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Associate Degree Program in Early Childhood Special Education

Majors Overview April 16, 2013

An early childhood special education associate degree program may be the first step toward a career in teaching children with disabilities. Students who want to become teacher’s assistants for special needs preschoolers should earn an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Early Childhood Education; in addition, students can transfer these credits to pursue a bachelor degree program.

Associate Degree Program in Early Childhood Special Education

Individuals can complete these programs and seek entry-level careers working with special needs children, as teacher assistants. Coursework is a combination of theoretical and practical instruction aimed at training candidates in developing strategies to identify and evaluate the emotional and educational needs of disabled children. A practicum that lasts two to three semesters is part of a majority of programs; candidates can garner teaching experience through these practicums held at affiliated learning institutions.

Educational Requirements

Submission of a general educational development (GED) certificate or high school transcripts is required of applicants for admission to the program. While standardized test scores such as SAT or ACT are not required as part of the admission process, candidates are often required to pass placements tests in order for schools to determine basic ability in math or English. Other requirements might include a criminal background check and proof of immunization.

Program Course Topics

These programs feature a set of core educational courses as well as basic academic requirements, including biology and English composition. A majority of early childhood programs offer laboratory facilities at affiliated preschool. Several core courses may include:

•Creative development
•Child development and growth
•Child and family health
•Art for children
•Infant teaching techniques

Salary Information and Career Outlook

Between 2008 and 2018, teacher assistants’ employment opportunities are expected to grow approximately ten percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov). Strong job prospects for individuals who have a minimum of two years of college education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2009, the average annual salary for teacher assistants was $22,820.

Information on Continuing Education

There are several options for students who want to continue their education beyond the associate degree level. The majority of two-year colleges feature transfer credits arrangements with local four-year universities, which allow students who have graduated from an associate degree program to enroll in a bachelor degree program as third year students. Early childhood special education master degree programs are available to students, and they can earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Education – Early Childhood Special Education degree.

Early childhood special education associate degree program will prepare students for jobs such as teaching assistants. In a majority of states, individuals are not required to hold special certification and teaching assistants do not have to be licensed. Several schools and districts might have additional credential requirements to ensure that teacher aids meet the No Child Left Behind requirements.

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