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The Top 10 Online Child Development Degree Programs

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With a degree in child development, graduates gain understanding of the psychological and social aspects of child development, learn assessment tools used in child development, language development, and cognitive development. Students learn to understand family dynamics and how to recognize high-risk children. Students also learn about intervention and issues such as neglect or child abuse, along with other aspects of child development.

While some programs offer a typically designed program, others feature unique aspects that helps rank the specific college or university as one of the best in the country. Some online programs offer both the Bachelor in Child Development program as well as a graduate-level child development degree.

These programs rank in the Top 10 Online Child Development Degree Programs due to considerations such as overall program features, flexibility, accreditation, student satisfaction and focus on adult learners. The more of these factors offered by the university, the higher the child development program places in the rankings.

10. Concordia University – St. Paul

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The Bachelor of Arts in Child Development degree program is fully online. The accelerated program allows students to complete the program quickly, making it ideal for those interested in pursuing a career in child development but who have family or employment obligations that keep the student from enrolling in a traditional classroom setting. Concordia says that graduates will “be able to explain major developmental theories…” as well as to “create inclusive and effective learning environments for young children.” Concordia’s Child Development Program requires that students are either volunteering or working in a position serving young children for admission consideration.

9. Ellis University

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Ellis University takes pride in its online programs, noting that “courses are interactive and dynamic, executed to accommodate your specific learning style.” While the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) accredits Ellis University itself, the Bachelor of Arts in Child Development degree program does not lead to licensure or certification. Courses in the B.A. Child Development program do provide students with “state of the art preparation in best practices for caregivers and educators.” The tuition rate is $250 per credit hour or $750 per term.

8. Ashford University

Not only does Ashford University offer the Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development, but a Master’s degree as well. This makes this college unique in its offering. The Ashford University Bachelor of Arts in Child Development program enables students to “discover how family structure and culture influence communication in a child’s environment,” and provides instruction that will enable students to develop and demonstrate their competency in working with children. Learn the stages of development from infancy through adolescence. Discover how factors such as family and social influences affect child development.

The Ashford University Bachelor of Arts in Child Development program does not lead to immediate licensure to teach in any state. Students must contact the education authorities in their specific state to determine if the Ashford Child Development program meets state requirements.
The Master of Arts in Education with Child Development specialization tailors “your teaching to children at all levels,” As with the B.A. program, students must contact the licensing body in their state to determine if the Ashford programs lead to qualification for licensure. Although Ashford has great child development program options, with tuition at $430 per credit hour at the B.A. degree level, the lack of licensure to teach keeps it down further on the list.

7. Kaplan University

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The Kaplan University Bachelor of Science in Psychology – Child Development Emphasis program teaches students about exploring child development from birth through adolescence. The program allows students to gain knowledge and insight into the importance of and understanding of social relationships created and maintained during childhood, as well as different approaches to working with children of diverse backgrounds or those with special needs. The detail placed on the various areas of the B.S. Psychology – Child Development emphasis gives students a well-rounded education to prepare them to work in areas such as childcare workers, positions serving children with developmental disabilities or child caseworkers.

Some students may wish to continue their education with Kaplan after completing the child development program by pursuing the Master of Science in Human Services – Family and Community Services Specialization. This M.S. degree enables graduates to “address the complexities of developing and administering services for children and families.” Kaplan is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

6. Eastern Kentucky University

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The Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies – Child Development is an accredited program by the Council for Accreditation of the American Association of Family and Consumer Services. The site indicates that EKU “holds the highest level of accreditation available.” EKU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Online tuition is $400 per credit hour.

5. Western Michigan University

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The Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Development features nearly the entire B.S. degree program online, with the requirement of just a few face-to-face courses on the main WMU campus in Kalamazoo Michigan. The WMU indicates that the Child and Family Development Bachelor Degree program offers “inroads to certification” which includes the fact that the program meets requirements for childcare center directors in the State of Michigan. The online program does require an internship or field placement as part of the degree requirements.
WMU ranked #46 on the Washington Monthly list of universities offering “best bang for the buck,” meaning that included universities listed qualify based on the economic value students receive per dollar. Tuition for online students is $349.47 per credit hour.

4. Post University

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The Post University 125th Anniversary Celebration helps to catapult Post to the number 4 spot on the top online child development degree programs. Results of the Noel-Levitz Surveys shows that Post University “Exceeds National Averages for Adult Learner and Online Adult Learner Student Satisfaction.” In 2014, survey participants ranked Post above the national average for satisfaction on nearly every survey item for the third consecutive year. Results of the 2014 Assessment of Student and Program Performance at Post University over 90 per cent of students indicated that they would recommend Post to a friend.

At Post University, students earn the Bachelor of Science in Child Studies, which “focuses on the impact that culture, community and society have on young children and their education.” Degree courses prepare students to work in schools, childcare facilities, family resource centers, social services departments and agencies and other settings that value a degree in child development education. Graduation prepares students to meet education standards set forth by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

3. Nova Southeastern University

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The Bachelor of Science in Education – Child Development concentration is one of the best in the United States, offering students the opportunity to complete their B.S. degree completely online, perfect for busy professionals or parents with children at home. The Nova Southeastern College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NSU is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).

For prospective students with an interest in a “variety of careers and professions related to working with young children, their families and communities,” the B.S. Education – Child Development specification offers great opportunities, especially since NSU also permits students to customize their degree program to suit their interests and career path.

2. West Virginia University

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West Virginia University offers ideal child development program options for adult learners returning to school. A feature that may make West Virginia University very appealing to prospective students is the ability for students to earn college credit for work, life or military experiences. Students looking to pursue the online Regents Bachelor of Arts Child Development specialization can present a portfolio that details previous college courses, professional or other relevant experience to create a unique degree. Additionally, WVU offers several online minor programs to supplement the online R.B.A. in Child Development.
West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The low tuition of only $266 per credit hour helps boost WVU to the #2 ranking on this list.

1. Walden University

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Walden truly offers the best in its Bachelor of Science in Child Development degree program, placing it at the top ranked spot. While the child development program at many colleges and universities focus on younger children, the Walden B.S. Child Development program enables students to “discover how to identify important milestones for children from birth through age 19 and create effective learning environments that promote healthy development.” Students learn to observe and assess children at their age and functioning level and learn to work with families while advocating for children.

Walden University ensures that students stay informed with its innovative Making Connections program, which keeps students up-to-date on the latest issues, trends, and research affecting children and adolescents.

Walden maintains a policy of Demonstrating Accountability, Transparency and Assessment (DATA), showing results of multiple studies regarding overall student satisfaction with WU and other factors such as satisfaction with faculty and likelihood of recommending Walden University to a friend. Walden University keeps costs low for students working on their B.S. in Child Development degree, with tuition at just $320 per credit hour.