Southeast Launching New Online Programs in Child Care and Guidance, Child Development


Southeast Missouri State University is launching two new online degree programs this summer for individuals interested in advancing their education in child care and child development.

An online Associate of Arts in Child Care and Guidance and an online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies with a child development option will provide a seamless pathway for students to earn a credential in as early as two years while continuing their learning journey at Southeast with a bachelor’s degree.

The programs are designed for those who work with young children, those already working in childcare centers and those who cannot complete an education degree on campus, said Chelsea McNeely, director of Southeast Online.

“We hope the programs meet early childhood employer demands and offer a flexible curriculum for students for a comfortable work-life balance,” she said.

The programs offer experiential learning opportunities, and year-round course offerings to help ensure timely graduation, she said.

Just as faculty across the University are committed to student success, faculty in this program are as well, meeting students where they are.  Realizing individuals working in childcare cannot make time to be on campus to study, they have thoughtfully and carefully developed their programs to be delivered online, so learners can access this curriculum anytime and anywhere, McNeely said.

“As a professor of child development and one who was trained in agriculture, I see the university setting as a field of opportunities to plant the seed of ideas, inspiration, and purpose,” said Dr. Victor Wilburn, chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies. “I do this with the hope and expectation that the minds and efforts of future student professionals evolve to produce outcomes that are fruitful to their professions and their communities.”

The Associate of Arts is a two-year program that bridges into the four-year bachelor’s degree.  Once at the junior and senior levels, students can incorporate several department certificates into their learning plan, including focusing on Child Abuse Advocacy, Gerontology and Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Each of these certificates incorporate many of the courses from the bachelor’s degree, so the certificates can be earned while in pursuit of the degree, without adding many additional hours to a student’s overall degree plan.

“Southeast Online is very excited to launch both of these programs for those interested in furthering their education in this field,” McNeely said. “This is the first time we’ve offered an Associate of Arts online, and we are very pleased that it will offer childcare professionals the opportunity to also pursue an online bachelor’s degree program as well.”

For more information, contact Southeast Online at or (573) 651-2766.