Colleges with Early Childhood Education Degrees

Learn about the programs available with a focus on early childhood education and the courses offered in them. Find out what the requirements to teach are including certification and licensure. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Students looking to become early childhood educators can consider a few different postsecondary education paths. See what types of programs are offered, how they are offered, and how they compare to each other by taking a look at the following article.

How Can I Find a College Offering Early Childhood Education Degree Programs?

In many cases, you can start on a career in early childhood education before you earn a degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) mentions that some states allow you to teach preschool if you hold a high school diploma and have earned the national Child Development Associate (CDA) education credential (www.bls.gov).

The Council for Professional Recognition sets the standards of education necessary for you to be designated a CDA. It maintains an online directory of postsecondary schools throughout the United States that offer approved CDA courses.

If you decide you'd like to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education, there are two other sources you might consider. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers a directory of colleges hosting NAEYC-accredited programs leading to an associate's degree.

At the website of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), you can find a list of postsecondary schools that offer accredited degree-granting programs in all areas of education. Among them are those leading to a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.

What's Involved in a CDA Program?

A CDA program can take you up to one year to complete and can consist of 13-18 credits. You must accumulate no less than 120 real-time hours of instruction and 480 hours of hands-on experience. Though the courses that comprise the program vary, they must satisfy a set of six competencies determined by the Council for Professional Recognition.

You must demonstrate your ability to establish a healthy and safe learning environment, advance a child's mental and physical competence, guide a child's social and emotional development and foster productive and positive relationships within the child's family. In due course, you must then manage an effective program to ensure these goals and maintain professionalism.

What Undergraduate Degrees Are Available to Me?

A 2-year program in early childhood education can consist of 60-63 credits and lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. Schools may allow you to apply credits earned toward a bachelor's degree.

Typical courses in an associate's degree program introduce preschool and secondary development and education, as well as family dynamics and how to establish a healthy, safe learning environment. There is also usually at least one practicum, which may include student-teaching assignments. This fieldwork can last 12 weeks and entail up to 220 hours of experience at a school-approved facility. For the duration of your fieldwork, you might be required to purchase malpractice insurance.

A 4-year early childhood education program leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science can be made up of 121-180 credits. Most schools require you to participate in an extensive amount of student-teaching fieldwork. In addition to subjects covered in associate's degree programs, you also train in areas that include curriculum development, comparative education, child welfare, age-appropriate methodology, educational psychology, creativity in the arts and corrective reading.

Schools often require you to sit for and pass the Praxis II exam, which is a 2-hour, multiple-choice test meant to demonstrate your knowledge of various subjects that affect a child's learning ability. The Praxis II is used by some states as a requirement for licensure.

Are There Online Programs Available?

Some schools offer partially online early childhood education programs leading to a CDA certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Because of fieldwork, practicum or student teaching requirements, the programs mix Web-based and in-person learning; these are known as hybrids. This means that you can complete classroom work online, but experiential requirements must be met on campus.

Which Schools Offer CDA Certificate Programs?

CDA certification can allow you to teach without earning a degree. Take a look at a few examples of this type of program:

  • CUNY School of Professional Studies provides a CDA Certificate program
  • Penn Foster Career School houses a CDA Credential Preparation program
  • Baker College has a CDA Academic Foundations Certificate program

Which Schools Offer Associate Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education?

You can earn an associate degree in early childhood education at a variety of colleges and universities, such as:

  • Post University delivers an online Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program
  • Concordia University St. Paul has an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree program entirely online
  • Ivy Tech Community College hosts an online Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree program

Which Schools Offer Bachelor Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education?

It's not uncommon to find an early childhood education bachelor degree program at many schools, and some may be offered online. The following are a selection of these programs:

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program
  • Ball State University delivers a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program completely online
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas provides a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program

For people looking to enter the field of early childhood education, CDA certificate programs are available which will allow them to work in the field without a degree. There are also associate and bachelor degree programs, offered both on-campus and online, which can provide more extensive education as well as hands-on experience to make you career-ready.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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