Best Online Associate in Elementary Education Programs
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An associate in elementary education program can open doors to careers in education and childcare. Coursework introduces learners to concepts in elementary education and child development, preparing graduates to help children solve problems and learn new skills.
Most teaching positions require at least a bachelor's in education. However, getting this associate degree could lead to other education-related careers. For example, graduates with an associate in elementary education may choose to work as a teacher's aide or assistant. Others may go on to continue their studies and pursue a four-year degree.
An associate in elementary education program typically takes two years to complete. Students can choose from online and in-person formats, as well as accelerated programs. An online program may offer a flexible path to this degree, which may appeal to people trying to balance schoolwork, jobs, and other commitments.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Elementary Education Program?
If you are patient, empathetic, and enjoy working with younger children, pursuing an associate in elementary education may be right for you. Those who are organized but flexible may be suited for this field.
Most associate in elementary education programs require the completion of about 60 credits. Along with general education classes, learners may take courses in classroom management, child development, and assessments. Although the typical program takes two years to complete, some schools offer accelerated options.
Students enrolled in an associate in elementary education program can learn to create and implement lessons in a variety of subjects, including math and English. Participants learn to evaluate curriculum and create meaningful assessments. Some colleges may require students to complete a practicum in an elementary classroom.
Depending on the school, you may complete an associate of arts (AA) or associate of science (AS) in elementary education. Typically, an AA provides a stronger liberal arts education with a focus on the humanities, while an AS features more on math and science coursework.
Consider your strengths when selecting a program. Think about your future education plans, especially if you may want to eventually pursue a bachelor's in education.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.
Popular Online Associate in Elementary Education Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Elementary Education Program?
Introduction to Education
This course focuses on educational philosophies and the history of education in the United States. Learners study the role and responsibilities of teachers, while discussing best practices in education.
Discover a variety of children's stories and how elementary educators can use them to help children develop a variety of skills, including literacy development and social and emotional skills.
Prospective educators can learn various aspects of child development — physical, social, cognitive, and emotional. The course also explores how development can be affected by factors such as gender, socioeconomics, and culture.
Education in Multicultural Classrooms
This course examines the historical and societal responses to multicultural education. It also presents philosophical approaches to teaching in diverse classrooms. Learners research the best ways to support students from various cultural backgrounds.
Psychology of Learning
This class looks at the psychological theories of learning, including motivation and behavior. Learners explore the history of psychology and how changing perspectives have affected education.
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Elementary Education Program?
Applying to college can be overwhelming. However, planning ahead and creating a checklist can help relieve stress and keep you organized. Although every college has its own admissions requirements, you should expect to be asked for the following:
- College application and fee
- High school transcript or GED scores
- Application essay
- Letters of recommendation
Some schools may require college entrance exam scores, like the ACT or SAT. Other colleges may have you take a placement exam upon acceptance. You may also be asked to provide a resume or list of your past work experience. Colleges may even award credit for life and work experiences.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Elementary Education Degree?
People with an associate in elementary education often pursue work in non-teaching positions in classroom and childcare settings. Although an associate degree is not typically necessary for these jobs, having a degree could set you apart from other applicants.
If you are undecided about becoming a full-time classroom teacher, you could pursue a job as a teacher's aide or paraprofessional with an associate degree. School positions are an in-demand option, and many professionals like the flexibility provided by a school schedule.
To increase your future career options, you may want to consider continuing your education and completing a bachelor's in education degree. Discover careers and educational paths in elementary education.
Teacher's assistants and aides help elementary school teachers with day-to-day functions in the classroom. Typically, the classroom teacher assigns necessary duties to assistants. These aides may also help create classroom materials, make copies of needed materials, and work with students in small groups or in one-on-one settings. Teacher's assistants do not create curriculum or assessments.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $28,900
Working in a variety of daycare environments, a childcare worker takes care of children of different ages. Daily responsibilities may include preparing meals, reading stories, playing outside, and supervising nap time. These professionals promote child safety while leading activities that can foster child development.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $25,460
Preschool Teacher (Childcare Setting)
Most public preschools require that teachers have a bachelor's in education. However, you may be able to work as a preschool teacher in private daycare centers with an associate in elementary education. Preschool teachers create and implement curricula that help develop social and emotional growth, while also introducing kids to age-appropriate concepts.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $29,860
Many tutors work for an hourly rate or are commissioned based on the number of students they tutor. Tutors can be self-employed or find employment with a tutoring center. Most tutors work one on one or in small groups with students who need assistance with specific concepts or in certain subject areas.
Average Annual Salary (as of October 2021): $36,800
Elementary Education Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Those with an associate degree who want to pursue a career in teaching often decide to work toward a bachelor's or master's in education.
You can enroll in a variety of bachelor's programs, including a bachelor's in elementary education or a bachelor's in special education. If you decided to work with older students in middle or high school, you could also pursue a bachelor's in secondary education in a specific content area like math or English.
Earning a master's in education can also prepare graduates to pursue careers as a school principal, instructional coordinator, or librarian or media specialist, to name a few.
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Elementary Education Program?
Students paid an average of $11,390 in tuition, fees, and room and board at two-year institutions during the 2018-2019 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This average reflects the cost at public and private institutions, as well as online and on-campus programs. Generally, in-state public universities offer the lowest rates. Be sure to calculate the true cost of an online program before enrolling. These costs may include things like books, other supplies, and transportation for any on-site requirements.
When selecting an online college program, consider its format. Will your classes be synchronous or asynchronous? Is the entire program online? Do parts of the program need to be completed in person? Will you be a part-time or full-time student? Accelerated courses may be an option if you want to complete your associate degree in a shorter period of time.
The location of a college can affect the overall cost of the program. If the program is out of state, you may have to pay a higher tuition rate. However, some online programs allow all students to pay in-state tuition, no matter where they reside.
When considering an online degree, find out if the program has any on-campus requirements. Attending a school nearby or choosing an online program can mean you won't have to move and or give up your current job.
When deciding on a program, research the college's accreditation. Understanding the different types of accreditation is important. Accreditation can help ensure that your program meets certain regional or national standards. If you are planning to continue your education beyond an associate degree, a college's accreditation can also affect your ability to transfer credits.
Student support is an important, but sometimes overlooked, resource for college students. Colleges with a student services department often provide the following types of assistance:
- Mentorship opportunities
- Career advisors
- Tutoring help
- Internship opportunities
- Alumni connections and networking opportunities
These resources can be valuable to all students, including distance learners. Find out what online student services are available at the schools you are considering.
Associate in Elementary Education Rankings Snapshot
Jump to a school below using the links in the "School" column.
|Renton Technical College
|Northeast Community College
|Itawamba Community College
|Stanly Community College
Best Accredited Online Associate in Elementary Education Programs
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Renton Technical College
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Cost per Credit:
In-State | $124
Out-of-State | $141-$318
Credits to Graduate: 90 quarter credits
RTC's early childhood education program delivers a licensure-track education in a convenient online format. You'll focus on curriculum development and principles for building a positive learning environment for kids up to age eight. As you progress, you'll earn six "stackable" certificates that meet Washington's state licensing standards.
If you live near campus and prefer to study in Spanish, RTC's got you covered. You can take a hybrid version of the program in Spanish on Saturday mornings.
Northeast Community College
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Cost per Credit:
In-State | $108
Out-of-State | $109-$151
Credits to Graduate: 58-63
Northeast's associate of arts in elementary education supports transfers into four-year degree-completion programs. Through close working relationships with many regional colleges, Northeast helps place graduates in four-year schools. You can then complete your educational requirements for teaching licensure.
Recommended courses focus on educational psychology, professional standards, and subject-specific teaching proficiencies. You'll have the freedom to emphasize areas of personal interest, such as art, science, geography, civics, and music.
Northeast's Student Education Association offers excellent networking opportunities. As a participant, you can build advanced leadership skills and connect with professional educators throughout Nebraska.
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Cost per Credit:
In-State | $145
Out-of-State | $245
Credits to Graduate: 62-63
ICC's online early childhood education technology program takes a holistic approach to child development. Beyond educational essentials, you'll also study behavioral science, child growth and development, nutrition, and safety. You'll emerge ready for entry-level supporting careers in a variety of learning settings.
In your flexible online learning environment, you'll have full access to ICC's academic and technical support resources. The study path ends in an associate of applied science degree, which you can use for advanced standing in a degree-completion program.
Stanly Community College
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Programmatic Accreditation: National Association for the Education of Young Children
Cost per Credit:
In-State | $76
Out-of-State | $268
Credits to Graduate: 71-73
As a student in SCC's online early childhood education program, you'll engage with a dynamic NAEYC-accredited curriculum. Pathways include career-ready, licensure, and transfer tracks. You'll also have the option to earn certificates in special education and social and emotional development, among other specialized areas.
You can graduate in two years as a full-time or CCP student, or in four years if you study part-time. SCC's affordable and flexible online learning environment supports self-paced learning in a convenient asynchronous course delivery format.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Elementary Education Programs
Is an associate degree in elementary education worth it?
An associate degree in elementary education can qualify you for some education-related careers, like teacher's aide/assistant. You may decide the degree is worth the cost and time if you are thinking about eventually pursuing a career in teaching. You may be able to transfer your credits to a bachelor's in education program in order to become a certified teacher.
How fast can I get an associate in elementary education degree online?
Most associate degrees require approximately 60 credits and take full-time students two years to complete. However, you could shorten this time frame by taking courses over the summer or enrolling in an accelerated online program.
Is an online associate degree in elementary education credible?
Online degree programs are a popular option. They can be more flexible and more affordable than traditional in-person programs. Many colleges offer credible degree programs online. An online associate in elementary education degree is credible if the program is accredited by a legitimate accreditation agency.
How much money can I make with an associate in elementary education?
Depending on the position, common careers that you can pursue with an associate in elementary education typically pay $25,000-$40,000 a year. However, compensation can depend on experience, location, and position.
Is an associate degree in elementary education in demand?
Jobs for teacher's aides/assistants — an option for those with this degree — are projected to grow by 9% from 2020-2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are considering earning a bachelor's degree in education, jobs for kindergarten and elementary teachers are projected to grow by 7% and jobs for special education teachers are projected to grow by 8% during that same timeframe.
While the job growth rates are similar, a bachelor's degree may help you qualify for more jobs with potentially higher salaries.