Top Colleges for Online Early Education Degrees

Individuals with a fondness for children who wish to encourage development may build long lasting and far reaching careers in the field of education. Employment of preschool teachers qualified with early childhood education degrees are expected to increase at a faster than average rate through 2018 per reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Jobs for early childhood educators are expected to be plentiful, yet competitive, as institutions face higher enrollments and take measures to improve early childhood education. Candidates interested in careers as early childhood educators must meet educational and work related qualifications as determined by organization of employment. Earning a degree through an accredited and online early childhood education degree is often the best path toward meeting educational and career goals. As many students manage job or family responsibilities, colleges and universities have recognized the demand for quality education through innovative online programs. Most online early childhood education programs provide students with virtually the same educational experiences as their traditional, on-campus counterparts. Online early childhood education degree programs generally consist of the same courses, instruction, and materials as on campus classes with the added flexibility of course scheduling and benefit of a more personalized degree program.

As a solid educational background is necessary for future career success, many students choose to expand their knowledge and skills through online early childhood education degrees. Since choosing an online degree program is often difficult, students must research and select programs which meet their personal preferences, educational goals, and specific needs. To assist in the process, we’ve created a list of the best accredited colleges and universities offering students the Top 10 Online Schools For Early Education Degrees. The following list is a great starting place for students to further educational and personal goals who are interested in future careers as early childhood educators within a variety of settings:

1. Ashford University

Ashford University was established in 1893 as the Mount St. Clare Academy within Clinton, Iowa. The university was founded as a boarding school for young women and developed to meet the educational needs of regional students. During 1918, the university was renamed Mount St. Clare College upon gaining recognition as a liberal arts institution. The university expanded many of its programs and became distinguished as a teacher’s college from 1932 until 1954. The university became coeducation during 1967 and also gained approval to award its first business degrees. In the years following, the university became well known for its academic excellence and continued to expand its campus and programs. The university was renamed the Franciscan University during 2003 and do to confusion with a regional school operating with a similar name, the university was quickly renamed the Franciscan University of the Prairies. Bridgeport Education purchased the university one year later due to financial difficulties and assumed its present name, Ashford University. Also during 2004, the university launched its first online degree programs. The university quickly developed and offered over 50 online and on campus degree programs. The university quickly recognized the demand for non-traditional students managing work and family responsibilities as they pursued educational, personal, and professional goals. Presently over 99% of Ashford’s students are enrolled within online degree programs. Students interested in the field of early education may find Ashford offers one of the top online degree programs in the field of early childhood education. Courses at a bachelor level include: introduction to early childhood education, nutrition and health of children and families, child development, language development in young children, children’s literature, survey of exceptional students, collaboration with parents and community, administration of early childhood education programs, early childhood curriculum, children and families in a diverse society, early childhood education, infant and toddler care methods, social and emotional growth of infants and toddlers, quality care environments for infants and toddlers, and infant and toddler learning and development. Ashford’s programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

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2. Kaplan University

Founded as the American Institute of Commerce during 1937, the university was one of the first open admission, for profit institutions for higher learning. Shortly after founding, the university expanded its campuses, developed multiple degree programs, and was renamed Quest College. A 2004 merger with the Davenport, Iowa based Kaplan University caused the university to assume its present name. Currently offering instruction by 3,6000 licensed professionals, Kaplan enrolls 66,000 students within 10 locations based in Iowa, Florida, Nebraska, and Maryland. Kaplan also provides some of the best online programs available, particularly for students with an interest in early childhood education. Courses at a bachelor level include: sociology, introduction to early childhood education, early childhood development, early childhood curriculum planning, creative activities for young children, young children with special needs, interpersonal communications, observation and assessment in early childhood, children’s literacy, language development in the young child, curriculum development, learning through play in the inclusive classroom, introduction to psychology, and child safety, nutrition, and health. Kaplan offers students enrolled in the discipline of early childhood education one of the top degree programs available with flexible course scheduling, live seminars, audio lectures, and Power Point presentations. Kaplan’s programs are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the university is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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3. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University (GCU) was founded during 1949, as a non profit, Christian university within Prescott, Arizona. Founders recognized the demand for a faith based institution for regional students of the Southern Baptist faith and opened its doors to its first 93 students. Despite initial financial difficulties, the university thrived and expanded its campus and academic programs. Within two years, the university moved its campus to Phoenix upon a donation of land given by the Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix. Under the leadership of church members and donations from Reverend Vaughn Rock and S.F. Hawkins, the university provided quality education to local students and became known as Grand Canyon College in 1984. The university suffered significant financial and organizational problems from 1994 until 2004. That year, the university was purchased by the California area company, Significant Education, LLC. Upon the transfer of ownership, the university became the first for profit Christian institution of higher learning within the U.S. Within five years, the university expanded its campus, assumed its present name, and instilled its first online degree programs. The university presently offers undergraduate and graduate degrees within fields like education, liberal arts, business and healthcare through it’s six schools including: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Doctoral Studies, the College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Production, the College of Nursing, and the Ken Blanchard College of Business. Students interested in the field of early childhood education may participate in one of the top online degree programs offered through WSU’s online college of education. The program features bachelor level courses include: education foundations and framework; foundations of early childhood; cultural diversity in the classroom; child guidance; introduction to the exceptional learner; english language teaching; foundations and methodologies; educational psychology; child growth and development: health, safety, nutrition, and fitness management; environment, community, and culture; instructional technology; instructional teaching methodologies; language, math, science, social studies, and the arts; child psychology; early literacy development; classroom engagement and management; developmental and functional assessment; and student teaching: birth to preschool; student teaching K-3. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and provides one of the top early childhood education degrees to its on campus and online students.

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4. Post University

Post University was founded as Post College in Waterbury, Connecticut during 1890. As a private, for profit higher learning institute, Post quickly developed its first business school during 1896 which later became Post University’s Waterbury Business College. Post has offered students with family or job responsibilities the opportunity to expand educational, personal, and career goals through a variety of day, evening, and weekend courses since founding. Post has also expanded its campuses with locations in Meriden, Danbury, and Norwalk. During 1980, Post recieved approval to award its first bachelor degrees and developed many other degree programs. During 1990, Post became Teikyo Posst University upon its affiliation with the Tokyo Based Teikyo University. The affiliation ceased during 2004 and the university assumed its present name.Presently Post provides students seeking associate degrees within fields like accounting, business administration, business management, equine management, human services, and legal studies. Post also offers bachelor degrees for students interested in: business administration, accounting, biology, computer information systems, criminal justice, environmental science, equine management, legal studies, early childhood education, finance, psychology, sociology, and human services. Post also provides master degree programs in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, leadership, corporate innovation, and human services. An on and off campus expansion following the purchase of the university by the Greenwich, Connecticut based Generation Partners provided the university with the ability to extend instruction internationally through its online degree programs. Since then, Post has grown to have one of the largest online student enrollments throughout the state of Connecticut, the U.S. and internationally. Post provides students with an interest in early childhood education one of the top online degree programs through associate degree level courses like: foundations in early childhood education, child development, creative activities, social studies in the early childhood education classroom, children’s literature and language arts, teaching the exceptional child, math, science and technology in the early childhood education classroom, safety and nutrition, elements of organization, and career and self awareness. Post’s online degree programs are accredited by The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education and provide students with one of the best paths to educational and professional success.

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5. Walden University

Walden University is a privately owned, for profit institution of higher learning founded by educators Bernie and Rita Turner. Owned by the Laureate Education, Inc, Walden specializes instruction through distance learning programs. Walden is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Mills District and gives students a unique, highly personalized educational experience. The university was established to allow non-traditional students the ability to advance education while maintaining job or family responsibilities. During the 1970s, the Turners and the University of California at Berkeley’s Harold “Bud” Hodgkinson developed their plans for higher learning institute providing a student centric atmosphere based upon ideas of social change and education. Within one year, Walden offered its first school administration classes within Naples, Florida. By 1972, the school rapidly grew to offer 46 PhD and 24 EdD programs to its graduating class. Enrollment and expansion steadily increased as a reputable faculty provided quality education to its diverse students. Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc, purchased 41 percent of the university during 2001 and within one year gained control interest. The school changed its name to Laureate Education, Inc. led by Honorary Chancellor and former President Bill Clinton. Walden has since continued to deliver its standard of academic excellence as one of the best online schools and extends learning to over 47,000 students. Students interested in an online early education degree program may gain one of the best educational experiences at Walden. Courses at a bachelor level include: teacher as a lifelong learner and professional educator; today’s classroom and the diverse learner; effective practices: assessment, teaching, and learning; classroom management; seminar in professional, ethics, communication and collaboration in early childhood education; past, present, and future early childhood education; teaching reading; developmentally appropriate practices for infants and toddlers; play and learning for the preschool child; teaching mathematics; teaching across content areas; demonstration teaching within early childhood education; foundations in education research; and practical applications of educational research. Walden ‘s programs have been accredited since 1990 by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Additionally, many of the university’s programs are accredited individually making Walden one of the top online schools for early childhood education and other degrees.

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6. University Of The Southwest

The University Of The Southwest is private, independent, and inter-denominational four year institute of higher education located within Hobbs, New Mexico. Founded in as the Hobbs Baptist College during 1956 by B. Clarence Evans, who also acted as first president, based as a “college for Christian Education.” The college originally provided two year degrees to its students through quality education programs devoted to faith, personal responsibility, and initiative within Christian principles and not within doctrinal uniformity. The college was one of the first Christian colleges to recognized diversity among the spectrum of spiritual and religious Christian traditions and concentrated in cultivating freedom of expression, the demonstration of faith through actions, and freedom of thought. After undergoing a name change during 1958, the college was recognized as the Mexico Baptist College and began awarding its first bachelors degrees. By 1961, the college had outgrown its original campus and constructed its present site on the Lovington highway. One year later the college became incorporated and expanded its vision to build a 21,000 square mile community serving students within New Mexico and West Texas. In the years following, the college developed many of its degree programs and evolved to provide various degrees to residential and non traditional students as an instructional college rather than a research college. The college provides instruction to a diverse student body focused upon community service, contributing to the common good, and free enterprise. During 2008, the university assumed its present name and currently offers many degrees within disciplines like: business administration, education, criminal justice, psychology, sport management, and counseling. Students with an interest in earning an online degree within the field of early childhood education may find one of the best programs available through the University Of The Southwest. Courses at a master’s level include: research in child growth, development, and learning; family and community collaboration; instructional strategies; learning and human development; assessment of children and evaluation programs; integrated early childhood curriculum; and infant and toddler early intervention. Online and on-campus programs offered at the University Of The Southwest are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and provide students with one of the top early childhood education degrees available today.

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7. Penn Foster University

Penn Foster University was founded as the International Penn Foster College during 1890 by Thomas J. Foster, a newspaper editor from Pennsylvania. As a for profit, distance learning institution of higher education, the university offered a diverse student body a unique learning environment. During 1977, the college changed its name to The Center For Degree Studies with its main headquarters located within Scranton, Pennsylvania. The college quickly grew to offer a variety of degrees in many disciplines through print, online, or a combination of both print and online studies. Students may earn associate degrees within business, early childhood education, engineering, computer science, technology, health care, criminal justice, or legal studies. During 2006, the university was renamed Penn Foster College and moved its main campus to Scottsdale, Arizona. During 2008 the university began awarding criminal justice and business management bachelor degrees. One year later The Princeton Review, an educational support and test company, assumed ownership of the university from the private equity firm, The Wicks Group. The college quickly developed its online degree programs to provide some of the best distance learning programs available. Students interested in an early childhood education degree may enroll in Penn Foster’s two year associate’s degree program. Courses at an associate level include: orientation to early childhood development; information literacy: fundamentals of early childhood education: essentials of psychology; health, safety, and nutrition for young children; art or music appreciation; child growth and development; curriculum for early childhood education; language and literacy development in young children; developing math and science skills in young children; art, music, and movement; English composition; computer applications; guidance in early childhood education; working with preschoolers; infant and toddler care; introduction to biology or earth science; interpersonal communication; working with children with special needs; field experience; play in the lives of young children; mathematical applications; the child, family, and community; cultural diversity in the early childhood program; and administration of an early childhood education center. Penn Foster provides students with a quality education accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council in one of the top online early childhood education degree programs.

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8. UMass Online

The University of Masachusetts (UMass) was established during 1863 within Amherst, Massachusetts, under the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. Originally named the Massachusetts Agricultural College, the university began providing regional students instruction in “agricultural, mechanical, and military arts.” The university’s first president, William S. Clark, worked not only as an administrator but also as a professor of botany. Under Clark’s ambitious leadership, the college provided its first 50 students with instruction led by qualified staff. Since then, UMass has expanded to become New England’s largest public university. With a unique standard of academic excellence combined with its reputation as a forerunner in research, the university created one of the first adult bachelor degree completion programs during 1971 identified as “The University Without Walls.” Presently, UMass enrolls 27,000 students and staffs a faculty of 1,174 members. Offering over 86 undergraduate and 72 graduate programs to a diverse student body, UMass provides many of the best online and on campus degree programs available. Students seeking to expand knowledge in the field of early childhood education may find one of the top degree programs available through UMass Online’s bachelor of arts early care and education program. Courses include: multicultural education; reading methods; math methods; science methods; introduction to inclusion; observing and assessing children’s behavior; curriculum development and methods; classroom behavior management; and early childhood methods and curriculum. UMass’ programs of study are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and provide one of the top online degree programs necessary for future personal and professional success.

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9. Kendall College

Kendall College is a for profit college located within Chicago, Illinois during 1934. Originally named the Evanston Collegiate Institute, the college was endorsed by one Swedish and one Danish Norwegian seminarians and the Scandinavian Conference of the Methodist Church during the Great Depression. The college operated through donations provided by Harry R. Kendall and George R. Kendall, founders of the Washington National Insurance Company. The college was developed to provide a quality education within a Christian environment in two seminaries and one preparatory school. The college allowed students without adequate funds in difficult financial times to meet educational and personal goals within a work study format to decrease students’ amount of education related debt. To honor the generosity of the Kendall family, the college was renamed Kendall College during 1950 and expanded many of its associate degree programs based in liberal arts to allow students to directly enter employment upon earning a degree. During the 1977, Kendall began offering its first bachelor degree programs and was formally recognized to award bachelor’s degrees in 1979. During 2003, Kendall invigorated its expansion by beginning the construction of a new location at Riverworks within Chicago at the former Sara Lee Research and Development center. The campus moved to the site during 2005 and has since created many dynamic programs, drawn international attention and secured its reputation providing one of the finest online degree programs available. Since then, Kendall became well known as one of the best educational institutes within the Midwest and is recognized as a leader within the discipline of Early Childhood Education within its School of Education. Kendall provides one of the top online degree programs in early childhood education in flexible two or four year programs based in the college’s history of providing academic excellence. Courses at a bachelor level include: introduction to early childhood education; introduction to psychology; child health, safety, and nutrition; child development; educational psychology; child, family, and community relationships; child, family, and community relationships; observation and assessment of the young child; developmentally appropriate practices for infants and toddlers; play and learning for the preschool child; language acquisition and development; children’s literature; technology in the classroom; the exceptional child; classroom management for the early childhood teacher; professionalism and the early childhood educator; effective practices in the diverse classroom; early literacy; literacy development; teaching mathematics; teaching science; and teaching social studies and arts. Kendall’s programs have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1962. As an innovative college based upon the capitalization of service and professional leadership, Kendall provides students with an interest in early childhood education degrees access to one of the top online programs.

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10. Bellevue University

Founded during 1966, Bellevue University is a not-for-profit institution of higher education within Bellevue, Nebraska. Originally named the Bellevue Community College, the university was created by civic leader Bill Brooks and the local Chamber of Commerce to meet the educational needs of young adults within the growing city. The university created programs specifically geared toward adult learners and offered evening classes in three, 12 week long sessions in addition to daytime courses during its first year of providing instruction. Dr. Sam Sollenberger was named as the first president of Bellevue that same year and acted also as assistant dean of the College of Adult Education. During 1967, the school held its first commencement ceremony and awarded degrees to 37 students. During the following year, Bellevue grew tremendously under the leadership of its second president and history professor Richard Winchell. Winchell’s ambition increased student enrollment, developed and expanded degree programs, and attracted monetary donations to further the college’s campus and education growth. By 1974, Bellevue was the fourth largest private school within Nebraska and became Bellevue College. The college continued to expand throughout the 1970s and 1980s with the construction of addition on campus buildings, increased enrollment, and increased course offerings. Competition from other schools caused financial difficulty and uncertainty under the leadership of the college’s third president, Dr. John Muller. Facing possible closure due to an economic downturn and financial difficulties, Muller reorganized the school’s focus based upon service, entrepreneurism, and a quality educational experience, reduced faculty, and decreased enrollment. Despite the economic challenges, the university offered its first bachelor degrees in an accelerated format during 1987 and just three years later offered its first master’s degrees. During 1994, the university was renamed Bellevue University and gained world wide recognition for its “Invest in Success” campaign. The university saw rapid growth during the 1990s with an enrollment peaking at 39,000 students during the 2000-2001 term. The university’s innovative online degree programs reflect its tradition in growth, accessibility, and quality education necessary for future success. Students interested in pursuing an early childhood education degree online due to work or family responsibilities may find one of the top programs available at Bellevue. Courses at an associate level include: introduction to early childhood education; earning environments and social relationships; connecting with infants and toddlers; children’s creative activities; early childhood education practicum; family and community involvement; child health and safety; child development; language and literacy development; exceptional child; culture and human diversity in education; English composition; nutrition and the human body; psychology; introduction to sociology; and interpersonal communications. Bellevue offers one of the best means for students to increase knowledge and training necessary for future success through its innovative online early childhood education programs. Bellevue’s online and on campus programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and offer access to the top online degrees.

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