2020 Best Traditional and Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Programs in America
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Early childhood educators set the stage for all of the learning a child will do in the future. They teach the basic essentials of reading, writing, and early math skills that are necessary for daily living. During this time, teachers hold great sway in the lives of their students and can make a major impact on their overall growth and development.
A degree in early childhood education gives you plenty of opportunities to influence children at this impressionable age. Beyond teaching in a traditional classroom, you could also work in a daycare or tutor young children. You might even decide to become a nanny as you nurture just a handful of children instead of an entire classroom.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there is expected to be tremendous growth over the coming years for teachers who hold these degrees. Consider enrolling in one of these leading programs if you’re ready to learn more.
Best Traditional Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
Leading the way among traditional early childhood education programs, the University of Georgia is a great choice for dedicated teachers. During their 120 required credit hours, you’ll learn how to design your own curriculum, examine how cultural issues influence the classroom, and learn how to develop relationships with students.
In order to receive acceptance into their undergraduate program, you must have standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT and a rigorous academic course load from high school.
The University of Georgia’s College of Education is accredited by the National Council on Teacher Education and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Get a more flexible degree with one of the leading Early Childhood Education programs in the nation. Unlike other schools that only approve you to teach up to age eight, Mercer University’s degree program allows you to teach from kindergarten through grade five. Spend time learning about health and safety, science, and the importance of connections between home and school during your 128 required credit hours.
Applicants should have standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT, extracurricular activities, an application essay, a letter of recommendation, and a rigorous high school curriculum. Transfer students must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA.
The Tift School of Education at Mercer University is accredited by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Get ready to soak up the sun while you earn your Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. This school has been named The Most Innovative School in America, making it a top candidate for you to pursue higher learning regarding childhood development and education. You will have 120 credit hours to graduate with your degree from this program.
Requirements for admission include an SAT score of at least 1120 for residents (ACT score of 22 for residents) and a 3.0 GPA in competency courses.
This school is accredited only by the Higher Learning Commission.
In just four years, you can be the proud new owner of a full Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University – Bloomington that allows you to teach grades kindergarten through third. You’ll learn how to work with young children, develop your own curriculum, and work with early intervention programs over the course of your 120 credit hours.
In order to be accepted directly into their School of Education, students must have a minimum SAT score of 1170 or a minimum ACT score of 24. You must also have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for the Direct Admit Scholars Program.
The program at Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and they are also members of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Get ready for some excitement as you earn a degree in early childhood education in the Big Apple at New York University. When you leave this program, you will be certified to work with children from birth all the way to age two in a variety of unique settings. You will have a firm grip on human development, how the environment influences learning, and how to maximize your environments.
First-year applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and your official transcripts, along with your standardized test scores.
You will be required to have 128 to 131 credit hours in order to graduate with your Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from NYU. All teacher education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Best Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
Students who want a very flexible online program for early childhood education can start almost immediately with Liberty University. They offer a full-time and part-time program, along with the recommended practicum of 300 hours at a local school in your own community. Full-time students can complete all 120 required credits in just four years.
In order to be admitted to Liberty University, you must have standardized test scores from either the SAT or ACT.
Liberty University possesses accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Their bachelor’s in early childhood education is approved by the Virginia Department of Education and the Association of Christian Schools International.
Learn everything you need to know about instruction techniques, growing literacy, and special needs students with the Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education available from Florida International University. It will take four years to earn the 120 credits necessary to graduate from this program. You may also need to find a local school who can work with you to complete your field education requirements.
This university has a rolling admission for both spring and fall. You must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in your lower division coursework to apply, along with standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT.
Florida International University’s Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
You won’t have to travel to sunny California to take advantage of the education offered online by Brandman University’s Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education program. During your 120 required course hours, you will learn better methodology, knowledge on how children develop, and two practicums in a local school district. You must finish a short six-month program with twelve credits before you can be admitted into the education program.
Admission requires standardized test scores and a minimum GPA of 2.0.
Their early childhood education program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Students who want to learn more about early childhood development will want to pursue their Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama. Here, you will receive 120 credit hours of instruction on maintaining children’s health and community supports for childhood development. The program wraps up with an internship at a childcare facility in your local area, even though your learning will be done online.
You may transfer up to 24 credit hours toward your Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from another accredited university. Students who wish to apply here should have a 2.5 high school GPA. Transfer students must have a 2.0 GPA and current ACT or SAT scores from the last four years.
This program will be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln takes a unique approach to their Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. One of the primary tenets of their online program is training educators to work in urban populations where children make frequent moves for one reason or another. You will be required to complete 120 credit hours in this four-year program., including three local practicum experiences.
New students must submit their SAT or ACT scores for consideration on admission. Transfer students should have a 2.5 GPA minimum for acceptance into the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s program.
You will receive a fully accredited education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with their Teacher Education Accreditation Council approval.
How to Choose the Right Program
You can choose the perfect program based on your future career aspirations and the academic course load each school provides. Some will focus more specifically on older children or younger children, as well as different aspects of their development. After this, you can rank schools by convenience, price, and accreditation.
Who accredits a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education program?
Understanding the accreditation schools possess is the key to ensuring that you receive a top-notch education that will prepare you for a future in teaching. Every school, including online programs, will have to maintain some type of accreditation with a state, regional, or national accrediting agencies.
Beyond this accreditation, many will opt to maintain voluntary status with the National Council on Teacher Education or the Accreditation for Educator Preparation. This helps to hold the schools accountable for offering a well-rounded curriculum that adequately prepares students for the future. Not all of the top schools hold this accreditation but it should be considered before you make a choice.
How long does it typically take to get a degree in early childhood education?
Most colleges and universities allow you obtain your degree in four years, just as with a standard bachelor’s degree from other programs. Some course loads will require five years depending on the timing of the courses offered and your enrollment date.
What does the curriculum include?
The curriculum for early childhood education will really vary based on the university. Most schools focus on the overall development of children at this age. You might be expected to take psychology courses and science courses that detail the anticipated changes that children in this age group will undergo. This will likely comprise a significant portion of your credit hours.
You should also learn more effective teaching methods to develop curriculum and teach the content your students will need to learn. You might take some classes that cover the expected curriculum for a given age group.
All early childhood education programs should give you an opportunity to practice your skills in a real-world setting through a local school district or childcare center.
How can I finance my education?
Obtaining your bachelor’s degree can be an expensive endeavor. You can finance this dream by applying for financial aid and grants through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants offered by the federal government do not need to be repaid upon graduation.
Some of these top universities will also have scholarships available to eligible students on a first-come-first-served basis. These scholarships will not need to be repaid but might be based on your grades, test scores, and other criteria. Similar to a scholarship, some colleges will offer work-study programs that allow you to work off your debt in various positions around campus.
For the remaining amount, you might consider taking out a student loan that can be paid back upon graduation. Look for loans that have a low interest rate and don’t impose a penalty for prepayment. The federal government tends to offer more advantageous loan programs compared to private lenders.
What are the employment prospects for a bachelor’s in early childhood education graduate?
A Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education opens the door for a lot of professional opportunities you should be aware of. Beyond teaching at a local elementary school, you can also work at a daycare, preschool, or as a nanny. Think about what career path suits you the best based on some of these statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: Educators who choose to work in a public or private school should expect relatively stable job security upon graduation. Employment opportunities are continuing to increase with another 116,300 jobs being created over the next few years. The average annual salary is $55,490 per year.
Preschool Teachers: Preschool teachers will also enjoy great job opportunities with an additional 50,100 jobs estimated to become available between now and 2026. They will make substantially less than elementary school teachers at just $28,790 per year.
Childcare Worker: A childcare worker makes the least amount of money among these three categories. There is still expected to be a fair amount of jobs available over the coming years, but you will only make an average annual salary of $21,170. A degree in early childhood education is not a requirement for this position.