Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Early Childhood Education

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 an Early Childhood Education degree online from Rasmussen College can help you launch or advance your career from an institution that has offered ECE programs since 1992. You'll gain the knowledge and skills that are needed for success as an educator who can impact the lives of children and their families by promoting the healthy development of physical, social, emotional, intellectual and language skills. Our ECE programs 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 eight in a non-public school setting in roles such as Early Childhood Education Teacher, Teacher's Assistant, ECE Special Education Assistant and Head Start Teacher. Whether you’re pursuing a Certificate, Diploma, Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree, our online, non-licensure ECE programs can help you find the path that will prepare you to pursue your passion in early childhood education.2

At the Diploma and Associate’s degree levels, students have the choice of two specializations—Child with Special Needs and Child Development—to enhance their skills in a particular area of interest. In the Bachelor's degree-completion program, students also have the choice of two specializations—Leadership and Administration and Child Development—to learn advanced techniques around management and each stage of early childhood.

Request Early Childhood Education Program Information

Flex Choice®: Get Credit for What You Know

The Associate’s degree is available with Flex Choice® self-directed assessment offerings—which allows you to blend traditional online courses with self-directed assessments that provide optional coaching assistance—and prior learning assessments. The Bachelor’s degree program allows you to learn completely through competency-based education (CBE) courses and receive credit for what you know and can do. For additional information, visit our Flex Choice page.

Regional Accreditation & Industry Credentials

Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our curriculum is aligned with national best practices in early childhood educator preparation established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Rasmussen College is also a proud partner of the CDA Credential and Council for Professional Recognition and is honored to be among a select group of early childhood education training organizations to be awarded the CDA® Credential Gold Standard Training Certification.

Logo: CDA recognitionCDA partnership 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 $24,180 in tuition savings—helping you save time and money on your way to furthering your impact on children’s lives.4

Transferable Skills

Students in all programs and credential levels learn six employer-valued transferable skills, or soft skills: critical thinking, digital fluency, information literacy, communication, diversity and teamwork, and ethics and professional responsibility.

You’ll demonstrate your critical thinking as you create developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum for children from birth to age eight. Develop information literacy as you incorporate credible research practices and resources into your curriculum planning. All six skills are strategically embedded in your course curriculum, further preparing you for your career. Learn more about transferable skills.

Early Childhood Education Credentials Offered

Early Childhood Education

Bachelor's Degree

Finish in as few as

18 months1

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Flex Choice®

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 preschool and are driven by a passion for the development of healthy, happy children. Students can pursue the core program or specialize their degree in either ECE Leadership or Child Development.

Prepares you for

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

While the 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

Associate's Degree

Finish in as few as

18 months

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Field Experience
  • Flex Choice®

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 preschool 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 child care/early childhood educator qualifications for opportunities in your state.

While the degree 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

Diploma

Finish in as few as

15 months1

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Field Experience
  • Flex Choice®

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 preschool and have a passion for the development of healthy, happy children. Students specialize their degree in either Special Needs or Child Development.

Prepares you for

Early childhood teacher, teacher’s assistant, early childhood special education assistant, preschool teacher

Early Childhood Education

Certificate

Finish in as few as

9–12 months1

Learning includes

  • Online
  • Campus Support and Resources
  • Field Experience

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 preschool and have a passion for the development of healthy, happy children.

Prepares you for

Early childhood teacher’s aide

Not Sure This Degree Is Right for You?

We Can Help

Take the Next Step—Talk to Us!

There are some errors in the form. Please correct the errors and submit again.

Request More Information

Request More Information About Our Early Childhood Education Program

Fill out the form to receive information about:
  • Program Details and Applying for Classes 
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify)
  • Customized Support Services
  • Detailed Program Plan

Step 1 of 3

What's Your Name?

Please enter your first name.

Please enter your last name.

Step 2 of 3

Contact Information

Please enter your email address.

Please enter your phone number.

Please enter your five digit zip code.

Step 3 of 3

Program Preferences

Please choose a school of study.

Please choose a program.

Please choose a degree.

The program you have selected is not available in your area. Please select another program of interest.

By selecting "Submit", I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided. There is no obligation to enroll.

Student and Alumni Reviews

See What Our Early Childhood Education Students Have to Say

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
toddlers and teacher playing with clay

Experienced and Dedicated Faculty

Mary Muhs has been in the Early Childhood Education field for over 30 years. Currently she is the Department Chair for Early Childhood Education with Rasmussen College. Mary earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education Administration from National Louis University and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Early Childhood Education with Walden University. Her experience extends from working with infants through preschool, center leadership and administration, professional development, mentoring and coaching adult educators in the field.

In 2018, Mary was selected as an Exchange Leader for Exchange Magazine and was a featured subject matter expert in the Exchange Press Turn Key Video Series, “The Heart of Infant and Toddler Care.” In 2019, she was honored to serve as an IL Gateways to Opportunity Faculty Fellow supporting the development of competency-based education in IL. Mary is also the published author of Family Engagement in Early Childhood Programs Quick Guide with Redleaf Press. She is a strong advocate for high quality education programs for both adults and children.

Mary Muhs
Mary Muhs, Department Chair for Early Childhood Education, Rasmussen College

Turn Your Online ECE Education into a Career

We’ve made advancing your education easier by offering Early Childhood Education classes online that fit into a busy working schedule. All of our programs are taught by industry-experienced instructors using specialized curriculum in order for you to feel confident that you will receive the level of skill you need to help achieve your early childhood education career goals. Whether you want to advance in your current career or expand your educational background, you know you will be strengthening your passion for education and enriching the children and families you strive to help.

If you are pursuing an Associate’s degree, your work with young children is combined with online coursework for college credit during your field experience. Students who currently work in-field (e.g., nanny, preschool teacher, center director) may use their ECE setting to meet these requirements, depending on the state and site. This real-world experience will help you gain confidence working with young children and families. Students in FL, KS, MN, ND and WI may choose field experience or a fully online option—while students in other states must  complete online coursework which mirrors field experience courses without the site requirements.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a degree, regardless of the field of study, can improve income potential. 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:

    • $30,900 10th Percentile
    • $37,610 25th Percentile
    • $47,940 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2018–2028:

    7%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • Bachelor's Degree

Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education

  • BLS Earnings Data:3

    • $20,610 10th Percentile
    • $24,040 25th Percentile
    • $29,780 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2018–2028:

    7%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • Associate's Degree

Childcare Workers

  • BLS Earnings Data:3

    • $17,750 10th Percentile
    • $19,640 25th Percentile
    • $23,240 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2018–2028:

    2%

  • 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

  1. Completion time is dependent on transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
  2. The Early Childhood Education programs at Rasmussen College are not accredited by the NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. Rasmussen College is not a partner of NAEYC and our programs are not sponsored or endorsed by NAEYC.
    Graduates of Early Childhood Education programs at Rasmussen College are not eligible for licensure as a teacher in an elementary or secondary school. A Bachelor’s degree and a state teaching license are typically required to work as a teacher in a public school and some private school settings. States, municipalities, districts or individual schools may have more stringent licensing requirements. Students must determine the licensure requirements in the state and school in which they intend to work.
    Childcare facilities and the states in which they are located establish qualifications for staff who work with children, and often implement guidelines regarding age, education, experience and professional development. Students must determine the licensure requirements for the state and facilities in which they work.
    This program has not been approved by any state professional licensing body, and this program is not intended to lead to any state-issued professional license. For further information on professional licensing requirements, please contact the appropriate board or agency in your state of residence.
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [salary data accessed May 21, 2019] https://www.bls.gov/oes/. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed May 30, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. BLS salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
  4. The average number of transfer credits will vary by student. Tuition savings information displayed here is based on the credit transfer data of incoming students who enrolled in the Rasmussen College Early Childhood Education Bachelor's program in 2019.
chart-credential-laddering-rsd 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE icon-colored-advance icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-developement icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-national icon-colored-prep icon-colored-regional icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-paperwork icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-camera icon-filter icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-share-square-o icon-spinner icon-tag logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play