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The Duration of a Master’s Degree Program in Early Childhood Education

Higher Education Articles July 20, 2015

Teachers with an interest in working with children from birth to eight years old should look into early childhood education programs. Students usually take one to two years to finish the program.

Master’s Programs in Early Childhood Education

The duration of master’s degree programs in early childhood education can vary according to the program chosen and the number of credit hours students need in order to meet degree requirements. Full-time students take two years to complete master’s programs. Part-time students can take longer to complete the program mainly on account of the number of credits taken.

Certified teachers and others who want to enter the career field to work with children from birth to eight years old would benefit from enrolling in a master’s degree program in early childhood education. Different tracks focusing on specific age groups and a variety of areas of teaching may be available within master’s degree programs. Students enrolled in most programs are required to complete 30-36 semester hours.

Non-thesis vs. Thesis Programs

Students must conduct research, create a thesis based on the results, and defend it orally. They must also take the required courses. A student may take longer to complete a thesis master’s owing to increased amounts of work, including research challenges.

Types of Programs and Their Program Lengths


It may take longer for a student to complete a program that leads to certification; they may have to earn more credit hours. The need to complete a student teaching experience along with taking teacher education courses could be the reason.


Students enrolled in an accelerated program may be able to complete a master’s degree in early childhood education within one to two years. Students may take classes at the same time as they complete student teaching experiences. Alternatively, courses may be begun at the start of the summer, and the student may work till the end of the succeeding summer.


Schools may also allow students to complete the program faster by taking it online. An online program allows students to work at a pace and schedule of their choosing, allowing them to take more classes per learning period. They may take classes online, on campus, or combine both formats.

Dual Degree

Combined bachelor’s and master’s programs are available through some schools. Students choosing this option can complete their graduate and undergraduate degrees within five years instead of six.

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