Accredited Online Colleges with A.S. Degrees in Early Childhood Education

Those who make a career of early childhood education can experience many fulfilling aspects of the job, including the rewarding feeling of introducing a young child to education in such a way that they always see school as entertaining as well as enlightening. An associate degree in early childhood education can potentially lead to positions in daycare facilities, private and public schools, Head Start programs and other environments. If you're interested in helping shape the lives of young children, online colleges in early childhood education are worth considering.

When pursing an associate degree in early childhood education, you generally choose between three types. The Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) are degree programs that both focus on general education as well as the targeted courses required for the early childhood education degree. These associate degrees help you to move forward with your studies, and can prepare you for bachelor's degree programs. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) is designed to focus more on the major courses and less on general education, with the goal of giving you the skills and knowledge necessary to move into the workforce immediately upon graduation.

Associate degree programs in early childhood education can include courses in child development, child health and nutrition, teaching methods and materials, creative expression and activities, emergency training, and special needs teaching. General education requirements might include psychology, math, English, science and sociology.

Earning an associate degree in early childhood education online may offer a wealth of benefits, including the flexible scheduling that is a hallmark of online learning. Other benefits can include easy access to class materials and effective communication with professors and peers via email, message boards and forums. Time management, self-discipline and careful planning are all skills that can be honed while completing online programs, and they may prove valuable to early childhood education professionals.

Jobs You Can Have with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Graduates with an associate degree in early childhood education may be qualified to become preschool teachers in some settings and states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012) preschool teachers must be certified in some states which requires taking and passing an exam. Some institutions, such as Head Start, may require preschool teachers to have earned or be in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, earning an associate degree can help graduates prepare for and earn a bachelor’s degree. Check with your school to find out if the credits earned for an associate degree can transfer.

According to the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, preschool teachers are expected to experience an employment growth of up to 25 percent from 2010 to 2020. This growth may be the result of the growing population of young students aged three to five, as well as the focus on the importance of early childhood education (bls.gov, 2012). As of May 2012, the BLS reports that preschool teachers earned a median annual wage of $27,130, nationally, with the highest and lowest 10 percent earning $48,660 and $18,090 (bls.gov, 2013).

Other potential positions for early childhood education graduates include teaching assistants and childcare workers. Both positions may help prepare graduates for a career in teaching or social work with the addition of continued education. Teaching assistants can expect national employment growth of up 15 percent while childcare workers can expect up to 20 percent growth between 2010 and 2020 (bls.gov, 2012). As of May 2012, teaching assistants and childcare workers made a national median annual wage of $23,640 and $19,510 respectively according to the BLS (bls.gov, 2013).

To learn more about the early childhood education degrees at online schools, including entry requirements, program specifics and potential career options, request more information from any of the online schools listed below.

Childcare Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Preschool Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Teacher Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

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