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Learn From a Leader in Master’s in Early Childhood Education Degrees¹

Are you ready to impact children’s learning and development in a bigger way? Choose Walden’s MS in Early Childhood Studies non-licensure program and grow as a leader, mentor, and advocate.

Our master’s in early childhood education program is grounded in the most contemporary developments in the field, including play and creativity and trauma-informed teaching. Expand your expertise and grow your knowledge as you learn to make an even more profound difference in your students’ lives.

A master’s in early childhood education prepares students to pursue teaching, advocacy, and leadership roles in school settings and beyond.

Learn From an ECS Expert

Walden University is proud to be recognized as the No. 2 granter of early childhood education master’s degrees. 1

Explore Cutting-Edge Topics

Examine the role of play in healthy development and the impact of trauma and mental health issues on children and families.

Find Your Voice

Our master’s in early childhood education program facilitates your development as a leader and advocate in the early childhood field.

Master Current Best Practices

Our program is aligned with professional guidelines from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Program Savings

Tempo Competency-Based Learning™: Receive up to a $3,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on June 7, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Two Ways to Learn

Choose from two degree completion options that are both designed for working nurses.

The course-based format may be a good option for you if you prefer an instructor-led approach and learning on a predetermined schedule.

Tempo Competency-Based LearningTempo Competency-Based Learning is an alternative way to earn your Walden degree. It’s different from our standard course-based learning because you can work at a pace that makes sense for you, and progress once you’ve shown you understand a subject. With Tempo Learning®, you have the flexibility of online learning, plus the ability to personalize and control the length, cost, and pacing of your program.

General Program and Specializations

General Program (Course-Based)

Explore best practices for promoting meaningful learning experiences and healthy development in children from birth to age 8.

Administration, Management, and Leadership (Tempo Competency-Based Learning™)

Get the knowledge and skills you need to create child-centered programs that promote positive learning experiences for all children.

Early Childhood Administration, Management, and Leadership (Course-Based)

Develop essential business skills related to running and managing an early childhood program or facility.

Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Settings (Tempo Competency-Based Learning™ )

Deepen your understanding of the ways diversity affects development and learning in early childhood.

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Master the Mechanics of Teaching and Learning

In Walden’s master’s in early childhood education program, you’ll explore how children’s brains develop and how early experiences affect learning and social emotional development. Gain strategies to advocate for the infusion of play and creativity into early childhood teaching and learning. Apply your skills in field experiences in varied areas of expertise, from infants and toddlers to children in grades P–3.

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Patricia Hampshire

    Patricia Hampshire

    Contributing Faculty

    Dr. Hampshire is a contributing faculty member in Walden’s master’s in early childhood education program. She currently works as an associate professor of Early and Special Education at Boise State University. Dr. Hampshire received her PhD in Special Education from Indiana University in 2011.

    Read Patricia's Bio
  • Johnna Darragh Ernst

    Contributing Faculty

    Dr. Darragh Ernst has been working in higher education for more than 20 years. The author of two books for early childhood practitioners, she is invested in the areas of professional development and inclusion.

    Read Johnna's Bio
  • Lisset Bird-Pickens

    Contributing Faculty

    Dr. Bird-Pickens has taught at the university level since 2006. Her academic background is in early childhood education, educational leadership, and child and family development. She is also a licensed professional counselor, nationally certified counselor, and nationally certified school counselor.

    Read Lisset's Bio

What’s the Career Impact of Earning an Early Childhood Master’s Degree?

America needs more qualified professionals to prepare children with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in school—and in life. According to job market data gathered by Burning Glass Technologies, demand for early childhood studies practitioners grew 144% from 2010 to 2018.2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment for preschool and childcare center directors will rise at a rate of 7% through 2028.3

What Can I Do With an MS in Early Childhood Studies?

With a master’s degree, you can start a new chapter in your career—or build on your prior experience to become a leader and innovator in the early childhood field. Career options range from postsecondary teaching and advocacy roles to administrative and leadership positions within early childhood learning environments. Potential occupations include:

  • Child and family advocate
  • Public policy coordinator
  • Child development instructor
  • Professional development facilitator
  • Lecturer in early childhood studies
  • Childcare administrator
  • Assistant director of a childcare center
  • Director of a childcare center
  • Owner of a childcare center
  • Preschool director
  • Program administrator for early childhood programs

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this early childhood studies master’s degree program.


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