Best Child Development colleges in the U.S. 2023

Written by Tien Rooney

For students interested in studying the mental and physical development of children, early childhood education and child psychology are two similar tracks that focus on the biological and intellectual aspects of human development.

Most programs include theoretical lecture-style classes and interactive labs that allow students to observe and work directly with children through an academic lens to study how they learn, socialize, and communicate at varying stages of their early childhood.

Graduates from early childhood development programs typically enter the industry with strong verbal and written communication skills and the confidence to build relationships with parental figures. Most programs include a range of classes including:

  • Parent-child relations
  • Parenting practices
  • Special needs
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Ethics

In addition to the typical credit requirements, students often need to prepare for their practicum before graduation.

There’s good news on the career front as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of childcare workers is expected to grow 8 percent through 2030, with just under one million jobs nationwide. Since a degree in child development is extremely versatile, child development students can venture off into education, community and social services, government, healthcare, communication, or business. However, the majority of child development degree holders end up in daycare centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and schools with careers as child life specialists, counselors, caregivers, social workers, and occupational therapists.

Given the applicability of this major, graduates have the flexibility to pursue roles in a variety of sectors including education, community, social services, government, healthcare, or business. Graduates can look into opportunities locally at daycare centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and schools to work alongside counselors, social workers, and even occupational therapists.

Click Here to See the Best Colleges in the US

Best Child Development colleges in the U.S. for 2023

UGA is a large public school located just over an hour outside of Atlanta in the college town of Athens, Georgia. Athens is just over an hour from Atlanta and is known for it’s bustling downtown area, unique restaurants and bars, and competitive football program that’s produced countless NFL players over the decades. Students interested in pursuing a degree in childhood development can expect intimate class sizes and ample hands-on opportunities to work directly with children in a classroom setting. This program had eight graduates that received a Master’s Degree in Childhood Development in 2021.

Tufts University
Medford, MA

Tufts is a medium, private university located in the Boston suburb of Medford with just under 15,000 students. Boston is known as a college city and is home to over 35 distinct academic institutions with over 150,000 students. The university's childhood development program offers undergraduate and graduate coursework to students interested in the field, and awarded 22 graduates with a bachelor’s degree, 14 with a master’s, and 4 with doctorates in 2021.

Find Online Schools

Iowa State is a large, public school located in the college town of Ames, Iowa with over 30,000 enrolled students. Ames was founded in 1864 as a railroad town and is located along with Skunk River and Squaw Creek. This small college town rallies around the university, supporting both school and sporting events. This school has a small childhood development undergraduate program that awarded two bachelor’s degrees to graduates in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech is a large, public technical university located in Lubbock, Texas with over 40,000 enrolled graduate and undergraduate students. The school's robust Childhood Development program produced 21 graduates in the 2020-2021 academic year. Locals refer to Lubbock as “The Hub,” and the city is home to countless music venues, an award-winning planetarium, and the Buddy Holly Center commemorating the life of the late rock-and-roller.

Washington State University is a medium-sized, public institution located in the small town of Pullman with just under 30,000 students. Pullman is located just east of Moscow, Idaho and south of Spokane. WSU is known for idyllic rolling hills that are characteristic of the Palouse region. Their Childhood Development program awarded 28 undergraduate certificates in 2021 and boasts an impressive 15-1 student-faculty ratio.

Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University is a medium-sized, public university with just over 20,000 enrolled students located in the small, rural town of Manhattan. Students interested in pursuing a degree in childhood development should note that their program is fairly small, and recently awarded 9 bachelor’s degrees in the 2020-2021 academic year. Kansas State is one of the only schools in the United States to have a nuclear reactor on-campus, which powers the campus facilities and partners with academic research programs at the school.

Texas Woman’s University is a mid-sized public university with a reputable childhood development program for women interested in entering the field. Outside of the childhood development program, the university is known for it’s competitive nursing and healthcare research programs. There are just under 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at this school with a majority of them being women. Their robust childhood development program awarded almost 100 bachelor’s degrees, 51 master’s degrees, and 8 PhDs.

Oklahoma State University-Main Campus is a large, public institution located in the small town of Stillwater, with an enrollment of almost 25,000 students. The school was founded under the Morrill Act in 1890, which allowed states up to 30,000 acres of land intended to get distributed and funded for the construction of agricultural and mechanical schools. Their Childhood Development program awarded 2 postgraduate certificates in 2021, and the school as a whole has a student-faculty ratio of 18-1, which is pretty typical for a large, state school.

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

Michigan State is located in East Lansing, Michigan, and is one of the largest public institutions in the state with over 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students. This highly-competative school is categorized as a “public Ivy,” and has produced countless Rhodes and Goldwater Scholars over the years. The school has one childhood development program that issued 23 bachelor’s degrees and 1 master’s degree to students who completed these programs in 2021.

Central Washington University is a public, 4-year school in Ellensburg, WA with just over 10,000 enrolled students and a student-faculty ratio of 15-1. Ellensburg is east of the Cascade Range and 2 hours southeast of Seattle. The Childhood Development program at Central Washington awarded 15 bachelor’s degrees in 2021.

List of all Child Development colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Georgia Logo University of Georgia Athens, GA
18 : 1 39,147
Tufts University Logo Tufts University Medford, MA
15 : 1 12,219
Iowa State University Logo Iowa State University Ames, IA
21 : 1 31,822
Texas Tech University Logo Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
23 : 1 40,322
Washington State University Logo Washington State University Pullman, WA
24 : 1 31,159