Online child care courses can be completed independently or as part of larger certificate or degree programs. Child care courses typically consider various social and biological factors that influence child development. Topics can include health and safety, nutrition, special needs children and behavior guidance. Though requirements vary by state, relevant coursework is necessary to obtain, as well as renew, child care licenses.
Programs are available as certificates or associate's degrees. Program structure varies, with some being offered fully online, while others require in-person field work. The latter are usually found at the associate's level. Some programs allow field work to be submitted online, rather than in person, with students required to film the experience. As such, video production equipment and/or software would be required.
At the certificate level, online courses can include the following:
- Care and development of infants and toddlers
- Language and social development
- Physical and cognitive development
- Play and young children
- Resolving peer conflict
- Special needs children
- Emergency planning
- Identifying and reporting child abuse
At the associate's degree level, online courses can include those listed below:
- Foundations of child development
- Health, safety and nutrition
- Family dynamics
- Emerging literacy
- Curriculum and instruction
- Theories of early childhood education
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Adult Development and Aging
- Child Care Management
- Child Care Services
- Child Development
- Community Organization and Advocacy
- Family and Community Services
- Family Systems
- Human Development and Family Studies
- Social Work
- Youth Services
Certificate in Child Care
Certificate programs offered through college and university extension or adult continuing education programs are generally available at little or no cost. Certificate programs may be more general or may emphasize child care management, in which students may learn how to run a day care establishment or build their own child care business.
Coursework is usually self-paced and a certificate may be awarded upon completion of each course or at the completion of the program. These courses usually do not earn college credit; however, they may meet state and national requirements for child care training.
Schools Offering Certificates
- Central Carolina Community College
- Onondaga Community College
- Texas A & M University
- University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Associate's Degree in Child Care
At the associate's degree level, online child care studies are available through early childhood education programs and can be completed entirely online or in hybrid format. These degrees combine courses in general education topics, such as composition, science and math, with specialized studies in child learning and development. Students learn about educational standards, goals and procedures and may gain instruction in record keeping. Courses also examine techniques for developing age-appropriate curricula.
Some online degree programs may require fieldwork assignments, and students may be required to videotape themselves while teaching. This assignment must be completed at a child care facility, and videotapes are submitted to the instructor for review. Graduates from associate's degree programs are typically qualified for positions as preschool teachers, child care facility directors or daycare administrators; they might also go on to own their own child care centers.
Schools Offering Associate's Degrees
- Arkansas Tech University
- Durham Technical Community College
- Northampton Community College
- Portland Community College
Delivery Methods and Requirements
Students taking online courses often access an online learning platform. This distance learning tool links them to coursework and instructional aids, including narrated lectures, video clips, slide presentations and interactive exercises. To participate in course requirements, online students need to have a high-speed Internet connection, an email account and requisite software. Program instructors are typically available to students through email and designated chat rooms.
Individuals interested in pursuing careers in child care can turn to online programs at the certificate and associate's degree levels. While many of these programs require in-person field work, some do offer fully online alternatives.