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 a non-licensure Early Childhood Education degree from Rasmussen University can prepare you to launch a successful career pursing your passion.1 Learn how to foster social, emotional and intellectual development from an institution that has offered non-licensure ECE programs since 1992.

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 childcare and non-public school setting or leadership role.

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  • 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 University 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 University 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

  • 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

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 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 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 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
  • 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 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 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
  • 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 age eight in a childcare and non-public school setting 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

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 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

Certificate

Finish in as few as

9–12 months1

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

Not Sure This Degree Is Right for You?

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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

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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 the Department Chair for Early Childhood 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. 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, Department Chair for Early Childhood Education, Rasmussen University

Turn Your Online ECE Education into a Career

As a Rasmussen University ECE student, you can choose from different specializations 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. 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:

    • $30,850 10th Percentile
    • $37,420 25th Percentile
    • $48,210 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

    • $21,140 10th Percentile
    • $24,830 25th Percentile
    • $30,520 50th Percentile
  • BLS Projected Growth 2018–2028:

    7%

  • BLS Typical Entry-Level Education:

    • Associate's Degree

Childcare Workers

  • BLS Earnings Data:3

    • $18,000 10th Percentile
    • $20,210 25th Percentile
    • $24,230 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 University are not accredited by the NAEYC Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation. Rasmussen University is not a partner of NAEYC and our programs are not sponsored or endorsed by NAEYC.
    Graduates of Early Childhood Education programs at Rasmussen University 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, 2020] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [career information accessed May 21, 2020] 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 University Early Childhood Education Bachelor's program in 2019.
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