The 5 Best Online Associates in Education Degrees in 2022

Online Associates in Education Degrees - featured image

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. 

Quick Summarization
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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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 credential 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 a 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 easily 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.

Online Associates in Education Degrees

5 Best Online Associate in Education Degree Programs

Liberty University


With its completely online Associate of Arts in Education program, Liberty University strengthens its reputation as among 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 degree 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
  • Mathematics
  • 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 a preschool teacher or a substitute teacher 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. 

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville University

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 in 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

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 the 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

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 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

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 in 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 the 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 also 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. 

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. 

Admission Requirements 

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.   

Average Time-to-completion 

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 then 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. 

Instructional Strategies

Students learn about the 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 the 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 the 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. 

Specific Technologies 

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 methods of assessment in keeping track of the students’ 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. 

Online Associates in Education Degrees - fact

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. 

Tutor ($56,882/year

Getting into the teaching profession can be 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 5 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 that 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. 

In Conclusion

Earning an online associate in education degree means becoming an influence for the greater good and an influencer on individual lives. Indeed, the teaching profession is among a handful of professions with a profound impact on society and its individual members.

Additional Resources:

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor