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Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education

The fully online Associate of Arts program in Early Childhood Development and Education will prepare you to work with children from birth to 5 years of age in public and private childcare and preschool settings. This degree will launch your career as an educator who understands the development of the whole child.

The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development. Positive and enriching experiences during these early years set children on course for a lifetime of health, wellbeing, and success.

In Ohio State’s Associate of Arts program, you will learn how to provide the high-quality education that young children need guided by a deeper understanding of the many factors that influence children’s development, including biology, family, and community.


More and more research shows how vital a high-quality education is for young children and their long-term educational outcomes.

As more emphasis is placed on high-quality education for children at the earliest stages of development, the requirements for those who teach also are changing. National early childhood organizations want educators to have strong teaching credentials and a holistic understanding of child development in order to create effective learning environments and forge strong partnerships with families.

An Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Development and Education from Ohio State will provide you with the knowledge, skills and credentials you need to provide a strong foundation for children.

As a student, your coursework is delivered in a completely online format. You will learn from some of the leading researchers in the country who are examining best practices in child development and education.

In your classes, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify typical and atypical child development
  • Understand and apply the latest research on physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development to early childhood education
  • Partner with parents and families to promote children’s positive development
  • Use evidence-based techniques to support constructive behaviors, promote development and encourage positive relationships
  • Comply with a variety of educational regulations, policies and guidelines
  • Promote child health, safety and nutrition

Successfully completing this program leads to an associate licensure in pre-kindergarten education in Ohio.* You also can apply most of your coursework toward a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences or in early childhood education.

Career Paths
Graduates are prepared for careers as teachers and teaching assistants in early childhood education centers, preschools and other childcare settings.

Coursework: Family development, child development, psychology, sociology, early language and literacy development, intro to exceptional children, curriculum development, creativity and creative arts, human nutrition, parenting
Course requirements: University courses (32-34 hours), electives (0-2 hours), major courses (28 hours)
Academic opportunities: 1-credit hour field experience

University orientation requirements: Ohio State currently does not offer English or Math placement tests or remedial courses online. Students must therefore be able to demonstrate college readiness in these subjects by,

For English - having college credit for first-year English composition (ENGLISH 1110.01) or being 21 years of age and willing to undertake ENGLISH 1110.01 without a placement test.

For Math - having non-remedial college credit for Math. Prior to applying to Ohio State, contact Undergraduate Student Recruitment for more information on completing orientation requirements.

This program is not available to students who already have a Bachelor's degree.

Deadline to Apply: Summer – April 12; Autumn – July 25; Spring – December 11

Prerequisites/Pre-major Requirements: High school diploma/GED equivalent

Minimum Program Hours: 60

Curriculum Sheet

Cynthia Buettner, PhD, Professor
Sarah Lang, PhD, Assistant Professor
Suzanne Bartle-Haring, PhD, Professor
Michael Betz, PhD, Assistant Professor
Xin Feng, PhD, Associate Professor
Gene Folden, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor
Keeley Pratt, PhD, Associate Professor
Kelly Purtell, PhD, Assistant Professor
Natasha Slesnick, PhD, Professor
Anastasia Snyder, PhD, Associate Professor
Deanna Wilkinson, PhD, Associate Professor
Jen D. Wong, PhD, Assistant Professor


Undergraduate Student Recruitment

Undergraduate Student Services


The Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education online degree program is approved in Ohio, leads to Associate Licensure in Pre-Kindergarten Education, and prepares students to teach in childcare, pre-schools, and pre-k programs within a school district in Ohio.

If you are planning to seek a professional license or certification in a state other than Ohio, additional curriculum may be required to meet state Board of Education requirements. For state Board of Education contact information and disclosures, please visit

View the Curriculum Sheet