Science has proven it—the most important time for human development is childhood. And if you want to work with young children—ensuring that they grow up into healthy, productive adults—you’ll need a foundational, research-based understanding of child development.
Working with young children is not easy.
Whatever professional role you see yourself in —whether in teaching, social services, or administration—a Master’s in Child Development will equip you with the leadership skills and knowledge you need. And for a rewarding career in the Early Childhood field, you’ll need an education that is up to the task.
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.
How much money do people make with a Child Development 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 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!
University of Minnesota - Institute of Child Development
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $16,242
Located along the banks of the Mississippi in Minnesota’s Twin Cities, the University of Minnesota is a highly ranked national research university. The school offers stellar graduate programs through a number of acclaimed graduate colleges. And UMN’s top-ranking College of Education is home to an Institute of Child Development which is recognized as a premier center for child study and research.
The University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development offers an M.Ed. / initial licensure in Early Childhood Education. The curriculum focuses on child development theory, research, and developmentally appropriate methodology, preparing graduates to teach students in their early years. With a strong emphasis on individual and diverse learners, you’ll be equipped with a variety of instructional strategies to help students succeed. Courses include:
- Learning, Cognition, and Assessment
- Social and Philosophical Foundations of Early Childhood Education
- Reading Instruction in the Elementary Grades
The University of Minnesota’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 57-60 credit program offered as a collaboration between the Institute of Child Development and The Department of Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to required coursework, students gain a strong experiential base through clinical experiences in the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School and in local urban and suburban public schools.
University at Albany, State University of New York
College Choice Score: 99.45
Average Net Price: $15,114
Part of the acclaimed State University of New York system (SUNY), SUNY University at Albany is a public, nationally-ranked, comprehensive research university. The University boasts highly ranked programs in a number of areas and as well as a very diverse student body. SUNY Albany is also home to a top-ranked School of Education (U.S. News and World Report).
The University at Albany’s School of Education offers a TEAC-accredited Master of Science in Early Childhood Education. The degree program leads to a New York professional teacher certification in the area of Early Childhood (B-2). The program is designed to foster pedagogical knowledge and teaching skills. And students learn to document and analyze student learning—as well as their own teaching. Courses include:
- Classroom Literacy Instruction
- Language Acquisition
- Assessment in Education
The University at Albany’s M.S. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit program comprised of 27 credits of required coursework, one elective, and a final culminating project. This program is available at both the University at Albany’s campus or entirely online. The certification option for this degree is an approved teacher preparation program with the New York State Education Department—it will not, however, provide Literacy Specialist certification.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
College Choice Score: 98.12
Average Net Price: $16,092
Located in the heart of the biggest city in Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public research university and part of the University of Alabama system. Also known as UAB, the school ranks among the top 100 public national universities in the country and is home to a nationally recognized School of Education (U.S. News and World Report).
UAB’s School of Education offers a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education that prepares students for an advanced career as a preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school teacher. Students gain a strong pedagogical foundation, including child development, developmental reading, primary math methods and classroom management. And course instructors are highly qualified in their fields. Courses include:
- Readings in Teaching and Learning
- Childhood Education
- Critical Pedagogy Advocacy and Collaboration
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit program comprised of required coursework, electives, and a required practicum experience in an ECE classroom. UAB offers Saturday and summer classes to accommodate working students as well as online courses. In order to be admitted to the program you must hold a valid Alabama bachelor’s level professional educator certificate in Early Childhood.
Kennesaw State University - Bagwell College of Education
College Choice Score: 97.79
Average Net Price: $17,441
Located in the small city of Kennesaw, Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a large public research university and a member of the University System of Georgia. The school is home to both a vibrant and diverse campus culture and nationally ranked programs. Kennesaw delivers its programs through 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, including the Bagwell College of Education.
Kennesaw State University’s College of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Designed for certified Early Childhood Education teachers, the program will deepen your understanding of the ECE field and improve your practice. Students also earn an additional endorsement or KSU certificate in a number of areas, including:
- Reading Endorsement
- ESOL Endorsement
- Gifted Endorsement
- Online Teaching Endorsement
Kennesaw State University’s M.Ed. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education is a 36-credit program comprised of required courses, endorsement electives, and a Capstone Course. The program is cohort-based and takes four semesters to complete, beginning in the summer semester and ending the following summer. KSU designed the program with teachers’ busy schedule in mind and is available entirely online.
University of Dayton
College Choice Score: 96.75
Average Net Price: $34,019
Located in Dayton, Ohio, the University of Dayton is a private, Catholic, national research university and the second largest private university in Ohio. The school ranks at #124 among national universities – and as one of the top 100 Best Value Schools in the country (U.S. News and World Report). The University of Dayton is also home to a highly ranked School of Education.
The School of Education and Health Sciences at the University of Dayton offers a unique Master of Science in Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Education. This program brings professionals from a variety of disciplines together to share information and develop expertise that benefits young children. Graduates are qualified for the Early Childhood License, Early Intervention Specialist License, Early Intervention Certificate and/or Pre-K Special Needs Endorsement. Courses include:
- Introduction to Transdisciplinary Early Childhood
- Integrated Curriculum for Preschool
- Developmentally & Individually Appropriate Practice
The University of Dayton’s M.S. in Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Education is a (minimum) 30-credit program comprised of required courses, electives, and an internship in an inclusive early childhood educational setting. The program is available both on campus or online and is delivered in a cohort format. This means that students work through required courses as a group—beginning in the summer term.
University of La Verne
College Choice Score: 93.67
Average Net Price: $22,284
Situated on a beautiful campus in the small city of La Verne—just 35 miles from Los Angeles— the University of La Verne is a nationally-ranked private, non-profit university. The school offers professional preparation with a liberal arts grounding. The LaFetra College of Education offers high-quality programs that help teachers develop the skills they need to have a positive impact in the classroom.
The LaFetra College of Education at La Verne University offers a Master of Science in Child Development that equips child development professionals with the necessary skills to better the lives of children. The curriculum blends theoretical concepts with practical knowledge, including hands-on teaching experiences. Graduates are prepared to assume leadership roles in a variety of positions in the child development field. Courses include:
- Educational Psychology
- Methods of Research
- Human Development
The University of La Verne’s M.S. in Child Development is a 33-credit program comprised of nine credits of core courses, 18 credits in the concentration area, and six credits of graduate seminars and a culminating project. This degree will enable a student to qualify to teach in a California community college. And because courses are offered both on campus and online, students have the option of taking face-to-face courses, online courses, or a combination of the two.
College Choice Score: 93.57
Average Net Price: $19,650
Situated in the city of Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau University is an innovative, private, four-year university with several regional campuses. The school places an emphasis on the integration of professional preparation with a foundational liberal arts education. Brenau University currently ranks at #57 among regional universities in the South and as a “Best Value” school in the region (U.S. News and World Report).
Brenau University’s College of Education offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. This is an initial certification program for individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree in any field. The comprehensive curriculum covers pedagogical theory and methods as well as extensive clinical practice to ensure that teachers are job-ready on graduation. Courses include:
- Introduction to Teacher Education
- Understanding & Managing Learners
- Instructional Practices & Assessment
Brenau University’s M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education is a 54-57 credit program (depending on which clinical experience you choose). The curriculum is comprised of seven Professional Development courses, nine Methods and Content courses, and either student teaching or an internship experience. The program is available on campus in Gainesville, Augusta, North Atlanta/Norcross, and South Atlanta/ Fairburn as well as online.
College Choice Score: 93.17
Average Net Price: $32,273
Located just outside Los Angeles, California, Biola University is a private, evangelical Christian university that ranks at #159 among national universities (U.S. News and World Report). Biola University is one of the leading Christian universities in the country and has a mission to provide biblically centered education through its wide range of innovative degree programs.
Biola University’s School of Education offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Early Childhood Education for those who wish to work in the public or private system. The concentration provides a foundation in the developmental, social, academic, cultural, and spiritual needs of young children. Graduates of Biola’s Early Childhood program are eligible to apply for a Child Development Permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Courses include:
- Childhood Development: Birth through Adolescence
- Early Childhood Curriculum
- Classroom Management in Early Childhood Settings
Biola University’s M.A. in Teaching, Early Childhood program is a 30-credit program comprised of 14 credits of core courses, 18 credits in the EC concentration, and a capstone project. All students complete a practicum as an essential part of the curriculum, and the entire program can be completed in as few as 18 months. Biola’s Teacher Preparation Program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and by the Association of Christian Schools International.
University of South Florida
College Choice Score: 93.16
Average Net Price: $11,398
Founded in 1956 in Tampa, Florida, the University of South Florida is a nationally ranked, public research university and a member institution of the State University System of Florida. With a commitment to small class sizes and community engagement, students gain a rigorous, applicable education. USF is home to a highly acclaimed College of Education—currently ranked at #93 nationally (U.S. News and World Report).
The College of Education at the University of South Florida offers a highly affordable, CAEP-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. The goal of USF’s Early Childhood curriculum is to develop knowledgeable, responsible, and innovative professionals, committed to creative, dynamic classrooms. The program has a social justice orientation, embracing diversity in all its forms. Courses include:
- Early Childhood Play and Learning
- Diversity in Home and School
- Cognition, Comprehension, and Content Area Reading
The University of South Florida’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a (minimum) 33-credit program comprised of ECE core courses, courses in a chosen focus area, and a comprehensive exam. This degree is not an initial teacher certification degree but is designed to advance early childhood education practitioners’ knowledge and skills. If you don’t have an academic background in ECE, USF offers pre-requisite courses to prepare you for the program.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 92.98
Average Net Price: $14,678
Located in Flagstaff, AZ, Northern Arizona University is a large public research university. The school prides itself on its many student-centered programs—as well as a commitment to research, public service, and creative endeavors. NAU is also home to a nationally-ranked School of Education that offers collaborative, rigorous programs in a number of areas, including Early Childhood Education.
Northern Arizona University offers a CAEP-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education which adheres to the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Students gain the latest in child development theories and developmentally effective teaching and learning techniques. Graduates will be ready for an advanced career working with pre-school and primary-level children. Available emphasis areas are:
- Early Childhood Teacher
- Early Childhood Leadership
- Early Childhood National Board Preparation
Northern Arizona University’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit program comprised of 12 credits of core courses and 18 credits in your chosen emphasis area. NAU’s program has received national recognition from the NAEYC, guaranteeing a solid grounding in child development. And if you need added flexibility, NAU’s program is available on the Flagstaff and Yuma campuses, as well as completely online (or in a blended format).
College Choice Score: 92.33
Average Net Price: $20,692
The oldest private school in the state of Georgia, Mercer University is a nationally-ranked university located in the city of Macon. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Mercer in the top 15 percent of all colleges and universities on the continent, and the school has earned national recognition from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its commitment to community engagement.
The Tift College of Education at Mercer University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Early Childhood Education intended for those who hold a bachelor’s degree (in any area) and are seeking initial certification at the master’s level. Students receive a comprehensive study of the specialized skills and knowledge needed to teach and support young children in grades Pre-K through five. Courses include:
- Child Development and Learning
- Teaching Exceptional Learners
- Foundations of Education
Mercer University’s M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education is a comprehensive 49-credit program which covers the full spectrum of pedagogical theory, curriculum planning, and teaching specific content areas. All teachers take part in extensive field experiences—a mentored practicum, and either student teaching or an internship. The program is offered at Mercer’s Atlanta Campus and Henry County Regional Academic Center on a full-time or part-time basis.
College Choice Score: 91.67
Average Net Price: $21,630
Situated in downtown Chicago, Illinois, Erikson Institute is a premier private, not-for-profit graduate school in child development. Founded in the sixties by child advocates—psychologists, educators and social workers—Erikson Institute has a mission to empower adults to help children reach their fullest potential. The school is recognized for groundbreaking work in the field of early childhood.
Erikson Institute offers a Master of Science in Child Development that will equip you to serve the complex needs of children and their families. Students learn how children develop and the complex contextual factors that shape development—as well as specific developmental domains, including physical/motor, cognitive, social, emotional, and communicative/language. Career options for Erikison graduates are wide open.
- Social and Historical Perspectives on Early Care and Education
- Human Development I: Psychosocial Development in Infancy and Childhood
- Physical Growth and Development
Erikson Institute’s M.S. in Child Development is a 38-credit program comprised of 28 credits of coursework and ten credits of internships and integrative seminars. The program is authorized by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and is excellent preparation for professional or leadership roles in the full range of disciplines and systems that serve children and families. These include care and education, social service, mental health, policy-making and analysis, healthcare, and the arts.
Concordia University Chicago
College Choice Score: 91.38
Average Net Price: $19,980
Located just ten miles west of Chicago in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University Chicago is a private, Lutheran-affiliated liberal arts college and a member of the ten-school Concordia University System. Concordia University Chicago offers high-quality graduate education programs on-campus and online and strives to equip students to lead with integrity, competence, and compassion.
The College of Education at Concordia University Chicago offers a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Concordia has achieved National Recognition by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), meeting standards as one of the top graduate degree programs in the country. You’ll be guaranteed a solid foundation in child development theories and how they play out in a variety of educational settings. Courses include:
- Child Development and Ethics in Early Childhood Education
- Developmentally Effective Instruction for Diverse Learners
- Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education
Concordia University Chicago’s M.A. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit program available both on campus and online. The program does not lead to licensure, but prepares candidates for a variety of leadership roles in early childhood education—including teachers, administrators, public policy and advocacy specialists, and scholars. If you have an Illinois teaching licensure, you may take additional coursework for endorsements in Special Education and/or ESL.
Albany State University
College Choice Score: 91.28
Average Net Price: $12,183
Located in Albany, Georgia, Albany State University is a historically black university (HBCU), and a member of the University System of Georgia. The school ranks highly among regional universities in the South and is one of the top 50 public schools in the region (according to U.S. News and World Report). The school’s College of Education has a long history of high-quality programs that have enhanced educational initiatives in the region.
Albany State University’s College of Education offers a CAEP-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education that leads to T-5 certification in ECE. Graduates are prepared to teach children in grades pre-K through grade five as well as being prepared for leadership roles the ECE field. The curriculum emphasizes reflective transformation, cultural responsiveness, and technological competence. Courses include:
- Early Childhood Development
- Cultural Diversity in ECE
- Creative Experiences in ECE
Albany State University’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 36-credit program which offers expertise in curriculum development, supervision, and research in the field of Early Childhood Education. To be admitted to Albany State’s program, you’ll need to either have an undergraduate degree in ECE (or the equivalent) or take additional undergraduate courses before beginning the M.Ed. program. This is a highly affordable, accredited program!
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 91.10
Average Net Price: $11,567
Situated in the small, historic city of Natchitoches, LA, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a four-year public university. The school is ranked among the top 150 regional schools in the South (U.S. News and World Report) and is home to the NCATE-accredited Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development which has a strong emphasis on teaching, research, and service.
Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development offers the only NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education in the state of Louisiana. The Early Childhood Education program at NSU is nationally approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which emphasizes a broad foundational knowledge of child development. Core courses include:
- Advanced Child Development
- Appropriate Practices for Early Childhood Development and Diversity
- Positive Relationships with Children, Families, and Communities
Northwestern State University’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 36-credit program comprised of 11 required courses and a practicum experience. Students also complete a thesis as an essential part of the program. The program that builds on content that certified teachers mastered at the undergraduate level and for admission to the program you’ll need a valid teaching certificate. This is another highly affordable, accredited program!
University of Colorado Denver
College Choice Score: 91.02
Average Net Price: $13,751
Located in downtown Denver, the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is a public, urban university and the largest research institution in the state. Ranking at #113 among public national universities, the school offers a diverse teaching and learning community. CU Denver’s School of Education has also earned acclaim—ranking at #120 among Education schools (U.S. News and World Report).
CU Denver’s School of Education and Human Development offers an affordable, NCATE-accredited Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education that prepares students to work with children in the early stages of development (birth to age eight). The curriculum covers child development, approaches to young children’s learning, curriculum and program development—as well as teaching in multicultural settings. Students choose one of three possible concentrations:
- Administration and Leadership
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Teaching and Learning
CU Denver’s M.A. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit program which includes the possibility of adding an ECSE Specialist Licensure. Students can take the program on campus or online. In addition to NCATE accreditation, this program is recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). You’ll need at least one year of experience working with young children for admission to the program.
The University of Toledo
College Choice Score: 90.81
Average Net Price: $15,919
Located in Toledo, Ohio, the University of Toledo is a nationally ranked, public research university that has been offering high-quality programs since its opening in 1872. With a commitment to promoting lifelong learning, the school is also home to an acclaimed College of Education which continues to move up in national rankings like U.S. News and World Report.
The University of Toledo’s Herb College of Education offers a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (non-licensure track) which is designed to help current teachers become more effective in their classrooms. As a student, you’ll be mentored by nationally-recognized scholars who teach the latest in theory, research, and practice. Students complete courses in each of four foundations:
- Psychological Foundations
- Research Foundations
- Social Foundations
- Curriculum Foundations
The University of Toledo’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 36-credit program comprised of Foundation courses (12 credits), Specialization courses (18 credits), and a six-credit culminating activity. Students can complete the program on campus or entirely online. And if you’re interested in gaining an Early Childhood teaching licensure, the school also offers a Licensure Alternative Master’s Program (LAMP).
Pacific Oaks College
College Choice Score: 90.76
Average Net Price: $21,090
Located in Pasadena, California, Pacific Oaks College is a private, non-profit college that takes a progressive approach to education. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s programs in a number of areas—including Human Development, Education, Early Childhood Education, and Organizational Leadership. All programs at Pacific Oaks demonstrate their commitment to social justice and academic excellence.
Pacific Oaks College offers a Master of Arts in Human Development with a specialization in Early Childhood Education and Development which offers students the opportunity to expand their understanding of young children. The curriculum focuses on the mastery of child-centered curricula, working with diversity in early childhood classrooms, and understanding the importance of social and cultural context to a child’s development. Course include:
- Authentic Infant – Competent Child
- Play, Language, and Literacy Development
- Advanced Studies in Diversity and Anti-Bias Issues
Pacific Oaks College’s M.A. in Human Development is a 30-credit program which can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. The program is available at both the Pasadena and San Jose campuses, as well as online. For admission, you’ll need to have taken foundational coursework in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or a related field—or have prior experience working with children.
California University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 87.83
Average Net Price: $17,819
Located in the Pittsburgh suburb of California, Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania is a small public university and a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The school offers high-quality programs—35 of which are at the graduate and professional level (including Early Childhood Education)—and has a strong focus on applied education.
California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education for certified teachers in Elementary, Special, or Early Childhood Education. Cal U’s curriculum provides a deep foundation of knowledge in child development, enabling teachers to meet the specific needs of children—working to nurture their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth. Courses include:
- Advanced Child Development
- Literacy Development
- Methods of Research
Cal U’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit non-licensure program available on campus and online. (For those interested in obtaining an ECE licensure, Cal U also offers an M.Ed.with licensure option.) All M.Ed. students have the opportunity to complete an internship in an early childhood/preschool setting. Cal U’s College of Education and Human Services is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
University of North Dakota
College Choice Score: 86.34
Average Net Price: $14,693
Located in the city of Grand Forks, ND, the University of North Dakota is the state’s flagship public research university. Though the school has historically had a strong emphasis on the liberal arts it has also grown into a major scientific research institution. UND currently ranks at #192 among national universities, and emphasizes an accessible approach to education through affordable tuition, small class sizes, and accessible faculty.
The College of Education and Human Development at UND offers an affordable, NCATE-accredited Master of Science in Early Childhood Education that prepares certified teachers and leaders to work effectively with children (ages 1-8). UND’s curriculum blends theory with practice, exploring the latest in pedagogy and child development—along with best practices in the classroom. Courses include:
- Language Development in Children
- Play in Development and Early Childhood Education
- Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs
The University of North Dakota’s M.S. in Early Childhood Education is a 32-credit, non-licensure program comprised of eight required courses, two electives, a practicum, and a scholarly project. You can complete the entire program in 24 months by taking two courses per semester (or you are also free to study at your own pace). And for added flexibility, the entire program is available both online and on campus.
Missouri State University
College Choice Score: 86.01
Average Net Price: $14,862
Located on a sprawling campus in Springfield, Missouri, Missouri State University is a public university that ranks among the top 35 public universities in the South. (U.S. News and World Report). The school offers over 45 high-quality graduate programs—including in Early Childhood Education— and strives to keep higher education accessible by keeping tuition lower than state and national averages.
Missouri State University’s Department of Childhood Education and Family Studies offers a Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development. The program delivers a core education in the areas of early childhood education, child development, and family development. And students learn from stellar faculty that are committed to meeting their professional needs. Courses include:
- Advanced Human Development Studies
- The Educational Role of Play
- Inquiry in Early Childhood and Family Development
Missouri State University’s M.S. in Early Childhood and Family Development is a 32-credit program comprised of 20 credits of core courses and 12 hours of electives. All students complete an extensive paper or creative work as a capstone project. And students have multiple opportunities to learn outside of the classroom in a number of workshops, professional organizations, on-site activities and research projects. This program does not lead to a teaching licensure.
West Chester University
College Choice Score: 85.40
Average Net Price: $18,651
Located in the small Pennsylvania city (or ”borough” in local parlance) of West Chester, West Chester University is a public institution and the largest in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The school ranks highly among regional schools in the North (#64 according to U.S. News and World Report) and offers an array of high-quality programs at all levels of education.
West Chester University’s College of Education and Social Work offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education with two track options: the Accomplished Teachers Track and the Program Administrators Track. Both track options provide a strong foundation in child development theories and how they translate into ECE educational settings. Core courses include:
- Advanced Child Dev: Pre-birth Through Eight Years
- Play as a Learning Medium
- Advocating for Young Children and Families
West Chester University’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 33-credit program comprised of eight common core courses, two track-specific courses, and a capstone course. The program is accredited by both the NCATE and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This program is designed for practicing teachers or educational leaders and does not lead to licensure.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 82.96
Average Net Price: $34,984
Located in Manchester, NH, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, non-profit university that is currently ranked as the #1 most innovative school in the country (U.S. News and World Report). The school, which also ranks highly among other regional schools, has pioneered alternative modes of delivery, making their high-quality programs as accessible as possible to students on campus and online.
Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Education offers a Clinical Master of Education which leads to a dual certification in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. The curriculum provides a strong understanding of child development as the basis for a foundation of lifelong learning and success. And SNHU emphasizes competency-based education through several clinical experiences. Students learn to:
- Assess a child’s solitary play, play within a group, and play with an adult
- Use technology to enhance student learning and achievement
- Apply scientifically based instructional strategies to promote learning
Southern New Hampshire University’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and Special Education is a 36-credit program which includes 44 weeks of clinical experiences. The entire program can be completed in as few as 15 months of full-time study (or at your own pace). And SNHU is one of the most affordable private universities in the New Hampshire, with opportunities for extensive scholarships for qualifying students.
College Choice Score: 79.29
Average Net Price: $16,060
Situated along the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy College is a private, non-profit research university that offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs through its five schools. Mercy College strives to make their high-quality programs accessible to all students—and they achieve this through affordability, relatable faculty, and accessible online and on-campus programs.
Mercy College’s School of Education offers a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2) that prepares students for New York State certification. Students will receive a thorough grounding in pedagogy and child development theory—combined with extensive field experiences and clinical practice. Students can pursue multiple certificates:
- Early Childhood, Birth to Gr. 2
- Early Childhood, Birth to Gr. 2 & Childhood Education, Grades 1-6
- Early Childhood, Birth to Gr. 2, Childhood Education, Gr.1-6 & Students w/ Disabilities
Mercy College’s M.S. in Early Childhood Education is a 39-credit (minimum) program comprised of 12 required courses and a Student Teaching Experience. For students who choose to take more than one certification, there will be additional courses and field experiences. This M.Ed. program is available at Mercy College’s Dobbs Ferry, Bronx, Manhattan & Yorktown Heights campuses.
University of South Alabama
College Choice Score: 77.07
Average Net Price: $12,963
Located in Mobile, Alabama, the University of South Alabama is a relatively young, nationally-ranked public research university that couples engaging learning experiences with high-level research. The school offers more than 100 academic programs—including high-quality graduate education programs— through its ten colleges.
The College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of South Alabama offers an NCATE-accredited Master of Education in Early Childhood Education which provides advanced study for teachers working with children preschool through third grade. Designed for teachers who already possess Class B Professional ECE Certificate, the program qualifies graduates for a Class A Professional ECE Certificate. Courses cover:
- Curriculum and Teaching
The University of South Alabama’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit (minimum) program which leads to licensure. The curriculum is comprised of 15 credits in Curriculum and Teaching, two electives in Diversity and Technology, and six credits in the teaching field. Students also have the option to write a thesis as part of the degree program. This is a great program if you’re looking for an affordable program that leads to licensure.