Accredited Online Early Childhood Education Schools and Degree Programs

One of the easiest ways to ensure that the online early childhood education degree program you choose will provide a top-notch education is to find out if it is accredited. Students considering enrolling in an online or campus-based program will benefit from the research we have compiled here in our guide. For even more information on the best early childhood education degrees, review our comprehensive database of relevant programs.

  • Accreditation Agencies
  • Career Options
  • Notable Schools

Accreditation Agencies

A couple of organizations offer accreditation for early childhood education programs. Distinct from institutional accreditation, program accreditation provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children certifies that the program’s curriculum and other resources enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the field.

Career Options

A degree in early childhood education offers a variety of employment opportunities. Below are some of the most common positions filled by graduates with early childhood education degrees.

Childcare Worker 1,312,700 $9.38 $19,510
Preschool Teacher 438,200 $13.04 $27,130
Preschool and Childcare Center Director 63,800 $21.13 $43,950
Kindergarten & Elementary School Teacher 1,519,700 Salaried $53,090
Special Education 21,770 Salaried $57,770

Figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Notable Schools


Some of the best programs in early childhood education are offering their degrees completely online; associate, bachelor’s and master’s programs can be found. Although each degree in this list is offered online, some programs may have nominal on-campus requirements, so you should check with each school for details.

Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Preparing early childhood education leaders to “design appropriate experiences for young children,” Capella’s highly-regarded Master’s in Early Childhood Education program offers a comprehensive education entirely online. Accredited through the NCATE, Capella has been nationally recognized by the NAEYC as meeting their professional preparation standards, which include using developmentally effective approaches and content knowledge to build curriculum.

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

Nationally recognized by NAEYC and accredited by NCATE, UC’s early childhood education online program offers associate and bachelor’s degrees, both of which focus on birth through pre-K. Founded in 1819, UC is ranked with the top universities in North America. The program’s commitment to fieldwork accommodates its online students by developing on-site mentors and assessments via videotaped recordings, mailed to the campus for faculty review.

Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Walden University’s Master of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education has been recognized as one of the nation’s top online programs. Nationally recognized by the NAEYC and accredited by NCATE, Walden’s program offers great flexibility through its MobileLearn option. Course content, videos, podcasts and other resources can be downloaded anywhere, even onto smartphones, and accessed through Walden’s iTunes U channel.

Campus Only

Some of the nation’s top schools offer associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood education. The institutions and programs in this list may offer online courses and programs, but its early childhood education program is conducted solely on campus.

Indiana University – Bloomington

Bloomington, IN

Nationally recognized by the NAEYC and accredited by NCATE, Indiana University-Bloomington’s early childhood education program is offered by one of the top-ranked elementary education institutions in the country. Bachelor’s of Science graduates are qualified to obtain licenses from infant through grade three. The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, as well as the Center for Human Growth, give students the opportunity to engage and learn from cutting edge applied research. Unique outreach programs geared toward art and science allow students the chance to put the skills they learn in the classroom to work in the real world.

University of Maryland – College Park

College Park, MD

The education department at the University of Maryland-College Park, is one of the highest ranked schools in the country, in no small part due to its focus on the following specialties: counseling and personnel services, educational psychology and early childhood education. Accredited by NCATE and nationally recognized by NAEYC, UM’s early childhood education pre-professional program offers a comprehensive bachelor’s degree on campus at its College Park location.

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University is consistently one of the highest ranked schools for elementary education. Accredited by the NCATE and nationally recognized by the NAEYC, Vanderbilt’s early childhood education program is augmented by a variety of educational research labs and centers, including the National Center on School Choice and the National Center on Performance Initiatives. Early childhood education undergraduates can continue their study with a variety of graduate program specialties including Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools and Reading Education.