Best Master’s In Child Development Degrees

A master's degree in child development can lead to new and exciting career opportunities. Here, we list the top programs available.

Best Master’s In Child Development Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

What kind of Child Development degree should you get?

Depending on whether you want to teach or pursue a different career with young children, you’ll have to choose between a Master’s in Child Development specifically or a Master’s in Early Childhood Education (which covers child development with an eye to learning in the classroom).

You may also be trying to decide between a campus-based program and an online one. While both modes of delivery offer distinct advantages, if convenience or flexibility are two of your top priorities you might want to look closely at online options. Online degree programs are both convenient and equally as rigorous as their campus-based counterparts—and they are often more affordable as well.

If you’re interested, check out our ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Child Development Degrees.

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How much money do people make with a Child Development Master's degree?

There are a lot of different career possibilities with a graduate degree in Child Development. And that means a broad range in salary possibilities. A rule of thumb in education though, is that a master’s degree is a major asset when it comes to your pay ceiling. Here are a few numbers (as cited by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) for guidelines:

  • Preschool and Childcare Center Director: $45,790 (median)
  • Elementary School Teachers: $55,490 (median)
  • Special Education Teacher (Kinder and Elementary School): up to $90,260

What can you do with a Master's degree in Child Development ?

A master’s degree in Child Development opens the doors to many different careers. Whether you’re interested in education, advocacy, administration, counseling, or program development—you’ll probably find a job that fits you. Child development specialists work in the public and private spheres and at all levels of leadership and influence. A few other jobs you might land in include:

  • Special Education Teachers
  • Parent Educator
  • Early Childhood Education Consultant
  • Social Worker
  • Preschool Director
  • Child Life Specialist

What are the requirements for a degree in Child Development ?

Most master’s degrees in Child Development are building on a foundation of knowledge gained in an undergraduate program—usually in education, child development, or a closely related discipline like social work or counselling. If you’re lacking the right academic background, though—dont worry! Many schools offer prerequisite courses to bring you up to speed on the essentials. You will probably also need to provide GRE scores.

What are the best Master’s in Child Development?

At College Choice we look at a variety of essential factors to rank programs according to both academic excellence and return on investment. First we ensure that all schools on our rankings are regionally accredited—this guarantees that your credits will be recognized by employers and other institutions. Many programs have further accreditations as well—from agencies like the NCATE, CAEP, or NAEYC.

We then compile data from program websites as well as publicly available sources like the National Center for Education Statistics, Payscale, and U.S. News and World Report—in addition to other niche rankings. We believe our score will give you a good idea of the quality of program you will encounter as a student.

We hope this ranking helps you find a great Child Development program!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

#1

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

School Information
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Admission Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 83%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a public college, develops programs that provide a unique learning experience requiring little to no attendance on the Minneapolis campus. The institution’s three master's degrees available from a distance help make the college a leader in online graduate education. Those interested in the child development field should explore the master of arts in applied child and adolescent development.

Online education's flexibility and adaptability attract many graduate students to this graduate program. Recorded video sessions may be available to allow viewing at any time and faculty may let enrollees complete coursework at their own pace within a given timeframe. This format does not come at the expense of academic rigor or advanced career preparation.

The school accepts an average of 57% of applicants each year, though this number can vary between programs. Degree-seekers need a bachelor’s for admission to most master’s programs. All of the application details are available on the program webpage or from the admissions department.

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#2

SUNY at Albany

School Information
Location Albany, New York
Admission Rate 54%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 19% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

SUNY at Albany administers a number of quality online graduate programs. The master of science in early childhood education is an excellent choice for people with a bachelor’s in child development who want to advance their education with a master’s. Enrollees can complete the graduate curriculum remotely, ensuring they have more control over their schedules.

The school has an 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that benefits students in the early childhood education program. Learners complete specialized coursework and training focused on advanced theoretical concepts and practices in child development. It prepares graduates with the academic training necessary to succeed in a competitive workforce or a doctoral program.

Tuition depends on state residency status, with New York students paying $11,310 per year, and those living out of state paying $23,100. Grants and scholarships, both from the school and from third parties, can help reduce this cost. The comprehensive suite of financial aid options also includes student loans, which about 57% of the school’s enrollees use to fund some or all of their education.

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#3

University of Alabama at Birmingham

School Information
Location Birmingham, Alabama
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Many students attend schools such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham to earn degrees from a distance, and the public school develops programs with them in mind. The institution is a leader in online graduate education with eight master's degrees available remotely. Among the options is the master of arts in education in early childhood education for degree-seekers interested in child development.

Logistics is no barrier to earning this degree, which was designed with adaptability and flexibility in mind. Professionals, caretakers, and other busy enrollees can attend virtual sessions and complete assignments at convenient times. A key feature of online learning here is a blend of academic rigor and flexibility that strongly prepares students for advanced positions in their field.

Applicants receive admittance at a rate of 74% per year, but some programs may vary. For consideration to enter this program, learners will need a bachelor's degree unless otherwise stated. To learn more, contact the program about application requirements.

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#4

Kennesaw State University

School Information
Location Kennesaw, Georgia
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Kennesaw State University’s academic catalog includes rigorous graduate education available online. The master of education in elementary and early childhood education is an excellent choice for degree-holders with a bachelor’s in child development who want to advance their careers in this field. The degree provides the rigorous education expected from a graduate program using a flexible online format.

A 21-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio facilitates faculty mentorship opportunities and collaboration in this master's program. Participants acquire the advanced training employers want in potential hires knowledgeable about child development best practices. In an increasingly competitive workforce, those with a master’s degree stand out because of the rigorous academic preparation they underwent.

Affordability is a top issue; the school charges Georgia residents $5,328 per year, and out-of-state residents $19,188 per year. The price of tuition is lower if learners qualify for grants and scholarships, which many do at the institution. Student loans are also available, with 47% of enrollees using them to finance all or part of their degree.

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#5

University of Dayton

School Information
Location Dayton, Ohio
Admission Rate 72%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Dayton attracts graduate students who want extra flexibility to pursue degrees without significantly interrupting their lives. From the Dayton, Ohio, campus, the school delivers four online master's degrees that include a master of science in education in early childhood leadership and advocacy. Full-time workers and others who want to earn a graduate degree but cannot relocate should consider this adaptable degree.

The admissions criteria for a master's varies depending on the degree, but applicants typically need a bachelor’s in a related major. The potential job opportunities and higher pay make the program a worthy pursuit for many people. A Ph.D. is the next accomplishment for many holders with a master’s in their field.

The school charges $17,190 per year for tuition, regardless of residency. Learners can use resources at the financial aid department to determine if they qualify for financial assistance like grants and scholarships. Loans may also be available to help students pay for all or part of the program.

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#6

University of La Verne

School Information
Location La Verne, California
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 73%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master of science in child and adolescent development at the University of La Verne is a top-ranked degree designed for online students. The program equips learners with advanced training that can lead to career advancement in their field. If they choose, graduates with a child development master's can also pursue a doctorate later on.

The effective management of time is a key consideration for many degree-seekers, and this program accommodates that need. Students report being able to continue their careers and engage in family life without sacrificing a master’s degree. Enrollees tend to do better in educational environments such as this, where personalized learning is emphasized and faculty support is available to all.

It is to be expected that applicants will need a bachelor’s degree to apply to this program. The acceptance rate is 55% at this school, but expect some differences across programs. If accepted,  California residents can expect to pay around $14,256 per year before applying grants, loans, and scholarships.

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#7

Biola University

School Information
Location La Mirada, California
Admission Rate 70%
Graduation Rate 74%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Biola University administers a number of quality online graduate programs. The master of arts in education in early childhood is an excellent choice for people with a bachelor’s in child development who want to advance their education with a master’s. Enrollees complete an accredited curriculum with little need to relocate or give up their full-time jobs.

More individualized attention and opportunities to collaborate with peers are key benefits of the 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that students enjoy. Participants acquire the advanced training employers want in potential hires knowledgeable about child development best practices. The program prepares graduates with the academic training necessary to succeed in a competitive workforce or in a doctoral program.

Paying for college is a top issue and applicants can expect to pay $11,394 per year, no matter their residency. If they qualify, degree-seekers can use grants and scholarships to help fund their master’s. Student loans are also available, with 56% of enrollees using them to finance all or part of their degree.

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#8

Northern Arizona University

School Information
Location Flagstaff, Arizona
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 57%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Northern Arizona University, a public college, offers graduate programs in different fields from the Flagstaff campus. People who need flexibility are drawn to the institution because of 25 master's degrees available online. Among these is its master of education in early childhood education for graduate learners interested in child development.

The program allows students to earn an advanced degree without sacrificing rigor or other obligations. Caretakers, workers, and other busy enrollees appreciate the ability to schedule instruction and coursework in a way that works with their schedules. Strong career preparation is a key feature of the program, which does not sacrifice rigor for convenience.

The admittance rate is 85% per year overall, but applicants may be accepted at varying rates for different programs. Master's degree-seekers usually need a bachelor's in the major or a related one to receive consideration. Contact the school to see how to apply to this program and submit the required documents.

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#9

Erikson Institute

School Information
Location Chicago, Illinois
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master of science in early childhood education at Erikson Institute is a top-ranked degree designed for online students. A bachelor’s degree provides foundational education compared to the advanced training in this program. A terminal degree like a doctorate is the next stop for some holders of a child development master's.

This school’s online format attracts people who see the appeal of remote learning. This flexibility gives participants more control over their schedules and makes it easier to juggle multiple priorities. Enrollees also like the fact that whether they study in person or online, faculty serve as mentors who can adequately prepare them for advanced work.

Degree-seekers interested in pursuing a master’s usually need a bachelor’s in the major or a related field to apply. Once accepted, students can explore financial aid options to help pay for tuition, which stands at around $21,800 per year for Illinois residents.

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#10

Concordia University-Chicago

School Information
Location River Forest, Illinois
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private college located in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University Chicago has a lot to offer. The institution is a leader in online graduate education, with 48 master's degrees available remotely. The master of arts in early childhood education is one such option for people interested in the child development field.

The program allows students to earn an advanced degree without sacrificing rigor or other obligations. Caretakers, professionals, and other busy enrollees may immediately see how they can balance work, family, and their education. Learners receive the same advanced education as their on-campus peers in preparation for higher-level occupations.

An acceptance rate of 75% of applicants is the average, with some variations across programs. Master's degree-seekers usually need to have a bachelor's in the same or a similar field in order to receive consideration. Consult the program to find out more details, like how to submit transcripts and recommendation letters if required.

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#11

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

School Information
Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The online master of education in early childhood education at Northwestern State University of Louisiana is one of the nation’s top-ranked programs for child development students. The master’s degree equips enrollees with advanced training valued by employers in their profession. A terminal degree like a doctorate is the next stop for some holders of a child development master's.

A big draw to this program is the convenient online format that many learners appreciate. Students can fit in other responsibilities such as work, caregiving, and family life because of the program’s flexibility. Enrollees also like the fact that faculty serve as mentors, and they study in an environment that sees each learner’s potential.

The school typically requires that master’s degree-seekers hold a bachelor’s to apply. Applicants can expect an acceptance rate of about 82%. Tuition stands at around $5,738 per year for people who live in Louisiana, and learners can help fund their education with grants, loans, and scholarships.

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#12

University of Colorado Denver

School Information
Location Denver, Colorado
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 52%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Colorado Denver administers a number of quality online graduate programs. The master of arts in early childhood education has a lot of the qualities people with a bachelor’s in child development need to advance their education in this field. The program blends academic rigor and online course delivery that is flexible and affordable.

Students in the early childhood education program receive more individualized attention with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The main feature of this degree is a rigorous curriculum that provides extensive training administered by scholars and experts. Obtaining this degree is of great benefit to those who want to advance their child development careers and pursue higher-paying positions.

Tuition is charged at $6,786 per year for Colorado residents, and $22,590 for those living out of state. The price of tuition is lower if learners qualify for grants and scholarships, which many do at the institution. There are also student loans available, an option taken up by about 28% of enrollees at this institution.

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#13

University of Toledo

School Information
Location Toledo, Ohio
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The master of education in early childhood education at The University of Toledo is a top-ranked degree designed for online students. The master’s degree equips enrollees with advanced child development training valued by employers in their profession. Those who complete the master's program can also choose to pursue a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D.

The effective management of time is a key consideration for many learners, and this program accommodates that need. Participants can fit in other responsibilities, such as work, caregiving, and family life, because of the program’s flexibility. Enrollees also like the fact that whether they study in person or online, faculty serve as mentors who can adequately prepare them for advanced work.

Unless otherwise stated, applicants need a bachelor’s degree to apply to this program. The acceptance rate is 96% at this school, but expect some differences across programs. Paying for college is a big concern for many, and this school charges Ohio residents about $14,047 per year, partially offset by financial aid options for qualifying students.

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#14

Pacific Oaks College

School Information
Location Pasadena, California
Admission Rate 5%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students from around the country attend Pacific Oaks College for the top-ranked online master of arts in early childhood education, one of the best in its class. This degree provides learners with advanced knowledge and training required for many higher-level job opportunities in the child development field. Those who complete the master's program can also choose to pursue a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D.

This program offers a format conducive to effective time-management that many degree-seekers need. The program is built to accommodate busy students, such as those who work and have pressing family obligations. Enrollees move through the program with faculty support, assistance such as career advising, and the ability to tailor the educational experience to their career aspirations.

Learners interested in pursuing a master’s usually need a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related field to apply. The admission rate is an average of 5% of applicants. If accepted, students in California can expect to pay around $20,847 per year before applying grants, loans, and scholarships.

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#15

Pennsylvania Western University

School Information
Location California, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 97%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Pennsylvania Western University is a public college with many programs to offer from the California, Pennsylvania, campus. People interested in graduate programs they can pursue from a distance can choose from 13 master's degrees available online. Those interested in the child development field should explore the master of education in early childhood education.

Graduate students can use online education's flexibility and adaptability to accomplish long-standing goals. Real-time interaction is often not required, and enrollees can complete coursework at their own pace within a given timeframe. Deep experience providing rigorous degrees that emphasize both quality and flexible learning is a hallmark of this institution.

The school’s admissions statistics show that about 97% of applicants get in, with some variations across programs. It’s typical for degree-seekers to need a bachelor's in the major or a related one to apply to a master’s program. All of the application details are available on the program webpage or from the admissions department.

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#16

University of North Dakota

School Information
Location Grand Forks, North Dakota
Admission Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of North Dakota offers students an online child development master's degree that is a top-ranked program in its class. Learners pursue this degree to build on prior knowledge attained in a bachelor’s, with training specifically related to the child development field. The master of science in early childhood education gives graduates the credential they need to pursue a terminal degree like a doctorate.

The school designs the program to be delivered using an established online format, a big draw for many degree-seekers. Students do not need to sacrifice other important aspects of their lives, such as work and family, to earn this degree. Enrollees enjoy a student-focused environment whether they study remotely or on campus.

Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree in order to be considered for this program. Though some programs post different averages, the school accepts about 81% of all who apply. Tuition stands at around $10,534 per year for people who live in North Dakota, and students can help fund their education with grants, loans, and scholarships.

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#17

Missouri State University

School Information
Location Springfield, Missouri
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Missouri State University has a reputation for developing rigorous online graduate programs. The master of science in early childhood and family development has a lot of the qualities people with a bachelor’s in child development need to advance their education in this field. This program emphasizes rigorous academics and a flexible learning format.

The school has a 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio that benefits participants in the master of science in early childhood and family development program. Learners complete specialized coursework and training focusing on advanced ideas and practices in child development. This academic preparation is a prerequisite for higher-level careers in business and industry or a doctoral program in some cases.

Missouri students enrolled in the program pay a yearly average of $5,202, while those elsewhere pay $10,476. The scholarships and grants available to many degree-seekers help them reduce the price of tuition. At the institution, about 44% of enrollees use student loans to finance all or part of their program.

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#18

West Chester University

School Information
Location West Chester, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 77%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 23% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

At West Chester University, prospective graduate students can earn degrees while they work or juggle other responsibilities. Remote learners can choose from six online master's degrees, including the master of education in early childhood education, delivered from the West Chester, Pennsylvania, location. This adaptable degree opportunity makes graduate education accessible to caretakers, full-time workers, and anyone unable to relocate for school.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree or a related credential to apply to master’s programs. A big draw to a master’s degree like the master of education in early childhood education program is the intensive coursework that provides enrollees with advanced preparation in their field. The degree may satisfy the entry requirements for a Ph.D. program in this field.

Competitive tuition rates are a key selling point at this school, which charges residents of Pennsylvania $9,288 per year, and those who live out of state $13,932 per year. Learners can pay for their education with institutional and external grants and scholarships. In addition to financial aid that doesn't require repayment, students may also want to consider federal or private loans.

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#19

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students from around the country attend Southern New Hampshire University for the top-ranked online master of science in child psychology and development program, one of the best in its class. Learners pursue this degree to build on prior knowledge attained during a bachelor’s degree, with training specifically related to the child development field. The master's program also prepares graduates for doctoral degrees and other terminal programs.

The school’s online format is very attractive to busy degree-seekers who have other obligations. Participants can juggle their various responsibilities thanks to this program's flexibility. No matter if enrollees study remotely or on campus, they benefit from a supportive learning environment that includes faculty and community support.

School application requirements for a master’s program include a bachelor’s degree and transcripts. The acceptance rate is 88% at this school, but expect some differences across programs. Students can expect to pay around $18,810 per year for tuition if they live in New Hampshire and can use grants, loans, and scholarships to help fund their education.

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#20

Mercy College

School Information
Location Dobbs Ferry, New York
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Mercy College, a private college, develops programs that provide a unique learning experience requiring little to no attendance on the Dobbs Ferry, New York, campus. The institution’s 25 online master's degrees are a big draw to many people who want to attend graduate school online. Child development students can pursue the master of science in early childhood education from among the options.

Logistics is no barrier to earning this degree, which was designed with adaptability and flexibility in mind. Caretakers, workers, and other busy enrollees appreciate the ability to schedule instruction and coursework in a way that works with their schedules. The program provides this opportunity without sacrificing the rigor that prepares students for higher-level work and further education.

The admittance rate is 82% per year overall, but applicants may be accepted at varying rates for different programs. Learners need a bachelor’s degree for admission to most master’s programs. Check the program website for all of the application details, such as how to submit transcripts and letters of recommendation.

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