Affordable Online Child Development Degrees

When you pursue an affordable child development degree online, you prepare yourself for key roles within educational institutions and organizations that help children develop, from infants to adolescents. Graduates often go on to become preschool and kindergarten teachers, daycare supervisors, and child life specialists. They may also serve in positions with youth-serving nonprofit organizations.

Pursuing an online child development degree allows you to learn about how family, society, and other influences can impact children as they grow. Professionals in this field often serve as advocates for children and families, while forming strong communication skills that allow them to make connections with young people from different cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Many individuals enroll in an online degree in child development program after receiving an associate degree, as the successful completion of a bachelor’s program provides opportunities for greater career growth and earning potential. A bachelor’s degree also allows a professional to move on to a master’s program.

One of the most common positions for graduates of online child development programs is a childcare or preschool director. The 2016 median annual salary for this career was $45,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The agency also projects a healthy rate of job growth of about 7% between 2014 and 2024.

Careers in child development are rewarding for those who have a passion for helping children grow and thrive. The rankings below have been formulated to provide fully accredited and affordable online child development programs that provide the best return on your investment.


20 Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Child Development
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Value Score 6.76
Average Tuition $4,029
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $3,348
Graduation Rate 40%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 52%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 67%
Number of Online Programs 11

The University of Texas-Permian Basin is located in Odessa. The bachelor of arts in child and family studies-learning and development track is designed as a degree completion program for students who have completed an associate in teaching or the Texas Early Childhood Articulate curriculum. Courses include introduction to sociology, child and adolescent psychology, the exceptional child, and social stratification. Students must complete a three-credit capstone course.

The affordable, 120-credit online child development degree is available entirely online, but students who wish to obtain teacher certification will need to take most of the required classes on campus. Several of the major’s required courses are available during the summer term, and some courses are offered in an accelerated, eight-week format, allowing for some flexibility in degree planning. Classes may be delivered in either a synchronous or asynchronous format.


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2

Eastern Kentucky University

Value Score 6.56
Average Tuition $8,150
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Net Price $9,253
Graduation Rate 45%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 39%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 50%
Number of Online Programs 15

Eastern Kentucky University has been granting degrees for over a century. The schools affordable online offerings are an extension of the school’s long-established distance programs. The bachelor’s in child and family studies: child development concentration prepares graduates for teaching and administering programs for young children. Depending on where you live, you may be able to apply credit hours towards your state’s credentials, and the credit hours can also help you obtain a child development associate credential. Online classes may be taught in either a synchronous or asynchronous format.

The 120-credit online child development degree operates on an accelerated, eight-week schedule. Students complete two practicum experiences, where they gain practical knowledge and experience as early childhood teachers and administrators. Courses include family stress and resilience, essentials of nutrition, and the autism spectrum. The curriculum includes concentration, core, and elective courses.


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3

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Value Score 6.08
Average Tuition $11,684
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $9,941
Graduation Rate 78%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%
Number of Online Programs 9

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst has a history of educating adult learners through its University Without Walls program. The affordable bachelor’s in children’s learning and development is designed for students with at least 12-100 transferable semester credits. The program can be completed in one year. Learners can earn work and life experience credit.

Students design their own curriculum from classes inside and outside of the department, allowing for a number of individualized concentrations, including early childhood art education, early childhood business and administration, and special education. The child development degree online program can prepare you for preliminary licensure in Massachusetts and has a specific curriculum for students interested in working in Montessori schools. The program is available entirely online. Students from Alabama and Arkansas are not able to study for an online degree in child development from the school.


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4

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Value Score 6.04
Average Tuition $7,014
Students Receiving Financial Aid 76%
Net Price $10,422
Graduation Rate 57%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 53%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 12

The University of Wisconsin-Stout, named after magnate and politician, James Huff Stout, offers affordable online programs. The bachelor’s of science in human development and family studies is a flexible degree completion program. It's intended for students with an associate degree or the equivalent undergraduate experience. The degree is available entirely online with full-time and part-time options. The courses in the online child development degree are offered on an accelerated, eight-week basis during the fall, spring, and summer.

Students have the option of completing a self-designed, 15-credit concentration; faculty approval must be obtained. A self-designed concentration often combines classes taken at another institution with courses offered at UW-Stout. Students can choose from classes like, critical cultural competence, seminar on self-growth, and abuse and the family. Internships are also available. Learners must earn at least 120 credits to graduate. Graduates can apply for a certified family life educator designation.


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5

North Dakota State University

Value Score 5.78
Average Tuition $6,762
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $11,520
Graduation Rate 54%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 51%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 37%
Number of Online Programs 7

North Dakota State, originally founded as an agricultural institution in 1890, has expanded beyond its rural roots to become a thriving college with nearly 15,000 students. The bachelor’s of science in human development and family science: child & adolescent development is open to first-time freshman and transfer students. The program prepares students for careers as community service workers, outreach workers, child care directors, and more. As part of the child development degree online, students are required to complete a five-credit internship in their communities. Students work with an assigned advisor to design their curriculum, and a minor in a different department is required to earn the degree.

Classes are taught synchronously and asynchronously and are delivered through Blackboard. First-time freshmen can finish their child development degree online in three years, depending on their course load. The program requires students to earn at least 122 credits.


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6

California State University-East Bay

Value Score 5.67
Average Tuition $5,472
Students Receiving Financial Aid 80%
Net Price $6,545
Graduation Rate 45%
Student to Faculty Ratio 27:1
Retention Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 49%
Number of Online Programs 5

California State University-East Bay is located in Hayward. The school has offered distance education programs for more than three decades. CSUEB offers a human development online bachelor's that requires no on-campus coursework. The bachelor's in human development is designed as a degree completion program, catering to busy, working adults that are returning to school part-time. A full-time format is also a available. The program does not accept students who have already taken upper division courses in human development.

In addition to the early childhood concentration, students are able to complete an additional concentration within the major, including adolescent development, women’s development, and adult development and gerontology. CSUEB’s online child development degree operates on a quarter system, with 180 credits required to graduate. Internship and independent study options are available for students looking for hands-on experience.


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7

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Value Score 5.67
Average Tuition $8,301
Students Receiving Financial Aid 87%
Net Price $9,808
Graduation Rate 67%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 32%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 8

Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, offers affordable online programs. The flexible, interdisciplinary bachelor of science in human development and family studies program is open to applicants without any college experience and transfer students. Graduates are prepared for careers in early childhood services, adolescent intervention, community outreach, and more. The 120-credit curriculum includes courses in individual and family development, couple and family studies, and applied research methods.

The child development degree online offers five concentrations, including early childhood professions, leadership and entrepreneurial professions, pre-health professions, and prevention and intervention sciences. Students have the option to take two concentrations. A five-to-eight credit field experience is required, and students work with the internship coordinator to find the most appropriate placement. The program also offers the option to complete the required coursework for Colorado’s early childhood director qualification. This option may also apply to students in other states.


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8

Arizona State University-Tempe

Value Score 5.65
Average Tuition $9,484
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Net Price $7,046
Graduation Rate 66%
Student to Faculty Ratio 23:1
Retention Rate 40%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 1

Arizona State University, located in Tempe, is one of the largest universities in the country. The bachelor of science in family and human development is offered entirely online, and most courses are taught asynchronously. ASU’s online programs operate on an accelerated calendar, with each term lasting seven-and-a-half weeks.

Admission to to online degree in child development is competitive. The Admissions timeline is flexible, and applications are accepted up until two weeks before each term starts. The 120-credit program offers 40 different classes, including child dysfunction in the family, early childhood intervention, and gender and society. Students have the opportunity to conduct supervised research and participate in an internship at an early childhood facility. Graduates are equipped for graduate-level work and careers as advocates, community specialists, human resource managers, and more. Transfer students must have at least 24 credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA or an associate degree that was obtained with a minimum 2.0 GPA.


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9

Oregon State University

Value Score 5.55
Average Tuition $8,535
Students Receiving Financial Aid 85%
Net Price $15,026
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Retention Rate 33%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 34%
Number of Online Programs 20

Oregon State University offers a bachelor of science in human development and family sciences that runs on a quarter system, requiring 180 credits to graduate. The human development and family sciences core is 40-46 credits and includes courses in human sexuality, adult development and aging, infant and child development, and psychology.

In addition to child development, students can study human services or general human development and family sciences. The program is entirely online and delivered asynchronously. One required core course is not available online through OSU, and students will need to take this through a local college or through Chemeketa Community College online. The program is open to transfer students and freshmen, and students can earn their child development degree online from anywhere in the world. Graduates are prepared for careers as social workers, emergency relief workers, and more.


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10

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Value Score 5.38
Average Tuition $20,750
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $14,340
Graduation Rate 46%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 28%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 65%
Number of Online Programs 11

Concordia University-St. Paul, founded in 1893, is a private, Lutheran institution located in Minnesota’s state capital. The school has nearly two decades of experience offering online degrees. Concordia’s child development degree online is interdisciplinary and designed as a degree completion program for busy students. The school operates on an accelerated, seven-week term schedule, and classes are either completely asynchronous or require one 45-60 minute synchronous component each week.

The curriculum for the online degree in child development is designed to meet the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s initial professional preparation program. The school requires students to complete fieldwork in a licensed early childhood setting. Courses include children’s literature, dual language learnings, and children’s play and learning. Applicants are required to submit a personal statement along with other application materials.


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11

Pennsylvania State University

Value Score 5.35
Average Tuition $16,572
Students Receiving Financial Aid 93%
Net Price $20,670
Graduation Rate 86%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 28%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 30%
Number of Online Programs 18

Pennsylvania State University has been offering distance education since 1892, when it began offering correspondence courses for rural farmers. A lot has changed since then, but Penn State’s commitment to off-campus education has remained. The school's human development and family studies degree requires 120 credits and is available entirely online. Courses are offered asynchronously through Blackboard. The degree typically takes four years to earn; summer courses are available, enabling students to earn their degree quicker. The curriculum includes courses in family development, the helping relationship, and family relationships.

Open to entering freshmen and transfer students, this interdisciplinary and flexible program includes a required field component. Penn State offers several certificates that can strengthen your knowledge, skills, and career-readiness, including a certificate in children, youth and family services. Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to earn licensure or certification as an early childhood educator.


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12

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Value Score 5.32
Average Tuition $10,768
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Net Price $7,077
Graduation Rate 84%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 35%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 10%
Number of Online Programs 1

The University of Washington, located in Seattle, is one of the most prestigious public universities in the United States. The school's bachelor of arts in early childhood & family studies is offered completely online, and classes are delivered asynchronously through Canvas. The online child development degree is designed for students with and without prior work experience in the field.

Students in the online bachelor’s degree in child development choose between a core or teaching and learning pathway. The core pathway provides students with a strong foundation in child development and prepares them for continued education or career entry. The teaching and learning pathway has the same coursework as the core pathway, with additional coursework in the subject. Graduates of the teaching pathway are prepared for graduate studies or careers as preschool directors, preschool teachers, mentors, and more. The curriculum is flexible, and students design their own curriculum with the help of an adviser. Courses cover an array of topics including exceptional children, positive behavior support in early childhood, and engaging interactions and environments.


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13

Hope International University

Value Score 5.26
Average Tuition $27,900
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $19,142
Graduation Rate 42%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 34%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 47%
Number of Online Programs 6

Hope International University, founded as a bible seminary in 1928, is a private, nondenominational Christian college with a campus in Fullerton, California. The school's bachelor of science in human development has two concentrations: community mental health and counseling and family studies. Both concentrations require students to earn at least 120 credits. The program is open to entering freshmen and transfer students, is taught fully online, and delivered asynchronously. The family studies concentration includes courses in infant, toddler mental health; sociology of families; and applied cultural diversity.

Admission to the child development degree online is rolling, and students can start classes at the beginning of each semester. Students are not required to take a standardized test. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 for high school coursework and 2.0 for college coursework is required. Applicants with a GED are required to have scored at least a 47.


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14

The University of Alabama

Value Score 5.22
Average Tuition $10,170
Students Receiving Financial Aid 86%
Net Price $17,263
Graduation Rate 67%
Student to Faculty Ratio 24:1
Retention Rate 37%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 26%
Number of Online Programs 10

The University of Alabama has a history that dates back nearly two centuries and is known for its athletic programs, rigorous public education, and strong alumni network. Alabama offers a number of online programs, including the bachelor of science in human environmental sciences human development and family studies-child development practitioner concentration program. Students learn about the growth and development of children from birth to eight years. The program requires a one-semester, six-credit internship in an early childhood center.

The 120-credit program is fully online and is appropriate for students with and without experience in early childhood education. Classes in the concentration include preschool development, child centers and programs, and developmental perspectives of young children with disabilities. This program is not intended to lead to certification. Alabama offers a similar program that is for current head start teachers.


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15

West Virginia University

Value Score 5.08
Average Tuition $7,632
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $7,852
Graduation Rate 57%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 36%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 17%
Number of Online Programs 3

West Virginia University, located in Morgantown, started as an agricultural college in 1867. The school's bachelor of science in child development and family studies program offers cheap tuition and practical coursework. The program is available entirely online. Students are required to complete a field experience for CPR/first aid training in their local communities.

Students can choose to take a general course of study or the preschool education birth-four track, which leads to Pre-K certification. Preschool courses include art of leadership-early childhood, child care center administration, and early socio-emotional growth. Students can also choose to complete a field experience. Learners are required to earn at least 120 credits to graduate. The program standards follow those set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Students must pass the PRAXIS Core Exam within the first two semesters or have a minimum score of 26 on the ACT or 1170 on the SAT.


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16

Utah State University

Value Score 5.00
Average Tuition $6,214
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $10,525
Graduation Rate 49%
Student to Faculty Ratio 22:1
Retention Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 47%
Number of Online Programs 7

Utah State University, located in Logan, is the largest public, residential college in the state. The school was founded in 1888 and has been offering online degrees for over two decades. The bachelor of science in family life studies is only available online. Most of the courses in the program are offered on a semester schedule.

The child development degree online program is designed for busy adult students; classes are typically offered in an asynchronous format. The program is open to first-time freshmen and transfer students. Admission is rolling, and new students can start at the beginning of each term. Freshmen are admitted as pre-majors, and applicants to the major must fulfill all prerequisite coursework and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. The 120-credit program requires students to complete a capstone project, where they create a portfolio of research, outreach, and teaching.


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17

Washington State University

Value Score 4.97
Average Tuition $10,356
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $11,324
Graduation Rate 64%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 17%
Number of Online Programs 8

Washington State University, founded in 1890, is located in Pullman. WSU offers a number of online programs, including the bachelor of arts in human development. The degree is fully online and is delivered asynchronously. Learners interested in child development can earn a certificate in early childhood education; the certificate is only available to residents of Washington State. The human development major requires students to earn 42 credits, and the certificate requires 28. A maximum of seven credits can be applied towards the certificate.

The program looks at human development across the lifespan. Child development courses include child assessment and evaluation, child maltreatment, and parent-child relationships. The degree culminates in a practicum or field placement experience under the supervision of a WSU faculty member. Students must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA and follow a specific curriculum.


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18

Stephen F Austin State University

Value Score 4.74
Average Tuition $5,652
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $10,800
Graduation Rate 41%
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Retention Rate 33%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 37%
Number of Online Programs 4

Stephen F. Austin State University began holding classes in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1923. SFA has a robust offering of online programs. The bachelor of science in human sciences, emphasis in human development and family studies is a degree completion program, and students are typically required to have already completed at least two years of college coursework from another institution.

Students learn about human development across the lifespan and gain the knowledge necessary for a number of different career paths. The program focuses on child development. Courses cover topics in parenting, family life education, adult aging and development, and more. Students have the opportunity to earn practical experience through a required fieldwork component. Graduates are prepared for careers as child life specialists, early childhood interventionalists, adoption specialists, and more.


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19

San Diego Christian College

Value Score 4.19
Average Tuition $26,850
Students Receiving Financial Aid 60%
Net Price $24,011
Graduation Rate 30%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 49%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 49%
Number of Online Programs 5

San Diego Christian College offers a Christ-focused online education. SDCC was founded in 1970. The school offers a bachelor of arts in human development that's on an accelerated, five-week schedule. The program takes about four years to complete. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants must write an essay about their interest in attending SDCC.

The child development degree online has no on-campus requirements; a hybrid option is also available. Courses include developmental psychology: infancy & childhood, education psychology, and servant leadership. Students must earn at least 124 credits. Learners have the option of adding an emphasis in early childhood, a curriculum of psychology courses that focuses on the communication skills necessary for working with children. Graduates are prepared for careers as human resource professionals, early childhood center directors, youth advocates, and more.


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20

Southern New Hampshire University

Value Score 4.02
Average Tuition $30,006
Students Receiving Financial Aid 61%
Net Price $37,709
Graduation Rate 59%
Student to Faculty Ratio 30:1
Retention Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 92%
Number of Online Programs 43

SNHU was founded in the state capital of Manchester in 1932. The school enrolls over 80,000 students online and offers an online bachelor’s degree in child development within the psychology department. Courses are delivered through Blackboard on an accelerated calendar. This allows SNHU to have a flexible admissions timeline; applications are accepted for the child development degree online on a rolling basis.

The bachelor of arts in psychology-child and adolescent development concentration is offered asynchronously and completely online. Courses include sociology of deviant behavior, disorders of childhood and adolescence, and educational psychology. Students have the option of completing a field experience and independent study for credit. Learners with previous college coursework can transfer up to 90 credits. The program requires students to earn at least 120 credits to graduate.


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