Best Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Best Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Find top-ranked online bachelor’s in early childhood education degree programs to help students focus on the practical, pedagogical and developmental challenges of working with young learners.

Key Takeaways

  • At a crucial stage in a child’s development, the skills of an Early Childhood Education expert are essential.
  • Early Childhood educators, consisting of childcare professionals and preschool teachers of young learners, are expected to be highly trained to perform effectively in early childhood settings and workplaces.
  • Bachelor’s in early childhood education programs must provide students with the tools and resources to understand the phases of early childhood development and address the needs of each learner.
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An Online Degree in Early Childhood Education May Be Your Best Option!

Early childhood education is a perfect career choice for those who have a passion to guide younger children, especially during their most crucial stages of development. The commitment needed when pursuing this degree is very significant, but most professionals in the field believe that pursuing an early childhood educator’s career is a truly rewarding investment.

Most of the job roles surrounding early childhood education need a relevant bachelor’s degree. In fact, teachers are typically required to secure a state-issued teaching certification on top of their degree in early childhood education.

Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Career Paths

  • Kindergarten/Elementary School Teachers: This career path typically requires a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood with Elementary Certification. These professional teachers draft and create daily lessons based on state and district-specific requirements. They also need to come up with developmentally appropriate room activities for pupils from kindergarten up to the fifth grade. Kindergarten/elementary school teachers also monitor every pupil’s progress with math, social skills, and reading.
  • Preschool Teacher: Early childhood education degree holders can also become preschool teachers and work with two to five-year-old kids. Just like our elementary school teachers, preschool teachers expedite age-appropriate learning outcomes via crafts, class activities, and play. The curricula will mostly focus on the foundation for child education and strongly emphasize how children can recognize numbers, colors, shapes, letters, and basic vocabulary.
  • Childcare Worker: These are highly trained early childhood educators that supervise kids at daycare centers: preschool-aged children, toddlers, and infants. They closely monitor every kid’s safety and hygiene and also adhere to standard daily care routines, including crafts, meals, reading, and outdoor activities.
  • Childcare Center Director: Those who have childcare or teaching experience and hold a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education are qualified to become childcare or preschool center directors. These early childhood program experts oversee the general daily functions of their school or center, screen, train, and hire staff, and determine budgets. These early childhood education positions also communicate with parents and market services.
  • Special Education Teacher: This is one of the most in-demand early childhood education programs. However, this career path typically requires special education certification at the graduate level.
  • Like the kindergarten/elementary teacher discussed above, this degree track usually requires a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood with Elementary Certification, and an additional graduate level program to receive the special education certification. However, there are some programs that combine the bachelor’s and master’s coursework into one program that can be completed in about five years.

    Special education teachers are highly trained and skilled in helping children with different emotional, social, and intellectual needs. Most of the time, they create lesson plans based on a student’s individualized program. From there, they help students learn and develop the crucial life skills they need outside of academics.

Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Specializations

Online BA Early Childhood Education, STEAM Specialization: This program offers a broader scope than STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), because it includes arts and design. Students in this specialization are introduced to a STEAM model in early childhood education wherein children are encouraged to learn through spatial thinking, investigation, group discussions, and observation. To qualify for the program, you need three credits of Action Research, plus observation in different early childhood education settings.

Online BA Early Childhood Education, Trauma Studies: Professionals in the field of early childhood education should be able to recognize signs of trauma and must know how to properly address these with care and understanding. This specialization will provide you the foundation on how to correctly provide support and guidance to children who are facing/have faced different forms of trauma like divorce, abuse, bias, immigration, discrimination, and many more.

What to Expect in the Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

This online bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete and usually requires 120 credits. While this is an online class, most programs will still require students to have a classroom practicum. After completing the program, students will take the qualifying exam for teachers in most states.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Childhood Education

Anyone passionate about helping young children learn and achieve developmental milestones is an excellent candidate for an early childhood education program. Geared toward future teachers and childcare workers, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will focus on the practical, pedagogical and developmental challenges of working with young learners.

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Early childhood education majors will take classes in developing assessments, teaching methods, and classroom management. Most programs require a semester-long teaching assignment so that students can learn firsthand what to expect in a classroom.

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A typical program can be completed in 4 years, with 120 required credit hours, although there are accelerated programs and online opportunities that allow students to earn their degree over a shorter duration.

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Benefits of an online program include convenience, flexibility and personalized, web-mediated interaction with instructors.

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Learn more about how to major in education.

Best Online Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs
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What Constitutes A Standout Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Online Program

Bachelor’s in early childhood education programs are offered thru a web-based format by numerous colleges. A few, however, stand out because of their program features that, ultimately, equip students (and future early childhood educators) with the most up-to-date learning tools and resources.

Characterized by rigorous coursework, the online programs aim to address the issues and requirements of today’s practice involving child development and education, by producing the most skilled professionals.

At the bachelor’s level, early childhood education prepares online students for a master’s program in the same or related discipline, making them better qualified for higher and better-paying jobs. Similarly, these online programs also serve as every student’s springboard for career eligibility at an entry-level capacity.

What’s an online program without the most qualified and experienced early childhood educator to impart the lessons? On our list are the online degrees with top-notch faculty, consisting of teaching professionals who have had significant experience or contributed to the field thru their research and published works.

Choosing an accredited online college matters, too! Our list of the best online bachelor’s in early childhood education are all regionally accredited, abiding by today’s highest academic standards.

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25 Best Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

  1. #1

    University of Missouri

    Columbia , MO
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/26

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: `
    • Format: Online
  2. #3

    University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education (ECE)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #5

    University of Louisville

    Louisville , KY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1180/25

    Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Organizational Leadership & Learning

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Education
    • Career & Technical Education
    • Counseling & Human Relations
    • Healthcare Leadership (term or flex option)
    • Leadership
    • Training & Organization Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #6

    Texas Tech University

    Lubbock , TX
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    35K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1165/24

    Online Degrees

    BAAS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1240/25

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood & Family Advocacy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education In A Mobile Society
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAEd in Early Childhood Inclusive
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Online Degrees

    BA in Education – Early Childhood United/Elementary Education Apprentice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  7. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    27K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies

    Concentrations

    • Administration
    • Early Childhood
    • Technology Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    14K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Human Development

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  9. #13

    Purdue University Global

    West Lafayette , IN

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    46K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Administration
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #15

    St. Petersburg College

    Clearwater , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    19K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Educational Studies And Community Leadership

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Educational Studies And Community Leadership Degree With Preschool Specialization

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #16

    Park University

    Parkville , MO

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    8K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Education Studies

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Education: Teaching Young Children
    • Required Credits: 58
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #17

    Bay Path University

    Longmeadow , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/22

    Online Degrees

    BA in Early Childhood Leadership
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #18

    Bacone College

    Muskogee , OK
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    47%

    Graduation

    9%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    873/15

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  14. #19

    Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $26K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Educational Studies

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Development
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #20

    National University

    La Jolla , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    23K

    Online Degrees

    BA in Early Childhood Development

    Concentrations

    • BAECE
    • Inspired Teaching and Learning Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential California
    • Required Credits: 180
    • Completion time: 4.5-5.5 years
    • Format: Online
  16. #21

    Charter Oak State College

    New Britain , CT

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  17. #22

    Granite State College

    Concord , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    15%

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education

    Concentrations

    • Teacher Certification
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Language Arts Teacher Certification

    Concentrations

    • Early Childhood Education And Early Childhood Special Education
    • Elementary Education And General Special Ed
    • General Special Ed
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  18. #23

    Regent University

    Virginia Beach , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education (Non Licensure)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  19. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    17K

    Online Degrees

    BS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • 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

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.