PhD in Early Childhood Education Online Programs

Why Earn a Doctorate in Early Education

A doctorate in early childhood education online program could be a convenient and flexible way to study how to enhance teaching practices for pre-kindergarten students.

Programs split their time between teaching child learning development and research methods. First, students could study how children engage with their education. Then courses instruct how to conduct research to assess the effectiveness of new teaching techniques. This comprehensive approach could help you design new policies to better address the needs of younger learners. And, you may have access to all these courses from the comfort of your home.

Why Earn a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online?

Many students pursuing a doctorate in early child education online programs may be concerned that they’re missing parts of the campus experience. But, online doctoral programs may include many parts of what you would find in a typical PhD in early childhood education program. For instance, students may still be able to speak with professors and peers instantly via forums, email, and instant messaging.

Additionally, most online programs do offer campus research opportunities for students to take part in. Research may be scheduled during the summer or during school break to be more convenient for working professionals. And, school’s may have multiple campuses. So, you could choose a campus that is close to your home to reduce travel time.  

Finally, earning your early childhood education PhD online could be a great option for current teaching professionals and other busy adult learners. Teacher may be unable to attend typical class times due to their working schedule.iv As part of the online format, you could access your courses as your time allows. For teachers, this could mean after you’re out of the classroom for the day.

Potential PhD in Early Childhood Education Online Program Curriculum

When earning a doctorate in early education online degree, courses focus on how to design overarching systems that effect younger students. For instance, you may study methods to effectively alter curriculum or change policies to better serve children’s learning habits. To better illustrate the unique needs of younger students, classes might also help develop your understanding of children’s emotional, social, physical, and cognitive abilities.

To do this, programs could offer some of the following classes in the curriculum.

  • Social & Emotional Child Development
  • Family Learning
  • Parent Child Interaction
  • Working with At-Risk Children
  • Childhood Literacy
  • Early Childhood Education Issues

This is just a sampling of courses. Programs vary.

Research in the Digital Classroom

The doctorate in early childhood education online program also aims to help students enhance the early childhood educational system. To this end, programs may require students to take part in research method classes before conducting research of their own. These methods could help you analyze the effectiveness of current education policies. Or, they could be used to test new curriculum before using it in a school system.

Students may be asked to take some of the following courses.

  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design and Analysis
  • Connecting Education Research to Practice
  • Program Evaluation
  • Education Research Methods

It’s important to note that online students looking to conduct research themselves may be asked to spend a semester on campus. Campus facilities could offer access to technology, advisors, and testing facilities that may not be available via the digital classroom. Speak with your school for more information.

PhD in Early Childhood Education Online Dissertation Requirements

Most doctorate in early childhood education online programs require students to complete a research dissertation to graduate. Students typically construct experiments to test the effectiveness of new teaching methods. After completing their research, they then use their data to help design new policies or curriculum.

Students may have to venture on campus to test their theses in an actual classroom. A dissertation could also require you to present your findings to the department faculty. Schools may have students come onto campus to defend their work. Others may favor video conferences for online students. Dissertation requirements vary by school. Be sure to speak with your intended department for more information.

Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online Program Length

Like other doctoral programs, a PhD in early childhood education online program is lengthier than other graduate programs. This is because it often has more intensive coursework and dissertation requirements. Many programs require students to complete 60 to 80 credit hours. With this knowledge, students could expect to earn a doctorate in early childhood education online in 4 years, depending on enrollment. Program length may vary by school. 

How to Apply to a Doctorate of Early Childhood Education Online Program

Admission requirements for a doctorate in early childhood education online program aim to assess your previous academic experience, as well as your educational knowledge. Schools may require prospective students to have earned a masters in early childhood education or a related field. This way, more time could be devoted to advanced topics instead of spending time teaching the basics.

Schools may request students to submit a 3.5 or higher graduate GPA, in addition to GRE/GMAT scores. Also, schools may have students perform a department interview prior to admission. In these cases, students may be asked about their future research goals. This could be a great opportunity to also ask the faculty additional questions that may not be covered on the school website.

Admissions criteria may differ by school. Be sure to speak with your university for more details.

What’s the Difference Between Early Childhood & Elementary Education?

When researching programs, it might be easy to confuse PhD in early childhood education online programs with elementary education programs. While the two programs do share some similarities, they differ in the groups they focus on. Early childhood education deals with students’ education prior to entering kindergarten. This usually covers education from birth until age 5. Mainly, this could include effective teaching methods for students in preschool.

Elementary education, on the other hand, handles students from grades K-5. Elementary education builds upon the foundation established in early childhood education to continue students’ learning. You might even say that students are passed from early child to elementary education. While the programs may not have the same goal, they might need to be able to flow into one another to potentially enhance students’ academic experience. For more information, check out the elementary education graduate program page.

Potential Careers After Earning a PhD in Early Childhood Education Online

The skills and knowledge covered as part of a doctorate in early childhood education online program aim to help students pursue managerial positions in the education field. For example, students could potentially pursue some of the following careers. Also provided are the careers’ median salary as of 2015.

  • Education Director, $38,780i
  • Education Administrator, $45,670ii

While these careers may require applicants to hold a bachelors degree for entry-level positions, many employers look for more advanced degrees. Graduate coursework could demonstrate that you have a better understanding of key concepts and research that could potentially benefit children in a school system.

Students who earn a PhD in early childhood education degree might also be interested in pursuing a teaching career after graduation. Postsecondary teaching positions typically require students to have earned doctoral degree in their desired field. Postsecondary teachers earned a median salary of $72,470 in 2015. And, the position is expected to see a possible growth of available positions by 13% from 2014 to 2024.iii

Doctorate in Early Childhood Education Online: What’s Next?

Earning a PhD in early childhood education online could your first step to address the learning challenges of pre-k students. If you’re ready to start this search, browse the list of links of this page. To find out more, click a program’s link. This provides you with a brief description about the program. While you’re there, you could also request more info. This might provide with important information like admissions requirements, school deadlines, and more. Good luck!

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