Invest in the future by transforming children’s emotional, intellectual, and physical potential. Earn one of the Best Online Master’s Degree in Child Development.So much of success in life is rooted in our beginnings, specifically the developmental opportunities at a young age. Quality education and counseling in early childhood programs is proven to positively impact long-term holistic health significantly, as supported by studies from the Brookings Institute.Who do we look to for this life-changing work? Child Development Specialists are advocates for children as they grow, paving the way to better futures for us all.What is an Online Master’s in Child Development degree?Child Development specialists provide support in all sectors of education, health, and social services. Their expertise in developmental growth contributes to the way we understand and support children throughout their formative years and into adulthood.A Master’s Degree in Childhood Development provides the training and tools needed to support children as they grow, every step of the way. Whether providing education or counseling, evaluating physical and cognitive development, or conducting research and managing programs, specialists in Child Development are critical to the successful future of every child.How much can you earn with an Online Master’s in Child Development degree?With Child Development specialists critical to many facets of both private and public services, earning potential varies depending on position. Opportunities in the private and medical sectors often result in a higher pay scale, while compensation in public or government services tend to be dependent on funding.For example, Child, Family, and School Social Workers in community services earn an average of $48,430 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, Child Life Specialists in a clinical setting earn an average of $60,380 per year, according to the same source. Program administrators and experts who gain experience in their fields easily go on to earn higher salaries throughout their careers.What is required for an Online Master’s in Child Development degree?Basic requirements for the majority of online Master’s degree programs in Childhood Development include an application, a resume or CV, professional references or letter of recommendation, and a letter of intent. GRE requirements vary, as do course prerequisites. Some programs require an undergraduate degree of some kind, though others will provide alternative solutions. Of those that do require undergraduate work, some look for a relevant prior degree, such as education, psychology, or child and family studies, while others accept a broader range of experience. Depending on program focus and career track, you will likely complete between 30 and 50 credit hours. Most programs center around a core set of basic classes, and branch off to provide more focused coursework in a variety of specialities and certifications.What are the best Online Master’s in Child Development degrees?Online School Report had identified the top ten Online Master’s in Child Development degrees available in the United States. Read about our methodology for evaluating these programs here.Below, you’ll find a summary of the components of each degree program, followed by pros and cons for quick reference. You will also find the overall OSR Scores for each of our seven core categories.University of Southern MississippiTuition in State/Out of State: $23,452/$25,452Program Web PageAcceptance62Earnings Potential61Online Presence1Online Program Quality94Retention90Student Satisfaction85Reputation100ProsWell-suited to part-time scheduleOpportunity for hands-on experience in the fieldIn-state tuition for online students, and special funding for militaryConsGRE scores required for entryAdmission only available in the fallWritten and time comprehensive exam required for degree100%OSR ScoreThe 100 percent online MS in Child and Family Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi is designed for professionals and working individuals looking for a flexible school schedule. A total of 15 courses, each between 1-3 credits, is required for a total degree program of 37 credit hours. Thesis and practicum options round out the curriculum. Typical degree completion is two years.University of Nebraska-LincolnTuition in State/Out of State: $24,544/$39,664Program Web PageAcceptance65Earnings Potential80Online Presence1Online Program Quality13Retention93Student Satisfaction76Reputation93ProsThesis and non-thesis options availableNo minimum GPA requirement for acceptanceAccess to resources from an array of institutionsConsLimited selection of specializations available onlineGRE scores requiredWritten or oral comprehensive exam required for degree completion97%OSR ScoreThe MS in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln is offered through a consortium of regional universities participating in a joint distance learning effort. With a variety of tracks and specializations, the Child Development programs rank among only 9 percent in the nation that are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Requirements are between 30-36 credit hours, with three options for structuring coursework.University of Missouri-ColumbiaTuition in State/Out of State: $26,611/$43,330Program Web PageAcceptance64Earnings Potential86Online Presence1Online Program Quality13Retention97Student Satisfaction78Reputation93ProsAdjustable schedule and completion timeframeGRE not required for admissionAccess to resources from a network of universitiesConsSelection of specialties limited to threeMinimum 4 credit hours per semester for financial aid eligibility3.0 minimum GPA requirement for admission97%OSR ScoreThe flexible, online graduate program at the University of Missouri offers MA degrees in Youth Development, Gerontology, and Family and Community Services. Each 36-credit hour program requires a core set of classes plus electives and advanced courses in your specialty, along with an internship component. Classes are taught in partnership with regional universities with final degrees awarded by the University of Missouri.University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesTuition in State/Out of State: $27,469/$39,655Program Web PageAcceptance77Earnings Potential46Online Presence1Online Program Quality13Retention79Student Satisfaction87Reputation92ProsThe only program on this list with a specific Child Life track availablePrograms designed to jumpstart or advance existing careersOnline students qualify for in-state tuitionConsPrograms do not grant clinical licensureBA and at least one related course required for admissionField and course experience required for Child Life track admission97%OSR ScoreThe University of Minnesota-Twin Cities offers an MA program with three specialized tracks in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Life, and Individualized Studies. With 15 specialized credit hours per program, plus a selection of core classes and prerequisites, the MA degrees each require a total of 32 credits. Child Life track students will also be required to complete a 600-hour internship in a clinical setting.University of La VerneTuition in State/Out of State: $60,938/$60,938Program Web PageAcceptance77Earnings Potential46Online Presence1Online Program Quality13Retention69Student Satisfaction74Reputation97ProsFully online, or opportunity to join campus classesRanked #50 in Best Value Schools by US News & World ReportSmall, intimate class sizeConsOnline track takes 2-4 additional hours a weekRequires minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in Early Childhood classesDegree program not yet authorized in all states96%OSR ScoreIn this Master of Science degree in Child Development from the University of La Verne, may choose to combine classes online and on campus. This program requires nine credit hours of core coursework, plus 18 credit hours of additional courses in various concentrations. Students also complete three hours of electives and a graduate seminar, totaling 33 credit hours for degree completion.University of South Florida-Main CampusTuition in State/Out of State: $21,410/$32,324Program Web PageAcceptance87Earnings Potential57Online Presence16Online Program Quality35Retention66Student Satisfaction81Reputation90ProsGRE scores only required for thesis trackTake non-degree classes to sample program (later applied to degree)Begin in either fall or spring semesterConsComprehensive exam required for degree completionMinimum requirement in GRE scores (for thesis track)BA required for entry, minimum 3.0 GPA95%OSR ScoreA fully online MS in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health is available at the University of South Florida, with four areas of specialization. Specializations in Developmental Disabilities, Leadership in Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, Research & Evaluation, or Youth & Behavioral Health are all available, with thesis or applied experience tracks. All concentrations require 12 credit hours of core classes, as well as 21 credits per concentration and 6 credits of either thesis or applied experience.University of North Carolina at GreensboroTuition in State/Out of State: $19,622/$34,781Program Web PageAcceptance64Earnings Potential53Online Presence8Online Program Quality13Retention74Student Satisfaction84Reputation85ProsEvening classes to accommodate working schedulesProfessors actively involved in field researchProgram prepares for wide array of career pathsConsBA in childhood studies or related field required for admissionTeaching license required for Advanced Teaching Licensure trackAdvanced Teaching Licensure students complete 8 weeks of student teaching92%OSR ScoreA Masters of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development is available from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Fully online, the degree is offered with cooperation from both the School of Education and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. With a primary focus in Early Childhood Leadership, the program offers concentrations in Program Administration or Advanced Teaching Licensure, both requiring 37 credit hours.Missouri State University-SpringfieldTuition in State/Out of State: $21,062/$28,502Program Web PageAcceptance75Earnings Potential42Online Presence16Online Program Quality75Retention66Student Satisfaction74Reputation87Pros100% self-paced, low minimum credit requirement per semesterUp to 9 transfer credits acceptedOpportunity to take electives on campus if desiredConsMinimum 3.0 GPA for recent undergraduate workGRE scores required for students below 3.0 GPAPrerequisite classes in field92%OSR ScoreMissouri State University offers an MS in Early Childhood and Family Development, completely accessible online and self-paced. In addition to required courses, students choose a third of their classes based on personal preference. A research component and comprehensive evaluation are both required for degree completion. Total credit hours are 32.Michigan State UniversityTuition in State/Out of State: $28,478/$53,424Program Web PageAcceptance67Earnings Potential83Online Presence1Online Program Quality13Retention75Student Satisfaction73Reputation77ProsTeaching input from faculty across multiple universities and expertisesApplications accepted three times a yearZero on-campus activityConsRequirements for professional licensure not guaranteed outside of MichiganApply via your home institution, from which final degree is givenMust be a working professional to participate90%OSR ScoreA Master of Arts in Family Community Services and a Master of Arts in Youth Development are both offered from Michigan State University. Each program is conducted exclusively online via a collective of cooperating universities and requires a total of 36 credit hours plus a final evaluation. In addition, students may earn a Graduate Certificate in Youth Development or Youth Development Management and Evaluation.Capella UniversityTuition in State/Out of State: $20,152/$20,152Program Web PageAcceptance82Earnings Potential58Online Presence1Online Program Quality75Retention78Student Satisfaction74Reputation96ProsVarious tuition payment plans availableFlexPath, self-paced scheduling availableTransfer credits acceptedConsOne of the most expensive programs in this list55 credits required for degreeSpecialization not accredited by the American Psychological Association88%OSR ScoreStudents achieve a Child and Adolescent Development Specialization as part of the Master of Science in Psychology program at Capella University. Students complete 55 credit hours in addition to a final project for a degree, and coursework is offered entirely online.