little baby playing a toy on bed

Early Childhood Development and Education, Associate of Arts

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Develop your skills to work with children from birth to 5 years of age in public and private childcare and preschool settings. This fully online associate’s degree will launch your career as an educator who understands the many factors that influence the development of the whole child, including biology, family and community. This program is not available to those who already have a bachelor’s degree. 

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What you’ll learn

  1. Identify typical and atypical child development 
  2. Understand and apply the latest research on physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development to early childhood education 
  3. Partner with parents and families to promote children’s positive development 
  4. Use evidence-based techniques to support constructive behaviors, promote development and encourage positive relationships 
  5. Examine and create developmentally appropriate activities and experiences for young children 
  6. Comply with a variety of educational regulations, policies and guidelines 
  7. Promote child health, safety and nutrition 
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Speaker 1:
As more emphasis is placed on high quality education for children at the earliest stages of development, the requirements for those who teach are also changing. 

The Ohio State University's online Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Development and Education will provide you with the knowledge, skills and credentials you need to have a holistic understanding of child development and to provide a strong foundation for children. 

This completely online program provides the flexibility to obtain your education while continuing to work full-time.

You'll be taught by some of the leading researchers and world-renowned faculty from Ohio State's College of Education and Human Ecology. 

We're examining best practices in child development and education. "One of the great things about taking this at Ohio State is that we have done a really strong job of bringing together research based practices are. 

There's lots of different ideas available, but you know that these ones are tried-and-true. They're things that we know from child development research that we know from research in early childhood classrooms." 

Throughout your coursework, you'll 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. 

"My life focus has been about trying to make a difference in the lives of children and families. And high quality care when children are young is a way that we can buffer a lot of other things that may be happening in their life."

Scheduling is flexible and you may attend part-time or full-time. The program can be completed in less than four semesters if attending full-time or up to ten semesters if attending part-time. 

Upon graduation you'll be prepared to work with children from birth to five years of age in public and private childcare and preschool settings. 

What are you waiting for? Visit to take the next step in your career.

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Speker 1:
My name is Raban and my pronouns are she and her and currently I'm An Early Child educator at the A Sophie Rogers Schoenbaum Family Center.

 I recently graduated with my associates degree in Early Child Education and Development online from the Ohio State University.
 One of the reasons that I started the associates in Early Child Education and Development was when I started I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to a 4-year degree.
I didn't want to do like a four year and then drop out midway and feel disappointed. So this was two years. 

I like let's do this and get this under the belt and then we'll see afterwards.

Once I started honestly I loved it so much that now I've started my bachelors in Human Development Family Sciences and they kind of go hand in hand so that kind of worked out for me.

I've lived in Ohio for the past 12-13 years I was a stay at home mom for a really long time you know I was very involved with my own son's education. He had some special needs so I saw firsthand how important it was you know the 0 to 5 age group and how incredible influence it had on him and his growth and he had amazing teachers when I would see that I really wanted to do that for someone else as well.

So I think that was one of my main motivation to to do what I'm doing right now. 

So one of my absolute favorite courses was Early Childhood Language and Literacy Development. 

I think it just amazed me how important that is developing their language early on. I mean you're basically you know setting their foundation so it should be very strong and I think it's a good projector of how they do later in life with education so that was one of my absolutely favorite courses I was able to vanage the workload of the program because it was totally in asynchronous and online and they gave me a lot of flexibility and room to work.
 With I thought it was going to be difficult since I'm a distant student but the professors were only one email away. They were always present and I was I appreciate it because they would always provide feedback on every assignment every discussion so almost I, I mean honestly it didn't feel like I wasn't on campus just from personal experience.
I had the information like I said you know I had bits and pieces here and there like what works with children and how I can help my own child as well but when I started pursuing the degree everything kind of came together and it turned my information into knowledge that I could now implement into the classroom and even at home.

I honestly wish that I knew what I know now with my own son when he was growing up because it it's very eye opening.

I would tell someone if you're passionate about it this is definitely the way to go. 

I mean it can own is a great way to start your professional career as a in teaching, as a teacher but I think if you want to build upon it and pursue your education that's another opportunity as well I mean it can open up a lot of possibilities for you.

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Career Paths 

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

Teacher showing abacust to students
Early childhood teacher
teacher giving books to boy
Early childhood teaching assistant
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For our military-affiliated learners

Ohio State is dedicated to supporting our military community. Registered Virtual Lab School users who have completed all 15 foundational courses within the Infant Toddler, Preschool or School-Age track, can use 13 credit hours from the Virtual Lab School towards the online degree in early childhood education, as well as any scholarships or aid available from the U.S. Department of Defense or Ohio State's military affairs to assist in covering the cost of tuition.

National Veterans Leadership Foundation, Collegiate Purple Star Award, Pat Tillman Foundation

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Degree Requirements

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High school diploma or GED

Minimum Program Hours


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Deadline to apply

Summer – April 12;

Autumn – July 25;

Spring – December 11

Learn more about the difference between asynchronous and synchronous online learning.

More information

See our frequently asked questions.

Learn More

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Licensure disclosure

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 community, public or private childcare centers or pre-schools as well as 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

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