Which Schools Offer Early Childhood Education Degrees in TN?

Find schools in Tennessee offering early childhood education degrees. Learn about state requirements and get career and salary info for early childhood education teachers living in Tennessee. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Degree programs for early childhood teachers are available at universities throughout the state of Tennessee. Bachelor's degree programs may be completed in about 4 years, depending on your second major. You'll learn teaching methods appropriate for both general and special education classrooms and fulfill a student teaching experience. As a graduate student, you could earn a 33-credit master's degree with options for those with an early childhood education bachelor's degree or one in another field. If you already have a master's degree in early childhood education, you might want to pursue a Ph.D. in the field, in a program that includes apprenticeships, research and a dissertation. Read on to determine if one of these programs might suit your needs.


Bachelor's Degree Programs in Tennessee

Tennessee Tech University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies, Early Childhood Education/Special Education, Pre K-3
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: $2,628 per semester, 12 hours, in-state; $6,816 per semester, 12 hours, out-of-state (2011-2012)
  • Prerequisites: 30 semester hours of credit, exclusive of ADP courses, including Writing I and II, Introduction to Teaching and field experiences
  • Requirements: Desirable scores on PRAXIS I, criminal background check
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 12,000 students (about 9,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: 1 William L. Jones Drive, Cookeville, TN 38505-0001
  • Phone: (931) 372-3223

Field experience working with young children plays an important role in the Early Childhood Education program at Tennessee Tech. Beginning in your first year, you'll gain experience through observing and working with children in regular and special education classrooms. In your senior year, you'll spend an entire semester student teaching in a real classroom. This program emphasizes special education and regular education, and your courses will include music for exceptional children, assessment of young children and math, science and social studies for children.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: $3,359 total for 12 credit hours, in-state; $10,126 for 12 credit hours, out-of-state (fall 2012)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 11,000 students (about 9,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: College of Health, Education & Professional Studies, Hunter Hall 312, Dept. 4154, 615 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37403
  • Phone: (423) 425-1781

In the early childhood education program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, you'll be trained in the methods of educating young children in a regular classroom and in a special education environment. You'll learn to assess learning styles and develop early intervention techniques. Subjects, such as science, math and reading, are covered, and you'll spend your final semester student teaching in a public school classroom.

Vanderbilt University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Program Length: 4 years
  • Tuition: $20,544 per semester, freshmen (fall 2012)
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; approximately 13,000 students (about 7,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: Peabody #329, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203-5721
  • Phone: (615) 322-8410

From your very first year as an early childhood education major at Vanderbilt University, you'll have the opportunity to work with young children in agencies and classrooms in the community or in the experimental schools on the Vanderbilt campus. You'll study education theory, teaching methods and the subjects a young child studies in school. You must choose a second major, either in a subject related to early childhood education or any major offered by the School of Arts and Sciences. You should be aware that this requirement might push your graduation time past 4 years.


Master's Degree Programs in Tennessee

East Tennessee State University

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education - Initial Licensure, Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education - Master Teacher, Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education - Research and Thesis
  • Program Length: 33 credit hours
  • Tuition: $4,146.50 tuition and fees for 12 credit hours, in-state; $10,604.50 tuition and fees for 12 credit hours, out-of-state (2011-2012)
  • Requirements: 2.5 undergraduate GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 15,000 students (about 12,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: 309-B Burgin Dossett Hall, P.O. Box 70720, Johnson City, TN 37614-0720
  • Phone: (423) 439-4221

You have several options in the master's degree program in early childhood education at East Tennessee State University. The initial licensure option leads to a Tennessee license to teach pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade, while the master teacher and research and thesis options prepare you for administrative and leadership roles. If you are certified in early childhood education, you can earn a master's degree in 4 semesters and a summer study period through the cohort program. In the master's degree program, you'll take core classes in child development and family relationships and electives chosen to suit your special interest, such as working with infants or elementary school teaching.


Ph.D. Programs in Tennessee

East Tennessee State University

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in Early Childhood Education
  • Program Length: 69-72 credit hours
  • Tuition: $4,146.50 tuition and fees for 12 credit hours, in-state; $10,604.50 tuition and fees for 12 credit hours, out-of-state (2011-2012)
  • Requirements: Master's degree in early childhood education
  • School Type: 4-year, public; approximately 15,000 students (about 12,000 undergraduate)
  • Address: 309-B Burgin Dossett Hall, P.O. Box 70720, Johnson City, TN 37614-0720
  • Phone: (423) 439-4221

In East Tennessee State University's Ph.D. program, you'll complete core courses in typical and atypical development, education theory and social and cultural factors in development as well as a seminar in leadership. You'll choose from courses like language learning, brain research and leadership roles. Apprenticeships in university teaching, early intervention, leadership and the development of teachers are included in the program. You must conduct research in early childhood education and complete a dissertation.


Tennessee Teaching License Requirements

Before reading about the early childhood education degree programs listed below, you'll want to understand Tennessee's licensing procedure for early childhood education teachers in public schools. You must complete an approved education program, pass the Praxis series of exams for pre-kindergarten to grade 3 teachers and provide a recommendation from the Dean of Education and the Certification Office at your college or university.

Salary and Job Outlook for Early Childhood Educators

In Tennessee, early childhood education is defined as pre-kindergarten through third grade. Most day care centers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), don't require teachers to hold college degrees. However, by 2013, half the teachers in the Head Start program must hold bachelor's degrees in early childhood education or a similar field, the BLS noted.

The BLS predicted that employment of preschool teachers would grow by 25% from 2010-2020 and employment of elementary teachers by 17%. The BLS said population growth would be greater in the South, so job opportunities might be better in Tennessee than in other parts of the nation. These employment figures do not include special education teachers.

The mean annual wage for a preschool teacher in Tennessee was about $26,000 in May 2011, according to the BLS, while the mean annual wage for a Tennessee elementary school teacher was approximately $46,000 that same year. The BLS reported the mean annual wage for a kindergarten teacher in Tennessee as about $45,000, also in May 2011.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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