Estimated Cost of Program (60%)
Degree Recognition (15%)
Completion Rate (10%)
Post-graduate Earnings (10%)
Student Reviews (5%)
Our methodology is heavily sensitive to cost and less sensitive to earnings. Based on the relatively low variability of salaries for any given degree level, we conclude that program costs are a much bigger factor in predicting return on investment.
Degree recognition is based on US News and World Report’s education-specific rankings, accreditation profile, and based on criteria outlined by employers in a Wall Street Journal study of most job-friendly universities.
Post-graduate earnings are based on publicly available data from Payscale.com. Data is collected, then adjusted to a quotient of average earnings across all majors, then multiplied by average earnings for early childhood educators. Where sufficient data was not available, earnings rating was omitted and all other criteria were adjusted accordingly.
For those pursuing a career in early childhood education, there is nothing more important than ensuring that you receive the best education possible. Continue reading to discover a list of 25 of the very best schools that offer online early education programs.
1.) University of Michigan – Dearborn
University of Michigan offers an early childhood education program that features three different options for students. One option is extended for currently certified teachers. The second option is available for licensed teachers, or those who have experience in the childcare field. The third option is for licensed teachers or caretakers who are looking to pursue a degree in education leadership or possibly administration. Courses are designed with working students in mind, providing flexibility. They can be taken online, or through evening or summer classes. 30 credits are required to graduate from the program. More information can be found here.
2.) Capella University
Capella University is one of the leading online universities. Their early education program is a part of their Professional Education Unit, which has been accredited and approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The program extends students’ knowledge of the various stages of child development, skill development, and how to develop and maintain a creative, stable learning environment. Capella’s early education program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The course length is typically ten weeks. Each credit is $436, and the program requires 46 credits. Click here for more information on Capella University’s early education program.
3.) University of Missouri
The Early Childhood Education Masters program at the University of Missouri is made to help students increase their skills and knowledge that are essential in working with children from birth to age eight and their families. Focus Area courses include Language and Early Literacy Development, Advanced Early Childhood Curriculum and Applied Behavior Analysis. Courses can be completed entirely online and the format includes lecture, assignments, text readings and discussion. This program is accredited by the Commission on Higher Learning of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, but it does not provide early childhood education certification or the initial certification required to become a teacher.
4.) Valdosta State University
Valdosta State University’s early childhood education program is designed to help build on currently licensed educators’ skills and knowledge. The program will help students learn how to be an effective leader or role model in childhood education. It specializes in the intricate details of the career, leaving no detail or fact left uncovered in the curriculum. More information on Valdosta State University’s early education program can be found here.
5.) Mercer University
Mercer University’s early education program can be completed in 12 to 16 months. It is designed to allow education professionals to focus on strengthening their skills and knowledge in their field, as well as to stay updated with all of the information regarding their career. It mainly focuses on leadership training, preparing educators for possible administration or other leadership jobs. The program can be completed in 12 months, completely online. More information can be found here.
6.) Portland State University
Portland State University’s early education program allows students to specialize in four important areas, Constructivism in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, Infant and Toddler Mental Health, and Distributed Pathway. Depending on each individual student’s education path, they will need to complete anywhere from 45 to 90 credits in order to graduate. Costs of the program will vary. Scholarships and financial aid are available. For more information, click here.
7.) Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s program is known as the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood Education. The program allows graduates to find a career in the education field working with children up to eight years old. It is completed both online and through on-campus clinical applications. The program is usually completed by current licensed teachers who wish to ascend in their field, or simply to develop their skills and knowledge further. Some complete it in order to pursue higher degrees. Further information on Arizona State University’s program can be found here.
8.) Concordia University
Concordia University’s early education program is known as the Master of Arts in Education with Early Childhood Education Emphasis. The program typically consists of 33 credit hours. It is extremely flexible and is designed for adults who lead busy lives, and typically do not have the time to dedicate to completing a masters program. Students can attend classes online as according to their schedule. All courses are recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and provide students with excellent education in order to one day allow them to provide an excellent learning environment. For more information regarding Concordia’s early education program, click here.
9.) The University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers an early childhood education program that utilizes the very latest advancements in the field’s research and development. The program requires 36 semester hours to be completed, with 12 hours in core classes, 18 hours in specialty courses in early childhood, and 6 hours of thesis or project work. It is accredited and approved by the North Central Association. Further information on the University of Toledo’s early education program can be found here.
10.) Stephen F. Austin State University
This early childhood education program is designed to allow current teachers or other education professionals to pursue further education. The program requires a minimum of 22 months to complete, and 36 credit hours in total. Credits are $274 each for in-state students, and $300 each for out-of-state students. The program allows students to learn how to promote a progressive, fun learning environment. Click here for more information on Stephen F. Austin State University’s early education program.
11.) Liberty University
Liberty University’s early education program is known as the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning, with a concentrate in early childhood education. The program is available to be done completely online, allowing total freedom in completing the course around any schedule. The program consists of a total of 36 credit hours, and each credit is $520. Graduates of the program typically follow through to pursue a career in day care of kindergarten education. For more information on Liberty University’s program, click here.
12.) Youngstown State University
The program at Youngstown State University is a Master of Science in Teacher Education, specialized in Early Childhood Education. For those interested in becoming an advanced teacher for children, this program offers the courses and specialized information to do so. 9 semester hours of Core Courses, 18 semester hours of Cognate/Specialization Courses and 6 hours of Additional Core courses are needed for graduation – and you have 6 years to complete your degree. Courses include curriculum, current social issues, research, literacy/phonics and intervention conception.
13.) Georgia Southern University
Designed for professionals who hold a level four certificate or another degree of equivalence, Georgia Southern University’s early education program offers education professionals the chance to advance in their careers and sharpen their skills. The program requires a minimum of 36 hours to be completed, and is approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. More information on Georgia Southern University’s early education program can be found here.
14.) California University of Pennsylvania
Among the programs that offer courses that are fully online, California University of Pennsylvania’s early education program offers full flexibility. It offers courses for teachers in elementary education, as well as early childhood care or special education. Students study child development and teaching practices. After completion of the course, it will grant access to careers in the field such as in child care, Head Start, traditional classroom environments, and support classes or groups. The program requires a minimum of 33 credits. Click here for more information.
15.) Northern Arizona University
For education professionals who wish to extend their education and sharpen their skills, Northern Arizona University offers their early childhood education masters program. 30 credits are required in order to graduate from the program. Students may choose to concentrate in general early childhood education, or to choose a more specialized degree in early childhood leadership. After graduating from this program, students have the option to find a promising career in many aspects of the childcare and education industry. Click here for more information.
16.) Grand Canyon University
The early education program at Grand Canyon University allows graduates to find a career working with children anywhere in kindergarten through third grade. They will also have the necessary skills needed to work as day care providers, if they desire. The program focuses on child guidance, growth and development, and teaching methods. The course requires a total of 44 credits to complete. It can be completed both online and during evening classes on campus. More information on this program can be found here.
17.) University of the Southwest
Available completely online for maximum flexibility, the University of the Southwest’s early education program allows students to develop their knowledge in child development, learning, health, and safety. They will also study the evaluation of children’s habits and learning styles. After completing the program, students will be completely prepared and properly trained in order to become a professional in the field of early childhood education. More information can be found here.
18.) Brenau University
This program, like most, is designed to strengthen current educator’s skills. There are three different concentrations of the program. Each require 34 hours of classroom activity and work in order to be completed. Students will take two classes per seven week session. All courses are completed online, allowing for the ultimate amount of flexibility for each student in their own personal situations. Click here for more information on this program.
19.) Kennesaw State University Online
Designed for currently licensed early education professionals, Kennesaw State University’s early education program is designed for said professionals who wish to further their education, sharpen their skills and knowledge, and become more experienced educators. Classes can be completed completely online, completely on campus, or in a mixture of both. This is beneficial to students who lead full lifestyles and require flexibility. More information of KSU’s early education program can be found here.
20.) Northcentral University
Northcentral University prides itself on providing one of the best online early education programs. People who choose to complete Northcentral’s program do it for a number of reasons. Some do it in order to become qualified for a promotion or higher pay, while others simply complete it to build their skills and become more qualified. Students are given a maximum of five years to complete all of the 30 credit hour master programs. The time needed to complete the program is completely dependent on each student and their individual situation. One of the things that Northcentral students truly appreciate is the honesty when it comes to tuition. Any costs that will be additional will be brought to the attention of the student: no hidden fees. Each credit is $598. In total, the program runs about $17,940. For more information, click here.
21.) Southern New Hampshire University Online
Students who choose to fortify and further their education in order to achieve higher positions in early childhood education. The program can be completed online or on campus, tailoring to any student’s individual needs. Completion of the program will enable students to become eligible to work with children anywhere from kindergarten through third grade and build leadership skills. It can be completed in as little as two years. For further information on Southern New Hampshire University’s early childhood education program, click here.
22.) Mercy College
Mercy College also offers an early childhood education program. Graduates who complete the program will have the necessary information and training in order to develop a safe, fun, and unique learning environment, as well as to have a positive, long-lasting effect on the education, as well as the lives of young children. They may pursue any career working with children from kindergarten through second grade. More information on Mercy College’s early education program can be found here.
23.) Champlain College
Champlain College offers an extremely unique approach to the experience of pursuing a higher degree in early education. The course is designed to allow students to complete all assignments and projects in the course on their own time, in their own methods. The online format offers extreme flexibility and independence, creating a stress free, relaxed learning environment. Students who work full time do not have to worry about anything while completing this program. Completing this program will allow participants to build a reputable and professional leadership style. The program will allow development of considerable skills in developing and maintaining a safe, inventful learning environment for young children. For more information, click here.
24.) Pacific Oaks College Online<
Pacific Oaks College’s early education masters program allows graduates to pursue leading roles in places such as public schools, early child care, as well as child and family support groups or classes. Pacific Oak’s program places a positive emphasis on equality, diversity, and of course, the proper education of young children. It can be completed in as little as two years. A total of 30 credits is needed to complete the program, and it can be completed both online, and on campus in Pasadena. Graduates will be able to fully explore the career of a professional in early childhood education. Click here for more information.
25.) Erikson Institute
The early childhood education program at Erikson Institute is designed especially for current educators who have at least three years of experience in the field. The program is available to be completed online, allowing for convenience and flexibility. Students can achieve their goals of becoming a leader in early childhood education without making major alterations to their life or current career. The program takes 28 months to complete, and provides students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of child development and interactions, as well as the impact of culture and family. More course information can be found here.