Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

by TBS Staff

Updated September 27, 2022

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If you enjoy working with young children, you may want to consider a career in early childhood education. Early childhood educators work in elementary schools, preschools, and daycare centers. They teach young children essential skills like communication, reading, and basic math. Early childhood educators also guide children’s emotional and intellectual development. Early childhood educators can serve as important positive role models for their pupils.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that preschool teaching positions will grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026. As such, prospective students considering an early childhood education associate degree can expect to find ample career opportunities after graduation.

The Best Online Associate Programs for Early Childhood Education

#1 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Gulf Coast State College

  • Panama City, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus in Panama City, Florida, Gulf Coast State College offers five online associate degree programs, including an associate in early childhood education program. Students in the early childhood education program prepare for the demands of the education field through instructive study and industry-relevant coursework. Students seeking further education can apply their early childhood education credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Early childhood education degree-seekers can access comprehensive college resources, including career counseling, academic advising, and financial aid assistance. The college supports its online learning community through online-specific resources, such as virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Online students can expect to receive an average of $5,005 in financial aid awards. Typically, 72% of all degree-seekers receive financial aid, with 8% receiving loans.

Gulf Coast State College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Panama City, Florida

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,750

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,064

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,750
Out-of-state
$7,064
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,797
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

  • Fennimore, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking for a flexible associate degree program in early childhood education? Consider Southwest Wisconsin Technical College's online associate in early childhood education. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in an education-specific career. Typically, students can apply their associate degree credits toward future educational endeavors, like a bachelor's degree.

Enrollees benefit from career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources throughout their studies. Distance learners can receive one-on-one guidance with virtual library services and academic tutoring resources.

Typically, students are awarded $4,336 in financial aid. About 78% of incoming students receive financial aid awards and about 28% receive student loans.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Fennimore, Wisconsin

Admission Rate: Data not available

Student-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,095

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,143

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,095
Out-of-state
$6,143
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,640
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Renton Technical College

  • Renton, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Renton Technical College hosts three online associate programs, including an associate in early childhood education. The program prepares students for the demands of the early childhood education field through foundational and advanced coursework. Early childhood education students can apply their course credits toward future educational opportunities, such as a bachelor's degree.

Early childhood education degree-seekers can access comprehensive college resources, including career counseling, academic advising, and financial aid assistance. The online learning community connects students with virtual library resources and academic tutoring.

Distance learners can access scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities, with the average award package being $6,365. Of its enrollees, the college reports that 69% receive financial aid and 7% receive loans.

Renton Technical College at a Glance:

Type of s=School: Public, four-year

Location: Renton, Washington

Admission Rate: Data not available

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,688

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,137

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,688
Out-of-state
$4,137
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,755
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#4 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Honolulu, HI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its main campus, Chaminade University of Honolulu boasts a highly ranked online associate in early childhood education, one of four online associate degree programs. The associate in early childhood education is an online program that prepares students for the early childhood education field through comprehensive coursework. Upon completion, students can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

While enrolled, early childhood education students benefit from institutional resources, such as career services and academic advising. Online students can further access virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Students benefit from financial aid, with 99% of enrollees receiving some form of funding.

Chaminade University of Honolulu at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii

Admission Rate: 95%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $26,020

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $26,020

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,020
Out-of-state
$26,020
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
2,167
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Eastern Wyoming College

  • Torrington, WY
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Eastern Wyoming College, located in Torrington, Wyoming, supports five online associate degree programs, including an AA in early childhood distance learning. Early childhood education students prepare for a career in early childhood education through relevant coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Enrollees can apply their earned credits toward a bachelor's degree, certificates, and educational credentials.

A leader in student success, the college connects students with career services, academic advising, and other resources. The institution also provides online enrollees with virtual library services and academic tutoring resources, including writing tutoring.

The average student is awarded $6,355 in financial aid, to offset the cost of  an education. The college reports that 94% of students are awarded financial aid, with 7% awarded student loans.

Eastern Wyoming College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Torrington, Wyoming

Student-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,970

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,910

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,970
Out-of-state
$8,910
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,538
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Kennebec Valley Community College

  • Fairfield, ME
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Fairfield, Maine, Kennebec Valley Community College provides online education across 13 associate degree programs, including its AAS in early childhood education program. Students in the early childhood education program benefit from industry-relevant coursework, preparing them for future careers in education. Upon graduating, students can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Learners can access career services, academic advising, and other support options during their studies. Additional institutional resources include virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Students seeking to defray the cost of a degree should know that the average enrollee receives $5,284 in financial aid awards. Approximately 83% of all incoming students receive financial aid, with 32% receiving student loans.

Kennebec Valley Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Fairfield, Maine

Student-Faculty Ratio: 15-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,820

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,640

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,820
Out-of-state
$5,640
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,406
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#7 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Northeast Community College

  • Norfolk, NE
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in online education, Northeast Community College supports 13 online associate degree programs, including its associate in early childhood education program. Students in the program gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Graduates seeking to advance their education can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Enrollees benefit from career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources throughout their studies. Other institutional resources include virtual library services and academic tutoring.

The average student is awarded $4,456 in financial aid, to offset the cost of education. Students can explore numerous funding opportunities, with 90% of enrollees receiving some form of financial aid and 21% opting for student loans.

Northeast Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Norfolk, Nebraska

Student-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,970

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $4,170

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,970
Out-of-state
$4,170
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,258
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Concordia University St. Paul

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At Concordia University St. Paul, the AA in early childhood education program is one of two online associate degree programs offered online. Students can build their knowledge of the early childhood education field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Typically, students can apply their associate degree credits towards future educational endeavors, like a bachelor's degree.

While enrolled, students can benefit from career services, academic advising, and other success-centered resources. As part of an online learning community, distance learners can benefit from virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources.

The institution reports that 98% of all enrollees receive financial aid, and 58% receive student loans.

Concordia University St. Paul at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Admission Rate: 98%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $22,800

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $22,800

Transfer Credit Accepted: Accepted

Average Tuition
In-state
$22,800
Out-of-state
$22,800
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
98%
Students Enrolled
5,137
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Georgia Military College

  • Milledgeville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A leader in online education, Georgia Military College supports 25 online associate degree programs, including its associate in early childhood education program. Early childhood education students prepare for a career in early childhood education through relevant coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Students seeking further education can apply their early childhood education credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Students can access career services, academic advising, and other support options during their program. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services such as library access, writing workshops, and other academic tutoring.

On average, students receive $5,742 in financial aid. The college reports that 92% of students are awarded financial aid, with 33% receiving student loans.

Georgia Military College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Milledgeville, Georgia

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,165

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,165

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,165
Out-of-state
$6,165
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,766
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students looking for a flexible online associate program in early childhood education should consider Liberty University. Students in the early childhood education program benefit from industry-relevant coursework, preparing them for future careers in early childhood education. Upon completion, students can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

While enrolled, early childhood education students can access college resources geared toward student success. Further resources available to online learners including virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Students benefit from financial aid, with 99% of enrollees receiving some form of funding.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Admission Rate: 51%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $15,417

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $15,417

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#11 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

St. Petersburg College

  • Clearwater, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

St. Petersburg College's AS in early childhood education is one of 15 associate degree programs offered remotely. The early childhood education program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in an early childhood education-specific career. Students seeking to advance academically can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Students can access career services, academic advising, and other support services during their program. Distance learners can benefit from resources such as virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Typically, enrollees receive $8,559 in financial aid awards. Approximately 73% of all incoming students receive financial aid, with 25% receiving student loans.

St. Petersburg College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Clearwater, Florida

Student-Faculty Ratio: 22-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,943

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,774

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,943
Out-of-state
$7,774
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
28,853
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Spokane Falls Community College

  • Spokane, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

At Spokane Falls Community College, the associate in early childhood education is one of five associate degrees offered online. Enrollees gain foundational knowledge and skills relevant to the early childhood education field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Students can also transfer their credits toward a bachelor's degree at a four-year school.

The college connects early childhood education students with career services, academic advising, and other success-geared resources. Distance learners can receive one-on-one guidance from virtual library services and academic tutoring resources.

Typically, enrollees receive $6,270 in financial aid awards. Students can expect to qualify for financial aid or loans, as 61% of enrollees are awarded aid and 23% receive loans.

Spokane Falls Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Spokane, Washington

Student-Faculty Ratio: 22-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,875

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,875
Out-of-state
$3,680
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,023
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#13 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Minnesota State College Southeast

  • Winona, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Distance learners looking for a flexible online associate degree program in early childhood education should consider Minnesota State College Southeast. Students in the AAS in early childhood education program prepare for the demands of the early childhood education field through instructive study and industry-relevant coursework. Students seeking to advance their education can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Early childhood education degree-seekers can access comprehensive college resources, including career counseling, academic advising, and financial aid assistance. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services such as library access, writing workshops, and academic tutoring.

On average, students receive $4,518 in financial aid. Typically, 82% of all degree-seekers receive financial aid, with 33% receiving loans.

Minnesota State College Southeast at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Winona, Minnesota

Student-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,020

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,020

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,020
Out-of-state
$5,020
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,930
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Chippewa Valley Technical College

  • Eau Claire, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Chippewa Valley Technical College, located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, boasts 13 online associate degree programs, including its highly ranked associate in early childhood education program. Students in the Early Childhood Education program gain industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing them for the demands of an early childhood education career. Graduates seeking to advance in further studies can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Students can access numerous college resources such as career services and academic advising. As part of an online learning community, distance learners can benefit from virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources.

Students seeking to defray the cost of a degree should know that the average enrollee receives $5,251 in financial aid awards. Students can explore numerous funding opportunities, with 78% of enrollees receiving some form of financial aid and 27% opting for student loans.

Chippewa Valley Technical College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Student-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,095

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,143

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,095
Out-of-state
$6,143
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,924
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

Tallahassee Community College

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Tallahassee Community College's associate degree in early childhood development, education, and management is one of three associate degree programs offered remotely. Students in the early childhood education program gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Typically, students can apply their associate degree credits toward future educational endeavors, like a bachelor's degree.

The college prioritizes student success through career services, academic advising, and other resources. As part of an online learning community, distance learners can benefit from virtual library services, academic tutoring, and other resources.

Online learners can access scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities, receiving an average of $4,518 in aid. The college reports that 68% of students are awarded financial aid, with 25% receiving student loans.

Tallahassee Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Student-Faculty Ratio: 25-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,002

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,982

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,002
Out-of-state
$7,982
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,683
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online Associate in Early Childhood Education Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Featured Early Childhood Education Programs

Choosing an Online Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Program

Take your time when selecting where to earn an early childhood education associate degree online to make sure you find the right program. Many options exist -- with a little patience and research, you can find a school that matches your specific needs. If cost represents a primary factor in your decision, you may want to start your search with public, in-state programs. These typically offer the most affordable tuition rates. However, some distance programs offer the same tuition rate to all online students, regardless of residency status. The list below describes a few other factors worth considering when looking at associate programs.

Accreditation for Online Early Childhood Education Associate Degrees

All the best schools participate in a voluntary evaluation process to demonstrate program quality; this process is called accreditation. Colleges often consider accreditation when determining whether they will accept transfer credits, and employers may expect job applicants to hold a degree from an accredited institution. When exploring online programs, you can look for institutional and programmatic accreditation. Institutions may hold regional or national accreditation. Both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education coordinate accreditation, recognize accrediting bodies, and maintain lists of accredited schools.

Regional accreditation is typically viewed as more rigorous and prestigious than national accreditation, and regionally-accredited institutions often only accept transfer credits from other regional institutions.

In addition to institutional accreditation, programs can hold specialized accreditation to demonstrate that they meet standards in the field. Early childhood education programs may hold accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, while teacher preparation programs may hold Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accreditation.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Associate degrees typically require students to complete about 60 credits and take two years of full-time study. Online programs frequently offer flexible options that allow learners to progress at their own pace, and part-time learners may take 3-4 years to complete their degree. However, part-time options do enable students to continue working more easily while attending school.

Additionally, learners who can transfer in credits, test out of requirements, and/or take accelerated classes can complete their degrees in less than two years. The time it takes to complete an early childhood education associate degree online can impact the overall cost of a program. Most schools raise their tuition rates each year, and students who take larger course loads may gain access to lower per-credit tuition rates.

Courses in an Online Early Childhood Education Associate Program

Introduction to Early Childhood Education

This course introduces the theoretical and historical foundations of early childhood education. Topics include national, professional, and ethical standards; state regulations; career options; and program types. Students explore methods that can be used to create safe, appropriate, and responsive environments and activities for young children.

Child Development

This course explores the physical, social-emotional, and cognitive changes that occur in the first five years of life. Students learn to identify the skills young children typically acquire during this time and ways to support growth and optimize developmental outcomes.

Health and Wellness

This course emphasizes the health-related aspects of child development and age-appropriate behavior management techniques. Future caregivers learn to identify potential challenges children in their care may face. They also develop strategies to provide appropriate care, communicate with families, and promote wellness.

Exceptional Children

In this course, students explore ways to work with parents and other professionals to care for children with special needs, including those with physical/cognitive disabilities and gifted/talented children. Topics include methods for modifying the physical environment to ensure inclusion and strategies for adapting activities and instruction.

Language and Literacy

This course provides an overview of normal language development in young children. Students explore strategies to facilitate language development, identify appropriate children’s literature and its purpose, and present literature to young children in engaging ways.

Educational Paths for Early Childhood Education Degrees

After earning an online associate degree in early childhood education, you may decide to continue your education by earning a bachelor’s degree. Some schools require their employees to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, especially if they want to teach kindergarten or higher grades. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree can also pursue some leadership positions, increasing their salary potential and allowing workers to gain access to benefits like employer-paid healthcare. The three degrees below represent potential educational pathways aspiring teachers can follow.

Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

The upper-level courses in a bachelor’s in early childhood education program go into greater depth than associate-level courses. These programs may prepare you to earn teacher licensure in your home state, qualifying you to work in a public elementary school.

Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with a Montessori Education Concentration

The Montessori method revolutionized the education of young children by focusing on a child’s natural curiosity and emotional development. Montessori teachers receive specialized training during their teacher education programs, qualifying them for both traditional and Montessori classroom settings.

Bachelor’s in Physical Education

A child’s physical development proves just as important as their intellectual and emotional development. Physical education programs may satisfy the requirements for teacher licensure in your home state, opening the door to more career opportunities and a higher salary.

Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Career Information

Associate degree holders can find rewarding positions teaching and caring for young children in public and private preschools, elementary schools, and Head Start programs. They may also provide much-needed childcare to working parents through daycare providers and recreational centers. These teachers and care providers offer nurturing, professional supervision and instruction to children ages five and under. Professionals who go on to complete a bachelor’s degree may qualify for higher-paying jobs in the field. The list below describes career options often pursued by graduates of associate programs.

Preschool Teachers

Preschool Teachers work with children under the age of five in childcare centers and public and private preschools, helping young learners acquire the basic academic and social skills needed for elementary school. This position typically requires an associate degree.

Childcare Worker

Childcare Workers care for young children not yet in school. They may also provide after-school care in private homes, schools, and childcare centers. While this position may not require an associate degree, some employers prefer to hire degree holders.

Preschool Director

Preschool Directors manage the daily operations of childcare centers and preschools, including hiring teachers, dealing with admissions, and communicating with parents. This position requires at least an associate degree, although employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s.

Teacher Assistant

Schools typically require applicants to hold an associate degree or some college experience to assist classroom teachers. Teacher Assistants give students additional instruction or personal attention as needed, supervise children and ensure their safety, and help teachers prepare materials and deliver lessons.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary School Teachers typically hold a bachelor’s degree; in public schools, they also need to obtain state licensure. An associate degree may serve as an important first step toward qualification as an elementary school teacher.

Source: PayScale

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