Early childhood education students are looking for ways to affordably earn a bachelor’s degree and advance their professional career. Not be riddled with student loans and debt. A flexible degree that allows you to take classes and be gainfully employed at the same time is even better.
Sound like an impossible dream? Happily, it is not. With the many affordable online bachelor in early education degrees available, graduating without carrying tremendous debt can be a reality.
Other online degrees offer this opportunity as well. Take a look at College Choice’s Most Affordable Online Schools to learn more.
The employment opportunities for preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Jobs for preschool, primary, and special education school teachers is projected to grow 8% in the same time period. All of this shows that opportunities for career advancement in early childhood education is moving in an upward and exciting direction.
Early Childhood Education (or ECE) will be actively seeking degree holding professionals for positions in administratration, teaching, advocacy and private, public, or church affiliated positions.
Having a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education makes a difference. By 2019, early childhood education is expected to have the highest job availability of any area of education, rising by 18%.
What are the financial gains in early childhood education?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics holds the median salary for preschool teachers at $28,790, and the median salary of $45,230 for those working in elementary and primary schools. Early childhood education careers have an upward trajectory, with experience leading to promotions and opportunity.
How do online classes work?
Online classes are easy to access and offer extreme flexibility. Depending on your instructor and institution, classes may meet at a set time each week or otherwise can be completed when your schedule allows in the term. School’s offer technology support and instructors are familiar with the unique demands of online classes. Ipads or other tablet devices and software suites are sometimes bundled into tuition, making logging in and completing coursework even easier.
How can I maximize affordability in my degree?
Researching our list of affordable programs is the place to start. Combining a high-quality, low-dollar program with financial aid assistance offered through the school, from current employers (who often have tuition matching or reimbursement programs) and from private scholarships is next.
Carefully vetting any credits that you may wish to transfer in from a previous school is important too. If you are able to pursue your degree while working, that is even better. Online education’s flexibility will enable this to happen.
What are the Most Affordable Early Childhood Education Degrees?
Our ranking methodology is built on the following factors: institutional excellence, student satisfaction, and student success.
Institutional excellence is decided using the these types data points: graduation rate, institutional reputation, students; entering test scores, student-to- faculty ratio, and endowment size.
Student satisfaction is an weighed total of student reviews found in various journalistic outlets and websites.
Return on investment is based on tuition costs, financial aid, average student indebtedness after graduating, and expected early career salary for grads. Data is taken from the National Center for Education Statistics; IPEDS database, Payscale, individual college websites, and US News & World Report.
See our rankings methodology page.
Average Net Price: $4,950
When looking for the best combination of online early childhood education courses and affordability Aspen University is #1. Aspen University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education has an average tuition of $4,950 per year, making it as affordable as it is accessible. Completion of the program leads to a Child Development Associate credential, adding value to any early childhood education resume.
Aspen University provides a great perk in online education by offering students a strong liberal arts foundation to lay the foundation in their education. With each course priced at $150 per credit hour, gaining an online liberal arts education and early childhood education classes is an incredible, career opening investment. Some fast facts include:
- 120 credit hours for completion
- Program length of 35 months
- Comprehensive review of transfer credits
- 2.0 GPA needed for admission
In terms of financial detail, students appreciate the unique payment plan offered by Aspen University. Students simply pay $250 payment each month as an automatic withdrawal for tuition and associated costs. Then each month and on the same day, a direct deposit is withdrawn. The predictability that this payment plan offers is an easy way for students to pay for their online degree.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Average Net Price: $6,608
The online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education program from Florida State College at Jacksonville is highly awarded as a top online academic degree. It’s affordable tuition of $6,608 per year is impressive, as graduates can earn Florida Educator Certification in Pre-Kindergarten and Primary age groups and an ESOL endorsement. Courses meet or exceed Florida Department of Education standards.
Florida State College at Jacksonville’s flexible online classes allow students to complete class requirements while working and earning an income. Classes are relevant, practical, and teach coursework that matters in early education today. Some program highlights include:
- 120 credit hours
- Program can be finished in 18-24 months
- Students need a 2.5 GPA for admission
- Classes can begin in Fall, Spring, or Summer terms
Florida State College at Jacksonville works closely with students to ensure that any previous coursework transfers toward their Early Childhood Education program studies, saving students additional time and tuition expense. Field experience in an approved Early Childhood Education setting is required for degree completion. The majority of online students are eligible for financial aid and assistance.
University of Phoenix
Average Net Price: $10,560
The University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Education and Early Childhood Education that makes online learning affordable and simple to start. Designed for students who are entering this career path with no prior teaching experience, online studies meet licensure requirements in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and are aligned with national and model core teaching standards.
The program saves time and money by offering a Prior Learning Assessment to new students, making sure that previous coursework (up to 21 credits) can be waived. Tuition is priced at $410 – $420 per credit hour, depending on its level.
- 120 credit hours
- Program can be finished in 206 weeks
- No minimum GPA necessary for admission
- Student teaching and field experience placement near you
A huge pro in affordability from the University of Phoenix is that students work with a Finance team member from day one, mapping out their best plan for financial responsibility. Options like The Cash Plan allow students to pay on a course-by-course basis and financial aid, external and university scholarships help students make good decisions.
Lewis-Clark State College
Average Net Price: $11,296
Looking for a great career investment that doesn’t riddle you with student debt? Check out Lewis-Clark State College’s Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development. This highly lauded program is designed for working with children from birth to age 8, and created for those who are building off of an existing associate or equivalent degree. It is a non-licensure program.
Whether you are working on your degree online at home or during a break at a current job, the ease of online learning will save you money. No more commuting or high residence fees, and holding onto full time work is possible. Using Blackboard Learning Management System and having the support of Lewis-Clark State College’s eLearning Services make logging into coursework stress-free. Some things to know about the Early Childhood program include:
- 120 course credits to complete
- Technical Skills Assessment required
- Internships and field experience opportunities offered
- Small class sizes with online networking
Lewis-Clark State College’s online want graduates of the Early Childhood Development program to launch their career responsibly. With their low tuition and many opportunities for financial aid, students can seek their degrees feeling confident about their financial future. With the Early Childhood program’s $11,296 tuition, Lewis-Clark State College combines low costs with high quality education.
Fort Hays State University
Average Net Price: $11,993
With stellar course quality, the online Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Unified at Fort Hays State University is also an affordable option not to be overlooked. The United program leads to a teaching licensure in Kansas and gears courses specifically to administrators. A Special Education endorsement is offered, giving early childhood professionals tremendous value in this online degree.
The Early Childhood United program coursework can be completed entirely online, but interactive practicums, and a student teaching semester from an accredited school are required. Students must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program for upper-level enrollment.
Some highlights include:
- 126 credit hours to completion
- 12 hour student teaching opportunity
- Candidates may take up to 2 internships per semester
- Courses must be finished with a C or higher
Fort Hays State University wants to support students from the start of the program to its completion. With scholarships available from the Department of Teacher Education, as well as university awards, and financial aid assistance, the school’s affordable tuition of $11,993 can become even less. If you are transferring in with a bachelor’s degree and focused on finishing your initial licensure, you are exempt from general education courses, make your degree even faster to obtain, and with fewer classes to pay for.
Mayville State University
Average Net Price: $12,104
Mayville State University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree has some fantastic attributes. First, flexibility, as the degree was designed to fit into the schedule of a professional already working in early childhood education. Even more, this program leads to licensure, which opens many doors in ECE working with children from birth to Grade 3.
While the majority of ECE course offerings from Mayville State are able to be completed online, upper level classes require a 6 week summer residency on their Mayville, North Dakota campus. Online courses may have set meeting times, at the discretion of the instructor.
- Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
- Average size class of 15
- Field experience and student teaching opportunities
- Faculty instructors online
- Tuition is under $300 per credit hour
Mayville State University’s low tuition price of only $12,104 and financial aid packages through loans, grants, and scholarships offer students the chance to advance their careers without it being unaffordable. Committed to learning outcomes focused on the learner and learning, professional responsibility, content, and institutional practice, Mayville State University will bring your early childhood education to new heights.
Average Net Price: $12,504
Brandman University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education maybe one of the most affordable online degrees, but doesn’t cut out the relevant and practical information that early childhood educators need. Designed specifically for working with young children from birth to age 8, this program features the Curriculum Alignment Project Eight, which offers students the foundational course framework that will help them succeed in upper-level offerings.
With an tuition rate of $12,504 and courses offered at $500 per credit hour, online learners can feel confident that their degree is a solid investment in their future career. Brandman’s experience in online education gives students a secure knowledge base and system that has user-ease figured out. Don’t forget to add-on their academic coaching, year-round course offerings, and committed faculty practitioners. A few program highlights include:
- Brandman Track admission program
- Minimum 2.0 GPA for acceptance
- 51 credits of Core Requirements
- Only California residents are eligible for admission
Brandman University’s offers online students fieldwork and two practicums. This gives that critical experience in a classroom setting. To finish the degree, a capstone course The Early Childhood Educator as Decision Maker enables students to summarize their experiences at Brandman. With a 10 minute financial aid calculator questionnaire, Brandman’s already affordable degree can be even more financially feasible.
Florida International University
Average Net Price: $12,966
Florida International University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Development track offers incredible online value. Divided between upper and lower level coursework, the program focuses on the young child from birth to age 5. This degree does not include certification, but opens many doors for graduates in this in-demand field.
Class coursework covers psychology, development, and cognitive aspects of children as well as methods/curriculum. At $212 per credit hour for in-Florida residents and $329 for out of state students, it is a great deal financially. Faculty who are easy to communicate with and knowledgeable give FIU students the skills that matter in their workplaces. Program highlights include:
- 120 credits needed for completion
- GPA of at least 2.5 required for admission
- Online classes begin in summer, fall, and spring
- Membership in the Honors College available
Florida International University’s works hard to make sure online classes maintain the same academic rigor and accessibility as those on campus. With a personal success coach and 24/7 access to coursework, staying connected is easy. While coursework is online, two required field experiences are to be completed in a FIU approved educational facility.
Ball State University
Average Net Price: $13,204
Ball State University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education is a well priced program to consider. Graduates complete the program with an additional minor in minor in early childhood special education, giving the degree even more long-term value. Over 75% of students continue to work full-time while enrolled at Ball State and this program is designed to be cohesive with employment, with some employers even offering financial assistance.
Students in Ball State’s online program are taught by the same faculty practitioners who teach on campus. Focusing on both educational foundations and current trends, the degree specifically studies the young child from birth to age 5. Other information to note:
- 3.0 GPA required for admission
- Program begins in Fall, Spring, or Summer
- Non-licensure program
- Free software suites and discounted computers available
Students can take advantage of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Indiana Bachelor’s Degree Scholarship Program, which offers up to 80 percent coverage of Ball State tuition, as well as book costs. With Ball State’s full listing of student support services, from tech support and the writing center, to advising and career planning, students feel equipped in Ball State online classes.
Granite State College
Average Net Price: $13,369
Granite State College offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education that is lauded for affordability, but not at the sake of quality. Offering teaching certification in New Hampshire, the program focuses on young children from nursery school to Grade 3. Early Childhood Special Education certification is also offered, adding enormous value to this already solid program.
Granite State College gives early childhood students the tools and strategies, along with educational theory and methods, that lead to confident decision making and teaching success. A highlight of Granite State’s offerings is their thorough course offerings specifically in special education.
- 120 credit hours for completion
- Low faculty to student ratio of 12:1
- Student teaching opportunity
- Rolling admission
In addition to online courses, students are required to complete field experiences, with student teaching and observation offering invaluable insight to early childhood settings. Made especially for a transfer student, Granite State’s Transfer Pathway works closely to make sure all eligible credits matched to their degree. Graduates receive a New Hampshire Child Development Bureau, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Credential upon degree completion.
Northern Arizona University
Average Net Price: $14,678
Northern Arizona University’s Early Childhood Education bachelor degree program is an online degree that boasts affordability and flexibility. With all coursework online, students can either seek the degree as an addition to an associate’s degree or enter into early childhood education through Northern Arizona University’s thorough class offerings. This degree does not lead to certification, but NAU offers an Elementary Education degree with Early Childhood certification that leads to endorsement and licensure in Arizona.
Northern Arizona University’s online program exudes value in its course offerings. Liberal studies, diversity, junior level writing, and capstone courses in addition to courses within student’s chosen degree program must be completed. Some specifics of the program include:
- 120 credits
- 24 units of Early Childhood specialty courses
- C or higher average grade required for completion of degree
- University Honors Program available
With the interdisciplinary nature of the Early Childhood Education bachelor degree program, students are equipped with a wide range of courses that will benefit them long-term. Communication classes, science, and computer skills and literacy courses will give students a broader reach into their future careers. With tuition at around $458 per credit hour, students find thorough content at an affordable price.
Eastern Oregon University
Average Net Price: $14,973
Eastern Oregon University’s Early Childhood Education major is a completely online degree that has received lots of attention for its combination of accessibility, affordability, and high standards. Meant for education professionals who want to add to their skills and knowledge, the ECU is a non-licensure major, focused on working with children from birth to age 8.
Whether seeking entry or greater professional development in early childhood administration, teaching, advocacy or other programs that benefit the very young, Eastern Oregon University leave equipped many advantages. Along with the Early Childhood major, students are able to choose a minor, giving their degree more job advantages. Some highlights of the program include:
- Completion of the degree possible in 2 years
- Multicultural education focused courses
- Practicums included in coursework
- Master of Arts in Teaching program available for licensure
With tuition at $232 per credit hour for a 15 hour load of courses, Eastern Oregon University offers amazing affordability to students. Academic advisors work closely with students to ensure degrees are completed efficiently and all eligible transfer credits are processed. Student Success Awards of up to $2000 are also available to returning and transfer students.
Average Net Price: $15,418
Park University’s Bachelor of Science Education Studies degree with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education does an amazing job of preparing educators for the unique needs that are inherent in early childhood education. With specific tracks or emphasis options in Early Childhood Education and Leadership, Early Childhood Teaching Young Children, and Young Child, graduates can specifically tailor their online degree to their professional interest.
Park University’s online program is a non-certification program, but its educational core classes and early childhood specific classes are thorough and address the issues most relevant to education. Some specific information about Park University’s degree include:
- 120 credit hours
- 2.5 GPA needed for graduation
- Birth – Grade 3 focus
- Infant/toddler and pre-primary practicums
Whether you are looking to enhance your career with professional development, or are looking to enter the world of early childhood education, time enrolled at Park University will be well spent. This is particularly true because of its affordability. Internships in early childhood leadership or teaching are part of the program and students can choose a minor or leadership area of concentration.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
Average Net Price: $15,520
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers prospective students a stellar online Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education Inclusive program. Leading to a teaching certificate, this program offers online courses, student teaching assignments, and field experiences that are applicable toward general education ages birth to 8 and special education from birth to age 5.
Students in the Early Childhood Education Inclusive program have the option to choose a specialized track of focus, which enables them to design an educational path that best fits their career goals. The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers Birth – Kindergarten Specialization or Age 3 – Grade Specialization. Created for the professional already working in early childhood settings, coursework strives to be relevant and practical. Some other information that matters to this program includes:
- 2 year average completion
- Field experience opportunities, as well as student teaching
- Easy to navigate eCampus online platform with video
- 2.75 GPA necessary for admission to Teacher Education
Admission to the Early Childhood Education Inclusive program is achieved after completion of an associate degree or other degree of equivalency. With tuition costs at $247 for in-state students and $375 for out-of-state students per credit hour, it is a great investment. Transfer credits are closely vetted to make sure all eligible credits are applied, saving students class time and money.
University of Toledo
Average Net Price: $15,919
The University of Toledo offers a online Fast Track in Early Childhood Education degree that can help working professionals take their career to the next level. Meant to build off of an associate degree in early childhood education and specifically designed for the working practitioner, this degree offers the perfect combination of flexibility and affordable tuition. The program can be completed in 2 years/4 semesters.
The Early Childhood Education degree does not lead to licensure, but can be a stepping stone for students who are interested in graduate studies in education, where licensure opportunities exist. Because this is a Fast Track degree, there are some specific admission requirements. These include:
- 2.7 GPA required for admission
- Must be employed in early childhood setting for 20 hours a week
- Associate degree in early childhood education or childhood development must be completed
- Area of employment must be with infants, toddlers, or preschoolers
With each online (3 credit hour course) costing approximately $1,260.00, the program is quite affordable. Scholarships are also available for online out-of-state students. Additionally, the University of Toledo wants to make sure you feel supported in your online education. Giving students access to eTutoring, the IT Help department, eLibrary services, and even success coaches will ensure answers and solutions to any needs that arise