Help teachers become heroes with one of the 5 Best Online Ph.D.’s in Child Development programs.
The value of education isn’t lost on anybody. It’s through education that we become our best selves, and it’s by learning that we absorb content. Teachers are the lifeline behind an educated populace, and we couldn’t thank them enough for their hard work. And this goes for all teachers, from preschool to university. If you’re focused on educating teachers, consider one of the 5 Best Online Ph.D. in Child Development programs.
How does a person’s cultural background influence how they learn? How can teachers best accommodate classrooms with diverse children? How does a teacher educate the slowest learners while keeping the quickest learners engaged? These are all central questions of child development.
Every child is unique, and teaching is a balancing act. With a Ph.D. in child development, you’ll be empowered to research the field, join the ranks of scholars, and teach educators who actively engage with children. And if you want, you can be a super-teacher with a Ph.D. As long as the intellectual development of children interests you, a child development degree will suit you well.
What is a Child Development Degree?
Children are our future. Educate them right, and they will carry a love of learning for the rest of their lives. Do it wrong, though, and they may forever lose their affinity for education. The child development field connects psychology, pedagogy, biology, and several other soft and hard sciences to analyze how children learn.
Because there is no single theory or methodology for teaching children, students spend much of the Ph.D. program learning the different pieces of the child development puzzle. Some classes students commonly take are Educational Measurement, Historical Research in American Education, Qualitative Research in Education, and Effective College Teaching Methods. Some courses in Ph.D. programs focus on teaching children, while others concentrate on teaching leading educational methodologies.
Admission requirements for Ph.D. programs vary by the school. Universal among all of the programs on this list is the expectation that your undergraduate coursework and professional career have focused on child development in some form. Many programs also require applying students to submit GRE scores.
Careers for Child Development Majors
Ph.D. programs offer the most advanced educational programs in any particular field. Thus, they provide the base for students to become professors, leading researchers, writers, and scholars of any given subject. The same idea goes for Ph.D. in child development graduates.
The most popular careers for Ph.D. in child development graduates are university professors, elementary school teachers, preschool and childcare center directors, and principals. Some of these positions require a Ph.D., while others don’t. Whether you get a Ph.D. should be determined by the position you wish to obtain and the level of expertise you want to have.
Professors often double as researchers, building upon existing frameworks and pioneering research into new segments of the study. This profession requires a Ph.D. as well as your continuing dedication to furthering the field. Elementary teachers don’t need a Ph.D., but the degree provides expertise and the potential to earn a higher salary. Preschool directors and principals also don’t need to have a Ph.D., but the qualification is greatly valued.
Child Development Salary Potential
Having a Ph.D. in child development is a launching pad for several careers. Not all of them are the most profitable careers in terms of money, but they are fulfilling in every other way. Seeing a child flourish in school is an invaluable feeling, as is educating teachers who guide children in their early lives.
Below, we’re reporting the average salaries of several careers in the child development field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Postsecondary teachers earn an average of $79,540 per year, and the field is projected to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028.
- Kindergarten and elementary school teachers make an average of $59,420 per year, and job positions will increase by 3% from 2018 to 2028.
- Preschool and childcare center directors earn an average of $48,210 per year, and the field is projected to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028.
- Elementary, middle, and high school principals earn an average of $96,400 per year, and job positions will increase by 4% between 2018 and 2028.
What Are the Best Child Development Degrees?
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Georgia State University
Average Net Price
Georgia State University has an excellent Ph.D. program in early childhood and elementary education. Based in the school’s Atlanta campus with the availability of online classes, the program gives students the tools to become educators, researchers, and empathetic individuals whose cares align with childhood development best practices.
To gain admission into this program, applicants must pay a $50 application fee, provide a writing statement, upload their resume, present a writing sample, have two letters of recommendation, and upload GRE scores. To gain admission, you must have an interview with the program. Not everybody is selected for an interview, and not everybody interviewed will necessarily gain admission.
The curriculum of students comprises research and in-person classes. Some classes students take are Bayesian Statistics, Quantitative Methods and Analysis in Education, Poststructural Inquiry, Introduction to Single-Case Methodology, and Historical Research in American Education. Each of these classes focuses on a small but vital part of the child development field.
Texas Woman’s University
Average Net Price
In this Doctor of Philosophy in Early Child Development and Education program, students choose to concentrate on early childhood education or child development. Those who pick the former concentration focus more on educating teachers and becoming teachers. Students in the latter group focus on family advocacy, childhood intervention, and public policy.
Each student designs their dream curriculum and submits it for approval. Their curriculum must follow the specific requirements of the program, however, so they must comply with a certain amount of credit hours per subject in the degree program. Students take courses like Theory Building in Family Sciences, Research Methods in Family Sciences, Multivariate Statistics, and Child Guidance.
This program has relatively stringent requirements. Students must pass each class with a B or higher. The program only allows one-course grade under a B to count toward your degree, and any student with more than one grade lower than a B will be dismissed from the program.
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, Tennessee
Average Net Price
East Tennessee State University offers one of the best online Doctor of Philosophy in early childhood education programs in the country. Prospective students should note that the program is mostly online.
While you can complete the required coursework online, every student must be present for one intensive school session per semester. If that doesn’t sound like an option, consider a different program.
To gain admission to this program, applicants must have a master’s in early childhood education or a related field. Additionally, they must turn in their GRE scores, resume, official transcript, essays, and four letters of recommendation. Some students will be interviewed, too.
Students take a variety of classes that are informed by both foundational theories and the latest research in the field. Some of the classes required to graduate are Paradigms of Inquiry-Based Constructivism, Social and Cultural Diversity in Children and their Families, and Processes of Language and Literacy Learning. Besides classes, students must hold an apprenticeship and complete a pre-determined amount of research to graduate.
Fielding Graduate University
Santa Barbara, California
Average Net Price
Fielding Graduate University’s Ph.D. in infant and early childhood development has a slightly different focus than the other programs on this list. While the core classes of this program reflect those of other programs, Fielding emphasizes mental health and developmental disorders. If you’re interested in working with non-traditional students in some capacity, consider this program.
Mental health is an emerging topic of discussion. The stigma of talking about mental health is slowly going away, leaving a space to talk about it comfortably. While mental health is crucial in your adult life, the foundations of your mental health form in your childhood. By focusing on mental health in early childhood, Fielding enables its educators to foster positive attitudes and spot students who are struggling with their mental health.
To apply for this program, students must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, a 3.0 or higher GPA, an updated resume, application essays, two letters of recommendation, and their official transcript. No GRE is required to enter this program.
Average Net Price
Tufts University is perhaps the most recognizable name on this list. The school has developed Nobel prize winners, world leaders, and scholars who play leading roles in dozens of fields. They also offer a fantastic Doctor of Philosophy in Child Study and Human Development program.
In this program, students combine learning about research with researching, absorbing new theories by using those frameworks for applied projects, and enrolling in a graduate seminar. The well-rounded curriculum includes classes like Qualitative Research Methods, Applied Data Analysis, Human Development Across the Lifespan, and Intellectual Development.
These courses will inform your work, no matter where you end up. Tufts University has one of the most dynamic child study and human development programs in the nation. While some graduates have become professors, many have begun careers in children’s media, designing toys, strengthening nonprofit programs, and advising governments on childhood education policy. No matter your specific interest, Tufts University will help you obtain your dream job.
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