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How Long Is a Master's in Early Childhood Education Program?

Early childhood education programs are designed to train teachers to work with children in the 0-8 age range. Discover how long a master's program in this field takes to complete and learn about program options.

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Duration of a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education

Master's degree programs in early childhood education vary in length depending upon the actual program chosen and the number of credit hours needed to fulfill degree requirements. Traditional master's degree programs generally take two years to complete if the student attends full-time. It will take longer if a student decides to attend part-time or if a student chooses additional specialty areas of study.

A master's degree program in early childhood education is designed to prepare certified teachers and other applicants interested in entering the field to work with children who are eight years old and younger. Master's degree programs may offer different tracks that focus on various areas of teaching and specific age groups. Most programs require students to complete 30-36 semester hours of coursework.

Possibly Shorter Program Options

It may be possible to earn a master's degree in early childhood education in less than two years by entering an accelerated program. Students may start courses at the beginning of the summer and work through to the end of the following summer. Many accelerated programs offer the bulk of their courses online, making it easier for students to complete a larger number of courses more quickly.

Another option for completing the program in a more convenient fashion is to take it completely online. Students are allowed to work at their own pace on their own schedule, which may allow them to take more classes per learning period. Classes may be taken on campus, online or through a combination of both formats. Programs can be completed in the standard amount of time as a traditional master's degree, but other programs may take somewhat less time to complete than the standard two-year timeframe.

Some institutions offer combined bachelor's and master's programs. These accelerated programs allow students to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years, rather than six.

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