Best Online Early Childhood Education Degrees

How do you want to be remembered? What impact do you want to have on the world around you? If you want the opportunity to have a significant, positive difference in the lives of others, consider working in education. To do so, you need a degree from one of the best online colleges for Early Childhood education.

Teachers are the lifeblood of innovation, creativity, and development. If you think back to the individuals who made the most lasting impact on your life, there are likely at least one or two teachers on the list. An Early Childhood educator has the ability to make a positive – and necessary – difference in the lives of all of their students. 

Early Childhood educators work with children from about one to eight years of age. So, preschool teachers, kindergarten teachers, and other elementary teachers are considered Early Childhood educators. If you enjoy teaching a diverse group of students and are interested in learning how to deliver the best instruction, intervention, and daily care possible, a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education (ECE) might be for you.

What is an Early Childhood Education Degree Program?

There are several types of Early Childhood Education degrees, depending on your personal goals and the setting in which you plan to work. You can pursue a certificate program in Early Childhood Education, which prepares you to work at a daycare facility or comparable organization. With a certificate in this field, you might work as a teaching assistant, a tutor, or even a preschool teacher, depending on the regulations in your state. Many certificates take about a year to complete.

An associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education prepares you to work as a lead teacher in an early childhood setting, like a daycare. In a K-5 school, an associate’s degree might be sufficient for working as a teaching assistant in a traditional classroom or as an aide in a special needs setting. Most associate’s degree programs take two years of full-time studies to complete.

On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for working as a teacher in a public school. This online degree often includes a licensure component, allowing you to work in practically any setting. These four-year programs focus on classroom-specific issues, instructional interventions, special education identification, and behavioral strategies. You’ll study concepts like:

  • Human development
  • How to make lesson plans
  • Family studies
  • Implementing different teaching strategies

You’ll hone these skills in classroom learning and in a field experience. During the field experience you’ll work under the supervision of an Early Childhood educator. You might begin by observing how they work, then working side-by-side with them during instruction. Eventually, you’ll take over as a practicing teacher and be responsible for most of the daily duties of the Early Childhood classroom. The mentor teacher, however, is always nearby, observing your development and offering feedback to help you become an even better teacher.

If you’re not positive early education is the right field for you, you might consider a general education degree, which allows you to take online classes that expose you to many different aspects of the education field. If you want to specialize in a particular field, consider special education, which is an in-demand degree for early care, elementary education, and upper levels of K-12 school systems.

What is an Accredited Early Childhood Degree?

Whatever your specific path, make sure the program you select is from one of the accredited online colleges for early childhood education. Accreditation is critical for several reasons, not the least of which is the value of your education. Accredited schools and programs are held to a higher standard, making the education you receive broader and more profound. You’ll acquire a greater level of knowledge, learn more skills, and do so with a degree recognized and respected by potential employers.

Additionally, an accredited early childhood development degree has credits that more easily transfer from one school to the next. So, if you begin your degree at one school, then decide to move to another school, the chances of your credits transferring are much better. This is especially true if the school you first attend is regionally accredited.

Regional accreditation is the gold standard. Most colleges and universities in the U.S. are regionally accredited, and as such, these schools are likely to recognize credits earned at another regionally-accredited institution. Some schools are nationally accredited, though. National accreditation is not as rigorous, so regionally-accredited institutions do not accept credits from nationally-accredited institutions.

It’s worth noting that some types of financial aid are only available at regionally accredited schools. In some instances, licensure or certification as a teacher might also require that you earn your degree at a regionally-accredited school. Before enrollment in colleges that offer early childhood education online, find out what kind of accreditation the school has. If it isn’t regionally accredited, you might think twice about enrolling.

How Much Can You Earn With an Early Childhood Education Degree?

The salary you earn as an Early Childhood educator depends on a number of important factors.

First and foremost, your level of education and experience determine how much money you make. As a new graduate with no experience, you can expect to earn less than an educator with the same degree and ten years of teaching experience. This might work out to a fairly significant sum of money. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median salary for preschool teachers is $30,210 per year. However, the lowest ten percent of earners make less than $22,840 per year. If you’re a new teacher with no experience, you’re likely to be closer to that number than the median. Conversely, the highest-paid preschool teachers earn nearly $60,000 per year. This is partly the result of more education and experience.

Another experiential component is the type and number of certifications you have. Early Childhood educators with a specialization in special education stand to make more money. Other specialties in administration, language development, or psychology might also help you earn more money.

The setting in which you work also influences how much money you earn. For example, while preschool teachers earn a median of just over $30,000 per year, elementary teachers make nearly $50,000 per year. Moreover, the geographic location in which you work affects your income. Preschool teachers in Washington, D.C., and New Jersey earn a higher median salary ($55,960 and $44,810, respectively) than anywhere else in the United States.

What is Required for an Early Childhood Education Degree?

For admission to an Early Childhood Education program, online students like you likely need to complete prerequisite coursework in education and child development. The number and type of prerequisite courses depend on your chosen program. A good way to ensure you’ve completed prerequisites is to get an associate’s degree from an accredited community college. As noted above, an associate’s degree is usually two years in length, during which time you’ll take general education courses and basic Early Childhood courses.

Successful completion of an associate’s degree in this field usually requires taking 60 or so semester credits, including courses in curriculum planning, child safety, and special education.

To earn a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, you will take a range of classes in topics such as instructional interventions, behavioral management techniques, and assessment strategies. These programs also require you to engage in a field experience or student teaching placement to gain classroom experience, just like in-person students have to do. These types of programs typically qualify you to apply for state certification, though not always. It’s best to check with the programs in which you’re interested to find out if they are a pre-licensure track.

Most bachelor’s degrees require around 120 credits of coursework. As mentioned earlier, this usually takes around four years of full-time study.

What are the Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education?

OSR uses six data points to answer the pivotal question, “What is the best online school for early childhood education?” These data points include three school-wide and three program-specific factors.

For school-wide factors, OSR uses student satisfaction, admission rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. Program-specific factors for online degree programs include the median debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

Each of the six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other U.S. institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education.

A more detailed description of the OSR process to find the best colleges in this area can be found on the methodology page.

Let’s get to the ranking of the best early childhood education programs online!

  1. Mayville State University

    Mayville State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $5,255(in state) / $7,883(out of state)
    • Designed for professionals who are currently employed in Early Childhood Education
    • This university has trained teachers for over a century 
    • Utilizes interactive technology to deliver online courses

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction84%
    Admission Rate48%
    Programs offered online10

    Program Level

    Median Debt$17,409
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School26.51%
    100%
    OSR Score

    The best online school for early childhood development is Mayville State University. This affordable online Bachelor of Science is a great option for busy working adults, allowing you to transfer in large numbers of credits from recognized accredited institutions. The program requires 132 total credit hours to graduate, including studies in topics such as Theories of Learning and Educational Technology. Upon completion of this program, you may apply for birth through third-grade licensure in the state of North Dakota.

    Mayville State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Liberty University

    20-Year ROI
    $718,609
    Liberty University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $15,734(in state) / $15,734(out of state)
    • Small class sizes 
    • Electronic textbooks provided at no cost
    • Frozen tuition rates for all programs

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate30%
    Programs offered online23

    Program Level

    Median Debt$25,000
    Programs in Department5
    Popularity at School7.69%
    88%
    OSR Score

    This entirely online program allows you to transfer up to 75 percent of the course requirements. The rest of the courses must be done at Liberty University. These classes are eight-week intensives that allow you to study one subject at a time.

    This program requires 120 credit hours to graduate. Throughout the program, you’ll participate in critical educational coursework such as differentiated learning strategies and early childhood academic development and behavior. This degree allows you to pursue licensure-track graduate education programs upon completion.

    Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. National University

    20-Year ROI
    $1,183,483
    National University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,032(in state) / $13,032(out of state)
    • Military friendly with tuition discounts
    • Extensive opportunities to tailor individual course plans
    • F0ur-week-long courses

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71%
    Programs offered online46

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,516
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School8.16%
    86%
    OSR Score

    National University requires 54 quarter units of major requirements, including studies in topics like Early Cognition and Play as Pedagogy. You may choose to concentrate your studies using multiple electives, such as those in Early Childhood Administration, Teacher Education, and Infant and Toddler. These concentrations enable you to work in a variety of fields, including as a daycare employee or elementary school teacher. The diverse coursework makes this one of the best online early childhood education degree programs currently available.

    National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  4. University of West Alabama

    University of West Alabama

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,614(in state) / $15,228(out of state)
    • Each course lasts only eight weeks 
    • Extensive financial aid opportunities
    • Can be completed in as little as three years

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission Rate28%
    Programs offered online13

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School17.8%
    80%
    OSR Score

    At the University of West Alabama, you can pursue interesting classes like advanced educational psychology and lifespan development and learning. Additionally, you can take courses in early childhood games, integrated arts in education, and literature for young children. All told, you must complete 123 credit hours to graduate. Currently, tuition is $325 per credit.

    This is a non-licensure program. If you enroll and graduate from UWA, you’ll have qualifications that might get you jobs in non-teaching roles. For example, you might become a childcare center director or administrator, preschool teacher, or childcare provider.

    The University of West Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Fort Hays State University

    Fort Hays State University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $3,900(in state) / $13,723(out of state)
    • Prepares you for many Early Childhood career pathways
    • This is a pre-licensure track for getting a Kansas teaching license
    • Student teaching experiences in different learning environments

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71%
    Admission Rate89%
    Programs offered online22

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,600
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School11.62%
    79%
    OSR Score

    This Bachelor of Science degree program culminates in a diploma in Early Childhood Unified. This means your studies prepare you for future careers in the classroom, as an administrator, and in special education settings with children with disabilities. Your coursework includes general education requirements in math, science, and the humanities. Furthermore, you’ll take specialty courses in education like literacy, instructional design, and instructional technology.

    All told, you must complete 126 credits to graduate. This includes 20 credits in the major, 17 credits of internship experiences and methods courses, and 12 credits of student teaching experiences. The student teaching component is divided into two separate placements. The first is in a birth to age five setting, while the second is in a K-3 classroom.

    Fort Hayes State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. Wilmington University

    20-Year ROI
    $848,436
    Wilmington University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,890(in state) / $10,890(out of state)
    • Classes start every eight weeks
    • Affordable tuition and generous financial aid
    • Well-respected program among school administrators and other industry leaders

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72%
    Programs offered online18

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,536
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School8.91%
    79%
    OSR Score

    This interdisciplinary program trains you in all aspects of early childhood education, including overall health, ideal learning environments, and family partnerships. Other education-related courses include:

    • Differentiated Methods of Teaching Pre-Schoolers
    • Numeracy and the Acquisition of Number Fluency in Early Childhood Education
    • Development and Implementation of IEPs
    • Assessment of Young Children
    • Literature for Children

    These courses are taught by experienced faculty that are active practitioners in education.

    You must complete around 120 credits to graduate. This includes taking courses in fine arts, social science, and behavioral science. This well-rounded approach to your training benefits you in environments in which you teach multiple subjects to diverse students.

    Wilmington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

     

  7. Colorado Christian University

    20-Year ROI
    $773,184
    Colorado Christian University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $21,810(in state) / $21,810(out of state)
    • Courses offered online, on-campus, and in a hybrid format
    • Small class sizes 
    • Networking opportunities available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction79%
    Programs offered online16

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,700
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School5.68%
    77%
    OSR Score

    Colorado Christian University offers a flexible program from a Christian worldview, addressing the needs of today’s learners in classrooms and society. This program is available to students around the world and offers a teaching license pathway that enables you to work in practically any state’s public school system. The program requires 120 total credit hours, with core coursework in areas such as social studies, reading, and mathematics.

    You complete this program one course at a time. Each course is intensive and five weeks in length. Since Colorado Christian is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, they offer a generous transfer policy that allows you to utilize credits earned at other regionally accredited schools to fulfill CCU’s graduation requirements.

    With a focus on pre-kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, this program prepares you for working in public, private, and charter schools in Colorado and beyond.

  8. Chaminade University of Honolulu

    20-Year ROI
    $759,124
    Chaminade University of Honolulu

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $24,400(in state) / $24,400(out of state)
    • 120-credit-hour program
    • Focuses on working with students between 2.5 and 8 years of age
    • Includes fieldwork experiences

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Admission Rate92%
    Programs offered online10

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,235
    Programs in Department4
    Popularity at School9.74%
    76%
    OSR Score

    This program from Chaminade University of Honolulu is designed for students interested in working with young children ages two and a half through six. The training you get in this program prepares you for work in public schools, private schools, and other educational environments.

    The degree is offered by the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences. As such, your coursework focuses on subjects like:

    • Health & Family Issues in ECE
    • Developmentally Appropriate Practice
    • Leadership & Guidance in Education

    Other courses focus on honing your ability to develop and implement curricula for children in a wide range of Early Childhood settings.

    This is a 120-credit program that offers you the flexibility of online learning to work around your schedule. Most students complete the program in about four years.

    Chaminade is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  9. Grand Canyon University

    20-Year ROI
    $1,049,692
    Grand Canyon University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,365(in state) / $16,365(out of state)
    • Excellent financial aid options 
    • Leads to teacher licensure
    • Two pre-teaching placements

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction69%
    Admission Rate67%
    Programs offered online37

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,557
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School11.02%
    76%
    OSR Score

    Grand Canyon University’s online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education requires that you complete 120 credits of coursework to graduate. Each class is online in a rich learning environment that enables you to use technologies as a student that you’ll also use in your career as a teacher. But, while coursework is online, the two required field experiences are done in person. The first placement is in a pre-K-through-preschool setting, and the second is in a birth-through-third-grade setting.

    Core courses in this program include:

    • Assessing, Monitoring, and Reporting Progress of Young Children
    • Development of Health, Safety, and Nutrition in Young Children
    • Instructional Methodologies: Social Studies
    • Social Justice for Educators
    • Early Childhood Foundations and the Teaching Profession

    Furthermore, like other online early childhood education programs, this degree requires that you complete 34-40 general education credits and up to six credits of open electives to meet the graduation requirements. Transfer credits may be used to satisfy graduation requirements.

    Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  10. Granite State College

    Granite State College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,368(in state) / $8,280(out of state)
    • Leads to licensure for teaching in some states 
    • Professors are subject-matter experts with real-world teaching experience
    • Focuses on holistic improvement of disabled children

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction59%
    Programs offered online32

    Program Level

    Median Debt$16,161
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School7.95%
    74%
    OSR Score

    Next on our list of the best online early childhood education programs is this program from Granite State College. This program enables you to work with young children in public schools and is top-ranked by U.S. News and World Report. You’re taught by faculty who are subject matter experts as they engage in coursework such as Behavioral Interventions and Special Education Law. Like other online bachelor’s degrees, this program also requires that you take general education courses in science, math, the humanities, and more.

    You must complete 120 credits to graduate. Granite State has a generous transfer credit policy, and since 80 percent of the school’s students are transfers, many students like you accelerate the completion of their degree. You can utilize Granite State’s robust career counseling and career placement services to find employment, often before graduation.

    Granite State College is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.

  11. St Catherine University

    20-Year ROI
    $978,979
    St Catherine University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $31,851(in state) / $31,851(out of state)
    • Leads to licensure in Minnesota, which may be recognized in other states
    • Up to 25 earned credits with a previous Montessori credential
    • $500 per credit hour

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate70%
    Programs offered online1

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,788
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School15.35%
    73%
    OSR Score

    The online Early Childhood Education program from St. Catherine University blends online instruction with hands-on learning experiences in Early Childhood classrooms. The program is guided by six core principles that inform your instruction:

    • Social Justice
    • Innovative Pedagogy
    • Montessori Philosophy
    • Holistic Teacher Education
    • Personal Transformation
    • Community Engagement

    In the context of these core principles, you’ll complete 50 credit hours of major coursework in teaching science, math, and social studies. Furthermore, you’ll take courses in literacy for young children, curriculum development, and holistic health, to name a few.

    St. Catherine University offers many financial aid opportunities, including scholarships specifically for prospective Early Childhood and Montessori Educators.

    This university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  12. Florida International University

    Florida International University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $4,721(in state) / $16,529(out of state)
    • Low student-to-faculty ratio 
    • Top-ranked with U.S. News and World Report 
    • Affordable tuition

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76%
    Admission Rate54%
    Programs offered online26

    Program Level

    Median Debt$17,418
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School4.12%
    71%
    OSR Score

    One of the features of Florida International University’s program that sets it apart from others is the fact that you get a personal student success coach. This coach works with you to develop a degree pathway that fits your interests and needs while still fulfilling FIU’s graduation requirements.

    This program requires the completion of 120 credit hours. This includes topics like Classroom Management and Issues in Early Childhood Education. You may also take classes in specialization areas, such as Child Development, Family and Community Studies, or Literacy.

    An important point is that this degree does not guarantee that you can obtain teacher certification in Florida or any other state.

    To apply to FIU’s program, you must first complete 60 credits of lower-division courses and have a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

    Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  13. Park University

    20-Year ROI
    $916,414
    Park University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,232(in state) / $8,232(out of state)
    • All coursework is available online, with practical experiences in classrooms
    • Multiple internship opportunities 
    • Faculty are advanced, experienced professionals in the field

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74%
    Admission Rate69%
    Programs offered online37

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,397
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School1.56%
    71%
    OSR Score

    The Early Childhood Education degree at Park University is especially for adult learners seeking to become teachers or administrators. You will engage in key coursework covering child development and learning, curriculum development, and professionalism, among others. While this degree does not result in Missouri Teacher Certification, the university offers additional pathways to assist with this goal.

    What this program does offer, though, is a flexible path toward your career goals. Coursework is online, but you’ll have plentiful opportunities to apply your learning in classroom environments with students. What’s more, Park University allows you to focus your studies further with a minor or leadership area concentration. You may choose from the following minors:

    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Spanish

    Additionally, there are numerous leadership concentration areas from which to choose, including: 

    • Program Planning and Evaluation in Early Childhood Programs
    • Financial Aspects of Early Childhood Programs
    • Human Resources in Early Childhood Programs
    • Leadership and Team Building
    • Public Organizations
    • Public Management and Leadership
    • Administrative Politics

    You round out your education with liberal arts courses like the humanities and arts, math, and science.

    Park University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  14. Northern Arizona University

    Northern Arizona University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,366(in state) / $16,006(out of state)
    • Multiple emphasis areas available 
    • Recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • NAU accepts up to 75 transfer credits

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74%
    Admission Rate81%
    Programs offered online26

    Program Level

    Median Debt$19,375
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School9.31%
    70%
    OSR Score

    Also among the best early childhood education colleges is Northern Arizona University. The program consists of 120 total credit hours, with core studies on Curriculum and Instruction and Evidence-Based Practices. Likewise, you’ll take courses in working with children with special needs, teaching multiple elementary subject areas, and classroom management.

    In addition to the major-area courses discussed above, you must also complete general education requirements. This includes courses in communications, science, and public administration, to name a few.

    To be admitted to this program, you must have at least an associate’s degree (or be enrolled in an associate’s degree program). The degree must be from a regionally accredited school. Once admitted, it should take about two years to finish your degree if you study full-time (part-time studies will extend that timeline).

    Northern Arizona University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  15. University of Phoenix-Arizona

    20-Year ROI
    $941,927
    University of Phoenix

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $11,330(in state) / $11,330(out of state)
    • You get access to hundreds of K-12 teaching partnerships around the country
    • Ideal for candidates with no teaching experience
    • Tuition is guaranteed throughout the duration of the degree program

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Programs offered online36

    Program Level

    Median Debt$32,421
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School2.24%
    68%
    OSR Score

    The University of Phoenix is unique because it allows you to pursue your coursework one class at a time. This enables you to enjoy the flexibility and diversity of the curriculum in five or six-week courses. To help you speed up the process, you may receive college credit for previous work experience.

    Key coursework emphasizes interdisciplinary learning in early childhood education, human development, and family engagement, to name but a few. You’ll also gain hands-on experience during internship and student teaching placements. These experiences offer you crucial in-class experience as a teacher with the support and guidance of an experienced mentor teacher.

    This degree leads to different early education careers. For example, you might pursue employment as a preschool teacher, a public elementary school teacher, or in a private elementary school.
    The cost of this degree is $398 per credit hour. It is only available in some states. The University restricts enrollment based on your zip code.

    The University of Phoenix is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  16. Pacific Oaks College

    Pacific Oaks College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $21,090(in state) / $21,090(out of state)
    • Can be completed in two years of full-time study
    • Eligible for credit for prior experience 
    • Four different degree specializations available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction85%
    Programs offered online2

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,319
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.1%
    68%
    OSR Score

    The online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Pacific Oaks College requires 121 units for degree completion. You must take classes such as The Creative Arts in Early Childhood Education, Creating Inclusive Environments, and Current Issues in the Education of Young Children.

    This program is unique because it offers multiple Early Childhood Education specializations. You can choose from the following:

    • STEAM Specialization
    • Trauma Specialization
    • Dual California Teaching Credential
    • Preliminary Multiple Subject California Teaching Credential

    Each of these specializations is offered entirely online and culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree.

    Pacific Oaks College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and Universities Commission.

  17. Rasmussen College

    20-Year ROI
    $644,699
    Rasmussen College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $9,360(in state) / $9,360(out of state)
    • Self-directed assessments allow for convenient, fast course completion
    • Multiple degrees and diplomas available 
    • Free career guidance

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction71%
    Programs offered online12

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School5.19%
    68%
    OSR Score

    Rasmussen University is an innovator in higher education, offering self-directed assessments that can speed up your time to degree completion. Likewise, Rasmussen has a transfer-friendly policy, which allows the average student to transfer up to 93 credits toward completing a 120-credit hour degree program. This program also offers anytime access to course materials, self-paced learning, and hands-on learning opportunities that build your skills even further.

    This program offers multiple pathways, including an associate’s degree option and a bachelor’s degree option. The bachelor’s degree can be completed in as little as 18 months of full-time study. The same is true for the associate’s degree.

    This program is not a pre-licensure track. However, the knowledge and skills you gain are important for non-teaching positions in Early Childhood Education.
    Rasmussen University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  18. Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    20-Year ROI
    $864,857
    Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $18,696(in state) / $18,696(out of state)
    • 123 credit hour program
    • Easy-to-access online course materials
    • Individual advising teams for all students

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction77%
    Admission Rate77%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$25,000
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School6.28%
    67%
    OSR Score

    You can get your Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education online from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. While the focus is on pre-K through fifth grade, the knowledge and skills you acquire can be used in an Early Childhood Education setting in pre-K through third grade.

    In addition to a robust online learning environment, you’ll complete more than 12 weeks of full-time student teaching. Your placement depends on your input and the requirements of your professors. MVNU works hard to place you in a location as close to your hometown as possible. Your online courses last anywhere from five to ten weeks, and the entire program takes between 27 and 48 months to complete. You can transfer all but 30 credits to this program and still graduate with an MVNU degree.

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  19. Brandman University

    Brandman University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $12,000(in state) / $12,000(out of state)
    • Online coursework with in-person field experiences
    • Faculty members are experienced practitioners
    • $500 per credit hour

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72%
    Admission Rate68%
    Programs offered online14

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,451
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School6.36%
    65%
    OSR Score

    At UMass Global, you can complete all coursework for this degree online in a flexible format. You must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. This includes 42 credits of general education courses and 51 credits within the major. You will take courses in:

    • Child Growth and Development
    • Health, Safety, and Nutrition
    • Social and Emotional Competence in Early Childhood Education

    Furthermore, you’ll complete two practicum experiences and a student teaching placement to get real-world experience teaching in an Early Childhood classroom.

    This program is only available in some states. Consult with UMass Global regarding availability in your area.

    UMass Global is regionally accredited by the WSCUC Senior College and University Commission.

  20. University of Arizona

    University of Arizona

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,262(in state) / $31,067(out of state)
    • Small class sizes with the prestige of a top-ranked research university 
    • Coursework is aligned with Arizona Early Learning Standards
    • Includes a 15-week internship

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction74%
    Admission Rate84%
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,137
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School4.35%
    65%
    OSR Score

    This Early Childhood Education degree from the University of Arizona is a Bachelor of Applied Science. The program is for candidates who are not seeking teacher certification. Instead, it’s for candidates who wish to work with young students in a non-classroom setting. For example, as a graduate of this program, you might work in a preschool, an education non-profit, or open your own daycare center.

    You’ll take classes such as Early Childhood Language and Literacy and Teaching Exceptional Children in Early Childhood to gain the necessary knowledge and skills. There is also a 15-week internship during which you get hands-on experience and must complete an action research project in an ECE area of your choice.

    This is a 120-credit program and costs $500 per credit.

    The University of Arizona is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  21. Southwestern College

    20-Year ROI
    $920,340
    Southwestern College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $28,600(in state) / $28,600(out of state)
    • Program may lead to licensure upon degree completion
    • Includes a senior capstone project
    • Same diploma as on-campus students receive

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction80%
    Admission Rate97%
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,250
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School6.99%
    65%
    OSR Score

    Another option among online colleges that offer early childhood education is Southwestern College in Kansas. This program allows distance learners like you to build a strong foundation of skills for work as a licensed teacher, administrator, or counselor. To do so, you’ll complete 124 credits, of which up to 94 can be transferred. Some of the courses you’ll take include:

    • Foundations of Education
    • Math in the Elementary School
    • Developmental Psychology

    Additionally, you’ll complete a senior capstone project on an issue related to Early Childhood Education. A supervised student teaching experience is also required for graduation.

    Southwestern College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  22. Brenau University

    20-Year ROI
    $832,212
    Brenau University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $28,110(in state) / $28,110(out of state)
    • Low student-to-faculty ratio
    • You can access coursework at any time of day
    • Leads to certification as a teacher in Georgia, and possibly other states

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76%
    Admission Rate66%
    Programs offered online9

    Program Level

    Median Debt$28,063
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School8.62%
    64%
    OSR Score

    Brenau University’s Bachelor of Science program in Elementary Education prepares you to teach in Early Childhood settings as well as elementary settings through grade five. To gain the proper skills for teaching such a diverse range of students, you’ll take courses in:

    • Developmental Psychology
    • Teaching Learners with Special Needs
    • Instructional Technology
    • Classroom Management
    • Applied Instruction

    This program also requires the completion of a student teaching experience. Before you begin your student teaching experience, you must pass Teaching Field Content Exams for content areas in elementary education.

    Brenau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  23. California Baptist University

    20-Year ROI
    $839,708
    California Baptist University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $30,446(in state) / $30,446(out of state)
    • Can be completed in around 16 months
    • Financial aid is available 
    • Up to 100 credits may be transferred in

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission Rate77%
    Programs offered online23

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,000
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School3.6%
    63%
    OSR Score

    This program allows students to work with children in grades 0-8 and to pursue licensure in most states. While the price tag of this university may be slightly higher, extensive financial aid, including grants and scholarships, are available.

    To complete this degree, you’ll take 48 major units in topics such as Social and Emotional Development and Early Childhood Curriculum. Likewise, you’ll take courses in:

    • Theories and Models of Understanding Behavior in Young Children With Disabilities
    • Cross-Cultural Perspectives
    • Social and Emotional Development in Infancy and Early Childhood

    This program also requires you to take several religious-based courses.

    California Baptist University is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

  24. University of Toledo

    University of Toledo

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $8,052(in state) / $17,390(out of state)
    • Preparatory program for non-licensed educators
    • Students receive access to resources like advising, technology support, and eLibraries
    • Transfer-friendly with multiple scholarships available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate94%
    Programs offered online11

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,852
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School6.17%
    60%
    OSR Score

    You’ll get a comprehensive, research-based education at the University of Toledo. The curriculum is broken down into themes, allowing you to fast-track your progress and get a degree in just two years (provided you already have an associate’s degree from an accredited institution). To do so, you’ll take roughly 32 credit hours consisting of core pedagogy and intensive fieldwork in the areas of:

    • Creating effective learning environments
    • Literacy, language, and social studies
    • Science and math
    • Supporting children with disabilities

    This curriculum supports your career goals if you want to be a preschool, daycare, or Early Childhood worker or administrator.

    The University of Toledo is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  25. Bluefield College

    20-Year ROI
    $810,660
    Bluefield College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $24,040(in state) / $24,040(out of state)
    • AA and BA tracks are available
    • Non-licensure track
    • Requires 120 hours of fieldwork

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate91%
    Programs offered online7

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,500
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%
    57%
    OSR Score

    Bluefield University is the final entry in our ranking of the best online colleges with early childhood education programs. This hands-on degree program places you on the ground floor of early childhood education and innovation. You must participate in 120 hours of field experience and take courses that prepare you for careers in social services, government agencies, and childcare programs. Courses you’ll take include:

    • Foundations of Early Childhood Development
    • Infant/Toddler/Child Development
    • Observing & Assessing Young Children
    • Family, School & Community Involvement

    Additionally, you’ll take general education and elective courses to meet the 120-credit threshold for graduation.

    Bluefield University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.