Some of the criteria for choosing the best early childhood education distance learning program is the same used for choosing the best distance learning programs in general. Choosing an accredited school, for example, is perhaps one of the most important decisions you can make when searching for the right program. Other criteria are specific to early childhood education. The best early childhood education distance learning programs should include all required testing and certifications needed to begin teaching once the program is complete. If the programs do not include these tests and certifications, you will have to sign up for the tests yourself and seek out certification on your own.
Look for an early childhood education distance learning program that can be completed online or via e-mail as much as possible. Many programs will require you to do a certain amount of student teaching, and this requirement cannot be completed via distance learning. The best early childhood education distance learning programs will include guidance that will set up this student teaching requirement for you as part of the coursework, but you must keep in mind that you will need to travel to fulfill these requirements. Make sure communication with instructors and administrators is easy and clear to make the process of setting up such requirements quick and easy.
Make sure the educational institution you choose is accredited. This means the school has gone through the accreditation process, in which an outside agency analyzes the school and certifies it as a high quality educational institution recognized by employers, other educational institutions, and financial aid institutions. Attending an accredited institution will help improve your chances of getting a job after completion of the program, and it will ensure you are not ineligible for certain types of financial aid. If you intend to transfer to a different school at any point during your education, be sure the credits you earn from the early childhood education distance learning program will transfer to the new school; the likelihood of those credits transferring is greater when you attend an accredited institution.
Be sure to research the different distance learning methods offered by the programs you are considering. Some classes are asynchronous, meaning you can work at your own pace and will participate in more self-directed learning. Other classes are synchronous, meaning you will have to attend an online class at a certain time with other students. The instructor will be available for guidance, but you must commit to being present at the class at a certain time. Be sure to choose the type of class that works best for you.