Early Childhood Special Education Associate Degrees
Associate's degree programs in early childhood special education generally require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Read on for more information about degree programs and the career outlook for early childhood special education teachers.
Can I Complete An Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education?
Although rare, associate's degree programs in early childhood special education are offered at a few schools. You may also find associate's degree programs in teaching or early childhood education with some special education courses.
|Online Availability||While rare, associate's degree programs in early childhood special education are offered at a small number of schools|
|Common Courses||Child health and development, child nutrition, student assessments, developmental disabilities, childhood literature|
|Average Salary (2018)||$62,500 (for special education teachers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||10% (for preschool teachers); 8% (for special education teachers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Learn?
Associate's degree programs covering early childhood development and special education typically take two years to complete, and they prepare you to work in a classroom setting with children of different age groups who have who have emotional, physical and learning disabilities. Some programs focus on early childhood development, while others include all students in grades K-12.
Special education courses explore remedial teaching methods, characteristics of disabilities and the emotional, cognitive and social development of disabled children. In addition to taking courses, you'll also be required to complete a student teaching experience that involves observing children in their learning environment and working directly with them. Some of the courses you can expect to take cover these subjects:
- Student assessments
- Child health and development
- Childhood literature
- Developmental disabilities
- Child nutrition
What Can I Do With My Degree?
With an associate's degree, you may pursue a local preschool teaching license (if applicable in your area) or an optional Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. You may also choose to transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program in special education. A bachelor's degree in special education or early childhood education with a special education concentration is typically the minimum requirement to obtain a license to work with special needs students beyond preschool level.
What Is the Career Outlook for This Field?
Job opportunities for preschool teachers were expected to grow quickly at a rate of 10% between 2016-2026, while special education teachers were expected to see a growth rate of 8% for the same time period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although overall enrollment rates for students are expected to grow slowly, the BLS cites an increase in the number of students requiring special services and earlier diagnosis of disabilities in children as factors for this growth (www.bls.gov). In 2018, the BLS estimated the mean expected salary for a special education teacher was $62,500.