Master's Degrees in Child Development

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For those who want to transform their love of children into a career, a master's degree in child development might be the perfect educational program. Combining study of human services, psychology, and public policy, a child development degree can be used to as the foundation for a number of rewarding occupations.

Professionals in the field typically focus on children from infancy until adolescence, and may find jobs in schools, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. Their expertise might lead them to work with children one-on-one, or they may be called upon to head up initiatives that will benefit a larger community of children and their families.

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to work in this important field can take two or three years off work to earn a graduate degree the traditional way. However, thanks to the flexibility of online degree programs, students can now receive education from the comfort of their own home. If you're interested in advancing your career but aren't sure how you could possibly go back to campus, it's time to learn about earning an online master's degree in child development.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Child Development?

People who already have an undergraduate degree and a career might be wondering why they should go back to school for an advanced education. While a master's degree may not be for everyone, it can lead to increased income and leadership positions for some professionals.

The chart below takes a look at some of the common careers within the field of education that may be pursued by those with a background in child development. As it shows, median income is greater for those with higher degree attainment:


Entry-Level Education

Median Income (2015)

Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)

Childcare Workers

High School Diploma



Preschool Teachers

Associate Degree



Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Bachelor's Degree



Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Master's Degree



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Of course, not everyone who studies child development works in education. Some who earn a master's in the field might go on to earn a doctoral degree and become a psychologist. Others may combine their child development classes with ones in social work or health care and pursue a career in those fields.

How Do You Enroll in an Online Master's Degree Program?

The application process for an online master's degree is similar to what you'd expect for an on-campus program. Depending on the institution, you may be required to provide some or all of the following:

  • Application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts from undergraduate program
  • References
  • Personal statement
  • Resume

Although not common, some child development programs may also require students to submit GRE or GMAT exam scores.

Once the application is completed, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for a school to respond with an acceptance or denial letter. Those who are accepted will then receive further instructions on how to enroll in classes and access the online learning platform.

Filling Out a Request Form

It can be overwhelming to find a school that's the right fit for you. We can make it easier by matching you to programs that align with your academic and career goals. Click the "Search Schools" button on the right and enter some basic demographic information to be connected with appropriate institutions.

What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?

At many schools, there is little to no difference. Online lectures, video chats, and multi-media presentations make it possible for an online master's degree in child development to offer the same instruction students can expect to get in an on-campus program.

While the content and even the required credits may be the same at some schools, others use innovative programs to accelerate the time in which it takes to earn a degree online. For example, Capella University offers a FlexPath program which allows students to take as many courses as they can complete in a 12 week period for a single fee. This program, and similar ones at other schools, can make an online degree more affordable than a traditional one.

Why Is Online College Good for Master's Degrees in Child Development?

Not every degree program is a good fit for online learning. Some fields, such as health care, demand in-person training for students to learn the skills needed for a successful career. However, child development degrees generally cover information that can be easily conveyed through digital learning tools.

Does Location Matter for an Online Master's Degree in Child Development?

It could, depending on the degree requirements. Some online master's programs do ask students to visit campus on occasion. Others may have internships or capstone projects that can be easier to arrange and complete if you live near the school.

Still, many online child development degrees can be completed from anywhere in the country. Talk to the admission staff at your prospective college or university to see whether it would be beneficial to live nearby.

If you're ready to take the next step in your education, you'll find a list of schools offering online programs in child development and related fields below. Request information from any of them to learn more about their program offerings, and how earning a master's degree could help take your career to new heights.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
  2. Colleges that Charge Students the Most to Apply, Susannah Snider, U.S. News and World Report, December 1, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2015/12/01/colleges-that-charge-students-the-most-to-apply
  3. Child Development: What Can I do With This Degree? California State University - Chico, http://www.csuchico.edu/chld/studentResources/whatCanIDo.shtml
  4. FlexPath, Capella University, http://www.capella.edu/flexpath/

Master's Degrees in Child Development

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