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Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

written by: Marlene Gundlach•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 9/27/2010

An Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is one of the more popular online degrees available. Why is it such a sought after degree, and what are the benefits of gaining such a degree?

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    Jobs Involving Early Childhood Education

    Early childhood education degree programs can help to lead you down several career paths. Some preschools require that teachers obtain a degree in Early Childhood. In some states, if you only have a high school diploma, you have to take courses to obtain a certificate in Early Childhood. Preschool and Day Care directors are usually required to earn a degree in this field. Depending on state guidelines, a degree in Early Childhood Education may also allow you to teach Kindergarten through third grade, although here a four year degree is most common. As states work toward bettering the quality of their Early Education programs, the need for certified teachers at this level will increase. The growth of all-day Kindergarten and Universal Preschool will help solidify this trend. The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is the most common type of certification, and this may also be an option in some states.

    Those working in the field of Early Childhood Education can expect to make an average of $12.40 per hour, or $25,800 annually. Of course, those aiming to work in the K-3 level can make substantially more.

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    Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

    The coursework involved in earning an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) can involve the following:children reading 

    • Fundamentals of Early Childhood Learning
    • Computer Literacy
    • Child Psychology
    • Language and Literacy Development
    • Early Mathematics
    • Curriculum

    General education courses are required, in addition to courses specific to ECE. Students who wish to later transfer or move on to a Bachelor Degree should always talk with an advisor to be sure that credits will transfer.

    One example of the requirements to earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education listed that 60 credit hours were needed for graduation. The same school offered a Technical Certificate in Early Childhood that involved 22 credit hours. These 22 credit hours could then transfer and would be applied to the Associate Degree if someone chooses to move in that direction. In addition to a High School Diploma, some programs also require students take placement tests in Math, Reading, and Writing before being accepted into a program.

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    Options for Online Degrees in ECE

    There are not a lot of online programs for earning an Associate Degree in ECE. The few that I found include:

    The options are slim, but as mentioned above, states are moving toward strengthening their Early Childhood programs, so more programs may develop. Preschool teachers will face stricter qualifications when it comes to teaching at this level. A degree in ECE is the perfect opportunity to begin your teaching career and it will provide you with the qualifications you need to get hired within the field.