How do you want to be remembered? If you want your students to remember you as the person who made an impact, consider one of the Best Online Bachelor’s in 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 his or her students.
Early Childhood educators work with children who aren’t even one to about age eight. 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 might be for you.
What is an Early Childhood Education degree?
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, which will prepare you to work at a daycare facility or comparable organization. An associate’s degree will prepare you to work as a lead teacher in one of these settings.
A Bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, is a prerequisite for working in a public school. This type of degree often includes a licensure component, allowing you to work in practically any setting. These types of programs will focus on classroom-specific issues, as well as instructional interventions, special education identification, and behavioral strategies. If you’re not positive early education is the right field for you, consider a general education degree. If you want to specialize in a particular field, consider special education.
How much can you earn with an Early Childhood Education degree?
Depending on the setting in which you choose to work, as well as the specific credentials you earn, Early Childhood Educators can earn very high starting salaries. The highest paid individuals work in public school classrooms, educating students in grades pre-K through Eighth. Directors of child care also earn higher salaries, with entry level daycare employees earning the lowest wages.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, early childhood educators earn, on average, around $56,900 per year. Some individuals in high-paying states, like New York and Connecticut, earn even more. Best yet, these positions are expected to grow about seven percent, which is average.
What is required for an Early Childhood Education degree?
For admission to an Early Childhood Education program, you will likely need to have some sort of prerequisite coursework or an associate’s degree. However, this can often be completed by finishing some General Education courses within the same school’s degree plan before moving on to your core courses.
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. Most programs also require you to engage in a field experience or student teaching placement to gain classroom experience. These types of programs typically qualify you to apply for state certification, though not always.
What are the best Early Childhood Education degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program specific, OSR checks 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.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US 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 can be found on the methodology page.
Mayville State University
- Tuition: $5,255(in state) / $7,883(out of state)
- Designed for professionals who are currently employed in Early Childhood Education
- University has been training teachers for over a century
- Utilizes unique technology, like Interactive Video Network, to deliver courses
School WideStudent Satisfaction84%Admission Rate48%Programs offered online10
Program LevelMedian Debt$22,593Programs in Department4Popularity at School26.51%100%OSR Score
This affordable program is a great option for busy working adults, allowing candidates to transfer in large amounts 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, graduates may apply for birth through 3rd grade licensure in the state of North Dakota.
Liberty University20-Year ROI$718,609
- Tuition: $15,734(in state) / $15,734(out of state)
- Low student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1
- Electronic textbooks provided at no cost
- Frozen tuition rates for all programs
School WideStudent Satisfaction73%Admission Rate30%Programs offered online23
Program LevelMedian Debt$28,005Programs in Department5Popularity at School7.69%88%OSR Score
This entirely online program allows students to transfer in up to 75 percent of their course requirements, with the rest completed as eight-week courses in a digital setting. This program requires 120 credit hours, engaging students in key educational coursework such as differentiated learning strategies and early childhood educational development and behavior. This degree allows students to pursue licensure-track graduate education programs upon completion.
National University20-Year ROI$1,183,483
- Tuition: $13,032(in state) / $13,032(out of state)
- Yellow Ribbon School with military tuition discounts
- Large alumni base of over 150,000 members
- Extensive opportunities to tailor individual course plans
School WideStudent Satisfaction71%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online46
Program LevelMedian Debt$31,192Programs in Department4Popularity 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. Students may choose from multiple concentrations, such as those in Early Childhood Administration, Teacher Education, and Infant and Toddler. These concentrations enable students to work in a variety of fields, including as daycare employees and elementary school teachers.
University of West Alabama
- Tuition: $7,614(in state) / $15,228(out of state)
- Field experiences incorporated in the program
- Each course lasts only 8 weeks
- Extensive financial aid opportunities
School WideStudent Satisfaction78%Admission Rate28%Programs offered online13
Program LevelMedian Debt$32,111Programs in Department1Popularity at School17.8%80%OSR Score
Students will pursue interesting classes like advanced educational psychology and lifespan development and learning for a total of 123 credit hours. In addition, 15 hours of field courses are required to give students real-life experience in teaching. This program is one of the most affordable programs, with 80 percent of University of West Alabama students receiving some form of financial aid.
Fort Hays State University
- Tuition: $3,900(in state) / $13,723(out of state)
- Ranked 12th in the nation for overall quality
- Utilized the latest in educational technology
- Led by instructors who have taught in actual elementary classrooms
School WideStudent Satisfaction71%Admission Rate89%Programs offered online22
Program LevelMedian Debt$24,987Programs in Department4Popularity at School11.62%79%OSR Score
This program is offered at a significantly lower cost than comparable programs, offering an unparalleled educational experience. Each student is required to complete an internship and student teaching experience. Roughly 100 additional credits are required in topics like Principles of Instruction and Behavioral Strategies.
Wilmington University20-Year ROI$848,436
- 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 WideStudent Satisfaction72%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online18
Program LevelMedian Debt$24,257Programs in Department3Popularity at School8.91%79%OSR Score
This holistic program trains students in all aspects of early childhood education, including overall health, ideal learning environments, and family partnerships. The program requires 122 total credit-hours for degree completion, and is highly interdisciplinary. Classes can be completed at any time of the day, with this program the top choice for K-12 school employees in the state of Delaware.
Colorado Christian University20-Year ROI$773,184
- 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 WideStudent Satisfaction79%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online16
Program LevelMedian Debt$24,172Programs in Department3Popularity 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 to enable students to work in practically any state’s public school system. The program requires 120 total credit hours, with core coursework in areas such as curriculum studies in social studies, reading, and mathematics.
Chaminade University of Honolulu20-Year ROI$759,124
- Tuition: $24,400(in state) / $24,400(out of state)
- Up to 18 credit hours may be transferred in
- Accreditation by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education
- Small student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1
School WideStudent Satisfaction75%Admission Rate92%Programs offered online10
Program LevelMedian Debt$21,276Programs in Department4Popularity at School9.74%76%OSR Score
This high-ranking program is designed for students who are interested in working with young children ages two and a half through six in private schools and other non-traditional educational environments. The degree is offered with an optional Montessori Credential to enable students to work in these specialized schools. Other required coursework includes 120 credit hours of topics such as Child Development, Educational Technology, and Curriculum Foundations.
Grand Canyon University20-Year ROI$1,049,692
- Tuition: $16,365(in state) / $16,365(out of state)
- Excellent financial aid options such as Servant Scholars Program
- Leads to teacher licensure
- Up to 90 transfer credits required
School WideStudent Satisfaction69%Admission Rate67%Programs offered online37
Program LevelMedian Debt$35,912Programs in Department3Popularity at School11.02%76%OSR Score
This 120-credit hour program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Students will take unique core courses in topics like Educating the Exceptional Learner. Each course lasts only seven weeks, and with online tuition starting at just $440 per credit hour, this program is both convenient and affordable.
Granite State College
- Tuition: $7,368(in state) / $8,280(out of state)
- Enables students to teach in public schools
- Admission offered on a rolling basis
- Ranked as one of the best online Bachelor’s degrees in the country
School WideStudent Satisfaction59%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online32
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School7.95%74%OSR Score
This program, which enables graduates to work with young children in state public schools, is top ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Students are taught by faculty who are subject matter experts as they engage in coursework such as Behavioral Interventions and Special Education Law. The program is 120 credit hours and hosts affordable tuition, insightful career counseling, and placement services.
Concordia University-Portland20-Year ROI$857,806
- Tuition: $29,620(in state) / $29,620(out of state)
- Courses can be completed at any time of the day
- Collaborative course structure offers built-in support systems and networking
- Scholarships available
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate49%Programs offered online4
Program LevelMedian Debt$29,245Programs in Department2Popularity at School15.35%73%OSR Score
This program, designed with the Early Childhood Professional Preparation Standards in mind, is ideal for future educators. Each student is required to complete 109 credit hours of study, with core coursework including Well-Being of the Child and Innovative and Creative Approaches to Learning. Each course lasts only eight weeks, and allows students to interact with faculty and peers via interactive discussion boards.
Florida International University
- 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 WideStudent Satisfaction76%Admission Rate54%Programs offered online26
Program LevelMedian Debt$20,521Programs in Department1Popularity at School4.12%71%OSR Score
In this program, each student is assigned a personal student success coach to help guide him along his degree pathway. With a total of 120 credit hours, course requirements include topics such as Classroom Management and Issues in Early Childhood Education. Students may also take classes in specialization areas, such as Child Development, Family and Community Studies, or Literacy.
Park University20-Year ROI$916,414
- 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 WideStudent Satisfaction74%Admission Rate69%Programs offered online37
Program LevelMedian Debt$25,329Programs in Department2Popularity at School1.56%71%OSR Score
The Early Childhood Education degree at Park consists of 93-credit hours and is designed especially for adult learners seeking to become teachers or administrators. Students will engage in key coursework covering child development and learning, curriculum development, and professionalism. While this degree does not result in Missouri Teacher Certification, additional pathways are offered through the university to assist with this goal.
Northern Arizona University
- 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
- Can be combined with an Early Childhood certificate for licensure-seekers.
School WideStudent Satisfaction74%Admission Rate81%Programs offered online26
Program LevelMedian Debt$19,625Programs in Department1Popularity at School9.31%70%OSR Score
This program is unique in that it allows students to tailor their studies toward a specific career goal. Available emphases include early childhood leadership, early childhood teacher, and early childhood national board preparation. The program consists of 120 total credit hours, with core studies in topics such as Curriculum and Instruction and Evidence-Based Practices.
University of Phoenix-Arizona20-Year ROI$941,927
- Tuition: $11,330(in state) / $11,330(out of state)
- Students receive 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 WideStudent Satisfaction75%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online36
Program LevelMedian Debt$39,362Programs in Department2Popularity at School2.24%68%OSR Score
The University of Phoenix is unique in that it allows students to pursue their coursework one class at a time, enjoying flexibility and diversity in the curriculum. Students may receive college credit for previous work experiences as they study under the guidance of dedicated staff. Key coursework emphasizes hands-on experience and offers students multiple avenues to complete internships and student teaching.
Pacific Oaks College
- Tuition: $21,090(in state) / $21,090(out of state)
- Can be completed in 2 years of full-time study
- Eligible for Prior Learning Assessment credits
- Four different degree specializations available
School WideStudent Satisfaction85%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online2
Program LevelMedian Debt$27,706Programs in Department1Popularity at School8.1%68%OSR Score
The online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education at Pacific Oaks College requires 63 units for degree completion. Students are required to take classes such as The Creative Arts in Early Childhood Education and Creating Inclusive Environments. This program is unique in that it offers multiple specializations, including those in Trauma, STEAM, and Dual California Teaching Credential.
Rasmussen College20-Year ROI$644,699
- Tuition: $9,360(in state) / $9,360(out of state)
- Flex Choice option allows for convenient, fast course completion
- Two tracks available – Child Development and Early Childhood Education Leadership
- Free career guidance
School WideStudent Satisfaction71%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online12
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School5.19%68%OSR Score
Rasmussen College is an innovator in higher education, offering the unique Flex Choice option that allows students to combine traditional online coursework with self-directed assessments. Candidates can even complete competency-based tasks so that they can demonstrate what they know without having to pay for unneeded credits. The program requires 180 credits, with core coursework covering topics like Child, Parent, and Family Support and Developmentally Appropriate Practices.
Mount Vernon Nazarene University20-Year ROI$864,857
- Tuition: $18,696(in state) / $18,696(out of state)
- Locked-in tuition guarantee
- Easy-to-access online course materials
- Advising teams for all students
School WideStudent Satisfaction77%Admission Rate77%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian Debt$23,517Programs in Department2Popularity at School6.28%67%OSR Score
Featuring high-quality curriculum and the guidance of supportive, experienced faculty, this program includes an impressive 600 clock hours of field and clinical experiences. Students will engage in 51 total program hours of classes like Content Reading and Classroom Management. Each candidate is also required to create a portfolio and to consistently reflect upon his training.
- Tuition: $12,000(in state) / $12,000(out of state)
- Available online, on-campus, and in a hybrid format
- Faculty members are full-time practitioners
- Curriculum development is guided by employment trends and industry feedback
School WideStudent Satisfaction72%Admission Rate68%Programs offered online14
Program LevelMedian Debt$24,296Programs in Department1Popularity at School6.36%65%OSR Score
This unique degree program is designed for students interested in educating children up to the age of eight. The curriculum of the Early Childhood Education degree at Brandman includes multiple fieldwork experiences and two practicums. In addition, students will take classes such as Child Growth and Development and Principles and Practices of Teaching Young Children.
University of Arizona
- Tuition: $10,262(in state) / $31,067(out of state)
- Small class sizes with the prestige of a top-ranked research university
- Courses offered utilizing interactive TV, video conferencing, and other online technologies
- Curriculum includes six specific courses designed to meet employer needs
School WideStudent Satisfaction74%Admission Rate84%Programs offered online20
Program LevelMedian Debt$18,994Programs in Department1Popularity at School4.35%65%OSR Score
The Bachelor of Applied Science with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education at the University of Arizona is designed for candidates who are not seeking teacher certification. Instead, it is for candidates who wish to work with young students in a non-classroom setting. Students will engage in hands-on experiences while taking classes such as Early Childhood Language and Literacy and Teaching Exceptional Children in Early Childhood.
Southwestern College20-Year ROI$920,340
- Tuition: $28,600(in state) / $28,600(out of state)
- Credit awarded for prior college, military, and work or life experiences
- General and special education licensure available upon degree completion
- On-campus early learning after school programs available
School WideStudent Satisfaction80%Admission Rate97%Programs offered online20
Program LevelMedian Debt$31,848Programs in Department2Popularity at School6.99%65%OSR Score
This exemplary program provides distance learners with the opportunity to extend their studies to real-life, on-campus experiences. Southwestern offers early child care centers around the country to give candidates the opportunity to work with students with special needs and those in day care facilities. The program requires 124 credit hours and has courses in topics such as Motor Development and Educational Technology.
Brenau University20-Year ROI$832,212
- Tuition: $28,110(in state) / $28,110(out of state)
- Low student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1
- Affordable tuition costs
- Students can access coursework at any time of day
School WideStudent Satisfaction76%Admission Rate66%Programs offered online9
Program LevelMedian Debt$33,152Programs in Department1Popularity at School8.62%64%OSR Score
The Early Childhood Bridge program at Brenau is short, consisting only of seven courses that allow you to enter a bachelor’s program of 19 additional courses. This program enables graduates to pursue licensure and only requires the completion of one class at a time. Classes begin year-round, and allow candidates to meet weekly with a small learning team with like-minded goals and similar schedules.
California Baptist University20-Year ROI$839,708
- Tuition: $30,446(in state) / $30,446(out of state)
- Can be completed in fewer than 16 months
- Extensive financial aid available
- Up to 100 credits may be transferred in
School WideStudent Satisfaction78%Admission Rate77%Programs offered online23
Program LevelMedian Debt$29,691Programs in Department1Popularity 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. Students will take 48 major units in topics such as Social and Emotional Development and Early Childhood Curriculum.
University of Toledo
- Tuition: $8,052(in state) / $17,390(out of state)
- Faculty is composed of nationally-recognized scholars
- Students receive access to resources like advising, technology support, and eLibraries
- Transfer-friendly with multiple scholarships available
School WideStudent Satisfaction73%Admission Rate94%Programs offered online11
Program LevelMedian Debt$23,537Programs in Department1Popularity at School6.17%60%OSR Score
This centuries-old undergraduate institution offers an online bachelor’s that is designed for candidates seeking a comprehensive, research-based education. The curriculum is broken down into themes, allowing students to fast-track their progress and receive a degree in less than two years. Students will take roughly 32 credit hours consisting of core pedagogy and intensive fieldwork.
Bluefield College20-Year ROI$810,660
- Tuition: $24,040(in state) / $24,040(out of state)
- Provides opportunities in a number of settings outside of the public school system
- Online format gives access to thousands of potential students
- Extensive financial aid available
School WideStudent Satisfaction73%Admission Rate91%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department1Popularity at School< 1%57%OSR Score
This hands-on degree program places students on the ground floor of early childhood education and innovation. Students are required to participate in hundreds of hours of field experiences, in addition to engaging in coursework to prepare them for careers in social services, government agencies, and childcare programs. Additional related degrees are available in topics such as Elementary Education and Special Education.