Grad School Hub’s 25 Best Master’s in Child Development are not only ideal for educators, but for those aspiring to work for government agencies and nonprofit organizations as well.
In fact, popular careers for folks with a child development degree include counseling, social work, teaching, and more.
Childcare workers on average earn just over $22,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, earning an advanced degree with an area of specialization will increase your salary potential. Here are a few other annual salary estimates, as cited by the BLS:
Explore these promoted online degree programs.
These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master’s or PhD programs.
The University of South Florida awards students with a Master's of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in either reading, teacher leadership, positive behavior support, or interdisciplinary studies. USF's degree program requires a minimum of 33 graduate-level semester hours. Required courses include Foundations of Educational research, Behavior Theory and Classroom Learning, and Historical Foundations of American Education.
Graduating students must complete a written, six-week comprehensive exam the fall or spring term of their senior year. Prospective students are considered for admission during the fall, spring, and summer terms.
Instead of awarding the typical MS, MA or M.Ed. degree, the University of Dayton's School of Education and Health Sciences offers a Master's of Science in Education for Ph.D. candidates in the Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy program.
Students can earn their MSE online or residentially, and enroll part-time or full-time. Required courses include Becoming a Master Educator, Advocacy in Early Care and Education, Collaborating with Families, and Professionals and Agencies.
Biola University's MA Teaching degree with the concentration in Early Childhood is a 30-unit program that can be completed in just 18 months. BU's MA program is ideal for future professionals within public and private organizations serving children ages 1 – 9 and in transitional classrooms.
Required courses include Philosophy and Values in School and Society, Early Childhood Curriculum, and Observation and Assessment of Young Children. All MA candidates are required to complete a thesis-based capstone involving childhood learning intervention and performance improvement.
Prospective students must pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test or Basic Skills Test and have a minimum GPA of 2.75. Biola accepts applicants during the Fall, Spring, and Summer.
The Master's in Early Childhood Education degree program at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California offers a 30-credit degree for students interested in professional leadership roles. Target professional environments for POC graduates include public schools, child care programs, state agencies, and nonprofits that serve children and their families. Applicants with a GPA lower than 2.5 will need to provide a letter of recommendation for acceptance.
POC's M.Ed. is available online and residentially, and can be completed within 2 – 4 years depending on student course load. Graduate students have the option to specialize in Special Education as well. POC's MA offers courses such as Public Policy and Its Impact on Children and Families; Learning Theories and the Social, Political, and Economic Factors that have Influenced Education; and Creating Responsive Communities for All Families.
The Master of Science degree in Child Development at the University of La Verne is offered both on-campus or online and enables students to later teach for a community college in the state of California.
Graduating students must complete 33 semester hours with required courses including Studies in Attachment, Teaching Adults, and Cognition and Brain Development. La Verne semesters are 16 weeks long and graduate students typically graduate within two years. Students may enjoy La Verne's small online classes, which average around 20 enrolled students. Prospective students should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to apply.
Southern New Hampshire University offers grad students an opportunity to earn their M.Ed. in Early Childhood and Special Education while preparing them for upcoming state licensure exams after graduation. The state of New Hampshire awards licensure in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education, which differentiates childhood education expectations for children between the ages 1-9.
SNHU's M.Ed. is a full-time, 36-credit degree program that can be completed in just 15 months. Graduate students are offered 44 weeks of clinical experience and complete required courses such as Classroom and Behavior Management, Early Childhood Mathematics, and Intervention in Literacy. Unlike other M.Ed. programs, SNHU does not require GRE or GMAT scores for admission.
Erikson Institute's Master's of Science in Child Development is a residential degree program offering students an opportunity to complete a tailored internship experience during their senior year. Graduate internships require students to work approximately 15 hours a week during their final fall and spring terms.
In addition, Erikson offers specializations in either: Administration, Child Life, Children with Special Needs, Children's Law and Policy; Infancy, Infancy and Administration, or Infancy and New Language Learners. Erikson also offers a dual degree program in Child Development and Jurisprudence in Children's Law and Policy.
The University of North Dakota offers a 32-credit Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education in a residential, online, or hybrid-classroom environment. Required courses include Foundations of Reading Instruction, Language Development and Cognition in Children, and Collaborative Relationships, and more.
UND's MS program can be completed in 18 months as a full-time student, or within 24 months while attending part-time. Prospective applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and an undergraduate degree in a related field.
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at the University of Minnesota is for students pursuing their first Minnesota teaching license. As a graduate student, you'll have the opportunity to student teach at the Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, the university's on-campus preschool.
Required courses include Cognitive Development, Foundations of Reading, Linguistics for Teachers, and Technology for Teaching and Learning. Additionally, all graduate students are expected to complete a capstone on how to improve early childhood education teaching methods. Admission is available for fall, spring, and summer sessions.
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at Grand Canyon University leads to initial teacher licensure. Offered through GCU's College of Education, this 48-credit M.Ed. is available online and can be completed within six weeks.
Required courses include Typical and Atypical Behaviors of Young Children, Creating and Managing the Early Childhood Environment, and Advanced Methodologies. Students may transfer in up to 12 credit-hours upon admission. Graduates of GCU often pursue careers as preschool teachers, daycare directors, education advocates, and other related fields.
SUNY Albany's School of Education offers a comprehensive MS degree in Early Childhood Education. This program is licensure qualifying, but it doesn't lead to certification as a Literacy Specialist. Required courses in this 30-credit program include Literacy in Society, Science for Children, and Reading in a Second Language. All students must also complete a final culminating project. SUNY Albany's MA program is available online and offers a non-certification option for teachers in any U.S. state.
Through its School of Education and Human Development, the University of Colorado Denver now offers an MA in Early Childhood Education. This program is ideal for those who wish to work with kids 1 – 8. UC graduate students are able to choose a concentration area involving either Administration and Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, or Teaching and Learning. Each concentration track requires a capstone in early childhood education.
UC's required courses include Working with Families and Communities, Language and Literacy in Young Children, and Dual Language Learners. Classes can be taken either online or on-campus.
The Early Childhood Education Master of Education degree at Albany State University is a 36-credit program that leads to T-5 certification. This program is designed to help master level teachers meet the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
ASU's required courses include Early Childhood Development, Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education, and Ethical and Legal Aspects of Education. Applicants should have a related undergraduate degree as well as satisfactory GRE scores. Applications for admission are accepted year-round.
Through its Department of Childhood Education and Family Studies, students at Missouri State University can earn a Masters in Early Childhood and Family Development. This program can be completed at your convenience. In fact, graduate students may choose between a four-semester degree option, three-semester degree option, or an accelerated program.
Required courses in this 32-credit program include Advanced Human Development Studies, Children and Families in a Diverse Society, and Family Literacy, Forensic Child Psychology. MSU graduate students may transfer in up to nine hours of work with a grade B or above.
Concordia University Chicago now offers a comprehensive Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. CU's MA program is only intended for early childhood educators with at least two years of experience in working with young children and does not lead to licensure. This 30-credit program can be taken either online or on-campus.
CU students can graduate with their MA in as little as one year depending on their schedule. Required courses include Observation and Assessment, Infant and Toddler Curriculum, and Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education. An additional capstone experience is required of all CU graduate students.
Mercy College's MS in Early Childhood Education is intended for those who plan to work with children ages 1 – 8. MC's 39-credit program offers courses such as Teaching English as a Second Language, Educational Foundations from Diverse Perspectives, and Student Teaching Experience.
Additionally, MC graduate students can choose between a variety of tracks involving additional certifications in childhood education, or working with students with disabilities grades 1 – 6. All students must complete a semester-long clinical experience capstone course. Graduate students may transfer in up to six hours of work with a grade B or above.
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education at the Northwestern State University of Louisiana is intended for those who wish to work with children ages 1-8. Required courses include Educational Research and Evaluation, Advanced Child Development, and Curriculum and Spaces for Infants and Toddlers.
All NSU students choose between a thesis project or an Action Research Project for School Improvement. Applicants must have a valid teaching license in addition to two letters of recommendation. U.S. News and World Report have ranked NSU among the Best Regional Universities in the South.
California University of Pennsylvania's Early Childhood Education master's degree is an online program intended for certified teachers in elementary, special, or early childhood education. This program is not for those who wish to pursue an early childhood education teaching certification. Required courses in this 30-credit program include Literacy Development, Science and Math in Early Childhood, and Advanced Psychology of Learning.
Cal U graduate students also have an opportunity to complete an internship in an early childhood/preschool setting for work and teaching experience. U.S. News and World Report have ranked Cal U among the Best Regional Universities in the Northern U.S.
The MAT in Early Childhood Education at Brenau University is an initial certification program designed for those with a bachelor's degree. BU's required courses include Introduction to Special Education, Understanding and Managing Learners, Science for Teachers, and Literacy for Teachers.
Additionally, all students must complete 9 hours of student teaching or 12 hours of an internship. Graduate students may transfer in up to six hours of work passing with a B-grade or higher. While BU's MA program is not available online, BU offers flexible evening classes for your convenience.
The Tift College of Education at Mercer University now offers a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Early Childhood Education for those who are seeking an initial teaching certification at the master's level. Graduate students will learn how to teach and support young children in grades Pre-K through five.
Required courses in this 37-credit program include Foundations of Education, Child Development and Learning, and Social Studies in a Multicultural World. MU's graduate program admits students in the months of August, October, January, March, and May.
The Master of Education in Elementary and Early Childhood Education at KSU allows certified teachers to earn an advanced degree in 13 months while continuing their teaching career. All coursework can be completed entirely online. Required courses include Trends and Issues in Educational Inquiry, Curriculum and Pedagogy, and Trends and Issues in Social Studies for Elementary Education.
Graduate students can also earn additional endorsements involving reading, English to Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL; online teaching, and special education. The GRE is not an admission requirement for this program. Applicants should also note that KSU programs enroll in the spring for summer admission.
Through its Judith Herb College of Education, The University of Toledo now offers a comprehensive Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. UT's 36-hour program prepares students to work with children who are ages 3–9.
Required courses include a college core, a specialization, and a culminating activity, and can be completed entirely online. Admissions for UT's M.Ed. are ongoing and graduate students may begin their degree in any term. U.S. News and World Report have ranked UT #176 among the Best Education Schools in the U.S.
Offered through Stephen F. Austin State University's James I. Perkins College of Education, the Master of Education in Advanced Early Childhood can be completed entirely online. SFASU's 36-credit program requires applicants to have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA. There is no GRE requirement.
This degree is offered in half term units during both the fall and spring semesters. With a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students can rest assured they'll learn everything they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. Graduate students also have the option of adding a supplemental certificate to their Texas teaching certification in English as a Second Language or Bilingual.
Northern Arizona University now offers a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education recognized by the National Association for the Education for Young Children. This program is available online and ideal for preschool teachers, and child care administrators.
NAU graduate students are able to choose an emphasis area in either Early Childhood Continuing Professional, Early Childhood Leadership, or Early Childhood National Board Certification Teacher Preparation. Required courses include Early Childhood Curriculum, Educational Sociology, and International Education, and are also available online for your convenience.
The Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a comprehensive program with a practicum component. Applicants must hold a valid Alabama bachelor's level professional educator certificate in Early Childhood.
Required courses include Studying the Child in School, Language Development, Teaching in a Diverse Society, and Urban Education. Successful graduates of this program will be eligible for Class A certification in Early Childhood Education. U.S. News and World Report have ranked UAB among the best education schools in the country.
Jobs for educators are expected to grow from now until 2026, so start your advanced degree program today! Here are the 25 Best Master’s in Child Development.
Preschool and Childcare Center Director: $46,890
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: $56,900
Special Education Teacher: $58,980
The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 25 Best Master’s in Child Development 2019 for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:
Alumni Feedback: 20%
Continued Enrollment: 20%
Degree Selectivity: 10%
Graduate Expenses: 25%
Projected Annual Salary: 25%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page.