Most Affordable Online Master’s in Child Development

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The most important time for human development is childhood. Teach the leaders of tomorrow with a Child Development Degrees!

If you’re hoping to have an impact on the future leaders of this world, you’ll have to start at the core - the children of today! A degree in Child Development will allow you the opportunity to study both the biological and psychological advancement of children, through every stage of their lives. This degree is perfect for those who are fascinated by how factors like family, culture, and friends can affect a child’s development into adulthood. If you’re passionate about spreading knowledge and helping others, a degree in child development may be perfect for you.

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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 degree in Child Development specifically or a degree in Early Childhood Education. If you want to pursue teaching, you’ll most likely need to earn an advanced degree in order to receive your licensure.

If you’re looking for an affordable online degree option, we’ve also ranked the Most Affordable Online Master's in Child Development Degrees. If you’re just starting out, keep reading for our ranking of the best online bachelor’s programs.

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

Looking for not only a fascinating career, but one that will offer plenty of job opportunities as well? Luckily, tens of thousands of organizations in the United States work to serve children and adolescents - like the Boy and Girl Scouts of America! In fact, the workforce affiliated with those organizations is increasingly looking for experts in child development.

However, one doesn’t jump into this career for the earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Childcare Workers can expect to earn just over $22,000 per year. Of course, earning an advanced degree can help you to increase your salary potential. Here are a few other numbers, as cited by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

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

Of course, there’s no price that can be put on this career if working with children and empowering today’s youth is truly your passion.

What can you do with a degree in Child Development?

Earning a degree in Child Development is not just for those who are interested in teaching youngsters. With this degree, you can pursue a variety of rewarding careers. Below are some job titles that you may be interested in:

  • Social Worker
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Special Education Paraprofessional
  • Early Childhood Education Regulator
  • Early Childhood Education Consultant

The options are endless! You’ll also need to know how to communicate with parents about their child’s progress, how to work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges, and how to prepare students for standardized tests required by the state.

What are the best Child Development degrees?

If you’ve already started looking around, you’ve noticed that there are a lot of Child Development programs out there. Not only that, but there are a plethora of different areas of specialization as well! We hope this College Choice ranking helps you find the perfect Child Development program to suit your specific career goals.

Looking forward to educating today’s youngsters? College Choice has taken the stress out of finding the perfect program. In fact, we’ve ranked the 35 Best Online Child Development Degrees for your convenience. Check them out below!


See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

    State College, PA




    Penn State World Campus or “Penn State Online” is the online campus of The Pennsylvania State University. The World Campus launched in 1998 and has been gaining ground ever since. Now, with over 17,000 enrolled students, Penn State Online offers more than 125 degree and certificate programs. Students can now pursue a rather unique degree: an Undergraduate Certificate in Children, Youth, and Family Services.

    Program Features

    Students in this certificate program are required to complete 30 credits. Courses may include:

    • Family Development
    • Adolescent Development
    • Infant and Child Development
    • Human Development and Family Studies Interventions
    • Values and Ethics in Health and Human Development Professions

    The tuition per credit in this flexible online program is $555. This program is best for those just starting in the human service career field, or for those looking to broaden their knowledge base. Credits taken in this program may be applied to a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies.


    Pennsylvania State University–World Campus is ranked #7 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report. The online university also tied for #8 in the ranking for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

  2. The University of Alabama

    Tuscaloosa, AL




    Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this university was founded in 1831 and is now home to over 37,000 students. The University of Alabama has produced a total of 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, 32 Hollings Scholars and 11 Boren Scholars. Now, the university offers a variety of programs through its Bama by Distance online school. Check out their Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences, Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Early Child Development.

    Program Features

    Students in this program must complete 120 courses. Required courses may include:

    • Exceptional Learners
    • Methods and Materials
    • Families and Communities
    • Children’s Health and Safety
    • Child Growth and Development
    • Children’s Literature and Language Development

    All students in this online program will be required to complete an internship as well. The tuition per hour is $355. Students in this program will have access to on-campus facilities as well, including the state-of-the-art Child Development Research Center. The CDRC is home to seven large research suites and eight research rooms for students to utilize.


    The University of Alabama has been ranked fifty-first in the nation among Public Universities by U.S. News & World Report. The university’s online programs have been ranked among the best in the country as well.

  3. West Virginia University

    Morgantown, WV




    Located in Morgantown, WV, this university is home to over 28,000 students. With 14 Morgantown colleges and schools, and nearly 350 majors to choose from, there are plenty of paths to success here. If you’re looking for both a flexible and affordable program, WVU offers online degree options as well. Check out their online Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and Family Studies.

    Program Features

    This program at WVU offers two areas of emphasis, including Child Development (non-certification track) and Preschool Education Birth-4 (with Pre-K certification). Required courses may include:

    • Business of Child Care
    • Early Socio-Emotional Growth
    • Special Education in Contemporary Society
    • Differentiated Instruction for Young Children
    • Technology for Young Children with/without Special Needs

    All CDFS courses are delivered 100 percent online, with two exceptions. Students are required to obtain CPR & First Aid certification from their local Red Cross Agency. Plus, all professional field experience courses must be completed in your hometown with the approval of your instructor.


    Students from West Virginia are at an advantage when it comes to the price of tuition. For residents, the cost per credit hour is $374 versus $1019 for non-residents. U.S. News and World Report has ranked WVU among the nation’s Top Public Schools.

  4. Arizona State University

    Tempe, AZ




    Located in Tempe, AZ, Arizona State University is a public research university founded in 1885 that has been ranked #1 in the US for innovation, dedicated to accessibility and excellence. If you’re an environmentalist, you’ll be happy to know the folks at ASU have an unrivaled commitment to sustainability; in fact, the campus is the most solar-powered of any in the United States. Now, ASU offers an Online Bachelor of Science in Family & Human Development.

    Program Features

    This program requires students to complete 120 credit hours with a total of 40 classes. Offered through ASU’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, required courses may include:

    • Aging and the Life Course
    • Early Childhood Intervention
    • Child Dysfunction in the Family
    • Marriage and Family Relationships
    • Personal Growth in Human Relationships
    • Infant/Toddler Development in the Family

    The cost per credit hour in this flexible online program is $584.


    U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges ranked this university as one of the Best National Universities as well as a Best Value School and Best Colleges for Veterans. ASU offers over 600 degree programs at all levels across 15 schools and colleges. ASU is also known for being ranked #4 in the nation for online undergraduate degree programs and is a great for those looking for a more affordable and flexible advanced degree option.

  5. University of Massachusetts Amherst

    Amherst, MA




    Founded in 1863, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the largest public research university in New England. Home to nearly 29,000 students, this university promotes active research and engagement, and offers a variety of degree programs. Interested in teaching the leaders of tomorrow? The university now offers a 120-credit online Bachelor of Arts degree in Children’s Learning and Development Concentrations.

    Program Features

    Offered through UMass Amherst University Without Walls, this program is both flexible and affordable. Required courses may include:

    • Technology for all Young Children
    • Family Systems, Support, and Engagement
    • Responsibility and Ethics in Early Education and Care
    • Observing, Documenting, and Assessing in Early Childhood

    UWW core courses are $390 per credit. Scholarships and financial aid packages are also available for those who need it. Also, this university has a unique offering called “Credit for Life Experience.” In fact, the experiences you have had, and the skills you’ve developed may be worthy of up to 105 academic credits!


    UMassOnline now offers over 150 degree and certificate programs, and more than 1,500 courses online. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the University of Massachusetts Amherst

    #16 in the nation for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The university has also been ranked among the nation’s Best Value Schools, Top Public Schools, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

  6. Washington State University

    Pullman, WA




    Pullman, WA is a city located in the southeast portion of the state and it’s also where you’ll find Washington State University. Home to nearly 30,000 students and mascot Butch T. Cougar, this is a top-tier research university. Founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grant university, WSU houses 11 colleges that include 95 majors, over 80 minors, and 100+ in-major specializations. Now, you can earn an online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development with a concentration in Early Childhood Education.

    Program Features

    Though this is an online program, the early childhood education certificate is only available for residents of Washington. Required courses may include:

    • Family Systems
    • Lifespan Development
    • Family Stress and Coping
    • Parent-Child Relationships
    • Human Development Theories
    • Dev. Effective Communication and Life Skills

    All undergraduate students will also be required to complete a Practicum in Early Childhood Programs.


    The university offers 12 undergraduate degree programs and 11 graduate degree programs– all completely online. U.S. News and World Report placed Washington State University at #23 on their ranking of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The university also ranks highly among the nation’s Best Value Schools, Top Public Schools, and Best Colleges for Veterans.

  7. Liberty University

    Lynchburg, VA




    Home to mascot Sparky the Eagle, Liberty is a private university based in Lynchburg, Virginia. With a variety of unique bachelor’s programs, Liberty University is the premier destination for online learning. Coupled with a strong Christian teaching method and a dedicated 24/7 support staff, students can now pursue an online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education Degree.

    Program Features

    This completely online 120-credit program is perfect for those who wish to teach preschool and elementary age children. Offered through Liberty’s School of Education, required courses may include:

    • Early Childhood Education Fundamentals
    • Wellness in the Early Childhood Setting
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Psychology of Childhood

    One 300-hour practicum is optional for undergraduate students. Each course lasts eight weeks and there are no set login times. For interested students, this degree can be paired with Liberty’s Master of Arts in Teaching for licensure.


    Prospective students should note that the Early Childhood Education program at Liberty University is a non-licensure track. If you are a service member, veteran, military spouse, or Department of Defense employee, you can benefit from a tuition break at Liberty. You’ll also receive a $400 credit per semester to use towards textbooks and required course materials. Courses may cost as little as $250 per credit hour.

  8. California State University, East Bay

    Hayward, CA




    This public university located in Hayward, California is home to nearly 15,000 students. Founded in 1957, Cal State East Bay now offers 50 areas of undergraduate study and nearly 40 fields of graduate study, including business, public affairs, and online teaching and learning. In fact, this university’s teaching degree program is completely online which is perfect if you need more flexibility in earning your degree. Check out their online Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development with an optional concentration in Childhood Development.

    Program Features

    This unique online program is made up of 180 units. Required courses may include:

    • Child Development
    • Adult Development and Aging
    • Theories of Human Development
    • Girls and Women Across the Lifespan
    • Foundational Aspects of Adolescent Development
    • Social and Cultural Dynamics of Human Development

    All undergraduate students are also required to complete a capstone in order to earn their degree.


    Cal State East Bay has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the Best Regional Universities in the West. The university has also been ranked as having one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. In fact, CSU now offers more than 3,250 online course, providing more options for those who may prefer a flexible, online format to a traditional classroom setting.

  9. Eastern Kentucky University

    Richmond, KY




    Located in Richmond, KY, Eastern Kentucky University was founded in 1906 and is now home to over 14,000 students. It’s flexible programs and affordable degree options make this school a great choice for many. Now, Eastern Kentucky offers online degrees for those who can’t attend classes on-campus. Check out the university’s Online Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies with a Concentration in Child Development.

    Program Features

    Students in this program must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. Required courses may include:

    • Early Childhood Literacy
    • Early Childhood Practicum
    • Family Stress and Resilience
    • Program Planning for Preschool Children
    • Research Analysis in Child and Family Studies
    • Organization and Administration of Early Childhood Programs

    The cost of this program is $409 per credit hour. Each online class is offered in 8-week terms and is taught by respected professors who teach the same classes on-campus.


    U.S. News & World Report has ranked Eastern Kentucky University #27 among the Top Public Schools in the country. The school was also highly ranked among other regional universities in the south. Not only that, EKU has been named one of the Best Online Colleges in the Nation and one of the Most Veteran-Friendly Campuses.

  10. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Saint Paul, MN




    Founded in the late 1890s, Concordia University is a liberal arts university located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. With over 75 majors and nearly 50 minors offered, this university prepares students for success across a number of industries. In fact, Concordia now offers more of its degree programs online. Check out the university’s 120-credit Bachelor of Arts in Child Development offered completely online.

    Program Features

    Each course in this program lasts approximately seven weeks. Required undergraduate classes may include:

    • Infants and Toddlers
    • Ethics in Early Childhood
    • Children’s Play and Learning
    • Human Diversity and Relations
    • Language Development and Emergent Literacy
    • Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Education

    All students will be required to complete fieldwork in a licensed child care or early childhood learning center. However, you are not required to be employed in a licensed child care or early childhood learning center. The cost per credit of this program is $420. Service members currently on active duty may enjoy a rate of just $250 per credit.


    U.S. News and World Report has ranked Concordia University-Saint Paul among the Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. The university’s online programs are also consistently ranked among the best in the country.

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