Best Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Timelines, Programs and Resources for Online Early Childhood Education Students

Early childhood educators prepare children who are usually under the age of five to enter the American school system. Parents often like to be involved at this stage in a child’s education, so these teachers navigate interactions with their young pupils and parents, helping children develop social skills in addition to fundamental skills like reading, writing and math. See how online associate degree programs help future early childhood educators acquire the necessary qualifications before gaining experience on the job.

2017 Best Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Prospective students pursuing an online associate degree in early childhood education have several factors to consider when choosing an online program. To help refine their individual searches, students can sort through programs by tuition cost, graduation rates, student-to-teacher ratios, services available outside of graduation and financial aid opportunities. One place to start is by taking a look at 2017’s top-rated programs listed in the rankings below.

RankSchool Title Net Price Financial Aid Total Programs Student-Teacher ratioGrad RateRanking ScoreSchool DescriptionAdditional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1Truckee Meadows Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
21%
Ranking SCORE 99.81
Read more

Students can earn an associate of arts in early childhood education degree, or an associate of applied science degree with either an infant/toddler emphasis, a preschool emphasis or an emphasis on administration of early care and education programs. Online students will have access to a range of students services, including career counseling, personal counseling, and drug and alcohol dependency prevention services. The school promotes inclusion through a disability resource center and an equity and inclusion office. The school also reaches out to students through a suicide prevention hotline and the Getting Ahead Program.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
2Eastern Wyoming College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 98.81
Read more

An associate degree in education at Eastern Wyoming College can help students on the path to a career in the field. Articulation agreements with area colleges help to reduce the overall cost of a higher degree by getting general education credits and prerequisites out of the way early. The school has a number of outreach campuses across the state as well as online learning opportunities. Students can earn a number of degrees and certificates online via the internet or web conferencing. Some programs require additional on-site practical experience which students can generally schedule at a location convenient to them.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
3Yavapai College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
17%
Ranking SCORE 98.25
Read more

Yavapai College offers 9 degrees and 17 certificates through online learning programs, serving about 5,000 students. These offerings give students better access to earning a degree, paired with the ability to maintain personal and professional obligations at the same time. Students use the Canvas online learning program to view lectures and communicate with their professors. Additional eLearning support is also available, including a tutorial video series, to ensure students are successful. An online orientation also gets students started on the right foot with both online learning and college life.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
4Haywood Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 97.99
Read more

The early childhood education program at Haywood Community College prepares graduates for a career working with young children in diverse learning environments. Students can take courses online or on campus, with added on-site practicum experience to learn from real-life situations. They use the Moodle online learning system, which has video tutorials and other online support for the distance education student. A help desk, learning support services and new student orientation help ensure that students have the tools and resources they need for success.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
5Bladen Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
2%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 97.26
Read more

Aspiring and current early childhood educators can get the training they need to begin or advance their career in the field at Bladen Community College. Depending on the program, students may be able to complete all coursework completely online. This flexible option helps students maintain other commitments while advancing their careers. In addition to this completely online option, students can earn other degrees online as well through web-assisted, interactive television and hybrid options. The college has articulation agreements with area institutions to help accelerate students to a bachelor’s degree.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
6Casper College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
42%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
30%
Ranking SCORE 97.23
Read more

An online early childhood education degree from Casper College puts graduates on the track to a bachelor’s degree in the field. In addition to the education degree, the school offers six other fully online programs and many others that are available 70 percent or more online. Using the Moodle Open Source course management software, students log in to view course materials and participate in discussions with fellow students and instructors. Tutors are available to help if students need assistance with a course, and a help desk is available for those who need assistance with the platform. While most classes are asynchronous, students are encouraged to log in to participate daily.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
7Arizona Western College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 97.00
Read more

Arizona Western College offers more than 100 degrees and certificates, many of which are available online. It offers four education degrees and four certificate programs with online classes. Some of these may also include in-person practical experience. Transfer degree opportunities allow students to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree while the occupational degree option lets students go to work in the field right away. Online students use Blackboard to access their coursework and students also have access to both the AWC library and the Northern Arizona University library.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
8Cleveland Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
5
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
23%
Ranking SCORE 96.56
Read more

Graduates of Cleveland Community College’s early childhood education program are prepared to work with young children, through age eight. Students can earn their degree online, where they take quizzes, chat with other students, communicate with their instruction and access all course materials. An academic resource center is also available to online students. The college, which was established in 1965, also provides workforce development programs, on-campus events, a textbook exchange program and a number of student clubs and activities.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
9Colorado Northwestern Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
62%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 96.53
Read more

The Virtual Classroom technology at Colorado Northwestern Community College allows early childhood education students to learn and advance their careers from the comfort of their homes. The program is delivered in a synchronous manner, at the same time each evening. Instructors are experts in their fields and provide lectures, group activities and demonstrations to students—via the internet. A Virtual Classroom training is required to ensure student success. The college serves about 1,000 students and offers about 20 online degree and certificate programs.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
10Northeast Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
38%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
43%
Ranking SCORE 96.46
Read more

The early childhood education program can result in either an associate of arts degree or an associate of applied science degree. The AA degree is designed for students who wish to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, elementary education with an endorsement in early childhood or early childhood unified education. Since a background check is required for work in the field, students must submit to a check before practicum courses. several other community colleges in Nebraska participate in the online program. Most of Northeast Community College students either continue their education or find jobs after they graduate.

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
11Edgecombe Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
8%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
6
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
12%
Ranking SCORE 96.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
12Arkansas Northeastern College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 96.25
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
13Cochise College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
22%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 96.22
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
14Spokane Falls Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
14%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
23%
Ranking SCORE 96.20
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
15Surry Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
24%
Ranking SCORE 96.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
16Stanly Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
25%
Ranking SCORE 95.80
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
17Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 95.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
18Fayetteville Technical Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
7%
Ranking SCORE 95.56
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
19Pamlico Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
11%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
67%
Ranking SCORE 95.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
20Southwestern Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
15%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
32%
Ranking SCORE 94.47
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
21Dawson Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
60%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
35%
Ranking SCORE 94.37
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
22Pima Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
4
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
7%
Ranking SCORE 94.30
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
23Nebraska Indian Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
83%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
13%
Ranking SCORE 94.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
24Montgomery Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
19%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 94.16
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
25Western Oklahoma State College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
63%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 93.68
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
26Western Wyoming Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
39%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
53%
Ranking SCORE 93.49
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
27Odessa College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
32%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 93.40
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
28Henry Ford Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
6%
Ranking SCORE 93.35
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
29Front Range Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 93.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
30Coconino Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
10%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
5%
Ranking SCORE 92.96
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
31Tri-County Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
28%
Ranking SCORE 92.68
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
32Ivy Tech Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
9%
Ranking SCORE 92.62
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
33College of Southern Idaho Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
46%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 92.54
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
34Georgia Piedmont Technical College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 92.00
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
35Mitchell Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
9%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
19%
Ranking SCORE 91.81
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
36Shoreline Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
19%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
26%
Ranking SCORE 91.78
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
37Northwest Mississippi Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
26%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
18%
Ranking SCORE 91.74
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
38Bay Mills Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
53%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
16%
Ranking SCORE 91.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
39NHTI - Concord's Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
1%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 91.03
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
40Tallahassee Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
13%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
33%
Ranking SCORE 90.58
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
41Community College of Aurora Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
3%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
3
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
20%
Ranking SCORE 90.41
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
42Palo Alto College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
20%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
13%
Ranking SCORE 90.13
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
43Amarillo College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
17%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
15%
Ranking SCORE 90.02
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
44Northampton County Area Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
4%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
2
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
17%
Ranking SCORE 89.72
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
45Minnesota State College Southeast Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
29%
Ranking SCORE 89.39
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceYes
46Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
7%
Ranking SCORE 89.36
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesNo Credit for ExperienceNo
47Herkimer College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
6%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
27%
Ranking SCORE 89.28
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
48Georgia Military College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
31%
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
N/A
Ranking SCORE 88.08
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo
49Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Net
Price
FINANCIAL
AID %
N/A
TOTAL
PROGRAMS
1
STUDENT-TEACHER
RATIO
GRAD
RATE
61%
Ranking SCORE 86.73
Read more

Additional Benefits: Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Credit for ExperienceNo

Search Online Associate Degrees in Early Childhood Education

Comparing early childhood education programs side-by-side can be helpful in determining where to apply. As many elements contribute to the selection of a well-suited program for an individual interested in applying for an online associate degree in early childhood education program, students should be aware of their unique priorities and career goals. Students can use the search tool below to sift through quality programs based on a number of factors, including cost, type of school and student population.

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Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Online Early Childhood Education Programs

The Online Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Timeline

Just as with on-campus programs, online education program applicants must convince admissions professionals that they will do well in an early education associate degree program. Once accepted, a student learns about the stages of child development and how to prepare children for school. Graduates can go on to teach preschool immediately after receiving their degree and licensure, but for some program students, an associate degree may only be the first step in their educational careers. Learn what to expect during each year of study in the online associate degree in early childhood education timeline below.

Admission Process

After finding a program, it is important for an applicant to communicate to the admissions committee why they will succeed in that program. Program applications consist of objective data like grades and financial information, outside opinions in the form of recommendation letters, and an applicant’s own explanation for their interest in the program and how they will use their degree.

Official or Unofficial Transcripts

Applicants to online early childhood education programs must have a completed high school diploma or GED. Programs may ask for these transcripts to be sent from the applicant’s previous school, as any transcripts sent by a student are not considered official.

Personal Statement

Degree programs want to know an applicant’s academic and career plans in the field of early childhood education. A personal statement explains an individual’s goals, interest in the field and why an applicant is interested in this particular early education degree program.

Background Check to Work with Children

Working with children involves background checks and fingerprinting to ensure that children are safe. Applicants should be able to pass these required inspections.

Find Local Practical Experience Options

Students may need to gain practical experience with young children as part of program graduation requirements. They should check that local childcare centers will allow them to work and fulfil these course hours.

Year 1 Milestones
Introduction to Developmental Stages

Students will learn the developmental stages of child psychology, how to care for children at these varying levels of emotional and mental development, and how to cultivate personal growth in individual children.

On-Site Learning in Childcare Setting

Though students are not taking classes on-campus, they may need to find positions in local childcare centers for practical work credits. If work credits are required throughout the entire program, students who are already working in the field often can remain at one center to fulfil these requirements.

Curriculum Planning for Young Learners

This program learning goal explores lesson planning at several stages: how to organize day-to-day activities, monthly or quarterly goals and long-term education outcomes. Students will learn how to break down educational goals into small steps that they can teach to children in manageable, age-appropriate ways.

Teaching Health & Wellness

Because good habits are established early in life, students will learn how to impart health, safety and nutritional information to their students. They will also learn how to manage their own health and the health of their pupils in childcare environments.

Year 2 Milestones
Working with Specific Ages

Students will learn how to comfortably work with infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Students will study the developmental stages of each age-group, learning care, teaching strategies and the essential qualities of education for each phase of childhood.

Working with Special Needs Students

oStudents will learn how to identify and address disabilities that affect childhood development, and they will examine the legal implications of having students with special needs. They will also learn to create an inclusive, respectful, nurturing classroom environment for these students.

Importance of Community

Because family plays such an important role in early childhood development, students will learn to cultivate parent involvement in the classroom and to connect children with the world of adults.

Proctored Exams

Most online early childhood education programs will have exams at the end of each class, the end of each semester or the end of each school year. Students may be responsible for finding local licensed proctors to administer these exams.

Transfer & Graduation Requirements

Online associate degrees in early childhood education prepare students to teach in a classroom. After fulfilling all state licensure requirements, students are generally prepared to join preschools or other early childhood centers. Other students may want to continue to explore child development, learning outcomes, teaching strategies and other aspects of early childhood education. These students may go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education either right after earning an associate degree or after a year or two of practical work.

Complete Learning Objectives

Every online associate degree program has learning outcomes that students are expected to understand by the time they graduate. Additionally, a specific minimum grade point average and a final project for students to demonstrate their knowledge may be required.

Apply for Credit Transfer

Transferrable credits vary from program to program, so students interested in transferring to a bachelor’s program should check that they have fulfilled early prerequisites. Most higher-education programs will evaluate a student’s current transcript and propose a plan to complete prerequisites.

Articulation Agreements for Transfer

Some states have articulation agreements that allow accredited online associate degree program graduates to join state colleges for degree completion if they have passed certain courses. Individual colleges may also have articulation agreements between associate and bachelor’s degree programs, which makes it easier for online associate degree students to enter higher degree programs.

After Your Degree: What to Do with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Teaching young children in a classroom setting is one career option for early childhood education associate degree program graduates, but there are many early childhood learning opportunities ranging from foreign language immersion programs to government-funded programs targeting low-income students. Early childhood education graduates can also work from home as daycare facilitators or as a caregiver for a family. Learn about possible opportunities to help young children discover the joys of learning below.

Browse Associate in Early Childhood Education Careers
Preschool Teachers

Professionals in this field teach children up to age five before they enter kindergarten. They teach basic reading and writing skills, science, math and other subjects using lessons younger children can understand. They may follow a local school district schedule or work year-round at public or private schools, childcare centers or charity organizations.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

7%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$28,570

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers can provide childcare services in daycare centers, in their own homes or in their employer’s homes. They take care of children when parents or other family members are unavailable and may help prepare children for kindergarten in addition to assisting with basic needs such as feeding and personal hygiene.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

5%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$20,320

Teacher’s Assistants ? Preschool and Kindergarten

These professionals work under classroom teachers, providing additional support. Duties may include reviewing material with individual students and giving extra support as needed, helping the teacher keep records and prepare materials for lessons, and supervising students. They work in schools, childcare centers and religious organizations. They may work part-time and typically do not work during the summer.

Job Growth (2014-2024)

6%

Median Annual Salary (May 2015)

$24,900

Key Skills Learned in an Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

Associate in Early Childhood Education

  • Knowledge of the Stages of Childhood Development

    Children grow and learn at different rates, and early childhood is an especially rapid time for development. It is important to engage children physically, emotionally and mentally at every stage. Students in associate degree programs learn how to interact with children in each stage of development.

  • Ability to Plan Age- and Skill-Appropriate Lessons

    Establishing a clear curriculum to develop children’s social skills and cognitive development is an essential part of early childhood education. Early childhood education programs explore some styles of teaching that students can use in the classroom and many learning styles that children may exhibit depending on their development and personal interests.

  • State Licensure Standards

    Different states have different standards for early childhood education associate degree graduates; some states only require an associate degree, while others have state-specific licensure exams and professional certification standards. Accredited associate degree programs should note individual state standards for early childhood educators while also preparing students for state licensure.

  • Collaborative Learning Process

    Young children require a lot of attention and care as they learn and grow, and while early childhood educators provide some of this guidance, parents and other adults influence children as well. Associate degree students learn to engage a child’s community to cultivate development, enforce social and emotional lessons, and encourage healthy interpersonal communication at this early stage in a child’s life.

Master’s in Early Childhood Education

LEARN ABOUT MASTER’S IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Best Online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education: 2016

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-teacher Ratio Grad Rate
1 Arkansas Northeastern College 99.80 81% 2 14:1 20%

The 61-hour early childhood education program results in either an associate of applied science degree or an associate of science transfer degree. The AAS is a terminal degree, which means it is meant for students who want to immediately enter the field upon graduating, and not for those who wish to transfer to a four-year school. The AS degree prepares students for entry into a senior institution to complete their baccalaureate. One of the most successful foundations in the state, the ANC Foundation not only works with donors to provide scholarship opportunities, but also to build community and business relationships.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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2 Stanly Community College 99.51 73% 2 15:1 25%

Stanly Community College, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees, offers an AAS in early childhood education. Online students will participate in a three-step student orientation that guides them through acclimation and registration. Just like traditional students, online students will have access to advising services and academic support. Counselors will also help guide students through the transfer process, when applicable. The college maintains a writing center, and students will have access to library services. The online program uses Moodle for all coursework and assignments.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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3 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 99.27 6% 2 18:1 18%

Students pursuing an AAS in early childhood education must first complete a new student process, after which, they will be assigned an advisor. The program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The Textbook Loan Program, which is sponsored by Buncombe Partnership for Children, maintains the books at the Holy Library on A-B Tech's main campus. The program helps students alleviate or avoid costs associated with buying books. Students can pay for classes and access their schedules through WebAdvisor, and most coursework and assignments will be assigned and submitted through Moodle.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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4 Fayetteville Technical Community College 99.19 59% 2 20:1 7%

Students interested in an associate in applied science degree in early childhood education, which can be finished in five semesters, can first take an online learning orientation to see if distance education is right for them. Once they graduate, students will be qualified to plan and implement programs in settings including preschools, child care programs, Head Start programs and recreation centers. The career field is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next decade. Student services include access to admission counselors, career coaching, academic counseling, university outreach and more. The program is centered on the Blackboard learning system.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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5 East Mississippi Community College 99.19 79% 1 12:1 27%

The eLearning department is a division of the Mississippi Virtual Community College. The online program results in the same associate of arts degree as those achieved by on-campus students who learned in a traditional setting. The AA degree is transferable to a four-year university, for those students who wish to complete a bachelor's degree. All courses are fully accredited, and all alumni have lifetime access to job search help, as well as to a forum where employers list available jobs. Online students, whose coursework will be conducted through the Canvas learning system, can also choose a hybrid method and blend some traditional classes on campus.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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6 Columbus Technical College 99.15 85% 1 18:1 16%

The early childhood care and education program culminates in an associate of applied science degree. Students have access to instructional technology, academic advisement, counseling, support lads and personal counseling in the CARE center. The career connections center helps current and former students with job source resources, career fairs, and application, interview and resume tips. Students can take advantage of library services, a writing support lab, and a math support lab. The school, and all of its associate degrees, are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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7 Liberty University 99.13 84% 1 18:1 N/A

The associate of arts in early childhood education degree prepares students for work in the field with a focus from the Christian perspective. All Liberty University associate degrees are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Of the university's total enrollment of more than 110,000 students, 95,000 are enrolled in online learning. The online division of the university boasts a 17:1 student:faculty ratio. Liberty University, which has been involved in distance education since 1985, is the largest private, nonprofit online university in the nation.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate22%
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8 Northeast Community College 99.13 64% 2 17:1 43%

The early childhood education program can result in either an associate of arts degree or an associate of applied science degree. The AA degree is designed for students who wish to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, elementary education with an endorsement in early childhood or early childhood unified education. Since a background check is required for work in the field, students must submit to a check before practicum courses. several other community colleges in Nebraska participate in the online program. A full 99 percent of Northeast Community College students either continue their education or find jobs after they graduate.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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9 Truckee Meadows Community College 99.01 4% 3 19:1 21%

Students can earn an associate of arts in early childhood education degree, or an associate of applied science degree with either an infant/toddler emphasis, a preschool emphasis or an emphasis on administration of early care and education programs. Online students will have access to a range of students services, including career counseling, personal counseling, and drug and alcohol dependency prevention services. The school promotes inclusion through a disability resource center and an equity and inclusion office. The school also reaches out to students through a suicide prevention hotline and the Getting Ahead Program.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs3
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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10 Georgia Piedmont Technical College 99.00 83% 1 17:1 20%

Georgia Piedmont Technical College, founded in 1961, is among the oldest of the 33 Georgia technical colleges. The college's associate degree program in Early Childhood Care and Education combines education theory and contemporary practice in early childhood care. It combines general academic studies, core education/technical courses and an elective early childhood specialization. The 72-hour, two year program prepares undergrads for employment in child care centers, Georgia Pre-K programs, Head Start programs, and youth care settings. Specialization options include studies in program administration, toddler development, childhood exceptionalities, and youth care.

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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11 Tallahassee Community College 98.89 62% 1 24:1 33%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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12 College of Southern Nevada 98.81 4% 2 24:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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13 Pamlico Community College 98.81 41% 1 9:1 67%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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14 Western Wyoming Community College 98.63 43% 1 16:1 53%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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15 Granite State College 98.60 5% 1 12:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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16 Lewis-Clark State College 98.55 57% 1 16:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate99%
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17 Great Basin College 98.52 35% 2 17:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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18 University of Alaska Fairbanks 98.51 43% 1 14:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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19 Clarion University of Pennsylvania 98.51 61% 1 19:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate92%
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20 Southwestern Assemblies of God University 98.47 87% 1 16:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate33%
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21 Vanguard University of Southern California 98.37 8% 1 15:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate58%
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22 Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical 98.32 63% 1 16:1 29%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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23 Lake-Sumter State College 98.28 48% 1 18:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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24 Spokane Falls Community College 98.24 31% 2 18:1 23%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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25 Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses 98.20 73% 1 18:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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26 Ivy Tech Community College 98.18 55% 1 19:1 9%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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27 Central Texas College 98.15 38% 1 18:1 14%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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28 Front Range Community College 98.10 42% 1 20:1 18%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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29 Colorado Mountain College 98.10 38% 1 13:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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30 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 98.08 61% 1 18:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate75%
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31 NHTI - Concord's Community College 97.98 42% 1 12:1 20%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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32 Shoreline Community College 97.84 28% 1 17:1 26%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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33 Northampton County Area Community College 97.83 49% 1 20:1 17%

  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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34 Cleveland Community College 94.85 79% 2 10:1 23%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs2
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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35 Cochise College 94.26 44% 2 16:1 18%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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36 Nova Southeastern University 94.19 83% 1 16:1 N/A

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth3
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance Rate48%
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37 Yavapai College 93.90 38% 2 18:1 17%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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38 Pima Community College 93.85 35% 1 25:1 7%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth2
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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39 Western Oklahoma State College 93.84 72% 1 15:1 20%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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40 Nebraska Indian Community College 93.83 75% 1 6:1 13%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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41 Dawson Community College 93.70 75% 1 12:1 35%

  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Program Breadth1
  • # Online Programs1
  • Acceptance RateN/A
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Additional Resources

Most online early childhood education associate degree program graduates will go on to teach children in a preschool setting. The following websites have resources that teachers can use to construct lessons for their young students.

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning

This organization offers research and resources for early childhood teachers, including plans and training modules for teachers working with specific age group and strategies for handling difficult children.

Early Childhood Teacher

This website provides information on early childhood education certifications and job listings. The website also has a blog written by current early childhood educators with tips and practical advice.

Earlychildhood NEWS

Current teachers have articles on this website and provide lesson plans to incorporate into early childhood learning. There are also resources for state licensing and job listings.

Head Start

This governmental office provides local programs preparing young children in low-income families for school. Their website has many educator resources, and their programs employ early childhood educators.

Scholastic

In addition to providing educational materials to elementary and middle schools, Scholastic is also a resource for curriculum ideas, child development articles and school-home connection solutions.