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Despite the challenges of teaching in the United States, teaching careers are still among the most rewarding choices! You can start your teaching career by choosing from among the online associates in education degrees featured here. With an associate degree in education, you will not only make a difference in your life but in the lives of others, too.
Additional Resource: Best Online Bachelor’s in Education and Teaching
Online students pursuing an associate degree in education are preparing for successful teaching careers in elementary and secondary education.
Once online students earn their associate degree in education, their career prospects improve! Being a childcare worker, teaching assistant, or private tutor is within reach – and the average annual salaries are attractive, too – while career advancement is possible with an advanced degree.
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- Liberty University
- Campbellsville University
- Lone Star College
- South Texas College
- Hagerstown Community College
- Letourneau University
- Barton Community College
- Eastern Gateway Community College
Many holders of an associate degree in education from online degree programs enter the teaching profession at the kindergarten and elementary levels. While an associate degree in education may not be enough academic credentials to become a licensed teacher, it’s an excellent start toward becoming a teaching assistant or a private tutor.
This degree is also your springboard for a bachelor’s program that enriches your skills even more and qualifies you for better opportunities.
Our list of the top Education associate degrees is offered online by the country’s top-rated schools. The programs are your best choices for offering top-notch quality instruction, as evidenced by these features:
- Delivered 100% online or in hybrid classes with asynchronous or synchronous coursework,
- Comprehensive Education curricula with coursework consisting of core courses and general education classes, ensuring well-rounded instruction that prepares students for a bachelor’s degree or job opportunities,
- A Learning Management System on which virtual classes and discussions are held, featuring easy accessibility to coursework and tools, user-friendliness, and an engaging approach to online teaching, with readily available technical support,
- Transfer Path programs are maintained with four-year colleges for students’ convenient transition to a bachelor’s degree,
- Financial aid options, including grants, scholarships, and Military Aid programs, are offered to qualified associate degree online learners,
- Seasoned faculty and teaching staff with impressive credentials in the field of Education,
- Properly accredited by academic agencies that set the governing academic standards,
- Close affiliation with or active membership in Education associations and the Education community.
Visit our Methodology page and explore our program school rankings.
8 Best Online Associate in Education Degree Programs
With its completely online Associate of Arts in Education program, Liberty University strengthens its reputation as one of the country’s best institutions for online education.
Online students must earn 60 credits to be awarded an associate degree in education. The program can be completed in 1.5 years, on average, on a full-time program of study; most associate degrees have a two-year time-to-completion, meaning it’s among the shortest online education programs.
Education students enrolled in the online degree program can transfer credits earned from the associate degree into a bachelor’s degree program at Liberty and other four-year institutions. Many graduates also use their associate degrees in education to seek immediate employment in the teaching sector.
Students gain a broad understanding of education as a profession through core courses in the associate in education program. The core courses include:
- Introduction to Instructional Technology
- Educational Philosophy
- Foundations of Education
The general education courses, which are recognized by four-year institutions and, thus, can be transferred in full, are:
- English composition
- Liberal arts-centric topics
Most, if not all, of the online courses are designed for completion in eight weeks.
This is the best online associate in education program because of the well-rounded training that education students undergo. Students learn about the practical strategies in classroom management and learning strategies for children, aside from the solid theoretical foundation.
Military personnel and veterans can avail of discounts in the online associate in education program. Note that this is a non-licensure program, but graduates can work in early childhood education jobs like teacher assistants. Some states, however, may allow graduates to work as preschool teachers or substitute teachers with certification.
Liberty University’s online programs are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The online associate in education program is accredited by the NCATE – National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education through the CAEP – Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
The Associate of Science in Education program at Campbellsville University is the best online associate program in our books because it’s excellent training for becoming a teaching assistant or substitute teacher in Kentucky. Education students complete eight-week courses over two years of full-time study.
The associate degree in education program has a 65-credit hour curriculum. The courses are divided into 15 credits of general education courses, 33 credits in education-centric courses, and 17 credits in elective courses. The general education courses include:
- English Composition
- General Psychology
- Introduction to Sociology
The core courses in the online associate in education program cover a wide range of topics in teaching:
- Introduction to Special Education
- Instructional Technology
- Classroom Management
- Diverse Learning
- Methodologies in Reading and Math
- teaching Strategies for Young Children
The online associate in education program is designed for completion in two years. Graduates are qualified to become substitute teachers and teaching assistants in Kentucky, as well as qualified to transfer credits to bachelor’s degrees. The online associate program features credentialed faculty members with extensive experience in education.
Campbellsville University, a private Christian university, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to offer on-campus and online programs. The associate in education online program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Lone Star College
The students enrolled in the Associate of Arts in Teaching program at Lone Star College are preparing for the initial teacher certification requirements in the State of Texas. Graduates who earn an online associate degree can transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree in an education program at a four-year institution of their choice.
Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, and University of Maryland Global Campus are a few of the four-year colleges and universities where the credits earned in the associate degree in education can be transferred.
Students in the online associate in education program can save as much as $16,000 over the two-year program, thanks to the 2+2 scheme to transfer credits.
Students who want to transfer credits from an associate in education degree to a bachelor’s degree may consult with an academic advisor for a seamless transition.
The online program has a 60-credit curriculum with core courses like:
- Introduction to the Teaching Profession
- Mathematics for Teachers
- Introduction to Special Populations.
With its emphasis on multicultural education, the associate in education online program has general education courses covering the social and behavioral sciences, language, philosophy, and culture.
Lone Star College, a public community college system, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
South Texas College
The Associate of Arts in Teaching or AAT program is an excellent introduction to the challenges and rewards of teaching careers. The online associate degree also enables students to choose a specialization:
- Elementary Teaching
- Middle School Teaching
- High School Teaching
Every specialization in the associate degree in education requires the completion of the academic requirements for 60 credit hours. The curriculum is divided into 42 credit hours of required courses and 18 credit hours in the specialization. The general education courses include college algebra.
This online associate in education degree program has a generous transfer credits policy – all lower-division credits are transferable to a bachelor’s degree program eligible for initial teacher certification in Texas. The AAT credits must be accepted by all public universities in Texas under Coordinating Board rules.
This is the best online associate in education program, too, because of its emphasis on education-centric core courses. The most notable courses are:
- Introduction to Teaching
- Teaching in Special Populations
Students learn about the theories and practices behind effective teaching strategies through classroom work and field observations.
The associate in education online program meets the requirements for paraprofessionals. Graduates can also pursue continuing education certificates to qualify as substitute teachers.
Students enrolled in the associate in education program are eligible for financial aid; check the www.collegeforalltexans.com website for more information.
South Texas College, a public community college, is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools.
Hagerstown Community College
If you’re looking for an associate in education degree that can be used as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree in and out of the State of Maryland, then this Associate of Science in Education program is an excellent choice!
You can earn a teacher certification in elementary education or secondary education with an associate degree. Students must comply with professional portfolio requirements before graduation to earn the associate degree and, thus, be recommended for teacher certification.
General education and core courses that contribute to the multicultural education students receive in the online associate degree program include early childhood education, special education, and educational psychology.
The 60-credit curriculum includes electives in the arts and humanities, biological and physical sciences, and diversity categories.
Hagerstown Community College, a public community college, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Letourneau University’s School of Education prides itself on some of the industry’s best instructors. Its Associate in Education enables you to build a good academic foundation and equips you with the skills and right values to become a successful teacher. This is also a good start if you’re planning to get a bachelor’s in the near future.
Like most associate degree programs, the 63-credit curriculum comes with 25 hours of general education. Take up courses like:
- English Composition
- College Algebra
- Speech Communication
The program comes with 21 hours of core courses in education. These courses will help broaden your theoretical knowledge on various academic topics while introducing key concepts in the US educational system. Cover courses such as:
- Integrated Reading and Writing Concepts
- Development and Learning of the Young Child
- Foundations of American Education and Culture
In addition, you’ll be taking Theology and vocation courses that are vital in introducing Christian values. Get the chance to choose various elective courses that pique your interest.
With the 100% online program, you may study anywhere and work on your coursework through Canvas, the school’s virtual platform where you can talk to your professor and submit assignments. Scholarships are also available for qualified online learners, so you don’t have to worry about financial matters.
Moreover, LeTourneau University’s associate programs have been accredited by the SACSCOC or Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
Barton Community College
Open up various opportunities in the field of education through Barton Community College’s Education Programs. This education curriculum is a great first step towards your dreams of working in the academe since it’ll equip you with the foundational knowledge and relevant skills in teaching.
The associate in science program has various concentrations. You may major in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, or Special Education. All of the concentration programs come with foundation courses such as:
- English Composition
- General Psychology
- College Algebra
- Public Speaking
- Introduction to Instructional Technology
While each concentration’s requirements may vary, the education programs also come with common emphasis courses, including:
- Art Appreciation
- Elements of Statistics
- Foundations of Modern Education
The programs are designed for busy individuals since the courses can be taken 100% online. You may choose the program courses in 6 to 12-week courses so you can work at your own pace. You’ll use the Barton Online platform to join discussions and connect with your instructors and classmates.
Barton Community College is acknowledged by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), so you will receive accredited, quality courses.
Eastern Gateway Community College
Eastern Gateway Community College offers one of the best programs for future educators. Its Associate of Arts in Teacher Education provides the educational backbone needed to pursue roles in the academe. Here, you’ll gain the needed theoretical knowledge while enhancing your communication and professional skills.
Learn the different issues involved in education and how they can be applied when creating classroom practices. Studying courses will prepare you to build meaningful relationships with students, families, and co-teachers.
The curriculum is composed of various basic courses, including:
- General Psychology
- English Composition
- Public Speaking
To build your foundation in the field of education, you’ll also be taking major courses like:
- Mathematics for Elementary Teachers
- Educational Psychology
- Wellness and Safety in Early Childhood
- Instructional Technology
The fully online program can be finished at home or in your office. As part of your virtual learning program, you’ll use Canvas to submit coursework and communicate regularly with your professors. Additionally, various scholarships and aids are available for students seeking financial help.
The Ohio Department of Education accredits Eastern Gateway Community College. Once you’ve completed the associate’s program, you’ll be qualified to transfer to various Bachelor’s degrees, including Early Childhood Education and Special Education.
What to Expect from Online Associate in Education Degree Programs
The best online associate in education degree programs will give every associate in education on-campus program a run for its money! Accredited online associate degrees are designed in compliance with higher education standards, from their curriculum to their faculty credentials.
The minimum admissions requirement for prospective students who want to be accepted into an online associate in education degree program includes a high school diploma. In a typical associate in education program, a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA is required for consideration.
Letters of recommendation, personal statements, and updated resumes are rare admissions requirements for associate degree programs. These requirements, however, are common for a bachelor’s program, perhaps with the addition of personal interviews.
Students enrolled in associate in education degree programs may be provided with the option of part-time or full-time matriculation. This, in turn, will affect actual time-to-completion – part-time students may spend up to three years in a two-year associate in education program.
Regardless of the number of years in which the associate degree was earned, the number of credits earned typically represents the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. Graduates of an online associate in education or teaching program can enter a bachelor’s degree program as juniors.
Curriculum and Courses
The typical online associate in education program has a similar program format as its on-campus counterpart, meaning a 60-credit curriculum consisting of general education, elective, and core courses. Both on-campus and online education degree programs then have the same academic rigor and graduation requirements, albeit with different delivery methods.
When doing a school search and comparison, you may want to consider whether the associate degree in education program provides specialization options, such as elementary or secondary education. The core courses will likely be different depending on the specialization.
Principles of Education
Students learn about practical strategies in lesson planning, student engagement, and learning assessment, among other topics related to effective classroom management.
Introduction to Early Childhood Education
The course is an exploration of the learning process that children undergo from birth until the eighth grade. Students learn about program and curriculum design, course content, and teaching strategies for early childhood education.
Students learn about effective techniques to enable young pupils to learn concepts, stay motivated, and demonstrate soft skills like solving problems and critical thinking.
Theories of Child Development
The course covers the fundamental theories behind the physical, psychological and social development of children from infancy to adolescence.
Curriculum and Assessment
Students learn about effective methodologies in curriculum creation and assessments of performance in young pupils.
Most associate degrees have courses that closely mirror the more advanced concepts discussed in a typical bachelor’s program in education.
Online Learning Technology
Students in associate in education degree programs use several online learning technologies that enable fast, easy, and convenient access to learning materials. Every education program has a specific set of technological requirements, such as the technical specifications for a personal computer, so be sure to check them, too.
Every online associate degree program uses a specific learning management system (LMS), a digital platform where students access their learning materials, submit assignments and participate in other academic activities. Collaboration and productivity tools are also common in online education.
Methods of Assessments
Online degree programs have different assessment methods for keeping track of the student’s academic performance. Among online associates in education programs, quizzes and examinations combined with assignments are the common methods of assessment.
Cheating, plagiarism, and other academic misdemeanors are strongly discouraged in online degree programs, and failure to comply with the rules can lead to expulsion. Advanced technologies, such as proctoring and plagiarism detection software, are used to prevent these misdemeanors among online students.
Internship and Practicum Requirements
Not many online associates in education programs offer internship and practicum opportunities for students. But if you can find an internship or practicum opportunity, such as being a teaching assistant for a summer class, you may want to grab it. Your teaching skills will be better for it.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Education students can expect to pay between $5,000 and $16,000 in tuition and other fees for an associate degree in education. Students enrolled in online associate degree programs are usually on equal footing with their on-campus counterparts, financial aid-wise. Federal financial aid is available for online education students, as are institutional and external scholarships.
Career Prospects for Graduates of Associate in Education Programs
Associate degree graduates can start their teaching careers as soon as their academic credentials are released and validated by their alma mater! With a 7% employment growth rate (2020-2030) for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, it’s safe to conclude that employment for the following entry-level positions will also keep pace.
Childcare Workers ($54,225/year)
Childcare workers are child development professionals who are responsible for meeting the basic needs of children in the home and non-home settings. Most states have licensing requirements.
Getting into the teaching profession can be done by way of offering tutoring services, usually at the elementary education level.
Teaching Assistants ($58,627/year)
Teacher assistants usually have associate degrees in education and work under the supervision of licensed teachers. Their job includes providing support to teachers in their administrative functions and academic support to students.
Substitute Teachers ($33,161/year)
Substitute teachers are responsible for classroom management in the absence of a licensed teacher.
Preschool Teachers ($65,836/year)
Preschool teachers typically take charge of the early education of children under five years old. Many states require a license to teach, but many states also accept an associate degree in education as credentials.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you choose the best online Associate in Education degree program?
Do a school search and look at school rankings since these provide shortcuts to the best online associate in education degree programs. But always be sure to check the national or regional accreditation because it’s the most basic requirement.
Are there specializations in Associate in Education degree programs?
Yes, but it’s uncommon at the associate degree level. Many bachelor’s programs, however, offer specializations in the field of study for their education students.
Is an online Associate in Education worth it?
Yes, because of the wide range of possible career and educational paths it opens! Plus, you will spend half the cost and time compared to a bachelor’s degree program.
Is it hard to get an online Associate degree in Education?
No, it isn’t, but you must apply yourself to the lessons and assignments, just as you would with any program in higher education.
What are the possible educational paths for an Associate in Education degree holder?
An Elementary or Secondary Education bachelor’s degree with a specialization in a subject matter is a common choice.
Why should you earn an Associate’s in Education degree?
If you’re planning to jumpstart your career as a teacher, pursuing an associate’s degree in Education is an excellent idea! This program will equip you with the general knowledge and essential skills to start working or take your academic understanding to the next level. Another reason to take this degree is that you’re sure to land a job after graduation.
You can start earning while gaining experience as a paraprofessional or substitute teacher. Most associate’s programs have pathways to earning a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree. That’s why it’s a good choice when deciding which path to take on your teaching journey.
Earning an online associate in education degree means becoming an influence for the greater good and influencing individual lives. Indeed, the teaching profession is among a handful of professions with a profound impact on society and its individual members.
Additional Resource: Top 20 Accredited Online Schools with No Application Fee