Education Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Class Info

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What will you learn in an associate and bachelor's degree program in education? Read about the degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Education Associate and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

A degree in education will provide you with the skills necessary to teach and educate young people. You will receive training in managing a classroom and engaging students from different backgrounds to learn lessons in language arts, science and social science. Careers with an associate degree in education are going to be limited; however, a bachelor's degree in education will prepare you to become a licensed teacher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary and middle school teachers may see 17% growth in employment, while high school teachers may experience a seven percent growth.

Who is this degree for?Individuals who want to apply for a bachelor's degree program in education People who are interested in becoming teachers
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Preschool teacher ($27,000)*
- Teaching assistant ($24,000)*
- Kindergarten and elementary school teacher ($53,000)*
- Middle school teacher ($53,000)*
- High school teacher ($54,000)
Time to Completion2 years4 years
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 20 courses About 40 classes and professional practicum
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate Degree in Education

Because the career opportunities with an associate degree in education are limited, you can transfer your credits into a bachelor's degree program. You will learn fundamental skills in teaching, public speaking and child development. An associate's degree program is similar to the first two years of a bachelor's degree program and will provide you with an opportunity to complete general education courses and introductory educational requirements. With an associate degree, you can find career opportunities as a preschool teacher or as a teaching assistant.

Pros and Cons


  • You will learn basic teaching skills
  • You will be ready for employment after graduation
  • Earning an associate degree before enrolling in a bachelor's degree program may be less expensive


  • Career opportunities will be limited
  • You will need to transfer schools to continue your bachelor's degree education, which may be stressful
  • Not all credits may transfer to a bachelor's degree program

Courses and Requirements

An associate degree in education will include the general education requirements (such as math, English and science classes) necessary to transfer to a bachelor's degree program. An opportunity will also be available to complete basic education and early childhood education courses. Some common courses include:

  • Introduction to teaching
  • Public speaking
  • Technology in education
  • Human behavior

Online Course Info

Online associate degree programs in education, including programs in specialized areas such as early childhood education, are available to students. While some programs will be designed for transfer to a bachelor's degree program, others will prepare graduates for a career. In order to complete courses, you need to have basic computer skills and the self-discipline to complete assignments on your own time.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Having an understanding of the way technology relates to education can be beneficial. Whether you are looking to work as a teaching assistant or continue your education at the bachelor's degree level, taking courses that help you become aware of how digital technology will affect teaching and student learning can get you ahead in the field. Another way to stand out is to learn how the Internet can be used to meet teaching and education goals.

Bachelor's Degree in Education

If you enroll in a bachelor's degree program in education, you can specialize in elementary, middle or high school teaching. You may also focus on subjects such as language arts, mathematics, science or social science. A bachelor's degree program in education will provide you with the training to become a teacher. You will learn how to manage classrooms, prepare lessons and help children learn. To earn a bachelor's degree in education, you will be required to complete a professional practicum, where you will gain experience teaching in a classroom. In addition to earning a degree, you will have to obtain state licensure to teach.

Pros and Cons


  • You will learn the skills needed to become a teacher in public or private schools
  • Helping kids learn can be fulfilling
  • You will be ready to work after graduation


  • Even with a degree, you will need to obtain licensure
  • Schools may prefer teaching applicants with a master's degree
  • Some states may require that teachers pass an exam that demonstrates their knowledge in a content area, which may require additional studying after graduation

Courses and Requirements

Courses in a bachelor's degree program will educate students in a specific subject area and prepare them to work in the classroom. In addition to taking courses, you will have the opportunity to practice applying your newly learned educational concepts during student teaching experiences in actual classrooms. Some common courses include:

  • Student teaching
  • Human development
  • Introduction to instructional media
  • Classroom management

Online Course Info

Online courses are available for a bachelor's degree in education. You can complete coursework online in areas such as elementary or middle school education. Although you will be able to take classes online, you may still need to work in a classroom as a student teacher to meet the requirements for the degree.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

In order to get ahead in the field, you may want to consider pursuing a master's degree. While pursuing your bachelor's degree, you could take a few online courses to prepare for an online master's degree program in education. This allows you to continue to teach while you obtain a graduate-level education.

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