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Achieve Your Early Childhood Education Career Goals at Your Pace

Eager and motivated to reach your career goals? These early childhood education degree programs may help speed your progress.

It’s an exciting time to be an early childhood educator. In 2013, President Obama brought national attention to the condition of early childhood education in the U.S. with his State of the Union Address, galvanizing congressional legislators to fund his Preschool for All initiative to make high-quality preschools accessible to every child in America. Achieving the goal of high-quality preschool experiences for our youngest students begins with strong early childhood education teachers and administrators.

Quality Education With a Jump Start

Educators eager to advance their early childhood careers may be able to accelerate their success with early childhood development degrees delivered in a competency-based format. In competency-based learning experiences, you subscribe to three-month learning periods, giving you greater control over your tuition cost.

Achieve Your Early Childhood Education Career Goals at Your Pace

MS in Early Childhood Studies (Competency Based)

Walden University offers a competency-based, online master’s in childhood studies degree for working professionals designed to deepen your understanding of child development and the qualities of effective early childhood programs and services. The format allows you to complete coursework in time frames that work best for you. You will build on your existing skills, knowledge, and experience. As you complete each specific “area of competency,” your mastery or demonstration of skills, abilities, and knowledge will be assessed. Depending on your individual pace and progress, you could accelerate your program completion.

Walden’s MS in Early Childhood Studies (Competency Based) features two specializations, each with its own set of competencies to master. Examples include:

Specialization: Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Settings

  • Analyze preschool curriculum for developmentally appropriate models and approaches.
  • Use communication and collaboration strategies necessary to build effective partnerships with diverse families.
  • Create research proposals to address questions in the early childhood field.
  • Recommend culturally responsive practices to promote supportive and respectful partnerships with families and positive outcomes for young children.
  • Identify types and purposes of assessments that support teaching and learning in preschool settings.

Specialization: Administration, Management, and Leadership

  • Create developmentally appropriate curriculum in alignment with professional standards.
  • Identify sources and processes for obtaining funding to support early childhood programs and initiatives.
  • Apply best practices for the recruitment, professional development, performance evaluation, and retention of diverse staff in early childhood contexts.
  • Create balanced budgets for early childhood programs.
  • Evaluate the quality of early childhood research studies.

BS in Early Childhood Studies (Competency Based)

Aligned with NAEYC standards, this non-licensure degree program from Walden can help you prepare for a career working with children in a daycare or early childhood center. Through this online degree program, you’ll focus on a number of particular competencies in categories such as:

  • Becoming an Early Childhood Professional
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Health and Safety for Young Children
  • Culturally Responsive Practice
  • Children with Exceptionalities
  • Child, Family, and Community Relationships
  • Social-Emotional Development and Positive Guidance
  • Effective Practices for Quality Programs Serving Young Children
  • Early Literacy
  • Observation, Assessment, and Planning
  • Learning and Teaching in Inclusive Early Childhood Settings
  • Play, Creativity and the Areas (P-3)
  • Effective Practice for Infants and Toddlers
  • Meaningful Learning Experiences
  • Early Childhood Professionalism
  • Professional Skills

Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Administration, Management, and Leadership

Walden’s graduate certificate program provides you with a potentially faster route to the higher-level knowledge and skills you can apply immediately in your job as an early childhood educator or administrator. Like the master’s degree program, the graduate certificate is completed at your pace and measures your knowledge in key areas of early childhood education including cultural responsiveness, communication and collaboration, effective practices, leadership, and managing early childhood programs.

Of all the online graduate programs available, certificate programs take the least amount of time to complete, yet they can reward you with vital new skills employers are looking for right now. Other benefits include the ability to:

  • Update your skills in high-demand areas of expertise in your profession.
  • Focus your online learning experience on skills you can use on your job right now.
  • Show your boss or prospective employers that you are dedicated to continuing your education and advancing your career.
  • Accelerate your master’s or doctoral degree at a later time with transferred credits from your certificate program.

Job Outlook and Salaries

Depending on your professional experience and training, a master’s degree or certificate program could help prepare you for positions such as preschool director, program administrator for early childhood programs, public policy coordinator, child care administrator, child and family advocate, or public policy coordinator. The job market for preschool and childcare directors, for example, is expected to grow 11% by 2026 period and the median pay was $47,940 in May 2018.1

Increase your knowledge and advance your career with Walden University’s custom-paced early childhood education degree programs for working professionals. Get the help you need to continue your education and advance your career goals. Earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to

Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.

Prospective Washington state students are advised to contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 1-360-725-6275 or [email protected] to determine whether Walden’s programs in the field of education are approved for teacher certification or endorsements in Washington state. Additionally, teachers are advised to contact their individual school district as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.