Best Online Early Childhood Education Programs | BestColleges (2023)

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?

A bachelor's in early childhood education can prepare students for many careers, depending on their interests and choices. People who have patience and strong problem-solving skills who wish to be directly involved in children's development may become educators. Those with detail-oriented minds and analytical skills may pursue administration.

An online bachelor's in early childhood education usually features about 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. Most programs require a classroom practicum. After graduation, students can take an exam to qualify for teaching licensure in most states.

Depending on their interests, students can choose from many concentrations in their program. Before committing to a specific discipline, learners should consider their career goals and check state requirements. Some possible concentrations include the following:

  • Kindergarten Education
  • Elementary School Education
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Educational Technology
  • Child and Youth Development

Learners may also choose between a BA and a BS degree, which may lead to different career options. For example, the BA typically provides a more general emphasis, which can help students transition into non-teaching and related fields. The BS offers more focused training, which prepares degree-seekers specifically for teaching licensure. Schools typically do not prefer one degree over the other.

Popular Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?

While curricula can vary considerably by program, many bachelor's in early childhood education programs feature similar core curricula. The list below outlines some of the standard courses in all types of education programs, along with some specific early childhood education online classes.

Child Development

This course teaches students about development principles for young children, including the impact of environmental, social, and biological elements. Students learn how to deal with different situations and conditions and how to implement appropriate support strategies.

Curriculum Development

In this course, students learn about the leading theories in curriculum planning and design. Covered topics include the various factors that influence curricula and the ways children respond to different material and lesson structures. Learners also examine how to properly assess children, incorporate important content, and ensure participants make in-class connections.

Center Administration

This course focuses on the administration and management of early care centers. Students learn leadership strategies, financial management, and communication skills. Some versions of this course may explore more complex topics such as policy development, program creation, and family and community integration.

(Video) {WEBINAR} Early Childhood Education During COVID-19

Creating Inclusive Environments

In this course, students learn to encourage participation among all young children through lesson plan design, environment staging, material usage, and engagement. These environments help children self-regulate and build confidence.

Current Issues in Early Childhood Education

In this course, learners look at the critical issues, trends, and best practices in the field. Students also learn how to critique early childhood education issues and explain how and why current childcare programs touch on key developmental milestones.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Scholarships for Education Majors The Student's Guide to COllege Planning The Student's Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?

Generally, admission requirements for online and on-campus programs do not differ significantly. Both program types consider academic, extracurricular, and professional experiences for entry. Many colleges use interviews, writing samples, and recommendation letters to learn about applicants' abilities.

Many online bachelor's in early childhood education programs cater to students who return to school after spending time in the workforce. As a result, admissions personnel may focus on applicants' resumes or professional certifications rather than qualifications that apply specifically to recent high school graduates.


Nearly all colleges require a formal application. In this document, prospective students share basic information like their high school GPA, postsecondary coursework, extracurriculars, test scores, and intended field of study. Applicants often share many of these items in more detail in other application materials. Online platforms like Common App allow students to organize their application materials and submit preliminary information to colleges at once.

Test Scores

Although a growing number of schools are test optional, exact requirements depend on the institution. Submitting strong SAT or ACT scores can reflect well on students' academic aptitudes. Students can prepare by accessing free practice tests and answer keys on the official CollegeBoard website.

Letters of Recommendation

For applicants to online bachelor's in early childhood education programs, GPA and test scores provide limited insight into applicants' abilities to work in early childhood education careers. Letters of recommendation provide a more holistic account of individuals' character, background, and abilities. The best letters come from mentors, such as supervisors, employers, teachers, and school administrators, with whom applicants are well-acquainted.

(Video) Early Childhood Education Program in Stenberg College Canada - ECE grad & international student


Like letters of recommendation, essays can reveal a lot about applicants' backgrounds, values, characters, and career goals. Many schools require an open-ended personal statement essay. Some schools require shorter, supplementary essays in which applicants respond to more specific prompts. These pieces also give admissions personnel a sample of applicants' writing abilities.

Official Transcript

Most schools require applicants to submit their high school transcripts and transcripts from previously attended postsecondary institutions. These documents showcase applicants' previous academic performance and which courses they have completed. Many institutions accept transfer credits and use transcripts to assess which credits will carry over.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree?

Career Outlook

Unlike other popular fields, where automation and economic conditions can impact job prospects, young children need supervision, education, and care. As a result, early childhood education professionals may benefit from consistent, in-demand career prospects.

For example, between 2020-2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that kindergarten and elementary school teacher jobs will grow by 7%, accounting for 111,500 new jobs. The BLS projects roles for childcare center directors to grow by 11% and preschool teacher jobs to grow by 18%, surpassing an average 8% growth rate for all careers.

Many people in childcare and education roles earn above-average salaries. Although preschool teachers earned a median salary of $31,930 in 2020, those employed by elementary schools earned a median salary of $48,410. In the same year, special education teachers earned a median salary of $61,500. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $60,660.

See where a bachelor's in early childhood education can take you. Learn more about early childhood education careers.

Career Paths

Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

These educators plan lessons according to state and district-specific requirements. They create developmentally appropriate classroom activities for kindergarten through fifth grade students. They also monitor individual students' progress with reading, math, and social skills.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers work with children between two and five years of age. Like elementary school teachers, these educators facilitate age-appropriate learning outcomes through class activities, crafts, and play. Curricula lay the foundation for elementary education and may focus on children's recognition of colors, numbers, letters, shapes, and basic vocabulary.


Median Annual Salary: $31,930

Childcare Center Director

People who hold a bachelor's degree and have teaching or childcare experience can become preschool or childcare center directors. These professionals oversee the daily functions of their center or school, hire and train staff, and determine budgets. They also market services and communicate with parents.

Median Annual Salary: $49,160

Childcare Worker

These individuals supervise small groups of infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children at daycares. They must closely monitor childrens' safety and hygiene. They also adhere to daily care routines, including meals, crafts, reading, and outdoor activities.

Median Annual Salary: $25,460

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers specialize in helping children with various social, emotional, and intellectual abilities navigate curricula. They may use students' individualized education programs to plan lessons and help their students develop necessary life skills outside of academics.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Early Childhood Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Special Education Careers Child Development Careers Teaching Careers

(Video) online degree programs in early childhood education

Continuing Education

Often, aspiring elementary school or special education teachers earn state-issued teaching certifications along with their online bachelor's in early childhood education. They supplement traditional coursework with student teaching or fieldwork.

Professionals who hope to teach postsecondary courses or assume leadership roles in early childhood education may pursue a master's in early childhood education. People more interested in school administration may earn a master's in education administration.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Program?


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average in-state learner at a public four-year school paid $9,349 in tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year. The average out-of-state learner paid $27,023 at public institutions. Students attending private four-year institutions paid an average of $32,769 per year.

While the costs of online programs are comparable to those of in-person programs, online learners often avoid expenses like dining, transportation, and room and board.

Program Format

Students can choose from various formats to incorporate coursework into their schedules. Many learners select a full-time schedule, which typically takes four years to complete. Students who wish to earn their degree faster can pursue accelerated programs. Working students may prefer part-time coursework.

Online bachelor's programs may feature synchronous or asynchronous learning formats. Synchronous programs include set meeting times and deadline-oriented course schedules. Asynchronous programs consist of more self-paced coursework.


For many students pursuing an online bachelor's in early childhood education, an institution's location does not matter. However, some remote learners take advantage of affordable in-state tuition or resident-specific financial aid programs and may attend an online college in their home state. Other remote learners welcome the opportunity to use campus resources, take hybrid courses, or meet up with students and faculty in person.


Prospective students should always research whether programs have received institutional or programmatic accreditation. Accrediting bodies carefully evaluate schools according to academic excellence standards, such as instruction quality, course content, faculty credentials, and learning outcomes. Accreditation reflects well on education quality, adds to the merit of graduates' degrees, and determines transfer credit eligibility.

Student Support

Institutions should provide students, especially remote learners, with student support services. Online student services may include academic support, such as tutoring services or an online digital library. Colleges should also offer career development resources such as mentorship programs, internship opportunities, and career counseling.

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Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.


What degree is best for early childhood education? ›

Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

This 2-year degree qualifies you for many entry-level early childhood education jobs. It is the least costly degree to earn, and can often stand in for the first two years of a bachelor's degree program if you choose to pursue a full bachelor's degree.

What is the easiest online school to get into? ›

Antioch University in Culver City, California, offers an online degree program for Liberal Arts. It is arguably considered as the easiest online college – or an 'easy' pick because it takes a well-rounded, generalist approach. The university's online B.A in Liberal Studies accepts up to 75 transfer credits.

What can you do with an early childhood education besides teach? ›

Jobs where your degree would be useful include: Child psychotherapist. Children's nurse. Community development worker.
Job options
  • Early years teacher.
  • Education consultant.
  • Education mental health practitioner.
  • Family support worker.
  • Health play specialist.
  • Learning mentor.
  • Play therapist.
  • Primary school teacher.

Is Penn Foster Early Childhood Education accredited? ›

Earn your diploma, accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

How long is a Early Childhood Education diploma? ›


What is the easiest degree to get that pays the most? ›

The easiest majors that pay well are as follows: Psychology Criminal Justice Education Religious Studies Social Work Sociology Communications History Anthropology Supply Chain Management Humanities Business management Fine Arts Foreign Language Marketing.

What is the quickest degree to get? ›

Fastest Bachelor's Degree
  • Criminal Justice.
  • Education.
  • Graphic Design.
  • History.
  • Information Technology or Computer Science.
  • Management.
  • Psychology.
  • Religion.
11 Sept 2022

What is the simplest degree to get? ›

10 Easiest College Degrees
  • English literature. ...
  • Sports management. ...
  • Creative writing. ...
  • Communications studies. ...
  • Liberal studies. ...
  • Theater arts. ...
  • Art. You'll study painting, ceramics, photography, sculpture and drawing. ...
  • Education. An article on CBS MoneyWatch named education the country's easiest major.
24 May 2013

What is the difference between early childhood education and teaching? ›

Elementary school teachers typically work with students who range in age from around five to around 12 or 13, but early childhood education teachers work with students who are much younger. There are also differences between where they work, what they teach and the type of degree needed.

What are four characteristics of successful early childhood teachers? ›

10 Qualities of Great Early Childhood Educators
  • Patience. Full of curiosity and excitement, and eager to learn, touch, and do, little kids can be impulsive and reactive. ...
  • Passion for Teaching. ...
  • Love for Young Children. ...
  • Caring and Compassion. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Organization.
13 Aug 2021

Do colleges accept Penn Foster diploma? ›

Penn Foster High School degrees are accepted at all of the following colleges: Academy of the Arts University, Atlanta Metropolitan College, American Intercontinental University, Bucks County Community College, Caldwell Community College, and Technical Institute, and Bay Mills Community College.

Is Penn Foster respected by employers? ›

While some employers had no problem with a Penn Foster degree, other reviewers complained that potential employers did not see their degrees as legit. Tip: See the section above on accreditation.

Is a Penn Foster diploma real? ›

Yes, it is! Penn Foster High School is nationally accredited by both the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and Cognia. In addition to our national accreditation, we are regionally accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (CSS-MSA).

Is early childhood diploma hard? ›

But those who become educators know that it is a highly challenging field. One needs patience, understanding, positive energy, and physical fitness to become a successful educator. In addition, there should be a passion for training and attend workshops and seminars to become more effective educators and teachers.

How long does it take to do CDA? ›

It involves multiple steps and can take up to 6 months to complete, depending on how much time you can devote to the process. What is a CDA? One of the steps in the process is to complete 120 hours of early childhood training, or 45 hours if you are renewing your CDA.

What can a early childhood diploma do? ›

The diploma fulfils the professional qualifications of a Level 2 category of teacher. You may teach any level from Pre-Nursery, Nursery to K1 and K2. You may also work in other roles in areas such as early intervention, special needs education, play therapy and teacher education.

What 2 year degree makes the most money? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Aeronautics. ...
  • MRI Technology. ...
  • Radiology Technology. ...
  • Respiratory Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Network Engineering. Network engineers design, administer, and maintain local and wide area network systems.

What degrees can you get online that pay well? ›

High paying online associate degrees
  • Emergency management. An associate degree in emergency management prepares students to handle emergency situations. ...
  • Graphic design. ...
  • Paralegal studies. ...
  • Medical office administration. ...
  • Criminal justice. ...
  • Web design. ...
  • Hospitality management. ...
  • Accounting.
15 Feb 2021

What degree is the hardest to find a job in? ›

Top 20 Hardest Degrees To Get A Job With | Hardest Degree in the World 2022
  • Medicine.
  • Architecture.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Chemical Engineering.
  • Pharmacy.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Biomedical Engineering.

What is the easiest 2 year degree to get? ›

Easiest Online Associate Degrees
  • Associate in Early Childhood Education.
  • Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education.
  • Associate in Accounting.
  • Associate in Healthcare Management.
  • Associate in Marketing.
  • Associate in Business Administration.
  • Associate in Fashion Merchandising.
  • Associate in Family and Child Therapy.
28 Aug 2022

What degree can I get in 6 months? ›

6-Month Certificate Programs That Pay Well
  • Real Estate Agent. Selling real estate has limitless potential, and you can get started quickly. ...
  • Commercial Truck Driver. ...
  • Phlebotomy Tech. ...
  • HVAC Tech. ...
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) ...
  • Personal Trainer. ...
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Which 1 year course is best? ›

Here are a few popular 1 year diploma courses after 12th in science in Medical field.
  • Diploma in Dialysis.
  • Diploma in Medical Lab Technology.
  • Diploma in Physiotherapy.
  • Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Diploma in Child Health.
  • Diploma in Health Inspector.
  • Diploma in Audiology and Speech Therapy.
  • Diploma Anaesthesia.

What's the hardest degree to get? ›

Recap: What Is the Hardest Major in College?
College MajorTime Spent Preparing for Class per Week
1. Architecture22.20 hrs
2. Chemical Engineering19.66 hrs
3. Aero and Astronautical Engineering19.24 hrs
4. Biomedical Engineering18.82 hrs
9 more rows
10 Feb 2021

What is the hardest degree to study? ›

The 10 Hardest Undergraduate Degrees
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Bioengineering.
  • Biochemistry or Biophysics.
  • Astronomy.
  • Physics.
  • Cell and Molecular Biology.
  • Biomedical Engineering.
  • Aero and Astronautical Engineering.
25 Aug 2022

Is ECE the same as pre K? ›

Early childhood education is a broad term used to describe any type of educational program that serves children in their preschool years, before they are old enough to enter kindergarten.

What is an early years teacher called? ›

Nursery teachers (also known as early years teachers) work with children from birth to five years. Unlike nursery nurses, who care for small children, early years teachers are responsible for planning and leading learning activities.

Is childcare and preschool the same? ›

Child care programs typically accept children in the age range of about 6 weeks and older, while preschool is typically for children ages 2-5 years of age.

Is a child development degree worth it? ›

Career Growth and Salary Potential

Social workers earn a median annual salary of $50,390. Employment of social workers is expected to increase 12% by 2030. A child development degree online can lead to employment in education, childcare, community services, medicine, government, social services, and business.

What happens to CDA After 7 years old? ›

From Child Development Account (CDA)

If your child has remaining balance in their CDA, it will be transferred to their PSEA: In the year they turn 7 years old for a child born between 2001 and 2005. In the year they turn 13 years old for a child born after 2005.

What is a CDA certificate? ›

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is a widely recognized credential in early childhood education administered by the Council for Professional Development. The CDA Credential guides early child care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children.

What are the weaknesses of an early childhood educator? ›

Many complexities come along with being an early childhood educator. Let us take a look at a few of them.
Let us take a look at a few of them.
  • Managing the kids. ...
  • Executing the school curriculum. ...
  • Communicating with the parents. ...
  • Handling paperwork. ...
  • Low salaries. ...
  • Lack of recognition and value.

What are 5 skills you need as an early childhood educator? ›

5 Essential Skills for an Early Childhood Educator
  • Patience. Children go through different stages of learning. ...
  • Communication. Young children aren't always good at expressing themselves or effectively communicating—that's why ECE teachers need to be excellent communicators. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Enthusiasm.

What makes a bad educator? ›

Lack of Commitment

They do not challenge their students, ​are often behind on grading, show videos often, and give “free” days on a regular basis. There is no creativity in their teaching, and they typically make no connections with other faculty or staff members. There is no such thing as a perfect teacher.

What is the highest paying job in early childhood education? ›

Instructional specialists have some of the highest paying jobs in early childhood education. These professionals are responsible for developing educational programs and curriculum for preschools and childcare centers.

What do you need to be a preschool teacher in NJ? ›

To become a preschool teacher in New Jersey you must obtain a bachelor's degree with a major in the liberal arts or sciences and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. A list of approved preschool teacher preparation programs in New Jersey is available here.

What level of teaching pays the most? ›


When you are looking for the best-paid teaching jobs for your area of interest or specialized skill, then you may consider working as a professor in a college or university. A college professor prepares course material, teaches students in a classroom environment, and grades student work.

What do most daycares pay? ›

Although some childcare teacher jobs are salaried, most early educators earn an hourly wage. The average daycare salary ranges from $10.50 to $14.42 per hour.

How can early childhood educators make extra money? ›

How to Make More Money As a Preschool Teacher
  1. Tutor. ...
  2. Teach English Online. ...
  3. Provide Childcare to Families During Breaks. ...
  4. Work in Public Schools or Private Schools That Pay Well. ...
  5. Open a Teachers-Pay-Teachers (TpT) Store. ...
  6. Freelance as a Writer. ...
  7. Start an Online Business. ...
  8. Work Towards Owning a Preschool.

How much do daycare teachers make an hour in NJ? ›

How much does a Daycare Teacher make in New Jersey? As of Sep 18, 2022, the average annual pay for a Daycare Teacher in New Jersey is $22,533 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $10.83 an hour. This is the equivalent of $433/week or $1,877/month.

How much do preschool teachers make an hour in NJ? ›

Salaries by years of experience in New Jersey
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$14.99
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$16.04
More than 10 years$17.85
1 more row

Can I teach in NJ without a certificate? ›

New Jersey Teacher Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university is the minimum educational requirement for teacher certification in New Jersey.


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