There are plenty of career opportunities for individuals who love kids, but what’s the best pathway to get one of those jobs?
Whether you are interested in becoming an elementary school teacher or you want to work in a daycare setting, a Master’s in Child Development is the perfect choice to help you get the job of your dreams. Not only will one of these programs equip you with the pedagogical skills necessary to instruct small children, but it will also give you the hands-on experience necessary to be confident in your classroom management abilities.
The options can be overwhelming, particularly when you consider that many states have individual requirements for teacher certification. Rest easy, though – you’re in the right place.
Ready to learn more about how to become an early childhood instructor? These are the 20 Best Master’s in Child Development degrees.
What kind of child development degree should you get?
There are plenty of pathways out there for aspiring early education professionals. While many small daycares and private schools will allow educators to work with just associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, most states now require teachers of very young children to possess master’s degrees.
Often, these degrees can be in any discipline. However, a program in child development will provide you with the training in child psychology, behavior management, and instructional skills that you need to be successful. Look for a degree that provides a holistic training yet also allows you to take classes in an area of interest – such as in child literacy.
The best program will also be hands-on, but don’t be fooled into thinking you need to give up your current employment or move far away in order to attend a Master’s in Child Development program. Some of the best colleges also offer online programs in child development. Don’t believe us? Check out our list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities and see for yourself.
How much money do people make with a degree in child development?
Just as every child you will work with is unique, so is every career. With a degree in child development, you will be positioned to work in a variety of careers, such as those in early childhood education, elementary education, psychology, and more. Most professionals with child development degrees, however, will go on to rewarding careers as school instructors.
These individuals earn respectable salaries, with average earnings of about $57,890 per year. These wages vary depending on the state you work in as well as on the status of your school as a public or private institution. Professionals who work at local or public schools tend to earn the highest wages, with the highest 10% earning more than $86,310 annually.
Although these jobs are expected to grow slightly slower than average, at just 3% by 2028, professionals who have experience in other areas, like special education, won’t have any trouble finding a job. Enrolling in the best child development degree can help you enhance your career prospects, as you’ll have the hands-on training in various specialty areas that employers seek.
What are the requirements for a degree in child development?
Interested in a degree in child development? To start, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. In most cases, you will need an undergraduate experience in elementary education or a similar topic. You will need to have a minimum grade point average, and you might need to be already licensed or certified at the grade level you intend to teach.
Some programs will require you to pass a background check or a general teaching certification test in order to be eligible for enrollment, while others will want to see a certain number of years of work experience. Several degrees require student teaching components.
What are the best degrees in child development?
As an early childhood professional, you will have one of the most rewarding careers in the world. On a daily basis, you will be tasked with guiding young people through one of the most pivotal stages of their lives – their childhood.
Childhood is a time of many changes, and when you have a degree in child development, you will be able to provide the emotional and instructional support your students need – and deserve. Although there is no single best degree in child development for every student, you can make the most of your training by finding a degree that closely aligns with your professional goals.
Select the degree that is the best fit for your life circumstances and background. A degree that includes multiple opportunities for a practicum experience and research will be the best at preparing you for real-life work.
How do you find a degree like this? Start by taking a look at our ranking of the 20 Best Master’s in Child Development degrees. Here at College Choice, we put a lot of thought into the schools that make our final rankings – we don’t let just any school on the list.
Don’t believe us? Head over to our methodology page to learn more about how we put together our rankings.
Think you have what it takes to be an early childhood educator? Then continue reading to learn all about the 20 Best Master’s in Child Development Degrees of 2019!
University at Albany
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $15,844
The University at Albany, also known as SUNY Albany, is a public university located in Albany, NY. Founded in 1844, this school offers more than 120 different master’s programs, including many highly ranked offerings in the School of Education. The Early Childhood Education Master of Science at the University of Albany is offered by the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning in the School of Education.
Available on campus as well as online, this program helps learners build their expertise in teaching young children and preschoolers from birth through second grade. Designed for individuals who hold initial New York State teacher certification, this program prepares students for professional certification to teach infants through two-year-olds. The curriculum is regularly updated to reflect the best practices of working professionals, with required courses including:
- Classroom Literacy Instruction
- Language Acquisition, B-2
- Strategic Intervention to Prevent Literacy Difficulties
- Literacy in Society
- Teaching Social Studies, B-6
This program is ranked as the eighth-best online graduate education program in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. It is one of several different master’s degrees in education, among other options such as Special Education and Literacy, Literacy, Reading, and Childhood Education. Many of these programs are available online as well. Additional certificates are available for motivated students who wish to gain further credentials in topics like Teacher Leadership and Literacy. Both the online and on-campus programs are incredibly convenient, offering learners access to comprehensive support services like online tutoring, personal advising, and a 24/7 help desk.
University of Minnesota
College Choice Score: 99.16
Average Net Price: $16,691
The University of Minnesota has multiple campuses, including those in Duluth and Minneapolis. This public university was founded in 1851 and offers learners a variety of on-campus and online degree programs. Want to earn a license to teach in early childhood classrooms in Minnesota? The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development prepares learners for birth through third-grade licensure.
Developing a strong foundation in child development research, theory, and developmentally appropriate methodology, this program is designed for learners who are pursuing their first state teaching license. The curriculum is based on development theory, preparing teachers who can work with each child exactly where he or she is in his or her own unique educational journey. A capstone project is required in addition to two student teaching experiences. Other required classes include:
- Foundations of Early Childhood Education
- Social and Emotional Learning
- Cognitive and Language Learning
- Creative and Motor Learning
While enrolled in this program, all individuals are given the opportunity to teach at the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, an on-campus preschool that is operated by the Institute of Child Development. This center serves as a living laboratory for early childhood curriculum development. This experience not only prepares individuals with the hands-on work they need for state teacher licensure, but it also grants them the pathways necessary to pursue additional career opportunities like moving into school or district administration.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
College Choice Score: 98.46
Average Net Price: $16,636
University of Alabama Birmingham is a public university that was founded in 1969. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 13,836 students and is located in the heart of Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham. All programs allow students to engage in a plethora of opportunities in internships, research, and resume-building work experience. Consisting of 11 schools and a large graduate school, the University of Alabama is home to multiple nationally-ranked programs. The School of Education at the University of Alabama Birmingham offers an exceptional Master of Arts in Education in Early Childhood Education.
This program is for students who already have bachelor’s degrees in education and possess current Class B certification in the state of Alabama. Requiring 31-34 semester hours to complete, the curriculum includes core coursework in critical pedagogy, language development, and reading. A final practicum is also required. This program is an excellent pathway to a professional career as well as to a Ph.D. in education. Sample classes might include:
- Current Issues in Education
- Teaching Language Arts P-12
- Primary Mathematics: A Constructive Approach
- Pre- and Early-Reading Instruction
- Literature for Grades P-12
This department is comprised of a wide range of skilled professionals. Because the University of Alabama Birmingham’s School of Education offers a number of fully-online degree programs, there are plenty of ways for students to find the programs that best suit their needs. In addition to the Early Childhood Education program, the school also offers programs in community health and human services, educational leadership, counseling, kinesiology, and instructional design and development. A variety of certificates are available, too, including those in health education, reading education, and more.
College Choice Score: 97.68
Average Net Price: $21,202
Located in Macon, GA, Mercer University is a private university that was founded in 1833. This school has a small population of fewer than 5,000 undergraduate learners, offering programs in 12 different colleges and schools. Although business is the most popular major at Mercer, the university also offers a variety of education programs that are nationally-recognized. The Tift College of Education at Mercer University offers a superb Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education.
Designed specifically for learners who already possess a bachelor’s degree and are seeking initial certification at the master’s level, this program offers a comprehensive study of the knowledge and specialized skills that are needed to instruct and support young children from birth through age five. Courses are designed to build each student’s theoretical and pedagogical body of knowledge, while at the same time incorporating assessment, research, and technology integration. Several diverse field experiences are also scattered throughout the program’s curriculum. Other classes include:
- Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education
- Teaching Exceptional Learners
- Child and Adolescent Development and Learning
- Foundations of Education
Each student is required to complete a sequential series of field experiences in diverse settings. These are coordinated through the Office of Field Placement and can often be arranged depending on a student’s location. The program admits students five times each year, offering students maximum flexibility in earning their degrees. Classes are presented one evening per week on a sixteen-week semester schedule. These courses can be pursued either part- or full-time to accommodate teachers who are already working at schools or are engaging in their required field experiences.
College Choice Score: 97.42
Average Net Price: $32,729
Biola University is located in La Mirada, CA, and was founded in 1908. This school has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,010 and, despite being a small private university, has some of the most impressive course and degree offerings in the country. Offered by Biola University’s well-respected School of Education, the Master of Arts in Teaching is a flexible and practical graduate degree that helps all individuals thrive as classroom teachers.
The perfect program for both current and aspiring educators, this degree equips learners with the advanced knowledge and skills they need to become effective, impactful teachers. It comes with eight different concentration options, allowing learners to choose pathways that are perfectly tailored for their backgrounds and career interests. It can be completed either entirely online or on-campus, or as a blend of both. Students will be required to take core courses such as:
- Philosophy and Values in School and Society
- Research in Culture and Intercultural Instruction
- Writing Literature Reviews
- Introduction to Spiritual Formation for the Educator
This degree requires all students to conduct action research studies within actual classrooms. Not only does this experience that involves choosing methodology, exploring literature, and reporting research-based findings allow individuals to become better teachers, but it also allows each learner to explore an area of interest. Available concentration areas include Early Childhood, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, and more. The degree is rooted in the Christian tradition and is designed with busy teachers in mind. Strong relationships with school districts, educational partners, and faculty are at the very core of this program, making it possible for every learner to succeed.
Northern Arizona University
College Choice Score: 93.22
Average Net Price: $14,882
Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, AZ, is a public university that was founded in 1899. This large school has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 27,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in the country. The school is a high-research institution that strives to improve lives and to create a diverse learning environment for all students. The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at NAU is housed within the respected Department of Teaching and Learning.
As an Early Childhood student at Northern Arizona University, you will have multiple pathways to choose from, including a general emphasis, a leadership emphasis, a multiage emphasis, or a National Board preparation emphasis. Thirty credit hours are required for graduation, and each credit matters – every required course reflects an educational standard that learners are expected to be able to meet in order to be ready to work with young children. Sample classes include:
- Administration and Supervision of Reading Programs
- Parental Involvement in Education
- Foundations of Reading Instruction
- Special Topics in Early Childhood Education
- Development of Children’s Logical Concepts
With a 98% pass rate on the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment exam, it’s clear that no degree prepares aspiring professionals better than this one. Classes are small, allowing learners to receive plenty of individualized attention from faculty and other peers. There are also myriad opportunities for individuals to engage in classroom teaching. A technologically-advanced, student-focused, and culturally-responsive program, this degree has produced leaders for America’s schools for many years. It is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
University of La Verne
College Choice Score: 92.90
Average Net Price: $26,617
Located in La Verne, CA, the University of La Verne is a private university that was founded in 1891. A small private school with fewer than 3,000 graduates, this university has the perfect location just 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Development at the University of La Verne improves students’ understanding of the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of young children. At the same time, the coursework improves students’ capacity to assume leadership roles in all aspects of child development.
All learners are supported by accessible faculty and small class sizes. Offered both online and on-campus, this program is flexible and rigorous. Busy professionals can also take a combination of face-to-face and remote classes. A required 33 semester hours are needed for graduation. In addition, students must complete significant amounts of fieldwork and practicum hours to better prepare them for life inside the classroom. Courses are interactive and blend both theory and practice. Sample classes include:
- Educational Psychology
- Methods of Research
- Human Development
- Graduate Seminar
In addition to the core courses outlined above, each student is also encouraged to research and take part in additional courses of concentration. Available concentration topics include Teaching Adults; Cognition and Brain Development; Assessment in Early Childhood; and Language, Reading, and Concept Development. The university offers several master’s degree programs along with a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. All programs are supported by the Center for Educational Equity and Intercultural Research along with the Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness, both of which offer workshops and other experiences to help learners become more proficient instructors.
University of Dayton
College Choice Score: 92.66
Average Net Price: $34,718
With a main campus in Dayton, Ohio, the University of Dayton has one of the best locations for students who are planning on becoming leading educators. This private university was founded in 1850 and has a total enrolment of 8,617 undergraduate students. Students can choose from more than 80 different academic programs, many of which are offered through the School of Education and Health Sciences. The School of Education and Health Sciences at the University of Dayton offers a graduate program in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy.
Program content can be utilized by teachers, teacher leaders, advocates, program administrators, supervisors, and others, making this degree one of the most flexible and applicable of its kind. All coursework is available online, making it ideal for learners who wish to partake in a web-based, part-time program. Some onsite courses are available as well. The curriculum enhances the skills and knowledge that instructors need to become effective leaders and includes core classes such as:
- Becoming a Master Educator
- Philosophical Studies in Education
- School, Self, and Society
- Perspectives on Educational Research
- Educational Leadership
The Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy program isn’t the only degree offered by the University of Dayton. The School of Education and Health Sciences boasts a variety of nationally-ranked programs and degrees. In addition to undergraduate and certificate programs in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, the university also offers additional five-hour trainings through the Bombeck Institute. These are engaging and affordable and help students progress more quickly toward their degree completion. Trainings are available in topics like Intentional Teaching, Inclusion, and more.
University of Toledo
College Choice Score: 91.17
Average Net Price: $16,588
The University of Toledo is located in Toledo, Ohio, and is a comprehensive research university. A four-year, regionally-accredited public institution, the University of Toledo has been serving students since 1872. This school offers more than 230 academic degree programs to students around the globe, including a variety of world-class offerings in the field of education and human development. The Judith Herb College of Education offers an exceptional Early Childhood master’s program.
Best designed for aspiring early childhood teachers, this degree is suitable for those who already hold teaching licensure. The program reflects the latest theory, practice, and research to enable teachers to become more effective in the classroom. Faculty are nationally-renowned scholars who involve graduate students in their work on various papers, grants, and research projects. These instructors also work in schools and agencies all around the country as active teacher practitioners. They teach classes in core areas such as:
- Social Foundations
- Research Foundations
- Psychological Foundations
- Curriculum Foundations
Available both entirely-online as well as on-campus, this 36-credit-hour program includes an impressive 15 credit hours of specialization courses. Online and on-campus learners alike receive direct access to success coaches, advisors, and interactive faculty, along with resources like an IT Help Desk, eLibrary, and eTutoring. Each student is supported by a personal faculty mentor, and many students take part in scholarly work while collaborating with these mentors. The school is ranked as one of the top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
College Choice Score: 90.87
Average Net Price: $22,011
Located in Gainesville, GA, Brenau University is a private university that was founded in 1878. A small school with fewer than 1,754 undergraduate students, the university is regarded as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Here, students experience the liberal arts in an interactive way, as they are supported via personal instruction and a vibrant campus life. The Master’s in Early Childhood at Brenau is one of the best of its kind, providing students with plenty of opportunities for hands-on work.
This program is an initial certification program for students who have completed non-licensure baccalaureate degrees. In order to be eligible for certification, all learners must pass the teaching Field Content Exams prior to placement with a school system to student teach. A variety of courses are required in core content areas like Professional Development, Methods and Content, and Clinical Experience. In fact, up to 12 hours of clinical experience is required. Sample classes include:
- Instructional Practices and Assessment
- Computer Literacy in Education
- Understanding and Managing Learners
- Introduction to Special Education
- Methods of Educational Research
In addition to the Early Childhood Concentration, Brenau also offers concentrations in topics like Special Education, Secondary Education, and Middle Grades. This program features courses taught at two different locations, making coursework readily-available no matter where you are. Learners are encouraged to pursue internships with school systems while completing the program, and many of the courses are also offered online. Each student is assigned a faculty member to provide advisement throughout the program, and class sizes are capped at thirty students to ensure small classes and a close-knit feel.
California University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 89.00
Average Net Price: $18,780
Located in California, PA, California University of Pennsylvania is a public institution that was launched in 1852. Home to a total undergraduate population of just 8,200 students, this school offers more than 35 different graduate and professional programs. All of these programs are built on a solid foundation of clinical practice, fieldwork, hands-on activities, and meaningful research. The California University of Pennsylvania offers a dynamic Master of Education in Elementary Education.
Suitable for certified teachers, this degree-only program does not lead to certification but does help students enhance their leadership skills. At the same time, individuals receive in-depth instruction in research-based best practices and current pedagogy. The curriculum is aligned with the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. It takes a constructivist approach and is technologically-focused. Students also learn Pennsylvania school laws in regard to the work of the classroom teacher. Sample classes in the program include:
- Literacy Development
- Leadership and Management in Early Childhood
- Development and Organization of School Curriculum
- Teaching and Assessment in Language Arts
- Teaching and Assessment in Mathematics
For over 165 years, California University of Pennsylvania has been dedicated to providing world-class teacher education. This is reflected in how flexible and student-centered the modern curriculum is. For example, over half of the courses in the degree can be taken online. Students receive ongoing job placement support from alumni, faculty, and the university’s Career and Professional Development Center. The degree satisfies the 180-hour professional development requirements of the state’s Act 48, too.
Kennesaw State Universty
College Choice Score: 87.46
Average Net Price: $17,618
Kennesaw State University, located in Kennesaw, GA, is a public institution that was founded in 1963. This school offers high-quality graduate, undergraduate, and co-curricular programs in disciplines like engineering, health, architecture, business, and, of course, education. The Master of Education in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Kennesaw State University is designed for learners who are already certified teachers but wish to learn more about the discipline.
As a certified teacher in Elementary Education, you can complete this degree in as little as 13 months – all without pausing your current work in the classroom. Offered completely online, this degree divides students into cohort groups upon admission. These cohorts are supported by graduate faculty who provide close mentorship and program facilitation. The degree coincides with the public school calendar and requires no face-to-face classes. Sample coursework includes:
- Trends and Issues in Educational Inquiry in Elementary & Early Childhood Education
- Curriculum and Pedagogy for Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms
- Educational Equity in Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms
- Reflective Inquiry for Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms
- Professional Application of Inquiry for Elementary and Early Childhood Educators
Not only is this program incredibly flexible, allowing learners to complete their studies in just four semesters, but it also features the opportunity to earn additional endorsement or certificates. Potential options include those in Reading, ESOL, Gifted Education, Online Teaching, Teacher Leadership, Special Education, and more. Students will take three courses per semester over the course of four semesters. The university also offers related undergraduate, specialist, and doctoral programs in education. Kennesaw State is regarded as a Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report.
Northwestern State University
College Choice Score: 87.25
Average Net Price: $10,448
Northwestern State University, also known as Northwestern State University of Louisiana, is located in Natchitoches, LA. This rural public university was founded in 1884 and has an undergraduate enrollment of just under 10,000 students. A student-oriented school, Northwestern State is ranked as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at Northwestern State University is the only program of its kind in the state of Louisiana.
With a curriculum that builds on the content that certified teachers have already mastered, this program prepares learners to work with young children, their families, and the local community. It is comprised of core education courses along with a practicum that addresses the National Association for the Education of Young Children standards. It is also nationally-approved by the same organization. This program includes the option for either a thesis or a project that involves action research for school improvement. Other core courses include:
- Curriculum Development for School Improvement
- Instructional Improvement and Assessment
- Educational Research and Evaluation
- Advanced Child Development
- Curriculum and Spaces for Infants and Toddlers
Despite being relatively large, Northwestern State prides itself on maintaining a close-knit, student-focused learning environment. In fact, the student-to-faculty ratio at Northwestern State is just 18:1, with nearly half of all classes containing fewer than 20 students. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of overall student satisfaction, sits at 72% – this is much higher than what you would find at most schools. Students are supported by a number of student services, such as nonremedial tutoring, health services, and more.
Concordia University Chicago
College Choice Score: 86.09
Average Net Price: $16,775
Founded as a teachers’ college in 1864, Concordia University has a storied tradition as one of the country’s best schools of education. Today, the comprehensive university is a private, liberal arts university that is grounded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in River Forest, IL, this school has a dedication to core Christian values, and its Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education is nationally-recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Housed within the College of Education, the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education equips individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform leadership roles in early childhood education. It is perfect for aspiring scholars, public policy and advocacy specialists, teachers, and administrators, giving all students a strong background in research, assessment, relationships, and language development. It does not lead to licensure but is perfect for individuals who are already working in a classroom setting. Sample classes include:
- Observation and Assessment
- Infant and Toddler Curriculum
- School Age Curriculum, Ages 6-8
- Developmentally Effective Instruction for Diverse Learners
Consisting of 30 credit hours, this program is offered both online and on-campus and takes most learners about one to two years to complete. Despite the large enrollment of roughly 4,300 graduate students, the university still maintains a small student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. A preferred spot for students seeking an exceptional academic experience, this university employs faculty who are dedicated to helping students meet their goals. In fact, 90% of Concordia University Chicago students are either employed or enrolled in graduate programs within six months of graduation.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 85.63
Average Net Price: $39,071
Located in Manchester, NH, Southern New Hampshire University is a private university that was founded in 1932. This school has a total enrollment of fewer than 3,122 undergraduates and is known for its many on-campus and online degree offerings. In fact, learners have more than 100 degrees to choose from. Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master of Education in Early Childhood and Special Education that trains instructors in the best methods to help children develop the essential skills they need for lifelong learning.
This program is perfect for aspiring educators who want to help young people achieve crucial developmental milestones. A full-time program, this M.Ed. offers pathways for dual certification in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. A company-based program, it provides opportunities for evidence-based research and clinical work. It includes an impressive total of 44 weeks of clinical experience along with core classes such as:
- Intervention in Literacy
- Theoretical Foundations in Early Childhood Education
- Early Childhood Mathematics
- Classroom and Behavior Management in Early Childhood Education
- Intervention in Mathematics
At Southern New Hampshire University, students benefit from a thoughtful curriculum that is taught by a supportive community of faculty and staff. Less than 3,000 students are enrolled at this affordable nonprofit university, all of whom are taught by highly-credentialed faculty who are experts in their fields. This degree can be completed both online as well as on-campus, making it possible for learners to complete their studies in just 15 months. Upon graduation, students can tap into a nationwide network of alumni for career opportunities and support, too.
College Choice Score: 85.60
Average Net Price: $13,972
With a main campus in Dobbs Ferry, NY, Mercy College has a network of nearly half a dozen other campuses around the New York metropolitan area as well. Founded in 1950, this school has an undergraduate population of fewer than 6,700 students. The school has more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees to choose from, including a Master of Science in Childhood Education Grade 1-6 degree that prepares teachers for elementary school classrooms.
With a theory-based curriculum offered by the School of Education, this program is available online as well as on-campus in Dobbs Ferry, Manhattan, Bronx, and Yorktown Heights. It consists of 36 credit hours of study and leads to either initial or professional certification. It includes two fieldwork requirements, allowing students to become more marketable for jobs and preparing them for student teaching. Other course requirements include:
- Educational Foundations from Diverse Perspectives
- Teaching English as a Second Language
- Foundations of Education for Students with Disabilities
- Language Arts for Childhood/Early Childhood Education
- Math for Childhood/Early Childhood Education
This degree prepares learners with the skills necessary to pursue multiple certificates, including those in Early Childhood Education, Students with Disabilities, and more. The university offers additional graduate programs in topics such as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Teaching Literacy, Educational Administration, and more. At Mercy, aspiring teachers benefit from a dynamic and diverse location in the New York City area. As a result, the school is ranked as one of the Top Performers on Social Mobility as well as one of the Best Regional Universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report.
University of South Alabama
College Choice Score: 84.06
Average Net Price: $12,836
Beginning in 1963, the University of South Alabama, located in Mobile, AL, now has a total undergraduate enrollment of just under 11,000 students. Offering more than 50 bachelor’s and certificate programs, the school also offers more than 40 top-ranked master’s programs in fields like medicine, health, and, of course, education. The Leadership and Teacher Education Department offers a highly-regarded Alternative Master of Education in Early Childhood Education.
This unique program consists of 42 credit hours of study. It prepares learners with undergraduate degrees to teach in pre-kindergarten through grade-three classrooms. Upon graduation, individuals will be eligible to take examinations for the Class A Professional Early Childhood Education certificate. Students can be admitted into the program in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Most students will take just five or six semesters to complete their studies, but all learners can complete the required coursework while working full-time. Sample classes include:
- Assessment and Research in Education
- Psychological Principles of Learning
- Nature and Needs of Exceptional Children and Youth
- Instructional Planning in the Elementary School
- Microcomputing Systems in Education
All of the courses, besides the practicum and student teaching, are offered online as well as in the evenings. The practicum experience consists of a supervised placement in the teaching field, allowing learners to work full-time for an entire semester. This practicum can be completed at the student’s own school and helps prepare aspiring teachers for the required Praxis examinations. The University of South Alabama is ranked as one of the top National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
Albany State University
College Choice Score: 83.77
Average Net Price: $12,569
Albany State University, located in Albany, GA, began in 1903 and is home to a total undergraduate enrollment of just over 6,000 students. This school is a historically-black university in the university system of Georgia and was originally founded as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institution. It is now one of the state’s top four-year universities. The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at Albany State University prepares learners to work with children in pre-kindergarten through grade five.
Featuring a robust course of study in curriculum development, research, and supervision, this program prepares teachers to serve in leadership roles and in the classroom. It contains 36 credit hours of courses that support imaginative and resourceful problem-solving in the modern classroom. Classes are broken down into five key areas: Teaching Field, Programs and Problems of the School, Educational Research, Nature of the Learner and Behavior Problems, and Teaching Electives. Sample classes include:
- Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education
- Educational Statistics
- Professional Development for Accomplished Educators
- Behavior Modification for Special Education Students
- Exceptional Child
Albany State University offers a broad array of graduate, baccalaureate, certificate, and associate programs at both its main campus in Albany as well as at its branch sites and its online campus. The curriculum builds on a strong liberal arts heritage and is supported by public service, scholarship, and research. The university has profound partnerships with government agencies and community outreach organizations – a must-have feature for any education degree. These networks help support students in their teaching and learning while also boosting their success rates at securing jobs.
University of Colorado Denver
College Choice Score: 83.60
Average Net Price: $14,477
The University of Colorado Denver is located in Denver and was founded in 1912. The School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver has a superior Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. This program prepares learners to work with young children, communities, and families during one of the most important stages of a child’s life. The degree features 24/7 technical support, conferencing, and faculty video coaching in real-time.
With a curriculum featuring inclusive, family-centered practices around a culturally-sustainable framework, this program is one of the most diverse of its kind. It prepares professionals who are instructionally-competent and who have the potential to become leaders and advocates in education. Offered fully-online, the degree includes 30 credit hours of study and takes most students between two and three years to complete. Sample classes include:
- Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
- Working with Families and Communities
- Language and Literacy in Young Children
- Educators as Social Change Agents
- Screening and Assessment of Young Children
The Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education at the University of Colorado Denver has a flexible admissions policy that includes rolling decisions. In addition, the program features personalized support to help reach students all over the world with high-quality instruction and faculty support. Students can select courses outside of their main areas of focus, allowing them to personally tailor their training toward their interests and needs. The School of Education and Human Development is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top graduate school that offers the best online experiences.
Pacific Oaks College
College Choice Score: 83.11
Average Net Price: N/A
A private institution located in Pasadena, CA, Pacific Oaks College is one of the top universities at which to earn a degree in education. Established in 1958, the school is home to roughly 1,200 students and draws on Quaker principles of education and learning. Pacific Oaks College offers a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education that prepares graduates to pursue leadership roles in childcare programs, state agencies, public schools, and nonprofits.
Most students can complete this degree in just two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. Available online, it requires 30 credit hours for completion. It is grounded in theories that support high-quality educational experiences and provides learners with a substantial amount of real-world experience as they immerse themselves in diverse environments with children and families. All classes are taught in eight-week sessions and cover core topics such as:
- Public Policy and its Impact on Children and Families
- The Impact of Privilege and Oppression in Early Childhood Educational Settings
- Creating Responsive Communities for All Families
This program can be completed online or on-campus in Pasadena. The curriculum is based on the theories of Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Erik Erikson, Lucy Sprague Mitchell, and other key early childhood thinkers. Learners are given the opportunity to collaborate with educational administrators and local leaders as well as children and families from underrepresented and underprivileged areas. Pacific Oaks is a pioneer in offering early childhood programs, having launched one of the nation’s first Head Start training programs in 1964.