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Earn an Early Childhood Education Online Associates Degree

Earning an early childhood education online associates degree teaches you how create effective curriculum for young children. This helps with their development and learning. That means you can have a profound impact on the lives of your students. Programs also teach you the skills and knowledge to identify the unique needs of special learners and to adapt teaching methods based on evaluation. Plus, choosing to earn your associates degree online can provide you with the freedom to perform coursework around your busy schedule.

Did You Know?

At 18 months old, differences in early experiences and environments begin to have an impact on a child’s vocabulary.

Early Childhood Education Online Associates Degree: Basics

Most early childhood education associate degree programs require that you have earned a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent diploma. Some programs may have additional requirements. These can include achieving a minimum GPA while earning your high school diploma and getting a minimum score on your SATs. Most schools also require that you send in your high school transcripts for review.

In order to earn your associates degree, most programs need you complete 60 credits. However, the exact number may vary from program to program, depending on the structure. Typically, this includes core courses in early childhood education and general education courses. Most full-time students can earn their associates degree in two years.

When searching for a perfect associates degree program for you, remember that every program is unique. That means they have their own admissions and graduation requirements. 

Early Childhood Education Online Associates Degree - ECE Associates Degree

What Is Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood education works to enhance the social, emotional, physical, and academic development of children from preschool to third grade. Therefore, early childhood education online associates degree programs strive to teach you the building blocks of constructing and evaluating curriculum. And they also show you different instructional strategies.

Pursuing an Online Early Childhood Education Associates Degree

Pursuing an early childhood education online associates degree provides you with the foundation of theories and best practices in the many aspects of childcare. These may include development, learning assessment, and special learners. Therefore, online programs focus on teaching you how to use those theories in the day to day. That way you can shape a curriculum, address the needs of young children, and identify the stages of learning in children who are aged zero to eight years old.

Online Early Childhood Education Associates Degree Courses

While earning your online associates degree in early childhood education, courses focus on how to promote early childhood learning and development. Some of the common courses include the following.

  • Curriculum Models in Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Literacy
  • Child Growth and Development
  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Introduction to Childhood Development
  • Principles of Education
  • Learning Theory and Portfolio Development
  • Educational Philosophy
  • Psychology of Childhood

Keep in mind that every program is different. Therefore, some programs may offer some, or all of these courses. Other programs may not offer any. Click on any of the school listings to learn more about specific programs and their course offerings.

Other Course Requirements in an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education

In addition to core courses related to early childhood education, you will also have to take a number of general education courses in order to earn your associates degree. Typically, these courses include the following.

  • College Writing
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • General Psychology
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • World Civilizations

These courses provide you with an overall education to earn your degree. Again, check with individual schools for their specific course requirements and offerings.

Did You Know?

Providing young children with a healthy environment in which to learn and grow is good for their development. However, economists have also shown high-quality early childhood programs can bring between $4 and $9 back to society for every dollar invested in early learning programs for low-income children.

Careers in Early Childhood Education AA Degree

After you earn your online associates degree in childhood education, there are a number of positions you may pursue. Some of these, and their 2015 median annual salary, include the following.

  • Preschool Teacher: $28,570 i
  • Childcare Worker: $20,320 ii
  • Preschool or Childcare Center Director: $45,670 iii

Each of the requirements vary depending on the state regulations and employer. However, most employers prefer childcare workersiv and preschool teachers to have at least a high school diploma or some postsecondary education.v Typically, at least an associates degree is required for you to become a preschool or childcare center director. Some states also require additional certification.vii

To make sure that you meet all criteria, check with your state for specific requirements.

Additional Certifications and Credentials in Early Childhood Education

Many states require that childcare centers, including those in private homes, have a license. However, this requirement varies from state to state. To earn licensure, the entire staff needs to do the following.

  • Background Check
  • Complete Record of Immunization
  • Meet Minimum Training Requirements
  • Some states also require CPR Training and First Aid

Some states and employers also ask that preschool and childcare directors have a nationally recognized credential. Typically, this is one of two, depending on the state and employer. The two most prevalent credentials include the following.

  1. Childhood Development Associate (CDA) by the Council for Professional Recognition
  2. Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation

Take the Next Step!

Earning your early childhood education online associates degree can provide you the skills and knowledge to have an impact on the lives of young children. This includes creating effective curriculum and using different teaching methods to reach different students. Plus, choosing to earn your degree online may help increase knowledge retention through the use of multimedia, such as infographics and webinars.

Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to learn more about individual programs. There, you can read program descriptions, specific courses, and graduation requirements. You can even contact schools directly to request more information.


i  bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm#tab-5 ii bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm#tab-1 iii bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm#tab-5 iv bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm#tab-4 v bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm#tab-4 vi bls.gov/ooh/management/preschool-and-childcare-center-directors.htm#tab-4

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