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2014′s 15 Best Online Colleges for Early Childhood Education

If you dream of watching and helping small children develop both academic and life skills, an early childhood education major could be for you. Early childhood majors must possess excellent verbal communication skills, seemingly infinite patience, and must genuinely enjoy working with children and parents. Many job opportunities exist, from preschool or elementary school teacher to school administration and daycare. Most early childhood education workers have at least an associate degree or certificate in early childhood education, but certified teachers must obtain both a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification, usually granted on a state-by-state basis. In addition to a state teaching certification, many early childhood educators opt for licensure from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or NBPTS.

Early childhood education majors often go on to become licensed preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school teachers. Students will obtain a background in child growth, development, and all major subjects required of early childhood teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for kindergarten and elementary school teachers will grow “about as fast as average.” Childcare workers who are not early childhood teachers may enjoy high demand, but there are few opportunities for advancement, as the educational requirements are fewer and less formal. Most universities will offer an early childhood education major, at both online and traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. Accreditation and pedagogy varies by university; be sure to select a nationally or regionally accredited college with a teaching philosophy that’s right for you.

Students of early childhood education may obtain a two-year associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a Ph.D. Career prospects and salary expectations will vary depending on the level of education attained. Most early childhood educators have a bachelor’s degree and pass a licensing exam for teaching certification in their state. Above all, the desire to work with and aid young children in their development should be your motivating goal. Professional early childhood educators should truly enjoy working with young people.

When selecting the right college or university program for your study of early childhood education, consider where your degree will take you. If you desire to be an early childhood teacher, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Programs will vary in scope and structure, and you should select a university program that’s right for you. Selection criteria may include: price, flexibility, online or offline courses (or both), networking opportunities, job placement programs, and quality training for state teacher certification. If you wish to remain in the working world while pursuing your degree in early childhood education, a non-traditional or online program could be ideal for your needs. Be sure to select an accredited college that focuses on amenable instructional methods and classroom pedagogy.

Rankings

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Rank School Name Average Rating
1 National University 10.95
2 Liberty University 11.23
3 Brandman University 11.41
4 Peirce College 12.88
5 Fisher College 14.60
6 Ellis University 16.68
7 Ashford University 16.69
8 Southern New Hampshire University 18.02
9 Walden University 18.34
10 Post University 18.58
11 Champlain College 19.95
12 Aspen University 20.71
13 American Public University 22.33
14 Kaplan University 22.43
15 Northcentral University 22.55
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