language and introduction to psychology.

Distance learners must participate in an online learning orientation before enrolling in classes. Students can access online tutoring services through Blackboard, as well as IT and library support.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Child Development Program?

Child development associate programs typically require a supervised practicum or field experience, which may occur in a classroom or community setting.

Earning an associate in child development can lead to careers in education and advocacy. The interdisciplinary curriculum prepares graduates for roles involving child development and childcare services in both public and private sectors. Associate degrees also offer preparation for students aspiring to earn the CDA credential.

An online associate in child development offers broader, more comprehensive coursework than an early childhood education program, though the degree still explores early childhood education. Associate programs emphasize children's growth, and teaching and assessment techniques for children from birth to 12 years of age. Additional topics include wellness, literacy, and the creative arts for young children.

While an online associate in child development prepares students to work with children from birth to adolescence, learners may choose to specialize in a more limited field, such as special education, early childhood education, or family social services. Associate programs can prepare graduates to pursue a bachelor's degree in education or social work, the minimum education requirement for licensure in these fields.

Most associate programs in child development require 60 credits and take two years to complete. Many schools offer set or in-state tuition rates and flexible enrollment through online programs. Child development associate programs typically require a supervised practicum or field experience, which may occur in a classroom or community setting.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Child Development Program?

An associate in child development includes coursework in child growth, family dynamics, and CDA preparation. Coursework satisfies many of the prerequisites for bachelor's degrees in child development and early childhood education.

Special Topics in Child Development

This course explores the latest news and trends in education and child development research. Covered topics include current events, professional development for teachers, and learning and assistive technologies. Some courses include an emphasis on observation strategies for teachers.

Family, School, and Community

Understanding the relationship between a child's family, school, and community is critical for child development specialists in any field. This course typically coincides with required field experience and follows the standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Covered topics include parent education, child abuse, and family engagement techniques.

CDA Preparation

Since earning an associate degree qualifies students for CDA certification, most programs include training for the CDA assessment. CDA preparation explores the eight subject areas required for CDA certification. Students must also satisfy all of their practicum or field experience hours to qualify for the CDA credential.

Child Growth and Development

This course trains students to identify and analyze the stages, theories, and principles of growth in children from birth to adolescence. Coursework focuses on the holistic development of a child's emotional, cognitive, physical, and social skills.

Practicum or Field Experience

Most associate degrees in child development require a practicum or field experience in the student's area of specialization or desired career field. For example, aspiring teachers may pursue a practicum experience in a preschool setting with a supervising educator. Others may choose to complete their practicum through a community organization or child social services provider.

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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Child Development Degree?

Graduates of associate in child development programs can pursue jobs as educators, social service providers, and community support workers. Associate degrees can prepare students to gain entry-level experience in teaching or social work before pursuing a bachelor's degree and licensure in these fields.

Many students who complete an online associate in child development go on to pursue careers in community health, family support, or social and human services. Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% job growth for health educators and community health workers, who earned a median annual wage of $46,910 in 2019.

With a bachelor's degree and professional licensure, students may qualify for a job as a preschool teacher, social worker, and school counselor.

Learn more about exciting careers for graduates with an associate in child development by reading our program guide.

true Community Health Worker

Graduates of an associate in child development may pursue a career as a community health worker. Community workers with a background in child development develop wellness and advocacy programs for children and adolescents. Most entry-level community health jobs require at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training.

Family Support Worker

Family support workers act as a liaison between families and the network of public and social services they may require, such as employment assistance, food and nutrition education, and mental health counseling. Many family support workers specialize in youth services. While most entry-level jobs require a bachelor's degree, an associate in child development can provide the first step toward a career in family support.

Child and Family Social Worker

Child and family social workers address the holistic needs of families and children, connecting them to social programs including housing, food stamps, childcare, and child protective services. Graduates of an associate in child development program may qualify to pursue a bachelor's degree in social work, sociology, or psychology, which is the minimum education requirement for the field. Social workers in all states must also obtain licensure.

Teaching Assistant

Aspiring teachers may turn their focus to gaining classroom teaching experience after graduating from an associate in child development program. While public kindergartens and elementary schools typically require teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and a state-issued teaching license, private schools do not. Students with an associate degree may pursue teaching experience through a private or specialty school or as a teacher's aide in a public school setting.

Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants aid social workers, psychologists, and family support workers in providing social services to children and families. They often specialize in child welfare, elderly support, and services for people with disabilities. While education requirements vary, most entry-level positions require at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Some employers also require a criminal background check.

Child Development Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Special Education Careers Child and Adolescent Psychology Careers Behavioral Psychology Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Child Development Programs

Is an associate in child development worth it?

An associate in child development trains students in the skills necessary for a variety of entry-level jobs in child and family services. Online associate in child development programs also prepare students for CDA certification and bachelor's programs.

What can I do with an associate in child development?

An associate in child development can lead to positions like community health worker, teaching assistant, and social and human service assistant. Graduates can also go on to pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Are child development majors in demand?

While there are a variety of job opportunities for graduates of an associate in child development, health educators and community health workers are among the fastest growing careers in this field. The BLS projects 13% job growth for health educators and community health workers between 2019 and 2029.

How much money can I make with an associate in child development?

Salary potential for jobs related to child development vary depending on education and experience. Some jobs earn moderate hourly wages, while others draw annual salaries on par with the national average income.

What are the highest paying jobs with an associate in child development?

Among the jobs reviewed in this guide, social workers earned the highest median annual salary in 2019 at $50,470, according to the BLS. Graduates of an associate in child development can earn a higher salary by continuing on to complete a bachelor's degree in a field like social work, special education, or school counseling.

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