How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Education
If becoming a teacher has been a dream of yours for a while, then getting an associate’s degree in education will allow you to get closer to achieving it. Upon completion, you can either transition into a bachelor’s degree program or gain work experience through shadowing for or aiding a teacher at a school.
Whether you are looking to become an elementary school teacher or a daycare provider, getting an associate’s degree in education is a great first step toward your goal. The associate’s degree equips students with the knowledge, insight, and skills required to further their education and career in education. Students will get a good foundation in educational behavior and development. Within the associate’s degree program, there are usually specializations students can choose. For example, the popular ones are early childhood education, paraprofessional education, and elementary education. These programs’ curriculum will differ depending on the specialization you choose, but there are still core classes that most associate degree programs in education will have.
This degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.
If you are busy but looking to go to school while still attending to your personal obligations, pursuing an associate’s degree in education online could be a great option. Distance learning can work really well for those who are motivated and independent learners. It is important to make sure that the college you choose is accredited so that the credits you earn can be easily transferred to a four-year college should you decide to continue your education. By virtually attending classes online, you will have access to all course materials and participate in class discussions just like you would normally in a traditional classroom setting. The main difference is that you would be able to log into the classroom portal from anywhere and anytime to complete required coursework and exams. Students can easily communicate with other students and their professors via chat platforms and email.
Common Associate’s in Education Curriculum
By enrolling in an associate’s degree program in education, you can expect to take coursework in:
- Educational psychology
- Technology in education
- Diversity in the classroom
- Computer applications
- Child growth and development
- English composition
- Information literacy
- Working with preschoolers
- Interpersonal communication
- Infant and toddler care
- Working with children of special needs
Again, depending on the specialization you choose, you may take different classes to suit your focus. In addition to classes, most programs also include a practicum. This gives students the chance to observe and participate in classes everyday in the type of school that they plan on working in. The practicum is designed to give students real-world experience in teaching students and gives them a taste of what they can expect after graduation.
Because being well-rounded and versatile is super important in the field of education, you will also be taking some general education and elective courses. These classes will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in understanding real-life situations and succeeding in whatever subject you choose to educate in. For example, you might take introductory classes in art, math, science, history, language, and more. Many of these general education course requirements can be waived if you took AP classes and passed their respective exams in high school. If this sounds like it might be you, we recommend checking with your college counselor to see which classes you might not have to retake.
Associate’s in Education Careers
To become a teacher in any state, you will have to use your associate’s degree in education as a stepping stone to earning your bachelor’s degree. By getting your bachelor’s, you can be well on your way to getting licensure.
The associate’s degree will give you the skills necessary to take on an entry-level position in education after graduation. If you’d like, you can get one of these jobs after graduation so that you can gain hands-on experience in your field for a few years. If you plan on being a teacher or professor though, you will have to continue onto your bachelor’s program.
It’s a great idea to get your associate’s degree in education at a community college before attending a four-year college to get your bachelor’s because it is cost effective. You can complete the core classes for a much lower tuition cost, and then finish the last two years at a four-year college.
With an associate’s degree, you may be able to work as a:
- Teacher’s aide
- Pre-school teacher
- Childcare worker
Salary will vary depending on the position you take on, where you work, and who you work for. Of course, with higher education, your career options will open up tremendously! With that said, most students with an associate’s degree in education will go on to complete at least a bachelor’s degree to give them more credibility and to remain competitive.