Online Child Development Degrees
Welcome to our ranking of the most affordable online child development degree programs.
According to Payscale, students who earn an online child development degree at a four-year institution make an average salary of about $52,000 per year. While teachers assistants only earn about $23,000 per year, a program manager at a nonprofit organization might earn as much as $61,000. Most other jobs in the field earn somewhere between these two numbers, including a job as a preschool director, care center director, or elementary school teacher. Individuals who enter this program do now, however, typically do so for the money. Instead, these workers possess a passion for children in the early stages of their development and hope to positively affect them for the rest of their lives by helping them during some of their most formative years. The programs in this list all offer a bachelor’s degree with a major, minor, certificate, or concentration in early childhood development online. Online learning enables students to attain an education without sacrificing time with their families.
The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Child Development Degrees Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer adolescent and early childhood development degrees online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
Unfortunately, there are a limited number of online child development degree programs available. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a complex ranking system in which we’d filter out schools based on a list of specific factors.
So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap online bachelor’s in child development degrees, ranked from most to least expensive.
Cheap Online Child Development Degree Programs Ranking
Central Methodist University
An online child development degree from Central Methodist University requires the completion of 120 hours, including 22 hours of general education and 36 hours in the child development major. Among other classes in the major, students can take classroom organization and curricular design, psychology of the exceptional child, and early childhood experience. Graduates boast the ability to offer guidance to children in school and home settings, and many of them start their own, private day care center. To earn admission, prospective learners must have maintained a 2.5 GPA during their high school education or possess a 2250 GED score.
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin offers an online child development degree that requires 120 total credits for graduation, 48 of which students must take in upper-division coursework. Graduation also requires that students earn at least one minor and maintain a "C" grade average in the major. The program's courses in language development in the young child, child/adolescent psychology, and social research methods prepare students for their professional careers. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer semester, and allows students who attended unaccredited high schools to enter the program on a case by case basis.
Arizona State University's online child development degree includes coursework dedicated to the family unit. Students must complete 120 hours, maintaining a 2.0 major and cumulative GPA. The degree's courses in early childhood intervention, infant/toddler development in the family, and child dysfunction in the family all serve to help students understand the role of the family in a child's life. Graduates go on to become kindergarten teachers and marriage and family therapists. To gain admission into the program, incoming students must graduate in the top 25% of their high school class with a 3.0 minimum GPA.
University of Southern Mississippi
Students at the University of Southern Mississippi must choose either a child development or a family relations concentration. The online child development degree emphasis includes coursework in personal development and interpersonal relationships, child development methods and materials, and child development — in which instructors concentrate on the theoretical and evidence-driven views that positively affect young children. The program caters particularly to those in the military by offering an affordable and flexible option, which includes in-state tuition and scholarships for military members. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
California State University-East Bay
The online child development degree option at California State University-East Bay explores the nature of social, cultural, and filial relationships that affect a young child. Graduates often go on to work with children in day care facilities or onto graduate school for further education. Students must complete 80 units in the major, focusing on courses such as children in families and communities, social and cultural dynamics of human development, and lifespan social and emotional development. Those who graduate from the program boast an increased understanding of the physical, mental, and social experiences that affect young children.
Brandman University's online child development degree includes 120 total hours that students must complete in order to graduate. They take 42 general education hours in classes such as writing and rhetoric, 48 hours of core requirements in classes such as critical thinking and social psychology, and 15 hours in the child psychology concentration. Classes in the child psychology concentration include pediatric neuropsychology, preferred behavior enhancement, and the psychology of learning. For admission, students must include a filled out online application form and their high school transcripts. Credits from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution may transfer into the program.
Union Institute & University
Union Institute and University's online child develop degree at the bachelor level is a 120-credit program with both full-time and part-time options. Courses begin once every eight weeks, and the program allows transfer students to bring as many as 90 credits with them. The degree focuses on topics such as constructing reciprocal relationships with families and the community; the art and science of assessing children and families; and the integration of developmental domains, theory, and practice. To be considered for financial aid, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Texas Tech University's bachelor of science in human sciences comes with a human development and family studies option that makes it a viable online child development degree program. The program consists of 120 hours, most of which occurs online. Students interested in the program must hold either a high school diploma or a passing score on the GED. The program allows students to attend on either a part-time or a full-time basis. Classes in the human sciences core include social and behavioral sciences, advanced college rhetoric, and life and physical science. Students may transfer in credit to speed up the graduation process.
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University's online child development degree comes as a fully online program that requires a total of between 120 and 125 credits for completion. Students interested in transferring into the program may bring 90 credits with them. Graduates go onto fulfilling careers at nonprofit agencies; local, state, and federal government facilities; people's houses; and educational institutions such as elementary schools. Child development: conception-eight years, family involvement with young children, and creative activities and materials for young children constitute three of the five pre-child and family major courses. Students must complete 30-33 credits in the child development concentration in order to graduate.
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
University Park, PA
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus' online child development degree is a 120-credit program, with 27 prescribed hours in the major, 36 hours in approved fieldwork and additional major courses, 12 hours in "supporting" courses, and 45 hours in general education. Youth and family organizations, nonprofit institutions, and counseling centers for families serve as three examples for where graduates might go on to find work. The degree's internship requirement ensures that students put into practice the theory of the classroom. To apply, students need to send in their high school transcripts and hold either a high school diploma or a hold a GED.
North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University's online child development degree focuses on enabling students to work either in direct support care for children and families through outreach and community engagement or through indirect support services such as serving as a child care facility director or caretaker. The program requires that students complete nine hours in the child and adolescent developmental core: prenatal, infant, and toddler development; child development; and adolescent development. The school offers both full-time and part-time options, allowing those with families or a demanding work schedule to take as many or as few courses as their time allows.
Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University's offers a part-time online child development program that requires a total of 120 hours for completion. As a degree-completion program, students must bring in at least 30 credits from a different institution. The total credits taken from Appalachian State and the transfer college or colleges must reach 120 hours. Prerequisite courses include child development and child study and guidance — or their equivalents. Common careers upon graduation include preschool teacher, preschool education teacher, and child life specialist. The program includes a total of seven semesters and a student teaching experience. Instructors deliver coursework using both synchronous and asynchronous delivery formats.
Earning an online child development degree from West Virginia University gives students an added advantage in the job market. Some of the jobs that graduates might pursue include elementary school teacher; child, family, and school social worker; and special education teacher - kindergarten and elementary. Students must complete between 41 and 43 hours in general education, 31 hours in child development, 20 hours in still more required courses, 20 to 22 elective hours, and 9 hours in an internship. Classes listed by the program include family across the lifespan, early childhood development, and the art of leadership-early childhood.
Southern Oregon University
A degree completion program, Southern Oregon University's online child development degree includes 60 upper-division hours in classes such as leadership and advocacy in early childhood education; foundations in early childhood/elementary education; and family, school, and community relations in early childhood education. The school awards scholarships to students who demonstrate either academic achievement or clear financial need. Students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for consideration. To graduate, students must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA and finish both a capstone project that combines all of their learning into a single experience and a portfolio assignment.
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
Central Michigan University offers an online child development degree that constitutes 124 hours of learning. Students seeking admission should hold a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA or a GED. The school may consider students with a lower GPA score on a case by case basis. The school boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and the program requires the completion of general education, core, concentration, and electives in order for students to graduate. Example courses that emphasize child development include guidance for young children, early childhood program administration and leadership, best practices in early childhood settings, and infant toddler development.
Washington State University
The certificate in early childhood education attached to the bachelor's degree in human development at Washington State University combines an emphasis on young children with a general understanding of how humans change over time, making it an online child development degree. Earning the certificate requires 28 hours in courses such as parent-child relationships, guidance in early childhood, family interactions, and child assessment and evaluation. Students bringing in transfer credits from outside institutions cannot exceed 25% of the required hours in the child development certificate offering; that is, at least 75% of their certificate hours must come from Washington State.
The University of Alabama administers this 120-credit online child development degree year round. The program emphasizes the changes that children undergo through courses such as infancy and toddlerhood, conceptual creative experiences for young children, and developmental perspectives of young children with disabilities. To earn admission into the program students must supply transcripts from all universities previously attended — or their high school transcript if they possess fewer than 24 college credits. Students coming from two-year schools cannot transfer in any more than 60 credits, and the program requires that students complete at least 30 credits at Bama.
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO
Earning the online child development degree at Colorado State University-Fort Collins involves selecting the early child professions concentration of the human development and family studies degree. Students can complete the 120-credit program by transferring in additional credit hours from other two-year or four-year institutions. The program prides itself on its interdisciplinary approach by recognizing that students in the early childhood professions concentration benefit from additional perspectives. Courses in the core include individual and family development, family and parenthood across the life cycle, and infant and child development in context. To apply, students must hold a 2.0 GPA from all institutions previously attended.
Concordia University-Saint Paul
Concordia University-Saint Paul's online child development degree requires that incoming students boast at least a 2.0 GPA from their previous schools, as well as ACT or SAT scores. Students must complete at least 42 of the total 120 credits of the program at Concordia. The program lists both general education requirements, such as the introduction in psychology class, and degree requirements, such as child social and emotional growth, developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood education, and language development and emergent literacy. The degree caters to adult learners who need the flexibility of an online program that meets their schedule.
Pacific Oaks College's online child development degree centers around the ever-changing experiences of young children. The 120-credit program offers courses such as early childhood themes and life cycles, which explores the nature of dependence and autonomy among children, and working with bicultural children, which examines the challenges facing children whose parents or communities place them in more than one cultural situation. Admission to the program requires that students possess a 2.0 cumulative GPA from their high school. To apply, students need to fill out the application, meet with an interviewer, write a personal statement discussing their interest in the program, and provide a resume.
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