Next in our series of affordable online degrees is our ranking of the most affordable 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 job 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.
If you’re interested in Early Childhood Education, you might be overwhelmed by the difficulty of getting a job in the field. Especially if you have already been to school, you might not be prepared to return to a university campus for four long years. But you’re in luck! Thanks to the increasing use of technology on college campuses, it is now possible to earn a bachelor’s degree entirely online.
Upwards of 30 schools offer Early Childhood Education degrees through distance education, and we have researched all of them for you. See below for our list of the 13 cheapest undergraduate programs in Early Childhood Education and related fields. In addition to being excitingly affordable, they are also all great quality – many have received accolades and have been ranked among the top online colleges in the country. Even the most expensive schools (listed first) cost less than $14,000 a year!
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Cheap Online Early Childhood Education Degree Program Ranking
13. Kaplan University
Online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development
Kaplan University, a top online college, offers a program in Early Childhood Development that prepares students for employment in childcare centers, pre-kindergarten or kindergarten classrooms, and Head Start programs. Those who enter the online early childhood education degree program with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited school can then earn a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development in as few as two years of full-time study via the Advanced Start college online program. Though Kaplan offers online coursework, students at the Maine campus can take advantage of an optional teaching experience designed to help them apply what they learn in an early childhood classroom setting. Kaplan was ranked #7 on the Early Childhood Education website for offering outstanding benefits, such as quality faculty and reduced tuition for active military.
12. University of Toledo
Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education – Online Degree Completion
The University of Toledo offers a fast-track degree program for students who already have an associate’s degree in early childhood education. Students can apply for unique scholarships that may cover up to 90% of tuition costs. The university also offers an out-of-state scholarship for students enrolled in this top online early childhood education degree program. Graduates of the program may continue their online college education in the Early Childhood Education Master’s program and learn from nationally recognized scholars in the field. The program is designed to help teachers become more effective in the classroom by covering the latest in research, theory, and practice. This accredited university was ranked #6 by NonProfit Colleges Online for valuing students and education over profit.
Tuition: $9,275/yr (In-state) $18,395/yr (Out-of-state)
11. Southern Oregon University
Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development Online
Southern Oregon University developed its accredited online college program in Early Childhood Development in response to a growing need for college graduates prepared for leadership positions in the field. This affordable program is designed for students who have taken general education and approved prerequisite courses at their local community college; these students can then transfer to SOU to finish their college degree online. Students will become qualified professionals working as preschool teachers, Head Start teachers, administrators, or even early interventionists. Southern Oregon also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in both one-year and two-year formats. Affordable Colleges Online ranks Southern Oregon as an affordable, high “return on investment” institution.
Tuition: $7,438/yr (In-state) $19,900/yr (Out-of-state)
10. Florida International University Online
Online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Development Track
Students in Florida International University’s Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Science online college program learn from top faculty and use the latest technology to stay connected to the university, collaborating with fellow students, and get real-time feedback from professors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this growing field will experience an increase in the need for preschool teachers and childcare workers in the next few years. This accredited online early childhood education degree program focuses on the complex development of young children, in addition to early education practices and curricula. The program also covers how to teach beginning literacy, math, and science to young children. Best Value Schools online included this program on their Top 15 Cheap Online Bachelor’s in Child Development Degree Programs.
Tuition: $9,239/yr (In-state) $13,091/yr (Out-of-state)
9. National University
Online Bachelor of Arts with Major in Early Childhood Education
The Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education program at National University combines current theory and research to give students the best online college experience to become competent and effective professionals. Students learn techniques and instructional strategies they can use to provide children the best learning outcomes, and they also study brain development, parent empowerment, early cognition, and socio-economic factors that influence child learners. Online early childhood education degree graduates are to show their knowledge of legal, ethical and professional standards, and create positive relationships and supportive interactions with young children, among other skills. This top online college is frequently recognized by U.S. News for the quality of its programs and has a reputation for preparing more students for teaching credentials than any other university in California.
8. Indiana University/Purdue University at Fort Wayne
Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Online
IPFW offers three highly-reputable affordable online college degree programs in Early Childhood Education, including Birth-5, preschool-Grade 3, and preschool-Grade 6. The only college in Northeast Indiana to offer a Bachelor of Science in ECE, this program caters to working adults by offering hybrid classes that allow full-time students in the first two programs to complete some coursework online and the rest in an evening or weekend format. Scholarships are available through the T.E.A.C.H. program, which is committed to improving education for young children. Best Education Schools ranked IPFW the #8 Early Childhood Education school in the United States.
Tuition: $7,013/yr (In-state) $16,845/yr (Out-of-state)
7. Park University
Online B.S.E. in Education Studies With Emphases in Early Childhood Education and Leadership or Early Childhood Education Teaching Young Children
This flexible, accelerated, and completely online college B.S.E. in Education Studies offers multiple specializations, including “Early Childhood Education and Leadership” and “Teaching Young Children.” Students choosing the Leadership emphasis will take courses such as Educational Psychology and Ethics and Professionalism in the Classroom and upon graduation will be prepared for positions of responsibility in childcare centers, HeadStart programs, and private preschools, to name a few. Students who choose the Teaching Young Children route will complete coursework in School as a Social System and Early Childhood Principles and graduate prepared for classroom teaching. Park ranked seventh in U.S. News & World Report’s list of most affordable private schools in the nation.
6. University of Phoenix
Bachelor of Science in Education/Early Childhood Education Online
The University of Phoenix offers a number of top online college programs, including a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. This affordable online college program stresses a student-centered approach to learning and employs only highly skilled faculty with an average of 16 years experience. With an increase in preschool and kindergarten enrollments, career opportunities are expected to rise over the next few years for graduates who are passionate about shaping the social, cognitive, and academic skills of children ages three to eight. The benefits of attending the University of Phoenix include the Center for Field Placement, which helps online college students prepare to meet state certification requirements, and the Technology Resource Library. Students who are concerned about getting a great value (and who isn’t!) should be comforted by the fact that 97% of survey respondents on College Prowler said the university is well worth the money.
5. Brandman University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Brandman University, a fully accredited online college program, offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education that prepares graduates to provide inclusive, effective education to children from birth to age 8. The curriculum includes field work and supervised classroom opportunities for students to hone their skills, and students can choose between on-campus or 100% online classes. Those attending college online often appreciate that the programs are designed to serve the unique needs of adult learners. U.S. News and World Report named Brandman one of the top 10 undergraduate programs in the nation. Graduates may elect to further their education with master’s programs in Education, Leadership in Early Childhood Education, or Special Education: Early Childhood.
4. Fort Hays State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Education – Early Childhood Unified
Busy students can jumpstart their careers in education with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, available through incredibly affordable online college courses at Fort Hayes State University. The university’s licensure program allows online early childhood education degree graduates to pursue careers serving children from birth to 8 years of age. These include positions as teachers, administrators, and Head Start coordinators in infant and toddler programs, franchised daycare and preschool programs, and more. Fort Hays State placed 16th on U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of best online bachelor’s degree programs. As a top online college, it ensures students use the latest in educational technology while taking advantage of practical, real-world experience.
Tuition: $4,358/yr (In-state) $12,821/yr (Out-of-state)
3. Granite State College
Early Childhood Education with Teacher Certification (B.S.) Online
Granite State College, established in 1972, is committed to its mission of making an affordable and quality online college education possible for students of all ages. Graduates of this online college program are qualified to obtain dual teaching certifications in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education, making it an attractive option for students with multiple career goals. The college also has a liberal transfer policy for work and life experience, military service, as well as previously earned credits from approved institutions. GSC’s goal is for all online early childhood education degree graduates to successfully demonstrate knowledge of current childhood education research, technology, program design and assessment strategies, among other topics. TheBestSchools.org ranked this program atop its list of Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education.
Tuition: $7,065/yr (In-state) $7,545/yr (Out-of-state)
2. Aspen University
Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education Online
This completely online college program offers a personal and interactive experience. With 24-hour access to the virtual classroom, students are always connected to the campus community and their instructors. Most students take two ten-week college online courses at a time and graduate in four years. However, those with busier schedules have the option of taking only one course at a time, while those who wish to accelerate their studies may take three per ten-week semester. This affordable, accredited, and comprehensive liberal arts degree program offers both preschool and infant/toddler specializations. The online early childhood education degree curriculum also prepares students to earn a Child Development Associate credential and to gain employment as a childcare educator or director. OnlineU ranked this best online college program the #1 Most Affordable Early Childhood Education Degree.
1. Western Governors University
Online BA Early Childhood Education Course of Study
Western Governors University is designed to provide adult students with a first-rate, affordable online college education on a flexible schedule. The school is “competency-based,” meaning students progress by demonstrating competence in assessments, by completing a portfolio or capstone, or both. Students choosing a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education take online college coursework combining supervised teaching practicums; instructional planning; and training in how to integrate science, literacy, and math into children’s education. Fast Company magazine named WGU one of the world’s most innovative companies in 2013, and GuidetoOnlineSchools.com ranked WGU No. 1 in its 2013 list of Top Online Colleges.
Further Reading: Scholarships Available to Early Childhood Education Students
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.