With an EdS in Early Childhood Education, you can help shape the policies, programs, practices, and systems that affect the lives of young children from prenatal development through age 8.

By earning your Education Specialist (EdS) degree in Early Childhood Education, you can become a more effective early childhood leader and advocate for positive outcomes for young children and their families. This degree program prepares you for a variety of roles within this dynamic landscape.

In this early childhood education specialist degree online program, you will:

  • Explore the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning, and critically review current research in the field.
  • Analyze topics such as child development, family partnerships, content knowledge, assessment, effective practices, leadership, and advocacy.
  • Use case studies and innovative technology to evaluate the quality of early childhood programs and policies.
  • Learn strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children and develop the leadership characteristics necessary to implement effective change.

Coursework in this program is designed to reflect the advanced early childhood professional guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

An EdS degree can dramatically impact your salary and career as an educator-leader in less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn a Doctor of Education (EdD) or PhD in Education. However, the innovative structure of our Lifelong Learner Pathway allows you to lay the groundwork for your doctorate if you later choose to pursue it. As an EdS student, you will take the same initial courses as EdD and PhD in Education students, where you exchange ideas and engage in advanced graduate coursework. If you are inspired to earn your doctorate, you can transfer seamlessly into the EdD program with a specialization in Early Childhood Education without starting over, saving you time and money.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s EdS in Early Childhood Education program, you will be prepared to:

  • Apply research-based skills in the areas of child development and learning to evaluate practices and policies.
  • Apply effective leadership practices, including collaboration and advocacy, to promote positive outcomes for young children and families.
  • Apply responsible assessment practices to support healthy development and positive learning outcomes for young children.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural responsiveness in interactions with children, families, community members, and early childhood professionals.
  • Integrate professional resources, including technology, to create effective solutions to authentic problems in the early childhood field.
  • Apply a variety of perspectives that are knowledgeable, reflective, and critical to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
  • Design a scholarly response to address an early childhood education problem and contribute to the profession.


Like all of our Education Specialist degree programs, Walden’s EdS in Early Childhood Education program is designed to empower busy educators like you to pursue a specialized post-master’s degree while continuing to work full time. Our program offers unprecedented flexibility that lets you tailor your studies to your needs and goals and even change direction midstream without losing time or money.

  • You can switch degree paths even after starting your program. Students in the Doctor of Education (EdD) program and the EdS post-master’s programs take the same four initial courses. With our Lifelong Learner Pathway, you can continue toward your doctoral degree without having to start over—saving you time and money.
  • Earn your degree faster by transferring credits from prior coursework, saving you even more time and money in earning your EdS degree.
  • Increase your impact as an educator-leader in less time. With an EdS in Early Childhood Education, you can make a greater impact on your community, salary, and career in significantly less time, and at a lower cost, than it takes to earn an EdD or PhD in Education.
  • Learn from highly qualified and diverse faculty mentors, who blend academic theory with real-world insights to enrich your learning and broaden your perspectives on the latest trends.
  • NCATE accreditation assures you that our programs are high quality. The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)–accredited institution, is dedicated to enhancing educator effectiveness. As a recognized standard of excellence in preparing PreK–12 school professionals, NCATE accreditation ensures we have met rigorous national standards.

 Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

Note on Licensure
For initial licensure or adding endorsements (e.g., new teaching fields) to existing licenses, individuals are often required to complete a state-approved licensure program. Walden offers Minnesota state-approved licensure programs in special education, early childhood education, and P–12 principal licensure.

Additionally, not all of Walden’s programs include a practicum or cover the grade span of K–12, which are requirements for obtaining an endorsement in some states, especially in the area of reading.

The graduate degree program and coursework within the program in which you are enrolling is accepted by many states toward upgrading or renewing a license or obtaining a salary increase (depending on state or district policy).

Prospective students seeking licensure must research their state licensure requirements to determine (1) if they are required to complete a state-approved licensure program, and (2) if there are any other requirements that apply, especially requirements pertaining to programs provided by out-of-state (except Minnesota) or online institutions.

Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement. For additional guidance on licensure issues, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.


Clarice Davis

Clarice Davis

MSED and EdS in Teacher Leadership Graduate
My education has had a positive effect on my career, instilling leadership skills that have provided me the opportunity to improve the services I provide to clients and receive a job promotion.
I am a first-generation college graduate. By earning my degree, I’ve set a positive example for my son. I know I’ve shown him that he can do anything.
Walden’s instructors are there to assist in your education. You are never alone in your journey.
Katrina Fuller EdD Graduate
Katrina Fuller
Kimberly Sabrina McDuffie EdD Graduate
Kimberly McDuffie
Yvette Taylor MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate
Yvette Taylor
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