Online Certificate Programs in Early Childhood Education

Research online early childhood education certificate programs. Find out what you can learn in these programs and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in early childhood education are available in fully online or hybrid formats and may include an in-person field experience. Online coursework may require specific computer audio and video hardware.

These programs are designed to provide students with the education and training to meet state licensure requirements to work as preschool teachers. These requirements can vary by state, but typically include specified education or training, background check and immunization records.

Online Certificate Program in Early Childhood Education

Online undergraduate certificate programs in early childhood education prepare graduates to work with children in various settings, including child care centers, preschools, public schools and Head Start programs. Students develop an understanding of the needs of young children and the factors impacting their learning development. Early childhood education programs emphasize respecting cultural diversity and working with families, as well as exploring the ethical guidelines pertaining to working with young children. Focus is also often placed on the latest trends in early childhood education. Students also develop critical documentation, communication, curriculum development and classroom teaching skills.

Program Information and Requirements

Online early childhood education certificate programs can vary greatly in length, from approximately 20 to 60 credits. Many programs are offered in hybrid formats, requiring students to visit campus for certain portions of the program. In fact, students may be required to complete field experiences in order to gain hands-on experience. While students in some online courses can view material at their convenience, some programs are not self-paced, requiring students to follow a weekly calendar.

Using course management software, such as Blackboard, students can view class materials, interact with their instructors and access online tutoring services and writing assistance. Computer requirements include an operating system such as Windows XP or Vista, a high-speed DSL or cable Internet connection and audio capabilities.

Common Coursework

A certificate-level early childhood education curriculum focuses on applied practices and education theory. Courses cover many aspects of childhood education, from psychological development to nutrition.

Child Development

A child development course explores the cognitive, emotional and physical growth of children. Students learn to develop observational skills, and they explore how various forms of child growth are interrelated.

Health, Safety and Nutrition

General guidelines for healthy eating and safe activity are covered in this course. Students explore preventative techniques, activity planning and health promotion.

Family and Culture

This course prepares students to work with children of various cultural and family backgrounds. Topics covered may include the social issues impacting child behavior, parent-teacher communication and various socioeconomic backgrounds.


Career Information for Graduates

Employment opportunities for graduates of online certificate programs in early childhood education include family child care provider, Head Start teacher, teacher's assistant and preschool teacher. Many programs meet standards set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children to teach early childhood education. Credits earned as part of an online early childhood education certificate program can typically be applied towards an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Online and hybrid certificate programs in early childhood education often require in-person field experiences and prepare students to meet state licensure requirements for working as a preschool teacher. Courses include topics related to child development, health, and culture.


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