In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the critical importance of early childhood education. Research has shown that children who enter kindergarten underprepared are more likely to struggle throughout their academic journey. As a result, policymakers and educators are prioritizing the expansion of access to quality preschool education. This surge in demand for highly skilled early childhood educators has created a promising career path for those interested in making a difference in the lives of young learners.

The Growing Field of Early Childhood Education

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a significant growth of 18% in preschool teaching jobs by 2030. This projection reflects the increasing recognition of the value of early childhood education and the efforts to provide high-quality preschool programs across the United States. Aspiring teachers can take advantage of this demand and contribute to shaping the future of education.

Moreover, several organizations, such as T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® and Bright Horizons, offer scholarships to support the development of highly skilled educators. These opportunities make pursuing a degree in early childhood education more accessible and financially feasible for individuals passionate about teaching young children.

The Importance of a Bachelor’s Degree

While some preschool teaching jobs only require an associate’s degree, having a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education has become increasingly important. The National Academies of Sciences recommended in 2015 that all lead educators in preschool settings should possess a bachelor’s degree. This recommendation has led to a shift in the expectations of employers, who now prefer candidates with a higher level of education.

By pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you not only deepen your understanding of early childhood education but also prepare yourself for future career advancements. For example, to assume an administrative position, you will likely need a master’s degree. However, most master’s degree programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. Investing in a bachelor’s degree can pave the way for further professional growth and open doors to higher-paying positions.

According to a study by Northeastern University, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary of $18,772 more than those with an associate’s degree. Additionally, an associate’s degree can still provide a $7,332 increase in annual earnings compared to having just a high school diploma. The financial benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education are evident, making it a wise investment in your future.

Benefits of Studying Online

An online degree in early childhood education offers numerous advantages, especially for individuals who are already working or have other commitments. Online programs are designed with flexibility in mind, allowing students to balance their studies with their personal and professional responsibilities.

One of the primary benefits of online learning is the ability to continue working while earning your degree. Online colleges for early childhood educators understand the needs of working students, and their programs are tailored to accommodate busy schedules. Courses often have flexible due dates and do not require students to attend live classes, enabling you to study at your own pace and convenience.

Moreover, online learning allows you to choose the order in which you take your classes. This flexibility empowers you to design a study plan that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prefer to complete certain courses before others or want to balance your workload, online programs offer the freedom to tailor your learning experience.

Financially, studying online can be more cost-effective. Many colleges and universities charge a flat per-credit rate for online courses, regardless of whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. This can result in significant savings, particularly if you live in a different state from your chosen school. Additionally, online learners can access the same federal financial aid opportunities as on-campus students. Scholarships and grants specifically for online learners further enhance the affordability of pursuing an online degree in early childhood education.

Accredited Online Colleges for Early Childhood Education

When selecting an online college for early childhood education, it is essential to choose an accredited institution. Accreditation ensures that the school meets specific educational standards and that your degree will be recognized by employers and licensing organizations. Many financial aid awards and licensure exams require candidates to have graduated from an accredited institution.

There are two types of accreditation to consider: institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation can be either regional or national. Regional accreditation is generally regarded as more rigorous and prestigious, with most public and private non-profit colleges and universities holding this type of accreditation. National accreditation is often associated with trade schools, online institutions, and for-profit colleges. While both types of accreditation have value, regionally accredited schools may not accept transfer credits from nationally accredited institutions.

Programmatic accreditation is achieved at the program level, ensuring that specific programs meet the highest standards of quality. For early childhood education degrees, accreditation by organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is highly regarded. Checking for program-level accreditation is an essential step in choosing the right online college for your early childhood education degree.

Exploring the Best Online Early Childhood Education Degrees

To assist you in finding the right program, Accredited Online College has compiled rankings of the best online colleges for early childhood education. These rankings are based on data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and consider factors such as affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the range of programs offered.

One of the top-ranked institutions for online early childhood education degrees is the University of Washington. As a highly regarded public university, the University of Washington offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in Early Care and Education. This program allows distance learners to earn the same respected degree as on-campus students.

The University of Washington’s online program provides flexibility through asynchronous coursework, allowing students to access class materials at their convenience. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including child development and family studies, with a strong emphasis on service learning. The program typically takes two years for full-time students to complete, and students progress through the program with a cohort of peers.


Earning a degree in early childhood education from an accredited online college can have a profound impact on your career prospects and your ability to make a difference in the lives of young children. The growing demand for highly skilled educators, coupled with the financial benefits and flexibility of online learning, makes pursuing an online degree in early childhood education an attractive option.

By investing in a bachelor’s degree, you not only enhance your knowledge and skills but also position yourself for future career advancements and higher earning potential. Accredited online colleges for early childhood education provide the necessary credentials and qualifications to excel in this rewarding field. With an understanding of the importance of early childhood education and the advantages of online learning, you can embark on a fulfilling journey toward shaping the minds of young learners and making a lifelong difference in their lives.

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