How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education
If you have a passion for teaching and working with kids, an associate’s degree in elementary education may just be for you. While most schools will require teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree to teach any grade above kindergarten, getting this degree is a good stepping stone to your future career. It will give you an idea of what you can expect and enable you to find out whether this career is for you.
After getting your associate’s, you will be qualified to become a teacher’s aide at an elementary school. As an aide, you get to learn the ins and outs of what happens in the classroom, and get a glimpse for what the teacher is responsible for on a day to day basis. After gaining some real-life experience, you may consider returning to school to earn your bachelor’s so that you can become a teacher.
An associate’s degree in elementary education generally takes around two years to complete. It can be obtained at most accredited community colleges, but if you have other important responsibilities in life and require a flexible schedule for school, a distance learning program from an accredited college is a promising option to consider.
Online learning is a great alternative to traditional classroom learning because it can allow students to complete classes quicker, while taking advantage of many of the same resources as traditional classes, like tutoring or faculty assistance when needed. It does, however, requires potential students to be dedicated independent learners needing little to no hand-holding; after all, the material will be taught entirely online. With that said, you would be expected to keep track of class schedule and complete assignments on your own time. An advantage to studying online is that you can work comfortably in your pajamas, at whatever time and place is most convenient for you. Online learners must have reliable internet access, but from there, there’s plenty of freedom and flexibility. Earning an online degree can be a productive way to balance school with other obligations, such as employment.
Common Associate’s in Elementary Education Curriculum
Those enrolling in the associate’s degree program in elementary education will be equipped with a solid foundation for teaching elementary students. Some topics that may be covered in your program include but are not limited to:
- Educational technology
- Children’s literature
- Math for elementary school teachers
- Classroom relationships
- Diversity in the classroom
- Contemporary issues in education
- How to teach exceptional learners
Different schools will offer different curriculum, but the idea is that students graduate in two years with a good idea of what they can expect in the field. After getting the associate’s degree, students will be prepared to either work as a teacher’s aide at a school, or move on to earn their bachelor’s degree in the field. Those who go on to get their bachelor’s have a much better chance at securing a promising teaching job.
In addition to elementary education-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly elementary education related. They are designed to give students the opportunity to explore other fields while getting a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping them understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career they choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in math, science, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.
Associate’s in Elementary Education Careers
As you might have guessed, graduates of the elementary education associate’s degree program go on to teaching after graduation! The associate’s degree alone may not qualify you to get a teaching position right away, but you can always start out as a teacher’s assistant, gain experience, and move your way up. If you have plans for advancement and want to stay competitive in the field, going for your bachelor’s degree is a smart choice.
As a teacher’s assistant, you will interact with children one-on-one to develop skills, prepare educational materials alongside the teacher, and help the teacher with managing and observing children. Usually, teacher’s assistants do not work full-time. However, it’s a great way to get yourself out there and get some experience, especially if you’re not entirely sure whether you want to commit to a bachelor’s degree in the subject just yet. Teacher’s aides are found working in public school districts, child care centers, and even after-school programs.
With an associate’s degree, you can also try to get a position as a preschool teacher at a child care center. Preschool teachers are responsible for helping children through play, and for preparing them with skills and concepts required for kindergarten.
They pay range for this career path varies greatly depending on a number of factors. Factors include but are not limited to location, school, education, and experience level, to name a few. Different states will pay different wages, and your salary is often determined by your employer and the type of school you work for. The general state of the economy also plays a role in your determined annual salary.