Online Bachelors in Early Childhood Education Guide

Earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (ECE) means you’ll be able to work directly with young children in an educational role. You’ll be able to influence the development of their young minds and help them develop a love for learning.

Some university degree programs have been created for students who have already earned their associate degrees in ECE and want to progress farther in this educational field, though most students start at the bachelor’s level and move on from there.

You should focus on looking for accredited programs when you decide to focus on early childhood (regional and programmatic accreditation are both available), which can provide you with more value as you interview with school districts.

Sample Curriculum Themes/Focus:

  • Creating Effective Learning Environments
  • Early Literacy, Language, and Social Studies
  • Supporting ECE Science and Math
  • Meeting the Needs of Young Children with Disabilities

Is an Online Bachelors in Education Right For You?


With a bachelor’s in early childhood education, you’ll be able to begin working immediately in your own classroom. You may begin as a teacher’s assistant and lay the groundwork for going back to school for your master’s in ECE.

Choosing an online option gives you the leeway to complete required coursework on a schedule that fits your commitments. Even better, that online degree is just as valuable as its in-person counterpart. You’ll be trained in childhood development theories and have high-level educational skills.

You’ll be able to design teaching strategies that are appropriate for the ages of the children you will be teaching. This will allow you to meet them at their developmental level and support their academic needs. You’ll also have the knowledge to understand summarize various principles of child development: cognitive, social-emotional, linguistic, and physical.

Looking at different strategies involving collaboration and communication, you’ll be able to create a dialogue with communities, colleagues, and families. Along with teaching, you’ll be knowledgeable enough to hold and advance ethical standards in teaching and in collaboration with fellow teachers. You’ll also be able to critically apply research and theories as you develop lesson plans.


While you may able to find an ECE teaching position, you may be limited in what positions you can hold and earning power. This is because a graduate degree gives you greater access to administration positions and higher salary caps in public and private school settings. It also provides a greater depth of information on childhood learning. While you will learn similar material in your graduate program, it will be much more detailed and scholastically rigorous.

Earning a master’s in early childhood education also opens doors for you that a bachelor’s degree would not. And a master’s degree program is much more focused than a bachelor’s. You’ll also be able to choose a specialization in early childhood education, such as special education or English language acquisition.

Your income will move to a higher bracket after you earn your master’s in ECE. Your employer, along with a large segment of other employers and occupations, understand that you deserve higher pay when you have more education to draw on.

If you choose not to advance to a master’s degree, you may be passed over for promotions that become available - especially if these would put you into a supervisory position that holds additional responsibilities.

Certificate Vs. Bachelor’s Online

Is earning a certificate in early childhood education a good way to move into the classroom? It is. For instance, if you work and take care of your family, then a four-year degree may not be an immediate option for you. You may still be able to earn the degree you need, but earning a certificate or an associate degree in education may be the perfect first step to allow you to earn experience and get started in education.

Consider earning an early childhood education certificate or associate degree. Depending on the one you choose, you may complete your program in less than one year. Once you have that, you can begin working as a teacher’s aide, preschool teacher, childcare worker, personal care aide, or as a tutor. All of this allows you to work with this age group and provides experience on which you can build with higher education when you are ready.

What Types of Bachelor Programs are Available Online?

- Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

This online degree enables you to become familiar with the different careers in ECE. You’ll also engage in career-focused courses in teaching techniques and child development. After you graduate, you’ll be able to apply for classroom jobs. You’ll learn how to provide students with the environment that will help them to develop.

- Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

This degree program introduces you to the steady development of a child from infancy through age 8. Once a child is in preschool, it’s the teacher’s responsibility to introduce them to numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and social situations. You’ll learn how to provide that healthy foundation for your students so that they remain eager to learn.

At this level, you begin to understand how young children develop. What characterizes a young child developmentally, emotionally, socially, and physically? What influences how the child develops and learns? You’ll learn all of this, as well as exploring what kinds of environments are the healthiest for the healthy growth of children.

- Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

This degree will help you obtain a broad understanding of childhood development from the viewpoint of how society and family impacts the growing child. You’ll also learn about brain development and how this affects the child’s ability to learn, explore peer cooperation, and early cognition and collaboration. You’ll learn how to create a learning environment, create a curriculum, and expand learning opportunities.

What are the Admission Requirements?

Before beginning the admission process, you’ll usually need to take your SAT or ACT exams. If you were previously enrolled at a different college or university, you’ll have to submit official college transcripts from that school. If this is your first time enrolling in college, you’ll need to request your official high school transcripts, which the administration office for your school district will mail for you.

After you have been admitted, you’ll need to request admission to the early childhood education program at your college, satisfy the GPA requirement and the lower-division coursework requirement, as well as the general education requirement.

How long does it take to earn a Bachelors in Education Online?

If you’re taking your degree program 100% online, you may have classes that are a little shorter than the length of a traditional, in-person class. For instance, one class called ‘Early Childhood Foundations and the Teaching Profession’ lasts for 7 weeks and ‘Childhood Development: Prenatal to Adolescence’ lasts 8 weeks.

Class lengths in a traditional format last 15 weeks, plus you take four or five classes per semester to earn 120 credits for graduation in about four years. In your online program, you may be able to graduate in less than four years if you choose to take extra classes at once or continue to take classes during summer months. By skipping breaks, you can earn your degree much more quickly. Of course, not every school allows accelerated course schedules, so you’ll have to check with prospective schools if this is your plan.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education?

- Preschool Teacher

At the beginning, you can work as a teacher’s aide or assistant teacher, receiving supervision from a mentor. Expect to work in private schools, public schools, and childcare centers. Depending on where you are employed, your responsibilities may vary. With a four-year degree, your future employment outlook and career options are solid.

Average annual salary: $33,000

- Special Education Teacher-Preschool, Kindergarten, or Elementary

In this position, you’ll work with students who are diagnosed with physical, emotional, mental, or learning disabilities. While SPED teachers work at all grade levels, your education and skills are especially needed at the early childhood learning level, where you will assess the child’s skills and needs. You’ll also revisit this assessment regularly.

Average annual salary: $49,000

- Childcare Center Director

Here, you’ll operate the childcare center where you are employed; you’ll ensure the daily operations are completed by your staff of early childhood educators, aides, and assistants. During the day, you oversee the teachers and aides, ensuring that each child is receiving the care they need and that they are safe.

Average annual salary: $44,000

- Daycare Director

In this position, you’ll manage and supervise your daycare workers and every detail of a daycare center/preschool. You’ll supervise all activities that involve the children and lead the staff. You’ll also be responsible for monitoring the center’s money (budget, payroll, and client payments). If your supervisor is an independent owner, they will have to follow specific rules and policies.

Average annual salary: $38,000

- Kindergarten Teacher

Here you’ll create lesson plans and schedule each day’s activities for your students. You’ll also need to keep track of the progress each child is making. You’ll need to know about social and emotional development of a child of this age so that you can structure lessons that help them develop these skills. And you’ll help your students to begin adding more knowledge and skills to the foundation of what they already know.

Average annual salary: $41,000

- Assistant Director, Childcare

You are responsible for planning, carrying out and evaluating programs and curriculum for children in the childcare center where you supervise the childcare workers. You create the physical environment so that it can help young children’s changing needs, ensure the environment is clean and safe, and instruct the workers in best practices of childcare.

Average annual salary: $35,000

- Primary School Teacher

In this position, you’ll work with children in the first through third grades. You’ll plan and teach a more advanced curriculum including science, reading, math, and literature. You will supervise your students and ensure they are behaving appropriately for the classroom. You’ll grade their schoolwork and create projects that enhance your curriculum.

Average annual salary: $44,000

- Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Your bachelor’s in early childhood education will give you a solid understanding of a young child’s educational needs. You’ll learn the instructional concepts that will help you to increase the achievement levels of your students. You’ll also help them achieve their developmental milestones as they continue in your classroom.

Average annual salary: $38,000

How to Choose the Right Program for You

If you have family or work commitments, it may be difficult, if not impossible, for you to attend an on-campus education program. An online early childhood education degree helps you to navigate the other obligations you can’t let go of while you earn a degree to get you into the career you’re seeking. If you’re worried about learning straight from the professor, most online programs have interactive videos and recorded lectures for you to use whenever you have the time. Others include synchronous class times when every student must show up for their online lecture.

An online program is flexible. If your work hours or family obligations are unpredictable, then this flexibility can allow you to make needed changes so that you can take care of problems or change working hours without missing a scheduled class. You’ll also gain benefits from interacting with fellow students who come from backgrounds different from your own.

If you can’t leave your community to go to school in California, New York, Colorado, or wherever else you find the perfect program for you, you may be able to virtually attend an online ECE degree program at a university in nearly any state in the country. Once you know your career goals, you can look for a university that offers exactly the program you need.

If you’re worried that an online degree program won’t be as challenging as an in-person program, then look around at the schools that most interest you. Discuss your questions and concerns with admissions officials. Not every student is suited for online learning and some may do better in a face-to-face environment. If you do have the ability to stay focused in a virtual degree program, then you are sure to do well in your classes. You’ll have more time in an online setting to review materials. You’ll also be able to work together virtually with your classmates. Forums are a big help as students can discuss assignments and assignments with each other and their instructor or TAs.

Bachelor Program Sample Courses

  • Lifespan Human Development
  • Preschool Development
  • Child Development, Adolescence
  • Conceptual Creative Experiences for Young Children I & II
  • Parent and Family Development
  • Child Centers and Programs
  • Educational Statistics
  • Introduction to Biology for Non-Majors
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Developmental Perspectives of Young Children with Disabilities
  • Early Childhood Education/Development Internship

Online Colleges Offering a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education

University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix is aware that students can’t set aside their responsibilities to employers and families long-term. This is why it stands ready to help students to set and reach their career goals so they can begin moving toward their dreams with online courses in a variety of subjects.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Education/Early Childhood Education

Purdue Global University

Purdue Global University reaches out to adult students who need flexibility in their degree programs, allowing them to fit school in between their work and home life. PGU is aware that adults who have full-time jobs have to learn differently so they make the most of the limited time they have for their studies.

Degrees Offered:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College offers degrees to students in several states, along with an online option. Knowing that some students are not able to attend in-person classes, the college has created an online, non-licensure ECE degree. Students who choose Rasmussen are able to earn the degrees they need.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

National University

Founded in 1971, National University has been meeting the educational/career needs of adults via affordable and accessible college education ever since. Retired U.S. Navy Captain David Chigos founded NU, knowing that members of the military often wanted to earn post-secondary and post-military degrees.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Arizona State University

ASU has educated students who later earned Pulitzer prizes and Nobel prizes. As a nationally ranked public university, ASU’s degree programs help students prepare themselves to become leaders and innovators in their fields. The university’s programs are nationally ranked, attracting the most qualified students.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Education in Educational Studies - Early Childhood Education

Colorado Christian University

CCU is the flagship Christian university in Colorado. This interdenominational college in the Rocky Mountain region offers a world-class education to its students. CCU offers more than 50 degree opportunities for undergraduate students who plan to attend in-person. It also offers online courses for working students.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education (Licensure)

National Louis University

National Louis University’s main campus is located in Chicago. This is one of the oldest, most progressive universities in this city. The Florida campus serves 13 counties within central Florida. The university offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate majors in four colleges.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Walden University

The faculty and staff of Walden University know that, as a working student, you’re working double-time. It’s their mission to expand and offer access to higher education to you and your fellow students no matter where you attend from.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Studies

University of Northern Colorado

UNC offers a high-quality education, whether you’re earning a new degree, need advanced learning in your profession, or if you are moving into a new career. UNC’s Extended Campus allows you to go to their classes even if you aren’t on campus.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Ball State University

Ball State’s education program offers a high-quality early childhood education degree for students who plan to work with younger children and students. Earning a bachelor’s degree in ECE from Ball State gives you an advantage when you start looking for a teaching job.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education (Non-Licensure)

Aspen University

Aspen University offers education majors a degree that will be recognized as coming from a high-quality institution. The Early Childhood Studies program brings to you the skills you need to begin a career working with young children (birth through age 8).

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Studies

Bay Path University

Bay Path University has been educating college students since 1897. In 1920, the institute relocated to a new location in Springfield, Massachusetts. Their early childhood education degree will prepare you to teach young children and even go on to earn a master’s degree if you want to move into administration or

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Southwestern College

The Education Department’s Early Childhood Education degree program offers a full online degree. You will learn everything you need to earn your teaching license and teach in a Kansas school and you will be prepared to work with children from birth to age 8.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education

University of West Alabama

Founded in 1835, before the Civil War, UWA was a female academy. The school reopened after the war and Reconstruction. The school was first a teacher’s college and still offers courses and degree options for those who are interested in teaching tomorrow’s students.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development (Non-Certification)

Notre Dame Online

This university offers an education to a diverse range of students. Degree programs are taught using a liberal arts perspective, instilling a global consciousness and responsibility, as well as a professional awareness. Early childhood educators can get their start with a great bachelor’s degree.

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Education, Early Childhood Education

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