Working with children is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs out there and an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education will provide you with a number of great opportunities. As more and more importance is placed on quality education during the younger years, there is
an increased demand for professionals with a true understanding of what young children really need in order to give them the best foundation for the future. An online degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) can help you to develop the skills that will allow you to fulfill one of the most satisfying and influential roles in a child’s life.
There are a great number of choices when it comes to studying for an online degree in Early Childhood Education and many factors you will need to consider when making your choice. Some people may be looking for the cheapest options, while the priority of others may be the opportunity to specialize in a certain area of childhood education. The criteria used in order to determine the following rankings of the 20 best providers of this particular online degree can be divided into three main categories: academic excellence, return on investment, and incidental benefit.
* * *
1. Granite State College (Littleton, NH)
Granite State College, founded in 1972, is one of four that make up the University System of New Hampshire and the institution was founded. The school offers online degree programs with the intention of making higher education accessible for everyone across the state of New Hampshire, with particular emphasis on providing education to adults of all ages. It is currently rated 27th on the U.S. News & World Report‘s category for Best Online Bachelor’s Degree programs.
The ECE program offered by Granite State College is a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S) in Early Childhood Education with Teacher Certification. Completing this program will qualify students to obtain teaching certificates in either or both of the areas of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Students will develop a great range of skills while studying on this program, including how to understand research conducted on the brain and the way this can be applied to learning and teaching methods; ways to effectively utilize technology within teaching methods; and how to design programs and monitor and assess student progress.
This institution offers a curriculum based on standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
2. University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
The University of Cincinnati, known as UC for short, is a public research university. It was founded in 1819 and is currently one of the largest universities in the U.S., with over 40,000 students enrolling on a yearly basis. In 2010, UC was ranked in the Top 100 Universities in North America and the Top 200 in the world by Times Higher Education.
The University of Cincinnati offers programs in both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Care and Education. The former is directed more towards those who are already in positions within preschools or other child-related settings, who hope to develop the understanding and skills to enable them to properly nurture early language, reading, and writing development.
The bachelor’s degree can be studied entirely online with a combination of field visits for practical experience, and on completing the course students will be prepared to apply their understanding of early childhood theory to an education setting of children from birth to five years old.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Ohio Department of Education.
3. UMass Online (Amherst, MA)
UMass Online is the online department of the University of Massachusetts (Umass) system, whose flagship campus is located in Amherst, in the western part of the state.
Umass is a public research and land grant University. It is the largest such higher education institution in New England. The university was founded in 1863, and has been a leader in distance education for over 25 years.
Faculty members are constant top performers, contributing to valuable research and winning awards and recognition. UMass was identified as one of the Top Colleges and Universities Contributing to Teach for America’s 2010 Teaching Corps.
Umass Online’s offers a B.A. in Early Care and Education Concentrations. They advertise this course as being suitable for both individuals with some experience in the field of early childhood education and those who are completely new to it. The degree is flexible, taking into account their students additional commitments. It can be completed 100% online and will provide you with the skills to progress in your career in a child-care center or preschool.
The University of Massachusetts has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and has won a number of awards for its online learning courses. These include an Excellence in Teaching award in 2008 and being ranked among the Top 10 Online Degrees Colleges in 2009.
4. Western Governors University (Salt Lake City, UT)
Western Governors University, known as WGU for short, is a private, non-profit University located in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was founded in 1997. It is a competency-based university that was funded by 19 states and utilizes online learning.
Students have their own mentors with whom they work online and testing is performed at various local testing centers. WGU was ranked number one in GuidetoOnlineSchools.com’s Top Online Colleges in 2013, improving on its 2nd place ranking from the year before.
A B.A. in Early Childhood Education is one of the programs of study offered by Western Governors University, the content of which is based on research in this field as well as national and state standards. The skills gained from this course will allow students to become effective teachers in preschool through grade 3 and other childcare environments. Areas of study will include developmental, cultural, social, and academic skills that are required by a teacher in order to competently take care and educate young children.
WGU has a number of accreditations, including from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) and the National Council for Accreditation of teacher Education (NCATE).
5. Post University (Waterbury, CT)
Post University, located in Waterbury, Connecticut, was established in 1890, and was known as Post College until 1990. It is a fairly small university which focuses on providing day, evening, and online courses in a variety of subjects. Between 1990–2004, the university was affiliated with Teikyo University in Japan, so for just over a decade it was known as Teikyo Post University.
Post University is currently ranked 19th on U.S. News & World Report‘s list for best online bachelors degree programs.
Post University has an excellent archive of tools and resources that enable it to provide quality higher education online. The class sizes are small, with no more than 12 students in each, and are taught by professionals who are both highly educated and highly experienced in their field.
The Early Childhood Education degree provided here focuses on innovation, creativity and leadership, and gaining the skills to understand research and apply findings in order to constantly develop and improve your effectiveness as an educator and caregiver.
This degree will qualify you for a career as a preschool teacher, teacher assistant, childcare worker, or nanny, among various others, and over 75% of individuals who have graduated with this degree are employed in a position relating to the field.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accredit Post University through the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
6. Pacific Oaks College (Pasadena, CA)
Established in 1945, Pacific Oaks College—which is located in Pasadena, California—offers both campus-based and online higher education. Students can study either full-time or part-time and a range of subjects are offered.
Pacific Oaks is known for its anti-bias curriculum and works to challenge and change social injustices and to educate on issues concerning social changes and human and child development.
Students of the Pacific Oaks B.A. in Early Childhood Education will gain the necessary skills and teaching methodology that will enable them to create an optimal learning environment in which to implement effective teaching techniques. Cognitive development has a large focus in this course, as well as the nurturing of young children’s language, motor skills, psychosocial learning, and problem solving abilities.
Students in this degree program will have the option to complete specialized coursework and practical experience in order to qualify for the California Preliminary Multiple Subject (MSEL) Teaching Credential.
Since 1959, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Pacific Oaks College.
7. Concordia University (Saint Paul, MN)
Concordia University, founded in 1893, is located in Saint Paul, Minnesota (and should not be confused with several other colleges and universities with the same or similar names). The university offers a range of programs, including undergraduate majors and minors and licensure and colloquy programs. In 2013, Concordia University was recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the category of Best Online Bachelors Degrees.
The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education will set students up with the skills to work with young children from birth to five years old. Foundation courses in Early Childhood Education are a requirement for admission to this course. Students will focus on the all-round development of a child, including the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive factors. Upon graduation, students will have gained the skills and knowledge to create an environment in which children can thrive and natural curiosity is embraced.
The program was designed in accordance with the standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.
8. Aspen University (Denver, CO)
Aspen University was established in 1987 and is a distant learning higher education institution. Among a variety of other subjects, Aspen offers degrees in computer science, criminal justice, nursing, addictions counselling, and education, at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.
The B.S. in Early Childhood Education is intended either to begin a career in the field of early childhood care and education or to advance an existing one. Topics covered in the course include child development, education psychology, and curriculum design. Students can choose between specializing in either preschool or infancy in order to target their professional aspirations.
Although this program does not include teacher licensing or certification, it does provide the option of gaining a Child Development Associate credential.
The Accrediting Commission of the Distant Education and Training Council (DETC) accredits Aspen University. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) has authorised Aspen University to operate as a private university.
9. Ashworth College (Norcross, GA)
Ashworth College, located in Georgia, was established in 1987. It is a for-profit, distance education institution, which offers both higher education and secondary education. Since 1987 it has enrolled over 2 million students in its programs from all over world.
Master’s degrees were introduced in 2004 and bachelor’s degrees in 2007. Programs can be started at any time according to the convenience of the student.
Acceptance into the bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education provided by Ashworth College requires a high school diploma or GED. The program is designed to equip students to make a genuine difference in their career in preschool, day-care, and special education settings. Topics cover public speaking, child development, health, safety, and nutrition, and home, school, community, and child psychology.
The Distance Education and Training Council accredits Ashworth College.
10. Brandman University (Irvine, CA)
Brandman University has campuses located throughout California and is a non-profit higher education institute. The university offers a range of degrees, certificates, and programs in subjects including business, arts and sciences, health, and education.
Brandman focuses on providing higher education to working adults of all ages, and as a military-friendly school it offers discounts to active military as well as their spouse and dependents.
Brandman University is currently ranked eight on U.S. News & World Report‘s list for best online bachelor’s degree programs.
Brandman University offers a B.A. in Childhood Education with a curriculum based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) professional preparation standards for Initial Licensure.
Students will learn the skills to work with children from birth to eight years of age, and to effectively educate and nurture them. Topics covered on this course will include child development, relationships, learning environments, observation, assessment, and meaningful content with regards to curriculum design.
Brandman University is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC).
11. Columbus State University (Columbus, GA)
Columbus State University was established in 1958 and was voted in the Top 100 of all regional universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. U.S. News also rated the university in the category of Best Online Programs. The institution attracts students from around the world to study for one of their 46 undergraduate degree programs.
The B.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education offered by Columbus State University places emphasis on the use of contemporary research and theory to provide new teachers with the skills and knowledge to provide young children with the nurturing and education that they need in order to thrive. Graduates will be able to teach from preschool level to grade five and this course leads to an entry-level Georgia certification.
In 1997, the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators (GATE) selected this institution and this specific course as the Distinguished Program in Teacher Education. The University has accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
12. Ashford University (Clinton, IA)
Ashford University was established in 1918 and currently offers over 50 degree programs either on campus or online. The majority of Ashford University’s students opt to study online due to their impressive online resources and community.
The online bachelor of arts degree in Early Childhood Education is described as having the ability to launch your career in the field of ECE as an expert. The program covers various theories of child development and teaches students how to design relevant programs and follow curricula. The skills and knowledge gained will give you the confidence and methodology to care for and educate young children in a variety of settings.
Although the course does not lead to teacher licensure or certification, it does provide the opportunity to specialize in infant and toddler care.
Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.
13. Kendall College (Chicago, IL)
Kendall College was established in 1934 and is a for-profit college located in Chicago. It specializes in programs in hospitality management, culinary arts, business, and early childhood education. It is a campus and online-based higher education institution.
Kendall College offers a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with Illinois Teacher Licensure (Preparation). The focus of this course is on care and education of children from birth to Grade 3, with the option to prepare for teacher licensure in the state of Illinois. Students will have an option regarding the areas of study in which they would like to concentrate or specialize, including Childhood Nutrition, English as a Second Language (ESL), special education, or Infants and Toddlers.
Kendall College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
14. Park University (Parkville, MO)
Park University, with headquarters in Parkville, Missouri, has over 40 campuses in 21 states, not to mention its online presence. It is a non-profit, private higher education institution providing degree programs at a range of levels and covering a variety of subjects. It is currently one of the top providers of education for the U.S. military.
The B.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education as offered by Park University requires a minimum of 120 hours with a certain number of flexible hours for students to choose the area of study in which they would like to concentrate.
The curriculum is very comprehensive and covers a great range of topics that fall under ECE. A few examples of modules include Technology in Education, Art, Music, and Movement, Education of Exceptional Children, and Personal and Community Health.
Park University personalizes its online courses so that they best match the needs of the student and are also easily accessible and attainable.
15. Kaplan University (Davenport, IA)
Kaplan University is a for-profit institute of higher education with a number of campuses located in Iowa, Nebraska, and Maryland. However, it is currently predominantly an online-learning institution. Between those enrolled online and on-campus students, students exceed 66,000. Discounted rates are provided to members of the military.
Among the many bachelor of science degrees offered by Kaplan University is the one in Early Childhood Education. The university has recognized the growing need for the use of knowledgeable and skilled professionals to properly care for and nurture the development of young children. Among various other topics, this program will focus on child growth and development, ethics, health and nutrition, and lesson planning.
It is a non-licensure program that will provide students with a strong foundation upon which to base their career.
16. Vanguard University of Southern California (Costa Mesa, CA)
Established in 1920, Vanguard University of Southern California is a private institute of higher education. It was once known as Southern California Bible College and currently offers courses at both graduate and undergraduate level in various subjects. Vanguard was named among the Christian Colleges of Distinction in 1012–2013, and also made the list of Forbes magazine’s America’s Best Colleges, in 2013.
Vanguard University offers both associate’s and bachelor’s online degree programs in Early Childhood Education. The university recognizes the rising standards expected in teachers of children of increasingly younger ages and has designed its courses to meet these high standards and requirements.
Online study at this institution is accessible anywhere and at anytime. Teachers are experienced both in the field of ECE and teaching degree courses online.
17. City University of Seattle (Seattle, WA)
City University of Seattle is the largest independent university in the Pacific Northwest, and offers both graduate and under graduate programs. It is a Jesuit Catholic University that was established in 1891.
The university offers 61 bachelor’s degree programs, 31 graduate degree programs, and 27 certificate programs. It also has a doctoral program in education.
City University of Seattle is currently ranked in the top 50 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list for best online bachelor’s degree programs.
In the online bachelor of arts degree program in Early Childhood Education, students will be able to combine theory learning with practical experience in the field. They will learn how to develop and apply a research-based curriculum and various strategies and teaching methodologies, as well as how to plan and run lessons that nurture cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development in young children.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, a regional accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits City University of Seattle.
18. Ferris State University (Big Rapids, MI)
Ferris State University—also sometimes known as Ferris State or FSU for short—was founded in 1884. Located in central Michigan, the university was originally an industrial school noteworthy for accepting female students.
Today, FSU has over 14,000 students either studying on various campuses or online. The school offers two- and four-year degree programs, with an emphasis on preparing students for successful careers. It has an excellent rate of employment among graduates and all classes, both on campus and online, are taught by professionals.
Ferris State offers a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education aimed at individuals who love to be around children and are prepared to work hard in order to give them the best possible start in life. This program covers, among other topics, early childhood development, nutrition, first aid, and children’s literature and child psychology. It also provides students with a foundation education in other subjects they would be expected to teach, including English, math, science, and social studies.
Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
19. Southwestern College (Winfield, KS)
Southwestern University, known as SU, was established in 1885 and is located in Winfield, Kansas. It offers a range of programs either on campus or online. It is a four-year private college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Southwestern College is currently ranked 30th on U.S. News & World Report‘s list for best online bachelor’s degree programs.
The online Early Childhood \degree program offered by SU can be completed entirely online for the convenience of students, allowing them to study anywhere and anytime. Although this is a non-licensure program, it will prepare students for the ECE exam and qualify them to apply for licensure to teach children from birth to age 8. A comprehensive range of topics is covered in this program, including teaching young children with disabilities, infant development, assessment strategies, and home, school, and community issues.
Southwestern College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association and is further accredited by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.
20. Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ)
Grand Canyon University, established in 1949, is a private, for-profit Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona. They started offering online degree programs, including those in Early Childhood Education, in 2003–2004. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks it in the top 100 of all U.S. online higher education providers.
Grand Canyon University records and archives each and every one of its classes, which may then be viewed by the institute’s distance or online students. All study material is therefore accessible day and night, providing flexibility for students to work at their convenience.
The faculty encourage interaction and discussions between classmates, as well as one-on-one instruction. The B.S. in Early Childhood Education focuses on areas including instructional strategies, teaching methodologies, assessment techniques, theories of early childhood growth and development, and impact of family and cultural diversity. Skills gained will allow students to successfully motivate and educate children from birth through third grade,
The Higher Learning Commission continually accredits Grand Canyon University.