Top University in Harrisburg, PA, for Early Childhood Education Courses

Students interested in studying early childhood education in Harrisburg, PA have a few schools within 50 miles to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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School and Ranking Information

While only one school located directly in Harrisburg, PA, offers early childhood education studies, students interested in this subject will find several 2- and 4-year institutions in nearby cities. The following schools are considered the top three in the Harrisburg area based on rankings, graduation rates and the number of awards granted in the field of study:

  • Winner: Named to the top spot is Elizabethtown College, which has the highest regional ranking and is located closest to Harrisburg as compared to the other schools discussed here. It awards a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.
  • Runner Up #1: Lebanon Valley College places as the first runner up based on its regional ranking and the number of degrees granted in the field of study. Students can pursue either a bachelor's or master's degree in early childhood education.
  • Runner Up #2: Millersville University of Pennsylvania is in the third spot because it grants the highest number of awards in early childhood education among the schools. It is also the largest school in terms of student enrollment. Students can earn a certificate, bachelor's degree or master's degree in early childhood education.

School Comparison Chart

Category Elizabethtown College Lebanon Valley College Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Ranking(s) #4 Regional Colleges (North)* #6 Regional Colleges (North)* #86 Regional Colleges (North)*
Location Elizabethtown, PA (21 miles) Annville, PA (27.5 miles) Millersville, PA (42 miles)
School Type 4-year, private, not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $36,550** $34,470** $8,600**
Early Childhood Education Levels Offered bachelors bachelors, masters bachelors, masters, and certificate programs
Early Childhood Education Certificates and Degrees Awarded in (2011-2012) 29** 80** 370**
Most Popular Early Childhood Education Program (2011-2012) B.A. Elementary Education and Teaching B.S. Elementary Education and Teaching B.A. Elementary Education and Teaching
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time)for 2005 Entering Class 79%**, 17%** transfer out rate 73%** 64%**
Noteworthy 12:1 student to teacher ratio* Four year graduation guarantee* Membership/accreditation in NCATE, Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities, The American Council on Education, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, and the National Association for Multicultural Education

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Winner: Elizabethtown College

  • 72.4% of classes have less than 20 students ( )
  • New program starting fall 2013: Master's Degree in Special Education
  • Student access to material resource room

Elizabethtown College offers a Bachelors of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Students seeking this degree must complete 121 credit hours. Coursework has two educational goals, one to provide general preparation and information and two, the development of a well-rounded professional educator. The department of education provides a checklist for students in order to self-monitor ones classes and gains towards graduation with a degree. Education students are required to apply for provisional acceptance into the teacher certification program when they have completed a minimum of two education courses. Once students have only three remaining education courses they apply for formal acceptance into the teacher certification program. In addition students must pass a criminal background check as well as a TB test in order to be placed for field experience. In 2011 (of those who responded to the school questionnaire) 75% of those students who graduated from the school of education were currently employed.

Runner-Up #1: Lebanon Valley College

  • Over 200 field experience hours prior to student teaching
  • Rolling application deadline
  • Student to faculty ratio 13:1

Lebanon Valley College's most noteworthy offering is their four year graduation guarantee. Lebanon Valley College offers undergraduates a guarantee they will graduate in four years with a bachelor's degree; however, if they do not all additional tuition/course costs will be covered by the university. Lebanon Valley College department of education built a program with course offerings that directly correlate with the state of Pennsylvania's requirements for teacher certification. Those in the education program at Lebanon Valley College are evaluated based on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's GPA requirements and their passing of teacher certification tests.

Runner-Up #2: Millersville University of Pennsylvania

  • Honors and awards given to students in the School of Education for excellence
  • 19 faculty in the School of Education
  • Renowned for academic excellence in Martin Nemko's book How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University (

Millersville University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1855 and prides itself in being one of the first universities to provide preparation work to teachers in Pennsylvania. Millersville University's School of Education has seven departments including: The School of Education, Educational Foundations, Elementary & Early Childhood Education, Applied Engineering, Safety, and Technology, Psychology, Special Education, and Wellness and Sport Sciences. Those seeking a B.S. in Early Childhood Education will be required to complete 72 credits in the field of education in addition to 15 elective credits. In addition to the Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education students can also obtain a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Due to recent changes in the certification requirements for those seeking a license in early childhood education the university asks that potential students contact the schools advisors to gain a more detailed description of the coursework and expectations of the undergraduate program.

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