Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Do you envision yourself in the classroom, inspiring young learners to pursue their curiosities? Are you interested in what causes a child to learn, grow, and develop? Then an advanced degree in early childhood development and education may be the next best career move for you.

Updated August 16, 2022

Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

Graduate to a better career with one of the nation’s Best Master’s in Early Childhood Education Degrees.

Do you envision yourself in the classroom, inspiring young learners to pursue their curiosities? Are you interested in what causes a child to learn, grow, and develop? Then an advanced degree in early childhood development and education may be the next best career move for you.

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What kind of Master’s in Early Childhood Education degree should you get?

Earning a Master’s in Early Childhood Education degree can mean many things depending on the program experience and licensure you seek. For example, a MA won’t prepare you for state exams and licensure like a Master’s in Education (MEd) will, but it does provide a solid foundation in childhood development theory and practice.

If you hope to work directly in nurseries, pre-kindergarten, or kindergarten classrooms then a MEd is the best route to take. But if you would rather work in childcare settings or in early childhood administration, a MA or MS can help you get there.

Though most of these degrees are traditional on-campus programs, some can be completed fully online. We’ve been sure to note which. Because online education is not only a flexible way to advance your education and career, it’s affordable too.

So, be sure to check out College Choice’s Best Online Masters in Education degrees.

How much money do people make with a Masters in Early Childhood Education degree?

With an advanced degree in early childhood development and education you can acquire a number of exciting career roles that are both financially rewarding and economically stable.

For example, early education teachers make, on average, $55,490 annually. And special education teachers working in pre-kindergarten classrooms make nearly $58,000 a year.

And those numbers nearly double for those who go into early childhood administration. Administrators make $95,390 on average each year.

And while all of these job roles differ from one another, all are in high demand with projected growth rates of around 10 percent in the next few years.

What are the requirements for a Masters in Early Childhood Education degree?

Though our lists includes MEd, MS, and MA programs, each have similar requirements. So as a graduate student at any of these schools you can expect take a number of traditional core classes covering early literacy, diverse learning, family and child relationships, and more.

In addition to these, you’ll have the opportunity to specialize and gain hands-on experience through an internship or fieldwork. Some programs even require it. We’ve been sure to note which.

Finally, allocate between one and two years to earn your degree. Depending on the kind of degree and licensure you seek you may be able to graduate in just 12 months, though it could take longer.

What are the best Masters in Early Childhood Education degrees?

While some of these early childhood education (ECE) degrees are Masters of Education and others Masters of Arts, they all share on thing in common: they are the best early childhood education graduate programs in the country.

To determine the best programs we first examined every university and college around the nation that offers the degree. From there we looked at the school’s academic reputation, considering also the student retention rates—as those are a clear sign of student satisfaction. Finally, we factored in the affordability of the program and the early salaries of graduates.

After such exhaustive research and data collation, we found those programs that are the nation’s best at training educators. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Top 10 Best Master's in Early Childhood Education Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Birmingham, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Its flexibility makes the bachelor's degree in early childhood education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham a good choice for many people seeking an online education in early childhood education. The public institution offers seven online bachelor’s degree programs, providing industry-relevant education to 13,001 remote students. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, the college supports its distance learners by offering institutional resources, including a tight-knit online community.

Early childhood education students learn industry knowledge through hands-on classes. The curriculum for the early childhood education degree includes courses on general education and advanced topics, with the option to individualize classes and choose electives. Experiential learning opportunities supplement enrollees' academic experiences. Degree-seekers gain first-hand experience of what it's like working in the early childhood education field by completing research, internships, and externships.

Prospective students can learn about enrollment criteria by talking to the admissions office. Some form of financial aid is awarded to 95% of all enrollees, so students should check with the financial aid office to explore eligibility requirements for funding opportunities. Learners meeting the proper criteria use scholarships, fellowships, and other types of aid to bring down the price of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,568
Out-of-state
$20,400
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
22,080
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Mercer University

  • Macon, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The premier online degrees at Macon, Georgia-based Mercer University suit students looking for a competitive program. A total of 2,233 distance learners attend the private institution, which offers five online bachelor's programs. The rigorous education with industry relevance provided by the B.S.Ed. in early learning and development program appeals to degree-seekers interested in early childhood education.

The early childhood education program's online learning environment connects participants with colleagues and instructors, allowing them to fully benefit from the supportive remote community. Enrollees gain knowledge relevant to the early childhood education field in classes that cover foundational and advanced topics from the industry. Experiential learning opportunities, including internships and research projects, help learners strengthen their competency for a future profession in early childhood education. The institution provides degree-seekers with access to student success-focused resources, such as career and academic advising, throughout the course of the program.

When preparing for the costs of an early childhood education degree, students should meet with the financial aid office to discuss funding opportunities. Many funding opportunities are available to students at the college, including fellowships, scholarships, and federal assistance. Some form of financial aid is awarded to 100% of the institution's enrollees.

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,528
Out-of-state
$25,528
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
8,740
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Biola University

  • La Mirada, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For competitive study, learners need look no further than the premier online programs offered by Biola University, located in La Mirada, California. As many as five remote bachelor's programs are available to the 2,206 distance learners at the private institution. The rigorous, industry-relevant education provided by the in appeals to degree-seekers interested in early childhood education.

Participants in the program take advantage of its supportive virtual learning community by connecting with peers and faculty in a remote classroom environment. Enrollees gain knowledge relevant to their future careers from classes covering foundational and advanced topics in early childhood education. Learners' competency for a future profession in the field is strengthened through hands-on practice in experiential learning opportunities like research projects and internships. Career counseling, academic advising, and other institutional resources focused on student success are available to degree-seekers during the program.

When preparing for the cost of a degree, students should meet with the financial aid office to discuss funding opportunities. The college features many different scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. The institution awards financial aid to 100% of enrollees.

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,976
Out-of-state
$41,976
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
6,103
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#4 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Northern Arizona University

  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

People seeking a flexible online education in early childhood education should consider the bachelor of applied science in early childhood at Northern Arizona University. The public institution features an online enrollment of 14,098 online degree-seekers and 18 industry-relevant virtual bachelor's programs. The Flagstaff, Arizona, college supports distance learners with institutional resources, like a helpful online community.

Students in the early childhood education program gain industry knowledge through interactive classes. The early childhood education curriculum includes general education and advanced classes, with the opportunity to customize courses and pick electives. Hands-on learning experiences supplement enrollees' education. Research, internships, and externships help provide a firsthand experience of working in the early childhood education field.

Applicants can talk to the admissions office to learn more about enrollment criteria. Students can meet with the financial aid office to discuss if they meet the requirements for any funding opportunities, since 95% of all enrollees receive some kind of financial aid. Eligible learners can lower the price of their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other aid opportunities.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,018
Out-of-state
$16,613
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
30,733
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

University of La Verne

  • La Verne, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Its flexibility makes the bachelor's in child development at the University of La Verne a good choice for many people seeking an online education in child development. The private institution's 1,743 virtual degree-seekers choose from two remote bachelor's programs with industry relevance. The college supports its distance learners by offering institutional resources from its camps in La Verne, California, such as a tight-knit remote community.

Engaging classes in the child development program provide students with knowledge relevant to the education field. Classes covering both general education and advanced topics make up the curriculum for the child development degree, which also includes options for tailoring courses and picking electives. Enrollees add to their education with experiential learning opportunities. Getting first-hand experience of working in the child development field is possible for degree-seekers who complete research, internships, or externships.

Prospective students can learn more about enrollment requirements by asking the admissions office. Learners can also meet with the financial aid office to explore eligibility requirements for funding opportunities, as 98% of all students receive some form of financial aid. Eligible learners can benefit from scholarships, fellowships, and other aid opportunities to offset the cost of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$43,440
Out-of-state
$43,440
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
7,396
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#6 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

University of Dayton

  • Dayton, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Many people looking for a flexible virtual education in early childhood education find the bachelor's degree in early childhood leadership and advocacy at the University of Dayton to be a great option. The Dayton, Ohio, college supports distance learners with institutional resources, like a helpful online community.

Early childhood education students gain industry knowledge through interactive classes. Classes in the early childhood leadership curriculum cover general education and advanced topics and can be customized. Experiential learning opportunities add to enrollees' educational experiences. Degree-seekers get first-hand experience of what it's like to work in the early childhood education field through internships, externships, and research projects.

Prospective applicants can ask the admissions office to learn more about enrollment requirements. Of all enrollees, 97% receive some kind of financial aid, so students should check with the financial aid office to see if they meet the eligibility requirements for any funding opportunities. Eligible learners can decrease their educational expenses through scholarships, fellowships, and other types of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$44,100
Out-of-state
$44,100
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
72%
Students Enrolled
11,473
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

University of Toledo

  • Toledo, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Toledo provides learning opportunities with a great deal of flexibility to suit many different types of degree-seekers interested in the public institution. The Toledo, Ohio-based school supports 7,874 learners attending remotely from all over the United States, offering 10 online bachelor's programs. Of these, the top-choice bachelor's in early childhood education suits individuals planning to go into early childhood education or a related field.

Top faculty members and a supportive student body benefit students enrolled in early childhood education. Furthering personal and professional goals is made easier for degree-seekers with the remote classroom environment's career-relevant coursework and projects. Faculty-driven research, internships, and externships are some of the opportunities learners can get involved with. Program enrollees work with advisors to customize their academic experience by choosing elective and tailoring coursework to their individual needs and interests.

An education at the college is made less expensive through the many different internal and external funding opportunities available. Different kinds of financial aid, such as scholarships and fellowships benefit eligible students. At the college, 95% of enrollees decrease their educational expenses with some type of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,449
Out-of-state
$17,809
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
96%
Students Enrolled
19,694
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

California University of Pennsylvania

  • California, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

California University of Pennsylvania provides learning opportunities with a great deal of flexibility to suit many different types of degree-seekers interested in the public institution. Remote learners from around the United States pick from nine virtual bachelor's programs at the school, located in California, Pennsylvania. Many individuals planning for a career in early childhood education or a related field find the top-ranking bachelor's in education makes a great choice.

Connecting with premier faculty members and a supportive learning community benefits early childhood education students. The online learning environment includes classwork and projects relevant to degree-seekers' personal and professional goals. Faculty-driven research, internships, and externships are some of the opportunities learners can get involved with. Enrollees tailor the program to their needs and interests with electives and individualized coursework chosen with the help of an academic advisor.

An education at the college is less pricey through the variety of internal and external opportunities for financial assistance that are available. Students who meet the eligibility requirements may benefit from fellowships, scholarships, and other types of financial assistance.The college reports that 97% of all enrollees receive some form of aid to offset educational expenses.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$11,574
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
97%
Students Enrolled
6,842
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#9 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • Natchitoches, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For individuals seeking a flexible education to prepare them for the early childhood education field, the bachelor's degree in early childhood education at Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a great choice. The 8,906 online learners at the public college receive a premier education, choosing from 16 bachelor's programs offered remotely.

The bachelor's in early childhood education prepares students for a fulfilling early childhood education career by giving them the tools needed for success. Classes provide enrollees with broad knowledge of the early childhood education field, covering both foundational and advanced subjects. Degree-seekers can deepen their industry knowledge with experiential learning opportunities to further their career goals. Internships, externships, and applied research projects provide learners with valuable knowledge. Students can get help from their academic advisor and career counselor throughout the degree.

Qualified applicants can offset the cost of their degree with external and internship funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships. An online education leader, the college connects degree-seekers with financial aid to support their academic journey, awarding aid to 97% of all enrollees.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,180
Out-of-state
$15,968
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
10,900
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Master’s In Early Childhood Education Degrees

Pacific Oaks College

  • Pasadena, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private institution, Pacific Oaks College offers flexible education opportunities for degree-seekers of all kinds. Located in Pasadena, California, the school supports 786 virtual learners around the country, offering two bachelor's programs online. Of these, the top-ranking BA in early childhood education attracts people interested in an early childhood education-related career.

Connecting with top faculty members and supportive peers benefits students enrolled in early childhood education. Relevant coursework and projects completed in a virtual learning environment help degree-seekers advance their personal and professional goals. Internships, externships, and faculty-led research projects are available for learners to get involved with. Enrollees can work with their faculty advisor to customize their coursework, select electives, and fit their program to their interests.

An education at the college is less pricey through the variety of internal and external opportunities for financial assistance that are available. Students who meet the eligibility requirements may benefit from fellowships, scholarships, and other types of financial assistance.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,689
Out-of-state
$13,689
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
5%
Students Enrolled
1,163
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

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