Students pursue teaching careers at the elementary level for many reasons. The field offers professionals the chance to positively impact the lives of children while also earning a good salary. While job and salary outlook depends on local and state budgets, increasing student enrollment should lead to more opportunities for teachers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of more than 56,000 elementary school teaching jobs between 2019 and 2029. Most teachers need a bachelor's degree, but an associate degree in elementary education can provide learners with the foundation to pursue a more advanced degree.

Should I Get an Associate in Elementary Education?

Since an associate degree may not satisfy the requirements for teaching licensure in public schools, many graduates use the degree as a stepping stone to further education.

Across the country, student enrollment numbers in elementary, secondary, and high schools continue to rise and drive the demand for teachers. The BLS projects the addition of more than 440,000 new jobs in education between 2019 and 2029. The 5% projected growth rate during this period exceeds the average rate for all occupations.

An associate degree in elementary education prepares students to take advantage of this growth. Students complete their programs in approximately two years. Graduates can choose to enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree in education or a related field.

Since an associate degree may not satisfy the requirements for teaching licensure in public schools, many graduates use the degree as a stepping stone to further education. This approach offers various benefits.

Starting with an associate degree in elementary education may provide students more flexibility, as they can switch majors or specializations when applying to a bachelor's program. This pathway may even save time and money because tuition for associate programs typically costs less than tuition for bachelor's programs. Additionally, some online associate degrees in elementary education offer accelerated schedules.

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What Will I Learn in an Elementary Education Associate Program?

Along with general education courses, an associate degree in elementary education provides training in child development, learning fundamentals, and classroom management. Students learn how to design lesson plans, evaluate children, and create an inviting and supportive environment for young learners.

Most programs award an AS or AA degree. Some AS programs may focus more on science and mathematics teaching, while AA programs focus more on humanities. Learners who intend to continue their education might get more transfer credits by matching degree types at the bachelor's level.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Elementary Education?

Most students pursue an associate degree in elementary education to ultimately become an elementary school teacher, but there are many other career opportunities. Graduates may pursue specialized teaching careers, such as special education, or branch out into a related field, working with children in another capacity.

While graduates may access some positions without a teaching license, careers in public schools typically require a bachelor's degree and licensure. After completing an associate degree in elementary education, graduates can explore a different discipline at the bachelor's level, such as high school education or a major in an adjacent field.

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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Elementary Education?

Salaries in education can vary dramatically based on position, employer, and location. According to the BLS, education, training, and library professionals earned a median annual salary of $52,380 in 2020, more than $10,000 higher than the median annual salary for all occupations.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $60,660 in 2020. On the higher end of the field, instructional coordinators earned a median annual salary of $66,970 that same year.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Elementary Education Programs

Are elementary education majors in demand?

The increase in student populations in elementary schools means that elementary education majors should remain in demand. While government budgets largely determine the number of jobs available in each region, the BLS projects 4% job growth for teachers at this level between 2019 and 2029, which matches the projected growth rate for all occupations.

What kind of jobs can I get with an associate in elementary education?

In addition to a career as an elementary teacher, an associate degree in elementary education can lead to various other teaching careers, such as middle and high school teaching positions. Graduates can also pursue careers in child development. Further training is often required for these positions.

How much does it cost to get an associate in elementary education?

The price of an associate degree in elementary education depends on various factors, such as school, program, and location. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average associate degree tuition cost around $3,310 per year for in-state students and $7,920 for out-of-state students in 2019.

Is an associate in elementary education worth it?

An associate degree in elementary education can act as the foundation for more advanced teaching or education-related degrees. Students can save money on the first two years of a four-year education, as associate programs typically cost less than bachelor's programs.

How long does it take to get an associate in elementary education?

In most cases, students can complete an associate degree in elementary education in about two years. Some programs, particularly online associate degrees, offer accelerated timelines that can save learners time. Students with busier schedules can take more time to finish by enrolling part time.