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Online Associate Degree in Education

If you love working with children and are interested in helping them to achieve their full potential, earning an online associates degree in education might set you on the ...

If you love working with children and are interested in helping them to achieve their full potential, earning an online associates degree in education might set you on the path to a rewarding career. You’ll have an opportunity to learn how children’s minds and learning habits develop, and how to provide for their physical needs while creating a rich environment that stimulates their intellectual growth.

What Skills and Qualities Should I Possess?

It takes unique skills and abilities to connect with children. Some characteristics to work on developing include:

  • Patience – Every child is unique and develops on his or her own timetable. Many are still learning to follow directions and show respect for classmates and authority figures.
  • Communication Skills – Teachers and childcare workers must be able to communicate effectively with adults, including parents and colleagues, as well as with children with diverse intellectual and verbal abilities.
  • Resourcefulness – Whether you’re teaching a new skill or administering discipline, no single approach works for all children. Teacher assistants and those in childcare must be creative and adaptable.

What Industries May Employ People Who Earn an Associate Degree in Education?

An associate degree on its own does not lead to certification or licensure. Graduates who wish to pursue careers as classroom teachers may transition into a bachelor’s degree program designed to help prepare them for that role[iv]. However, earning an associate’s degree may jumpstart a fulfilling careers working with children in the field of education.

  • Teacher assistants work under the supervision of classroom teachers to provide one-on-one or small group assistance to regular students or those with special needs. They may also prepare lessons, help with recordkeeping and supervise students throughout the day.[i]
  • Preschool teachers instruct and provide childcare for children between the ages of three and five years old. They develop curricula designed to nurture children’s physical, social and intellectual development. Qualifications for preschool teachers vary among states and institutions, and some may require more advanced credentials.[ii]
  • Childcare workers provide day-to-day care for pre-kindergarten children. They may also provide after-school care for school-aged children. They may work in residential homes or childcare centers attending to children’s basic needs.[iii]

Salary Potential and Projected Job Growth Information

In any field, salaries are influenced by a number of factors, including education, experience, skills and employer. The following salaries are median annual averages for the year 2014 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are meant to provide an overview of potential earnings and projected job growth for education and childcare workers.

  • Teacher assistants: $24,430(6% growth 2014 through 2024)[i]
  • Preschool teachers: $28,120(7% growth 2014 through 2024)[ii]
  • Childcare workers: $19,730(5% growth 2014 through 2024)[iii]

Common Coursework For Online Associates Degree in Education

The coursework required to earn an online associates degree in education depends on the institution where the degree is earned. However, your classes may cover topics such as the following:[iv]

  • Child Development – Typical and atypical physical and cognitive development from gestation through adolescence.
  • Learning Assessment – Formal and informal methods for assessing skill and content mastery.
  • Instructional Strategy – A variety of strategies for presenting new information, and criteria for determining which strategy might be most effective.
  • Special Learners – Strategies for meeting the unique needs of ELL students, gifted students, and students with physical, cognitive or behavioral disabilities.

Once you’ve earned your associate’s degree, you might pursue a career educating children or choose to continue your own education. Some careers in education require a bachelor’s or even master’s degree. However, an associate’s degree might provide a good introduction to the field and be an important first step in your career. Whether you’re interested in working with preschoolers or assisting in the classroom of a public or private school, an associate degree in education may help you to fulfill those dreams.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/teacher-assistants.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/teacher-assistants.htm#tab-4