Early Childhood Education (ECE) Degree

Bachelor’s Degree, Associate’s Degree, Diploma, Certificate

As an early childhood educator, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of young children. Earning a non-licensure Early Childhood Educator degree online from Rasmussen University can help prepare you to pursue your passion in education. 1 Learn how to foster social, emotional and intellectual development in children from an institution that has offered non-licensure ECE programs since 1992.

You can earn your ECE Associate’s degree for under $19,000, 2 plus you have the opportunity to save almost $5,200 more through self-directed assessments.3 You can also choose from affordable Early Childhood Education degree online options at the Diploma and Certificate level to put your goals within reach.4

Our ECE degrees do not prepare students for licensed teaching positions in any public school setting, but students will have the opportunity to help shape the futures of young children from birth to age six in a childcare or non-public school setting or leadership role.

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  • Self-Directed Assessments & Empowered Learning™

    The Certificate, Diploma, Associate's and Bachelor's degrees are available with $149 self-directed assessments, which allow you to show that you already have the skills in a particular course and don’t need to take it. Save time and money with self-directed assessments and other Knowledge Credit options.

    The Bachelor’s degree is also available with Empowered Learning, which means you can:

    • Access courses anytime, from almost anywhere
    • Go faster when you can, and slower when you need to
    • Create real-world projects that prove your new knowledge
    • Stay connected with faculty and peers in live sessions

    For additional information, visit our Empowered Learning page.

  • Institutional Accreditation & Industry Credentials

    Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org ), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Our curriculum includes a focus on preparing students to apply for their Child Development Associate (CDA)® 5 Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition. Rasmussen University is proud to be an official partner of the Council for Professional Recognition.

    CDA Official Partner logo

  • Carry Your Credits Forward

    Our Early Childhood Education programs make it easy to apply your current credits toward a degree. In fact, our ECE Bachelor’s degree students transfer in an average of 93 credits—which is equal to $25,017 transfer credits—helping you save time and money on your way to furthering your impact on children’s lives.6

  • Online Courses & Transferable Skills

    With flexible online courses and the opportunity for real-world assessments, you’ll learn practical tips about this field and develop employer-valued transferable skills: critical thinking, digital fluency, information literacy, communication, diversity and teamwork, and ethics and professional responsibility.

Early Childhood Education Credentials Offered

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Bachelor's Degree

Finish in as few as

18 months7

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Empowered Learning™

Intended for

Students looking for transferrable skills to be a lead early childhood educator, run their own early childhood education program or pursue advanced training working with children and families. Students who want a program with fast time to completion, flexible learning options and affordability. Students who desire to work with children from birth to age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting and are driven by a passion for the development of healthy, happy children. Students can choose between the traditional degree in Early Childhood Education ECE Leadership track or specialize in Child Development.

Prepares you for

Roles including center director, preschool owner, business owner-family childcare, preschool director, childcare administrator, assistant director, lead teacher, program administrator head start teacher or program manager. Please inquire with your particular state childcare/early childhood educator qualifications for opportunities in your state.

While the ECE degree does not lead to public school licensure or certification in any state, it does prepare you to be an early childhood expert.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Associate's Degree

Finish in as few as

18 months8

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources

Intended for

Students looking for career-focused skills, affordability and, upon graduation, may be interested in laddering their credentials towards a Bachelor’s degree. Students who desire to work with children from birth to age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting and are driven by a passion for the development of healthy, happy children. Students specialize their degree in either Special Needs or Child Development.

Prepares you for

Roles including early childhood educator, educator's assistant, early childhood special education assistant, private preschool educator, childcare assistant, center director or assistant director. Please inquire with your particular state childcare/early childhood educator qualifications for opportunities in your state.

While the ECE degree online does not lead to public school licensure or certification in any state, it does prepare you to have well-rounded knowledge and skills about early childhood education

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Diploma

Finish in as few as

15 months9

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources

Intended for

Students looking to enhance their skills or take an initial step into early childhood education and may be interested in obtaining other credentials in the future. Students who may desire to work with children from birth to age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting and have a passion for the development of healthy, happy children. Students specialize their ECE degree in either Special Needs or Child Development.

Prepares you for

Roles including early childhood teacher, teacher’s assistant, early childhood special education assistant, preschool teacher. Please inquire with your particular state childcare/early childhood educator qualifications for opportunities in your state.

While the ECE degree does not lead to public school licensure or certification in any state, it does prepare you to be an early childhood expert.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Certificate

Finish in as few as

9–12 months10

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources

Intended for

Students looking to take an initial step into early childhood education and may be interested in obtaining other credentials in the future. Students who may desire to work with children from birth to age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting and have a passion for the development of healthy, happy children.

Prepares you for

Roles including early childhood teacher’s aide. Please inquire with your particular state childcare/early childhood educator qualifications for opportunities in your state.

While the ECE degree online does not lead to public school licensure or certification in any state, it does prepare you to be an early childhood expert.

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Request More Information About Our Early Childhood Education Program

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  • Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify)
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  • Detailed Program Plans

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School of Education Blog

9 Signs You Would Excel as an Early Childhood Teacher

If you've always had the passion and ability to connect with little ones, a career in early childhood education might be up your alley. Find out what you can expect from an ECE degree online and how it can unlock a variety of career opportunities in this fulfilling field.

Read more
Teacher standing at table with a row of children working on an art project.

Experienced and Dedicated Faculty

Mary Muhs is Academic Program Director - Education at Rasmussen University. With over 30 years of experience and many recognitions in the field, she has worked in preschools, in leadership and administration, and in mentoring and coaching. Dr. Muhs earned her EdD in Early Childhood Education from Walden University and Mary earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education Administration from National Louis University, and is also the published author of Family Engagement in Early Childhood Programs (Redleaf Press).

Mary Muhs
Mary Muhs, Academic Program Director - Education, Rasmussen University

Turn Your Online ECE Education into a Career

As a Rasmussen University ECE student, you can choose from different specializations related to a degree in early childhood education to enhance your skills in a particular area of interest. At the Diploma and Associate’s degree levels, you can choose between Special Needs and Child Development. In the Bachelor’s degree program, you can choose between Leadership and Administration and Child Development.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a degree, regardless of the field of study, can improve income potential.11 Here are just a few examples of where an online Early Childhood Education degree can take you.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program

  • BLS Earnings Data:12

    • $31,200 10th Percentile
    • $37,200 25th Percentile
    • $47,310 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2020–2030:13

    11%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • Bachelor's Degree

Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education

  • BLS Earnings Data:14

    • $22,840 10th Percentile
    • $28,440 25th Percentile
    • $30,210 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2020–2030:15

    18%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • Associate's Degree

Childcare Workers

  • BLS Earnings Data:16

    • $18,540 10th Percentile
    • $22,640 25th Percentile
    • $27,490 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2020–2030:17

    9%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • High School Diploma or Equivalent

"The fully online courses allowed me the flexibility to continue to work while still attending school."

Ny'nisha
Graduate, School of Education

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