7 Best Child Development Degree Programs in 2021 - Best Value Schools

7 Best Child Development Degree Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Working with children can be a rewarding career, but also a challenging one. Children have a natural curiosity and look to adults to help them quench their thirst for knowledge. Those considering a job working with children need to consider a post-secondary degree in child development. 

While a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development focuses on early education that includes teaching, communication, and social sciences. Students must focus on kids from birth to grade three, many choose to focus on a more specific age or topic for their studies. Because the choices are so wide and varied, many students find this an attractive and valuable degree. 

Those with a bachelor’s degree in child development have a variety of career choices to choose from, including

  • Child/Childhood Life Specialist
  • Special Education Paraprofessional
  • Parent Educator
  • Early Childhood Education Consultant
  • Early Childhood Education Regulator
  • Pre-School and Childcare Director
  • Nanny
  • Teachers Aid
  • Sports Coach
  • Social Worker

Career Growth and Earning Potential

There are many different career options when you have a child development degree, so salaries also vary widely. 

As in any other field, salaries vary based on the career chosen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn an average income of around $54,550 annually, with six percent job growth expected by 2024. Preschool teachers earn an average income of $28,570, with seven percent job growth expected by 2024. Social workers earn an average income of approximately $45,900 with growth expected of around 12 percent by 2024.

There will always be a need for teachers and educators that are passionate about teaching our children, so a career in childhood education guarantees a job in the field.

Some of the Top Schools for a Child Development Degree

Many schools offer child development degrees, but some are more highly regarded. If students want to pursue graduate degrees, they often want to stay with the same college or university that they attended for their undergraduate degree.

As we reviewed the following schools, we have tried to notate which schools offer graduate and Ph.D. 

1. Tufts University:

Tufts University is known as a leading private research university and center for higher education. It is a moderately sized university and is located on the border of Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts. The 

University’s Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development offers a strong foundation of course work designed to help graduates realize their goal of supporting children and their development as they grow into teens and adulthood.

Those that choose to major in child development have a variety of jobs they can pursue upon graduation including:

  • Health-related studies
  • Education
  • Public policy
  • Child advocate in the legal system
  • Careers in media and arts programs

Tufts University was founded in 1852 by Christians universalists who longed for a domain of higher learning in a secular environment. They offer Minor and Major in Childhood education.

  • Cost of tuition:2019/2020 undergraduate tuition and fees – $ 58,578 USD
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 9:1
  • Graduation rate: 92.2%

2. University of Southern California:

The University of Southern California started its USC Rossier School of Education in 1918. They typically have a student body of around 2,500 enrolled graduate students, which lends itself to a widely diverse student body. The schools’ mission is to prepare students for leadership roles in their chosen careers. Rossier as part of the University of Southern California is considered to be one of the top private universities in the United States.

At USC Rossier School of Education, students are prepared for:

  • Careers as teachers, educational leaders, and scholars
  • Research and practical skills that help children with classroom learning
  • Helping children get a good view of different environments in the world can open new horizons and opportunities for them

The school offers a variety of different degrees in childhood education depending on what degree you finally want to earn. They have undergraduate degrees, Master’s degree programs, and Doctoral degree programs.

  • Cost of tuition: $1,995 per unit
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 7.7: 1
  • Graduation rate: 92%

3. Baylor University:

Baylor University is home to the Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development. The school is located in Waco, Texas, and prides itself on its extremely strong education it provides to those looking for a degree in child development. Students pursuing a degree in child development experience a unique curriculum that prepares them for working with kids, families, and others in a variety of different settings.

Courses in child develop concentration degree plan include:

  • Infant, Toddler, and Adolescent Development
  • Care for Children and Families with Special Needs
  • Children’s Literature and the Arts
  • Best practices in early childhood settings.

Baylor University’s Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development offers 127 undergraduate degree programs; 78 master’s programs and 46 doctoral programs. They state that 83% of graduates find a job within 90 days of graduation.

  • Cost of tuition: 2021/2022 school year costs $50,232 (does not include room and meals)
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Graduation rate: 74%

4. University of South Florida:

The University of South Florida (USF) is a premier research university located in Tampa. The university was founded in 1956 and has been dedicated to providing high-quality education to ensure student success. By some standards, USF is considered a “young” school as it is around 60 years old, but in that period of time, it has had a high impact on global research. The UFC Early Childhood Education program is known for providing students with excellent skills to further their educational career.  

Upon graduation students will:

  • Develop knowledge, responsiveness, and ability to help children in need
  • Help promote quality learning in positive settings
  • Assess, analyze, and develop plans for those with special educational needs

The Early Childhood Education program offers a Bachelor of Science Degree, Master in Education Concentration Ph.D. Degree, Concentration. USF has 37,350 undergraduate students and 11,358 graduate students. They offer over 150 master’s, Ph.D., and specialist level programs.

Cost of tuition: 

  • $23,446 for undergraduate students; 26,698 for graduate students
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 23:1
  • Graduation rate:  69.4%

5. University of Georgia:

The University of Georgia is one of the oldest public universities in the U.S. being founded in 1785. It is based in Athens, Georgia, and consists of about 470 buildings on campus. University’s Early Childhood Education program is highly regarded, and the bachelor’s program provides certification to teach children from pre-kindergarten through grade five. The program gives students a hands-on learning environment and coursework that leads to teaching success. Students will learn to create challenging educational environments that lead to positive relationships with both students, parents, and other faculty.

Key learnings include:

· Exploring, learning, and teaching skills

· Investigating critical and contemporary issues found in the educational environment today

· Issues that graduates may need to address in special needs and early education

· Exploring socio-cultural perspectives on individuality and diversity

The college has a wide range of degrees for those that want a degree in education. They include Bachelor of Science in Education, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Science, Master of Science in Athletic Training, Educational Specialist, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Ph.D. in Education, and others.

  • Cost of tuition: Based on a 9-month academic year in 2020/2021 – $27,658
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Graduation rate: 83.7

6. University of Washington

The University of Washington’s College of Education offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is considered to be one of the top schools of education in the United States. The school was formed in 1913 and opened in December 1914 as a four-year program. Since its’ start, the school’s mission was to develop a high-level educational program that creates “sustainable and culturally thriving democracies” through collaborative work. The College of Education offers programs that prepare students for a wide range of educational options that include:

  • Early Care and Education
  • Early Childhood and Family Studies
  • Education Communities and Organizations
  • Learning Sciences and Human Development
  • Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership

Students attending the University of Washington’s College of Education have a wide variety of choices when it comes to pursuing degrees. Some of the degrees they offer in Education include: Bachelor of Arts, master’s in teaching, Master of Education, Educational Specialist, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy.

  • Cost of tuition: For the 2020/2021 school year is $19,684 for Washington State residents 
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 21:1
  • Graduation rate: 84%

7. The University of Wisconsin – Madison

The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Education Research is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and was founded in 1964. It is a branch of the university’s School of Education is a renowned research center at the University of Wisconsin. Throughout its history, the school has looked to improve education for all Americans through various learning environments, learning educational processes and social policy, and other tools to help guide students to the best education possible. Students from this well-respected research university will learn a variety of skills, including:

  • Best practices in an educational environment
  • Tools to engage students and provide support, strategic and efficient learning
  • Skills in diversity, advocacy, and lobbying for early childhood education
  • Studying children in all settings including where they live and learn

The University of Wisconsin’s Center for Educational Research offers several degree programs including undergraduate and graduate programs in addition to academic enrichment programs.

  • Cost of tuition: Full-time master program students should expect to pay around $24,647 for the 2020/2021 year
  • Student to Faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Graduation rate: 84.8%

Methodology for Rating Schools Offering Child Development Degrees

When looking at the schools that offer highly respected Child Education Degrees, we looked at a lot of different statistics. We reviewed each school’s education program, studied many factors like the history of the program, the graduation rates, the ratio of faculty to the student, and the cost for the program. All of these factors are of importance when rating schools based on their expertise in the educational arena.

Also considered is the school’s programs when it comes to graduate studies in child development.

If there is a school omitted from this list or if any information is incorrect, please contact us so any omissions or corrections can be made.

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