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Top 20 Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Programs for 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs available in early childhood education are projected to grow by 7% between 2014 and 2024. Online early childhood education degree graduates are qualified to enter the field in numerous positions, which include teaching and directing. Early childhood educators play a vital role in society, as they influence our children and help shape their future.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS?

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Program

Students considering earning their early childhood education degree online should consider many factors as they compare various programs, including curriculum content, classroom setting requirements, and how the program supports online students.

WHAT WILL I LEARN IN THIS PROGRAM?

Course content can vary between programs, and students should seek programs that offer courses in subject matter that aligns with their career and individual interests. Core courses cover the various learning styles of children and teaching methodologies that meet a wide range of needs and abilities. It’s important to know your intended career path, as online schools for early childhood education focus on different aspects of the field and better prepare students for certain careers.

WILL I GET TO WORK IN A CLASSROOM IF I ATTEND AN ONLINE PROGRAM?

Students who plan to pursue teaching licensure after they complete their accredited online early childhood education degree should verify that the program they wish to attend includes a clinical component, which is required by state licensure commissions. This means that degree candidates are offered opportunities to learn and apply their knowledge in a classroom environment under the supervision of a licensed instructor, who acts as a mentor and oversees the development of their teaching skills.

HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM SUPPORT ONLINE STUDENTS?

Online schools for early childhood education vary in the level of support they provide to online students. Some universities help students secure a classroom student teaching position. Schools often provide mentors and other online resources for distance learners, such as career services and interview preparation. Mentors supply degree candidates with helpful strategies for managing difficult students and balancing the demands of parents with government-mandated curricula.

Accreditation for Early Childhood Education Programs

Accreditation is awarded after a school has passed inspection by an accreditation agency. National accreditation agencies generally accredit vocational, career, and trade schools; it is seen as less prestigious than region accreditation. Regionally accredited graduate schools typically require applicants to have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Regional accreditation means that a school’s program has met the high standards applied by one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. Students may want to look for program accreditation that’s awarded by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The NAEYC applies the highest standards in evaluating programs for accreditation to meet state licensure requirements.

Careers for Graduates of this Program

Early childhood education degree online graduates are prepared for many careers. These jobs generally entail hands-on work educating children. Some early childhood education jobs are managerial or administrative in nature, such as a position directing a child care facility. Regardless of your ultimate ambition, students are able to find rewarding work after completing an online early childhood education degree.

Job Outlook and Salary

Preschool and child care directors are projected to see substantial job growth in the coming years. A professional in the field of early childhood education should be aware that several factors are at play with regard to salary. This includes the specific career, the setting, and location. Private institutions may offer higher salaries and certain states are going to have higher median salaries do to job demand.

Employment Growth for Early Childhood Education Professionals
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
64,000 68,200

Source: BLS

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

More years of experience within a field will lead to a higher salary. An elementary school teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will earn significantly more money as they acquire years of experience. The table below shows how this can affect the salary potential for various early childhood education careers.


To determine the best online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 10 best online bachelor’s in early childhood education programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.