Top 10 Online Child Development Degree Programs


Child development degree programs are a great way to pursue a career educating and caring for children during their earliest phases of development. These programs provide a solid foundation to professionals who need robust classes, flexible schedules, and a promising job search after their online education has ended.

Featured Accredited Child Development Programs




Ranking the Top Online Child Development Degree Programs

There are ten great options for online child development degree learners, each with their own set of unique benefits.


  • Number of unique features of program (1/2): the number of unique features, including but not limited to top financial aid, time-until-degree accelerated, specializations, and practicums.
  • Affordability (1/2): the total program cost as calculated from the estimated out-of-state tuition per credit hour rate.

10. Ashford University

Ashford is a primarily online institution based in Iowa, though the company behind the degree programs does operate an increasingly popular physical campus in that state. Learners who choose the online program in child development will be part of a four-year bachelor’s degree course of study at one of the largest and best-ranked online institutions in the country. Courses focus on collaboration and individual, hands-on experiences, with each student encouraged to work with children during their time in the program.

With courses that offer an accelerated format, as well as courses that offer great collaboration and video instruction possibilities, Ashford is a great choice for those interested in the field.

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9. North Dakota State University

NDSU’s unique child development program is designed for those who wish to interact with early learners, though the degree’s actual name is called human development instead of “child development.” Students will learn not only how to educate and communicate with young learners in a Head Start or pre-school environment, but also how to handle adolescent learners in more challenging environments.

For this reason, the North Dakota State degree is very well-rounded and is perfect for those students who may wish to enter into elementary, middle grades, or even secondary education at a later date. The university also benefits from highly affordable in-state tuition for North Dakota residents.

8. Kaplan University

Kaplan University’s academic standing is undoubtedly one of is biggest benefits, with the school enjoying one of the highest “academic rigor” rankings of any online institution in recent U.S. News and World Report surveys. The university offers its online courses to child development professionals who are particularly interested in creative curriculum planning and instruction ideas. In fact, the degree is heavy on curriculum development courses and the teaching of new ideas for interacting with children via traditional and technological meals.

Best of all, Kaplan’s courses offer accelerated formats that can help students earn their associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in a far shorter period of time than most traditional campuses.

>>>Click here to request your free Kaplan University information<<<

7. Vanguard University

Designed to be an accelerated program from day one, the classes taught as part of Vanguard’s child development degree are all delivered in an eight-week format. This format helps learners complete the degree in a record amount of time, all while engaging in active discussions and courses that are approved by Head Start and designed to coincide with the most stringent state-by-state pre-school regulations.

6. University of La Verne

The University of La Verne, based in California, offers an entirely online child development program to learners. Those who live near the campus can opt to attend some classes in person while taking others offline, as the university proudly touts that the courses it offers to online learner are exactly identical to its on-campus offerings. The degree focuses primarily on recognizing milestones and developing curriculum that best suits each age group of early learners.

The college’s tuition costs are affordable for both online and offline students, and its ability to effortlessly combine online collaboration in face-to-face instruction is unique among universities offering online child development courses.

5. Post University

Based in Connecticut, the very small Post University has been serving students since 1890. The university’s child development degree can be completed entirely online, despite the college’s more traditional nature, and learners will have the ability to combine their instruction with access to real world internships and experiences among the age group that they will soon be educating on a daily basis.

With a number of great amenities, collaborative online learning experiences, and access to the campus’ own instructors, students will enjoy this relatively prestigious online learning experience at a pace that works with existing careers and daily routines.

4. Walden University

The program at Walden University is unique in that it focuses on child development from birth until age 19. That’s a very broad program, and it offers a commitment to child development that isn’t often found at other online universities. The program is designed to teach learners about key developmental milestones and the differences in cognition that align with various age groups during development. Though the program is not designed to produce licensed instructors, it can be used toward that goal through a separate program at Walden University, That program, too, is available online.

Walden has been around for a long time, and the university’s commitment to online learning and student enrichment is real. The school consistently ranks well in major reports, outranking even some traditional university campuses across the country. Its large network of alumni makes it a great option for those who want real world job connections after graduation.

3. Rasmussen College

Earning a child development degree online at Rasmussen College is a pretty intense experience, with students required to complete a minimum of 540 hours of service at nearby institution that aligns with their curriculum. Full-time online learners will need to find either a traditional job or an internship with a nearby elementary school or pre-school facility in order to obtain their degree.

Each course taught as part of the college’s child development degree program has been verified and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which is easily the leading body on child development education and teacher preparedness for very young learners.

2. Foothill College

At Foothill College, child development courses are offered as part of a two-year associate’ degree. Even so, the college gives students all of the course and information that they need to be eligible for entry-level professional opportunities in pre-school settings, Head Start programs, home instruction opportunities, and more. The courses taken at the school are designed to easily transfer to either an online or offline four-year program, where learners can further enhance their knowledge and professional marketability.

As part of the associate’s degree program, students are asked to complete and internship and to develop real world experience in childhood education and developmental nurturing. That helps to prepare students for their work, as well as to give them a great network of local contacts and professionals who can help them as they seek a more permanent position.

1. West Virginia University

WVU has always had one of the best and most accessible online degree programs of any major state university in the country, and child development is no exception. The university’s program is designed to produce child development professions who are considered Title I paraprofessionals. Additionally, they’ll be certified and qualified to teach within Head Start programs and private pre-school facilities throughout the country.

Online collaboration is not just encouraged, but required of online students by the university. WVU’s full amenities are offered to students, and they can opt to switch to on-campus classes at any time during their enrollment. Combined with the university’s excellent academic reputation, large student body, and even larger network of alums, there is no better program for online students.

Great Programs for Child Development Online Learners

Child development careers are growing at a rapid clip, with a full 20 percent job growth expected between 2010 and 2020. As government agencies begin to focus on early childhood education and Head Start programs as a way to end the country’s poor academic rankings, this growth is likely only to accelerate further. The programs mentioned here will give graduates a great way to hit the ground running as this job growth continues.