Online child development degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Child development is a particular branch of developmental psychology that analyzes the psychological, emotional, and perceptional changes within children. Our list of the best online bachelor's degrees highlights 25 excellent options, based on tuition rates and alumni salaries from PayScale.
Students should make sure that the schools they attend are regionally accredited, and doctoral students should look for accreditation by the American Psychological Association. Graduates of child development programs often find employment in schools, churches and other organizations that care for and educate children.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Child Development Degrees
This list highlights the 25 best value colleges offering online bachelor's degrees in child development. A degree from University of Massachusetts - Amherst has an impressive return on investment, with an annual tuition of $11,700 and alumni reporting a mid-career salary of $88,100. At #2, Jacksonville State University has the second-highest salary on the list and charges only $12,064 per year for its program.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
2020 Online Colleges Offering Child Development Degrees - Ranking Details
#1 University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Median Salary: $88,100
Locations: Amherst (MA)
With an enrollment of over 30,000 students, the University of Massachusetts - Amherst is the main campus of the University of Massachusetts system. The institution offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Children’s Learning and Development that is available as both a full degree program and a degree completion program. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and up to 105 can be earned from prior coursework and/or work and life experience. The program is available entirely online or in a blended format. Graduates can pursue careers as educators, youth and family counselors, administrators in social service agencies and youth advocacy organizations, and other related fields.
#2 Jacksonville State University
Annual Tuition: $12,064
Median Salary: $83,400
Locations: Jacksonville (AL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Located in Jacksonville, Alabama, Jacksonville State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in child development. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of how to work with children and their families. Graduates can pursue careers in schools, public social service agencies, public health agencies, community centers, child protection services, adoption agencies, and children’s programs in places such as zoos, libraries, museums, and other related areas. A total of 120 semester hours are required to complete the degree. The child development portion of the program is 33 hours and includes family interaction and field experience.
#3 Southern New Hampshire University Online
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Median Salary: $78,300
Locations: Manchester (NH)
Southern New Hampshire University, located in Manchester, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in child and adolescent development. Students gain an in-depth understanding of how children grow and develop from birth to adolescence. They also obtain real-world experience by working with children in clinics, schools, and other settings. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree; up to 90 credits can be transferred. Students have 24/7 access to coursework, and they can study at their own pace with six 8-week terms each year.
#4 Stephen F. Austin State University
Annual Tuition: $23,398
Median Salary: $82,500
Locations: Nacogdoches (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Opened in 1923, Stephen F. Austin State University is one of the only universities in Texas not affiliated with a Texas university system. Its main campus is located in Nacogdoches. The institution offers a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences with an emphasis in human development & family studies. Students gain in-depth knowledge about the growth and development of children, from adolescence to young adulthood. The program covers subjects such as infant development and sexuality within the family. The program can be taken online, but a 200-hour practicum is required. Online students can take advantage of on-campus activities related to the program, such as speaker series, field trips, and volunteering. A maximum of 66 credits from a community, junior, or four-year college can be transferred toward the degree.
#5 New Mexico State University
Annual Tuition: $11,073
Median Salary: $75,800
Locations: Las Cruces (NM)
New Mexico State University's main campus is located in Las Cruces, and the institution has four additional branch campuses. The school offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences. Students learn how social and economic factors affect the family and gain an in-depth understanding of communication, growth, family dynamics, parenting strategies, and more. Students should plan to spend 7 to 10 hours per week on coursework. A total of 120 credits are required for the degree, and it can be completed in four to six years. Material is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system.
#6 West Virginia University
Annual Tuition: $10,380
Median Salary: $74,800
Locations: Morgantown (WV)
The online Bachelor of Science in Child Development and Family Studies at West Virginia University is available with specializations in Pre-school Education Birth-5 (with Pre-K Certification) and Child Development (Non-Certification). The curriculum focuses on advocacy and leadership in early childhood education. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of both the physical and socio-emotional growth process of infants and young children. All coursework in the program can be completed online, except CPR/first aid and three field experiences, which can be done at a location close to the student’s home. The program has 40 courses and requires 120 credits to complete. Students in the Pre-School Education concentration have the option of obtaining pre-K certification in West Virginia. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system and includes audio and video material, virtual classrooms, web-based learning, and more. Applicants must submit high school (if fewer than 20 credits are transferred) and post-secondary transcripts, and they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Distance learners at WVU have access to technical assistance and online tutorials. Some first-year students are eligible for individual tutoring, academic advising, support with financial aid, and other programs.
#7 Washington State University
Annual Tuition: $11,550
Median Salary: $69,600
Locations: Pullman (WA)
Washington State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences with 12 different concentrations, including one in Human Development. Students learn how to communicate more effectively, be more culturally aware, and think critically and analyze objectively. The degree is available entirely online. Students must complete 120 credits of coursework to earn the degree. Two plans of study are available; in Plan A, 24 credits are completed in one of the social sciences concentrations, and 15 credits are earned in another discipline. In Plan B, students take nine credits of coursework in each of three different social sciences disciplines, plus 12 credits of electives. There are multiple starts throughout the year. Freshmen applicants must provide transcripts that show completed coursework through at least grade 11, along with the completion of the College Academic Distribution requirements and SAT/ACT scores. There is no minimum GPA, but consideration is given to these scores, the strength of high school coursework, and individual grades. Letters of recommendation are not required but can be submitted. Support services for online learners at WSU include academic advising, tutoring, career counseling, tech support, library services, virtual mentors, and veterans’ services.
#8 University of Alabama
Annual Tuition: $11,250
Median Salary: $68,200
Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Alabama offers an online Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences - Human Development and Family Studies with two concentrations: Child Development Practitioner and Early Child Development. Students gain a comprehensive education about the growth and development of children from birth to age eight. They study the complex relationship between parents and children as well as how children develop physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively. They also learn to design and implement preschool programs. The program is exclusively for students who work in Head Start agencies. A total of 120 credits are required, and students may apply prior work experience toward the degree. The full degree can be completed in eight semesters over four years. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system; learning is generally asynchronous and includes videos, lectures, discussions, and assignments. Applications are accepted year-round, and applicants must have at least five years of experience as a lead teacher. All students must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.0. If students graduated from high school more than four years ago, SAT/ACT scores are not needed. Distance learners have access to technical assistance, tutoring, library resources, and more.
#9 Charter Oak State College
Annual Tuition: $12,570
Median Salary: $65,300
Locations: New Britain (CT)
The Bachelor of Science in General Studies at Charter Oak State College is offered with eight possible concentrations. The concentration in Child and Youth Development is designed for after-school and youth work professionals. It teaches students a variety of skills, including how to implement and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment. Students also learn how to help children develop emotionally and socially and how to establish good working relationships with parents. A total of 36 credits are required, which includes a capstone course. Those who do not have school or work experience must also complete a practicum. Students can receive credit for previously earned credentials. The program can be completed entirely online, and six start dates are available each year. Each online student is assigned an academic counselor, and they have access to library services, tutoring, and career assistance. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency, and nine college-level credits or acceptable scores on standardized proficiency exams. Transcripts from all previous academic work must be submitted. Those with a GPA lower than 2.0 are placed on probation; they must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA in the first 12 credits at COSC.
#10 Weber State University
Annual Tuition: $8,340
Median Salary: $62,300
Locations: Ogden (UT)
The Bachelor of Integrated Studies at Weber State University is an interdisciplinary degree that allows students to receive a general education while at the same time choosing subjects for a specific career trajectory. They select three areas out of seven, one of which is Child and Family Studies. All three are brought together at the end of the program in a final capstone project. Students in the Child and Family Studies minor learn to create environments that foster the healthy and prosperous development of families and children across the lifespan. A total of 120 credits are required for the degree, with 18 in each minor. Courses are held at the university’s campus in Ogden and at locations in Davis County. The degree is also available online, although some electives may not be offered to remote students. Online coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system. Academic advising is open to all students at WSU. Students applying as first-year students must submit high school transcripts or GED documentation. ACT/SAT scores are not a requirement, but they help to determine placement for English and math classes. Transfer students are those who have at least 30 credits of prior coursework.
#11 University of Wyoming
Annual Tuition: $10,500
Median Salary: $60,400
Locations: Laramie (WY)
The online Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Wyoming is available with five concentrations, including one in Professional Child Development. The program curriculum examines how the basic elements of human life — food, clothing, shelter, relationships, and family — function in large, complex societal systems. Students learn about nutrition, family relationships, intimacy, adolescence, directing preschool programs, and how to help families with children who have special needs. A total of 120 credits are required, including core university courses, departmental core requirements, and courses in the concentration. The major can be completed in six semesters over two years. All students are assigned an advisor who works with them throughout the program. Applicants must submit all transcripts from prior education; those applying as first-year students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and an ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 980. They should also have at least 19 high school credits that count toward a pre-college curriculum. Transfer students — those with at least 30 transferrable credits — must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.0. Exceptions can be made, but applicants must send a request in writing.
#12 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Annual Tuition: $10,061
Median Salary: $52,600
Locations: Greensboro (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
A fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies is available at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The program is designed for those who have already earned an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood from a North Carolina community college. The curriculum incorporates a study of early childhood special education into the study of social and behavioral science. Coursework covers areas such as infant and child development, social and emotional competence, and family diversity. Students can choose from two concentrations: Birth Through Kindergarten Licensure and Early Care and Education. Online learning at UNCG is mostly asynchronous, but some courses are synchronous; they are usually held in the evening or during lunch. There are start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Distance learners have access to academic advising, career assistance, counseling, math and writing assistance, veteran services, tutoring, and more. Transfer students should submit transcripts from post-secondary education and have an overall minimum GPA of 2.7. First-year students at UNCG must complete general course requirements before being accepted for the major. Students living outside of North Carolina can enroll in the program, but may not qualify for licensure in their state of residence.
#13 Eastern Kentucky University
Annual Tuition: $12,270
Median Salary: $52,400
Locations: Richmond (KY)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies at Eastern Kentucky University is offered with a concentration in Child Development. The program covers aspects of psychology, sociology, and early childhood development to prepare students for careers in human development and family services. Two practicum experiences are included in the curriculum. Admission to this concentration requires 45 credits of preliminary coursework with an overall minimum GPA of 2.7/ACT 18 or a GPA of 3.0/ACT 17. Additionally, EKU offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Family Psychology. Students in this program learn how cognitive, social, psychological, historical, and biological factors affect the development of children, adolescents, and adults. These 120-credit degrees are available entirely online and feature accelerated eight-week terms and multiple start dates. At least 30 credits must be completed at EKU. Learning is generally asynchronous and done via the Blackboard online learning management system. Those applying to EKU with fewer than 24 transferrable credits must submit high school transcripts and ACT/SAT scores as well as transcripts for previously earned college credits. Distance learners at the university have access to free online tutoring, library services, and career counseling services.
#14 Eastern Washington University
Annual Tuition: $24,073
Median Salary: $56,900
Locations: Cheney (WA)
The Bachelor of Arts in Children’s Studies at Eastern Washington University combines coursework from various departments at the institution such as education, geography, social work, and psychology. It provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the growth and development of children from birth to 18. Students can choose from two online options: Child Life and Health, and Child Services. The degree is available as both an on-campus and an online program. Depending on the concentration, students must complete 24 to 32 credits of coursework along with a 160-hour internship. Online learning is asynchronous, and coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. Applicants to the program must have a high school diploma and must have completed two years of a single foreign language at the high school level or one year at the college level. Incoming first-year students may submit standardized test scores, a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, evidence of rigorous high school coursework, or proof of successful completion of college-level coursework. High school and/or college transcripts should be submitted. Online students at EWU can receive counseling and career support services.
#15 SUNY Empire State College
Annual Tuition: $10,943
Median Salary: $50,900
Locations: Saratoga Springs (NY)
SUNY Empire State College offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a concentration in Child Development. Both are offered as online degree programs. The disciplines of psychology, human biology, and anthropology are integrated to give students an in-depth knowledge and understanding of human behavior, how people develop and grow at various stages of life, cultural similarities and differences, and issues related to health and mental health. Coursework covers research methods, the biology of the brain, cognitive development, parenting, and adolescent development. A total of 124 credits are required to complete each degree. Online learning is asynchronous and includes assignments, discussions, emails, audio and video material, lectures, and more. Students can choose to study part-time or full-time, and they have 24/7 access to coursework. Technical support, along with career services, academic support, tutoring, writing assistance, and library services are available to online students. Applicants to SUNY ESC must submit proof of high school completion and an essay that demonstrates their ability to pursue college-level work. Transcripts from all institutions listed on the application must also be provided.
#16 Roosevelt University
Annual Tuition: $30,876
Median Salary: $58,100
Locations: Chicago (IL)
The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Roosevelt University is available with a concentration in Child and Family Studies. The program focuses on human behavior, how psychologists assist those with various disorders, and the research and experimental foundations of psychology. The concentration takes an interdisciplinary approach and covers schooling, parenting, and the place children occupy in today’s society. A 72-hour field experience is included in the curriculum, where students work directly with children in their community. The major — available online — is comprised of 12 courses, and 120 total credits are required to complete the degree. Students can start the program in the fall, spring, or summer term. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system, and learning is asynchronous. Those applying as first-year students should self-report their cumulative high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores; official documents do not have to be submitted unless requested. After the application is reviewed, a personal statement, essays, or letters of recommendation may be requested. Transfer students — those with 15 or more transferrable credits — must submit official transcripts from high school and all post-secondary coursework. Distance learners at RU have access to technical support, counseling, and career development.
#17 South Dakota State University
Annual Tuition: $10,537
Median Salary: $49,200
Locations: Brookings (SD)
The online Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies at South Dakota State University focuses on development across the lifespan within the family, as well as in communities and society in general. Coursework covers areas such as parenting, family resiliency, development of human sexuality, and human development as it relates to children, adolescents, and adults. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree. Online coursework at SDSU is delivered via Desire2Learn, and students have access to video tutorials and instructions about how to use the learning system. First-year applicants to the program must have an overall minimum high school GPA of 2.6, an ACT score of 18/SAT score of 950, or be in the top 60 percent of their graduating class. Transfer students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 from post-secondary education. They should submit high school and college transcripts as well as SAT/ACT scores. Distance learners at SDSU have access to academic advising, career services, library services, technical support, and more. Graduates of the program can pursue careers in youth organizations, family and senior centers, residential treatment centers, social service agencies, and more.
#18 Fort Hays State University
Annual Tuition: $6,560
Median Salary: $47,600
Locations: Hays (KS)
Fort Hays State University offers an online Bachelor of General Studies with 19 different concentrations, including one in Child Development. The concentration provides those who are or plan to be early child care providers with a comprehensive education regarding the growth and development of young children. Coursework covers areas such as children’s literature, instructive technology, programs and procedures in special education, and how to implement and operate an effective classroom. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the BGS, with 21 in the concentration. At least 30 credits must be earned at FHSU. No modern language or math courses are required. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard online learning management system, and learning is generally asynchronous. Course syllabi, assignments, audio and video materials, email, discussion boards, and more are managed by this system. Applicants entering the university as first-year students must submit SAT/ACT scores. Those who have an associate degree or 45 transferrable credits are eligible to enter as transfer students. New students can schedule a virtual tour of the university with an admissions counselor and academic department faculty member. Distance learners have access to academic counseling, technical support, the university bookstore, writing assistance, and more.
#19 Liberty University
Annual Tuition: $11,700
Median Salary: $49,200
Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The Bachelor of Science at Liberty University is offered with an emphasis in Developmental Psychology. The program integrates current science, research, and biblical principles to prepare students for careers in casework, counseling, or ministry. Students learn about the most recent theories and research regarding brain function and environment, and how they affect child development. The concentration covers the psychology of childhood, social psychology, and psychology as it relates to the Bible. The program is available entirely online. Online learning at LU is generally asynchronous, and courses are provided in a convenient eight-week format. The Blackboard online learning management system is used to deliver coursework, through which students receive and submit assignments, take tests and exams, share in discussions, check grades, and interact with other students as well as instructors. Start dates are in the fall, spring, and summer. Most students finish the program in less than four years; up to 90 credits can be transferred and applied toward the 120-credit degree. Online students have access to academic support, tutoring, library services, writing assistance, career counseling, and live webinars. Applicants must submit a high school self-certification form and (if applicable) transcripts from post-secondary school institutions. An overall minimum GPA of 2.0 is required.
#20 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
Annual Tuition: $27,538
Median Salary: $53,900
Locations: Stillwater (OK)
Oklahoma State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences with an emphasis in Early Child Care and Development. The program focuses on ethics and guidelines that relate to early child care, and also explores classroom management and administration of early childhood programs. The curriculum includes practicum experiences that give students hands-on experience in real-world settings and environments. At some point before the first practicum, students must become certified in first aid/CPR. The 120-credit program is available entirely online. Courses are semester-based; students can study at their own pace but must meet assignment deadlines. Both part-time and full-time study options are available. Admission is a two-step process; students must first be admitted to OSU, and after completing 30 hours of coursework and other requirements, they can be admitted to the program. Students with at least seven semesters of prior college coursework can enter the university as transfer students. Those applying as first-year students must submit official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores. An essay is not required but may be submitted along with other documentation. Support services for distance learners at OSU include academic advising, bookstore access, career counseling, library services, technical support, and more.
#21 Appalachian State University
Annual Tuition: $19,305
Median Salary: $50,500
Locations: Boone (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Students enrolled in Appalachian State University’s Bachelor of Science in Child Development: Birth-Kindergarten learn both didactically and from a real-world practicum. Coursework covers areas such as teaching and learning in the digital age; application of psychology in teaching; education policies and practices; curricula for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners; and family and child interaction. The program is part-time — students take six to eight hours per semester, year-round — and the program is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous courses, as some courses require hours in a public school. Students can complete the degree in seven semesters plus one semester of student teaching. A total of 120 credits are needed to complete the degree, 63 of which can be earned at ASU. First-year students or those with fewer than 30 transferrable credits are not eligible for this program. Transferred credits cannot be from courses taken more than ten years prior to application. Students transferring into ASU for this program must submit official college transcripts. Distance learners receive academic and technical support, and some students are eligible for additional one-on-one assistance, tutoring, and workshops during their first year of study.
#22 New England College
Annual Tuition: $12,150
Median Salary: $47,500
Locations: Henniker (NH)
New England College’s liberal arts foundation combined with a study of psychology gives students a well-rounded education in the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. The curriculum focuses on social, abnormal, and forensic psychology, and students learn about aggression, prejudice, and social interaction. The program is available with three concentrations, one of which is Developmental Psychology. Students in this concentration gain an in-depth understanding of human development across the lifespan. Graduates of the program can pursue graduate studies or careers in psychology, counseling, and other related fields. The program is available entirely online. Distance learning at NEC includes audio and video materials, video lectures, podcasts, interactive activities, discussion boards, and chat rooms. Learning is asynchronous, and students interact with one another and with instructors through email and online chats. Students must earn 120 credits to complete the degree. First-year applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and factors for approval include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, an essay, extracurricular activities, work experience, and volunteer work. Distance learners at NEC have access to career counseling, technical assistance, academic support, life counseling, mentoring, tutoring, and veteran services.
#23 Arkansas Tech University
Annual Tuition: $13,920
Median Salary: $47,400
Locations: Russellville (AR)
The Bachelor of Professional Studies at Arkansas Tech University is available with eight concentrations, one of which is Child Development. The program helps students develop skills and strategies in leadership, critical thinking, organization, problem-solving, written communication, and public presentation. The degree is offered online; students complete the hours necessary when it is convenient for them but within the framework of a schedule worked out with academic advisors. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system. Distance learners at ATU can take advantage of free tutoring, tech support, academic support, financial planning, and other services. Those applying as first-year students must have acceptable SAT/ACT scores, and high school transcripts must be submitted. Applicants should have a minimum of 22 earned core course credits from high school. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from post-secondary school education; those with fewer than 24 transferrable credits must also submit high school transcripts. They must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.0.
#24 Bay Path University
Annual Tuition: $12,000
Median Salary: $46,600
Locations: Longmeadow (MA) (and 1 other)
The American Women’s College at Bay Path University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with six different majors, including Child Psychology. Students in this major learn how children develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and socially. They also learn how parents, the educational system, and family dynamics influence child development. Online learning in the program is done both individually and in small groups. Various education media resources are provided, and students receive and must complete assignments by specific deadlines. Learning is generally asynchronous. Accelerated six-week sessions begin six times a year — in September, November, January, February, April, and June. Many students complete the program in 3.5 years or less. A total of 126 credits are required to complete the degree, and students can transfer up to 90 credits. Prospective students must fill out an application, have an interview either in person or by telephone, and submit official transcripts. Through the American Women’s College, online students have access to technical support, career development, veteran services, tutoring, financial services, online learning support, and more.
#25 Mary Baldwin University
Annual Tuition: $15,180
Median Salary: $44,600
Locations: Staunton (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Mary Baldwin University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Both degrees are available online and allow students to choose from five areas of emphases, including Child Psychology. This program focus provides students with both academic learning and hands-on experience, helping them to develop and apply a scientific understanding of the mind and human behavior. Graduates of the program can pursue an elementary teaching license, a career in child care, or pursue graduate studies in various fields of psychology. A total of 120 credits are required to complete the degree, and at least 36 must be earned at MBU. Transfer students to the online program must have an average grade of C-, and transfer courses must be reasonably comparable to the curriculum at Mary Baldwin University. Those with a transferrable degree from the Virginia Community College System and an overall minimum GPA of 2.5 may qualify for automatic admission. Students can also earn credits through the CLEP exam or prior work experience, volunteer work, or military service. Services for distance learners at MBU include academic support, writing assistance, tutoring, and tech support.
Online Child Development Degree Overview & Career Information
Online child development training can take anywhere from one to eight years, depending on the level of education desired. Degree programs in child development are available at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Common courses in these degree programs include brain and behavior, cognitive psychology, human memory, childhood and adolescent development, and human sexuality. Graduates at the bachelor's level and higher can go on to become child advocates, social workers, teachers, and social services managers.
Prospective educators will learn a variety of hands-on techniques that will help them monitor, teach, and design positive learning environments for children. Most programs require at least one internship in a related field. In addition, educators must gain certification in the state in which they teach. They must also complete additional units each year. While graduates fresh out of high school can find positions in after school programs, those who choose to earn an advanced degree will have many more opportunities to choose from in the child development field.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Child Development
An online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in child development provides students with an understanding of the mental and behavioral development of children; it is often used as a stepping stone in the process of earning a master's degree.
Applicants to online child development bachelor's programs must have a high school education or GED. They will need to provide transcripts from high school and from any college courses they have already taken. Some schools may require SAT or ACT scores and/or personal statements. Online bachelor's degrees generally take four years to complete.
The undergraduate child psychology curriculum contains a broad overview of the major facets of child development. Students study the developmental, behavioral, and learning disorders that can affect children at various stages in their lives, and they learn how a child's social or cultural environment affects his or her development. In addition to a foundation in psychology, bachelor's degree students also take courses in English, history, math, science, foreign languages, and other humanities areas before narrowing their focus during the last two years of the program. Many child psychology programs require students to complete an internship in a setting where they can observe child behavior, such as in a school or day-care setting.
An online child development bachelor's degree is quite flexible and will prepare students for many different career paths. Graduates may find themselves working in fields such as teaching, social work, child psychology, family counseling, and administrative positions within educational institutions. Other graduates work as social and human services assistants or go on to earn master's degrees in counseling.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Child Development Degree
While it is important to ensure that a school has earned institutional accreditation from a respected regional or national agency, those interested in a career in psychology should also verify that their degree programs of choice have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes the APA as the accrediting authority for schools offering training in psychology. The American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA) endorses programs in professional psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, and combined professional-scientific psychology. In the same way that institutional accreditation reflects the quality of the school, programmatic accreditation from the APA helps to ensure that postsecondary psychology degree programs conform to national educational standards.
Child Development Credentials and Licensure
The Council for Professional Recognition administers the Child Development Associate (CDA), a credentialing program for those interesting in working with children as educators. Some states require CDA credentials to work as early childhood educators. Regardless of whether a state requires it, earning a CDA credential is good preparation for a career in early childhood education.
There are four key components to gaining CDA certification.
To begin, students must earn their high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old.
A considerable amount of experience is also necessary, including 120 hours of approved childcare preparation, with specific focus on child development and learning, professionalism, creating safe learning environments, effective family relationship techniques, and how to observe child behavior.
Students also need at least 480 hours of practice in either an educational or childcare-related field. Both the directed instruction and the prior experience must have been within the last five years.
Once eligible, potential candidates can order the CDA packet that is precise to their specific area of study.
The CDA credential needs to be renewed every three years.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation is another credential available to those working with children. It is designed for those working with kids from birth through eight years old, and it is a highly respected and thorough accreditation process. The NAEYC focuses on improving educator resources and early childcare centers across America.
Child Development Careers
There are a variety of careers paths open to graduates of online child development programs. Work environments include public and private schools, day care centers, preschools, and churches. While positions vary, people who work in this field are often on their feet all day, bending and lifting, as well as observing, reading to, and playing with small children. Those with advanced degrees may go on to work as psychologists or conduct research among other options.
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