Secure your future with an online bachelor of science degree in early childhood education with a built-in minor in early childhood special education.

Our degree can give you a distinct advantage within a variety of early childhood settings. And your studies will prepare you for a workplace where Head Start and pre-K teachers are required to hold advanced degrees, as this degree focuses on ages birth through age five.

Plus, the program is offered online and designed to meet the needs of child care professionals working full time. The flexible, asynchronous format allows you to complete your assignments on your time, just as long as you hit weekly deadlines. Courses are taught by early childhood faculty within Ball State’s nationally recognized Teachers College, the same people who teach our on-campus classes.

Ball State’s early childhood bachelor’s degree was developed in accordance with the standards outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our early childhood program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and Ball State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Ball State’s history stretches back to its beginning in 1918 as a teacher training institution. We have been offering online courses and degrees since the 1990s. Plus, Ball State’s Teachers College offers one of the largest array of online educator preparation programs of any university in the United States.

Who Should Apply?

Our program is specifically for child care professionals who have an associate degree in early childhood education. 

Ivy Tech Graduates

If you have an associate of science degree in early childhood education from Ivy Tech after June 1, 2020, the Guaranteed Admission Agreement allows you to seamlessly transfer to Ball State. You can begin earning your Ball State bachelor’s in early childhood education (non-licensure) entirely online, and with a Junior status.

However, if you graduated with an associate of science in early childhood education from Ivy Tech before June 1, 2020, you can transfer your credits toward a bachelor’s in early childhood education (non-licensure).

In order to participate in this program, be sure to indicate on your application that you intend to apply as a Transfer Single Articulation Pathway (TSAP)  student.

Program Advisors 

Contact the program advisor to start developing your personal plan of study. 

What It’s Like to Pursue an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Education with Purpose.

Our curriculum has been designed to go beyond simply increasing your knowledge about teaching children from birth to age 5. For instance, we know that many early childhood programs include special-needs populations, so our curriculum includes a minor in early childhood special education.

Learning from the Best. 

Our early childhood faculty professors are known throughout the nation for their early childhood education research, and they are active in their field. Many serve as advisors or supervise student teachers in early childhood centers across the state. And they are active with professional organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Plus, our professors have experiences similar to you because they have been teachers or directors for early childhood programs.

A Degree with Weight. 

Our course work is rigorous and our graduates are highly desired because of the solid foundation they bring to the workplace.

Convenience and Flexibility. 

Ball State is the only public university in Indiana that offers an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Assignments are weekly, but you can complete them at the location and times of day most convenient to you.

Our bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, with a minor in special education, prepares you for a wide range of settings and assignments, including:

  • Lead teacher in an early childhood setting
  • Pre-K or preschool teacher
  • Head Start program specialist
  • Paths to Quality* advisor
  • Early childhood curriculum specialist
  • Early childhood technical assistant specialist
  • Early childhood administrator or director
  • Home-based service provider
  • Professional development coordinator
  • Instructor or trainer in early childhood education
  • Child, family, and school social workers
  • Teacher assistant or para-educator

Our bachelor’s degree can also prepare you for a master’s degree or other advanced degree.

*Paths to Quality is Indiana’s statewide rating system for early care and education programs.

The BS in early childhood education is designed to give you competencies in:

Promoting Child Development and Learning.

You will learn to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for all children.

Building Family and Community Relationships.

You will understand and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families.

Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families.

You will gain experience in systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies to positively influence children’s development and learning.

Teaching and Learning.

You will integrate your professional knowledge and your relationships with children and families to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for all children.

Becoming a Professional.

You will learn about ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice and how to become an informed advocate for sound educational practices and policies.

Ball State offers one of higher education’s best values with quality online programs recognized by many in combination with competitively priced tuition. Plus, if you are actively working in an Indiana-based child care program, you may qualify for a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship that can cover 80 percent of your tuition and textbooks and includes other bonuses.

Ball State tuition is calculated at a cost-per-credit-hour rate; plus, you will be responsible for indirect costs such as books and other course materials.

You may also qualify for financial assistance. We recommend you check out these key sources:

  1. TEACH Early Childhood IndianaScholarships for Indiana Early Childhood Professionals 
    If you live and work in Indiana, you will want to be aware of the 
    T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Indiana Bachelor's Degree Scholarship Program. If you qualify, a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship can cover up to 80 percent of your Ball State tuition and book costs for the classes your need to complete your degree. Plus, you may be eligible for a $50 per semester stipend and a $300 per year bonus when T.E.A.C.H. receives your qualifying grades. Call the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Indiana Office at 800-657-7577 to find out if you are eligible.

  2. Ball State’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships 
    Specialists in our 
    Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships can help you understand more about other financial aid opportunities that you might qualify for and the requirements needed to apply and receive aid.

  3. Tuition Assistance from Your Employer
    Learn more about this often-overlooked benefit

  4. Military Benefits
    If you are active in the military, a veteran, or a spouse or dependent of a veteran or active service member, Ball State can help you find out if you qualify for any financial aid benefits.

Ball State’s bachelor’s degree completion program in early childhood education (birth through age 5, non-licensure) requires you to fulfill at least 120 credits to graduate. And, if you will be transferring credits in from your previous institution, many of those credits will likely apply to the 120. View the full program requirements in the course catalog.


Once you are accepted into the program, your advisor will help you develop a customized plan of study. To graduate, you will need:

  • ECYF 260 Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction (3 credits)
  • ECYF 310 Promoting Pro-social Behavior in Young Children: Guidance and Cultural Factors (3 credits)
  • ECYF 315 Infant Toddler Curriculum and Environment (3 credits)
  • ECYF 345 Culture and Language in Teaching and Learning (3 credits)
  • ECYF 442 Administration of Early Childhood Programs (3 credits)
  • EDEL 491 Independent Study (3 credits)
  • EDFO 420 Social, Historical, and Philosophical Foundations of Education (3 credits)
  • EDRD 390 Early Emergent Literacy (3 credits)
  • EDPS 391 Assessment and Observation in Early Childhood (3 credits)
  • ENG 318 Literature for Young Children (3 credits)
  • SPCE 201 Introduction to Students with Exceptional Needs (3 credits)
  • SPCE 210 Theory and Practices in Early Childhood Special Education (3 credits)
  • SPCE 215 Assessment of Young Children with Exceptional Needs (3 credits)
  • SPCE 311 Developmental Methods for Infants and Toddlers with Exceptional Needs (3 credits)
  • SPCE 312 Developmental Methods for Preschool Children with Exceptional Needs (3 credits)
  • SPCE 417 Practicum: Infants/Toddlers and Preschoolers with Special Needs (3 credits)

Because one of the requirements for admission is to have an associate degree in early childhood education from an accredited university, you will be coming to Ball State with credit hours that will count 1) toward the university's core curriculum requirements, and 2) toward your major.

Because every student comes to this program with a unique set of prior credits, your advisor will help you customize your academic plan to your individual needs. 

By the time you graduate you have received all the education-related courses you need for your major, as well as met all the requirements of Ball State's core curriculum, whose central purpose is to enable students to live rich, satisfying lives, and to undertake the broad responsibilities of citizenship in a free society.

General Electives (Minimum of 2 Credits)

Pass the Writing Proficiency Exam

Semester-Based Courses 

Spring and fall courses within your major will be 16 weeks each and start during the last half of August (fall term) or early January (spring term). A few 8-week courses are offered in core curriculum subjects. Summer courses are either 5-weeks or 10-weeks and start in early May or mid-June.

Licensure Information

Successful completion of our bachelor of science in early childhood education program (birth through age 5) does not lead to certification or licensure in any state. (Note: Indiana does not offer a pre-K license.)

A good source to review individual requirements for early childhood teacher certification or licensure in the state(s) you wish to teach is the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD).

Testing and Advanced Credits 

Ball State provides you opportunities to gain college credit via exams such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Ball State departmental exams. If you are a veteran, you also may qualify for credits for military service.

Ready to Apply?

Admission to the early childhood program is a three-step process:

  1. Meet the admission requirements for the Department of Elementary Education. Those requirements are:
    1. An associate degree in early childhood education (including a practicum) or at least 45 credits that apply toward our early childhood education degree (approved by the program coordinator). Both must be from an accredited college or university.
    2. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher of transferable credit
  2. Arrange for your sealed, official transcripts from all institutions of higher education you previously attended, to be sent to or:

    Lucina Hall
    Ball State Undergraduate Admissions
    Muncie, IN 47306
  3. Apply and pay the $60 nonrefundable application fee with a major credit card. Payment is made through our online application.

Application Deadlines

An application and all required application materials must be received two weeks prior to the start of classes for a given term in order to be considered for admission to Ball State. Our semester start dates can be found in Ball State’s academic calendar.

Please plan for at least 3-4 weeks for staff from your previous institution(s) to send official transcripts to Ball State. We will review your application as soon as we receive all of your application materials.

Start Your Application

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying for admission is easy. Use our convenient and secure online application.

Get Started

Students from Other States

Ball State is authorized to accept online students from all U.S. states. However, certain states have regulations regarding licensing programs in nursing and education. Learn more about state authorizations for non-Indiana students.

Want to Learn More?

Do you have questions about this program or online learning? We’re here to help! You may request more information using our online form, or feel free to reach out directly to one of our staff.

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