PhD in Early Childhood Education: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Earning a doctoral degree in early childhood education can help prepare you for careers in administration, research or educational development. Review some of the course topics you'd study as a doctoral student in this field, and find out if you can complete some of your classes online. Get career info for those who earn a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Doctoral Degree Program in Early Childhood Education?

There are both online and on-campus Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs available in early childhood education. This kind of degree program is primarily designed to prepare you for a field-appropriate leadership role in academic and research settings. Once you have moved to the doctoral level in this field, your studies are generally research-based and focused on the theories and practices used when educating students from infancy to elementary school age levels.

Program OverviewOnline and on-campus programs are available and are generally research-based
Common CoursesQualitative methods, literacy and literature, growth and development, program administration, curriculum and assessment
Career OptionsEducational researcher; developer of infant, toddler and grade school programs; curriculum specialist; professor of early childhood education
Online ProgramsOnline programs are research-intensive and require the use of online resources, such as PowerPoint presentations, course management systems and lecture videos
Job Outlook (2016-2026)11% growth (Instructional Coordinators)*
Median Salary (2018)$64,450 ('Instructional Coordinators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

The concepts explored in a doctoral degree program in early childhood education include instructional methods for young children, as well as assessment tools and principles of developmental learning. The types of course topics you may cover include:

  • Educational research methodology
  • Growth and development
  • Educational programs
  • Statistics in educational research
  • Program administration
  • Qualitative methods
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Literacy and literature
  • Quantitative methods
  • Research design

What Can I Do with the Degree?

Graduating from a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education program can prepare you for a number of positions, including professor of early childhood education, developer of infant, toddler and grade school children's programs, curriculum specialist or educational researcher. You can also apply your Ph.D. to career advancement in fields such as psychology, social work, sociology or political science.

Are These Programs Available Online?

There are a limited amount of doctoral-level degree programs in special education available online from reputable universities. This is a research-intensive degree program, so a great deal of your online studies will involve the use of textbooks or academic journals. In order to facilitate your distance education, online learning of early childhood education may be conducted through a course management system, Web-based discussion boards, e-mail and online media such as lecture videos or PowerPoint presentations.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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