Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education

Early childhood educators specialize in teaching children up to age five, or during preschool. Jobs for preschool teachers are projected to increase 7% by 2024 as more parents recognize the intellectual and social benefits of early childhood education. Earning an affordable early childhood education degree online prepares students to become teachers, to direct childcare centers, and to guide children both inside and outside of traditional preschool classrooms. With proper licensing and/or certification, graduates who have earned a master’s in early childhood education online pursue top jobs in the field and positively affect young children’s lives.

Online Early Childhood Education Master’s Degrees at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Two years (for full-time students)
Credit Hours 30–60
Concentrations
  • Special education
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Administration and leadership
  • Montessori method
Accreditation The National Association for the Education of Young Children National Early Childhood Program Accreditation
Additional Considerations Preschool teachers in public schools must hold current licensure. Though not typically required, some states recognize the Child Development Associate credential or the Certified Childcare Professional designation.


19 Most Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Texas A & M University-Commerce

Value Score 8.90
Average Tuition $3,630
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 78%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $202

Texas A&M University-Commerce, founded in 1889, is located just northeast of Dallas, Texas. The mid-sized university focuses on providing students flexible and affordable learning options while they benefit from the cache of earning a degree from the prestigious Texas A&M University system.

The master's in early childhood education degree is one of about 20 master's degrees that Texas A&M University-Commerce offers completely online. Students interested in earning an early childhood education master's degree online will work directly with their advisor or department to design a program of study. The program has several options for students who already hold a teaching certificate and those who do not; depending on their previous studies, students can choose to pursue either a master of education (MEd), a master of arts (MA), or a master of science (MS) in early childhood education.


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2

Albany State University

Value Score 8.68
Average Tuition $3,402
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 55%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $189

Albany State is a historically black higher education institution located in southeast Georgia. A liberal arts university, ASU offers a well-rounded curriculum that puts "students first." ASU is known for its education programs; the school's online master's in early childhood education program prepares students for T-5 certification.

To enroll, students must have earned an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from an accredited institution. If they do not have this undergraduate degree, students will need to augment their online master's degree in early childhood education with undergraduate courses. Students complete their program through RamNet, ASU's online learning management system. The online master's in early childhood education program places a strong emphasis on leadership, preparing students for administrative roles in all fields of education.


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3

University of West Alabama

Value Score 8.13
Average Tuition $6,012
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 89%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $334

UWA, located in Livingston, Alabama, has a strong focus on online learning. While some 2,200 students are enrolled at the school's west central Alabama campus, over 2,800 learners take classes online. UWA offers a master's in early childhood education online which most students complete in about 18 months.

UWA's online terms are eight weeks long, and the school offers five online terms per year. To enroll in the program, prospective students must hold a bachelor's level Professional Educator Certificate. UWA also offers an online master's degree in early childhood education for students who hold a non-teaching undergraduate degree or who want to switch teaching areas. The Alternative Class A Program offers the majority of courses online, though students do have to complete field experiences and an internship in an approved Alabama school.


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4

Georgia Southern University

Value Score 8.11
Average Tuition $6,636
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $277

As the largest center of higher education in Atlanta, Georgia Southern serves over 20,000 students through both traditional and online education programs. Designated a Carnegie Doctoral-Research university, GSU prides itself on extending learning beyond the classroom through research opportunities and internship programs. US News & World Report ranked GSU's College of Education among the top 75 online graduate education programs in the nation.

Through the College of Education, students can pursue a master's in early childhood education online. The fully online program can be completed in one year, since the program offers courses in the fall, spring, and summer. The online master's in early childhood education program is designed for students who already hold a Professional Level 4 Certificate, or equivalent, and who want to learn developmentally appropriate practices for grades Pre-K through 5th grade.


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5

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Value Score 7.99
Average Tuition $5,738
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 95%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $366

Located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, Northwestern State is a part of the state's flagship University of Louisiana system. Through the eNSU online learning platform, the school offers several options for earning a master's in early childhood education online. NSU is the only school in Louisiana to offer an online MEd in early childhood education, which can be completed by those who already hold a teacher certification.

Prospective students who do not yet have certification may be interested in the online MA in teaching early childhood education program. The fully online early childhood education master's program prepares students to work with children in Pre-K through 3rd grade. NSU is a top choice for students seeking online master's degrees due to its affordability and flexibility. The university offers flat rate tuition for online courses, and online-only students never have to pay out-of-state fees.


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6

Stephen F Austin State University

Value Score 7.83
Average Tuition $4,518
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $312

Located in East Texas in the town of Nacogdoches, Stephen F. Austin State University was founded in 1923 and serves nearly 13,000 students. Students looking for flexible education options can pursue more than 20 different online degree programs through SFA ONLINE. SFA offers the option to earn your early childhood education master's degree online through its MEd standard elementary program.

The program offers three options based on a student's certification level and learning goals. Current elementary school teachers will have a specific course of study, while students who earned a non-teaching undergraduate degree will have the choice to pursue two different options; either certification in early childhood through grade 6 or certification in grades 4 through 8. Students pursuing their master's in early childhood education online through SFA will have access to robust support services, including an online writing lab center and collaborative web conferencing.


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7

University of North Dakota

Value Score 7.80
Average Tuition $6,872
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 51%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $286

UND in Grand Forks serves students from all 50 states and 85 countries. The school boasts a highly competitive Division I athletic program, and UND was ranked as the U.S.'s #1 fittest college campus by Rodale. Graduate students make up nearly 20% of UND's student population. For students interested in flexible graduate education programs, UND offers an online early childhood education MS degree, geared toward professional teachers.

Online master's in early childhood education students take courses through a virtual classroom and must complete a teaching practicum. In partnership with the McCormick Center for early childhood leadership, the program also has special online courses for students interested in becoming early childhood administrators, which count towards the master's degree course requirements.


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8

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

Value Score 7.27
Average Tuition $6,588
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 23%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $366

UC Denver's Anschultz Medical Campus awards more graduate degrees than any other public institution of higher education in the state. The school offers an online master's degree in early childhood education that is perfect for students in search of flexibility; approximately 95% of the program's students work full time while completing their degree. Through the program, students earn an MA in early childhood education.

CUD's School of Education and Development is the largest in the state, and online education master's degree courses are taught by the same distinguished faculty who teach on campus. CUD's program consistently scores high on student satisfaction, thanks in part to reasonable online class sizes that are capped at 25-30 students. Online students typically complete their degree in two to three years, and they are expected to attend a live, three-day seminar in Denver each summer.


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9

University of South Alabama

Value Score 7.03
Average Tuition $6,966
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 66%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $387

Located in Mobile, Alabama, USA has been providing individualized attention to student education since 1963, with its focus on small class sizes and hands-on research opportunities. The university is a state leader in educating teachers; the school has taught more than 18,000 teachers and administrators, including 85% of Mobile's public school teachers. USA students have 24/7 access to degree programs and over 450 courses through USAOnline.

Designed for students who already hold the Class B Early Childhood Education Certificate, USA's online master's in early childhood education can be completed in 30 hours. The program combines courses on research and evaluation and curriculum and teaching for a robust, thorough course of study. After they've completed their master's in early childhood education online, students are eligible for the Class A Professional Early Childhood Education certificate, preparing them to work with Pre-K through 3rd grade.


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10

Jacksonville State University

Value Score 6.74
Average Tuition $8,376
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 65%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $349

Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, Jacksonville State dubs itself "the friendliest university in the South." The school lives up to its motto by creating a learning-centered environment with small classes, comprehensive financial aid, and a focus on cultivating personal development. JSU's online programs are taught by the same faculty that teaches on campus, and each program also boasts the same national and regional accreditations as the traditional programs.

JSU offers a master's in early childhood education online for students who already hold a bachelor's or teacher certification. Earning JSU's MS in early childhood Education will prepare students to work with children in Pre-K through 3rd grade. Online courses are taught through the Blackboard platform. JSU also offers an MS in early childhood special education.


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11

Concordia University-Saint Paul

Value Score 6.56
Average Tuition $8,550
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 87%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $400

Founded in 1863 as a Christian liberal arts university, Concordia University St. Paul offers career-focused degrees to students in search of a tight-knit community, both on campus and online. Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the school has a strong focus on online learning, with transfer-friendly policies to make earning online degrees affordable and flexible.

Concordia University St. Paul's online early childhood education master's is for students who are currently employed or volunteer in the area of education with children. Through the program, students earn an MA in education with an early childhood education emphasis. The accelerated program format is ideal for students who want to earn their degree quickly; each course is just seven weeks long. The program does not grant licensure.


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12

Northern Arizona University

Value Score 6.24
Average Tuition $8,284
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 59%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $410

With its flagship campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, NAU offers its nearly 30,000 students 91 undergraduate degree programs and 60 graduate degree programs to choose from. The school is committed to promoting sustainability and diversity on campus, and it's a top choice for Native American students.

NAU offers an online early childhood education master's degree through the College of Education's Department of Teaching and Learning. Students pursuing the degree can choose from three emphasises: teaching, leadership, or national board certification. The program is designed for practicing teachers who wish to further develop their skills working with primary-school- and preschool-aged children. The degree prepares students for careers as preschool teachers, curriculum specialists, school administrators, and other related roles within the field of education. To earn the degree, students must complete at least 30 hours of coursework; field experiences and internships are optional.


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13

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Value Score 5.86
Average Tuition $8,172
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $454

Located in the larger Philadelphia area, WCUPA is the largest public institution of higher learning belonging to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The school offers its students more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees. WCU is committed to meeting the growing need for flexible education options for students; enrollment in WCU's distance education programs (including fully online and hybrid programs) increased by nearly 40% in the past year.

Among the school's online offerings is an MEd in early childhood education. Students choose between two tracks when they enroll in the program: the accomplished teachers track or the administrators track. Students pursuing the accomplished teachers track must have already obtained a Pennsylvania Instructional I Teaching Certificate; students in the administrators track do not need certification.


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14

University of the Southwest

Value Score 4.99
Average Tuition $10,440
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 100%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $580

University of the Southwest is a private Christian university located in Hobbs, New Mexico. Founded in 1962, the school prides itself on instilling students with a servant leadership philosophy, supporting them on the path to creating positive change in themselves and others. That philosophy can certainly be found in the school's online master's degree program in early childhood education.

The fully online program allows students to earn an MS in early childhood education, preparing them to work with children from birth to grade 3. The program can also be pursued concurrently with a licensure plan that leads to a birth-grade 3 teaching license. While all courses can be completed online, students have the option to complete the practicum requirements in their communities. USW provides a host of support resources to online students, including online tutoring, writing help, and a faculty chair mentor.


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15

Concordia University-Chicago

Value Score 4.48
Average Tuition $14,328
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 68%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $597

Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago provides students the opportunity to pursue graduate and undergraduate degrees in traditional, cohort, or online formats. Concordia's online degree programs are very popular among students; the school's "global classroom" serves students from 37 states and 26 countries.

Concordia's online MA in early childhood education is intended for students who have had at least two years of experience working with young children. The program does not lead to licensure, and most students complete the program in one to two years. Concordia may be a smart choice for budget-wise students. The school is an entitled institution of Gateways to Opportunity, an Illinois Professional Development System that offers partial scholarships to eligible practitioners in early childhood education programs. Notably, students are not required to take the GRE to apply to the program.


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16

Southern New Hampshire University

Value Score 3.76
Average Tuition $18,810
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 95%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $627

At SNHU, it's all about providing an unparalleled online learning experience for students; the university has over 60,000 students enrolled in its online programs. In addition to its robust online learning system, SNHU also serves students at its main campus in Manchester, NH, and its regional centers in Portsmouth and Brunswick, ME. SNHU boasts some of the lowest tuition rates in the nation for its career-focused degree programs. Students can choose from over 200 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, an online master's in early childhood education being one of them.

The program prepares students for Pre-K through 3rd grade licensure in New Hampshire, though SNHU offers a special track for already licensed teachers. Students can take two courses per each 10-week term, meaning the degree can be completed in as few as 15 months. Students can take advantage of rolling admission to start their course of study during any of SNHU five yearly terms.


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17

Mercy College

Value Score 3.23
Average Tuition $14,952
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 33%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $814

Mercy College serves the greater New York City region with more than 90 degree programs, an intimate campus feel, and small class sizes -- more than 90% of classes have less than 30 students. In addition to its Dobbs Ferry campus, Mercy College also has campuses in Manhattan, Bronx, and Yorktown Heights.

Mercy offers 40 programs of study online, and the school's online programs are consistently recognized for their high quality by outlets like U.S. News & World Report and Barron's. Students interested in an online master's of early childhood education can enroll in Mercy's online program for an MS degree in early childhood education. The program prepares students for certification that allows them to work with children from birth to 2nd grade. Students, however, can combine the degree with additional certifications, including grade 1-6 and students with disabilities certifications.


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18

Erikson Institute

Value Score 2.36
Average Tuition $19,200
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 19%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $960

Located in downtown Chicago, Erikson Institute is an independent institution of higher learning that focuses exclusively on educating, serving, and leading in the area of early childhood. In addition to its academic programs and research initiatives, Erikson Institute also provides direct assistance to families through its team of psychologists, therapists, pediatricians, and social workers.

Erikson offers an MS in early childhood education that can be completed online. The 28-month program was designed specifically for early childhood educators who have at least three years of experience in the field. Formatted as a structured cohort program, students learn alongside and collaborate with their peers. Even though it's an online program, students are expected to contribute to online discussions and interact with one another. Erikson also offers students the chance to enhance their degree with a bilingual/ESL specialization.


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19

Pacific Oaks College

Value Score 2.31
Average Tuition $17,910
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 31%
Number of Online Programs 1
Part-time cost per credit hour $995

Pacific Oaks, with main campuses in Pasadena and San Jose, California, focuses exclusively on adult and non-traditional learners. The average student is 38 years old. POC makes it easy for non-traditional learners to pursue higher degrees by offering up to 30 academic credits for life experience. POC offers an MA in early childhood education online for students who do have some practical experience working with young children.

Typically, the degree takes a year to complete on a full-time basis, or two years if students are working toward the degree on a part-time basis. The program does have some fieldwork requirements, though they may be completed locally with approval. POC's cultured-centered approach to education emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equality. POC's approach is evident in its unique, progressive course offerings for this program, such as the impact of privilege and oppression in early childhood education settings.


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What Will I Learn in My Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Program?

Sample Courses

Coursework in early childhood education degree online programs combine teaching and research skills to prepare graduates to offer dynamic, engaging, and culturally relevant learning environments. Though courses vary by program and concentration, curricula typically incorporate social context, theoretical research, critical perspectives, and comparative methods of early childhood development and education. Students earning a master’s in early childhood education online typically complete a final project, portfolio, or comprehensive exam. Sample courses include:

  • Early childhood growth and development This foundational course explores the physical, motor, cognitive, language, social, and emotional abilities of children from birth to age eight. Coursework incorporates research and theories about how families and culture influence early childhood growth and development.
  • Curricula and instruction in early childhood education This course explores curricula and instruction in early childhood education from a historical perspective, including traditional and current best practices in the field. Topics include lesson plan development, strategies for assessment, and diversity among modern curriculum-writing techniques.
  • Developmentally effective learning environments Students learn to create effective and engaging classrooms and learning spaces for children up to age eight. Students are trained in classroom management, motivational strategies, and instructional planning and assessment.
  • Language and literacy methods in early childhood education Students explore theories of language development, second-language acquisition, and the needs of English-language learners by developing integrated listening, speaking, reading, and writing exercises for young children.
  • Assessment in early childhood education This course examines assessment methods for young children with and without special needs. Topics include both developmental and differential assessment strategies, including behavioral rating scales, psycho-educational screening tests, parent-child interactions, interviewing techniques, technological tools, and school and community referrals.

Concentrations

Students completing an early childhood education master’s degree online have a variety of concentration options. A student’s area of specialization is largely influenced by their desired career path. Students focused on becoming classroom teachers may study the Montessori Method or special education, while those aspiring to work in administration, lead a childcare center, or develop curricula may specialize in leadership or curriculum and instruction. Below are the most common concentrations in online early childhood education degree programs.

  1. Montessori Method: The Montessori Method creates opportunities for children to use self-development and independent learning techniques in an experience-oriented classroom. Graduates lead preschool students through instruction, modeling, and mentoring exercises.
  2. Curriculum and instruction: Students gain a comprehensive understanding of innovative and effective teaching techniques while developing leadership and professional skills. Graduates use critical assessment and evaluation, and they perform scholarly research to create curricula and advocate for young children in schools, hospitals, and agencies.
  3. Special education: Special education students study theoretical research, specialized teaching techniques, and intervention and interdisciplinary methods. Graduates teach developmentally disabled students up to age five and enter administrative positions related to special education.
  4. Administration and leadership: Students aspiring to positions in administration or management within educational institutions gain supervisory skills and complete policy and advocacy coursework specific to early childhood issues. Graduates become childcare center directors and school administrators.
  5. Employment Outlook for Master’s in Early Childhood Education Graduates

    Master’s in Early Childhood Education Careers

    Graduates of master’s in early childhood development online programs are eligible for advanced positions both inside and outside of the classroom. Along with careers as teachers and special educators, graduates pursue opportunities in educational leadership and advocacy, including curriculum development and preschool or childcare center administration. Education, licensure, and professional experience are highly valued by employers. While not often required for teaching positions, some employers may prefer candidates with Child Development Associate or Certified Childcare Professional credentials.

    Preschool teacher

    $28,790 Avg Annual Salary
    Associate Degree Degree Required

    Preschool teachers educate children up to age five in subjects such as reading, writing, and science. Teachers adapt lessons to the developmental needs of this age group. Curricula address basic academic abilities and language, motor, and social skills. Preschool teachers in public schools are generally required to have a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching license.

    Projected Growth Rate 7%

    Kindergarten teacher

    $52,620 Avg Annual Salary
    Bachelor’s Degree Degree Required

    Kindergarten teachers educate elementary-age children in basic subjects, such as math, reading, science, and social studies, and provide socialization and communication skills. Kindergarten teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued license, though some states require a specialization in a particular subject and/or a master’s degree.

    Projected Growth Rate 6%

    Instructional coordinator

    $62,460 Avg Annual Salary
    Master’s Degree Degree Required

    Instructional coordinators develop, implement, and assess educational materials. These professionals must have a master’s degree and experience in teaching, education administration, or a related field. Most public schools require instructional coordinators to hold a state-issued license, though some coordinators work in government or private educational services.

    Projected Growth Rate 7%

    Preschool/childcare center director

    $45,790 Avg Annual Salary
    Bachelor’s Degree Degree Required

    Preschool and childcare center directors lead staff, supervise daily activities, develop curricula, and prepare budgets for an educational facility. They oversee administrative aspects of a daycare or preschool center. These professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree and work experience; some states require licensure and/or additional credentials.

    Projected Growth Rate 7%

    Special education teacher

    $57,910 Avg Annual Salary
    Bachelor’s Degree Degree Required

    Special education teachers provide academic, emotional, and social support to students with disabilities. They adapt lesson plans and classroom learning exercises for students with special needs. Special educators must have a bachelor’s degree and, in public schools, a state-issued license or certification; some states require a master’s degree.

    Projected Growth Rate 6%

    Licensure and Certification

    While all teachers in public schools in the U.S. are required to hold a general teaching license, this is not the case in private schools, which are not subject to the same state mandates and regulations for classroom instructors and childcare workers. A teaching license, or educator certification, is awarded at the state level. The process typically requires that the student hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, as well as pass a state-approved educator preparation program. A student pursuing licensure is also subject to individual assessments according to their desired grade level or subject of specialization, and a criminal background check. The following are the two most common types of certification for ECE educators.

    • Early Childhood Education (ECE) Certification Teachers pursuing certification with a specialization in early childhood education must pass field-specific assessments evaluating their skills in language, math, science, and social studies to demonstrate they are competent to lead young learners in these subjects, as well as pass a test in foundational early childhood development competencies. They must also have student teaching experience.
    • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Certification Teachers pursuing this certification should be uniquely qualified to provide not only academic but emotional and social support to young learners with special needs. To become certified, candidates must pass a test of both basic skills and early childhood special education, as well as have student teaching experience. Graduates of a bachelor’s degree in ECE special education may pursue ECSE certification if offered in their state; if not they may pursue dual certification in special education and ECE.

    Job Placement

    Although not all jobs in early childhood education require an advanced degree, graduates with an online master’s in early childhood education have a significant advantage. While the field of education accounts for more than 10% of all college majors, advanced positions such as instructional coordinator and other executive-level administrative positions, require a master’s degree. A recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that only a small percentage of early childhood education students pursue graduate degrees, which narrows the competition for top jobs. However, bachelor’s degree holders still enjoy a 95% employment rate.

    Master’s in Early Childhood Education Salary

    Salaries for professionals who earn their early childhood education degree online vary depending on their experience and credentials. Graduates of online master’s in early childhood education programs earn higher salaries and have less competition for positions than those with an undergraduate degree. The position of instructional coordinator, for example, requires a master’s degree. Instructional coordinators earn the highest median salary and the highest late-career salary of similar early childhood education careers.

    Early Childhood Education Careers by Experience
    Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
    Preschool Teacher $12.42/hr $25,000 $27,000 $29,000
    Kindergarten Teacher $41,038 $35,000 $39,000 $53,000
    Instructional Coordinator $58,976 $42,000 $54,000 $66,000
    Preschool Director $40,151 $36,000 $37,000 $42,000
    Special Education Teacher $45,379 $40,000 $43,000 $55,000

    Do I Need to Take the GRE to Enroll in an Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Program?

    The GRE evaluates a student’s aptitude for graduate study. The test is divided into four sections: analytical writing, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning. Although there are subject tests for areas such as biology, literature, and psychology, most online early childhood education degree programs require only general GRE scores.

    Students should spend eight to 12 weeks studying for the GRE and taking practice tests. Several private and state-affiliated organizations offer workbooks, webinars, sample tests, and tutoring services. Taking multiple practice tests can help students feel confident on exam day.

    Though admissions policies vary by program, most schools offering a master’s in early childhood education online do not require GRE scores, provided the applicant meets other GPA and academic eligibility requirements.

    Accreditation for Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Degrees

    Validating a school’s accreditation is crucial to choosing a master’s in early childhood education online program. A school may be nationally or regionally accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. Though regional accreditation is the most rigorous and common type of accreditation, nationally accredited institutions are a good choice for students transferring from any school that is not regionally accredited; many regionally accredited schools only honor credits from other regionally accredited institutions. In addition to institutional accreditation, an online ECE degree program may be accredited by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Check your school’s accreditation status on the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation websites.

    Financing Your Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Program

    Earning a early childhood education degree online requires financing. Whether you’re exploring federal or private financial aid through scholarships, loans, grants, or work-study positions, begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA is a common requirement for college admission and helps you and your family understand which funding opportunities you are eligible for. Many state and private agencies encourage students to become teachers after graduation in order to boost the educational system and the local economy. Employers may offer employee-reimbursement programs for employees pursuing a master’s degree. Below are a few of the scholarships available to early childhood education students.

    Early Childhood Education Scholarships

    Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program $2,250–4,500/semester

    This scholarship offered by Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is open to undergraduate students in early childhood education or a related field.

    Scholarship Deadline: June 1

    Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a permanent, legal resident of Massachusetts who is enrolled in a regionally accredited college or university in the state.

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    Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program Up to $5,000

    This scholarship encourages academically accomplished minority students to become preschool, elementary, and secondary teachers in the state of Illinois.

    Scholarship Deadline: March 1

    Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be state residents with a GPA of at least 2.5 and must be on a path of study leading to teacher certification by the Illinois State Board of Education.

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    Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship $1,000

    This scholarship offered by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research honors the dedication and commitment of three Michigan schoolteachers who were fired for refusing to pay union dues.

    Scholarship Deadline: December 31

    Eligibility Requirements: Students must be in the process of completing a degree program in education and/or applying for licensure. Applicants must submit an original essay on the topic of compulsory unionism.

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    Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educators Scholarship Varies

    The Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation awards more than 30 scholarships each year to high school seniors and undergraduates pursuing college education programs.

    Scholarship Deadline: April 2

    Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a member of PDK’s Educators Rising organization or have a family member who is.

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    American Montessori Society (AMS) Teacher Education Scholarship Varies

    This scholarship encourages aspiring teachers to pursue the Montessori Method through an AMS-affiliated teacher education program.

    Scholarship Deadline: May 1

    Eligibility Requirements: Students must be accepted into, in the process of being accepted into, or enrolled in an AMS-affiliated program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and must submit a personal statement and three letters of recommendation.

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