Early Childhood Education Degree Online

Beyond teaching young children, early childhood educators oversee and assist in children's social development, encourage effective learning environments, and watch for signs of developmental or emotional challenges. Early childhood educators perform these tasks in preschools, elementary schools, and childcare facilities, and can focus on special needs learners. These options make the field intriguing since learners can pursue degrees suited to individual interests.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job outlook for preschool teachers will increase by 10% by 2026, with the average salary at $28,990 across all schools $30,320 in religious institutions specifically. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students can use early childhood education degrees in Christian settings by teaching children at religious elementary schools or preschools. Candidates may also teach classes at churches and interact with children through nonprofits.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job outlook for preschool teachers will increase by 10% by 2026, with the average salary at $28,990 across all schools $30,320 in religious institutions specifically.

Teacher requirements vary by state, but often include completion of specific education, fieldwork, and assessments. The type of classroom may also influence licensure elements. For instance, a preschool teacher may need an associate degree, while a kindergarten educator may require a bachelor's. Certain states may insist that K-12 educators hold a master's degree as well. To ensure that students earn applicable credentials, candidates should research their state's licensure details before graduating.

Online schools for early childhood education allow candidates to earn degrees from home. This flexibility eliminates commuting costs and on-campus expenses, such as room and board.

Online programs may also deliver course information asynchronously, meaning classes include no specific attendance time. Instead, learners log onto class websites to complete coursework within a designated time period. Students enjoy flexibility but still operate within deadlines, especially useful for working professionals and students with family and church responsibilities.

Online students gain the same field expertise as on-campus candidates and explore their faith through identical coursework.

Students in an early childhood education bachelor's degree online complete a curriculum similar to an on-campus degree. Online students gain the same field expertise as on-campus candidates and explore their faith through identical coursework. Pursuing an early childhood education degree online at Christian colleges also provides online networking opportunities grounded in the school's faith. Institutions may supply online counseling, live worship services, and interactive forums.

Early childhood education online degrees often require student teaching experiences, practicums, and fieldwork. By earning the degree from home, candidates can fulfill these program elements at local organizations to build professional connections for employment after graduation.

How Long Does It Take to Earn Your Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education Online?

Earning a bachelor's in early childhood education online may require 120 credits and four years to complete. However, many program factors alter this time commitment, such as programs with accelerated-pace learning options. Students taking maximum credit loads or enrolling part time will find their completion time will vary: A learner who completes 21 credits per semester may finish a 120-credit program in less than three years, while a part-time student may take five or more years.

Pursuing an early childhood education degree online often includes coursework in childhood psychology, curriculum development, and classroom management. Program specializations also influence curriculum, such as courses on disabilities for a special education focus. In addition to these field courses, candidates must also complete general education requirements that include English and math classes. Schools with Christian connections may also require candidates to complete theological courses. These classes examine the Bible and general theology concepts.

Schools offering an early childhood education degree online may provide specializations that link to particular careers. These concentrations often determine program curricula. For instance, a student taking early childhood education classes online can choose a special education concentration to prepare for teaching children with disabilities, and should expect classes that reflect this focus. Not all schools offer specializations, but students can explore institutions with these opportunities when studying early childhood education online.

  • STEM Education

    Students who choose a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) specialization study to teach related concepts to children and prepare young learners for achievement in a technological world.

  • Trauma Studies

    These concentrations provide information for helping children who are enduring or have endured significant hardship, such as a family death or child abuse.

  • Educational Technology

    Students explore strategies for delivering technological ideas to children and gain tips for using current technology within early childhood classrooms.

Pursuing an early childhood education degree online heightens career opportunities in steps. For instance, candidates with only a high school diploma can work in childcare settings, but earning an early childhood education associate degree online prepares graduates for positions as teacher assistants and preschool teachers. Each of these associate careers includes a median salary above what the BLS reports for childcare workers.

Graduates can become instructional coordinators, who earn a median salary of $63,750.

A bachelor's in the field allows candidates to become kindergarten and elementary school teachers. These professions offer a median salary of $56,900. Going forward to obtain a master's in early childhood education online opens additional doors. For example, graduates can become instructional coordinators, who earn a median salary of $63,750. Some colleges require a master's degree when hiring teachers. Candidates who earn a master's in education could earn positions as postsecondary educators. The BLS reports the median salary for this profession as $76,000.

These master's-level positions command higher wages, but may also require further credentials. For instance, instructional coordinators in public schools may need a related license.

After earning an early childhood education bachelor's degree online, candidates can explore employment inside and outside the classroom. Professionals can work as kindergarten teachers or in childcare settings. Some of these positions do not require a bachelor's degree, though a higher degree often leads to higher salaries and advanced career opportunities. For any early childhood career, applicants should possess a strong attention to detail, enjoy working with children, boast strong communication skills, and practice patience to manage multiple young learners at one time.

Childcare Workers

These professionals provide meals and design daily itineraries that encourage learning and safety for children. Responsibilities vary based on a child's age. For instance, childcare workers assist school-age attendants with homework and also change diapers for younger children. A bachelor's degree in early childhood education indicates that candidates possess the skills to tend to these tasks.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Preschool and childcare center directors choose staff members, oversee current employees, and create organizational policies. Additionally, these directors discuss children's advancement with parents and tend to budgets. Many organizations require a bachelor's for this position.

Preschool Teachers

These teachers educate children under five years about basic academic concepts, such as counting and identifying shapes. Some organizations only require an associate for this position, but holding a bachelor's implies a more advanced field understanding.

Teacher Assistants

Career responsibilities include helping children understand course information, upholding classroom regulations, and preparing classrooms for daily lessons. Since teacher assistants may only need two years of college, graduates with a four-year bachelor's qualify for these positions.
Occupation Minimum Degree Required Employment Hourly Median Wage Annual Mean Wage
Childcare Worker High School Diploma 1,216,600 $10.72 $22,290
Preschool and Childcare Center Director Bachelor's 61,800 $22.54 $46,890
Preschool Teacher Associate 478,500 $13.94 $28,990
Teacher Assistant Some College 1,308,100 $12.63 $26,260

Most teachers in public schools must earn a teaching license, though licensure details vary by state. The first step in earning this license involves checking state requirements for a guide on how to become a teacher.

For most candidates, the licensure process involves a licensing exam, such as the Praxis. Praxis exams require fees, but these costs vary based on subject. For instance, the exam for applied content knowledge for teaching in elementary education costs $210, while the social studies exam for elementary education costs $60. Certain exams can take two hours to complete, and candidates should receive score results on scheduled days within 2-3 weeks of completing the assessment. Candidates may need to explore other credentials, such as a special education certification, for related positions.

The Council for Professional Recognition offers CDA application options for center-based preschools focusing on specific age groups, family childcare, and home visitors.

Additional certifications exist for career advancement, including the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. The Council for Professional Recognition offers CDA application options for center-based preschools focusing on specific age groups, family childcare, and home visitors. These opportunities verify in-depth expertise in tending to children. Earning CDA credentials may require fees, training, and evidence of related work experience.

Graduates who want to open childcare facilities may need to obtain a childcare license. This process varies by state, but common licensing details include providing evidence of sufficient space, maintaining safety guidelines, undergoing a background check, and earning educational prerequisites.

Accrediting agencies hold the authority to review schools and programs to determine their academic merit. Approved institutions receive accredited status. Students should only consider accredited online colleges for early childhood education for two reasons: First, accreditation guarantees that the institution meets standards of academic excellence. Second, only students enrolled in accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid.

Schools can receive national or regional accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to vocational and trade programs, while regional accreditation is for more academic schools. Additionally, programmatic accreditation, also known as specialized accreditation, verifies a particular program's worth.

When earning an early childhood education degree, students can look to schools and programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. Additionally, Christian schools can earn accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International.

Professional organizations provide candidates with events and conferences that promote networking, which can lead to information on open job positions and recommendation letters. These events also introduce attendees to new field concepts. Group members may browse site resources to explore early childhood education tips or seek job search assistance. To experience these benefits, early childhood education majors and graduates can look to the following groups.

  • Association for Childhood Education International

    This association focuses on educational improvement and provides two publications: "Journal of Research in Childhood Education" and "Childhood Education: Innovations." The group started in 1892 to endorse the kindergarten grade level, a new innovation at the time.

  • Council for Exceptional Children

    This council considers policies that concern the educational needs of exceptional children. The group's definition of exceptional children includes learners with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, as well as gifted and talented learners.

  • Division for Early Childhood

    The focus for this organization is children under eight with developmental challenges. The group delivers a yearly conference to educate attendees on related information.

  • Military Child Education Coalition

    MCEC provides professionals and parents with programs, training, and webinars regarding the educational needs of children with military parents.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children

    NAEYC boasts almost 60,000 members and focuses on children eight and under. The group hosts a yearly conference and a public policy forum to connect members to new ideas and policy concerns.

  • National Black Child Development Institute

    This group specializes in providing guidance and insight on educational issues that relate to black children. Addressed ideas include literacy and family involvement.

  • Zero to Three

    Zero to Three focuses on Issues that impact the development of toddlers and infants. The site delivers information on topics such as brain development, sleep, and literacy, as well as policy concerns.

  • National Head Start Association

    This association advocates for children in unpleasant situations by striving for policy improvement. The group encourages early learning opportunities so that children can build a foundation for lifelong learning.

Candidates who do not have the funds to pay for college should explore financial aid options. Scholarships and grants supply assistance without the need for repayment. Early childhood education majors may consider the following opportunities.

Early Childhood Education Scholarships

Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Scholars Scholarships for Academic Credit $2,028

Students pursuing an associate, bachelor's, master's, certificate, or technical diploma may apply for this funding. However, recipients must demonstrate financial need and hold specific positions at childcares or school systems. View Scholarship

Early Learning Scholarships from Washington Early Achievers $9,000

Candidates can apply for this funding to pursue a bachelor's in early childhood education or a Montessori credential at an approved school, provided they can supply evidence of working with a related organization. View Scholarship

STEM Major Scholarships for Undergraduate Students Varies

Undergraduate learners in at least their second year of education may qualify with a 3.0 GPA and a STEM-related major. Since early childhood education programs can involve STEM concentrations, this funding could apply toward degree pursuits. Recipients may not study at community colleges. View Scholarship

Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program $2,250-$4,500

Massachusetts learners in majors related to early childhood education may apply, but to avoid repayment, they must agree to use the degree in the state after graduation. Applicants also need one year of experience working in early childhood education. View Scholarship

Early Childhood or School-Age Care Provider Scholarship 85% of tuition

Candidates must work a minimum of 20 hours a week in childcare, or at a related setting, in Minnesota. Students in early childhood education programs and learners striving for the CDA Credential may qualify. View Scholarship

Early Childhood Development Scholarship $1,800 per year

Kentucky residents may qualify when pursuing an associate or bachelor's in early childhood education, or while pursuing the CDA Credential. Additionally, applicants must work in a childcare or preschool for at least 20 hours per week. View Scholarship

James and Patricia Sood Scholarship $2,500

Candidates interested in education programs may earn this scholarship if they or someone they know suffered from cancer when the applicant was age 15-39. View Scholarship

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant $4,000 per year

Candidates must agree to teach in underprivileged areas for at least four years after graduation. Recipients may also need evidence of academic merit, such as a 3.25 GPA or higher. View Scholarship

Inspire Our Future Scholarship $500

Current and future teachers, as well as educational administrators, may qualify for this funding. Applicants must hold a 3.5 GPA and submit the online form. View Scholarship

Prospective Educator Scholarships $500-$2,000

Members of Phi Delta Kappa International, Educators Rising, and Pi Lambda Theta should apply by completing the form, writing a personal statement, submitting a recommendation letter, and providing transcripts. View Scholarship