Early Childhood Education Degree Programs in Arkansas

Arkansas has 23 schools that offer early childhood education degree programs. Learn about degree programs, tuition info and program options for the 10 largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Early childhood education (ECE) focuses on teaching students in preschool through fourth grade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that aspiring teachers who want to teach kindergarten or elementary school need to have bachelor's degrees, whereas those interested in teaching preschool only need associate's degrees. In Arkansas, completion of a state-approved teaching preparation program, which often includes one or more student teaching internships, is also required for teaching licensure. There are 23 schools that offer relevant degree programs in Arkansas. Below are short overviews of the 10 largest schools that offer programs that meet state requirements for licensure, unless otherwise stated.


Arkansas State University - Beebe

The Arkansas State University campus in Beebe offers several degree options through the College of Education and Human Development. The Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) program requires 63 credit hours and includes education core requirements in educational technology and math for teachers. The early childhood specialty includes courses in child development and a survey of early childhood. An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education is also available. This program requires a total of 60 credit hours and includes courses in curriculum development, literacy, business administration and child development.

Two certificate programs are also available. Students can earn the Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education by completing the necessary 42 credit hours. Required courses cover child guidance, first aid, math and science for early childhood, language arts and curriculum development. Completion of a capstone project is mandatory. The Certificate of Proficiency in Early Childhood Education requires 10 credit hours and includes a practicum in the field as well as courses in child development and exceptional children.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT): Early Childhood Specialty,
    Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education,
    Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education,
    Certificate of Proficiency in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,098 in-state; $3,697 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; fringe town

Arkansas State University - Main Campus

The main campus of Arkansas State University is located in Jonesboro and offers a number of bachelor's and master's degree programs in early childhood education. Students must complete 123 hours to obtain the Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) in Early Childhood Education. Classwork includes subjects like art, science and math for teachers, effective teaching strategies and music methods. Students must register for an internship in a local school as part of this degree program's graduation requirements. A BSE program in early childhood education with a focus on special education is also available and requires 138 credit hours.

Designed for educators, the Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Early Childhood Education program requires 33-36 hours of classwork. Classes cover topics such as administration and supervision of programs for young children, national teaching standards and emergent literacy from birth through primary grades. Students must also complete a practicum. This program does not lead to teaching licensure.

Similarly, the Master of Science (MS) in Early Childhood Services program does not qualify students for teacher certification. It is designed for people who work in agencies. Degree requirements include 30 hours in subjects like models of early childhood curriculum, developmental perspectives and leadership in early childhood and sources.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) in Early Childhood Education,
    BSE in Early Childhood Education: Special Education,
    Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Early Childhood Education,
    Master of Science (MS) in Early Childhood Services
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,180 in-state; $12,610 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; small city

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University in Russellville offers two undergraduate options for students interested in early childhood education. The associate's degree program is offered online and leads to the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Required courses include the study of child development, theories in early childhood education, curriculum development and nutrition. The general education courses for this program can be transferred to a bachelor's degree program in early childhood education.

The Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education program is offered through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. After completing all general education requirements, students complete core courses in education before taking part in internships. Graduates are eligible to sit for the required licensure examination offered through the Arkansas Department of Education.

  • Programs Offered: Associate of Science (AS) in Early Childhood Education,
    Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,286 in-state; $9,774 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; remote town

Harding University

Located in Searcy, Harding University offers programs in early childhood education through the Cannon-Clary College of Education. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education program requires 128 credit hours. Students can expect to study education law and ethics, educational technology, classroom management, curriculum design and early childhood assessment. At least eight credit hours of Bible coursework must also be completed to earn the degree.

The Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education requires 36 credit hours, excluding required courses in Bible study. Core courses focus on research methods, educational technology and human development. The curriculum also covers literacy strategies, social studies, language arts and behavioral management. Electives include the study of second-language teaching methods, curriculum mapping, literacy assessment, professional teaching standards and the administration of early childhood programs.

  • Program Offered: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education,
    Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $15,240*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, private not-for-profit; distant town

Henderson State University

Henderson State University in Arkadelphia offers undergraduate and graduate options in early childhood education. The BSE in Early Childhood Education program requires 126 credit hours. Students must complete several modules filled with core courses on the principles of learning and teaching as part of the curriculum. This includes the study of educational technology, classroom management and psychology, as well as two internships. The early childhood education core curriculum focuses on child development, community relations, data analysis and teaching methods.

Students can also pursue an MSE in Advanced Instructional Studies with a focus on preschool through fourth grade. This 36-credit hour program concentrates on research, with students able to choose courses in curriculum construction, educational law, advanced child growth, the creative arts and instruction techniques.

  • Programs Offered: BSE in Early Childhood Education,
    MSE in Advanced Instructional Studies
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,280 in-state; $13,160 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; distant town

NorthWest Arkansas Community College

Located in Bentonville, this community college offers an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) with an emphasis on preschool through fourth grade or early childhood education. The curriculum requires between 60 and 64 credit hours. Students can expect courses in English, fine arts, mathematics, science and the basics of education. In addition, required electives cover child development, psychology and the history of Arkansas.

  • Program Offered: AAT: P-4 Education Track
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $2,915 in-district; $4,340 in-state; $5,915 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; small city

Southern Arkansas University Main Campus

This university in Magnolia offers a BSE in Early Childhood Education that leads to licensure for the state of Arkansas. The curriculum requires roughly 122 credit hours. Students can expect courses in child growth and development, learning theory, literacy, early childhood assessment and reading instruction. Two student teaching and multiple field experiences must also be completed to earn the degree.

  • Program Offered: BSE in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $7,146 in-state; $10,176 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; remote town

University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas' Fort Smith campus offers two undergraduate programs in early childhood education. The associate's degree program in this field calls for completion of 60 credit hours. The curriculum includes courses in child growth and guidance, communication, curriculum development, nutrition and literacy. A practicum and two field experiences are also required.

The bachelor's degree program requires 120 credit hours. Students must complete coursework in child development, the creative arts, teaching methods and curriculum assessment. In addition, students are required to complete two practicums and an internship.

  • Programs Offered: AAS in Early Childhood Education,
    BS in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,462 in-state; $9,880 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; small city

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

The University of Arkansas' campus in Little Rock offers a bachelor's degree in early childhood education that leads to licensure. The curriculum requires a total of 128 credit hours. Students can expect to participate in five blocks of early childhood education courses, totaling 73 credit hours. Courses include the study of educational technology, early childhood music, literacy, early childhood assessment and mathematics. In addition, participants must complete several field experiences and internships to earn this degree.

  • Program Offered: BSE in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $6,854 in-state; $16,066 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; midsize city

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers two degree options for the study of early childhood education through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. The bachelor's degree requires 125 credit hours that can be completed in four years. Students are expected to complete courses in communication, public school music, teaching social studies, children's literature and advanced composition. In addition, clinical and student teaching practicums are required.

This university also offers a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. This program is designed for licensed teachers who wish to gain a deeper understanding of this field. However, participants who have earned bachelor's degrees in other fields can choose a different track of this program as a means to gain licensure in early childhood education. Each track requires 36 credit hours. Students of both tracks must complete courses in literacy, teaching methods, behavior and child development.

  • Programs Offered: BS in Early Childhood Education,
    M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,724 in-state; $11,124 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Early Childhood Education Degree Programs Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Arkansas State University - Beebe Two-year, public; fringe town Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT): Early Childhood Specialty,
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education,
Technical Certificate in Early Childhood Education,
Certificate of Proficiency in Early Childhood Education
$2,098 in-state; $3,697 out-of-state*
Arkansas State University - Main Campus Four-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) in Early Childhood Education,
BSE in Early Childhood Education: Special Education,
Master of Science in Education (MSE) in Early Childhood Education,
Master of Science (MS) in Early Childhood Services
$7,180 in-state; $12,610 out-of-state*
Arkansas Tech University Four-year, public; remote town Associate of Science (AS) in Early Childhood Education,
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education
$5,286 in-state; $9,774 out-of-state*
Harding University Four-year, private not-for-profit; distant town Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Early Childhood Education,
Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education
$15,240*
Henderson State University Four-year, public; distant town BSE in Early Childhood Education,
MSE in Advanced Instructional Studies
$7,280 in-state; $13,160 out-of-state*
NorthWest Arkansas Community College Two-year, public; small city AAT: P-4 Education Track $2,915 in-district; $4,340 in-state; $5,915 out-of-state*
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Four-year, public; remote town BSE in Early Childhood Education $7,146 in-state; $10,176 out-of-state*
University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Four-year, public; small city AAS in Early Childhood Education,
BS in Early Childhood Education
$4,462 in-state; $9,880 out-of-state*
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Four-year, public; midsize city BSE in Early Childhood Education $6,854 in-state; $16,066 out-of-state*
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Four-year, public; small city BS in Early Childhood Education,
M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
$5,724 in-state; $11,124 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator.

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