Best Online Bachelor’s in Child Development

An online bachelor’s in child development degree program allows graduates to pursue careers in areas such as early childhood education, Montessori, or even crisis intervention.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Child Development

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Development Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in child development can help set you on your path toward a fulfilling and meaningful career.

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This four-year, 120-credit degree will cover topics such as child development, adolescent psychology, and counseling ethics. Additionally, most online and in-person programs offer a variety of concentrations, allowing students to focus their learning around their future career goals.

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Concentrations include early childhood education, Montessori education, and crisis intervention. Depending on their track, students can earn either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree.

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Upon graduation, students may be ready for careers as social workers, youth counselors, or pre-school educators.

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Best Online Bachelor's in Child Development Degree Programs

How do we determine the best online child development bachelor's degree programs?

Methodology

Pursing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for a inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

25 Best Online Bachelor’s in Child Development Degree Programs

  1. #1

    University of Arizona

    #88 institution's historical influence
    #605 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    39K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/25

    Tucson, AZ

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    Online Degrees

    BAS in Early Childhood
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    University of Alabama

    #180 institution's historical influence
    #94 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    35K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1210/27

    Tuscaloosa, AL

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Human Development and Family Studies

    Concentrations

    • Child Life
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Western Michigan University

    #556 institution's historical influence
    #434 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Kalamazoo, MI

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Family Studies, Child And Family Development
    • Required Credits: 122
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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  4. #4

    University of Memphis

    #558 institution's historical influence
    #787 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Memphis, TN

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Professional Studies

    Concentrations

    • Child Life Specialist
    • Legal Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    Bay Path University

    #3817 institution's historical influence
    #264 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/22

    Longmeadow, MA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Child Psychology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Early Childhood Leadership
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #6

    Union Institute & University

    #2657 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    <1K

    Cincinnati, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child & Adolescent Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Southern New Hampshire University

    #1468 institution's historical influence
    #1034 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    84K

    Manchester, NH

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Child And Adolescent Development
    • Addictions
    • Applied Psychology
    • Mental Health
    • Social Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
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  8. #8

    Appalachian State University

    #1281 institution's historical influence
    #1467 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/25

    Boone, NC

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child Development - Birth Through Kindergarten
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #9

    Western Kentucky University

    #1142 institution's historical influence
    #559 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/23

    Bowling Green, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Family And Consumer Sciences

    Concentrations

    • Child Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
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  10. #10

    Eastern Kentucky University

    #1707 institution's historical influence
    #888 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    98%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/23

    Richmond, KY

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Child & Family Studies

    Concentrations

    • Child Development
    • Required Credits: 120-125
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology

    Concentrations

    • Geral Psychology
    • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    • Forensic Psychology
    • Child & Family Psychology
    • Workplace Psychology
    • Psychiatric Rehabilitation
    • Brain & Cognitive Sciences
    • Substance Abuse
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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  11. #11

    University of Southern Mississippi

    #1126 institution's historical influence
    #825 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    13K

    Hattiesburg, MS

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child And Family Sciences
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 2-4 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    Southeast Missouri State University

    #652 institution's historical influence
    #1249 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    Cape Girardeau, MO

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child & Family Studies

    Concentrations

    • Child Development (
    • Required Credits: 121
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  13. #13

    California Baptist University

    #2100 institution's historical influence
    #1289 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    Riverside, CA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Early Childhood Studies
    • Required Credits: 48
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
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  14. #14

    Oklahoma State University–Stillwater

    #906 institution's historical influence
    #1380 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    21K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    Stillwater, OK

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Child Care And Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
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  15. #15

    California State University, East Bay

    #1418 institution's historical influence
    #748 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Hayward, CA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Human Development

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Development Concentration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  16. #16

    Vanguard University

    #5268 institution's historical influence
    #922 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    Costa Mesa, CA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Early Childhood
    • Required Credits: 55
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Northern Arizona University

    #1104 institution's historical influence
    #303 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    27K

    Flagstaff, AZ

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies

    Concentrations

    • Administration
    • Early Childhood
    • Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  18. #18

    Southern Wesleyan University

    #4839 institution's historical influence
    #1124 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Central, SC

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood and Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood and Family Studies Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  19. #19

    University of West Alabama

    #4788 institution's historical influence
    #1165 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    940/20

    Livingston, AL

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 123
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
  20. #20

    Maryville University

    #3588 institution's historical influence
    #991 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    95%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/22

    Saint Louis, MO

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Human Development and Family Studies

    Concentrations

    • Child Life Specialist
    • Early Child Development
    • Youth Development
    • Family Life Education
    • Adult Development and Aging
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
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  21. #21

    Chadron State College

    #3657 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    2K

    Chadron, NE

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Family Consumer Science

    Concentrations

    • Child Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  22. #22

    Southeastern Oklahoma State University

    #2842 institution's historical influence
    #882 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    4K

    Durant, OK

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Intervention And Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  23. #23

    Muskingum University

    #2744 institution's historical influence
    #655 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

    New Concord, OH

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child And Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  24. #24

    Charter Oak State College

    #3675 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Student body

    <1K

    New Britain, CT

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Child Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  25. #25

    Bacone College

    #3166 institution's historical influence
    #1070 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    9%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    873/15

    Muskogee, OK

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students