Hero Image Top 20 Cheap Early Childhood Education Online Degree Programs

Top 20 Cheap Early Childhood Education Online Degree Programs

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Take on Responsibility with a Early Childhood Education Online Degree

Next in our series of affordable online degrees is our ranking of the best cheap online early childhood education degree programs. People who want jobs as early childhood educators have a special responsibility in society. They take on the sometimes rewarding, sometimes frustrating task of getting young people interested in education and preparing them for many more years of schooling. Not everyone has the patience or compassion to work with small children, but for the right person, it is the best job in the world.

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Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

If you’re interested in Early Childhood Education, you might be wondering how to go about getting a job in the field. A bachelor’s degree in child development or education can help. Think you don’t have time to go back to school? Don’t worry! Thanks to the increasing use of technology on college campuses, it is now possible to earn a bachelor’s degree entirely online. For more general information regarding best value online education programs visit our ranking of the best online colleges.

The 20 Best Online Early Childhood Education Programs Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer early childhood education bachelor’s 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.

Ranking Factors

After compiling a list of all the colleges that offer early childhood education degrees online, we then collected data in five categories:

  • Program Demand: How much demand is there for the program relative to other majors? To find out, we calculated the percentage of all 2015-16 graduates at each school who earned their degree in early childhood education (ECE).
  • Accreditation: Is the program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)? If so, does CAEP specifically recognize the ECE degree as an accreditation-worthy program? Is the program also recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)?
  • Certification/Licensure: Does the program prepare students for teacher certification/licensure as ECE educators?
  • Delivery: What percentage of the program is available online? Does the school offer a full four-year curriculum or only a “degree completion” option?
  • Affordability: What is the average annual cost of attendance?

After collecting and sorting all the information, we ranked the candidates according to their performance in each area (all categories received equal weight in the calculation). Finally, we summed up the results and gave each school a final score using a curve so that the top-scoring program earned an even 100 points.

Read more about the best cheap online early childhood education degrees below!

Note: This article may contain sponsored links. These are designed to help you connect with programs easily.

Cheap Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program Ranking

  1. National University
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The highest-ranking university on our list offers a unique option for candidates interested in both theory and practice. One of the most unique features of National University's top online BA in Early Childhood Education is that it puts a relatively large weight on classroom learning rather than job training. As such, students receive a thorough education in topics that range from early cognition and nutrition to STEM pedagogy and trauma. Degree candidates can even choose from three specialized tracks: Early Childhood Administration, Infant and Toddler, and Teaching Education. Even so, all program participants must complete one academic seminar/field experience before graduating.

  2. South Dakota State University
    Location

    Brookings, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    South Dakota State University makes it easy for aspiring grade K-3 educators to gain the credentials they need. Faculty within the CAEP-accredited education department have worked to align the ECE degree with NAEYC student learning outcomes to maximize program effectiveness. This means that degree candidates get a hefty dose of hands-on training. In addition to teaching in the university's own early learning center, ECE majors also complete work experiences in kindergarten or primary school environments (up to Grade 3) in their local area. With all that practical knowledge under their belt, it's no surprise that graduates of SDSU's accredited early childhood education bachelor' degree online readily find work throughout the SD, MN, and IA school districts.

  3. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Blue Ash, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    This NCATE-accredited online early childhood education program is available entirely at a distance, making it one of our ranking's more convenient options. Better yet, UC's program earned recognition as an exemplary model for distance learners. Although there are likely many reasons for its success, the program's supportive atmosphere and individualized approach go a long way with online students. Program participants enjoy access to personal advisors and can discuss their personalized degree plan over the phone at any time. The result is an impressive track record among graduates, who frequently continue to pursue careers as program administrators, preschool teachers, consultants, and infant/toddler specialists.

  4. Brandman University
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ideal for West Coast residents, Brandman's online BA in Early Childhood Education offers classes over the web and through several satellite campuses in California and Washington. The curriculum provides nearly all the lower and upper division courses that ECE majors need; applicants only need 12 transferable baccalaureate-level credits to qualify for admission. Once accepted, you'll launch into a powerful degree plan that will take you from novice to expert in no time. The first few semesters focus on education fundamentals to prepare students for more advanced classes in pedagogical theory and practice - like "The Intentional, Reflective Teacher," for example. Throughout the program, you'll also complete two teaching practicums and take a final capstone course in decision-making.

  5. Central Methodist University
    Location

    Fayette, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Central Methodist University's selective ECE program is available to both first-time undergraduates and current childcare professionals. Taking a balanced approach, CMU develops each student's individual abilities by complementing online courses like "Organization & Administration of Early Childhood Programs" with subject-specific teaching practicums. And as you near the end of this affordable online early childhood education degree, you'll have the option to complete a final student-teaching semester to fine-tune your skills and solidify your readiness for the job market. Many degree candidates also use their last semester to get a jumpstart on Missouri's teaching certification process.

  6. Granite State College
    Location

    Concord, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    If you're a New Hampshire resident who currently works an early learning setting and wants to boost your credentials, you're in luck. Granite State College offers a top online early childhood education degree that is designed to do exactly that. By emphasizing fieldwork experience, this teaching licensure program prepares ECE majors for work in kindergarten to 3rd-grade classrooms at public schools across the state. In addition to acquiring relevant training (with guidance from highly skilled mentors, of course) you'll also take online courses that explore the theory behind the practice, including topics like brain research and creative pedagogical methods.

  7. Fayetteville State University
    Location

    Fayetteville, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In most preschools and elementary classrooms, in addition to the main teacher, there are often many staff members on hand to assist the students in a variety of ways. These other jobs (the non-teaching roles) are the focus of Fayetteville State University's cheap online early childhood education degree. Through this fully online BS program, teaching assistants and other classroom aides can acquire an advanced certification that will give their resume a valuable boost. The curriculum even requires ECE majors to declare a minor in sociology or psychology to maximize the value of their degree. At the end of their four years, graduates will have received a highly-relevant, career-oriented education that they can leverage into positions ranging from nursery school assistants to after-school program supervisor.

  8. Mayville State University
    Location

    Mayville, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Though Mayville State has been conferring degrees for over a century, its cheap online early childhood education program is a fairly recent addition to its list of majors. The university's decision to create an ECE degree reflects its sensitivity to economic conditions - and its recognition of the need for qualified, degree-holding educators. To meet this need, the CAEP-accredited curriculum adheres to all licensing requirements for the state of North Dakota, and possibly other states as well. What's more, MSU offers a readily affordable tuition rate (it's even one of the cheapest on this list!) to ensure that financial limitations don't stand in the way of producing the high-quality, well-prepared educators that this country needs.

  9. University of Montana Western
    Location

    Dillon, MT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Montana Western's Education Department is a well-regarded, NCATE-accredited nationally training center for rural educators. With an eye on the future but feet firmly planted in reality, UMW works to make its teaching degree as accessible as possible to students around the state. Indeed, this university offers one of the best online early childhood education programs for busy students in the Northern Midwest. The degree combines online courses with convenient face-to-face meetings at a number of campuses in the Montana University System, thus extending its reach to all corners of the state. Plus, most traditional classes utilize "block scheduling," which condenses a week's worth of material into a single three-hour session.

  10. Wilmington University
    Location

    New Castle, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Though Wilmington University's College of Education offers four distinct BS degrees, students who seek careers in the ECE sector should probably choose the Education Studies program. Majors may then select a concentration in Early Education Studies, which features a set of highly-focused courses on the unique educational needs of infants, preschoolers, and kindergartners. And though this top online early childhood education program does not result in state licensure or certification, degree recipients still acquire extensive classroom experience before graduating. From young ESL preschoolers to exceptional early literacy skills, WU imparts the skills that ECE majors need to succeed in a variety of instructional and childcare roles in the private sector.

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top early childhood education bachelor’ degrees online!

Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

Further Reading: Scholarships Available to Early Childhood Education Students

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