Finding an affordable early childhood education degree online doesn’t need to be hard. It’s no secret that early childhood education is not the most lucrative career choice; working professionals in preschool, Head Start, and other education and childcare centers cannot afford to spend a fortune getting their bachelor’s degree. Plus, the schedule of a conventional on-campus degree program doesn’t generally mesh well with a teacher’s schedule; days are spent at the job, while nights are critical for preparation.
That’s why online bachelor’s completion programs in early childhood education have become so common, but working adults looking for advancement in the field should be careful. There are plenty of affordable early childhood education degree online programs from regionally accredited, trustworthy colleges and universities all over the US. The best deals usually come from regional public universities, many of which started out as teacher’s colleges and maintain a commitment to the highest standards of teacher education in their online ECE programs.
Ranking the Cheapest Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Online
To rank the 10 Most Affordable Early Childhood Education Degree Online, Bachelor’s Degree Center ran the numbers on more than 500 CAEP and NCATE-accredited online ECE programs in the US. There’s only one criteria for the most affordable ranking: tuition rate, taken from IPEDS data gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics.
Only regionally accredited, CAEP and NCATE-approved programs are included in the BDC ranking, so students can be certain their online early childhood education degree meets the highest standards.
1. Winston-Salem State University
When you’re looking for an affordable early childhood education degree online, Winston-Salem State University’s online BS in Birth-Kindergarten Education teaches students to handle the needs of children from infancy until they are five years old and ready to move into traditional education. It discusses different strategies to handle the needs of typical and atypical children who may be in the care of adults in a daycare or similar program. Students qualify for licensure after completing their online ECE programs.
Winston-Salem State University is an HBCU in the Triad region of North Carolina. WSSU had its beginning in 1892 as a teacher’s college to train African-American teachers for the segregated schools of the era. Today, Winston-Salem State is one of the most acclaimed public HBCUs in the nation, and remains a leader in teacher education for the South. The college is also known as a force for social mobility, ranking in the top 10 of the Social Mobility Index. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the North Carolina State Board of Education.
2. Western New Mexico University
The Western New Mexico University online BS in Early Childhood Education is one of the most affordable early childhood education degree online programs in the nation. WNMU prepares students to work in a daycare or program designed for the needs of young children. The program focuses on a variety of important aspects of a child’s life, including health and nutrition, child development, and family collaboration. By learning how to get parents and family members involved in a child’s early education, teachers set the child up for success when he or she moves into a traditional class environment at the elementary level. The online ECE programs teach students to handle the challenges of a child’s initial growth and development, as well as to prepare a child for their education.
Western New Mexico University was founded in 1893 as a normal school, training teachers for the territory’s schools. While WNMU has become a comprehensive university, it has retained the focus on excellence and teaching. The online BS-ECE program allows students to practice teaching before they complete their degree and it requires a teacher assessment using the National Evaluation Series to ensure that teachers are able to handle the challenges of educating young children. The high standards help students prepare for their role as an educator and caregiver to young children, with the affordability of one of the Southwest’s cheapest early childhood education degree programs.
3. University of Montana Western
Working adults searching for the cheapest early childhood education degree should look to the University of Montana Western’s online BS in Early Childhood Education program. The BS degree in Early Childhood Education focuses on understanding the needs and behavior of children before working with them in an educational setting. Students have a chance to take their online ECE programs in a traditional classroom setting or online, so it offers flexibility for students who cannot attend traditional classes.
The University of Montana Western began in 1893 as the Montana Territorial Normal School, preparing teachers for the schools system even before Montana became as state. UMW’s online programs provide greater flexibility for students than traditional programs, building on years of experience in distance education. Students never need to go to the campus to take classes and can complete their degree entirely online. It also uses a gateway system that assesses students’ abilities at different stages of the degree program to ensure that they are prepared to handle the challenges of caring for young children.
4. North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University’s online BS in Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education programs is an affordable early childhood education degree online program focusing on the needs of children from infancy until kindergarten. The B-K online ECE programs prepare students to work in a daycare or in any position focusing on the needs of young children. The online program allows students to work from any location and gives working adults the flexibility to focus on accomplishing their goals as a student. It also qualifies graduates for state licensure, or a specialized certification for working teachers and second-career teachers.
North Carolina Central University has been a leader in African-American education for generations, since its beginning as a private school for black youth in 1910, then as a public teacher’s college in 1923. Teacher education has remained a priority for over a century, and remains one of the best teacher’s colleges among HBCUs. Since the program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE, it does comply with the standards of the council. It’s also one of the cheapest early childhood education degree programs to be found in an online format, making NCCU a real value for North Carolina teachers.
5. Lewis-Clark State College
The Lewis-Clark State College online BAS in Early Childhood Education for students who want to work with young children. The program allows you to take on positions in educational programs for children at an early age, including a head teacher in a Head Start program or an Early Head Start program, or to work as a consultant, in family support programs, or a variety of positions focusing on the needs of young children. LCSC’s online ECE programs help with licensure and certification by running all students through a background check and fingerprinting to ensure they are qualified to work with young children.
Like many regional public institutions, Lewis-Clark State College began as a normal school, training teachers for the school system in the “normal” method of experiential learning in a real classroom. LCSC began just a few years after Idaho’s statehood, in 1893, and over a century later remains committed to the highest standards in teacher education, even after expanding to a more comprehensive college. To reach Idaho’s rural residents, LCSC has also become a leader in online education, including one of the most affordable early childhood education degree online programs in the nation.
6. University of Southern Mississippi
If you’re looking for an affordable early childhood education degree online, then the University of Southern Mississippi’s online BS in Child and Family Studies program prepares students to work with children and their families in a wide variety of settings. Since the program stresses the inclusion of family in the education of young children, graduates have many more options than simply pre-K or Head Start programs, including family counseling centers and other social services careers. Southern Miss’ online ECE programs recognize that educators are only part of the process and takes time to prepare students for the integration of family support in a child’s early development.
Since its founding as a normal school in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi’s focus on teacher training and education has remained firm. Southern Miss’ online early childhood education program is accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. The high standards set by the association ensure that you have the skills to handle the needs of families and their children. Southern Miss’ commitment to accessibility has also made it one of the cheapest early childhood education degree programs in the US.
7. Fort Hays State University
The Fort Hays State University online BS in Early Childhood Unified prepares students for licensure teaching both conventional and special education from birth to 3rd grade. The online degree program allows graduates to take on positions as an administrator, a coordinator or an early childhood educator. Since it takes a unified approach to teacher education, it allows you to take on more roles as a professional working in childhood education. The Fort Hays online ECE programs offer student teaching opportunities and internships to help prepare students for the tasks they will face when working in early childhood education.
Fort Hays State University had its origin as a branch campus of the Kansas State Normal School, before growing into its own independent teacher’s college. Built on a former military garrison, and originally set up as an agricultural research station, FHSU has always been in tune with Kansas’ needs. That continues today with some of the bst and most affordable online degree programs in the nation, including its affordable early childhood education degree online program.
8. Mayville State University
If you’re looking for the cheapest early childhood education degree, Mayville State University may offer the program you need. Mayville State’s online early childhood education programs include a BS in Education with an Early Childhood Education concentration and a BA in Early Education. Both online ECE programs focus on meeting the needs of children at an early age. They also allow you to transfer in credits from other programs so that students can complete their undergraduate program in a short amount of time.
Mayville State University began in the same year North Dakota became a state, organized as a normal school to train teachers by the new legislature. With the special needs of North Dakota’s working adults – in a state with vast rural areas that can be difficult to travel in winter months – Mayville State has become a national leader in online education. Reasonable tuition rates have also earned MSU a reputation as a best value, a status that extends to their affordable early childhood education degree online program.
9. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University’s online Child and Family Studies: Child Development bachelor’s degree offers the education professional educators need to work with young children. The program specifically focuses on the development of children and providing the education they need to handle challenges as they move forward into their elementary education. In eight-week terms, with a flexible schedule, the online program allows you to work on your degree when it fits your schedule and the affordable cost allows you to work on accomplishing your goals while staying in a budget.
Eastern Kentucky University has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s top online educators, with U.S. News & World Report ranking as one of the top online undergraduate educators in the nation. EKU began in 1906 as a state normal school, when the former Central University was bought out by the Commonwealth. EKU’s roots in teacher education continue to shine through its education programs, including one of the most affordable online ECE programs anywhere.
10. Jackson State University
Jackson State University’s online BS in Child Care and Family Education is one of the most affordable early childhood education degree online programs in the nation. The program is a non-licensure program, so it does not give students a licensure exam. While it does not give students a teaching license, it does qualify graduates to work as teacher’s assistants, Head Start administrators, pre-school directors, and other related careers. JSU’s Child Care and Family Education program focuses on early childhood development and the integration of family into a child’s early development and education.
Jackson State University is one of the largest HBCUs in the nation, and a leader in education in Mississippi. Founded in 1877, JSU has been meeting the needs of African-American students in Mississippi for more than a century and a half, especially through professional education in crucial areas like teacher education. The online Child Care and Family Education program offers field experiences that help you prepare for your career in early education before you start working as a teacher’s aide, a coordinator or a similar role in childhood education. With JSU’s emphasis on affordability, it’s one of the cheapest online ECE programs anywhere.
How Much Does an Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Online Program Cost?
One of the best things about online degrees is that they provide much more affordable options than classroom educations. The fact that you won’t have to live on campus or commute means that you’ll save even more money. Still, even within online programs, you’ll find a wide range of prices. With some schools, you can get your degree for less than $5,000. With others, you might spend more than $20,000 on your education. Schools on both ends of this spectrum can provide an excellent education. Don’t discount a school because of a low cost.
Why the disparity? Tuition costs usually depend on the kind of school you want to attend. For example, a degree from a public school will usually cost far less than a degree from a private school. However, you’ll find different price ranges even within those two categories. Take public schools, for example. You’d spend more money on a large flagship university than you would spend attending a smaller public school. Within private schools, a small Christian college education often costs less than a degree from a more elite liberal arts school. Take some time to shop around before you make your final decisions, because some supposedly affordable programs have hidden fees.
Can I Get Financial Aid for an Online Early Childhood Education Degree?
Yes, you can absolutely find financial aid for your education. You have a few options to find the aid that you need. Start with regular search engines. When you do, search specifically for online colleges for early childhood education with financial aid. Some schools provide more financial aid options than others. If you’re already interested in specific schools, check out their websites. You can also call schools to ask about financial aid. Some online schools even accept Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA can also help you find student loans and other forms of assistance when you look for online colleges for early childhood education with financial aid. Take a look at their website for resources.
Online students may pay the same price in-state as out-of-state, and the same for part-time as for full-time. Elementary school teachers moving into early childhood will find online learning an advantage as well.
What Will I Learn in an Early Childhood Education Program?
Enrollment in a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in early childhood education is the first step for aspiring preschool teachers. Admission requirements vary between schools, but you’ll generally need a high school diploma or associate degree from community college. Most bachelor’s programs require 120 credit hours, but you may transfer credits or get credit for work experience in a degree completion program. In addition to general education, coursework for full-time online learners may include:
- classroom management
- educational studies
- human development
- learning environments
You may choose a specialization for your undergraduate degree, such as working with students with disabilities in early care. You may be required to do a practicum for hands-on learning, but if you’re already working in a care center, you may use your current job. Choose a nonprofit college for a reputable degree.
An online bachelor’s degree is a credential that can help you in many early childhood programs, such as childcare center director. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sees increasing demand for early childhood professionals. Those with master’s degrees will be even more in-demand.
Where Can I Find Free Online Early Childhood Education Courses?
It’s entirely possible to find free early childhood education courses online. However, you won’t get college credit for these courses. Nevertheless, these courses can provide excellent information. They often help the following types of people:
- Those who already work in early childhood education and want a “refresher” course
- Those who have earned a degree but want to learn the latest insights
- Those who want a resume booster to get better jobs
- Those who can’t afford to pay for a degree but who want to start their education right away
- Nannies, babysitters, and daycare workers who want supplementary knowledge
If you fall into any of those categories or just want to take some free classes, you can start with a Google search. Also, if you have a library card, you can access your local library’s databases for free. Many of those databases include free video courses, including courses on early childhood education.
Early childhood education can supply a wonderful, fulfilling career path. An online degree can help you get started. Still have questions about earning your degree online? Visit the contact page today.
25 Best Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Programs
Top 10 Education Degree Programs
Top 10 Online Bachelor of Education Degree Programs
10 Cheapest Online Bachelor’s of Education Degree Programs