20 Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education 2017-2018

In this article, we highlight the 20 best online schools for early childhood education at the graduate level in 2017-2018.

Early years of a child’s education are critical for establishing a foundation for lifelong success and love for learning. Quality early childhood educators must be passionate about helping young children achieve crucial developmental milestones. This important field requires specialized teacher training. Master’s in early childhood education programs focus on the delivery of education in various subjects like math and reading, while providing assessment aids that help teachers learn to see every student as an individual. Many programs emphasize elements beyond the classroom, such as culture, diversity, and the family.

The job market for teachers is strong. Demand is at an all-time high. To accommodate working teachers with advanced training, accredited and ranked colleges and universities are now offering online early childhood education programs. These online options allow teachers to keep their day job while going back to school to earn a master’s in early childhood education.

Methodology:

This ranking was created to find the top institutions offering online graduate early childhood education degrees. The data collected below was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator based on particular methodology: student-to-faculty ratio, percentage of applicants admitted (selectivity rate), graduation rate, and the overall cost of in-state graduate tuition and fees. We examined schools that offered online master’s in early childhood education or closely related degree programs. From our original pool of 55 institutions, we applied our ranking criteria and developed a list of 20 best online schools for early childhood education at the graduate level.

In the event of a tie, the institution with the lowest graduate tuition price was awarded higher placement on our list. The methodology used is listed below.

Student to Faculty Ratio
15:1 and under- 3 Points
16:1 to 20:1- 2 Points
More than 20:1- 1 Point

Graduate Tuition/Fees
Less than $10,000/year- 3 Points
$10,001-$20,000/year- 2 Points
More than $20,000/year- 1 Point

Applicants Admitted
Less than 50%- 3 Points
More than 50%- 1 Point

Graduation Rate
50% or Greater- 3 Points
25%-49%- 2 Points
Less than 25%- 1 Point

Below is our list of the top 20 best online schools for early childhood education degrees (2017-2018).

#20 – Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Southern New Hampshire University requires no GMAT or GRE for a master’s in early childhood education online degree.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810
Points: 7

Southern New Hampshire University earns a spot on our list of best online schools for early childhood education degrees due to its relatively high graduation rate and reasonably affordable graduate tuition. The school offers master’s degree programs in early childhood education with minimal admission requirements. No GMAT or GRE is required for acceptance to the program. All classes are taught online by qualified university professors. Some of the courses include assessment for learning, family and culture, learning through technology, and students with exceptionalities. Southern New Hampshire is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the #1 most innovative school and 101st best regional university in the North.

#19 – Northcentral University

San Diego, California

Northcentral University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Accredited and ranked! Northcentral University offers online early childhood education programs that are also affordable.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,171
Points: 7

Some of the best online early childhood education schools are accredited and ranked with major publications. Northcentral University is among the top online early childhood education degree schools, offering master’s in education degrees with early childhood education specializations. Students take approximately 10-12 courses and complete 30-36 credits in just 15 months. An accelerated track is also available if students want to speed up their course of study and earn the advanced degree in 12 months. The program also serves as foundation for PhD and EdD programs. Northcentral earns a spot on our list due to low student-to-faculty ratios and affordable tuition costs.

#18 – University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio

University of Toledo - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

University of Toledo’s online master’s in early childhood education programs have a non-licensure track.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,721
Points: 7

University of Toledo is one of our top selections for early childhood education schools online. Students can earn a master’s in early childhood education through the non-licensure track. This program is designed for childcare, preschool, and early learning educators and administrators. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and work experience related to the advanced degree program. University of Toledo offers affordable tuition for graduate students and a reasonably low student-to-faculty ratio. Also, the school is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online graduate education programs rank #109 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#17 – Portland State University

Portland, Oregon

Portland State University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Affordable tuition helps put Portland State University on our list of best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,100
Points: 7

Portland State University earns a spot on our list of best online schools for early childhood education degrees due to the affordable graduate tuition and reasonably low student-to-faculty ratio. The university is one of the best online early childhood education degree schools with a non-licensure ECE specialization. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who teach on campus. Courses include assessment and technology in early childhood education, issues in education, language and literacy in early childhood education, and theories of instruction. Portland State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, the online graduate education programs have earned recognition in prior years.

#16 – California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

California University of Pennsylvania’s online education programs are ranked with U.S. News and World Report.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,707
Points: 7

California University of Pennsylvania is one of our top picks for best online early childhood education schools due to the affordable graduate tuition and high graduation rate of 50%. The accredited university offers early childhood education master’s degree programs designed with the working student in mind. Courses include advanced childhood development, advanced psychology of learning, early childhood curriculum and assessment, leadership and management in early childhood settings, and special topics in early childhood education. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university in the North, and the online graduate education programs rank #77 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#15 – Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Arizona State University - 20 Best Online Schools for Doctorate Degrees

ASU’s high graduation rate earns it a spot on our list of best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304
Points: 7

Arizona State University is one of the best early childhood education schools online due to the low graduate tuition and fees and high graduation rate. Students may earn a master’s in education with early childhood education certification and endorsement. The program is fully online and offered through the nationally recognized Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Courses include child guidance and management, emergent literacy, foundations of early childhood education, and mathematics in early childhood education. ASU is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #40 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#14 – Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Western Kentucky University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Western Kentucky University is a top online school for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,860
Points: 7

Western Kentucky University is one of the best online schools for early childhood education degrees on our list due to the affordable graduate tuition and below average student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The school offers a master’s in teacher leadership with early childhood education program that can be completed almost entirely online. Eighteen hours of core and professional education credit hours are required, along with another eighteen hours of specialization credits. Candidates must have or be eligible for a teaching certificate for interdisciplinary early childhood education. Western Kentucky’s online graduate education programs are ranked 35th out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News and World Report.

#13 – Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Kennesaw State University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

The online early childhood education master’s degree from Kennesaw State University can be completed in just 13 months.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,740
Points: 7

Kennesaw State University is one of our top online early childhood education degrees schools due to the highly affordable graduate tuition and reasonably low student-to-faculty ratio. The school offers a master’s in early childhood education degree that can be completed entirely online and in just 13 months. Six available endorsements are offered to further enhance student marketability within the teaching profession. The program coincides with the public school calendar so that students may participate with activities and serve teachers as aides and assistants. Kennesaw State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online graduate education programs have earned recognition.

#12 – Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia

Georgia Southern University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Georgia Southern University’s online early childhood education programs are ranked and accredited.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,728
Points: 8

One of the best online early childhood education schools with low graduate tuition rates and high graduation rate is Georgia Southern University. This accredited institution offers a 36-credit hour early childhood education master’s degree program designed for candidates who hold a professional level four certificate or equivalent in early childhood education. Courses are delivered entirely online and include advanced language arts methods, cultural issues, educational research, effective curriculum and instruction in elementary schools, and learning theories and applications. Georgia Southern is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online graduate education programs rank #77 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#11 – University of Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

One of the most affordable early childhood education schools online is University of Nebraska.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,556
Points: 8

One of the most affordable early childhood education schools online is University of Nebraska. This school offers a unique special education degree with early childhood education focus. The program is designed to prepare teachers and other early interventionists to work with infants, toddlers, and preschool children with a range of disabilities and delays. The 36-credit hour program covers courses such as autism, early childhood education, family partnerships, kindergarten teaching, language development, and preschool and infants with disabilities. Students may enroll on a part-time basis and complete the program within 3-4 years. Ranked by major publications, University of Nebraska is a top national institution. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #4 in the nation.

#10 – University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

University of North Dakota - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Affordable graduate tuition earns University of North Dakota a top spot on our list of best online early childhood education schools.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,461
Points: 8

One of the best online early childhood education degree schools on our list is University of North Dakota. Affordable tuition and a higher than average graduation rate earns the school a top spot on our list of early childhood education online schools. The 32-credit hour program is designed to be completed in two years and is affordably priced with in-state tuition offered to all students regardless of residency. The program also serves as a foundation for those interested in pursuing the Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree programs. University of North Dakota is ranked as a best national institution by U.S. News and World Report.

#9 – Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Arkansas State University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Highly Affordable! Arkansas State University’s online master’s in early childhood education programs are designed for working teachers.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,810
Points: 8

One of the best online early childhood education degree schools on our list is Arkansas State University. The school offers highly affordable tuition prices for graduate students, a low student-to-faculty ratio, and a competitive acceptance rate overall. The school offers a master’s in early childhood services degree that can be completed in as little as 12 months. Courses include administration and supervision of programs for young children, developmental perspectives, leadership in early childhood education, and sources and models of early childhood education. Arkansas State is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 59th best regional university in the South and 20th top public school.

#8 – Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

Mercer University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Mercer University’s online master’s in early childhood education program can be completed in 12-16 months.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,204
Points: 9

Mercer University is one of our top online early childhood education degrees schools due to its affordable tuition prices, low student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, and higher than average graduation rate. The Tift College of Education offers a 30-semester hour early childhood education master’s degree program that can be completed fully online and in just 12-16 months depending on student pace. The program is designed for working teachers and certified educators who want to complete a specialty program in early childhood education. Mercer is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best value school and top national university.

#7 – Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont

Champlain College - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Champlain College offers online master’s in early childhood education programs designed for working teachers.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,202
Points: 9

One of our top online early childhood education degrees schools due to affordable tuition and low student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 is Champlain College. The school offers a master’s in early childhood education with specialized courses that follow paths in special education, teaching, or administration for early childhood education. All classes are delivered online and include creating constructive environments, early childhood and play, early identification and assessment of diverse learners, and supporting children with special needs. Champlain is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 91st for best regional universities in the North and 3rd for most innovative schools.

#6 – University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri - online schools for early childhood education

University of Missouri’s high graduation rate earns it a spot on our list of best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,506
Points: 9

Ranked at the top of our list of online schools for early childhood education degrees, the University of Missouri offers low tuition prices, a high graduation rate, and a reasonable student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university, and the online graduate education programs are ranked #61 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs. Accredited with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, the online master’s in early childhood education requires 30 credit hours that may be completed 100% online. Courses include advanced assessment in early childhood education, language and early literacy development, and introduction and methods of early intervention.

#5 – Brenau University

Gainesville, Georgia

Brenau University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Brenau University’s highly affordable tuition helped put it on our list of best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,364
Points: 9

Brenau University is one of our top picks for best online early childhood education schools due to the low student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 and highly affordable tuition costs for graduate students. The school offers a master’s in early childhood education that can be completed online. Designed with the working student in mind, classes are delivered via distance learning and scheduled conveniently and flexibly. Students gain access to coursework and content at all hours of the day. Brenau is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 52nd best regional university in the South and the 30th best value school. Also, the online graduate education programs are ranked #72 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#4 – Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona

Northern Arizona University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Northern Arizona University is one of our top picks for online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,729
Points: 9

Northern Arizona University is one of our top picks for early childhood education schools online. A low student-to-faculty ratio, affordable graduate tuition, and favorable graduation rate earn it a #4 spot on our list. The school offers a master’s in early childhood education that can be completed entirely online. Three available emphasis areas allow students to tailor their degree towards career goals. These emphases include early childhood leadership, early childhood national board preparation, and early childhood teacher. The program is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Northern Arizona University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the online graduate education programs rank #113 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#3 – University of West Alabama

Livingston, Alabama

University of West Alabama - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

University of West Alabama’s affordable tuition helps add it to our list of best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,444
Points: 9

University of West Alabama is one of our top online early childhood education degrees schools. The institution is ranked and accredited, and offers highly affordable tuition for graduate students. A master’s in education with elementary education K-6 certification program is offered through the School of Graduate Studies and College of Education. This degree may be completed entirely online and covers many of the same courses found in early childhood education programs. Courses include advanced educational psychology, educational planning, foundations of education, introduction to special education, and life-span development and learning. Students are required to completed 15 hours of teaching field courses in either early childhood or elementary education. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school’s online graduate education programs among the top 1,200 programs in the country.

#2 – Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

A highly selective admission rate earns Liberty University a place on our list among the best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,000
Points: 10

Liberty University lands a spot on our list of best online early childhood education degree schools due to the low cost of tuition, low student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, and a highly selective admission rate. The school offers a 36-credit hour master’s of education in teaching and learning early childhood education program that is designed to train teachers to plan and implement curriculum for younger children. No residency requirements are needed, and the entire program can be completed online. Liberty is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the online graduate education programs #174 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#1 – Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia

Valdosta State University - Best Online Schools for Early Childhood Education

Valdosta State University is our #1 pick for best online schools for early childhood education.

Website
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,490
Points: 10

Valdosta State University is the most affordable online school for early childhood education degrees on our list. The M.Ed. with a major in early childhood education requires 36 credit hours that can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to build on the bachelor’s in early childhood education degree and equips individuals for careers as early childhood educators. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and four-year teaching certificate in early childhood education. GRE or MAT scores are required for candidates with a cumulative undergraduate GPA that falls below 2.75. Valdosta is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best national university, and its online graduate education programs rank #123 out of more than 1,200 programs.

BCS Staff
March 2017

This concludes our list of the 20 best online schools for early childhood education at the graduate level in 2017-2018.