Essential Program Information
Online training programs in early childhood education are available at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. The academic portion of these programs can typically be completed totally online; however, most programs also have in-person fieldwork requirements that involve observing and/or interacting with young children and teachers. Students are encouraged to look for programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in order to ensure that the online training program fulfills the licensure requirements of their respective state.
Associate Degree - Early Childhood Education
Most online associate degree programs in early childhood education prepare the student for state licensure to teach pre-kindergarten children. Graduates will generally work in preschools, Head Start programs or similar educational childcare settings.
Associate online training programs in early childhood education include some general education core requirements. Core courses usually include an introductory early childhood education course and a class in health and safety. Other requirements may include the following:
- Early childhood curriculum
- Child development
- Beginning literacy
- Family dynamics
Some schools offer separate online bachelor's degrees in teaching and administration. Other schools only offer bachelor's degrees to prepare teachers; others combine both areas into one program. Online bachelor's programs generally assume students have had the courses required for associate degrees.
Common Courses for Teachers
- Music, movement and drama
- Art as expression
- Teaching through play
- Trauma and abuse
Common Courses for Administrators
- Program administration
- Leadership and supervision
- Planning the environment
- Conflict resolution
Master's Degree - Early Childhood Education
Online master's degree programs in early childhood education often have a special focus in either applied research and theory or special needs children; most programs include courses in both areas. Some topics covered in the master's degree program, such as working with families, language development and play development, overlap with those found in undergraduate courses.
- Special education characteristics in early childhood
- Special needs and early intervention
- Educational research
- Research analysis
Early childhood education online training programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Although the majority of courses can be taken online, there may also be fieldwork requirements at local schools.