Many people have always dreamed of being a teacher. You get to influence the minds of the next generation and have a real impact on who they’re going to become.If this sounds right up your alley then you might want to consider getting a teacher’s aide associate degree.

Teacher Aides are not certified teachers. They work directly with a classroom teacher in a supporting role grading papers, planning lessons, and assisting with projects.

Teacher’s Aides also work one-on-one with students, especially exceptional learners or students with disabilities.  These students often need more specialized instruction, and many times a classroom teacher doesn’t have the time to work with them one-on-one. You, however, would be responsible for helping these students excel at their own pace.  Many aides find that one-on-one instruction like this is incredibly rewarding.

When you go to school to get your teacher’s aide associate degree, you’ll likely take the following classes:

Now, if you’ve got your sights set on becoming a fully certified instructor then getting a teacher’s aide associate degree is still a great first step. You’ll learn the necessary background to running and managing a classroom, and most of the time these credits will easily transfer to a 4-year university, depending on where you go.

Students with a teacher’s aide associate degree typically earn around $20,000 to $25,000 per year. That salary is pretty low compared to most other fields, which is why many students choose to go on and get their Bachelor’s Degree in Education.  Elementary teachers to middle school teachers earn around $45,000, which is significantly higher than an aide’s salary.

Keep in mind, however, that this is for 9 months worth of work, not 12 like in all other fields.  Many teachers either get a part-time job over the summer or teach summer school to supplement their income.  Or, if that’s enough for you, you could take the summers off and just lounge around or travel.

It’s also important to know that if you specialize in an area, like students with disabilities, then you’ll stand a good chance of making more money, either as a teacher or an aide. While both of these careers are expected to grow as fast as the national average, teachers specializing in things like learning disabilities are going to have a distinct edge over everyone else.

Getting a teacher’s aide associate degree can put you on the path to an incredibly fun, rewarding career. If you love being around children and love the idea of teaching them new things about the world they’re living in, then this might be the perfect career for you!