The Child Development major is for students who wish to study children (infancy through adolescence) and the major contexts—family, cultural, peer, school, and neighborhood—in which they live. However, the first five years are the most important as 90% of a child’s brain develops in these years. The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for speech and language development because the brain is best able to absorb language during this period. Also in the first five years, the brain tells certain muscles to work together to take those first steps or shake a rattle. These are called fine and gross motor skills — and they form a critical part of a child’s development. Hence, the graduates from a Bachelor’s degree program in Child Development can have a significant influence on a child’s cognitive, emotional and physical development.

Career opportunities are: preschool/child care teaching, early childhood education, curriculum development (K-12), community services, social services, and medical related careers in child care programs or child life specialist. One example of annual pay is the position of Preschool and Childcare Center Directors at $45,260 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). The BLS projects the job growth to be average, for this particular job, at 7% through 2024.


1. Ashworth College

Ashworth College evolved from its inception in 1987, when it was a family-owned school offering a single course in real estate appraisal. The course was so popular that the founders knew they had filled a widespread need for high quality, career-focused distance learning. Thus, Professional Career Development Institute (PCDI) was born.  In 2000, we introduced online associate degree programs, followed by master’s degree programs in 2004 and bachelor’s degree programs in 2007. A major plus for the college is their liberal tuition policy that helps students meet their education goals without the burden of student loans and interest fees. Customize your monthly payments to fit your budget with no hidden fees.

Ashworth offers a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Degree online which will help graduates make a difference in preschool and after-school programs, day care centers, special education classes and more. This program includes a core set of general education courses, specialized early childhood education courses, plus electives developed by academic and industry professionals. program is designed to provide students with in-depth instruction in the principles and procedures of supervising and educating children from newborn to age eight. Upon completion of this 120 credit hour program, students will be understand how children learn, how teachers work with children and their parents; they will be able to examine childhood development by observing physical and psycho-social factors that lead to cognitive, language, and literacy development according to a child’s age. This is only a sampling of the skills and knowledge students will glean from the curriculum.

Accreditation: The Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Tuition: $950 per semester

2. Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University (SOU) is a public liberal arts college located in Ashland, Oregon. It began in 1872, founded in part by Reverend Henry Skidmore of Oregon’s Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1878, the school was renamed Ashland College, and then renamed Ashland College and Normal School in 1879. In 1926, the state reestablished Southern Oregon State Normal School in Ashland at a new location on land donated by the city, where the university is currently located. In 1997 after several name changes, the school became Southern Oregon University. The school has received recognition by affordablecollegesonline.org for being one of the High Return on Investment (ROI) Colleges. All curricula for online courses and degree programs are designed by SOU faculty and are held to the same rigorous academic standards as the University’s on-campus classes.

The Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development is designed to be a degree completion.  Students complete their general education and approved early childhood prerequisite courses at their local community college or online then transfer to SOU to complete the degree online.  This flexible scheduling is in response to the need for this degree by professionals in the field of early childhood. SOU is also working collaboratively with regional community colleges to develop transfer agreements – these agreements assist students by assuring they take the necessary classes to transfer smoothly into SOU’s program. Community college transfer students who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree in education with an early childhood/elementary teaching license may apply their previous credits degree upon acceptance at SOU.

Accreditation: The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $212 per credit hour

3. Aspen University

Aspen University, located in Denver, Colorado, is dedicated to offering any motivated college-worthy student the opportunity to receive a high quality, responsibly priced distance-learning education for the purpose of achieving sustainable economic and social benefits for themselves and their families. The school offers accredited bachelor’s degree programs intended to provide students with an education that is affordable, matches their goals, and accommodates their schedules. The flexible class schedule at Aspen is especially beneficial for students seeking to balance college with work, family, or military service. For students who have already completed some college courses, many of Aspen’s programs allow transferred credits to apply toward the requirements of a bachelor’s degree.

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education is a degree designed to help equip students with the skills needed to begin, or advance in, careers in child care and early childhood education. This degree provides students with a comprehensive education that comprises foundational liberal arts courses as well as specialized courses covering ECE-specific topics such as child development, education psychology, and curriculum design. The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education has been designed to accommodate individuals seeking the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. However, this program is not designed as a teacher certification program. Aspen University’s bachelor’s degrees are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

Accreditation: The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Tuition: $150 per credit (120 credits=$18,000 total)

4. University of Washington

The University of Washington‘s College of Education, situated in Seattle, fulfills its mission by collaborating with poverty-impacted, culturally diverse schools to solve real-world educational challenges and close opportunity and achievement gaps. Their distinctive method places the College’s teacher candidates, faculty, research and professional development programs inside schools, where leading-edge teaching practices are developed, tested and refined in real time. The College
 was ranked #8 by U.S. News and World Report in its 2017 ratings, and #2 among public universities. Four specialties ranked in the top 10: Education Administration and Supervision, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education and Special Education.

The online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Family Studies (ECFS) gives students the skills and knowledge you need to make a difference in the lives of young children and their families. This innovative degree completion program prepares students to advance your career in a variety of growing fields, including education, social and mental health services, child care, and parent support and education.  The ECFS online degree program requires that students enter with at least 70 transferable quarter credits. The program course load represents two years of full-time study. It’s expected that most students will finish their degree requirements in two to three years. Students must have a cumulative total of at least 180 credits to earn their bachelor’s degree. All classes and course materials in the early childhood and family studies program are delivered completely online using leading technology. The ECFS program features engaging online courses that have been custom designed by top faculty from the UW College of Education, who also teach in the program.

Accreditation: The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Tuition: $173 per credit hour

5. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University (FHSU), located in the heart of Kansas, is a true world leader in distance education, offering over 40 online degrees specifically designed for adult learners. Students can an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree at their Virtual College. Historically, the school was founded in 1902 as the western branch of the Kansas Normal School. The school’s mission was to serve early settlers’ needs for educational facilities. The first classes were held on the grounds of the abandoned Fort Hays military post just southwest of Hays. The first building of the current campus, Picken Hall, was completed in 1904, and the University moved to its present location in Hays. Today, FHSU serves over 5,000 students on campus and another 8,100 students in greater Kansas and around the world through its award-winning Virtual College. More importantly, FHSU had the 12th-highest ranked elementary education program nationally out of 2,400 programs assessed in 2014.

Their online Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Unified (ECU) will prepare students for a career in early childhood programs, serving as a teacher, administrator, or coordinator (the “unified” portion of this degree includes Special Education coursework). According to the Kansas Department of Education, teachers with an early childhood unified endorsement can teach regular and special education at the birth to third grade level. The BS in Early Childhood Unified education allows graduates to seek licensure that can be used to enter into education-related occupations serving children and families from birth to age 8 (third grade).  The program provides both internship and student teaching experiences in diverse environments. The program FHSU offers prepare students for licensure in Kansas only. Those residing in other states will need to contact their respective state’s Department of Education to determine its license transfer requirements.

Accreditation: The Virtual College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition: $186.50 per credit hour for all undergraduate courses

6. Florida International University

Florida International University (FIU) Online has been at the forefront of offering the best in online learning since 1998. In 2009, FIU Online enhanced its focus to offer both online courses as a complement to on-site students as well as fully online programs. FIU now has 27 fully online programs and dozens of programs that can be completed almost entirely online. Nearly half of FIU students – over 25,000 – took online classes in the 2012 academic year, and more than 300 faculty taught online classes. It has been ranked one of the Top Online Bachelor’s Programs in U.S. News & World Report for 2012.

FIU’s Online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development Track is a fully online program that focuses on learning and development during the early childhood years. The undergraduate degree addresses the development of the whole child. Students learn about cognitive, language and social/emotional development of young children, as well as general and early education theory and practices. The Early Childhood Development track, is a total of 120 credits, 60 each in both upper and lower division courses. After completing the core professional education courses, students take a total of 30 credit hours in the area of early development that includes a focus on child development, family and community studies as well as literacy, language and reading development.

Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Tuition: $215.94 per credit hour (in-state); $333 (out-of-state)        

7. Northwestern State University

Northwestern was established in 1884 in the old Bullard Mansion atop a hill overlooking the bustling river port city of Natchitoches. The campus grew as the school expanded from a two-year degree for teachers at Louisiana State Normal School to the four-year education degree at Louisiana Normal College in 1921. In 1944, the school became Northwestern State College and Northwestern State University in 1970. The campus expanded to the south and west as the school grew, satellite campuses developed in Shreveport, Alexandria and at Fort Polk, and today its Distance Learning Program allows students around the world to study at Northwestern.

Northwestern has produced more educators and education leaders than any other university in Louisiana. The College offers undergraduate programs in early childhood education, elementary and secondary education, health and physical education, music education, vocal and music education and more. The early childcare program at Northwestern State University of Louisiana prepare students for a career as a daycare provider, social worker, camp counselor, recreation work, teacher assistant, or preschool teacher. The program focuses on teaching students ranging in age from infancy through eight years, depending on the school system or state regulations. Program courses include preparation to teach all relevant subject matter.  Graduates will earn a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development upon completion of the 124 credits program.

Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition: $325 per credit hour up to 12 hours, then $100 per credit hour thereafter

8. University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming was founded in 1886, when Wyoming was still a territory.  In September 1887, UW opened its doors to 42 students and five faculty members–as befitted the university of “The Equality State” both the students and faculty included women from the first day. Nestled between two mountain ranges in southeastern Wyoming, UW offers varied academic and lifestyle opportunities including year-round cultural and recreational activities. Located in Laramie, a town of more than 30,800 with a unique blend of sophistication and western hospitality, UW draws over 13,000 students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. UW offers 200 areas of study, a small student /faculty ratio, and renowned faculty.

The College of Education offers two certification programs in early childhood education: one at the undergraduate level for teachers serving children from birth to age eight and one at the graduate level serving children with special needs from birth through age five. In addition, undergraduate students in elementary education may choose early childhood education as an 18 hour area of concentration. The professional child development option is offered by distance delivery only but has the same quality and requirements as on-campus programs. All students are assigned an advisor who works closely with them throughout their program. The distance delivery of this program allows students who have existing A.A. or A.S. degrees in child development, early childhood education, or a closely related field to complete their bachelor’s degree. Entry into this program is by acceptance only. All students applying for admission to the Professional Child Development option are re­quired to complete a security screening before they will be allowed entry into the program.

Accreditation: The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition: $4,891 Annual cost Wyoming resident; $15,631 non-resident

9. Central Methodist University

On April 13, 1853, Central College was founded by Nathan Scarritt and David Rice McAnally. The University was chartered on March 15, 1855, and the first classes were held September 18, 1857, with one building on one acre of ground, 144 students, and 3 faculty members. In 1994, Central Methodist College, in cooperation with East Central College in Union, Missouri, began baccalaureate degree completion programs. In May 2004, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution to Central Methodist University. Today, CMU is a private university with a total enrollment of more than 5,200 students statewide. Their main campus (known as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences-CLAS) is located in Fayette, Missouri.

Methodist University offers fully accredited degree completion programs entirely through online course work. CMU’s College of Central Graduate and Extended Studies emphasizes convenient and high quality online classes with affordable tuition. Online classes run either 8 or 16 weeks in length, depending on the chosen courses. The school’s online Child Development major is offered for students who are interested in a career in early childhood settings that do not require public school certification. Students will participate in the same general education and early childhood courses. These courses will provide students with a background to establish, manage, and evaluate their own day care centers. Students will receive the knowledge and background for a career in commercial and/or non-profit childcare initiatives including Head Start Programs. The minimum 124 credit hour curriculum leads to a Bachelor of Science in Child Development. All degrees are required to take the 31.5 to 32 hours of General Education Common Cores courses. Subjects in this sector range from algebra to psychology to general chemistry. The Child Development Major Requirements are a total of 36 hours. The balance consists of additional General Education Requirements.

Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission

Tuition: $250 per credit hour

10. American Military University

American Military University (AMU) is a member of the American Public University System (APUS) that joined with American Public Education, Inc. in 2007 and became a publicly-traded company. AMU was founded in Virginia in 1991 and began offering undergraduate programs in 1996. Two years later, the school transitioned to an online format of education delivery. By 2011, AMU had surpassed 100,000 active students. In 2013, the school was ranked #22 by U.S. News & World Report on the list of Best Online Programs and was ranked in the top 12% nationally in 2014.

The Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the study of human development within the contexts of the family, the community, and the broader national and international culture. This online program is designated as an approved Early Childhood Education Training Institution by the Council for Professional Recognition, which offers the national Child Development Associate (CDA) designation. This bachelor’s degree program does not lead to licensure to become a K-12 school teacher. In addition, while this program offers the academic background needed for careers in early childhood, individual states often require additional hands-on training or site visitation not provided by this university. Graduates will be able to explain diverse perspectives on contested issues in child development, including an articulation of how these issues might be addressed in social or personal settings.

Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission                    

Tuition: $270 per credit hour; $250 (Military-Affiliated students)


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