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Online Associate's Degree Programs in K-12 Education

Earning an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) in K-12 Education may allow you to begin a career in education, working as a teaching assistant, teacher

aide, or substitute teacher. Some aspiring teachers also choose to earn an associate degree as a precursor to a bachelor degree, which is the minimum degree requirement for teacher licensure and full-time employment in most schools.

So why does an online associates degree in elementary education exist? A lot of students prefer to ease their way into college studies. An associate degree may be a good first step if your high school grades were less than spectacular, if you're returning to college after a long break in your education, or if you're interested in saving money on the total cost of your undergraduate degree. (In some cases, earning half of your credits through an associate degree program and transferring them into a bachelor program is less expensive than earning all your undergraduate credits while enrolled as a bachelor degree student.)

The K-12 education curriculum at many two-year colleges offers a balanced introduction to education courses and general college studies, like college math and college writing. If you plan to transfer the credits you earn into a four-year program, it may be helpful to check with that school's admissions office ahead of time. You'll want to be sure your planned course of study meets the college's transfer requirements and that all of the classes you take for your AA or AS degree will be accepted. You might avoid some transfer concerns by earning your associate degree at a college that also offers bachelor degrees in K-12 education.

Many associate degree programs allow students to choose a concentration. Your chosen concentration might relate to the subject you hope to teach or the grade levels you hope to teach. Education concentrations may include any of the following: early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, art education, chemistry, English, family and consumer science, health education, mathematics, music, technology, or physical education.

Degree requirements for K-12 teachers are continually changing, with many states now requiring teachers to earn a master degree in their certification subject area. Earning an online associates degree in elementary education (or a related subject) may help you start to complete the necessary academic requirements, while you enjoy the flexibility to work part-time or volunteer in an educational setting. Associate degree program advisors may be instrumental in mapping out your future degree plans and preparing you for the teacher certification process, which starts with the completion of an approved bachelor degree program.