Overview

A master’s degree in child development will prepare students for many different roles in the field of education. Graduates with their master’s often make a career of teaching, but they are also well-positioned to become counselors and administrators. This degree focuses on learning about how children function mentally and physically, and it allows graduate students to gain a deeper understanding of how to best create nurturing environments for the children in their care.

Students can expect courses that teach them to better understand both how children grow and how they learn. Courses will cover material such as social perspectives of early childhood, cognition, language, and play, and physical growth and development. While many teachers focus on their specific subject, educators with a master’s in child development will have an additional understanding of aspects of childhood such as how the brain works and how health can impact development in and out of the classroom. Because of this training, degree holders gain an important perspective on childhood. This gives child development professionals the tools to better facilitate learning.

Degree holders can work in many different fields. They often become teachers or educators, but can also become program coordinators, social workers, and child specialists.

Most schools will accept online degrees. Many highly respected programs now offer their degrees online.

Yes. The key is to find an accredited program that suits your specific scheduling needs.

Most students will graduate with their master’s in child development in 2 or 3 years. The timeline is most affected by whether a student is full or part-time.

A master’s degree in child development trains teachers to better understand the children they teach. This allows professionals to create a more understanding teaching environment, which can be immensely rewarding for both teachers and students.

While careers in education don’t often have high starting salaries, most will agree that the field is essential. Teachers with an advanced understand of how children develop are in a greater position to impact these children in positive, life-changing ways. In addition to being rewarding work, achieving a master’s degree in child development will make graduates more competitive for jobs with higher salaries and greater growth potential.

For more more resources and career information related to this degree, please read our career guide here.

Best Online Masters in Child Development Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Child Development program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 11 best online Child Development programs.

Read about our methodology here.
School Type
Public
Tuition
$711 per credit
Best Learning Paths

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities offers an early childhood development program for students who want to earn their master's degree, giving them three specialized learning paths to choose from. Graduate students can choose to specialize their education in child life, individualized studies or infant and early childhood mental health, enhancing their skills in an area where it benefits them the most.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education and Human Development
Program Name: Master of Arts in Applied Child and Adolescent Development
Available Specialized Tracks: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, Child Life, Individualized Studies
Accrediting Body: PELSB

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree or equivalent
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Field Education Requirements: Child Life: 600 hour clinical internship

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: January 15, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

178 Pillsbury Dr SE

Minneapolis, MN 55455

612-626-9252

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $323 per credit; Out-of-state: $935 per credit
Best Student Support

Online students in the master's in early childhood development program benefit from the same student support services that on-campus students enjoy. Distance learners have access to academic advisers to help them progress through the program, including library services and other resources to help them successfully complete the coursework.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Education and Human Sciences
Program Name: MS in Child, Youth and Family Studies
Concentration: Youth Development
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: April 15; Spring: October 15; Summer: January 15

Address:

135 Mabel Lee Hall

Lincoln , NE 68588

402-472-2875

School Type
Public
Tuition
$580 per credit
Best in Career Training

The University of Missouri's online master's in early childhood development program develops the students' skills to advance their careers in many areas of youth education. The coursework covers numerous topics, from youth and family cultural issues to policy development for optimal youth outcomes, preparing graduates for careers in nonprofit organizations, 4-H, boys' and girl's clubs and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: College of Human Environmental Sciences
Program Name: Master of Arts in Human Development and Family Science
Available Concentrations: Youth Development
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous, Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall: August; Spring: January; Summer: June 1

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 15; Spring: November 15; Summer: April 15
GPA: 3.0

Address:

106 Gwynn Hall

Columbia, MO 65211

573-882-6424

School Type
Public
Tuition
In-state: $255 per credit; Out-of-state: $928 per credit
Most Innovative

Distance learners who want an on-line synchronous learning environment when earning a degree online should consider the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The master's in early childhood education program is delivered in a synchronous format so that students can log in at predetermined times to interact with fellow students, and to learn and be mentored by experienced faculty members.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Education and Human Development & Family Studies
Program Name: Master of Education in Birth-Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education and Development
Available Concentrations: Early Childhood Leadership & Program Administration, Early Childhood Leadership & Advanced Teaching Licensure
Accrediting Body: CAEP

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 37 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time or Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: February 1
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Catherine Scott-Little

Admissions Contact

Address:

1300 Spring Garden St

Greensboro, NC 27412

919-966-2611

School Type
Public
Tuition
$295 per credit
Best Financial Support

Students who want to earn their master's degree in early childhood development without taking on a huge financial burden should consider Missouri State University-Springfield. With loans, grants, scholarships and assistantships available, students have numerous financial options to help them achieve their goals.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: June 10, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Contact:

Dr. Joan E. Test

Admissions Contact

Address:

901 S National

Springfield, MO 65897

417-836-8918

School Type
Public
Tuition
$473 per credit
Most Military Friendly

The University of Southern Mississippi recognizes service members and offers numerous benefits for those who are pursuing their master's degree in early childhood development. This program is ideal for student-veterans and their families, providing affordable tuition, flexible scheduling and various scholarship opportunities to assist with their education.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Child and Family Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Child and Family Studies
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 37 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: June 30
GPA: 2.75

Address:

118 College Drive #5035

Hattiesburg, MS 39406

601-266-4679

School Type
Private
Tuition
$660 per credit
Most Customized

The University of La Verne offers a customizable master's degree program for students who have different needs and career goals. Students in the early childhood development program can choose between on-campus, online or hybrid courses and align the classes to suit their schedules.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: LaFetra College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Child Development
Accrediting Body: WASC

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 33 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program start dates: 2 years

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Christy Ranells

Admissions Contact

Address:

2118 D St

La Verne, CA 91750

909-593-3511

School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,164 per credit
Most Accelerated

Chicago School of Professional Psychology is the ideal choice for teachers who want to earn their master's degree in early childhood development without spending years in school. Students who commit to a full-time schedule can complete the program and earn their degree in about one year.


Program OverviewProgram Name: M.A. in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Child and Adolescent
Accrediting Body: WSCUC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 1-2 years
Program start dates: Fall 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: April 15, 2019
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: 2 or more years of post-Baccalaureate work experience

Address:

203 N LaSalle, Suite 1900

Chicago, IL 60601

800-721-8072

School Type
Private
Tuition
$627 per credit
Best in Distance Education

Southern New Hampshire University excels at distance education, delivering an exceptional master's in early childhood development program for online students. Students in this program benefit from 24/7 access, flexible scheduling, a nationwide alumni network and no GRE or GMAT requirements for admission.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Science in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Child and Adolescent Development Psychology
Accrediting Body: NEASC

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: BA/BS in Psychology or a Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 15 months
Program start dates: March 11, 2019

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: March 9, 2019
GPA: 2.75

Address:

2500 N River Rd

Manchester, NH 3106

855-877-9919

School Type
Private
Tuition
$2,502 per course
Best Hands-On Training

Northcentral University provides students with a nonclinical internship opportunity to give them hands-on training and experience in the field. This internship consists of 100 hours and enhances the students' skills and knowledge for delivering greater education in their classrooms.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Social Behavioral Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Child and Adolescent Developmental Psychology
Accrediting Body: WSCUC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited academic institution
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 20 months

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

2488 Historic Decatur Rd, Suite 100

San Diego, CA 92106

866-776-0331

School Type
For-profit
Tuition
$485 per credit
Best Value

Capella University offers exceptional value in terms of learning formats, flexible scheduling and tuition costs. Capella tailors the learning and tuition formats to suit the individual student's needs and goals and prepares them for career advancement with a thorough master's in early childhood development program.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Harold Abel School of Psychology
Program Name: Master of Science in Psychology
Available Concentrations: Child and Adolescent Development
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 55 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: March 4, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.3

Address:

225 S 6th St, 9th Fl

Minneapolis, MN 55402

888-227-3552