Special Education Associate's Degree

Completing an associate's degree program in special education could prepare you for work as a teacher assistant or teacher aide in a special needs classroom. Learn more about the coursework in this program, as well as online learning options, the career outlook and the typical salary for a special education teacher assistant or aide. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn During a Special Education Associate's Degree Program?

An associate's program in special education can teach you how to identify the capabilities and learning challenges of special needs students. Some programs look specifically at early childhood special education. During an associate's degree program, you might complete general education requirements before taking courses in special education.

You'll learn how to develop lesson plans, organize games and plan activities for special needs students. You'll also study topics like disciplinary methods and class management. Additional courses may cover special education laws, child psychology, curriculum development and technology integration in the classroom. Many associate's programs may expect you to complete a supervised teaching experience.

Online Degrees Not commonly offered online; related associate's degrees are available partially online
Common Courses Classroom technology, child psychology, curriculum development, special education laws
Career Options Paraeducator, teacher assistant
Median Salary $24,430 in 2014* (for teacher assistants)
Job Outlook 6% from 2014-2024* (for teacher assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Learn Online?

Online associate's degree programs in special education are extremely limited. Instead, you might enroll in an online associate's program in elementary education or early childhood education; these types of programs may include special education coursework. Many of these programs are available through private for-profit universities.

Some hybrid programs are available which allow you to blend online and on-campus courses. Technical requirements for online programs might include a computer with broadband Internet connectivity, a specific Web browser and updated anti-virus software.

What Job Opportunities Exist?

With your associate's degree in special education, you might find work as a special education teacher assistant or paraeducator. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the number of employed teacher assistants was expected to increase by six percent from 2014-2024; however, roughly 40% of those positions offered only part-time employment (www.bls.gov).

According to the BLS, teacher assistants earned a mean annual salary of $24,430 as of May 2014. Before starting a job, the BLS stated that you might need to provide a current driver's license and pass a background check. If you're interested in advancing from paraeducator to teacher, you'll need to earn at least a bachelor's degree and apply for a teaching license in your state.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Western Texas College

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Snyder
  • Western Nevada College

    Campus Locations:

    • Nevada: Carson City
  • West Kentucky Community and Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Paducah
  • Vincennes University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Vincennes
  • Taft College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Taft
  • Stark State College

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: North Canton
  • Stanly Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Albemarle
  • Westmoreland County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Youngwood
  • St Petersburg College

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Clearwater