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Should I Get an Early Childhood Education Associate’s Online?

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There are many benefits to getting an associates degree online, and more specifically, an online associates degree in education. This particular course of study is often sought out to be a precursor for a bachelor’s degree program at a four year institution. It is proven to be significantly cheaper to start out at a community college and make the transfer, rather than doing all four years at a college or university. Many early childhood education associates degree programs make it easy to move through their program with the express goal of matriculating into a four year plan directly after graduation. Some schools offer extensive advising to ensure their students stay on track to make the transfer in the timeframe for which they set out. 

Why Choose an Online Program?

Many online programs are designed with non-traditional students in mind. This can imply students who must maintain a full time job while achieving their education, for a variety of reasons. Also under this category are students who are parents, or have other life commitments they must attend to. Many programs are accounting for adults who are attending school later in life and have fully developed personal and professional obligations. Online programs offer a convenience that travelling to campus does not allow for. Many online programs enable students to log in to their coursework 24/7. Even if their classes convene at a specified time, students can still attend from their own homes or even, in some cases, from their jobs. Some programs offer incredibly flexible learning environments, where students can literally attend class online when their schedules allow. This is called asynchronous learning. An important thing to keep in mind about early childhood education online, however, is the hands-on component that is required for many program offerings. Many associates degree options want their students to graduate with experience working under an instructor in a classroom setting, not unlike an environment where they will be eligible to seek employment after graduation. So, while all of the coursework may be conducted online, be sure to get a sense of how much in person time is required for the practical experience aspect of the degree program. The dual experience of engaging in the theoretical coursework and then putting it to the test in a classroom environment makes graduates excellent candidates for immediate employment or matriculation into a four year program. 

What jobs will I be Eligible to Obtain Following Graduation

If your goal is to not directly transfer into a four year academic program following the achievement of your associates, there are many career options that you will be qualified to go after. Many graduates of Early Childhood Education Programs online become head start teachers, preschool teachers at public or private schools, become facilitators of after or before school programs, work as administrators, conduct class at churches or community centers, among many other options. 

What Will I Study in an Online Early Childhood Education Program?

Every program has its own unique touch with classes that feature something a little different from their counterparts. It is clear, however, that many of the core courses are ubiquitous, even if their names are a little different. Most programs feature classes on childhood development, nutrition for growing bodies and brains, creative classroom management, conflict mediation, coursework that engages an artistic practice, and many elective options that of course vary. Some programs offer an administrative course or two, and many have at least one that features written and oral communication. The majority of the programs at hand have at least one class that is specifically geared towards working with diversity and inclusion. Many of the programs at hand even have a class that is specifically geared towards obtaining the tools to have healthy dialogue with parents. Some schools have a religious affiliation, in which case you will notice their orientation to a denomination of christianity throughout the coursework. This can be helpful especially if you are hoping to work in a christian setting. This is something to consider as you plan your personal path forward. 

It is clear that there are many ways to accomodate a dream to become an early childhood educator. Most of the program offerings prepare students for the ins and outs of working with students ages birth to eight years old. Studying online can be an excellent choice with a hands-on component if you want a more convenient option that still prepares you to excel in the classroom.