The Best Online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs

An online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree provides graduates opportunities to pursue a variety of rewarding careers in the early childhood education field including in pre-school education, early childhood special education, early elementary education, and administration.

What is an Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree?

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The degree prepares students to teach infants through age eight, usually through the third grade. Some of the degree programs have a non-licensure and a licensure track.

Some of the Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree programs offer students specialization options such as Birth through Kindergarten, Preschool, Infant/Toddler, Age Three to Grade Three, Child Learning and Development, Parent and Family Education, and Administration.

Some schools offer an online early childhood education (ECE) program which serves as a bachelor’s degree completion program; candidates for the program typically need an associate degree or equivalent experience in early childhood education.

The ECE programs typically cover subjects such as models of growth and development, classroom engagement and management techniques, observation and assessment methods, literacy skills, language development, learning through play, interpersonal communications, and cultivating family and community relationships.

The Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education degree programs help students gain an understanding of child development and the role adults play in influencing their development. Students in the ECE programs learn how to create curriculum and teach social studies, math, science, language arts, health and the arts. Students also learn how to meet the needs of young children from diverse backgrounds.

The Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree programs typically include field experience.

How long does it take to complete A Bachelor in Early Childhood Education degree program? The degree programs typically take four years to complete. Students can complete some Bachelor in Early Childhood Education degree completion programs in about 16 months.

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The Best Online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs: School Ranking

1 University of Washington – College of Education (Seattle, WA)

University of WashingtonThe highly regarded College of Education at the University of Washington has more than 300 partnerships with schools, nonprofits and communities. The College of Education works with poverty-impacted, culturally diverse schools to solve real-world educational challenges and close opportunity and achievement gaps.

The College of Education in partnership with the UW Continuum College created the online Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education degree program. The program integrates academic theory, current research in the early childhood education field as well as practical training in the field.

The program features two pathways: The Core Pathway provides students a strong foundation in early childhood subjects. The pathway prepares students to begin or advance in a wide array of career areas such as family and community support, social and health services, policy and advocacy, child protective services, as well as children’s museum education and outreach. The pathway also prepares students for graduate study in subjects related to young children and families.

The Teaching and Learning Pathway includes the same coursework as the Core Pathway, with additional courses specific to early childhood teaching and learning. The Teaching and Learning Pathway prepares students to enter or advance in early learning professions including preschool teacher, coach or mentor, and director or owner of a preschool or child care center. The pathway also provides students a strong base for future graduate study in elementary education, early childhood curriculum, special education, or leadership.

The online degree program includes service-learning courses; students can apply what they’ve learned while working alongside early childhood education professionals. Individuals already working in the field can complete the service learning at their current jobs, other students can contact early learning sites in their community.

Credit requirements: The program requires students complete at least 180 total credits.

Foundation courses:

  • Understanding Early Childhood & Family Studies Research
  • Family & Community Influences on the Young Child
  • Social Policy & Young Children & Families
  • Infants & Young Children: Risk & Resilience

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students need at least 70 academic transferable quarter credits from regionally accredited colleges or universities to enter the program and have a cumulative transfer GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Students should be able to transfer college-level academic credits for courses which fall within the UW Areas of Knowledge.

2 University of Nebraska, Lincoln – College of Education and Human Sciences – Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies – University of Nebraska Online Worldwide (Lincoln, NE)

University of Nebraska, LincolnThe Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies research focuses on the development of individuals and relationships within families, communities and schools. The Department, through interdisciplinary collaboration, address important issues for a wider impact in research, teaching, outreach and, extension.

The Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, places value on international engagement and global citizenry.

The Department provides graduate and undergraduate degrees.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society program emphasizes a foundation in child development, assessing and meeting individual needs, classroom management as well as adaptation to developmental differences. The program combines practical and theoretical knowledge of teaching and pedagogy.

The program prepares students to work with young children in highly mobile families, such as families with military backgrounds.

Provided as part of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA), students in the online program enroll in coursework and receive their degree from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; faculty members from other, participating universities in the Great Plains IDEA, may teach the online courses in the program.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Child Development – Birth to 3
  • Child Development – 4 to 8
  • Development of Curriculum for Children Ages Birth to 3
  • Development of Curriculum for Children Ages 4 to 8
  • Child Guidance and Classroom Environments
  • Assessing Young Children and their Environments to Enhance Development
  • Understanding and Adapting for Developmental Differences
  • Administration and Supervision in Early Childhood Settings

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society program must complete a practicum.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have a 2.50 GPA or above. Applicants must have completed at least 30 credit hours, either at the university, or in transferable credits via another regionally accredited institution.

The Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) provides the Teacher Education programs with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with accreditation.

3 Kansas State University – College of Human Ecology – School of Family Studies and Human Services – Kansas State University Global Campus (Manhattan, KS)

Kansas State University

Faculty, staff, and supervised student specialists from the School of Family Studies and Human Services provide direct services and outreach to enhance the health and well-being of families and individuals via K-State Research and Extension, the Family Center, Speech and Hearing Center, Hoeflin Stone House Early Childhood Center, the Financial Therapy Clinic, the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, and the Riley-Geary Counties Domestic Mediation Services.

The School designed the online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree completion program for students already working in the field and seeking to advance their careers via further education. The program results in eligibility for licensure in Kansas.

The curriculum blends early childhood education and early childhood special education. The program covers subjects such as curriculum planning and classroom management, different models of interaction, different models of child development, assessing and meeting the diverse needs of students, and more.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of courses:

  • Introduction to Human Development
  • Early Childhood
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Environments in Early Childhood
  • Interaction Techniques with Young Children
  • Language Development
  • Assessment of Young Children
  • Exceptional Development in Early Childhood

Students in the online program must also complete a practicum.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours, either at the university, or in transferable credits via another regionally accredited institution. Students can complete up to 60 credit hours at the local community college level and transfer them in.

The Bachelor in Early Childhood Education degree program has accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Kansas State University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

4 University of Cincinnati – College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services – School of Education (Cincinnati, OH)

University of CincinnatiThe School of Education, the largest of the three schools in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, provides teacher licensure, endorsement programs, and a variety of graduate and undergraduate programs. The School of Education has over 50 full-time faculty members.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program utilizes a curriculum based on the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The program blends theoretical knowledge with field experience.

The program prepares students to teach in an array of settings such as preschools, childcare centers, Head Start programs, public schools as well as related programs for children.

Students in the Early Childhood Education bachelor’s online degree program can develop a solid foundation via field experience, combined with theoretical knowledge of classroom management, child development models, cultivating family relationships and involvement, the teacher-student relationship, assessment, and more.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours total

Selection of core courses:

  • Introductory Child Development
  • Classroom Organization and Guidance
  • Individuals with Exceptionalities
  • Infant and Toddler Care and Education
  • Families, Communities, and Schools

Students in the online Early Childhood education Bachelor’s degree program must complete field experience and a practicum.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants need to submit official high school and college transcripts (if applicable).

Students can only transfer credits which have a D- grade or better from an institution with accreditation from a regional accrediting agency.

The BS in Early Childhood Education degree program has accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The University of Cincinnati received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5 Ball State University – Teachers College – Department of Elementary Education – Online and Distance Education (Muncie, IN)

Ball State UniversityThe Department of Elementary Education, housed in the Teachers College, has a focus on preparing leaders in the early childhood and elementary education field. The Department works collaboratively across colleges and departments.

The Department of Elementary Education provides a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education online degree completion program for students already working in the field who desire to advance their careers via more education. The curriculum focuses on the needs of a diverse population of children, from birth to age five, including special needs children.

The online Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education emphasizes the promoting of child development and learning, teaching methods and learning models, observing and assessing of students to meet individual developmental needs, and building family and community relationships.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of courses:

  • Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction
  • Administration of Early Childhood Programs
  • Social, Historical, and Philosophical foundations of Education
  • Assessment and Observation in Early Childhood
  • Theory and Practices in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Educational Psychology for Elementary Education
  • Early Emergent Literacy
  • Infant/Toddler Curriculum and Environment

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education program must also complete a practicum.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must have an Associate degree (with a practicum) in Early Childhood Education, or have at least 45 relevant credit hours from a regionally accredited institution and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher of transferable credit.

Students can obtain college credit through exams such as Ball State University departmental exams and College Level Examinations Program (CLEP). Veterans may qualify for credits for military service.

Completion of the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education program (birth through age 5) does not lead to certification or licensure in any state.

The Bachelor in Early Childhood Education degree program has accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Ball State University with accreditation.

6 Northern Arizona University – College of Education – Department of Teaching and Learning (Flagstaff, AZ)

Northern Arizona UniversityThe Department of Teaching and Learning provides education programs to prepare pre-service teachers and support in-service teachers to make positive differences in the lives of children and young adults.

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education online degree completion program provides students a general knowledge of child development, preschool curriculum and assessment, and early literacy development.

The program, steeped in national early childhood standards, focuses on educating students regarding the expanding, specialized knowledge base concerning early childhood.

The program prepares students for career opportunities such as working in preschools, state agencies, non-profit organizations as well as other venues.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Early Childhood Development
  • Play Education
  • Curriculum and Assessment in Early Childhood
  • Educational Psychology in Elementary and Middle-School Education
  • Foundations of Special Education: Early Childhood

Students in the online ECE degree program complete an independent study project as part of the capstone experience.

Admission and transfer credit requirements: Candidates need to have 64 credit hours in an associate degree transfer block. Candidates with an A.A.S. degree from an Arizona Community College, can have up to 75 transfer units.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) provides the BAS in Early Childhood education program with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Northern Arizona University with accreditation.

7 Western Carolina University – College of Education and Allied Professions – Human Services Department (Cullowhee, NC)

Western Carolina UniversityThe Human Services Department in the College of Education and Allied Professions provides a variety of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees to meet an array of human needs. The Department also serves communities through leadership, scholarship, and service.

The online Bachelor of Science in Birth to Kindergarten with a concentration in Early Childhood Education degree completion program focuses on developing an understanding of child development and the role adults have in influencing their development. The program prepares students to work with children from an array of backgrounds in environments other than public schools, such as developmental assistance programs and private day care facilities.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Core courses:

  • Introduction to Birth-Kindergarten
  • Literacy
  • Foundations of Child Study
  • Environments for Young Children
  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood Curriculum
  • Adult-Child Interaction
  • The Exceptional Child
  • Promoting Social-Emotional Competencies
  • Adaptations and Modifications for Young Children with Disabilities

Students must also complete a capstone project.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates who have a degree from an accredited institution located outside of North Carolina undergo a course-by-course evaluation for transfer credits. They may have to complete additional courses to fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement.

Students who have an Associate of Applied Science degree undergo a course-by-course evaluation for transfer credits. In most cases, the university requires students to complete additional courses at a community college or via WCU to fulfill the Liberal Studies requirement.

Western Carolina University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8 Fort Hays State University – College of Education – Department of Teacher Education – Virtual College (Hays, KS)

Fort Hays State UniversityThe Department of Teacher Education combines theory and pedagogy with real-world classroom experiences. The Department has a dedication to working with the latest in educational technology. The Department of Teacher Education offers most of its programs on-campus and online.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Unified degree program combines theoretical knowledge and practical field experience. The program focuses on effective assessment and curriculum planning, models of growth and development, diversity in learning, and classroom management.

The program culminates in licensure in the state of Kansas. The program also prepares students to work in an array of educational settings, including special education.

Credit requirements: 126 credit hours

Selection of courses:

  • Emergent Literacy
  • Child Care Management & Admin
  • ECU Mathematics Methods
  • Assessment in Special Education
  • Behavior Strategies & Support
  • Curriculum & Assessment
  • Technology Applications in Special Ed
  • Educational Psychology

Students in the online Bachelor in Early Childhood Unified degree program must complete student teaching experience and an internship.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and are working to complete an initial licensure program are not required to meet general education requirements.

Candidates who do not have a bachelor’s degree must have a cumulative 2.75 GPA, including at least 36 hours of General Education credit. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university must have a minimum of a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of college credit or have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.

The Department of Teacher Education received accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Fort Hays State University with accreditation.

9 University of Toledo – Judith Herb College of Education – Department of Early Childhood Education, Higher Education, and Special Education (Toledo, OH)

University of ToledoThe Department of Early Childhood Education, Higher Education and Special Education provides undergraduate and graduate licensure programs in early childhood education, higher education and special education.

The University designed the online Bachelor in Early Childhood Education degree completion program, a non-licensure, fast-track program, for students already working in the field.

The curriculum emphasizes the leadership role of the teacher, partnerships between teachers and families, a relationship-based model of early childhood learning, and individualized learning.

Selected core coursework:

  • Creating Effective Learning Environments
  • Supporting ECE Science and Math
  • Early Literacy, Language, and Social Studies
  • Meeting the Needs of Young Children with Disabilities

The Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree includes fieldwork.

Admissions information: Applicants must have an Associate’s in Early Childhood Education degree or Child Development with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7. The University requires applicants to the program be employed at an early care and education program serving infants, toddlers or preschoolers for at least 20 hours per week.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides the education programs at Judith Herb College of Education with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Toledo with accreditation.

10 Indiana Wesleyan University – College of Adult and Professional Studies – School of Educational Leadership (Marion, IN)

Indiana Wesleyan UniversityThe School of Educational Leadership provides Christ-centered education programs which address the spiritual and professional challenges of P-12 educators, leaders, and counselors through providing them an integrated experience of character, leadership development and scholarship.

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education online degree completion program provides options for a licensure and non-licensure track.

The program covers subjects such as classroom management, curriculum planning methods, child development and learning, observation and assessment methods, and cultivating family and community relationships.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core professional courses:

  • Educational Psychology for Early Learners
  • Foundations of Reading and Language Structure
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Instructional Tools for the Teaching of Reading
  • Foundations of Reading and Language Structure
  • Literature Focused Preschool Environments
  • Literacy in the Primary Grades
  • Social Studies and Fine Arts in the Primary Grades

Students in the online BS program licensure track must complete student teaching field experience.

The Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s online degree program uses a cohort model, in which students complete their coursework alongside a team of other like-minded students.

Admissions and transfer credit information: The online program requires candidates have completed a minimum of 48 transferable credit hours from a regionally accredited institution, or an institution which has accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Indiana Wesleyan University with accreditation.

11 University of Nebraska at Kearney – College of Education – Department of Teacher Education – University of Nebraska at Kearney, eCampus (Kearney, NE)

University of Nebraska at KearneyThe Department of Teacher Education provides students numerous opportunities to interact in practicums and student teaching experiences. The Department provides undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The university designed the online Bachelor of Arts in Education: Early Childhood Inclusive degree completion program, for preschool assistants, in-service teachers, HeadStart programs staff members as well as other non-traditional students.

The program provides two specialization options: Birth through Kindergarten, and Age Three to Grade Three.

The online BA program, with an emphasis on field experience, prepares in-service students to advance their careers through combining pedagogical theory with practical knowledge of teaching and classroom management.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Phonics and Word Study
  • Literacy Assessment
  • Primary Grades Literacy
  • Foundations of Early Childhood Educations
  • Methods of Inclusive Education: Birth to Age 3
  • Methods of Inclusive Education: Ages 3-5
  • Early Childhood Program Administration
  • Serving Young Children with Special Needs

Students in the online Bachelor of Arts in Education: Early Childhood Inclusive program must also complete student teaching and other field experience.

Admission and transfer credit information: All Freshman must submit an ACT or SAT test score.

Transfer students need a 2.0 or above GPA. Students who completed less than 24 credit hours of transferable coursework from a regionally accredited collegiate institution after they graduated from high school, must meet the high school core course requirements.

The Registrar’s Office only considers accepting transfer credit from post-secondary institutions which have accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission or other similar regional agencies. The University accepts transfer credit hours students earned with a minimum grade of “C” at institutions outside of the University of Nebraska.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Nebraska at Kearney with accreditation.

12 Mount Vernon Nazarene University – School of Education and Professional Studies – Education Department (Mt. Vernon, OH)

Mount Vernon Nazarene UniversityThe Teacher Education Program provides research-based undergraduate and graduate education. The program has partnerships with local schools and districts. The program provides candidates opportunities to learn about and to work with diverse populations.

The online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree completion program has a focus on field experience. The program integrates pedagogy and childcare theory with practical knowledge, skill, and experience. The degree completion program results in licensure in the state of Ohio.

Required credit: 123 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Educational Technology
  • Content Reading
  • Developmental Literacy
  • Adolescent Literature
  • Introduction to Multicultural Education
  • Classroom Management

Students in the online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree program must complete Student Teaching and field experience.

Admission and transfer credit information: Candidates with no prior college education need to submit an official high school transcript and ACT scores (if taken).

Candidates need an overall GPA of at least 2.5 in all previous college course work for regular admittance status. Candidates with a college GPA of less than 2.5 or have no college level work can apply for probationary admittance.

All college-level courses (not remedial or developmental) transfer from a regionally accredited institution with a passing score of C- or above. The University accepts credit by exam for some degree requirements. Veterans can earn up to 40 semester hours of general electives through supplying the University with their military training transcripts.

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) provides the Teacher Education programs at Mount Vernon Nazarene University with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Mount Vernon Nazarene University with accreditation.

13 Brenau University – College of Education – Brenau Online (Gainesville, GA)

Brenau UniversityThe College of Education provides undergraduate and graduate degrees, postgraduate certification as well as other credentials for entrance and advancement in education careers.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program, helps students achieve licensure and pursue a career in the field. The degree program focuses on evaluating the needs of the growing child.

The online program prepares students to work with young children in an array of educational environments as teachers, curriculum developers, daycare directors, consultants, and more.

Credit requirements: a minimum of 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • School and Society
  • Introduction to Multicultural Education
  • Teaching Learners with Special Needs
  • Classroom Management

Students in the online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree program must complete field experience.

Admission and transfer credit information: Candidates need to submit proof of high school graduation or GED completion. Candidates need at least 46 transferrable credits completed at a college or university with regional or national accreditation.

Students need a cumulative 2.75 GPA of all attempted collegiate work and a minimum GPA of 2.75 in courses with no grade below a “C”.

Students need a grade of “C” or better to transfer credits. The University awards credit for courses taken at regionally accredited institutions.

The College of Education received accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Brenau University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

14 Florida International University – College of Arts, Sciences & Education, School of Education and Human Development, Department of Teaching and Learning, FIU Online (Miami, FL)

Florida International UniversityThe Department of Teaching and Learning provides programs which support teaching professionals throughout their careers. The Department provides graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs and an International program.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program focuses on the complete development of the whole child during early childhood years (up to age five).

The program provides practical and theoretical knowledge in areas such as: Educational psychology, child development, early childhood programs and curriculum, special needs of children and their families, early social and emotional development, teaching beginning literacy, math, and science, and community and young children.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Professional education courses in early childhood education:

  • Early Childhood Educational Programs
  • Issues in Early Childhood Education
  • Special Needs of Children and their Families

Admission and transfer credit information: Candidates must either have 60 credit hours of lower division coursework, University core/General Education or an AA degree from a Florida public, accredited institution.

The education programs at Florida International University received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). Florida International University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

15 Bluefield College – School of Education (Bluefield, VA)

Bluefield CollegeAt the School of Education, pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, and caring teaching skills form the foundation of assignments, coursework, demonstrations, evaluations, and research.

The Early Childhood Education online degree program provides a blend of theory and practical knowledge. The program prepares students to work with children from birth to age eight in an array of public and private educational environments.

The online ECE degree program covers curriculum design, classroom management, developmental psychology, and a holistic approach to learning.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Foundations of Early Childhood Development
  • Creative Development
  • Infant/Toddler/Child Development
  • Guiding Young Children
  • Body-Brain Based Learning
  • Designing Physical Environments
  • Family, School, & Community Involvement
  • Observing and Assessing Young Children
  • Program Development for Young Children

Students in the online Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree program need to complete a field experience and a practicum.

Admission and transfer credit requirements: Applicants need a High school diploma or GED and a 2.0 GPA. If a student has a transfer GPA below 2.0, then the applicant file must go to special committee for review.

The College provides credit for military and law enforcement training. Students can meet some general education courses and elective course requirements through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST).

The Teacher Education program at Bluefield College received accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Bluefield College received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

16 Eastern Oregon University – College of Education – EOU Online (LaGrande, OR)

Eastern Oregon UniversityThe College of Education at Eastern Oregon University provides undergraduate and graduate degrees and courses for Career and Technical Education instructors.

The online Early Childhood Education (ECE) non-licensure degree program prepares students to work with young children from birth to age eight. Students can gain knowledge of early childhood foundations, development, learning as well applying the knowledge in learning to create early care and educational programs focused on developing appropriate learning experiences for young children.

The online ECE program prepares graduates to work in the private sector as teachers, educational coordinators, advocates, program directors and administrators, or as policymakers in schools, businesses, mental health agencies and community, private or church-related programs.

Credit requirements: 180 quarter-credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Family Collaboration in Early Childhood
  • Positive Behavior Guidance and Management in EC
  • Play & Learning Environments in Early Childhood
  • Literature for Young Children
  • Early Childhood Health and Wellness
  • Teaching in Early Childhood
  • Assessment and Observation in Early Childhood
  • Multicultural Education in Early Childhood
  • Administration in Early Childhood

Students in the online Early Childhood Education non-licensure degree program must complete a practicum.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Early Childhood Major: Students need a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Students must have successfully completed or be currently enrolled in the required prerequisite courses with a grade of C- or better and have a junior standing or have completed an AAOT which shows they have completed General Education credits.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) provides Eastern Oregon University with accreditation.

17 University of Arizona South – UA Online (Sierra Vista, AZ)

University of Arizona SouthUniversity of Arizona South, the University of Arizona’s branch campus, extends the University’s educational mission in multiple locations and with targeted degree programs. University of Arizona South partners with community colleges to provide bachelor degrees.

University of Arizona South offers traditional degree programs in education, computer science, humanities and the social sciences and also Bachelor of Applied Science programs, Master’s programs in education, and an array of continuing education programs.

The online Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education program covers subjects such as balanced curriculum, classroom management, teaching exceptional children, early literacy, analysis methods, planning methods, and more.

The program prepares students for careers in the early childhood education field in an array of public and private environments.

Credit requirements: 120 total credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Teaching Early Childhood Creative Arts and Physical Education
  • Teaching Exceptional Children in Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Language and Literacy

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education degree program must also complete a capstone project.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Designed for students who have completed 60 credit hours of coursework, the BAS program requires candidates to have completed a relevant AA or AS degree at a regionally accredited institution.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides the University of Arizona South with accreditation.

18 Florida State College at Jacksonville – School of Health, Education and Human Services (Jacksonville, FL)

Florida State College at JacksonvilleThe School of Health, Education and Human Services focuses on the physical, social and educational factors which promote and elevate the community’s overall way of life. The School provides a variety of associate and bachelor degree programs.

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education online degree program results in licensure in the state of Florida. The program prepares graduates to educate children from Pre-K to the Third Grade. Students learn to assess and meet the developmental needs of young children in an array of public and private educational settings.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Classroom Management/Guidance
  • Integrated Science and Math for Young Children
  • Assessment, Evaluation, and Diagnosis
  • Special Topics in Early Childhood
  • Language and Literacy in Early Childhood Education
  • Teaching English Language Learners

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education online degree program need to complete a portfolio and a full-time internship at an accredited public or private primary school.

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must have completed an Associate in Science in Early Childhood Management degree or an Associate in Arts degree from a regionally accredited college or university and completed at least 60 transferable college credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students must satisfy the bachelor’s degree general admission requirements and meet other requirements.

Students can earn credit through Prior Learning Assessment.

Florida State College at Jacksonville received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

19 Colorado Christian University – College of Adult and Graduate Studies – Curriculum and Instruction Education Division (Lakewood, CO)

Colorado Christian UniversityThe College of Adult and Graduate Studies provides over 50 academic programs designed for adults and adult transfer students. The College of Adult and Graduate Studies provides accelerated degree completion programs for adult students.

The College offers associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, certificates and licensing programs in a variety of subjects.

The online Bachelor of Arts with Early Childhood Education Licensing degree program qualifies students for licensing in the state of Colorado.

The program, focused on early childhood education within the context of a Christian worldview, combines theory and practical knowledge to prepare students for an array of careers working with children from birth to age eight. The program covers areas such as child and educational psychology, program assessment, curriculum development, and more.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Teaching as a Profession
  • Classroom and Instructional Management
  • Assessment and Measurement
  • Special Needs Methods
  • Psychological Foundations of Education
  • Diverse Reader: Intervention for Developing Readers

Students in the online program need to complete field experience and an internship.

Admission and transfer credit information: Adult undergraduate and degree completion students: They must provide proof of their high school graduation or completion.

Students who began their degree program at another regionally or nationally accredited college or university can transfer up to 90 credits to a bachelor’s degree at Colorado Christian University.

Students can receive up to 75 prior learning credits for a bachelor’s degree for post-high school personal and professional life experience or for testing out of electives and many general education requirements.

The University also provides a non-licensure program which may be more useful to students in some states.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Colorado Christian University with accreditation.

20 Southwestern College – Professional Studies – Education Division (Winfield, KS)

Southwestern CollegeSouthwestern College Professional Studies provides continued college education to working adults, individuals seeking to improve their careers, and military service members.

The online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree completion program prepares students for an array of careers in the field. The program has a focus on evaluating and meeting the needs of young children from a variety of backgrounds, from birth to the age of eight.
The program concludes with students obtaining licensure in the state of Kansas.

The Early Childhood Education online degree program partners with several special education programs, including PALS and REACH and other early child care centers across the country.

Credit requirements: 124 credit hours

Selection of pre-professional education requirements:

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Motor Development, Expressive Arts, Social Studies
  • Teaching Young Children with Disabilities
  • Infant Development
  • Introduction to the Reading Process
  • Assessment Strategies in Early Childhood
  • Administration, Guidance, and Behavior
  • Technology in Special Education

Students in the Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s online degree completion program need to complete a practicum.

Admission and transfer credit information: Candidates must have completed at least six post-high school college credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.75.

The College awards credit for military training, work/life experience, prior college learning, and from CLEP and DANTES exams.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides the BA in Early Childhood Education degree program with accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Southwestern College with accreditation.

21 Regent University – College of Arts and Sciences – Department of Teacher Education and Interdisciplinary Studies (Virginia Beach, VA)

Regent UniversityThe College of Arts and Sciences provides on-campus and online degrees. The College provides a biblically centered curriculum.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education non-licensure degree program focuses on the development and growth of young children from birth to age eight. Students learn best practices for implementing high-quality services and to create effective lesson plans based on proven teaching methods. They also learn business management and law for owning and operating an early childhood care center

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Guiding Young Children
  • Wellness in Childcare Programs
  • Teaching Content to Children
  • Administration of Childcare Programs
  • Child and Adolescent Growth and Development

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education degree program must complete field experience.

Admission and transfer credit information: Adult and continuing education admissions: Candidates need to submit their unofficial high school and previous college transcripts from U.S.-based schools.

The University works with transfer credits from accredited colleges and universities, TRACS or ABHE-accredited colleges, military service, approved entrance-level examinations credits, non-regionally accredited institutions, experiential credit, institutions of higher learning where Regent has an articulation agreement, and a score of three of higher on a high school Advanced Placement Exam.

The university has an undergraduate transfer process for students with 15 or more transferable college credits.

The teacher education program at Regent University received accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Regent University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

22 Chaminade University of Honolulu – Division of Education – The Office of Professional and Continuing Education (Honolulu, HI)

Chaminade University of HonoluluThe Division of Education fosters the professional development of teachers and education leaders via programs based in the liberal arts tradition, Catholic Marianist values, best practices and, current research.

The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program prepares students seeking to work with young children ages 2 1/2 through six years in private schools and other educational settings.

The degree program utilizes a curriculum aligned with the National Association for the Education for Young Children (NAEYC) standards.

The University also provides a Montessori Credential track, intended to prepare students for careers in Montessori schools. The track received accreditation from the Montessori Accreditations Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).

Required credit: 120 credit hours

Selection of major requirements:

  • Educational Technology
  • Childrens’ Literature
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice I
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice II
  • Language Arts: Curriculum and Methods
  • Math: Curriculum and Methods
  • Curriculum Foundations

Students in the Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree program must complete fieldwork experience.

Admissions and transfer credit information: First-year students should have a high school diploma or the equivalent and a cumulative high school GPA: 2.50 and an SAT or ACT score.

Transfer students need a cumulative college GPA of 2.00 or higher. Applicants who completed less than 24 college-level credits must submit high school transcripts and test scores.

Students can apply credit courses earned at other colleges or universities with regional accreditation, completed with a grade of ‘C’ or better toward an undergraduate degree. Students can transfer up to 90 semester hours of credit toward any baccalaureate degree.

Students can receive a maximum of 30 semester hours of credit from Advanced Placement Tests.

The programs of the Division of Education received accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Chaminade University of Honolulu received accreditation from WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

23 Winston-Salem State University – Department of Education (Winston-Salem, NC)

Winston-Salem State UniversityWinston-Salem State University, a public, university founded in 1892, enrolls more than 5,000 students. The school offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Winston-Salem State University offers an online Birth to Kindergarten Education (BKE) degree program which results in initial teacher licensure. The program focuses on providing the contemporary knowledge and skills necessary for students to pursue licensure and enter careers in early childhood education programs in a variety of settings, including private and public Pre-K programs, early childhood centers, and other agencies.

Students enhance their ability to work with early childhood students, up to kindergarten age, helping them develop, grow, and prepare for future education.

Credit requirements: 120 credit hours

Selection of core courses:

  • Cultural and Individual Variations in Children and Families
  • Early Language and Literacy
  • Creative Environments for Young Children
  • Family Lifespan Development
  • Child/Family Assessment

The education department of Winston-Salem State University has accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Winston-Salem State University received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

24 South Dakota State University – College of Education and Human Sciences, Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership

South Dakota State UniversityThe College of Education and Human Sciences provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs and certifications. The College of Education consists of the Departments of Counseling and Human Development, Consumer Sciences, Health and Nutritional Sciences and Teaching, Learning and Leadership.

The SDSU’s partnership with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) provides the online Bachelor of Science in Early Education and Care degree program.

The program prepares students to work in early childhood environments with young children, especially children whose family members are highly mobile. Graduates can seek jobs in a variety of programs which offer early care and education in the community and on military installations.

Students in the online Bachelor’s in Early Education and Care degree program learn to use child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment, in partnership with other professionals and families to positively influence the development of children.

Credit requirements: 120 credits. Students in the program complete 72 credits through SDSU and complete 48 credits through the GPIDEA consortium.

Selection of Major requirements:

  • Health, Safety and Nutrition of Young Children
  • Child Development Birth to 3
  • Child Development 4 to 8
  • Professional Development for Early Childhood Education Providers
  • Diversity in the Lives of Young Children and Families
  • Working with Families
  • Administration and Supervision in Early Childhood Settings
  • Assessing Young Children to Enhance Development

Admission and transfer credit information: Students need to have completed a minimum of 30 credits to include a human development course and have a minimum GPA of 2.5 before taking the GPIDEA courses.

The Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Department has accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs. The Higher Learning Commission provides South Dakota State University with accreditation.

25 Mayville State University – Division of Education

Mayville State UniversityThe online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program prepares students to work in an array of leadership positions such as early childhood education teacher, curriculum specialist, early childhood administrator, supervisor, and education coordinator in preschool programs. The program includes field experience working with children.

The program includes field experiences designed for teaching Pre-K, K and Primary Grades. Students complete these experiences at schools and other educational institutions.

The online Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s degree program includes these specializations: Administration, Infant/Toddler, Special Needs/Paraprofessional, and After School.

Selection of core professional courses:

  • Observations, Assessments, and Interpretation Techniques
  • Language & Literacy in ECE
  • Infants and Toddlers
  • Administration & Leadership in ECE
  • Art, Music, and Play in ECE
  • Human Relations and Cultural Diversity
  • Child and Adolescent Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

Admission and transfer credit information: The school accepts transfer credit from regionally recognized accredited institutions of postsecondary education. All credit hours students obtained from institutions which meet the criterion are accepted in transfer towards graduation degree credit hours.

Transfer applicants who have 24 or more semester or 36 or more quarter hours of credit toward a degree program need a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 computed on all transferable work attempted at all colleges and universities they previously attended.

The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program has accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Higher Learning Commission provides Mayville State University with accreditation.


Early Childhood Education Degree and Career Information


Early Childhood Education Degree Jobs

Individuals with an Early Childhood Education degree can seek jobs such as:

  • Child Development Specialist
  • Childcare Director
  • Daycare Administrator
  • Early Childhood Education Specialist
  • Early Education Center Coordinator
  • Early Education Center Teacher
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Preschool Administrator
  • Preschool Director
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Remediation Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • State Education Department Employee
  • Teacher Assistant

Early Childhood Education Degree Employment Settings

Early childhood education professionals have a variety of employment environments from which to choose:

  • Civic and social organizations
  • Child development centers
  • Community centers
  • Daycare centers
  • Kindergarten
  • Preschools
  • Private elementary and secondary schools
  • Public elementary and secondary schools
  • Religious organizations

Early Childhood Education Degree Salary Information*Median Annual Wage†
Elementary school teachers, except special education$57,160
Kindergarten teachers, except special education$54,230
Preschool teachers$28,990
Elementary and secondary schools; local, state, and private$46,600
Individual and family services$31,260
Religious, civil, grant-making, professional, and similar organizations$30,320
Child daycare services$26,870
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 10 percent employment increase for preschool teachers from 2016 to 2026.
†Median Annual Wage (May, 2017).


Head Start

Head Start teacher salaries vary significantly across states. Approximately 74 percent of all Head Start teachers have a bachelor’s degree and training in early childhood education. The percentage of Head Start teachers with a degree and early childhood training varies significantly across states, in Head Start programs, and the types of Head Start grantees.


Financing an Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Degree

Many colleges and universities offer online students financial aid. Online students as well as traditional students applying for federal financial aid must attend a school which has accreditation from an accrediting agency which received recognition from the Department of Education.

Our Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students provides vital information about the various types of financial assistance such as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Grants, Lifetime Learning Credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, Parent Plus Loans, Grad Plus Loans, and more.

Financial Aid Guide for Online College Students


Early Childhood Associations

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAYCE)

The NAYCE oversees a voluntary, national accreditation system for high-quality early childhood programs. The NAYCE specifically focuses on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. The NAYCE produces an array of early childhood resources and sponsors a variety of initiatives to improve the preparation of early childhood educators.

Members have opportunities to participate in local and national services via the association’s network of over 300 local, state, and regional affiliates.

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)

The ACEI includes a world community of educators and advocates exploring innovation, sharing information, and advocating for children. The Association promotes the professional growth of educators and individuals dedicated to the needs of children in a changing society. The ACEI is also involved in promoting the optimal education and development of children, from birth through early adolescence.

National Head Start Organization (NHSA)

NHSA focuses on meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families. The organization advocates for policies to strengthen Head Start services and provides training and professional development to Head Start staff. The NHSA develops and distributes research, information, and resources which enhance Head Start program delivery.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Division for Early Childhood (DEC)

The DEC is an international membership organization for individuals who work with or on behalf of young children (0-8) with disabilities and other special needs and their families.

The Division for Early Childhood promotes policies and helps to advance evidence-based practices which support families and enhance the optimal development of young children (0-8) who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.


Bachelor’s in Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses provided, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing quality online degree programs.


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