Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Earning an associate's degree in early childhood education can train you to work in a nursery or preschool, caring for young children. Continue reading to learn what you'll study in an associate's degree program, as well as online degree possibilities and the salaries for different careers. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Classes Will I Take During an Early Childhood Education Associate's Degree Program?

Early childhood education coursework explores how young children think and how this affects their behavior. You get the opportunity to focus on a number of different teaching methodologies that adapt to children's specific needs or personalities. Some practical experience in the classroom may be necessary to further your studies in early childhood education. You might need to report on your experience by completing a project or portfolio.

You can also expect to take general education courses like algebra, biology, history and composition. Your core classes cover observation and assessment, child development, health and nutrition, curriculum models for children and child safety.

Course TopicsChild development, teaching methods, safety, assessment and general education classes
Online RequirementsMost programs offered in a hybrid format, with in-person field experiences; some specific computer requirements may need to be met
Career OptionsTeacher aide, childcare worker or preschool teacher; licensure or certification may be required
Average Salaries (2014)*$26,000 (for teacher aides); $21,710 (for childcare workers); $32,040 (for preschool teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Study Online?

Online programs usually cover the same material as on-campus programs, but most schools require you to work or volunteer at a childcare facility to gain practical experience while taking your online classes. Before starting these field activities, you may have to pass a background check and a physical examination.

You might want to check with your school prior to enrollment to verify that you meet their specific technical requirements for online learning. Most schools require that you have word-processing software, an e-mail account and a reliable Internet connection. You can usually submit all assignments and take class exams online.

What Can I Do After Graduation?

An online associate's degree program in early childhood education can prepare you for a career working with children as a childcare provider, teacher aide/assistant or preschool teacher. Depending on your state and the facility you wish to work at, additional licensure or certification may be necessary before you begin work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states usually require you to receive training, undergo a background check and receive a variety of immunizations. Some states may require preschool teachers to also receive the Council for Professional Recognition's Child Development Associate designation, which requires both training and observation in the field, among other things.

According to the BLS, childcare workers earned an average salary of $21,710 as of May 2014. Teacher aides made an average wage of $26,000 annually, while preschool teachers earned an average income of $32,040 per year.

If you're interested in furthering your education, you can usually transfer your credits to a bachelor's degree program in education. Earning a bachelor's degree can allow you to work as an elementary school teacher.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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