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Child development professionals work in a rewarding, fulfilling, and in-demand field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 12% job growth for social service professionals between 2019 and 2029, three times higher than the national average.
To help students chart the best course for their education and meet their professional goals, this page explores online bachelor's in child development programs, highlighting common courses, careers, and admission requirements.
For more information about the degree, consult our bachelor's in child development program guide.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Child Development Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||Appalachian State University||Boone, NC|
|2||Eastern Washington University||Cheney, WA|
|3||Point Loma Nazarene University||San Diego, CA|
|4||Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant, MI|
|5||University of North Florida||Jacksonville, FL|
|6||Fresno Pacific University||Fresno, CA|
|7||Kansas State University||Manhattan, KS|
|8||Concordia University, St. Paul||Saint Paul, MN|
|9||Washington State University||Pullman, WA|
|10||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, NH|
- How We Rank Schools
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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Child Development Programs
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Appalachian State University
|Boone, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Appalachian offers an online bachelor of science in child development - birth through kindergarten for students interested in working with young children. This program serves as a degree completion pathway. Graduates can pursue work as preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, and daycare directors.
Students earning their bachelor's in child development complete 63 credits at Appalachian. Participants take 6-8 credits per semester and graduate in four years. Each enrollee must also complete a clinical internship through one semester of student teaching. Instructors deliver courses through a blend of asynchronous and synchronous formats.
Transfer applicants must submit college transcripts, and they can access an online transfer equivalency course search tool to make sure their previous credits will count. Appalachian is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Eastern Washington University
|Cheney, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
EWU offers an online bachelor's degree in children's studies that provides an interdisciplinary perspective on child development. The curriculum combines coursework from the disciplines of education, psychology, geography, and social work. This program prepares graduates for careers as adoption counselors, after school program directors, juvenile justice workers, and child life specialists.
This online bachelor's degree requires 60-70 major credits, along with general education credits. Core courses include research methods for studying children and childhood, children and the family, the geography of childhood, and child and adolescent development.
Each applicant must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. In addition, learners must have taken two years of foreign language in high school or one year of foreign language in college. EWU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Point Loma Nazarene University
|San Diego, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
PLNU's hybrid bachelor of arts in child development provides students with an understanding of developmental and cognitive processes in children from birth through adolescence. This is a degree completion program designed for students who already possess an associate degree or some college coursework.
This child development degree requires 120 credits and can be completed in 15 months. Core courses include adolescent development in the family context, child and adolescent nutrition and health, development of infants and toddlers, and writing for child development professionals. At least 36 credits must be completed through PLNU.
Applicants must have completed at least 40 credits of college-level coursework with a minimum 2.75 GPA. PLNU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Central Michigan University
|Mount Pleasant, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
The online bachelor's in early childhood development and learning program at CMU prepares students for careers in early childhood settings, such as preschools, childcare centers, and Head Start programs. This program meets the Michigan Department of Education's coursework requirements for early childhood education and teaching.
This online bachelor's degree in child development requires 43 major credits, along with general education and university requirements. Core courses include lifespan development, infant and toddler development, and developmental assessment of children. Each enrollee must complete an infant and toddler practicum, as well as a teaching capstone. Participants must maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA to graduate.
Each candidate must be enrolled in or have completed prerequisite courses for the major and possess a minimum 2.0 GPA to gain admission. CMU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of North Florida
|Jacksonville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
UNF features an bachelor of arts in early childhood education with a concentration in early childhood development. Much of this concentration is available online. This program prepares learners to become educators who specialize in working with preK-6 children.
Core courses include educational psychology, family-school partnerships, measure and evaluation of young children, and foundations of literacy. Students also complete a six-credit practicum, which can be carried out at a variety of locations.
First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students with at least 30 college credits need not submit standardized test scores, although they must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. UNF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fresno Pacific University
|Fresno, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
FPU offers an online bachelor of arts in early childhood development to individuals who want to work with children from birth through eighth grade in a professional care or educational setting. This program serves as a degree completion pathway. Instructors deliver coursework entirely online in a cohort structure. Each cohort of 12-24 students progresses through coursework together.
Students pursuing their bachelor's in child development complete 39 credits of major coursework. Core courses include advanced child growth and development, children's play and learning theory, and curriculum development of early childhood education.
Applicants must have completed at least 60 credits of bachelor coursework with a minimum 2.4 GPA for admission. FPU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Kansas State University
|Manhattan, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
K-State's online bachelor's degree in early childhood education prepares students to work in early education settings as administrators or teachers. Graduates can also apply for the early childhood unified teaching licensure in Kansas.
This online bachelor's degree in child development requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses include family relationships and gender roles, exceptional development in early childhood, language development, and reflective practice. Enrollees can complete field experiences at accredited schools near their homes. Out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates.
First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts showing a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students can bring in up to 60 credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA. K-State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Concordia University, St. Paul
|Saint Paul, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
CSP offers an online bachelor of arts in child development for those who want to work in the early education field. Instructors deliver courses entirely online through seven-week terms.
This BA degree requires 42 credits of major coursework, in addition to general education and university requirements. Core courses include child social and emotional growth, infants and toddlers, children's play and learning, and ethics in early childhood.
This program accepts candidates who already hold an associate degree from an accredited institution, as well as first-year students. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts, and transfer applicants must possess a minimum 2.0 college GPA. Ninety-five percent of CSP graduates receive job offers within one year of graduation. CSP is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Washington State University
|Pullman, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
WSU offers an online bachelor of arts in human development with optional certificates in early childhood education and gerontology. Graduates are eligible to work in many settings, including Head Start programs, childcare centers and preschools, social service agencies, and the YMCA.
This degree requires 120 credits, including 42 major credits, and can be completed in four years. Of the 42 major credits, at least 21 must be taken through WSU. To obtain a certificate in early childhood education, students must take classes like parent-child relationships, child development, guidance in early childhood programs, and curriculum for early childhood programs. Students must maintain a minimum 2.6 GPA in major and certificate courses to graduate.
Out-of-state distance learners pay slightly more per credit than in-state students. WSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
SNHU offers an online bachelor of arts in psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development. During this program, students study how children develop and grow from birth through adolescence. Participants also learn how to meet the needs of children in a variety of education and childcare settings.
The curriculum requires 120 credits, including 24 major credits and 12 concentration credits. Participants can graduate in four years. Core courses in the concentration cover topics like lifespan development, disorders of childhood and adolescence, child development, and adolescent development.
Applicants must submit their transcripts, although SAT/ACT scores are not required. There is no set GPA minimum for admission but higher GPAs will qualify students for scholarship options. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Child Development Program?
Students seeking an online bachelor's in child development need communication, resourcefulness, compassion, and patience.
Students seeking an online bachelor's in child development need communication, resourcefulness, compassion, and patience. They learn how children develop and discuss how to surround young students with the support and settings that stimulate their naturally curious minds. Most programs require 120 credits and take about four years.
Bachelor's in child development programs typically award a BA or a BS degree. Core coursework is often identical in both programs. However, a BA typically puts more emphasis on general education and humanities than a BS.
Regardless of the degree, students should consider their career goals when choosing a bachelor's in child development. Many programs offer concentrations that can expand a student's career options. For example, specializing in school-age children, Montessori education, or child support services can make you more competitive for jobs in those specific fields.
Students who aspire to teaching careers should ensure that their program leads to licensure in their home state.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Child Development Program?
Courses for each bachelor's in child development program vary, but most programs cover similar core topics. To give prospective students an idea of what to expect in these programs, the following section highlights five common core courses.
- Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education courses teach students about optimal environments and teaching methods for educating children. Covered topics include curriculum design, child behaviors, and current challenges in the field. Students also learn how to involve families and communities in the educational process.
- Child Psychology
In child psychology courses, students learn about typical child development throughout various stages. Learners examine major factors that influence child psychology, such as environment and family.
- Language Development
This course teaches students about how children acquire language. Learners observe the different stages of language development and the types of language, including oral and written. Additional topics include multilingualism and language disorders.
- Social and Emotional Development
In this course, students learn how children maneuver through their social environments. Learners examine the role of emotions in a child's life and how various factors can influence their emotional and social development. Students also gain skills in supporting children through their journey of self-discovery in different settings.
- Assessment and Intervention
These courses explore assessment methods and intervention in classrooms and social service settings. Covered topics include raising concerns, identifying issues, and supporting the needs of children most effectively. Learners may examine specific behavioral or learning issues, along with the causes and effects of these issues.
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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Child Development Degree?
Earning a bachelor's in child development can lead to various teaching and social service careers. Between 2019 and 2029, the BLS projects 12% growth for community and social service occupations, along with 4% job growth for kindergarten and elementary school teachers.
Discover where a bachelor's in child development can lead you. Learn more about child development careers here.
- Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten teachers support the development of kindergarten students, helping them build social, language, literacy, and math skills. These teachers encourage curiosity in students and help them identify their strengths and interests.
- Social Worker
Social workers help people of different ages manage a variety of issues. Child social workers provide assistance to young people and ensure they have access to clothing, food, shelter, and education.
- Childcare Center Director
Childcare center directors oversee the activities and services offered by childcare centers. They handle aspects related to staffing, training, policy implementation, and budgeting. They also help develop programs and manage facilities.
- Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers support students with various mental and physical disabilities. They develop programs for these learners, create assessment strategies, and use different communication methods to reach diverse students.
- Preschool Teacher
Preschool teachers help children transition into kindergarten classrooms by supporting their social and motor development. These teachers design and implement programs and activities that highlight different developmental areas and skills.
Child Development Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Child Development Programs
- Is a bachelor's in child development worth it?
Each individual student must decide if a degree is worth it, but a bachelor's in child development can provide graduates with strong employment prospects. For example, according to the BLS, kindergarten teachers earn a median annual salary that exceeds the national average by nearly $20,000.
- What can I do with a bachelor's in child development?
Graduates can pursue teaching careers in preschool, kindergarten, and special education classrooms. They may also pursue child social worker careers and continue their studies in a master's program.
- Are child development majors in demand?
The demand for child development majors depends on the state and local education budgets. The BLS projects 4% job growth for kindergarten teachers between 2019 and 2029, equal to the average for all occupations. However, during the same period, the BLS also projects 13% job growth for social workers, a rate much higher than the national average.
- How much money can I make with a bachelor's in child development?
According to the BLS occupational data, kindergarten teachers earn a median annual wage of $59,420. Social workers earn $50,470 per year, while childcare center directors make a median annual salary of $48,210.
- What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in child development?
The highest paying jobs for graduates with a bachelor's in child development can change depending on experience and location, but special education teachers earn a competitive salary. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $61,030, and the top 10% make more than $98,530 per year.