2023 Best Traditional and Online Programs Bachelor’s in Child Development in America

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Children are the future. Child development is crucial to ensuring positive change in society. These individuals love to spend their time at daycare, school, an after-school program, or youth development program. You may be interested in this major because you love children. You care about their future and want to mold them to reach their potential. Some people may be interested in teaching, special needs children, or certain age groups.

There are many options for students interested in child development. You might get a job in one of these areas:

  • Child Life Specialist
  • Special Education
  • Parent Educator
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Social Worker

According to the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, child development bachelor’s degrees earn different salaries depending on the field. As a child care worker, you can earn $21,170 annually. Preschool teachers make a little more at $28,790 per year. While Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers make $55,490. You can look forward to as fast as average growth per the bureau.

Best Traditional Bachelor’s in Childhood Development Programs

  1. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University is a leader in child development with high-quality programs and resources. The school provides 49% of its student’s financial aid. You can gain firsthand experience with their experimental program, the Susan Gray School, which is responsible for helping over 200 kids each year with development problems and poverty. Your participation in their child development honors program can also help you get more of out of your experience if you maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher. On top of all the options, you can specialize with a five-year child development and nursing program. Upon degree completion, students can apply for competitive graduate and Ph.D. programs.

First-year applicants undergo rigorous requirements including acceptable SAT score and letters of recommendation from your counselor and two academic teachers. Completion of the degree requires 120 credit hours, including psychology and education courses. Vanderbilt is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  1. Appalachian State University

The Department of Family and Child Studies provides students with community engagement and advancing knowledge at Appalachian State University. You can get a licensed degree in child development or non-licensed degree depending on your needs. Topics you take include child development from birth to toddler, nutrition, and psychology. Academic acceptance requires SAT test scores and official high school transcripts.

The licensed degree requires 150+ hours of hands-on experience with kids of different ages and a 10-week teaching internship. Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

  1. University of Illinois

The University of Illinois’s award-winning faculty has a child development program with comprehensive resources. You can go on a faculty-led study abroad to experience different cultures. The Child Development Laboratory gives students a unique opportunity to gain real world experience with kids as they grow and evolve. First-year students are expected to be involved with extracurricular activities, passing test scores, and complete relevant high school coursework.

You must take 120 credit hours of child development courses and electives to graduate. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  1. Michigan State University

Michigan State University offers a bachelor’s in child development with a focus on education certification. You have the option of taking child development with a concentration in elementary or preschool education. Courses include infant development and program planning, a child interaction laboratory, and child growth and development.

You can get into the school as a freshman by showing your leadership, talents, diverse experiences, a good SAT or ACT test score, and adequate academic performance in high school. Michigan State University is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs (NAECP) and the Higher Learning Commission.

  1. Iowa State University

Iowa State University is located in the small-town Dwarfs Ames and offers a program emphasizing child, adult, and family development. Iowa is an affordable option for in-state tuition, only costing $8,420 per year. Your admission requires a passing GPA, test score, and high school transcript. Courses in the child specialization will teach you how to help kids in an emergency, teach multicultural students, and the lifecycle of a child.

Graduation is achieved with 120 credits and completed core specialization electives. Iowa State University is accredited by the specialized agency of the National Association for the Education of Young Children for their child development program.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Child Development Programs

  1. University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers an online program designed for teachers working full time. Formed to help children grow and develop from birth to the age of eight. Required courses include child growth, children’s safety, preschool development, and development perspectives of young children with disabilities. You can graduate by reaching 120 credits including satisfying your general education requirements. The school’s flexibility allows you to transfer up to 24 semester hours of college coursework.

You can attend the school by reaching a minimum 2.5 GPA and sending your high school transcripts. If you apply within four years of high school, you should have a minimum 3.0 GPA. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  1. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Children’s learning and development are at the forefront of the University of Massachusetts Amherst program. The university focuses on impacting the community and creating positive change. You craft your concentration in the bachelor’s program based on your career plans. Earning your bachelor’s degree in Children’s Learning and Development, you must complete 120 total credits of education, psychology, sociology, and social development

You will be admitted with 12 college credits and a 2.0 GPA or higher. The program is generous with transfer students, allowing you to transfer up to 105 credits. The University of Massachusetts is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

  1. Oregon State University

Oregon State University is an accommodating online program with a focus on problem-solving and human development. You will have access to library services, free online tutoring, career guidance, and world-class faculty. Topics will include family violence, psychology, nutrition, and epidemiology. The program is rigorous requiring 60 upper-level courses and totaling 180 credits to graduate. You can transfer credits, but they will be reviewed before acceptance of Oregon State University requirements.

Your admission to the school involves a minimum 3.0 GPA, and qualifying SAT score, and specific high school course requirements. The school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  1. Washington State University

The Bachelor’s program in Human Development is about working with people of all ages. While attending Washington State University, you are provided access to 24/7 technical support, global webinars, and life-stream events. The courses span the family lifespan and include difficult topics like mistreatment, death, and poverty. You will be admitted as a freshman with high school transcripts and acceptable SAT or ACT scores.

To graduate, you are required to attend the school for 21 credits hours and achieve a 2.6 GPA or better. Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

  1. Pennsylvania State University

Otherwise known as Penn State, the university has a flexible and comprehensive online bachelors program. Your online bachelors program will have career counseling, tutorials, and technical support for the students. Your graduation involves 120 credits of courses on topics such as infant development, development to adulthood, and an internship. If you’re interested in applying, you should provide your high school transcripts and submit your application online.

Pennsylvania State University boasts the largest alumni association in the world with 673,000 and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

How to Choose the Right Program

You can choose the perfect program based on your future career aspirations and the academic course load each school provides. Some will focus more specifically on education while others give you a greater opportunity to study outside of the teaching field. After this, you can rank schools by convenience, price, and accreditation.

Who accredits a bachelor’s degree in child development program?

Understanding the accreditation schools possess is the key to ensuring that you receive a top-notch education that will prepare you for a future in child development. Every school, including online programs, will have to maintain some type of accreditation with a state, regional or national accrediting agencies.

Beyond this accreditation, many will opt to maintain voluntary status with the Accrediting Council on Education in Child Development. This helps to hold the schools accountable for offering a well-rounded curriculum that adequately prepares students for the future. Not all of the top schools hold this accreditation, but it should be considered before you make a choice.

How long does it typically take to get a degree in child development?

Most colleges and universities allow you obtain your degree in child development in four years, just as with a standard bachelor’s degree from other programs. Some course loads will require five years depending on the timing of the courses offered and your enrollment date.

What does the curriculum include?

The curriculum will have courses through the development of the child from infant to young adult. These courses will teach you how to help kids with different problems including physical, emotional, or mental problems.

You will learn the best methods to work with children of multicultural backgrounds and varying ages. Your courses will encourage you to learn the risk factors associated with development, which could include obesity, malnutrition, poverty, or depression.

You will likely gain experiences working with children through internships, classrooms, or volunteer opportunities. To round out the education, the program will require core courses in liberal arts such as math and science.

How can I finance my education?

Obtaining your bachelor’s degree can be an expensive endeavor. You can finance this dream by applying for financial aid and grants through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants offered by the federal government do not need to be repaid upon graduation.

Some of these top universities will also have scholarships available to eligible students on a first-come-first-served basis. These scholarships will not need to be repaid but might be based on your grades, test scores, and other criteria. Similar to a scholarship, some colleges will offer work-study programs that allow you to work off your debt in various positions around campus.

For the remaining amount, you might consider taking out a student loan that can be paid back upon graduation. Look for loans that have a low interest rate and don’t impose a penalty for prepayment. The federal government tends to offer more advantageous loan programs compared to private lenders.

What are the employment prospects for a bachelor’s in child development graduate?

Understanding the employment prospects for those who receive their bachelor’s degree in journalism can vary based on the unique career path you decide to take. To give you an idea of what is expected for this field in the coming years, we will take a look at the most popular careers that many people with this degree choose to pursue. All data is based on the figures available from the United State Department of Labor based on projects made from 2016 to 2026.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: Although they are often underpaid, teachers are expected to see an increase as fast as average with a seven percent growth. There are currently 1,565,300 jobs available to future teachers. Despite the average job growth, there are plenty of opportunities for job seekers.

Preschool Teachers: Young kids can be difficult to handle, which is why careers as preschool teachers are growing faster than average. The growth over the next decade is predicted to be as large as ten percent. This field currently has 478,500 jobs available and is expected an expansion of 50,100 more. If you can handle children, this is a field looking for job seekers.

Special Education Teachers: Teaching for special needs students is expected to grow at eight percent over the next decade. There are 439,300 jobs available in this sector and has a small barrier to entry with just a bachelor’s degree required. The average annual salary is great at $57,910 per year. This is a great field for teacher’s looking to help kids with disabilities.

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