20 Most Affordable Schools for Online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

Obtaining a degree in Early Childhood Education online allows students to experience diverse possibilities in the area of education. Students who want to pursue teaching young children need to earn a degree that focuses on early childhood education in order to gain sufficient knowledge, skills, and practical training in a specific area of study.

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Our Methodology:

The lists we’ve compiled were done so by researching publicly available data from various sources, but, mainly from our own methodology as stated below,  in order to derive a useful tool for prospective students.  Our editors have made use of the following criteria in deriving program rankings:

AFFORDABILITY – 60%
Average affordability based on four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. offering online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs
Can you get a great education at an exceptional value?

PROGRAM CRITERIA and ANCILLARY SERVICES – 20%
How is the delivery of the online program? Are the programs asynchronous, easy to use, flexible, etc.?
How are the retention rates of the program as a whole, online or campus?
How are the programs career services? For example, do they offer career counseling, job searching tools, etc.?
How does the post-graduation job placement rate from this program compare to others?

SCHOOL CRITERIA – 20%
What is the acceptance rate of the school and program?
School accreditation/s and other outside recognition?

  • All information is cited from the unbiased, independent NCES.gov’s College Navigator
  • To ensure our rankings methodology cannot be duplicated without our knowledge, we have chosen to withhold some aspects of the calculations. For more in-depth calculations and criteria, please contact us at the email address provided below.
  • Our sponsored schools are paid advertisements that are not affiliated with our site’s individual school rankings.  They are clearly defined with the word “SPONSORED” as to not confuse our readers with what has been methodologically researched and ranked by our site editors and researchers as compared to the independently sponsored schools that pay for their placement on our site. For more information regarding our rankings or our sponsored schools, please email us at [email protected].

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Below is a list of 20 affordable online schools that offer a degree in Early Childhood Education. The program tuition is the primary factor that is taken into consideration on this list. Data on tuition and other fees mentioned, if any, were sourced from the university and college websites.

Penn Foster College

pennfoster-early childhood education

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Penn Foster College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, a self-paced program with no fixed class schedules. Its curriculum features notable course titles, namely, Infant and Toddler Care, Guidance in Early Childhood Education, Information Literacy, Child Growth and Development. Earning a degree in Early Childhood Education also paves the way for students to accomplish hands-on experience with Bright Horizons or the Learning Care Group, two of Penn Foster’s known partners. Tuition at Penn Foster is $79 per credit hour. The institution is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

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Southern Oregon University

southern oregon-early childhood education

Location: Ashland, Oregon

Southern Oregon University features an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program with a curriculum that aligns with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI). Students complete at least 24 course credits, including Children with Disabilities, Children at Risk, Differentiated Curriculum in the Inclusive Classroom, Atypical Child Development, and Children at Risk. The regular tuition for this particular degree program is $151.41 per credit hour. plus a $65 per credit online delivery fee. Other fees are required based on on-campus attendance. Southern Oregon University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

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Florida International University

florida international-early childhood education

Location: Miami, Florida

An online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program is offered at Florida International University. This is a non-licensure program featuring general and educational theories and practices, along with language, social, and mental development of young children as core subjects. The 120-credit degree program includes 30 credits of professional education courses such as Classroom Management, Educational Psychology, ESOL Principles and Practices, and Special Needs of Children and their Families. Students are also required to take 30 credits of early development courses, which include Early Social and Emotional Development, Family Literacy and the Young Child, and Assessment, Evaluation and Diagnosis of the Young Child. Online classes normally start during the fall, summer, and spring, and students may also become members of the Honors College. Tuition for Florida residents is $212 per credit hour and $329 per credit hour for out-of-state residents. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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Fort Hays State University

fort hays state-early childhood education

Location: Hays, Kansas

Fort Hays State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Unified degree program. The Unified status is a distinction that allows graduates to teach both special education and regular students. Students should acquire 126 credits consisting of 40 major courses, 20 credits in Professional Studies courses, and 12 credits in Student Teaching within a local area. Major courses include Human Growth and Development, Educating Exceptional Students, Emergent Literacy, Behavior Strategies and Support, and Educational Psychology. Program tuition for undergraduates is $218.67 per credit hour; graduates pay 287.75 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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University of Washington

UWashington-early childhood education

Location: Seattle, Washington

An online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies is the University of Washington. Its research-intensive curriculum is based on the Haring Center and the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning. Online students may pursue two different academic pathways, namely, the core pathway or the teaching and learning pathway. This is largely dependent on their interest to pursue working in a related early childhood education field or preschool teaching. Courses include Social Policy and Young Children; Families, Exceptional Children, and Positive Behavior, and Support in Early Childhood. Tuition is at $231 per credit hour plus registration fee, a technology fee, and other charges such as for textbooks and other course materials. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

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Eastern Oregon University

eastern oregon-early childhood education

Location: La Grande, Oregon

Eastern Oregon University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education program that prepares students for a graduate study in the field. Despite its non-licensure track, students have the option to pursue a Master of Arts in teaching licensure program. Graduates land jobs as school administrators, advocates, teachers, and consultants in public and private settings like schools, mental health facilities, churches, and child organizations. Tuition is $232 per credit hour corresponding to a 15-hour load of courses. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

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University of Nebraska

unebraska- early childhood education

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

The University of Nebraska features an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society degree program. The main focus of this degree program are children with highly mobile families, for instance, children of parents enlisted in the military and designed for students that have completed general education courses at a community college. The curriculum has two areas of focus, namely, birth through kindergarten, and age three to the third grade. Students need to complete 46 general education credits, along with 24 professional credits and 50 program-specific credits. Courses that are required to take include Diversity in the Lives of Young Children, Working with Families, and Technology and Youth. Program tuition for in-state students is $247 per credit hour and $375 per credit hour for out-of-state students. Transfer credits are closely monitored to ensure that all eligible credits can be applied. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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National Louis University (Kendall College)

national louis-early childhood education

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Under Kendall College, National Louis University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, which demonstrates both a teacher certification track and a non-licensure track. Optional courses include Administration and Leadership, Childhood Nutrition, Grant Management, Special Education, and English as a Second Language. Specific courses include Technology Integration in the Classroom, Child Development, and Observation and Assessment of the Young Child. Tuition is relatively affordable since the cost is $289 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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Granite State College

granite state-early childhood education

Location: Concord, New Hampshire

Granite State College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program. This 120-credit program equips students to effectively teach children from nursery to third grade. The program also focuses on young children with special needs. One unique aspect of this degree at Granite State College is its wide range of interesting courses such as Conducting Critical Inquiry, Child Development, the Dynamic Role of the Special Educator, Special Education Law, and Behavioral Interventions in Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education. Graduates of this particular program receive a teaching certification in both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Granite State College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Tuition is $314 per credit hour.

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Wilmington University

wilmington-early childhood education

Location: New Castle, Delaware

Wilmington University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Education Studies degree program with special emphasis on Early Childhood Education to teach children from birth to eight years old. Students are required to complete a total of 122 credit hours and register for courses such as Professional Issues in Early Childhood, Creating Environments for Learning, and Learner Development and Early Literacy. Students also need to take 39 credits of major courses and electives. The Blackbird Digital Learning Program allows for student-faculty collaboration. Students admitted into the Early Childhood Education program are required to pass two courses, namely the E-Folio and Instructional Technology. Tuition is at $354 per credit hour. Wilmington University is accredited by the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

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National University

national univ-early childhood education

Location: La Jolla, California

National University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program requiring 180-credit hours. There are three main areas of focus, namely, Early Childhood Administration, Teacher Education, and Infant and Toddler Education. Students are required to complete 45 quarter hours of core courses, which includes The Growing Child: Zero to Eight, Early Cognition, Designing Emerging Curriculum, and Children with Special Needs. They also need to complete 76.5 quarter units in upper division courses. Tuition is at $354 per credit hour. National University is accredited by the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

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University of Missouri

univmissouri-early childhood education

Location: Columbia, Missouri

Under the College of Environmental Sciences’ Department of Human Development and Family Science, the University of Missouri offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program. Online students enrolled in this degree program can experience a dynamic curriculum that is composed of topics like evaluation, curriculum development, child development, and classroom environments. Tuition is $355 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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Indiana Wesleyan University

Location: Marion, Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education featuring a minor in Reading with a licensure and a non-licensure track. Online students are required to complete a full-time 16-week hands-on experience in preschool to third-grade settings. They are required to have at least 48 prior college credits and earn at least 120 credits to graduate. There are prerequisite and reading courses that students are required to take, namely, Child Growth and Development, Early Childhood Literacy, Instructional Tools for the Teaching of Reading, and Teaching Reading through Literature for Children. Major courses, on the other hand, are Guiding Early Childhood Curriculum, Planning, Instruction, and Assessment for Exceptional Learners in Early Childhood, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Early Childhood, and Health, Safety, and Nutrition. Two additional courses for licensure purposes are required namely Educational Psychology for Early Learners, and Student Teaching in the Pre-Kinder/Primary Grades. Tuition is $368 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Northern Arizona University

northern arizona-early childhood education

Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

Under the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Northern Arizona University offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree program. Students may choose from three areas of focus, namely, teaching, leadership, or national board certification. In order to earn the 120-credit degree program, students should finish 30 hours of coursework, with internships and field experiences being optional. Program tuition for undergraduates is $387 per credit hour, while the part-time tuition for master’s degree students is $410 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

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Liberty University

liberty-early childhood education

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University offers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Interdisciplinary Studies degree program. Students are required to take at least a total of 120 credits of coursework that includes 45 credits of Early Childhood Education majors. There are other courses like Principles of Education, Classroom Management for Teachers, Wellness in the Early Childhood Setting, and Psychology of Childhood. There is an optional 90-hour practicum and prior experience and learning that can be evaluated as credits for the completion of a degree. Liberty University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Tuition is $390 per credit hour.

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Bluefield College

bluefield-early childhood education

Location: Bluefield, Virginia

Bluefield College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program wherein students acquire 126 credits of coursework and hands-on experience of at least 20 hours under the supervision of an administrator. They choose between two types of practicums: the Early Childhood Management Practicum or the Early Childhood Practicum. Courses that are part of the curriculum include Body-Brain Based Learning, Designing Physical Environments, Literature of Children and Adolescence, and Family, School and Community Involvement. Tuition is $394 per credit hour. This academic institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Regent University

regent-early childhood education

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

A Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education is offered at Regent University. It is a non-licensure degree program requiring students to complete 120 credits in major courses such as Child and Adolescent Growth and Development, Teaching Content to Children, Administration of Childcare Programs, and Characteristics of Students with Disabilities. Aside from this, 15 credits of Business Operations and Principles should also be earned, along with 34 credits of electives. Students may also select from courses such as Business, Business Law, Cross-Cultural Communication, and Principles of Management. The curriculum also features a unique course, the Wellness in Childcare Programs. Tuition rate is  $395 per credit hour. Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Chaminade University of Honolulu

chaminade-early childhood education

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education appropriate for students with Montessori credentials and exposure to specialized educational environments. The 120-credit hour curriculum adheres to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards. Courses include Health and Family Issues in Early Childhood Education, Children’s Literature, Educational Technology, and Leadership and Guidance in Education. For students who already have a Montessori credential, 18 credit hours are required for program completion; otherwise, they need to complete 40 credit hours.  Tuition is $401 per credit hour. The academic institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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University of Phoenix

UnivPhoenix-early childhood education

Location: Tempe, Arizona

The University of Phoenix offers an online Bachelor of Science in Education with special emphasis on Early Childhood Education. It is purely online in a format that requires field education and a teaching practicum in certain locations in the state. The degree program also leads to certification, and the curriculum aligns with national teaching standards. Aside from the required Early Childhood Student Teaching course, online students need to earn at least 120 credits which include core courses like Instructional Strategies for Early Childhood Education, Ethics and Social Responsibility in Education, Developmentally-effective Learning Environments, Community and Family Engagement, and Early Childhood Literacy Development. Program tuition is $414.25 per credit hour. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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University of Cincinnati

univ of cincinnati-early childhood education

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

The University of Cincinnati offers an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program that leads to a teaching licensure for pre-Kinder programs in Ohio but does not lead to teacher certification in the kindergarten and elementary levels. Rather, it prepares online students for certain careers like Head Start teachers, infant/toddler specialists, preschool teachers, or as program administrators in early childhood education settings. Courses include Educational Psychology, Introductory Child Development, Infant and Toddler Care, and Education, Administration and Leadership in Early Care and Education. There are three disciplines namely, Pre-Kinder, Infant-Toddler, and Administration. Tuition is $484 per credit hour. The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

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What does an early childhood educator do?

Early Childhood educators normally work with young children in educational settings such as child care centers, schools, and even home settings. Center-based teachers and administrators are assigned to teach and handle young children at Head Start centers, private nursery schools, public and private child care centers, and preschools. School-based teachers, on the other hand, teach children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and early elementary. They deal with children in development stages or those with developmental disabilities and delays. Home-based educators work in child care homes, Early Head Start and private household child care.

What grade levels are included in Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood refers to children between birth to eight years old. According to the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the curriculum for each age level must correspond to their ages. Through an early childhood education degree, the grade levels that are handled are preschool (Nursery, Kindergarten, and Preparatory), and primary levels (Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3).

What qualities do I need to become an effective educator upon earning my Online Childhood Education degree?

Early childhood educators must possess certain qualities to work effectively with young children and overcome the many hurdles that come with the job. Here are some of the qualities that an early childhood educator must have patience in dealing with difficult students, communication skills and creativity in presenting lessons to class, love for young children, and passion for teaching them. Because dealing with little children can be quite a handful, an educator needs to have a sense of humor. Versatility is a valuable trait as well because kids constantly require teachers to adjust to their uniqueness and adopt various techniques to achieve learning objectives.

When pursuing Early Childhood Education, students look for ways to successfully get the degree and advance their careers without breaking the bank. They can choose online schools that allow them to study at their own pace while being employed professionally.