The 7 Best Colleges for Early Childhood Education

Attend the best school to get your dream career.

If you’re just beginning college, you might be completely overwhelmed by the number of majors available to you. At many schools, it can be well over a hundred. What should you choose?

You might be inundated with information about more popular majors, but don’t let a degree in early childhood education pass you by. This major is not quite as popular as some of its counterparts, but it is just as if not more amazing. 

Did you love elementary school growing up? Adore working with children? Want to gain a few years of teaching experience? Then this is definitely the degree path for you. Read on to learn about what you can do with the degree and the best colleges for early childhood education majors out there. 

Who should pursue this degree?

A degree in early childhood education is not for everyone. It can be very hard work to interact with and teach young children who may or may not be interested in what you have to say. This field is perfect for people who have a lot of patience, empathy, and enthusiasm for educating. 

For those who are up for the challenge, a degree in early childhood education might provide you with a wonderfully fulfilling career that will benefit so many leaders of tomorrow. 

A degree in early childhood education can provide you with a defined career path after graduation. 
A degree in early childhood education can provide you with a defined career path after graduation. 

What can you do with an early childhood education degree? 

If stability in your studies is something you’re looking for when you embark on the college journey, then a degree in early childhood education is definitely something you should consider. Unlike most majors in the humanities field, this degree gives you a defined career path that you can expect to step into immediately following graduation. Most early childhood education majors go on to become preschool or elementary teachers, but there are also a few other career paths available as well. These include: 

  • Teacher aide
  • Preschool director
  • Tutor 
  • Daycare center provider
  • Private caregiver

The great thing about early childhood education is that it has a specific and defined set of skills that can be used in the education field after you get that hard-earned diploma. You’ll be able to work with children up to eight years old and gain great teaching experience while you’re at it. 

Another vote in this degree’s favor is that it will give you the necessary skills to thrive in a rapidly growing field. You’ll likely be able to walk off your college campus with a job offer in hand with the expectation of job security in the future. A degree in early childhood education can be a fantastic option for you personally and for your career, but you have to actually get the degree first! So read on to see what the best colleges for early childhood education majors are. 

There are so many great colleges that offer fantastic degree programs in early childhood education. 
There are so many great colleges that offer fantastic degree programs in early childhood education. 

Best Colleges for Early Childhood Education 

University of Georgia 

The University of Georgia has a great degree for early childhood education. It’s so great that they decided to offer two more degree options in early childhood education: a master’s degree and a Ph.D. program as well! 

In this program, students will learn how to effectively instruct students attending preschool through the fifth grade. This major offers students lessons from some of the leading professionals in the field of early childhood education, but more than that, it offers students tons of hands-on experience. 

The BSED degree (tailored for undergraduates) provides students with hands-on experience, with student teaching opportunities that, over the course of your degree, add up to over 400 hours of experience. You’ll be hard-pressed to get that type of onsite learning anywhere else, which places the University of Georgia at the top spot on our list. 

Oklahoma State University 

State schools are often underrepresented in lists like these because they might not always have as much recognition as some other private schools do. But we love state schools for their opportunities, community, and perhaps most importantly, cost. 

Oklahoma State University is another state school on this list that has an amazing early childhood education program, one that is highly ranked in virtually every list comparing bachelor's degrees for this major. But it is also affordable, which is a hugely important factor when considering programs for an undergraduate degree. 

Aside from its affordability, Oklahoma State also offers a dual bachelor’s and master’s degree in early childhood education through an accelerated master’s program that can be completed in five years. This is a great option for students looking to expand their education and career prospects in the field and helps make Oklahoma State one of the best colleges for early childhood education. 

Clemson University 

At Clemson University, you’ll be sure to get all the knowledge you’ll need to enter into the field of early childhood education. As one of the best schools for early childhood education, Clemson ensures that students are prepared for applying what they’ve learned outside of the classroom. 

A BA in early childhood education from Clemson requires that students have almost 100 more hours logged in field experience than the state of South Carolina actually requires to begin your student teaching. This is unusual for most programs and will ensure that you’re as ready as anyone can be to start your journey as an early childhood educator. 

But that’s not all! Clemson University also has a thriving community that’s largely centered around its incredible football team. Add that to Clemson’s beautiful location in Greenville, SC, and you’ll embark on an undergraduate career that’s full of amazing educational opportunities as well as fun. 

There are many different options to get a degree in early childhood education and many offer interesting specialization tracks. 

The University of Washington

For students who want a slightly more flexible learning format for their early childhood education degree, the University of Washington has what you’re looking for. What’s unique about this program is that it is completely online. Students are expected to come into the program with at least 45 credits—which is ideal for transfer students who decide that they want to pursue a degree in childhood education after having prior experience in undergraduate education. 

The flexibility that this major has allows full-time students to complete their degree in just two years. For part-time students, they can complete their degree in three years. The University of Washington may offer a degree in early childhood education that is shorter than most programs, but they don’t skimp on the important stuff. As a student here, you’ll learn all the vital elements of this field from world-class experts but with the flexibility that other schools can’t offer you. 

The University of Minnesota 

Not all early childhood education programs are created equally, and the University of Minnesota definitely reflects that. While many schools only offer one or two options of concentration within the major of early childhood education, the University of Minnesota offers students three

These areas of concentration include Foundations of Early Education, Early and Elementary Education, and Individualized Studies. Having variety in your degree program can help you to better understand what you want to pursue after you’ve received your degree. And, it will help you be more competitive in your field due to your expert knowledge in your chosen specialization. 

The University of Minnesota is also unique in that students in the early childhood education degree are able to receive instruction from the university’s psychology department, which is one of the top departments for psychology in the country. If you choose to get your degree in early childhood education from the University of Minnesota, you surely won’t regret it. 

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas offers so many of the same great program features that many of the other schools on this list do, but they also have an early childhood education program that specializes in disability education. 

Not many schools have this addition to their program, and combined with a strong class selection and opportunities for fieldwork experience, the University of Kansas is a great option for students looking to gain more knowledge in disability education in the greater field of early childhood education. 

When choosing a school to get a degree in early childhood education, there are plenty of great options. From online study to hands-on fieldwork, to specialized career tracks within the major, there are so many ways to learn and grow in this degree from some of the best colleges for early childhood education in the country. Whatever school you end up choosing, you’ll be sure to put yourself on the right track. 

Sophia Carlisle
Sophia Carlisle is a professional writer.
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