Associate Degree in Education

Some people who are interested in becoming teachers do not have the finances, prerequisites or time flexibility to attend a four-year college or university. Individuals who may not be able to attend school full-time or meet all requirements necessary to earn a standard teaching license have the option of pursuing a two-year Associate’s Degree in Education.

What is an Associate’s Degree in Education?

An Associate’s (AA) Degree in Education is a two-year degree program offered by on-campus technical schools and many online colleges. This degree is frequently used as a means to an end, that is, as one step on the path toward a four-year Bachelor’s (BA) in Education degree. However, students who pursue online or on-campus two-year education degrees can acquire jobs as non-licensed school employees based on a stand-alone Associate’s Degree in Education. Some programs even offer opportunities to observe and practice working with students in school settings. Or a limited number of careers are possible; for example you can teach pre school.

Criteria for Admission Into a Program for an Associate’s Degree Education
To enroll in an associate’s degree program in education, students need a high school diploma or GED (General Education Development) tests. Some schools only accept applicants who have completed college prep classes in English, math, social science and a foreign language. More and more students are turning to community colleges for a variety of reason, so be sure to explore your options and enroll early, before the community college classes fill up.

Required Coursework for an Associates Degree in Education
A liberal arts curriculum, including classes in English, history, the natural sciences, social science and the humanities are offered in associate’s degree programs. Courses leading to an AA degree in elementary education provide classes and subject matter, such as:

  • Child growth and development.
  • Introduction to elementary or early childhood education.
  • Fundamentals of reading, math or science education.
  • Teaching methods.
  • Education psychology and technology.
  • Child nutrition and health

General and Specific Associate’s Degrees in Education

A basic or generalized Associate’s Degree in Education can prepare students for employment in various roles in a school or school district. Individuals who prefer a more specialized AA Education Degree can enroll in on-campus or online programs that focus on a grade level or subject, and lead to specific jobs, such as:

  • Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, which prepares individuals to educate and care for young children.
  • Associate’s Degree in Education for Paraprofessionals, which allows graduates to work in classrooms or in special education programs under the direction of a lead teacher.
  • Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education, which gives AA degree holders a foundation for assisting and working with elementary school students.

Career Opportunities with this Degree
Whether individuals choose a general or a specialized AA degree will determine what types of jobs they can apply for. Associate’s Degree in Education graduates are qualified to work as:

  • Paraprofessionals or Teacher Aides
  • Pre-School Teachers
  • Daycare providers
  • Teacher’s Assistants
  • Children’s Program Staffers

An Associate’s Degree in Education can prepare individuals to work in a variety of settings:

  • Public schools, including preschools, elementary schools and secondary middle- or high schools.
  • Charter schools
  • Private preschools and elementary schools.
  • In-home daycares.
  • Childcare centers.
  • Community centers.

An associate’s degree in education can qualify graduates for employment as teacher’s assistants. According to the Bureau of labor statistics, “Employment of teacher assistants is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. School enrollments are projected to increase slowly over the next decade, but faster growth is expected among special education students and students for whom English is a second language, and those students will increase as a share of the total school-age population. Teacher assistants often are necessary to provide these students with the attention they require.

Continuing Education Information

Associate’s degree holders who want to become licensed teachers must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in teacher education and then a state teaching certificate or license. Some public universities and colleges offer transfer programs for AA in Education graduates from community colleges.