Early Childhood Education is the study of childhood growth, development, and education from birth to about age eight. It’s perfect for those with an interest in child care, preschool, and other similar professions. If you love kids and love educating, Early Childhood Education is an excellent degree choice. And now, with the increasing prevalence of technology throughout the world, you can earn a degree through one of many great online early childhood education programs faster, and easier than ever.
Earning a degree might seem like a nearly impossible task with everything going on in life, but it can be easier than you think. Online Early Childhood Education Programs are often the quickest, most affordable, and most convenient way of earning a degree. Designed specifically for distance and nontraditional learners, online degrees are flexible and generally more affordable than traditional on campus learning.
In order to help you with your choice, we have compiled the best online Early Childhood Education Programs available in the United States. While each program has its own unique traits and strengths, each one found here would make an excellent choice for a future early childhood educator.
Here are top 25 online Early Childhood Education programs.
#1 University of Massachusetts (UMass)
- Acceptance Rate: 58%
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $385
- What Sets It Apart: Substitute Credits for Field Experience
UMass’s online 120 credit Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree is designed for new or continuing students or professionals with previous work experience in the field. Their generous and flexible program allows for up to 100 transfer credits and for students to substitute up to 30 credits hours for hands on field experience. UMass’s helpfulness and convenience for its students, combined with its quality education, causes it to be regularly ranked as one of the best colleges for online education.
#2 Fort Hays State University (FHSU)
- Acceptance Rate:86%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$207
- What Sets It Apart: Unified Program
FHSU offers an online 127 credit Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. This concentration is also Unified, qualifying graduates with the ability to teach both regular and special education children. Students of this program are required to complete several internships and student teaching in order to obtain their degree. The program also emphasizes the developmental timeline of children, teaching future educators how to best recognize, utilize, and increase a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth. Math and language teaching styles are also particularly emphasized.
#3 University of Toledo (UTO)
- Acceptance Rate: 93%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$335
- What Sets It Apart: Accelerated Format
UTO’s Early Childhood Education major is offered as an accelerated 64 credit program designed to be completed in 2 years of full-time study. Students enroll in 16 credit hours per semester with 9 credits of online work and 7 credits of fieldwork. Completion of the program does not lead to licensure and in order to be considered for the program applicants must have an Associate’s degree and be working a minimum of 20 hours a week. The program is also not available for those who live in states that do not participate in NC-SARA (The National Council for State Reciprocity Agreements), namely: California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Hawaii, or Florida. A hallmark characteristic of UTO’s curriculum is its strong emphasis on the importance of family relationships and responsibility in the education of a child.
#4 University of Cincinnati (UC)
- Acceptance Rate:76%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$404
- What Sets It Apart: Various Focuses
Students at UC can tailor their coursework by choosing between 3 focuses: Pre-K, Infant, and Administration. While most students graduate in 4 years, those with previous academic credit or an Associate’s degree may be able to participate in an accelerated course. UC offers 3 starting points per year allowing for flexibility and convenience. Completion of the program allows for certification for children from birth to 5 years of age as well as work in head start programs, preschools, childcare centers, and public schools.
#5 University of Nebraska (UNK)
- Acceptance Rate:96%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$390
- What Sets It Apart: Focus on Transient
UNK focuses on working with children of families that are highly mobile, such as military families. The program is particularly designed for those who are currently employed in the field. Degree completion leads to a Nebraska teaching certification with an early childhood endorsement for children from birth through age 5 in special education settings or birth through age 8 in regular education environments. While the majority of the courses can be completed online, field experiences are required at an approved site and a semester of full-time teaching is required.
#6 Southwestern College (SWC)
- Acceptance Rate:91%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$455
- What Sets It Apart: Language and Lit Emphasis
SWC’s online Early Childhood Education degree differs slightly from other universities by offering its students a Bachelors of Arts. This degree is designed particularly for future educators who aspire to work with children with exceptionalities. To this end, Language and Literature development are particularly emphasized. Students are expected to have completed at least 6 college credits at another university prior to application, but can often be awarded credit for previous life experience. Because it is a private school, SWC does not charge out of state tuition and all students receive the same rate.
#7 Florida State University (FSU)
- Acceptance Rate:56%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$401
- What Sets It Apart: Certified Through 3rd Grade
While most programs certify graduates for children from birth up to age 5, FSU stands out by offering certification up to the 3rd grade in a variety of childcare and educational settings. The school also offers various proficiency exams to determine a student’s knowledge in certain topics. Successful scores in these areas can allow for course exemptions and reduce the amount of time needed to earn a degree Coursework at FSU in offered entirely online, all students pay a flat tuition rate and application are accepted year round.
#8 Western Governors University (WGU)
- Acceptance Rate:45%
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $250
- What Sets It Apart: First School To Offer Early Childhood Education Degree Online
WGU has the distinction of being the first school to offer an online degree in Early Childhood Education. This Bachelors of Arts program allows students to apply certain approved work experience as transfer credits, decreasing the time needed for completion. WGU also prides itself on its flexibility, providing access to its resources and learning portals 24/7.
#9 Northern Arizona University (NAU)
- Acceptance Rate: 77%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$387
- What Sets It Apart: Low Student to Faculty Ratio
NAU offers its students a degree completion program designed for students who have already accomplished an Associate’s degree. The program does not directly lead to teacher certification but it does qualify graduates to work in child care centers, preschools, and other similar areas. A low student-to-faculty ratio allows for individual attention for students and three possible emphasis areas (early childhood leadership, early childhood national board preparation, and early childhood teacher) give students the specific focus they desire.
#10 Wilmington University (WU)
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$363
- What Sets It Apart: Transferable Across States
41% WU’s 13,000 students complete their studies at least partially on their online learning platform, making Wilmington well acquainted with online learning. The Bachelors of Science in Education Studies offers four potential tracks of emphasis: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle-Level Education, and Skilled and Technical Sciences. WU’s program can be completed without on campus meeting and programs and is nationally recognized by the CAEP (Council of Accreditation of Education Preparation), allowing it to be transferable across state lines.
#11 Park University
- Acceptance Rate: 42%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$369
- What Sets It Apart: Non-Profit Institution
Park University is one of the only non-profit institutions to offer a quality online Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education. The program allows for up to 30 transfer credits and is taught by experienced professionals in the field of education. Students are expected to complete several practica throughout their study to allow for the optimal real world and work experience. Students may receive their certification but must apply for it separately from their degree.
#12 University of Missouri (Mizzou)
- Acceptance Rate: 78%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$355
- What Sets It Apart: Self Paced Courses
Mizzou, as it is known to its students, is proud to be ranked #61 by U.S. News and World Report’s survey of top national universities. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1, students are regular participants in an active and engaging curriculum. Courses are self-paced, allowing for maximum flexibility and no campus visits are required for completion.
#13 Post University (PU)
- Acceptance Rate: 81%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$505
- What Sets It Apart: Coursework Available 24/7
PU was ranked by Super Scholar as the 6th best school for online education. Students pursuing an online degree in Early Childhood Education can transfer up to 90 credits from other accredited universities to aid in their academic endeavors. Core classroom concepts and real world experience are emphasized by field experience completed throughout student’s coursework. All classwork is available online for students 24/7 in an effort to offer maximum flexibility.
#14 National University (NU)
- Acceptance Rate: Unlisted
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$362
- What Sets It Apart: Leads to Licensure
NU’s online Early Childhood Education degree allows students to choose from courses in 3 different concentrations: early childhood administration (which explores leadership planning, human resources and finance), infant and toddler (which examines the finer points of educating and caring for young children), or teacher education (which provides practical skills training, and gives a variety of subjects like literacy, technology, and exceptionalities). In addition to these concentrations, this program stands apart from many others in that its completion leads to California licensure.
#15 California Baptist University (CBU)
- Acceptance Rate: 65%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$547
- What Sets It Apart: Accelerated Program
CBU’s online 48 credit Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree program is designed as an accelerated study course, allowing the majority of students to complete their degree in 16 months. A generous transfer policy of up to 100 credits also allows for the greatest amount of comfort and flexibility for students. Students entering the program can choose to apply to the teaching credentials program and go on to teach elementary school or can obtain an early childhood education specialist credential, enabling them to work in a preschool or assist children with disabilities. The curriculum is founded on Christian values and includes classes on the spiritual development and foundations of young children. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required to apply.
#16 Eastern Oregon University (EOU)
- Acceptance Rate: 97%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$218
- What Sets It Apart: Low Cost Per Credit
EOU’s non-licensure Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree program can be completed entirely online. Graduates of EOU are eligible to work as teachers, consultants, advocates, and administrators, or of course are prepared to continue their education. In addition to its standard of education, EOU also boasts a remarkably low cost per credit hour, providing flexibility and affordability to its students.
#17 Fresno Pacific University (FPU)
- Acceptance Rate: 66%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$465
- What Sets It Apart: Christian Based Education
FPU is a Christian based institution originally founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren. Students participate in a quick paced, 6-week format course of study allowing for degree completion in about 18 months. Because of its Christian foundation, theology is an important element of an FPU students education. In addition to traditional Early Childhood Education classes, students also participate in courses teaching Biblical perspective for educators.
#18 Lewis Clark State College (LCSC)
- Acceptance Rate:99%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$324
- What Sets It Apart: Strong Student to Faculty Ratio
With just under 4,000 students, LCSC guarantees a strong student to faculty ratio. The school also ranges widely in diversity despite its size, with students representing 25 states and 34 nations. Participants in the online Early Childhood Education program incorporate lots of hands on field work into their curriculum, typically spending 8 to 10 hours a week at an approved practicum site. This integration allows students to leave LCSC with plenty of real world experience, transferring into real world knowledge and high amounts of employability. Students who are over 21 years old without current ACT or SAT score must take a math and English placement exam to apply.
#19 Mississippi State University (MSU)
- Acceptance Rate: 72%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$342
- What Sets It Apart: Classes Taught By On Campus Faculty
MSU’s online Early Childhood Education degree is technically a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. This distinction in no way hinders career possibilities and may even enhance opportunities in the work force. All coursework in this program can be completed online, with students participating in fieldwork and internships near their residence. MSU prides itself with the online program’s similarities to it’s on campus counterpart and many of the online courses are taught by the same full-time faculty members.
#20 The University of Alabama (UA)
- Acceptance Rate: 54%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$346
- What Sets It Apart: Applications Accepted year round
UA’s online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree differs slightly from its fellow Universities in that it is a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Early Childhood Development. This change in title will slightly alter the emphasis and frame of its student’ study, but as with any other school, should in no way prevent career opportunities.This course of study can also be completed entirely online and graduates will be prepared to enter the workforce as teachers, child care center administrators, day care providers, parent counselors, and community service providers.
#21 Ashford University (AU)
- Acceptance Rate: 90%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$452
- What Sets It Apart: Specialization in Infant and Toddler Care
AU’s online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree program does not result in licensure but prepares students to continue their education and/or receive their license. The program also offers an optional specialization in Infant and Toddler Care. Graduates will be eligible for positions as day care workers, camp counselors, and teaching assistants and other similar positions.
#22 Southern Oregon University (SOU)
- Acceptance Rate: 95%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$151
- What Sets It Apart: High Acceptance with Low Tuition
SOU offers its Early Childhood Development online Bachelor’s as part of a degree completion program. While federal regulations currently make it difficult for SOU to offer online opportunities to out of state students, it is possible. And with an incredible cost per credit hour of $151 and an acceptance rate of 95% for any student living in Oregon, SOU is an obvious choice.
#23 Portland State University (PSU)
- Acceptance Rate: 61%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$401
- What Sets It Apart: World Report Ranking
PSU is currently ranked by major publications such as the U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. PSU has a low student to faculty ratio, its courses are offered entirely online, and are taught by the same professors who teach on campus. Courses include classes such as issues in education, language and literacy, and theories of instruction.
#24 University of Washington
- Acceptance Rate: 45%
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$ 1075
- What Sets It Apart: Research Emphasis
While technically a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Family Studies, UW’s online Early Childhood Education degree program is an excellent choice for anyone wanting a research emphasis. UW is well known for its research intensive curriculum and draws from studies conducted by the school’s Haring Center and the National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning. Students have two available pathway, the core pathway or the teaching and learning pathway.
#25 Concordia University Saint Paul (CSP)
- Acceptance Rate: 53%
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $420
- What Sets It Apart: Qualifies up to 3rd Grade
CSP’s online Early Childhood Education degree allows its graduates to work with students from birth up to third grade, a strong advantage to most other programs that only license up to age 5. The degree does not result in licensing but does prepare students for certification. Completion of this course qualifies graduates to work as day care workers, camp counselors and teaching assistants and other similar positions.
School on this list were ranked by our own unique method taking into account each university’s popularity and satisfaction with students, convenience to students, cost of study, quality of education and flexibility for working adults. While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of information, we invite any school listed to contact us for edits or to add or update their school’s information. We also invite any school not included in our list to contact us with information about their university. We are always seeking to provide the best and most helpful information.
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