Online bachelor's in child development programs emphasize the cognitive, social, and psychological growth of youth, from infancy through adolescence. In each developmental stage, growth is understood through the lens of the cultural and societal influences that surround the child. Graduates of online bachelor's in child development programs are equipped for careers devoted to the growth of children in their care. They are prepared for careers as probation officers, counselors, managers or supervisors in a child service business, and educators or administrators in a school.

Preschool education is a popular career path for graduates. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 7% increase in preschool teaching positions through 2024. This guide is designed for aspiring preschool teachers and child development professionals.

Online bachelor's in child development programs explore learning and growth in the context of developmental milestones. Core curricula in typical child development degrees online begin with an examination of the cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and physical changes that take place at each stage of development. Cultural and social elements that influence these processes are also explored, laying the groundwork for students to serve as advocates for children in their care. Coursework and supervised practical experiences prepare graduates for an evidenced-based approach to the design, implementation, and administration of effective programs for children and youth.

An online degree in child development offers concentrations geared toward individual career goals. Concentrations emphasize skills and best practices that are specific to career paths like teaching, counseling, and administration; some programs provide a pathway to teacher licensure. Most programs will prepare students for graduate studies. Additional field experiences may be required in a concentration area, and some schools offer thesis options instead of a practicum. A bachelor's program will offer professional certification or prepare you to take certification exams. You have many options for online bachelor's in child development degrees. Once you know what you want out of a program, it will be easier to choose one.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

Based in Corvallis, Oregon State University was founded in 1868, and today hosts one of the largest student bodies of any school in the state. Many students take advantage of the school's distance education programs; for example, in 2018, over 20% of the school's 30,000 students took courses online. OSU's offers a wide range of quality online undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees, including an online bachelor of science in human development and family sciences.

OSU's 180-credit online child development bachelor's program includes 51 credits in the baccalaureate core, 40-46 credits in the major core curriculum, 22 credits in a required course track, and 67-61 credits of electives. Students can pursue a specialization in child development, early childhood, human development and family sciences, and human services.

The program prepares graduates to work directly with children and their families. With additional coursework in OSU's school of education, learners can qualify to sit for teacher licensure. Course topics include fostering learning in early childhood development, family studies, and critical thinking in human development and family sciences. The course track culminates with a student teaching experience in an early childhood program, which students must secure a year in advance.

This child development degree online curriculum is delivered asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. The school gives preference to applicants with a 3.0 minimum GPA. Recent high school graduates must submit their application with SAT or ACT test scores. OSU holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Development and Family Studies
Available Concentrations: Child development; human development and family sciences; human services
Tuition: $297/credit
Credit Requirements: 180 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (541) 737-9204
Email: ecampus@orgeonstate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 68%

Established in 1820, the University of Alabama is the oldest and largest public college in the state. UA's programs are offered in fully online or blended formats to accommodate nontraditional learners. Working professionals in the early childhood can pursue UA's online bachelor of science in human environmental sciences, early childhood education. The program is accredited by the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC).

The 120-credit program can be completed in four years if taken full time. Course topics include child centers and programs, conceptual creative experiences for young children, and developmental perspectives of young children with disabilities. Bachelor's candidates who work at Head Start agencies can consider the child development practitioner concentration offered through this degree, which allows students to apply for prior learning credit.

The online bachelor's in child development culminates with a six-credit internship at an NAEYC approved preschool. Students must secure their own internship in an approved setting, and UA encourages them to contact school districts to check if the degree could qualify them for salary increases. Graduates leave the program prepared to teach children and their families foundational skills for learning and social success.

All coursework is available asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 30 credits through UA and cannot transfer more than 60 credits from a two-year institution. UA holds regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Environmental Sciences, Early Childhood Education
Available Concentrations: Early childhood development
Tuition: $364/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 467-0227
Email: uadistance@ua.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Washington

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

One of the oldest public universities in the Northwest, the University of Washington serves over 40,000 students at its downtown Seattle campus and online. The school offers a wide range of online and blended degrees, including an online bachelor of arts in early care and education that tailors to working professionals looking to bolster their credentials.

The 180-credit online degree usually takes two years to complete if taken full time, or three years if taken part time. Course topics include family and community influences on the young child, social policy and young children, and exceptional children. The program encourages students to work closely with their adviser to design a highly individualized curriculum appropriate for their needs. Students interested in entering or advancing in early childhood education can also take a teaching and learning course pathway that features additional coursework.

UW's curriculum strongly emphasizes service learning courses in which students apply theory in an early childhood learning setting. Students can complete service-learning coursework in their current work environment or in a local learning environment of their choice. Their studies in the regular child development pathway culminate with a senior capstone that they must present to peers and faculty.

The online child development degree at UW requires candidates to enter the program with at least 70 credits from previous education. Online learners take coursework through the Canvas learning management system, usually in an asynchronous format. UW holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Early Childcare and Education (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $231/credit
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 506-1325
Email: lynn76@uw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

Founded in Boone, North Carolina in 1899 as a teacher's college, Appalachian State University earned public university status in 1971. Today, the school offers numerous distance degrees, including a flexible, part-time online bachelor of science in child development - birth through kindergarten.

Appalachian's 120-credit online child development bachelor's program usually takes 3.5 years to complete. Full-time students take 6-8 credits each semester, and complete courses such as administration of early childhood programs, constructivist pedagogy in early care and education, and variations in development from birth through kindergarten. Curriculum prepares online learners for work in many occupations, including a public school teacher (Prek or K), early interventionist, and director of early care and education programs. Students receive NC teacher licensure for Birth through Kindergarten (dual certification in regular and special education).

After finishing all other requirements, students then complete one semester of student teaching in a public school, with the last five weeks in an agency internship. The school also requires two 150-hour practicums and one 60-hour practicum. At least one Practicum is at the Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory School, a Reggio inspired early care and education program. Students need to maintain a 2.7 minimum GPA throughout the student teaching experience to successfully graduate.

Online learners must enter the program with a minimum of 30 credits from previous education. The program makes a combination of asynchronous and synchronous online coursework available through the school's Moodle-based learning management system, AsULearn. Appalachian holds accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Child Development - Birth through Kindergarten (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $163/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (828) 262-3113
Email: online@appstate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

Established in 1944 as Fresno Bible Institute, Fresno Pacific University now offers students an array of online degrees and degree completion programs. The Mennonite Brethren-affiliated university provides an online bachelor of arts in early childhood development through its school of education.

The 39-credit program follows a cohort model at an accelerated pace, and usually takes about eighteen months to complete. Course topics include guidance in social and emotional behaviors, children's play and learning theory, and human diversity and relations. Students must also complete a three-credit upper division course on theology to fulfill their general education requirement. Candidates transferring from an associate degree in a related major (such as psychology or early childhood education) bypass the need to complete lower division general education courses through the state's Associate Degree for Transfer program.

Online courses at FPU are delivered asynchronously through the Moodle learning management system. Curriculum follows the seven categories of subject matter competence established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The learning experience culminates with students assembling and presenting a professional portfolio. Graduates leave the program prepared to pursue further credentialing in early childhood and special education, or counseling positions in child and family services.

Students must present a 2.4 minimum GPA, 60 credits from previous education, and two years of postsecondary work experience for consideration. FPU holds accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Early Childhood Development (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $495/credit
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.4 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 660-6089
Email: jon.endicott@fresno.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

West Virgina University

Morgantown, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

One of the largest public universities in the state, West Virginia University encompasses a main campus in Morgantown, two satellite campuses in Beckley and Keyser for engineering and technical degrees, and an online campus that features several fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Among them, WVU offers a dynamic online bachelor's in child development and family studies.

The 120-credit program prepares graduates for a career as a child and family services social worker or early childhood educator, depending on their chosen track. Students can pursue the regular non-concentration child development track or one leading to Pre-K teaching certification. Candidates for the Pre-K certification track must either pass the PRAXIS exam, score 26 on the ACT, or 1170 on the SAT prior to completing two semesters.

Course topics include the business of child care, early socio-emotional growth, and contemporary issues in family relations. Online courses use the Blackboard learning management system and are delivered asynchronously. Curriculum for the program culminates with a nine-credit internship or field experience within the student's city of residence or at their current place of employment. Before beginning the field experience, candidates must also obtain CPR and first aid certification.

Many students transfer to the program from Pierpont Community and Technical College, and take advantage of the articulation agreement between the two schools' child development and family studies programs. Several other schools maintain a guaranteed admission agreement with WVU. Candidates must present a 2.5 minimum GPA for consideration. WVU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Child Development and Family Studies
Available Concentrations: Child development; preschool education
Tuition: $396/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 253-2762
Email: snsmith2@mail.wvu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

University of Masachusetts

Amherst, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

The University of Massachusetts was founded as Massachusetts Agricultural college in 1863. Today the university is one of the most respected public universities in the nation, and offers over 150 certificates and degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate level fully online. The school's online bachelor of arts, children's learning and development concentrations provides nontraditional students a flexible, cost-effective pathway to earning their degree.

The 120-credit online child development degree accommodates nontraditional students returning to school to complete their bachelor's. Students work closely to design a course of study for their child development concentration with advisers from UMass' University Without Walls department. Course topics include educational psychology, impact of disability on families, and public health and child obesity. The program format allows learners to fully customize a curriculum according to their career interests and goals.

UMass' online courses use the Blackboard learning management system, usually in an asynchronous format. Many students take advantage of University Without Walls' generous transfer policy, which allows them to transfer up to 105 credits from previous education and prior learning assessment. The program also allows candidates to earn credit for Montessori teacher training.

Candidates must present a 2.0 minimum GPA and 12 credits from previous education. At this time, the program does not admit students who already hold a bachelor's from another institution. UMass holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Child Learning and Development
Tuition: $390/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (413) 545-1378
Email: customerservice@umassonline.net
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Concordia University

Saint Paul, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Headquartered in St. Louis, the Concordia University system features nine satellite campuses throughout the nation. The Lutheran institution offers a range of practically-minded online degrees, including a bachelor of arts in child development at Concordia University of Saint Paul. Students can typically complete the program in under two years.

The 42-credit fully online bachelor's in child development provides working professionals a way to boost their credentials without disrupting their full-time careers. Course topics include writing for educators, developmentally appropriate practices in online education, and ethics in early childhood. Curriculum follows standards established by the NAEYC, and prepares graduates for positions in early childhood education.

The program culminates with preparation of a portfolio that students synthesize from class readings, guest speakers, and research from field experience. Concordia expects students to secure a field experience in a child care or early childhood learning setting with the help of their academic counselor; the experience does not need to occur at the student's place of employment. The school's general education requirements include social sciences, mathematics, and global studies, as well as 6-8 credits in religion and theology.

Asynchronous online courses from the online child development bachelor's program follow a seven week schedule and use the Moodle learning management system. Candidates must present a 2.0 minimum GPA for consideration, while transfer students with under 20 credits must also submit their high school transcript with the application. CU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Child Development
Tuition: $420/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (651) 641-8230
Email: admissions@csp.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Fort Collins, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Founded in 1870, Colorado State University-Fort Collins is one of the state's oldest educational institutions. Today the school provides undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs to over 33,000 students at its main campus, two satellite campuses, and online. Students can pursue numerous online bachelor's and graduate degrees, including a bachelor of science in human development and family studies.

The 120-credit program usually takes three years to complete. Students pick one of five concentration options, including early childhood professions or human development and family studies. Required course topics include infant and child development in context, family and parenthood across the lifespan, and applied research methods.

The curriculum culminates with a 5-8 credit field experience in a setting relevant to a student's concentration. Candidates can also augment their degree with director qualifications that prepare them to work as director of an early childhood center in Colorado. The online bachelor's in child development also prepares graduates for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential from the National Council on Family Relations.

The program requires candidates to hold a 2.0 minimum GPA for consideration and accepts a maximum of 64 credits from previous community college coursework. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through the Canvas learning management system. CSU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Development and Family Sciences
Available Concentrations: Early childhood professions; leadership and entrepreneurial professions; prehealth professions; prevention and intervention sciences; human development and family studies
Tuition: $476/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (970) 491-4108
Email: karin.bright@colostate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Established in Jacksonville in 1972, the University of North Florida serves students in the region and out-of-state with its distance education programs. Many programs are designed for associate-holding graduates from the nearby Florida Community College, such as the fully online bachelor's in childhood development.

The 60-credit online child development degree usually takes 1-2 years to complete. Required course topics include leadership and service in early childhood settings, teaching the whole child, and wellness and movement for the young child. Students can create a highly individualized course track with the program's many elective options, which address topics such as TESOL and children's literature. The school makes online coursework available through the Canvas learning management system, usually in an asynchronous format.

All undergraduates in the college of education and human services participate in a 60-hour field experience course at an approved site, which can include the student's current place of work. Prior to registering for the field experience, students must obtain fingerprints from the district where they plan to take the practicum in order to be approved.

Candidates must present a 2.5 minimum GPA and either 60 credits of previous coursework or an associate of arts degree for consideration. Many students take advantage of free online tutoring made available to all UNF students through the Smartthinking service. UNF holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Education - Early Childhood Development (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $175/credit in-state; $655/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 66 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (904) 620-2520
Email: cofarrel@unf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Founded in 1902, Fort Hays State University has grown into one of the largest public universities in Kansas. Over 14,000 students attend the west Kansas university, which includes nearly 7,000 enrollees at its virtual online college. FHSU's versatile online general studies bachelor's degree lets students choose between many different specializations, including a concentration in child development.

The 21-credit child development concentration provides a broad view of the field. Course topics include educating exceptional students, children's literature, and introduction to instructional technology. The degree caters to learners already working as child care specialists and daycare workers, since it does not tie in with any Pre-K certification program at FHSU.

Completing 45 or more credits in an associate program allows students to bypass their lower division general education requirements at a four-year institution. Many FHSU courses transfer to every other postsecondary institution in the state through the Kansas Board of Regents' Seamless Systemwide Transfer program. Articulation agreements with other two- and four-year schools across the country make transferring easier for out-of-state students.

Students must maintain a 2.0 minimum GPA to graduate. The school gives all learners access to free online tutoring via the Smartthinking service. The career services center also makes many services available to distance learners, including mock interviews by phone, virtual career fairs, and interview practice software. FHSU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: Bachelor of General Studies With a Concentration in Child Development
Tuition: $218/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (785) 628-4029
Email: jmbriggs@fhsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Utah State University

Logan, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Established in 1888 as Utah's land grant university, Utah State University in Logan is the state's largest residential public campus. The school's virtual college features numerous fully online bachelor's and master's degrees ideal for learners returning to school or juggling family or work obligations, including the online bachelor's in family life studies.

The 120-credit child development degree usually takes 3-4 years to complete. Core course topics include parenting and child guidance, abuse and neglect in family context, and families finance. Students choose between an emphasis in human development or family relations. Both 12-credit emphases are added onto core requirements and electives. While the human development emphasis requires more coursework on child care issues, electives that overlap with family relations can help learners customize their degree and explore topics such as mental health advocacy and family economic issues.

Online courses use the Canvas learning management system and usually follow an asynchronous format. The program culminates with a senior capstone project in which students prepare a professional portfolio. The capstone project offers students a choice between an internship with a department-approved child and family services agency, taking on a teaching role in one's community, or presenting a research project.

Students must present a 3.0 minimum GPA and 24 credits in previous education for consideration. The school gives all students free access to online tutoring through the eTutoring portal. USU holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Family Life Studies
Tuition: $349/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (435) 7479
Email: sarah.tulane@usu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Natchitoches, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Northwestern State University of Louisiana, a public university based in Naitchitoches was founded in 1884. Working professionals and recent graduates can pursue numerous online undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees, including a bachelor of science in child and family studies.

The 123-credit degree usually takes 3-4 years to complete, and offers flexible course track options. Core course topics include individual and family management, perspectives in child and family studies, and family development. Students can choose between two concentrations for the degree: child development and family relations and consumer services. Both concentrations culminate with a 180-hour internship in a student's senior year at a center, school, or relevant child and family services agency.

Students in the child development and family relations concentration complete 90 hours of field experience at a child care services or elementary school setting during their sophomore year. The innovative consumer services concentration is tailored to students interested in starting a business related to child and family services, and features coursework on finances and business management. In 2019 the school plans a third concentration option leading to CFLE credentialing.

Applicants must present a 2.0 minimum GPA and, if transferring, either an associate degree or 18 college level credits for consideration. Online courses use the Moodle learning management system and generally follow an asynchronous format. NSU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Child and Family Studies With a Concentration in Child Development and Family Relations
Tuition: $375/credit
Credit Requirements: 123 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (318) 357-4202
Email: salmanr@nsula.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Washington State University

Pullman, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Washington State University, a public school based in Pullman, began in 1890 as Washington's original land grant university. With over 30,000 students, WSU offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across several campuses and online. WSU also holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

WSU's online bachelor's degree in human development allows students to pursue a certificate in gerontology or early childhood education. The program consists of 120 credits, which students may complete in four years. Learners take courses such as child maltreatment, family stress and coping, and parent-child relationships. Students who choose to pursue the early childhood education certificate while earning their human development degree must take specialized early childhood courses.

The curriculum also includes an optional field placement or internship, during which students work at organizations that reflect their professional goals. Distance learners may alternatively participate in a practicum during their last year. Students enrolled in WSU's Global Campus can access special services, like free online tutoring. The career center also helps students find internships, take career development assessments to help pinpoint a profession, and learn about networking.

To apply, students under 25 should submit their high school transcripts and official ACT or SAT scores. Adults 25 and older without college credit can apply without sending in entrance exam scores, but they should also submit a resume and a short essay describing their reasons for applying. Transfer students should turn in official transcripts for prior college coursework; transfer applicants with less than a full year's worth of college credits should also submit ACT or SAT scores.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Human Development
Available Concentrations: Early childhood education; gerontology
Tuition: $5,067/term in-state; $5,664/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (800) 222-4978
Email: online@wsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Menomonie, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

The University of Wisconsin - Stout began as the Stout Manual Training Schools in 1891, when it taught students the crafts of manual and domestic science training. Over a century later, the school operates within the public University of Wisconsin system and holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. UW-Stout enrolls over 9,500 students, primarily in career-focused academic programs, both online and on campus.

Among its web-based majors, the university runs an online bachelor's in human development and family studies. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, educating distance learners on individuals, how they grow, and how they relate to others in family or community units. Courses include abuse in the family, lifespan sexuality, and a seminar on self-growth. Learners may also opt to design their own concentration, such as one in child development. Most full-time students complete the 120-credit program in 3-4 years.

Distance learning at UW-Stout comes with several support mechanisms. Each student works with a dedicated adviser, who helps them take a strategic approach to course scheduling. Students can also take advantage of free online tutoring and writing labs.

Most students who enroll in online programs at UW-Stout come in with transfer credit. Transfer applicants must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous college coursework. First-time college students should submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Distance-learning applicants may also apply for scholarships from the Stout Foundation, which gives away about $850,000 in funding every year.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Development and Family Studies
Tuition: $334/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 3-4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (715) 232-1260
Email: shrinerb@uwstout.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

California State University-East Bay

Hayward, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Operating as part of the California State University system, Hayward-based Cal State East Bay educates about 14,500 students online and on its three physical campuses. About 20% of students opt to take Cal State East Bay's classes either online or in hybrid formats.

Learners at CSU East Bay may pursue a fully online bachelor's in human development with a concentration in early childhood development. This degree equips graduates with the skills to work in education, social work, counseling, or public administration. Distance learners specializing in early childhood development can choose between elective courses like creative and artistic development in early childhood, and child language development.

Before students finish their degree, they must take a senior research seminar. This serves as a capstone course, during which students design and carry out independent research within the child development field.

A bachelor's degree at CSU East Bay consists of 120 credits, including 55-57 credits in major courses. Students may transfer in 70 previously earned credits. Distance learners can expect to log in 3-4 times a week to watch lectures, submit assignments, or participate in discussion boards. Both on-campus and web-based programs at CSU East Bay hold accreditation from the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Prospective first years should submit ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts. Cal State East Bay requires applicants to have earned at least C- grades in all college preparatory coursework. Transfer applicants should demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous college coursework.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Human Development With an Option in Early Childhood Development
Tuition: $1,422/credit in-state; $1,670/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (510) 885-2784
Email: admissions@csueastbay.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Odessa, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

One of the largest public university systems in the U.S., the University of Texas system consists of nine universities. Found in 1969, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin — located in Odessa and surrounded by an oilfield — makes up one of these universities. UTPB itself includes five colleges and schools and enrolls over 7,500 students. Like other UT universities, UTPB holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Students at UTPB can pursue the child and development degree online. The program comprises 120 total credits. Distance learners who choose the learning development track focus on how children develop in educational and familial settings. They take courses in motor development and first- and second-language acquisition, which examine how young kids learn. They may also study social issues, such as child abuse and neglect, or family dysfunction and substance abuse. The degree also involves a capstone, called the senior seminar, in which learners analyze studies and design their own research study.

This degree does not prepare students for teacher certification, but it provides a foundation for graduates to prepare for certification through post-baccalaureate programs. Other graduates may work for nonprofit organizations, or local and state agencies that provide services to children and families. They might also work in hospitals, preschools, or childcare centers.

Freshman applicants do not need to meet a minimum GPA, and their class rank determines minimum ACT or SAT score requirements. Applicants with at least 24 transfer credits must apply with a minimum 2.0 GPA in all previous college coursework.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Child and Family Studies - Learning Development Track
Tuition: $283/credit in-state; $318/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (423) 522-2134
Email: mcquitty_r@utpb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Stephen F Austin State University

Nacogdoches, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Located in Nacogdoches, Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University operates as a public institution, enrolling nearly 13,000 students each year. The school offers over 120 areas of study, including an online bachelor's in human services with an emphasis in child development and family living.

First-time college students may pursue this degree, as can transfer students, who may transfer up to 66 prior credits. The entire degree consists of 120 credits. Distance learners take online classes for most of their coursework, and must also complete laboratory courses. In the child development lab, for instance, students participate in a supervised observation and teaching of preschool students.

The curriculum focuses on preparing students for professional settings. Learners take courses in infant growth and development; adult development in the family context; and family, school, and community relations. During their last year, students must enroll in a senior seminar and practicum. The senior seminar involves interacting with professionals and industry leaders, while students in the practicum participate in supervised on-the-job training in the field.

Admissions criteria vary by applicant. Prospective freshman should submit their high school transcripts and official ACT or SAT scores. SFA does not require a minimum GPA, but minimum entrance exam scores depend on each student's class rank. Individuals with at least 15 college credits can apply as transfer students. They should possess a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous coursework. SFA holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Services With an Emphasis in Child Development and Family Living
Tuition: $365/credit in-state; $485/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (936) 468-2901
Email: strahnlsn@sfasu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Southern New Hampshire University began in 1932 in Manchester as a school for accounting and secretarial science. Today, SNHU offers over 200 programs, and most of its students enroll in online courses. In fact, about 3,000 students attend courses on-campus, while over 90,000 students take online classes. The private, nonprofit university holds accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

SNHU offers a 120-credit online bachelor's in psychology with several concentration options, including child and adolescent development. The major's core focuses on foundational psychological concepts, with courses like cognitive psychology and biopsychology. In the 12-credit child and adolescent development specialization, distance learners study topics like childhood and adolescent disorders, educational needs, and social development. Students may also take 33 elective credits, which offer experiential learning courses and internships.

Students at SNHU take asynchronous courses, meaning they do not need to log on at specific times. Distance learners can expect homework assignments such as papers, individual and group projects, and presentations. Outside of class, students receive access to useful resources including a writing center, tutoring services, and an online library. They may also connect with advisers or participate in career counseling.

SNHU does not require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores, and does not impose minimum GPA requirements. Applicants need only to fill out the online application and submit their transcripts. Transfer students may bring in up to 90 credits.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development
Tuition: $320/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (888) 387-0861
Email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

A public institution of over 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Eastern Kentucky University offers degrees in the liberal arts and pre-professional studies, plus several other areas. The Richmond-based school, which holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, allows students to study both on-campus and online.

EKU offers an online bachelor's in child and family studies with an emphasis on child development. The program focuses on educational foundations and family involvement in early childhood. Distance learners enroll in courses like creative activities for young children, early childhood literacy, and program-planning for infants and toddlers. Students may also participate in two practicums to help them explore different career pathways.

After graduation, online child development graduates may go on to become preschool teachers, curriculum specialists, victims' advocates, or childcare specialists. The entire child development and family studies degree online consists of 120-125 credits, though students may transfer in 90 credits. Graduates may also apply their credit hours toward the childhood development associate credential.

Distance learning terms last eight weeks. Asynchronous courses allow students to complete work on their own schedules. Web-based learners may also interact with their classmates and instructors through discussion boards and forums. Professors may teach their courses using video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and reading assignments.

Applicants should submit their official transcripts from any previously attended schools. Applicants with fewer than 24 credits of previous college coursework must submit ACT or SAT scores. Neither transfer nor freshman applicants need to meet a minimum GPA to apply.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Child and Family Studies With a Concentration in Child Development
Tuition: $409/credit
Credit Requirements: 120-125 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (859) 622-9951
Email: onlinedegrees@eku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

North Dakota State University-Main Campus

Fargo, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Nearly 14,000 students enroll in courses at North Dakota State University, which holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Distance learners can choose from over 25 hybrid and online NDSU programs, including a bachelor's in human development and family science with a focus on child and adolescent development.

This bachelor's in child development online consists of 122 credits. Full-time students usually complete their degrees in four years, though they can graduate in three if they take advantage of summer courses. Students take courses exploring policy and cultural issues surrounding children and families. They must also complete a five-credit internship or field experience.

While enrolled, distance learners explore two areas of child and adolescent development: direct service and support service to children and families. Direct service leads to careers as community service workers, parent educators, and child life specialists. Support service relates to professions like child care directors and child advocates. Child life specialist certification requires a child development degree online and an internship. Students aiming for a child life specialist credential must also complete the national certifying exam.

NDSU does not require applicants to meet a minimum undergraduate GPA, but the school does recommend prospective first years demonstrate a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants should also submit entrance exam scores, with a minimum ACT score of 22 or an SAT score of at least 1100. Transfer students with 24 college credits do not need to submit entrance exam scores, but they should possess a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous coursework.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Development and Family Science: Child and Adolescent Development Option
Tuition: $327/credit in-state; $491/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 122 credits
Program Length: 3-4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (701) 231-9849
Email: danielle.kvanvig@ndsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Hope International University

Fullerton, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

A private Christian institution founded in 1928, Hope International University enrolls over 2,000 students. The university educates learners at its Fullerton campus in Orange County, California, and all over the world through online programs.

The school's online bachelor's in human development lets students choose between two concentrations: family studies and community mental health and counseling. Individuals interested in earning a child development degree online should choose the family studies specialization, which focuses on children's cognitive, social, and physical development. The core curriculum includes leadership and ethics courses, while major classes include parent-child relations, sociology of families, and infant and toddler mental health.

Graduates often pursue careers as child life specialists, adoption caseworkers, teachers, and day care center directors. In total, the degree consists of 120 credits. Courses follow an asynchronous format, allowing distance learners to log on at their convenience. Still, students must complete homework assignments, read class materials, and participate in online discussions. Distance learners may also virtually connect with academic coaches.

Applicants should demonstrate at least one of the following requirements: a minimum 2.5 high school GPA, a GED diploma with a score of at least 47, or 12 credits of previous coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA. They must also write a personal statement describing their challenges, strengths, and academic goals. Hope International holds accreditation from the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Human Development
Available Concentrations: Family studies; community mental health and counseling
Tuition: $450/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (714) 879-3901
Email: cldavidson@hiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Point Loma Nazarene University

San Diego, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Point Loma Nazarene University opened in 1910 as Pacific Bible College. The institution now offers secular degrees. Today, the San Diego-based school enrolls over 3,500 students and holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Point Loma's child development bachelor's degree online functions as a degree completion program. Degree seekers must have previously earned at least 40 credits from another accredited institution. This degree requires 120 credits in total, but students only need to complete 36 credits at Point Loma's campus. Distance learners with a substantial number of transfer credits may complete the program in as few as 15 months.

This hybrid program includes both online and on-campus components. Students take courses in child and adolescent nutrition and health, development of special needs children, and writing for child development professionals. Learners participate in internships in professional settings where they can observe children. They also complete a professional development capstone, in which they create a career portfolio.

Applicants must possess a minimum 2.75 GPA in at least 40 college credits to qualify for the program. PLNU only accepts applications from candidates at least 23 years old, or 21 years old if they hold associate degrees. Prospective students must also write essays describing their reasons for applying, and participate in an interview with their enrollment counselors.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Child Development (Degree Completion)
Tuition: $525/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact
Phone: (619) 329-6799
Email: degreecompletion@pointloma.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

San Diego Christian College

Santee, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

San Diego Christian College operates as a private, nonprofit institution. As its name suggests, the college associates with evangelical Christianity. Founded in 1970 with fewer than 1,000 students, SDC remains a relatively small college. Even so, it offers several undergraduate and graduate programs, and holds accreditation from the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The online human development degree at SDC consists of 123 credits. The curriculum focuses on teaching students how to apply theories of human development in professional settings. Learners take courses such as motivation and learning, counseling theory, and crisis intervention. SDC also concentrates on instructing students through biblical and ethical principles; distance learners must take core courses in servant leadership and spiritual formation.

Finally, students take three research capstone courses during their last year. This final project may consist of an internship, a research paper, a business plan, or another project that integrates students' cumulative knowledge from their degree. Online terms at SDC last five weeks, and full-time students can complete their degrees in four years. Distance learners may complete this degree completely online, or mix in some in-person evening classes at SDC's Santee, California campus.

Applicants should submit transcripts from their previously attended schools, including secondary schools and higher education. Freshman applicants should demonstrate a minimum 2.75 GPA and 19 ACT score or 900 SAT score. Transfer applicants should also write a short essay explaining their reasons for applying. Finally, SDC dictates that all applicants identify as evangelical Christians.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Human Development
Tuition:$452/credit
Credit Requirements: 123 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.75 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (619) 213-1611
Email: onlineinfo@sdcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Union Institute & University

Cincinnati, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

In the 1960s, the founders of what was then called The Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities aimed to create a higher education institution, specifically for adults and nontraditional learners. Now based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Union Institute & University also features campuses in Florida and California. The university holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and offers several online programs to its 1,500 students in accordance with the university's original goal: to provide education to busy adults.

The bachelor's in child and adolescent development prepares graduates to work in the human services, health, or education industries. The hybrid program includes online courses and in-person classes on-campus in Los Angeles or Sacramento. The entire program consists of 120 credits, and students may transfer up to 90 prior credits.

The curriculum focuses on promoting quality child development and learning, building meaningful experiences, strengthening family and community relationships, and documenting and assessing families for child support services. Students can choose electives that match their career goals, such as multicultural issues for child development or learning through play in early childhood education.

Learners must also complete a culminating graduation requirement, or a portfolio demonstrating their work. Graduates qualify for the California Early Childhood Educator Competencies, a credential for professionals working with small children.

Applicants must possess a high school degree and a minimum 2.0 GPA in previous college coursework. They should submit an essay outlining their reasons for applying. Prospective students also work with enrollment counselors through a process called pre-admission counseling, which helps counselors determine whether candidates can handle college coursework and expectations.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Child and Adolescent Development
Tuition: $545/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (800) 861-6400
Email: admissions@myunion.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Every child development degree online is different. Some focus on one or two specialty areas, while others offer numerous concentrations across different disciplines. Because such variety exists, it's worth spending the time to thoroughly explore potential schools. Below, we've listed some of the most popular concentrations in this field.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Counseling and family services Students examine the factors that can affect a young child's development, including family dynamics, death and dying, and the sociology of substance use and abuse. Practical skills are emphasized, including behavior modification and small group seminars. Social work, marriage and family therapy, parent education, child life specialization, and counseling
Management Students acquire the administrative skills required to manage educational facilities or businesses. They explore finance, marketing, human resources, nonprofit best practices, and business communications. Owner, supervisor, or manager of a business or organization that's dedicated to the enrichment of young children
Juvenile delinquency Graduates are prepared to work with at-risk youth, and they learn the theories and principles that drive the juvenile justice system. Course topics include gang subcultures, substance use and abuse, deviant behavior, and causes of delinquent behavior. Guidance counselor, probation officer, and youth program coordinator
Preschool teaching Students explore literacy and language development in very young children, early mathematical concepts, the role of play in learning, classroom teaching strategies, and classroom assessment and analysis. Preschool teacher-birth through preK, Head Start teacher
Elementary education Provides preparation for state teaching licensure in elementary or early elementary grades. Courses explore learning within the context of healthy child development. Special topics include curriculum development, classroom strategies, and subject-specific teaching best practices. Licensed elementary school teacher K-6 or PreK-3; educational administrator

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT

A fundamental knowledge base in child development principles must generally be completed before students advance to upper-division concentration courses. Typical core courses in an online bachelor's in child development might include the following classes:

  • Biology of childhood: Examination of the biological basis of childhood disease, immunity, and well-being. The course includes discussion of nutrition, contemporary health issues, and the importance of biological information in political, social, and ethical decision-making that affects children.
  • Gender and sexuality development in children: This course explores multiple theories around gender and sexuality development; the biological, cultural, social, and cognitive influences on concepts of gender and sexuality; and best practices to encourage healthy and safe development and expression in young children.
  • Professional partnerships in early childhood education: Students apply their knowledge of physiological and psychological health to the context of child abuse and neglect. The course emphasizes cues to abuse and neglect and the early childhood professional's legal responsibilities to report. Class discussion focuses on advocacy for the student and the profession.
  • Play theory and aesthetics: Learners examine the role of play, art, music, and drama in child development. This course emphasizes the creation of environments that stimulate social skills development, which in turn facilitates growth in self-control, self-esteem, and self-motivation.
  • Observation and assessment in child development: Students learn about appropriate methods for observation and assessment, standardized measures, ethics, and data interpretation. The course emphasizes impartial and unbiased observation, formal and informal assessment, and principles of observational research.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT?

An online bachelor's in child development requires an average of 120 credits to graduate. Full-time students can generally complete the program in four years. Depending on your circumstances, part-time study may be advantageous, allowing you to take more time to finish your program. Part-time students are usually required to finish the program in 7-10 years. Full-time attendance is required for financial aid eligibility; this is defined as a course load of at least 12 credits per term.

A child development degree online is commonly offered as a bachelor's degree completion program. These programs continue the learnings of similar associate curriculums. Students who enter a degree completion program already holding an associate degree can earn the bachelor's degree in two years. In some cases, accelerated degree completion options offer even shorter timeframes to completion.

Being accredited means an institution has been vetted by a neutral agency. This process ensures that certain academic standards have been met. Accreditation occurs on the national, regional, or program level, or all three, but each of these accreditations means something different.

National accrediting bodies are focused on a type of education, such as technical or vocational. If you're interested in an online degree in human and family development, consider searching for schools that are nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council Accrediting Commission. Regional accreditation is more focused on academic rigor. It carries more weight than national accreditation does, particularly when it comes to graduate school admissions. Program-specific accreditation is useful for evaluating the academic offerings in certain fields. Accrediting bodies you might find in the best online bachelor's in child development programs include:

  • The Council for Professional Recognition Early Childhood Education Training
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation

Though the federal government does not involve itself at the accreditation level, the U.S. Department of Education does provide oversight of the process; it also maintains a database of accredited schools. Similarly, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation is an independent association of accredited degree-granting institutions; it also offers a database of accredited schools.

CAREER PATHS

An online degree in child development prepares graduates for many child-centric careers. Individual curricula and concentrations will play a role. We've listed a few of the most common careers below.

Preschool Teacher

As a preschool teacher, you will educate and care for children from birth through age five. You'll introduce fundamental concepts of reading, math, and science; create optimum environment for learning; design curriculum; and prepare children for kindergarten.

Median Annual Salary: $28,790

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Teacher Assistant

Job responsibilities include assisting classroom teachers by reinforcing lessons in small groups and one-on-one; enforcing classroom and school rules; assisting with recordkeeping, observation, and assessment; preparing lessons; and supervising students outside of the classroom.

Median Annual Salary: $25,410

Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Social Worker

Social workers are generally employed by government or nonprofit agencies, social workers identify problems that affect communities, families, and individuals. Working with cross-disciplinary resources, social workers solve problems or mitigate them. Daily tasks might include arranging for a family to receive food stamps, referring a teen to counseling, or investigating a claim of child neglect.

Median Annual Salary: $46,890

Projected Growth Rate: 12%

Community Services Manager

Community services managers supervise and coordinate the administration of a social service agency or community service program. Depending on the employer's size, daily duties may center around a specific program or encompass an entire facility's programming. Duties include budgeting, strategic planning, staff development, program assessment and analysis, grant writing, and community outreach.

Median Annual Salary: $64,680

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Juvenile Probation Officer

Responsibilities include supervising youth that are on probation by ensuring that the terms of probation are met, assessing rehabilitation plans, providing rehabilitation resources, monitoring contact with law enforcement, and maintaining case files.

Median Annual Salary: $50,160

Projected Growth Rate: 4%

JOB PLACEMENT

Investmenting in a four-year degree can help learners achieve higher earnings and greater career mobility. Graduates of the best online bachelor's in child development programs are prepared for roles that correspond to their specialty; in many cases, these graduates hold a competitive advantage over peers who lack a bachelor's degree. The table below illustrates the benefit to preschool teachers who hold a baccalaureate degree.

Job Title Degree Required Median Annual Salary
Preschool teacher Associate $28,790
Preschool or childcare director Bachelor's $45,790

Source: BLS

Licensure and Certification

Professional credentials can boost your earnings or provide career advancement. They are not always required by employers, but they indicate that you've met a standard of education and competency in your field. In the child development sphere, there are two nationally recognized professional credentials.

  • Child Development Associate (CDA): The most widely recognized credential in early childhood education, the CDA signifies that the holder has met rigorous standards of competency in the proper methods of nurturing the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children.
  • Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS): Granted by the Association of Child Life Professionals, the CCLS credential is an examination-based certification. To sit for the exam, candidates must demonstrate completion of a bachelor's degree, ten extra college courses in special content areas, and a 600-hour supervised clinical internship. This credential signifies that the holder has mastered the advanced knowledge and practical application of child life theory.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Students and working professionals can benefit from membership in industry-specific professional organizations. These groups offer networking opportunities that can pay off as you build your career. They also provide a means to stay current in your field by hosting conferences, holding educational seminars, and hiring guest speakers to discuss relevant issues. Many professional associations offer continuing education credit options to members. Larger organizations frequently publish journals, newsletters, or other materials. There are many professional associations devoted to child development. Some of the largest and most recognized professional associations in child development include: