Child Development, B.A. Online

Child Development, B.A. Online


Are you fascinated by human development and relationships? Do you want to help children reach their full potential? If you have college credits but haven't fully earned your bachelor’s degree, PLNU’s child development degree completion program is designed for you. We’ll partner with you and together help make a meaningful difference for families of all types, including yours.

Completing your bachelor’s degree in child development (CDEV) at PLNU will give you a strong understanding of typical and atypical development and how to help meet the needs of children and families. You'll become the best possible champion for children by understanding the complex family and social systems that surround them. PLNU offers a convenient online format tailored to accommodate your work and life commitments — so you can earn your child development degree in as few as 15 months.

Study Child Development in an engaging online format

This flexible online format is designed for busy professionals to continue their education in a tight-knit, supportive online community while allowing them to manage their own schedules.

Learn to help children succeed on your terms

This online program gives you the flexibility to learn when and where you want. You can complete coursework in the comfort of your home, favorite coffee shop, or local library while choosing a study schedule that works best for you. 

Online learning is perfect for those who learn in ways that aren’t often found in traditional classrooms — watching instructional videos, listening to audio lectures at your preferred speed, or dedicating extra study time to tricky topics. You can always connect with professors to help find the best ways to absorb and apply your learning.

Help other families while taking time for yours

Learning shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you love. Coursework is designed to be flexible to your needs and help you balance your other life commitments. 

While completing this program, you’ll still be able to continue spending time with family, thriving at your full- or part-time workplace, or leisure time. 

Community without commuting

Commuting can be stressful and time-consuming — especially in San Diego. Thankfully, you can learn online while still benefiting from PLNU’s strong focus on community. In this program, you’ll meaningfully connect with other students online as you learn and grow in your leadership expertise.

You’ll also have access to top-tier mentorship from professors and advisors. They’ll help you to leverage your strengths to expand your connections and career opportunities. You’ll be able to access resources tailored to you and your career goals.

Transition seamlessly into CDEV

A counselor and coordinator will work with you through every step of your journey to complete your bachelor’s, from helping you transfer previously-earned credit to working alongside you with care and encouragement as you earn your degree. You won’t feel like you’re starting a brand-new program — rather, it will be a natural continuation of your previous education experience.

If you haven’t completed any college classes, don’t worry. Students applying for this program can also start with as few as zero college credits completed — a feature exclusive to the online format. In the online format, PLNU offers all general education, elective, and prerequisite courses needed for completion of the CDEV program. With entry points every eight weeks, you can start whenever you're ready!

Which program is right for me?

You might be wondering whether the online or hybrid CDEV program is best for you. Here’s a quick overview to help you connect with your ideal learning environment:

 CDEV, OnlineCDEV, Hybrid
Who is it for?Busy working professionals who prefer independence.For those who enjoy in-person learning
Program startSix start dates year-roundFall, Spring, Summer
Program Structure100% online and asynchronousFace-to-face one night a week with online coursework.
Location(s)Online — flexibleVarious locations
International Students

Prepare for your dream job

By covering the full cycle of development from birth through adolescence, PLNU’s degree completion program offers you career flexibility, as well as a deep understanding of children and families that isn’t limited to a single age group.

"With this degree, you will be uniquely prepared to meet the needs of children, adolescents, and families. You will be equipped with practical application skills to address needs in a wide variety of professional settings." 

Susan Decristofaro Rogers, M.A.
Co-Chair, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences

Enhance your degree with a Minor 

Adding a minor to your Accelerated undergraduate program can be a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge, increase career opportunities, and foster personal growth. Explore subjects like Marketing, Organizational Leadership, Strategic Communication, Management, Creative Digital Media, and Child Development. Choosing to add a minor can make your degree more versatile, well-rounded, and appealing to future employers. PLNU Counselors are ready to help you integrate a minor into your academic plan. Discover the benefits of a minor at PLNU today!

Man works on homework outside.

Military Tuition Discount

PLNU offers a flat rate of $250 per unit for all active duty service members who enroll in this program.

Application Information

Online program start dates: 

  • Fall 2024 Quad I — September 2, 2024
  • Fall 2024 Quad II — October 28, 2024
  • Spring 2025 Quad I — January 13, 2025
  • Spring 2025 Quad II — March 17, 2025
  • Summer 2025 Quad I — May 12, 2025
  • Summer 2025 Quad II — July 7, 2025

Start Application

Application checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admission.
  2. Submit official transcripts from each institution attended.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:

Start Application

Note: All students are expected to have some proficiency with computer technology (email, Internet, word processing, etc.).

This program is approved by the Community Care Licensing Division of California, which means the program meets the requirements for graduates preparing for a child care license in the state of California. However, because a license in California is earned by more than meeting the educational requirements, successful completion of this program by itself does not fulfill all of the requirements to become a licensed child care professional.

Please note: The Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Family Sciences will notify students when changes in requirements occur. Outside California, PLNU cannot confirm whether its program meets credentialing requirements in your state of residence. Upon completion of the program, and should you earn a license, Point Loma Nazarene University does not guarantee that the program requirements for licensure in the state of California will transfer to another state where you may want to be employed. Additionally, if you currently reside or plan to reside outside California, PLNU cannot confirm whether its program meets licensure requirements in your current or intended state of residence.

***The PLNU General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs) will be addressed and measured within the PLNU degree program to ensure the outcomes we value are demonstrated.

Career Opportunities

With a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from PLNU, you’ll be prepared to complete the essential and meaningful work of shaping children's lives. 

Possible careers for those with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development:

  • Preschool teacher or director at a public, private, or charter school
  • Child life specialist
  • Head Start teacher
  • First Five specialist or care coordinator
  • Early intervention specialist
  • Behavioral therapist
  • Children's or youth ministry leader
  • Parent educator
  • Foster care provider
  • Social service worker for children and adolescents

What can I do with a bachelor’s in child development? 

Degrees in child development are appealing to potential employers because of their interdisciplinary nature, focusing heavily on advocacy and leadership in the field of early education. Graduates of PLNU’s child development program can pursue a variety of different careers, as well as graduate-level study to become a family and marriage counselor, speech pathologist, child life specialist, educational specialist, social worker, early interventionist, and more.

The following careers are some of the most popular jobs for those with a Child Development, B.A.: 

Social Worker

2020 Median annual salary $51,760

Social workers' primary job is to evaluate their patients and develop goals and plans to reach said goals based on patient needs, wants, and limitations. Social workers work with individual caseworkers to develop care plans for patients and their families if necessary. Their duties include meeting with clients to discuss recent successes or setbacks with their individual situations and developing treatment and goals for clients with mental illnesses or clients recovering from traumatic events. Social workers must have strong communication skills as they must frequently check in with clients about their physical and mental health.

What it takes to be a social worker: 

  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • Organization 
  • Ability to manage stress

Preschool Teacher

2020 Median annual salary $31,930

Preschool teachers are childcare professionals who educate and care for children typically 3 or 4 years old. Their main responsibilities include teaching children about foundational education concepts like colors, shapes, numbers, rudimentary reading comprehension, and social skills. Preschool teachers must also be able to stay organized and keep their classrooms clean and safe for their students.

What it takes to be a successful preschool teacher: 

  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Organization

Social and Human Services Assistant

2020 Median annual salary $35,960

Social and human services assistants work with clients to determine what type of aid (psychological, medical, financial, addiction recovery, etc.) they need. They then help acquire said aid through research and finding services and benefits on behalf of the client. Social and human services assistants often work alongside social workers to develop and coordinate programs and treatment plans to provide clients with what they need.

What it takes to be a social and human service assistant: 

  • Communication 
  • Compassion
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving 

Using your child development degree: 

Earning a degree in child development will not only be appealing to potential employers but will also provide you with learning opportunities and experiences that will aid you in shaping the future by working with the children of today. 

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and answers to any questions you may have.

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work while completing the program?

Yes! Our degree completion programs are designed for adult learners who often work full time or have other daily engagements preventing them from being a traditional student. On top of that, you'll have fieldwork requirements that may be completed at your place of work if you choose to do so.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through Student Financial Services. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

Do you accept transfer credits into your program?

Yes! We will do a pre-evaluation of your unofficial transcripts to determine which of your courses will transfer into PLNU, and make sure you know exactly what you have left to take.

How long do I have to complete program?

This depends on which modality you choose, how many units you've completed, and the number of units you want to take per semester. Your admissions counselor will talk through options with you.

How many days a week do classes meet?

Our fully online program does not have any class meetings. 

PLNU also offers a hybrid program, which features classes that meet one evening per week.

How large will the classes be?

Class sizes are estimated to be 20 to 25 people.

Are international students eligible to apply?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible to apply for our online programs. You are only eligible if you reside in one of our authorized states. Visit our disclosures page to learn more.

If you are a military spouse or serving overseas, contact military services.

What’s the difference between this degree completion program and a traditional undergraduate program?

The program provides greater flexibility and affordability than most traditional undergraduate programs while maintaining high academic quality by integrating evening courses. The program is ideal for students looking to advance in their careers while balancing work and family life.

PLNU is a Christian university, but I am not a Christian. Would I feel out of place in this program?

We welcome and encourage people of all backgrounds as students in our programs. Issues that relate to faith may be discussed in some classes, and engaging in discussion with individuals with alternative points of view will be encouraged as learning opportunities. Students will work within a learning community that is supportive academically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Do I need work experience with children before starting this program?

While it might be helpful to have work experience with children prior to entering our program, it is not a requirement. We welcome a diverse range of prior work experience.

Are there internship hours? Can I complete my internship at my place of work?

Yes. Internships are completed in the third term and require a 40-hour commitment. Internship hours can be completed at current place of employment, but you will need to take on a different role than what your job requires you to do.

How many hours per week will I be at a childcare facility?

Certain projects might require you to attend a childcare facility throughout the semester, but the biggest time commitment will come in the third semester, where students will be required to complete 40 internship hours at a childcare facility.

Can I use this degree to be a teacher?

A Bachelor of Arts in Child Development permits you to be a pre-school teacher. Teaching K-12 in California requires a teaching credential, which the program does not provide. You'll need to enter a teaching credential program (which PLNU offers) to earn this.

What are the benefits to a child development degree vs. an education degree?

With a degree in child development you will acquire the insight into the way a child’s mind works. Whereas a degree in education gives a very theoretical approach, a degree in child development will equip you with not only the theoretical background, but also the empathy and compassion so necessary for working with young children.

What types of benefits or aid do you have for military members?

  • PLNU offers a tuition discount flat rate of $250 per unit for all active duty service members who enroll in one of the following PLNU Adult Undergraduate Degree Programs: Bachelor of Business Administration, Organizational Leadership B.A, Child Development B.A., RN to BSN, Criminal Justice B.A., Computer Information Technology B.A., Strategic Communications B.A., Integrated Studies with an Emphasis in Education B.A.
  • PLNU accepts VA educational benefits, including the Post 9/11 GI Bill®.
  • PLNU also participates as a Yellow Ribbon School, which means in most cases you can pursue a private education without having to pay out-of-pocket, not even for fees or books.
  • Because you are a person who has provided military service to our country, we will also waive your application fee.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Child Development, B.A. program, view the PLNU Catalog.

Course Information