Earning a Master's in Early Childhood Education Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Early Childhood Education Online?

Individuals who enjoy working with children make excellent candidates for a master's in early childhood education online. If you possess enthusiasm and a willingness to help students learn, you can excel in this field. Creative, patient, and dedicated individuals possess the traits to succeed when pursuing an early childhood education master's online.

Obtaining an early childhood education degree online gives students flexibility. They don't need to commute to campus and can complete assignments on their own schedule. They can also study at home, allowing them to save on expenses for room and board.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Early Childhood Education Graduates

Master's in Early Childhood Education Salary

Graduates with an online ECE degree enjoy robust job prospects. Entry-level to late-career positions in locations across the United States offer opportunities for graduates to work as education administrators, at preschool and childcare centers, and as childcare center directors. Demand continues to grow for early childhood educators. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% job growth rate through 2026 for preschool teachers. This growth provides ample opportunity for students seeking an early childhood education degree online.

Top-Paying States for Education Administrators, Preschools, or Childcare Centers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New York 4,480 $70,350
Illinois 2,220 $65,860
New Jersey 1,740 $63,520
Connecticut 730 $61,870
Rhode Island 150 $61,340
United States 49,130 $53,550

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Childcare Center Directors

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $34,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $37,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $38,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $41,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Early Childhood Education Careers

The number of children enrolling in preschool continues to grow, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. An early childhood education degree online from a top program prepares students for careers in public and private education. Graduates can work as teachers in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school and also find positions in special education and grant writing. Job seekers with an online early childhood education degree qualify for jobs as directors or administrators. Below are a few positions available for early childhood educators.

Preschool Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $28,980

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Instructors teach young children basic skills and socialization techniques. They use storytelling and games to strengthen vocabulary and write curriculum that helps child development. Candidates with an online master's degree in early childhood education enjoy additional job opportunities and higher salaries.

Preschool or Childcare Center Director

Annual Median Salary: $46,890

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Directors hire and supervise preschool and childcare center staff. Directors prepare budgets and approve spending. They develop and implement policies and ensure the center meets all regulations. Some states require advanced credentials and degrees, making an online early childhood education master's valuable.

Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $56,900

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

These educators help students develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. They create lesson plans and meet with parents to discuss student progress. Teachers must hold a bachelor's degree, although some states require a master's degree to apply for teacher certification.

Special Education Teacher (Preschool)

Annual Median Salary: $58,980

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

These professionals teach students with emotional and physical handicaps. They assess skills, develop individual lesson plans, and monitor student progress. Special education teachers who wish to work as administrators or principals may find an online ECE degree beneficial.

Instructional Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $63,750

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Coordinators develop and implement curriculum, oversee teacher training, and ensure the school meets all regulations. They analyze test data, review textbooks, and monitor new educational technologies. These administrators often hold a master's degree from a top accredited college or university.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Program?

Courses at top accredited colleges and universities vary depending on concentration. Programs focus on presentation and evaluation skills, research, and curriculum development and implementation. Courses emphasize strategies to help students learn. These online master's in early childhood education programs represent a sample of available offerings.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education

Learning Theory for Individuals with Disabilities

In this class, students in a special education concentration review how cognitive theory impacts student evaluation and curriculum design. The course covers issues in leadership through advocacy, ethics and the rights of students and families, and collaborating with internal and external sources.

Early Childhood Development

This course examines how children develop physically, linguistically, emotionally, and socially. Learners study the cultural influences that affect development and factors that interfere with development. Courses address typical and atypical behaviors and how families play an important role in a child's environment.

Issues and Trends in Early Childhood Development

Coursework in this class examines the latest trends that affect development. Learners evaluate school success metrics, achievement gaps, and demographic changes. Students network to understand how real world issues impact development and share these perspectives with other professionals.

Play in Early Childhood Education

This course highlights how activities promote learning and help children understand their surroundings. Students devise plans for activities that correlate to curriculum and support leaning while at play.

Diversity, Development, and Learning

Individuals explore diversity from language, disability, and cultural viewpoints and examine how family poverty, violence, and stress impact learning. Students examine their biases to understand how families influence children. The class explores research to improve developmental outcomes.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Early Childhood Education Prepares For

Each state sets its own rules for obtaining a teaching license. Some states require early childhood educators to hold a master's degree. Other organizations offer voluntary certifications that attest to the teacher's expertise.

  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: The board offers a voluntary early childhood generalist certification for experienced educators with a teaching degree. Certified educators show they know how to help students learn, use new teaching methods, engage students, and monitor their growth.

  • Child Development Associate Credential: The CDA assesses educators in six competency areas that drive teacher behavior. CDA credential holders can provide emotional support to children and families and maintain a safe and positive learning environment.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations offer credentialing, networking, and business opportunities. Networking events connect professionals who exchange ideas. Seminars keep members current with the latest research and theories. National conventions present speakers at the top of the education profession. Job boards help members find their next advancement opportunities. These organizations help advocate for teachers in early childhood education.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children: NAEYC focuses on policy, early childhood practice, and research. The association offers an accreditation program and connects professionals through conferences and networking events.

  • Association for Childhood Education International: ACEI strives to offer solutions to education problems and provides grants for projects that impact children. The group also offers an innovation exchange for new educational ideas and access to members-only publications.

  • Council for Professional Recognition: The council advocates for early childhood education professionals. It offers the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential that sets minimum competency standards.

  • Council for Exceptional Children: The group's division of early childhood advocates for policies and practices that support child development. The organization offers an annual conference, awards program, and professional development opportunities.

  • HighScope Educational Research Foundation: This research organization focuses on improving educational quality. The group offers curriculum for young students, educational assessments, and professional learning opportunities.

These resources are helpful for recent online early childhood education degree graduates.

  • Teach.org: After obtaining your degree, you must apply for a license in your state. Teach.org lists license and certification requirements and provides information regarding salary, benefits, and career paths.

  • Scholastic: This resource provides materials for children, parents, and teachers. Educators can access lesson plans and a toolkit with books on specific subjects. The site offers learning games for children as well as reading, listening, and writing activities.

  • Education World: This site provides early childhood poems, activities, and teaching themes. The site also helps new teachers understand the hiring process, student assessments, and collaboration. Teachers can access the site for tools and templates for lesson planning.

  • Journal of Early Childhood Research: This international publication presents the latest in childhood research focusing on learning and development. The journal explores fields related to early childhood education.

  • Southwest Educational Development Laboratory: SEDL works to improve teaching and learning through curriculum, reading and literacy, and mathematics. Students can take advantage of free resources covering disability research, improving school performance, and classroom technology.