Online Degree in Early Childhood Education

Earning an early childhood education degree online teaches how to have a positive impact on the lives of young children. Therefore, programs look at topics such as how to create a supportive and challenging course of study. This may help children up to eight years old develop the skills that will help them as adults.

Did You Know?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), enrollment in pre-kindergarten-level education has risen from 96,000 to over 1 million during the last 30 years.

Early Childhood Education Degree Online: What You’ll Learn

Early childhood education is how to teach young children before the age of eight. In fact, during these years, a child’s brain develops faster than at any other point in their lives.

Therefore, this is when some important skills are created, such as those listed here.

  • Cognitive skills
  • Social skills
  • Moral outlook
  • Social perceptiveness
  • Self-esteem

While earning an early childhood education degree online, courses teach how to make a positive impact on young children. As a result, some topics include making a course of study that can help grow some of the skills mentioned above. Typically, programs also focus on how to create healthy environments that both encourage and stimulate children during these developmental years.

Early Childhood Education Degree Online - Online ECE Degrees Awarded

Topics of an Early Childhood Education Online Degree

Early childhood education programs ask that you take courses in a few topics. Therefore, this can help provide a well-rounded education so that you may be able to grasp all of the elements that contribute to the growth of your future students. Some of these topics include the following.

  • Stages of Child Development
  • Family Systems
  • Curriculum and Instruction Methods
  • Personnel Management (Recruiting and Hiring Staff)
  • Fiscal, Ethical, and Legal Requirements

Common Early Childhood Education Online Courses

To teach children under the age of eight, courses look at the many parts of a child’s growth and the ways that they learn. Therefore, some of these topics are how children learn and speak language. Also included are how to help them shape their motor and social skills.[i]

As you study how children learn and grow, many courses also cover theories on how to make a course of study that will reach the many learning styles. Consequently, this may help you identify special learners as well.

Check out the list below for some of the common early childhood education online courses.

  • Precursor of Academic Skills
  • Child Development
  • Assessment, Observation, and Intervention
  • Exploring the Principles of Education
  • Early Childhood Health and Science
  • Emerging and Early Literacy Development (K-4)
  • Exceptional Children in the Early Childhood Setting
  • The Early Childhood Learning Environment
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Planning
  • Current Issues and Trends in Early Childhood Education

While earning an online early childhood education degree, schools look to mix theory and practical experience. As a result, many schools ask that students perform a student-teaching assignment in order to earn your degree. However, just like the specific courses and make-up, requirements vary from school to school.


We asked Zoie Hoffman, K-6th Tutor: What do you believe early childhood education is all about?

"Early childhood education is so very important because that is where the foundation for life is laid. In early childhood, children learn how to work with and explore language, numbers, and social constructs.

"A solid education in early childhood will serve a child for the rest of his or her life as they learn higher forms of math and language. Without the exploring stage that occurs in early childhood, number sense and reading skills will be weak and hard to build on as the child moves on to higher level skills."

Zoie Hoffman- Early Childhood Education Degree Online

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Zoie Hoffman, K-6th Tutor

Different Early Childhood Education Online Degree Formats

When you decide to pursue your early childhood education degree online, there a few degree levels for you to choose from. Commonly, each of the levels has their own unique admissions and graduation rules. Also, the higher the degree level you pursue, the more research, writing, and critical analysis is asked. Therefore, to find a perfect fit for you, it’s best to consider your current education level and your future goals.

Each degree level has their own admissions and graduation rules. For instance, to earn a PhD, many schools ask that you write, present, and defend a dissertation in front of a board of faculty. On the other hand, other degree levels may have their own unique rules.

Check out the online early childhood education degree levels here.

Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education Online

While earning an associates degree in early childhood education, courses focus on the basics of how to create better ways to teach young children. This includes how to create a course of study and identify special learners. Most students earn their associates degree in two years.

Early Childhood Education Bachelors Degree Online

Courses during a bachelors degree program in early childhood education teach how to make and assess learning and development in young children. Full-time students typically earn their bachelors degree in four years, though this may vary depending on when courses are available.

Early Childhood Education Certificate Online

Early childhood education certificate online programs are a good way to cover graduate level theories and principles in early childhood education without committing to a long-term degree. Actually, most certificate students attend classes on a part-time basis and earn their certificate in one to two years.

Online Masters in Early Childhood Education

Many online masters degree programs in early childhood education teach how to create a course of study that engages children. In fact, some schools also offer concentrations to focus your degree. Some full-time students can earn their masters in as little as 18 months, though it may take longer for part-time students.

Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online

As the terminal degree in the field, PhD programs in early childhood education teach a complete study of the theories of child development. Accordingly, topics may involve evidence-based interventions, as well as the research and evaluation of whether or not instruction is effective.

Early Childhood Education Degree Online: Accreditations

While you search for a perfect early childhood education school, you may want to look for accredited schools. The two main accrediting bodies are listed below.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

These accreditations look for schools that offer a complete course of study to produce better teachers and create a clear vision. However, these are not the only two accreditations available. In fact, schools that aren’t accredited aren’t necessarily bad schools. Consequently, it just means that you have to perform more research about the program on your own.

Possible Careers in Early Childhood Education

After you have earned your early childhood education degree online, there are a number of different careers that you may pursue. In each of these roles, you may create lesson plans, enforce classroom rules, and communicate with parents.[ii] However, each role has different responsibilities.

  • Preschool Teachers: $31,930[iii]
  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: $60,660[iv]
  • Preschool and Childcare Directors: $49,160[v]
  • Special Education Teachers, Preschool: $61,420[vi]

Many of these roles ask that you have earned an associates degree.[vii] Some jobs, such as a Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher, require a bachelors degree.[viii] Keep in mind that most of these jobs also ask for other licenses or certifications. However, these rules change from state to state.

Credentials: CDA in Early Childhood Education

The CDA, or Child Development Associate, is one of the licenses or certifications you may need to pursue some of the jobs listed above. As a result, this is a nationally recognized credential as a vital part of professional development. Some of the rules to obtain a CDA are listed here.

  • Coursework
  • Field Experience
  • Written Exam
  • Observation[ix]

Take the Next Step!

Are you interested in learning how to apply your skills and knowledge to have a positive impact on the lives of young children? Then take the next step to earn your early childhood education degree online. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page. While there, you can learn more about each school and their unique make-up. Finally, you can even contact your favorites directly to request more information.

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] [ix]