Find your program in minutes!

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Students enrolled in an online degree in child development program will prepare for a number of jobs in an array of high-demand fields: early childhood education, intervention, psychology, public policy, research, advocacy, sports, social work, and speech-language pathology. Degrees in this field are available at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels, and provide the necessary training for graduates to work with children at all stages of development in various settings.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of  preschool and childcare center directors is expected to increase by 8% through 2031. Individuals in this role can expect to earn a median annual salary of $47,310. Additionally, jobs for childcare workers are expected to increase by 6% during the same time period. The median salary for these workers is $27,490 per year.

The average cost of an online child development degree program will vary. Tuition for undergraduate students averaged $7,869 at public schools and $37,095 at private schools during the 2021-22 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The agency reports that average tuition for graduate programs was $12,394 and $26,21 at public and private schools, respectively.

How to Choose an Online Child Development Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Students should start by considering their professional goals to ensure they select a program that will prepare them for their desired career trajectory.

First-time college students can consider an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in child development. Professionals who are looking to build on existing experience or prepare for a career change can explore Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degrees.

The majority of programs are located in either the education or social sciences departments of colleges. As a child development major in one of those departments, graduates might work toward earning teacher certification. Students should familiarize themselves with popular areas of study before making a choice:

  • Child’s social and emotional growth
  • Individual and family development
  • Language development and emergent literacy
  • Applied research methods
  • Infants and toddlers
  • Children’s literature
  • Ethics in early childhood

Find out if an area of study requires in-person orientation, labs, or other activities in person before choosing courses that will strengthen your career after graduation.

Research schools and programs

When conducting research, it’s always a good idea to confirm that any schools and programs you’re considering are accredited. Attending an accredited institution ensures that students are getting a high-quality education, and will be eligible for federal financial aid, educational opportunities at other post-secondary institutions, and future employment. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database of accredited schools in the U.S. At the programmatic level, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredits degree-granting programs in this field.

Other things to consider when researching schools are the program’s delivery format (synchronous, asynchronous or hybrid); the faculty; hands-on learning experiences like internships, and support services for online students.

Most schools and programs maintain robust websites that provide answers to these questions. Students can also learn more about programs that interest them by following schools on social media, attending virtual open houses or information sessions, and contacting program representatives and admissions counselors directly. ther options

Prepare for tests and applications

An admission counselor can explain the school’s application procedures and requirements and answer any questions about the process. Application demands differ from school to school, so it’s also a good idea to maintain a spreadsheet or checklist with requirements and due dates.

Generally speaking, students will have to submit the following:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Official transcripts from all schools previously attended
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, or community leaders
  • An application essay explaining why you are a good fit for the program
  • A resume or CV highlighting jobs, experience, extracurricular activities, and positions of leadership

Undergraduate students may be required to submit SAT or ACT scores, while graduate programs may require submission of GRE scores. Additional application requirements for graduate students may include a bachelor’s degree in a related field, specific undergraduate coursework, or a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Select your program

Students should review and compare all information they’ve gathered about schools before selecting the one(s) to which they’ll apply. There’s no right or wrong number of schools to apply to; some students submit multiple applications, to increase the odds of acceptance, while others focus on a single program based on their particular needs and interests. Most schools charge application fees, so applying to a large number of schools can get pricey.

Once students receive their acceptance letters, they should consider factors like cost, financial aid offers, and program quality to determine which school they’ll attend.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Get in touch early with the school’s financial aid office to help you understand the cost of the program and what financial aid resources are available. If you haven’t yet completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), now is a good time to fill out this form. Schools use the information on the FAFSA to determine eligibility for institutional need-based aid like scholarships and grants, federal student loans, and work-study funding.

Students should also explore other avenues of funding, including merit-based scholarships and grants from external organizations, employer tuition assistance benefits, and military discounts and GI Bill benefits, if applicable.

Top 21 Best Online Child Development Degree Programs

Filters:
21 Results
Clear Filters
Sort by: Intelligent Score
#1
Boone, NC | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Appalachian State University

Intelligent Score: 99.78
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $4,242

Out-of-state: $19,049

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $4,839

Out-of-state: $4,839

Test scores

SAT: 1070-1240

ACT: 22-27

Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
80%
On-campus students
5%
Graduation Rate
73%
Students enrolled
20,000
Student to faculty ratio
16:01
Average Salary
$34k
Average Student Debt
$21k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$203

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 828-262-2120

#2
Mount Pleasant, MI | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Central Michigan University

Intelligent Score: 98.63
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $12,296

Out-of-state: $22,881

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $14,223

Out-of-state: $14,223

Test scores

SAT: 1000-1210

ACT: 20-26

Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
69%
On-campus students
58%
Graduation Rate
64%
Students enrolled
17,000
Student to faculty ratio
18:01
Average Salary
$38k
Average Student Debt
$27k

Central Michigan University’s Early Childhood Development and Learning major as part of a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Arts, or Bachelor of Science degree, is a four-year program that prepares you for a career in early childhood education. The curriculum uses training guidelines set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. You get a chance to apply your knowledge in the campus’s Child Development and Learning Laboratory, where you work directly with three- and four-year-olds. Meanwhile, you also get to obtain first-hand experience in local field placements. Program highlights include a poverty simulation, where you experience what it’s like to live as a family in need or work with limited resources, and the student groups Child Life Student Association and Reimagining Early Childhood (REaCh).

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$440

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 989-774-3076

#3
Cheney, WA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Eastern Washington University

Intelligent Score: 96.05
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $6,707

Out-of-state: $24,676

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $12,015

Out-of-state: $12,015

Test scores

SAT: 880-1090

ACT: 16-23

Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
79%
On-campus students
7%
Graduation Rate
53%
Students enrolled
12,000
Student to faculty ratio
21:01
Average Salary
$38k
Average Student Debt
$20k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$296

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 509-359-4549

#4
San Diego, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Private

Point Loma Nazarene University

Intelligent Score: 94.9
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $37,600

Out-of-state: $37,600

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $11,880

Out-of-state: $11,880

Test scores

SAT: 1100-1290

ACT: 23-28

Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
84%
On-campus students
65%
Graduation Rate
72%
Students enrolled
5,000
Student to faculty ratio
15:01
Average Salary
$44k
Average Student Debt
$23k

Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) Bachelor of Arts in Child Development is a full four-year, 120-credit degree program that can be completed online anywhere in the world or on community college campuses in and around San Diego, California. As a Christian university, PLNU emphasizes holistic development and seeks to support you as you grow not just as a student but as a person. This approach is particularly well suited to the study of child development because the field takes a similarly holistic approach. PLNU offers extensive mentorship and career counseling, and has multiple pathways for helping you complete your degree if you’ve already earned some credits elsewhere.

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$1,252 - $1,775

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus, Hybrid

ACCREDITATION

WASC Senior College and University Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 619-849-2200

#6
Fresno, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Private

Fresno Pacific University

Intelligent Score: 93.94
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $32,954

Out-of-state: $32,954

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $14,940

Out-of-state: $14,940

Test scores

SAT: 930-1110

ACT: 16-22

Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
67%
On-campus students
91%
Graduation Rate
67%
Students enrolled
4,000
Student to faculty ratio
13:01
Average Salary
$38k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$1,248

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus, Hybrid

ACCREDITATION

WASC Senior College and University Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 559-453-3690

#7
Springfield, MO | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Missouri State University

Intelligent Score: 93.71
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $6,840

Out-of-state: $15,510

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $5,436

Out-of-state: $5,436

Test scores

SAT: 1020-1220

ACT: 21-27

Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
87%
On-campus students
39%
Graduation Rate
58%
Students enrolled
24,000
Student to faculty ratio
20:01
Average Salary
$34k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$348

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 417-836-5000

#8
Jacksonville, FL | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

University of North Florida

Intelligent Score: 93.56
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $3,996

Out-of-state: $16,799

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $8,570

Out-of-state: $8,570

Test scores

SAT: 1040-1230

ACT: 20-27

Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
80%
On-campus students
2%
Graduation Rate
66%
Students enrolled
17,000
Student to faculty ratio
19:01
Average Salary
$38k
Average Student Debt
$16k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

Resident: $175

Non-Resident: $655

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 904-620-3577

#9
Manhattan, KS | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Kansas State University

Intelligent Score: 92.99
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $9,375

Out-of-state: $25,251

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $10,212

Out-of-state: $10,212

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
87%
Admission Rate
94%
On-campus students
34%
Graduation Rate
68%
Students enrolled
21,000
Student to faculty ratio
18:01
Average Salary
$41k
Average Student Debt
$22k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$450

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 800-622-2578

#10
Hattiesburg, MS | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

University of Southern Mississippi

Intelligent Score: 92.51
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $8,786

Out-of-state: $10,786

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $8,786

Out-of-state: $8,786

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: 19-26

Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
96%
On-campus students
4%
Graduation Rate
50%
Students enrolled
15,000
Student to faculty ratio
18:01
Average Salary
$34k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$389

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 228-865-4500

#11
Morgantown, WV | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

West Virginia University at Parkersburg

Intelligent Score: 92.39
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $8,976

Out-of-state: $25,320

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $10,134

Out-of-state: $10,134

Test scores

SAT: 1030-1230

ACT: 21-27

Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
84%
On-campus students
6%
Graduation Rate
62%
Students enrolled
26,000
Student to faculty ratio
21:01
Average Salary
$39k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

In-State: $180 - $249

Out-of-State: $376 - $401

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

122

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 304-424-8000

#12
Pasadena, CA | 4 years | Online + Campus | Private

Pacific Oaks College

Intelligent Score: 91.6
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $11,692

Out-of-state: NA

Graduate Tuition

In-state: NA

Out-of-state: NA

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
N/A
On-campus students
100%
Graduation Rate
0%
Students enrolled
0
Student to faculty ratio
Average Salary
Average Student Debt

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$890

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

WASC Senior College and University Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 800-201-2296

#13
Saint Louis, MO | 4 years | Online + Campus | Private

Maryville University

Intelligent Score: 90.27
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $24,766

Out-of-state: $24,766

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $14,346

Out-of-state: $14,346

Test scores

SAT: N/A

ACT: N/A

Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
95%
On-campus students
17%
Graduation Rate
75%
Students enrolled
11,000
Student to faculty ratio
13:01
Average Salary
$44k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$525

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

128

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 800-627-9855

#14
Los Angeles, CA | 4 years | Online | Public

California State University, East Bay

Intelligent Score: 87.55
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $5,742

Out-of-state: $17,622

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $7,176

Out-of-state: $7,176

Test scores

SAT: 870-1060

ACT: 15-20

Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
76%
On-campus students
N/A
Graduation Rate
52%
Students enrolled
27,000
Student to faculty ratio
25:01:00
Average Salary
$37k
Average Student Debt
$14k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$583

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

WASC Senior College and University Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 510-885-3000

#15
Morgantown, WV | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

West Virginia University

Intelligent Score: 85.77
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $8,976

Out-of-state: $25,320

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $10,134

Out-of-state: $10,134

Test scores

SAT: 1030-1230

ACT: 21-27

Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
84%
On-campus students
6%
Graduation Rate
62%
Students enrolled
26,000
Student to faculty ratio
21:01
Average Salary
$39k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$439

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 304-293-2121

#16
Nacogdoches, TX | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Stephen F. Austin State University

Intelligent Score: 84.82
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $7,842

Out-of-state: $18,858

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $5,262

Out-of-state: $5,262

Test scores

SAT: 980-1150

ACT: 18-24

Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
76%
On-campus students
5%
Graduation Rate
54%
Students enrolled
13,000
Student to faculty ratio
16:01
Average Salary
$37k
Average Student Debt
$24k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

Resident: $441

Non-Resident: $479 - $966

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 936-468-5803

#17
Stillwater, OK | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Oklahoma State University

Intelligent Score: 84.27
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $5,357

Out-of-state: $20,877

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $5,531

Out-of-state: $5,531

Test scores

SAT: 1020-1250

ACT: 21-28

Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
67%
On-campus students
12%
Graduation Rate
64%
Students enrolled
25,000
Student to faculty ratio
18:01
Average Salary
$43k
Average Student Debt
$21k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$435

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 405-744-1000

#18
Richmond, KY | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Eastern Kentucky University

Intelligent Score: 84.02
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $9,266

Out-of-state: $19,338

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $9,900

Out-of-state: $9,900

Test scores

SAT: 950-1170

ACT: 19-25

Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
98%
On-campus students
41%
Graduation Rate
45%
Students enrolled
14,000
Student to faculty ratio
15:01
Average Salary
$33k
Average Student Debt
$23k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

$421

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus

ACCREDITATION

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120-125

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 859-622-4455

#19
Kalamazoo, MI | 4 years | Online + Campus | Public

Western Michigan University

Intelligent Score: 82.44
Undergraduate Tuition

In-state: $12,094

Out-of-state: $15,118

Graduate Tuition

In-state: $16,360

Out-of-state: $16,360

Test scores

SAT: 1010-1220

ACT: 20-27

Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
85%
On-campus students
9%
Graduation Rate
57%
Students enrolled
20,000
Student to faculty ratio
18:01
Average Salary
$35k
Average Student Debt
$26k

ESTIMATED COST PER CREDIT

Resident: $577

Non-Resident: $721

DELIVERY FORMAT

Online, On-Campus, Hybrid

ACCREDITATION

Higher Learning Commission

REQUIRED CREDITS TO GRADUATE

120

MORE PROGRAM INFORMATION

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 269-387-2000

Load More

How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on online degree programs in child development and related fields. These programs are available at nonprofit, accredited institutions, either public or private, with high standards of quality for post-secondary education. We reviewed fully online and in-person/online hybrid programs.

We evaluated each degree program on factors like tuition costs, faculty, reputation, student resources, and admission, retention, and graduation rates. We then calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

We also compared our picks to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From An Online Child Development Degree Program?

An online child development degree program will help students expand the theoretical knowledge and practical communication skills required to advance in their child development careers and help children excel. Coursework draws from a variety of disciplines like psychology, biology, and sociology. Students examine social, medical, and cultural factors that might affect how children learn and develop. Some programs for childhood development concentrate on psychology and sociology. Other typical programs include assessment studies to observe and assess children. Several child development curricula concentrate on family dynamics.

Studying pedagogical theories and the practical application of these theories is central to the program. Students will learn distinct ways to advocate for families and children, communicate with a wide range of different people, and be community partners. Various online programs for child development require a capstone project, in which learners design and implement a project related to their area of study.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online child development degree program

  • Language Development and Emergent Literacy. Students explore the cognitive process of language development. They receive tools to provide early literacy skills effectively.
  • Young Child With Special Needs. Classwork prepares learners for work in a wide range of diverse backgrounds and levels of ability. Individuals explore advocacy, educational intervention, and legislative dilemmas.
  • Child Social and Emotional Growth. Learners study the factors that influence and add to children’s interpersonal relationships and self-perception.
  • Children’s Literature. This class teaches how to use children’s literature to fortify and develop a curriculum. Students learn how to create classroom communities that are culturally responsive.
  • Applied Research. Enrollees polish research skills. Their goal is to solve problems faced by individuals or communities.

Online Child Development Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online child development degree program?

A counselor from the school’s admissions office can answer any questions about application procedures, prerequisites, and deadlines. Begin early by making a list of the most important dates and deadlines.

Most schools accept applications and supplemental materials through their website. If you’re applying for an undergraduate program, find out if  your school accepts the Common Application, which allows students to apply for multiple colleges with one application. Some materials, like transcripts and test scores, must be sent directly from the school or testing agency to be considered official.

How much does an online child development degree cost?

For undergraduate students, tuition in bachelor’s programs averages $7,869 at public schools and $37,095 at private institutions, according to the NCES. At the graduate level, public school students pay an average of $12,394, while private universities charge an average of $26,621. Students should also confirm their tuition rate with the school prior to enrolling.

Schools also typically charge fees for things like technology, labs, and student support services. Students should also budget for learning materials such as books, computers, and internet access.

Online learning has some cost-saving benefits. The flexible schedules may allow students to work full- or part-time while enrolled, so they can have a steady income. Students also save money on transportation and room-and-board expenses.

How long does it take to earn an online child development degree?

Program enrollment time can fluctuate depending on the student and the program. Each student’s pace and prior education can influence how long it takes to attain a degree. Usually, students enrolled in bachelors in child development degree programs finish in four years if they’re studying full-time. Part-time students may take five or six years to finish. At the graduate level, programs can take 1-3 years to finish, depending on enrollment status. .

Other elements that could determine how long it takes to graduate include:

  • A student with an associate degree in child development might transfer those previous credits to lessen the time to attain a bachelor’s degree
  • Students carrying more credit hours every semester or enrolled in summer school might complete the program quicker
  • Any type of experiential learning activity has the potential to lengthen enrollment time

Compare School Options


Related Degrees