Most Affordable Online Master's In Early Childhood Education

Updated December 7, 2022

Earning a master's in early childhood education can increase job opportunities. We list the most affordable program options here. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online Master's in Early Childhood Education

Listed below are the 20 least expensive online master's degrees in early childhood education. This selection of schools can help you make a smart decision about where to go to college. Many teaching professionals are going to graduate school now to gain more specialized knowledge in their field and make themselves more competitive in the job market. Master's programs in early childhood education in particular train current professionals in how to run classrooms and day care centers for children from birth to about five or six years of age. Teachers who enjoy working with this demographic can benefit significantly from the advanced education a master's program provides.

The 20 Best Online Master's Degrees in Early Childhood Education

  1. Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Saint Paul, MN



    Concordia University-St. Paul offers an impressive variety of education degrees, so it's no surprise that it also has one of the top online early childhood education graduate programs in the country. Indeed, this degree hits all the highlights: supremely affordable tuition, an expansive curriculum, and a research-based capstone. But Concordia goes even further to educate its future teachers by offering an opportunity to study abroad. If you take this option, you'll participate in on-campus work coupled with first-hand international experience. If your schedule doesn't allow for travel, take "The Diverse Classroom" instead. Here, you'll study "education in multicultural settings" - an eminently practical class for an increasingly diverse school system.

  2. University of North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND



    By offering in-state tuition regardless of your location, the University of North Dakota provides a cheap online master's degree in early childhood education that gives you plenty of value for your dollar. Incorporating both standard classes and practica, the degree seeks to contextualize young learners within four areas: community, culture, family, and gender. And if you're aiming for a career in administration, you'll also want to investigate the optional Director's Credential. Administered through the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, offers a great way to bolster your leadership skills (and your resume) at just a slightly higher cost.

  3. University of West Alabama

    Livingston, AL



    For an accredited online master's degree in early childhood education that includes an especially strong focus on first-hand experience, look to the University of West Alabama. The credit requirements for UWA's year-long M.Ed. divide almost equally between professional classes (19 credits) and teaching field courses (15 credits). Although you can direct most of your fieldwork, you will need to complete at least one field experience in a specific area: "Literature for Early Childhood Education." And like the other Alabama schools on this list, UWA's program will qualify you for a Class A Professional Educator Certificate.

  4. Concordia University-Nebraska

    Seward, NE



    Owing to its Lutheran tradition, Concordia University-Nebraska believes that educators should be servant-leaders who act behalf of each child's best interests while respecting her family and background. As such, students who earn this cheap master's in early childhood education online learn how to collaborate with students' families and other educators in a team-based environment. This emphasis on community goes even further in a required "Serving and Leading in Community and World" class, which explores education through Christian principles. Other classes touch on psychology, research, and curriculum creation, and more. Finally, a capstone course challenges you to create an education plan that addresses an important issue in the field.

  5. Albany State University

    Albany, GA



    At Albany State University, the accredited early childhood education online master's degree comes with a specific goal: Namely, to produce teachers who are culturally responsive, transformative, and technologically competent. All courses acknowledge these touchstones and incorporate evidence-based methodologies so you can best help your students. The degree also focuses on leadership, helping create "master teachers" who can succeed in administrative roles in various academic environments. On the practical front, this degree is also a great choice if you're looking for hands-on training. In fact, you'll earn half of your required credits just by completing a set of diverse and highly focused field experiences.

  6. Stephen F Austin State University

    Nacogdoches, TX



    After enrolling in Stephen F. Austin State University's affordable master's in early childhood education online, you'll have to submit a detailed degree plan to your advisor. The school considers your plan a contract: You commit to serving young students, while the school commits to offering the courses you need to become a strong educator. You'll also have continual access to this advisor for advice or questions about your degree plan. Another benefit? All courses are entirely online, offered as part of half-term semesters during spring and fall to fit easily into working adults' busy schedules.

  7. University of South Alabama

    Mobile, AL



    Like the other Alabama schools on this online master's degree in early childhood education ranking, USA's program will prepare you for a Class A Professional Early Childhood Education certification alongside your M.Ed. But this program differs from others on this list in that it requires students to complete a comprehensive exam at the end their studies, rather than a research project or other capstone. That doesn't mean you won't have an opportunity to brush up on your research skills, however. In addition to coursework in technology, diversity, and subject-specific instruction (e.g., math, English), you'll also take a required course in "Educational Research and Evaluation."

  8. Alabama State University

    Montgomery, AL



    Another strong choice for residents of the Yellowhammer State, Alabama State University stands out on this early childhood education online master's degree ranking for its flexibility. Beyond letting you earn your M.Ed. fully online, the school also lets you choose one of three start dates each year and offers both a certification and a non-certification course of study. Plus, the curriculum incorporates an impressive breadth of subjects, introducing you to statistics, research, technology, and evaluation while also touching on softer skills, such as how to incorporate play into the classroom.

  9. University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Birmingham, AL



    Alabama residents hoping to earn their Class A Professional Educator Certificate will appreciate the University of Alabama at Birmingham's top program. Not only does the school's affordable online early childhood education graduate program include all the prerequisites for licensure, but it also allows you to define your studies by focusing on a specific area of content (e.g., history, a foreign language, etc.). Keep in mind, however, that this hybrid program is best suited for Birmingham residents, as you'll need to visit campus for both occasional evening classes and flexible summer courses.

  10. Jacksonville State University

    Jacksonville, AL



    Like all the programs on this list, Jacksonville State University offers the chance to earn a top master's in early childhood education online at a low cost. But if you want to reduce your bottom line even further, you'll appreciate the school's impressive range of scholarships - especially those tailored to educators. And if you're a veteran or active-duty military, you can avail yourself of the school's robust military resources, which include tutoring, counseling, and additional military-specific scholarships. On the academic front, JSU offers some unique literacy-focused courses. Required classes such as "Enhancing Learning Through Children's Literature," for example, will help you explore less conventional methods of reaching your students.

Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools

At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs. We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

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Selection Criteria

For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer adolescent and early childhood development degrees online. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $20,000/year or less.


*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.

We also only considered institutions that have received accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Ranking Factors

Unfortunately, there are a limited number of graduate programs in early childhood education available online. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a complex ranking system in which we'd filter out schools based on a list of specific factors.

So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap early childhood education online master's degrees, ranked from most to least expensive.

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap master's in early childhood education online!

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Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

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