Best Online Associate in Education

by Doug Wintemute

Updated September 27, 2022

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An online associate degree in education provides learners with a flexible, accessible route to the teaching profession — often at a lower cost than traditional alternatives.

The teaching field welcomes professionals from many pathways. An associate degree in education online offers one of the more flexible and accessible options available. While most states require teachers in public kindergarten classrooms and above to have bachelor's teaching degrees, associate degree graduates can still pursue those careers and more by making the right educational choices.

As the system evolves to meet modern demands and challenges from forces like COVID-19, teachers need to remain adaptable, accommodating, communicative, and technologically competent. In addition to ranking of the best programs in this field, this page outlines how associate degrees from online colleges can equip students with the necessary skills for an array of careers.

The Best Online Associate in Education Programs

#1

Allen County Community College

School Information
Location Iola, Kansas
Graduation Rate 39%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Looking for a flexible associate degree program in education? Consider Allen County Community College's online associate in early childhood education. Education students prepare for a career in the field through relevant coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Enrollees seeking to advance in their studies can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Students can access numerous college resources such as career services and academic advising. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services such as library access, writing workshops, and academic tutoring.

The average financial aid award, the college reports, is $4,378. Typically, 86% of all degree-seekers receive financial aid, with 12% receiving loans.

Allen County Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Iola, Kansas

Student-Faculty Ratio: 21-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,800

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $1,800

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#2

Volunteer State Community College

School Information
Location Gallatin, Tennessee
Graduation Rate 23%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Gallatin, Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College provides online education across seven associate degree programs, including its associate in elementary education. Enrollees gain foundational knowledge and skills relevant to the education field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. After graduation, students can apply their college credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

During their studies, enrollees can access career services, academic advising, and other resources. Distance learners can connect with virtual library services and receive academic tutoring.

The average student is awarded $5,356 in financial aid, to offset the cost of an education. The institution reports that 94% of all enrollees receive financial aid and 9% receive student loans.

Volunteer State Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Gallatin, Tennessee

Student-Faculty Ratio: 23-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,032

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $16,608

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#3

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

School Information
Location Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Graduation Rate 37%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology hosts six online associate's programs, including an associate of science in pre-education. Enrollees benefit from a robust course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the education field. Enrollees seeking to advance their education can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

During their program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other resources. Other resources available for distance learners include academic tutoring and virtual library services.

The average financial aid award, the college reports, is $5,025. Students can explore numerous funding opportunities, with 98% of enrollees receiving some form of financial aid and 45% opting for student loans.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,350

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,960

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#4

University of Cincinnati

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A leader in online education, the University of Cincinnati supports an online associate degree program in early childhood care and education. Students in the education program gain knowledge and industry-relevant skills through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Enrollees seeking to advance in their studies can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

During their studies, learners can access career services, academic advising, and other resources. The college supports its online learning community through online-specific resources, such as virtual library services and academic tutoring.

The average financial aid award, the college reports, is $6,981. Students can expect to receive financial aid or loans, as 75% of enrollees are awarded aid and 45% take out loans.

University of Cincinnati at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Admission Rate: 77%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $9,476

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $24,810

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#5

Casper College

School Information
Location Casper, Wyoming
Graduation Rate 39%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Distance learners seeking flexible study in the education field should consider Casper College's online associate in early childhood education. Enrollees gain foundational knowledge and skills relevant to the field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Upon graduating, students can apply their course credits toward a bachelor's degree.

While enrolled, students can benefit from career services, academic advising, and other success-centered resources. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services such as library access, writing workshops, and academic tutoring.

Distance learners can access scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities, with the average award package being $4,444. Students can expect to receive financial aid or loans, as 92% of enrollees are awarded aid and 15% receive loans.

Casper College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Casper, Wyoming

Student-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,970

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,910

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#6

Campbell University

School Information
Location Buies Creek, North Carolina
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 55%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A leader in online education, Campbell University supports eight online associate degree programs, including its AA in general education. The program builds foundational knowledge in education, preparing graduates for entry-level careers in the field. Students can also transfer their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Students can access career services, academic advising, and other support resources. Online students can receive further guidance through virtual library services and academic tutoring.

The college notes that 99% of all students receive financial aid awards, with 49% receiving loans.

Campbell University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Location: Buies Creek, North Carolina

Admission Rate: 78%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $32,380

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $32,380

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#7

Eastern Gateway Community College

School Information
Location Steubenville, Ohio
Graduation Rate 19%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Looking for a flexible associate degree program in education? Consider Eastern Gateway Community College's online AA in teacher education. Students in the program gain industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing them for the demands of an education career. After graduation, students can apply their college credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

Enrollees benefit from career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources throughout their studies. The online learning community connects students with virtual library resources and academic tutoring.

Online students can expect to receive an average of $4,732 in financial aid awards. The college reports that 96% of students are awarded financial aid, with 4% receiving student loans.

Eastern Gateway Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Steubenville, Ohio

Student-Faculty Ratio: 33-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,960

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,200

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#8

Hagerstown Community College

School Information
Location Hagerstown, Maryland
Graduation Rate 29%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hagerstown Community College boasts a highly ranked online associate degree in education, one of nine online associate programs. Students in the education program complete courses relevant to the education field, preparing them for their future careers. After graduation, students can apply their college credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

The college provides students with resources such as academic advising and career services. The online learning community connects students with virtual library resources and academic tutoring.

The college reports that the average student's financial aid award package is $4,494. Approximately 77% of all incoming students receive financial aid, with 26% receiving student loans.

Hagerstown Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Hagerstown, Maryland

Student-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,835

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,665

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#9

Pima Community College

School Information
Location Tucson, Arizona
Graduation Rate 21%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Students looking for a flexible online associate in early childhood studies should consider Pima Community College. Enrollees benefit from a robust course curriculum, preparing them for the demands of the education field. Typically, students can apply their associate degree credits towards future educational endeavors, like a bachelor's degree.

A leader in student success, the college connects students with 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 benefit from significant financial support, receiving an average of $5,233 in financial aid awards. The college reports that 68% of students are awarded financial aid, with 12% receiving student loans.

Pima Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, two-year

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,028

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,344

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#10

Miami University

School Information
Location Middletown, Ohio
Graduation Rate 18%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Middletown, Ohio, Miami University provides online education across two associate degree programs, including its associate in prekindergarten education program. Students can build their knowledge of the education field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Upon completion, students can apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

A leader in student success, the college connects students with career services, academic advising, and other resources. Further resources available to online students including virtual library services and academic tutoring.

Distance learners can access scholarships, fellowships, and other funding opportunities, with the average award package being $4,340. Approximately 74% of all incoming students receive financial aid, with 36% receiving student loans.

Miami University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, four-year

Location: Middletown, Ohio

Student-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $6,297

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $16,181

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Best Online Associate

Online Associate in 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 Online Associate in Education Programs

What Is an Online Associate in Education Degree?

An associate degree in education equips students with a basic understanding of the educational system, teaching responsibilities, and related challenges. While there are various types of teaching degrees and specializations, programs generally provide skills — such as classroom management, communication, and psychology — that degree-holders can apply to all types of classrooms.

State teaching requirements vary, but each teacher typically needs a bachelor's degree. While associate degrees do not directly lead to licensure, students of these two-year programs can transfer into online bachelor's in education degree programs, even reducing their overall cost of college in some cases. These programs tend to attract students who may not have a clear destination in mind and seek the added career flexibility.

Types of Online Associate Degrees in Education

Prospective students may find it difficult to know which teaching degree to get when there are so many majors and specialization options. The following list offers a few available degrees.

This degree focuses on child development, along with assessment and classroom management strategies for young children. Graduates can pursue careers as preschool teachers, childcare workers, and teacher aides. They can also transfer into a bachelor's degree program and earn elementary teaching licensure. This degree provides teacher support training, often emphasizing in-demand roles such as tutoring, behavior management, and special needs support. These degrees can lead to careers as general paraprofessionals or special education paraprofessionals in classrooms of all age groups. It can also lead to a bachelor's degree or certification in the field. A degree in this discipline teaches students how children develop and how educators can create positive learning environments for young learners. The degree can lead to childcare positions or paraprofessional roles in classrooms. Graduates can also pursue bachelor's degrees for teaching licensure or management positions in childcare centers. A degree in secondary education emphasizes the development and learning behaviors of teenagers and young adults. This training can help graduates acquire careers as teaching assistants or teachers in some private schools. Graduates can also transfer into bachelor's degree programs to qualify for licensure and public school teaching positions

Why Get an Online Associate Degree in Education?

The biggest advantage to an associate degree in education online program is the flexibility. These programs introduce learners to the field and provide them with various postgraduate options without requiring a four-year commitment.

Prepares Learners for Entry-Level Jobs in Education

Though graduates with an associate degree in education may not qualify for licensure, they can work in entry-level education roles as teacher assistants, preschool teachers, or childcare workers.

Explore Education as a Career Path

A bachelor's in education requires a four-year commitment, which can seem daunting — particularly for individuals looking to change careers. The associate degree in education offers a more accommodating pathway, consisting of two years of training with a heavy emphasis on general education.

Earn Credits to Transfer to a Bachelor's in Education Degree

Many students choose an associate degree in education as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree. Associate degrees can offer more accessible admission requirements and more affordable tuition. After graduation, associate degree credits often transfer seamlessly into bachelor's programs. Many schools even offer direct pathways and 2+2 program options to make the process easier.

What to Expect in an Online Associate Degree in Education Program

Earning an associate degree in education online delivers the same content as traditional programs through different delivery methods. Online learners often choose between synchronous and asynchronous courses, though associate degree programs tend to offer more asynchronous options. While some programs may feature practicums and field experience classes, these are much more common at the bachelor's level.

Generally, associate degrees emphasize general education courses. Teaching-specific classes vary by program, but may include the following options:

  • Principles of education
  • Classroom management
  • Assessment strategies
  • Child development
  • Classroom technology

Choosing an Online Degree Program in Education

During their school and program research, prospective students need to make a list of their needs and interests. Tuition cost, admission requirements, location, and curriculum typically rank among the highest priorities. Choosing an online college requires learners to think about residency requirements, access to in-state tuition rates, and delivery formats.

Most importantly, applicants need to ensure their school has regional accreditation. Prospective learners should also make sure that their online associate degree in education holds accreditation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Students can find other recognized accrediting bodies through the U.S. Department of Education.

What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Education?

Graduates with associate degrees in education can qualify for many careers. The following table looks at some popular options, along with their median annual wages.

Entry-Level Careers in Education
Career Median Annual Wage (2020)
Teaching Assistants $31,500
Teacher Assistants at Private Elementary and Secondary Schools $29,100
Teacher Assistants at Child Day Care Services $25,590
Childcare Workers $26,790
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Questions About Associate Degrees in Education

Can You Be a Teacher With an Associate Degree?

Yes. Graduates with associate degrees in education can teach in preschool and childcare classrooms. They may also teach in some private schools. Only public schools require state-mandated licensure.

How Do I Become a Teacher if I Didn't Major in Education?

Some schools offer teacher training pathways for students in popular majors, such as English or mathematics. Graduates with degrees in other subjects can also complete teaching certificates to qualify.

Do You Need an Associate Degree to Get a Bachelor's?

No. Students can enter bachelor's programs directly without any prior undergraduate training. However, some degree completion programs may require a certain number of undergraduate credits for entry.

Can I Transfer My Associate Degree to a Bachelor's?

Yes. Graduates with an associate degree can usually transfer their credits into bachelor's programs. This can also lower the overall cost of a four-year education, as associate degree credits often cost less than bachelor's degree credits.

Portrait of Doug Wintemute

Doug Wintemute

Doug Wintemute is a Toronto-based freelance writer with professional writing interests in higher learning and entertainment. He completed his BA and MA in English at York University, graduating summa cum laude and earning academic merit, research, and writing awards at both levels. Since 2014, he has contributed content and editorial work for award-winning digital trade publications, global SEO copywriting projects, and hugely popular online brands. He can be contacted through LinkedIn.

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