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Online Master of Science in Early Childhood Education

Prepare to make a positive impact on children 8 and under with this non-licensure program with our last cohort beginning Fall 2024.

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Hear how the Online MSECE program will help you become a truly effective teacher for children 8 and under.


Accelerate Your Career with Deeper Child Development Knowledge

This Master’s in Early Childhood Education program is designed for working professionals. While it is not an initial certification program, the non-licensure program aims to equip you to put childhood knowledge and theory into action to advance your career. You’ll gain the necessary qualifications to lead with expertise and take initiatives that help children age 8 and under grow and learn.

Erikson’s Online MSECE Program Is Multi-Faceted

The last term to begin this program is Fall 2024. Submit your application by August 2. This last cohort will complete their degree in Spring 2026.

30 Credit Hours


Fall, Spring or Summer Start Date

Part-Time: 3 Years

Full-Time: 20 Months

$1,157 Credit Hour

Why Erikson

Earn Your Master’s in Early Childhood Education in a Supportive Community

Gain a deeper understanding of young children with an online MSECE degree designed for working early education professionals.

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Flexible Study Options

Study part-time or full-time with this 100% online MSECE program so you can better balance life, work, and your studies.

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Career Services

Lean into Erikson’s comprehensive career advancement support.

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Faculty Experts

Collaborate with our nationally recognized faculty, build a respected network of field experts, and learn from the field’s leading voices.

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Comprehensive Classes

Our online program delivers an exceptional range of child development knowledge in small, personal classes.

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Self-Reflective Supervision Seminars

Gain a professional toolkit so you can be your most effective. Learn resilience and healthy professional practices alongside experienced practitioners.


Choose From Two Early Childhood Education Focus Areas or Electives

Based on your interests and professional goals, choose from two focus areas or a choice of electives.

You can also choose to pursue optional credentials.

Develop strong skills in management, working with adults, policy influence, and advocacy to position yourself as an effective and visionary early childhood leader in a variety of settings.

Learn skills and techniques that will enhance your abilities to work with young children who have experienced trauma and stress, and enhance their learning experiences and outcomes

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How Much Does an Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Cost?

Your Online MSECE degree shouldn’t break the bank.

With dozens of scholarships and financial aid opportunities, we’re here to help you achieve your professional goals.

Financial Aid Options  Tuition and Fees


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Apply Now for Priority Scholarship Considerations

Applications received by March 15th (for Fall) and November 15th (for Spring & Summer) will receive primary consideration for scholarship awards.


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Career Services

Erikson Institute Supports You Every Step of the Way

Our Career Services team is there for you in both the preparation and search for a job.

  • Career counseling and workshops
  • Annual job fair and networking events
  • Interview prep and resume reviews
  • Career placement program
  • Student and graduate resume book

With hundreds of partnerships and robust networks of alumni and field experts, the Career Services team is here to help you put your education into practice.

Meet our Career Specialists

Hear from Our MSECE Alums

Luis Bernard, Erikson Institute alumnus.
Luis Bernard
MS Early Childhood Education 2019
“ My Erikson degree prepared me to support the growth and progress of each child on their own terms. And just as I am behind each of my students, I can say that behind my Erikson Institute diploma, there are many caring professionals who are truly dedicated to my own progress and achievement in and out of school. ”
Natalie Sehgal, Erikson Institute alumnus.
Natalie Sehgal
MS Early Childhood Education 2022
“ I am passionate about being an educator and partnering with children and families because I know that teaching is more than just content work: this is heart work. Coming to Erikson has given me a different lens on how I approach children and families—more awareness about the impact of my words and the respect in my intentions as I work to support all families from various cultures, upbringings, philosophies, backgrounds. ”


Open New Doors with Your Erikson MSECE Degree

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to put your MSECE degree to work right away. Here are a few of the roles Erikson graduates take on after graduation.

Learn more about Career Services

  • Education coordinator
  • Early childhood program director
  • Curriculum coordinator
  • Bilingual, ESL/ELL teacher
  • Social and emotional coordinator
  • Principal
  • Prevention specialist
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Further your marketability with the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential.

Erikson Institute has partnered with Illinois Gateways to Opportunity to be able to provide an entitled application route for the Early Care and Education (ECE) Credential, Levels 2-5. Illinois Gateways to Opportunity credentials help demonstrate your content knowledge, skills and experience, especially to potential employers within Illinois.

The application process, timing and related costs may vary.

Learn more

Erikson Professors are Leaders in the Field

Gain expert perspectives working closely with leaders in the field.

Erikson’s Early Childhood Education program faculty are nationally recognized. With specific research interests and decades of experience, each of our faculty enriches your academic experience, connecting you to new networks and the latest data.

Meet the Program Faculty

Headshot of Angela Searcy, EdD, Online Integrative Seminar Instructor.
Angela Searcy
EdD, Online Integrative Seminar Instructor
“ Being online doesn’t mean being alone or isolated. At Erikson, we know that learning is a social-emotional experience, and we work hard to offer that online. ”

Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Program FAQs

Find answers to the biggest questions students ask about the MSW program.

The principal difference between the two programs is that the online program does not lead to teacher licensure. If you are interested in earning your Illinois Professional Educator License, you should seek admission to the on-campus Master’s in Early Childhood Education program leading to initial teacher licensure.

The other key difference is in the culminating experience requirement for the programs: the on-campus program requires a two-semester student teaching experience while the online program requires a two-semester action research project. Otherwise, the two programs provide you with a deep knowledge of how children develop and learn in context, and the courses are taught by the same group of faculty who teach on campus.

The program is designed and delivered as a fully online program, and there are no in-person residency requirements.

We award over $2 million in scholarships to students enrolled in our degree and certificate programs. Erikson also participates in the federal Direct Loan programs, and assuming you meet all eligibility requirements, you will have access to both Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans to help finance your Erikson education.

Yes. Almost all of our online students work either part-time or full-time as they are pursuing their Erikson degree. The program was designed specifically with working professionals in mind — the cohort model allows you to balance your work and Erikson course schedules.

The staff in our Field Education and Career Services Office will work with you to prepare you for seeking positions while you’re enrolled at Erikson and upon graduating from the program. You’ll receive feedback on your resume and cover letters, and we also maintain a job board on our campus portal where employers list part-time and full-time positions for which they’re hiring.

The Career Services team also plans an annual social work, early education, and child development job fair for Erikson students and alumni. In concert with the job fair, you can submit your resume to be included in an annual Resume Book that we distribute to organizations and managers who are interested in hiring Erikson students and alumni.

For each course, you will need access to a computer with internet access an average of five out of seven days a week, for a total of 10 or more hours per week. You can log in to Erikson Online anytime and anywhere, from any computer connected to the internet (home, work, computer lab, public wi-fi location, etc.). High-speed internet access is required (minimum speed of 512kbps is strongly recommended).

Hardware requirements:

  • A personal computer running Windows 7 (or higher) or a Mac running OSX 10.7 (or higher) with at least 1GB of RAM
  • Your system must be able to run the latest web browsers listed below:
    • Chrome 86 and 87
    • Firefox 83 and 84 (Extended Releases are not supported*)
    • Edge 86 and 87
    • Safari 13 and 14 (Macs only)
    • Monitor with screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (or higher)
  • USB/Firewire web camera (or built-in camera)
  • USB headset/microphone (or built-in speakers and mic)
  • Printer

Software requirements:

  • Zoom (free basic account)
  • Email software: Erikson email ( is required; a free account is provided once you are accepted into the program

Because of Erikson’s small size, you’ll have access to a wide range of both informal and formal student support services. These include:

  • The Field Education and Career Services team will help you identify and apply for your internship placement. Erikson has hundreds of pre-approved internship sites, so you don’t have to worry about finding a placement site on your own.
  • Advising about your financial aid options, including personal financial education, is coordinated through the Financial Aid Office.
  • Academic advising is facilitated through your faculty advisor and program director.
  • The Academic Success Center provides services to help you with the academic reading and writing expectations of your program. The Center also sponsors discussion groups for selected master’s program courses.
  • The Director of Disability Services provides advising and support for students with disabilities and students who need accommodations for their academic work.
  • WorkLifeMatters is a confidential student assistance program offered to all Erikson students through Guardian and Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH). You have unlimited access to consult with a professional counselor via telephone. Face-to-face counseling sessions are available, if needed, with an IBH network provider — and up to eight sessions are free of charge as part of WorkLifeMatters.
  • Validated parking at a reduced rate is provided to Erikson students in three nearby parking garages. You will also have access to deeply discounted public transportation through the CTA U-Pass program.