Earning a college education online has gone from a rarity to a given, especially in fields like early childhood education, where working professionals want to improve their career prospects without stopping their careers. Many applicants choose to invest in online courses because of either family obligations or their working schedules make it more convenient to do so. One online program that many Universities and colleges offer to students is the bachelor’s degree in early childhood education program. This degree program provides an interactive learning approach that teaches students in conducting age appropriate centers or environments, develop an instructional curriculum, and create exploratory activities for young minds.
Most graduates of the program will provide teaching to children from Birth through early grade school. Employment options include Teachers at daycare centers, Pre-K classrooms, and elementary schools with five to ten-year old students. Teachers that work in elementary schools will work with Kindergarten through third grade children. Sometimes graduates earn a position as a child librarian, special education teacher, or a child welfare social worker with a bachelor’s in early childhood education degree.
Ranking the Best Early Childhood Education Online Program
To point Early Childhood Education professionals to the best programs for them, Value Colleges has ranked the 10 best online early childhood education degrees. VC editors begin the process by researching fully online bachelor’s completion programs, seeking out only accredited, reputable colleges and universities. From there, all potential institutions are put through the VC method, averaging scores for affordability, reputation, and salary potential based on College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche data. With that triangulation, students know their online bachelor’s degree will provide a real return on investment.
1. National University
When you want to pursue an early childhood education online program, you will want to consider the BA in Early Childhood Education from National University. The degree program emphasizes the design of age-appropriate curriculum and adaptive techniques when working with individual children to enhance their ability to learn and grow. The focus on maximizing the outcome of childhood learning allows students to understand the best ways to handle different situations they may face when working with children. The program offers opportunities to gain experience through a collaborative program that requires students to get a background check.
National University stands apart from other programs by focusing on parent empowerment and the role of parents in the development of their children. It also focuses on ensuring that students are prepared to work with parents and peers to address concerns that may arise and ensure that the health and safety of the child are at the forefront of the educator’s actions.
Degree: BA in Early Childhood Education
2. University of Washington
Comparing online early childhood education degrees will send students straight to the BA in Early Care and Education from the University of Washington. The degree program takes an evidence-based approach to early childhood education and it focuses on ensuring that students are prepared for the challenges they will face when working with young children. It also focuses on supporting children and their families for better outcomes in a child’s education and future.
A key way the University of Washington stands apart is the focus on innovation in education. The early childhood education online program allows students to work at their own pace and finish up a bachelor’s degree that helps in their long-term career goals. The access to professors and technology professionals means that students have the support they need to complete a degree and understand the material. The University of Washington is a reputable program that gives students a chance to advance in their career through name recognition and a reputation for excellence.
Degree: BA in Early Care and Education
3. Indiana Wesleyan University
The early childhood education online program at Indiana Wesleyan University offers an opportunity to advance in your career. The program gives students a firm understanding of childhood education and the role educators play in helping students with their goals. It focuses on building the knowledge and skills of young children so that they are able to succeed when they move forward into elementary school. The online bachelor’s degree program at Indiana Wesleyan University allows students to finish their degree and start in their career within 24 months, or two years.
A key way Indiana Wesleyan University stands out from other programs is the focus on leadership. Students learn to work with parents and guide them so that they are able to provide the tools their children need to improve their abilities. The program emphasizes community relationships as well as the developmental and educational aspects of caring for children.
Degree: BS in Early Childhood Education
4. Florida International University
Florida International University offers a BS in Early Childhood Education that helps students prepare for the needs of children from birth until five years old. The degree program is a fully online degree that gives students the flexibility to advance in their career without impacting personal and professional obligations. Students who are already working in childhood education can work around their schedule to complete the degree. Florida International University takes a holistic approach to early childhood education and considers the entire person when working with young children.
Florida International University’s early childhood education online program differs from other programs by recognizing the role of cultural diversity in the classroom. The program ensures that students are prepared to handle the needs of children from different backgrounds and cultures. That recognition in the role of culture in childhood development allows students to interact with parents and children in an understanding manner.
Degree: BS in Early Childhood Education
5. West Virginia University
West Virginia University offers online early childhood education degrees that help students prepare for their career goals. The degree program recognizes the potential growth within the industry and focuses on ensuring that students are ready for the rigors of working with young children. It sets clear standards for students and ensures that they are able to meet the standards before they work with children. West Virginia University requires students to take CPR and first aid courses at the college campus and allows students to take the remaining courses online.
The way West Virginia University stands out from other programs is the focus on advocacy and leadership. WVU’s early childhood education online program realizes that childhood educators must be leaders within their classroom and their community. By learning leadership skills and learning about advocacy, you are able to gently guide parents and help them understand the importance of their role in their children’s lives.
Degree: BS in Child Development and Family Studies
6. Fresno Pacific University
The BA in Early Childhood Development from Fresno Pacific University prepares students for the challenges of their career. The degree program focuses on the development of children from birth until kindergarten, which allows students to understand the best ways to handle a child’s needs in a childcare facility or similar program. Fresno Pacific University offers small class sizes with cohorts of 12 to 24 adults, which allows students to get assistance from professors or peers when they need help with their studies.
The early childhood education online program at Fresno Pacific University stands out by offering flexible classes. Students can take classes online or in a classroom environment. That flexibility allows students to advance in their degree at their own pace. It also gives students a chance to focus on their long-term goals and work around personal obligations.
Degree: BA in Early Childhood Development
7. University of Nebraska Lincoln
The University of Nebraska Lincoln offers a unique BS in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society to prepare students for the challenges of working with young children. The degree program recognizes that children are facing increasing challenges with their development and education when they are living in a complex situation that requires them to move regularly. It provides students with the skills to handle the challenges of a mobile society and the way those changes may impact a child’s development and growth.
A key way the University of Nebraska Lincoln stands out is the focus on highly mobile families. The early childhood education online program ensures that students are able to offer compassionate and kind care to children who may have parents in the military, may move due to being from an immigrant family, or may face challenges at home due to homelessness or stressful situations. UNL allows students to transfer from other programs and will work with students who have fewer than 30 credits to ensure they meet the qualification standards for the degree program.
Degree: BS in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society
8. University of Alabama
The University of Alabama offers a BS in Human Environmental Sciences with a concentration on Early Childhood Education that is designed for professionals who want to work with young children. The early childhood education online program recognizes the importance of a child’s environment to their development and incorporates that aspect of their life into the curriculum. It also prepares students to guide and educate children from birth until eight years old by focusing on their development through the early years of their life.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, and it offers an opportunity to apply for the program at any time of the year. Since the program is online, it gives students a greater level of flexibility to advance in their studies and work around a personal schedule. Students at the University of Alabama also have an opportunity to get an internship that offers experience in early childhood education.
Degree: BS in Human Environmental Sciences – Early Childhood Education
9. South Dakota State University
The BS in Early Childhood Education from South Dakota State University prepares students for their role as an educator when they start working in a preschool or similar childcare facility. The degree program promotes childhood development and learning by ensuring that educators are ready to teach and help children through the early stages of their life. The Early Childhood Education degree from South Dakota State University also offers a cooperative elementary education program that allows students to consider more opportunities for their career by obtaining a certification to work in an elementary school.
South Dakota State University’s early childhood education online program stands out from other programs by focusing on the different aspects of a child’s life that influence their development, behavior, and learning. It recognizes that children may face a variety of situations that impact their ability to learn and the program teaches students appropriate advocacy to address the needs of young children.
Degree: BS in Early Childhood Education
10. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Mount Vernon Nazarene University offers a BA in Elementary Education P-5 that prepares students to work with young children at the elementary school level. The degree program focuses on the development of young children from pre-kindergarten until fifth grade to ensure that educators are able to handle the challenges that arise in a classroom environment with very young children. Mount Vernon Nazarene University requires students to clock in 600 hours of hands-on experience in a classroom environment. That standard for students to go in the field or a clinical environment ensures that they are ready to step into the classroom as a teacher when they graduate.
A key way Mount Vernon Nazarene University stands out from other programs is the focus on helping working adults with their long-term career goals. The early childhood education online program offers flexible hours through the online system that makes it easier for adults to move forward with their career objectives. It also ensures that you can manage personal obligations or a full-time job while you are finishing up your bachelor’s degree.
Degree: BA in Elementary Education P-5
What Will I Learn in a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Online?
Most college curriculums for the bachelor’s in early childhood education include child development, teaching methodologies, and knowledge in family and cultural diversity. An online early childhood education program also helps students be more prepared for real-world instruction when taught by highly trained faculty members that know how to inspire success for future graduates.
Other core courses that a student getting a bachelor’s in early childhood education will need are instructional planning for young children; health, safety, and nutrition for children; Development of Infant through Toddler Assessment; and literacy and language development. Many schools offer a specialization or concentration option to go along with the bachelor’s in early childhood education program. This allows the student to earn a higher salary once they graduate. Though most BEd programs are available completely online, some student teaching may require face-to-face interaction. Upper division Internships require the student to work under an established teacher in a classroom setting.
What Else Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education?
There are several career opportunities for a graduate that holds a bachelor’s in early childhood education degree; you don’t just have to become a teacher. For students that choose to continue with higher education learning, starting with a bachelor’s in early childhood education is a great beginning to a master’s degree in education. If students choose to continue towards their master’s degree in education, a master’s in educational leadership or a master’s degree in education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction are good choices.
Besides the conventional teaching route, other career choices of a BEd graduate can be found in nonprofit organizations or clubs that are concentrated in providing children a safe place to play, learn, and stay active. An example is the YMCA, which focuses on creating a place that strengthen youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Positions include childcare director, early education teachers, and after school coordinators. Sometimes camp counselors or outdoor education instructors are great choices for graduates as well. Child development centers may also look for applicants willing to read to young children or teach ESL classes. Some provide home economic classes to young children. For instance, graduates can teach gardening fun classes or provide easy science projects.
Having a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will be a great benefit to have and rewarding for any one of the above career opportunities. Many child development centers are culturally diverse and work especially with children from ages six weeks to five years old.
How Much Can I Make with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education?
Depending on location, population of district, and experience, the salary of student with a bachelor’s in early childhood education degree can make as much as $50,000 a year. For instance, the average Preschool teacher with a bachelor’s in early childhood education degree can make about $30,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. More experienced or early education teachers with tenure may have a salary closer to $45,000 annually. Those working as a Daycare Administrator or Director can make approximately $47,970 annually. Child, Family, and School social workers tend to have a salary of $53,000 or more. Of course, the salary of a graduate who holds a BEd degree program in early childhood education will depend on where and who they are employed. Kindergarten teacher’s salary annually is about $57,110 nationwide.
According to the BLS, those who receive a concentration along with their bachelor’s in early childhood education degree can have an increased salary than the average program graduate. One example is Special Education teachers. The average salary of special education teachers or compensatory educators is $59,780 a year. A special education teacher works with students with disabilities; the teacher works with the students in how they communicate, either because of emotional, cognitive, physical, or behavioral problems.
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