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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for Educational Paraprofessionals

Majors Overview February 5, 2014

Receive information about an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for Educational Paraprofessionals and its coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs in Interdisciplinary Studies for Educational Paraprofessionals

Those who aspire to become educational paraprofessionals, also referred to as teacher assistants, would benefit by earning an Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. Alternatively, they could aim for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Arts (AS), in other related fields, such as elementary education, early childhood education and education studies. Students completing coursework in these programs are typically provided with a broad foundation on a wide array of subject areas. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Coursework in Interdisciplinary studies associate programs includes classes in social studies, literature, humanities, sciences and math. Varying with the degree program, coursework may also include topic areas focused on teaching children of a particular age. Coursework in some programs requires students to participate in internships in classroom settings, including courses such as:

•Tutoring strategies
•Psychology
•Teaching and diversity
•Professionalism in the classroom
•Observation and evaluation
•Human nutrition
•Growth and development
•Family and community
•Childhood literacy
•Child guidance

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2011, teacher aides earned an average annual wage of about $23,640 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). A job growth rate of 15% has been projected for educational paraprofessionals during the decade from 2010 to 2020. The demand for teacher aides is expected to remain high owing to expected higher enrollments of non-English speaking and special needs students, in addition to the rise in standardized testing that calls for extra assistance needed by teachers as they work to prepare students for the tests. Teacher aides who hold an associate’s degree are likely to boost their employability with knowledge of more than one language and increased experience working with special needs children.

Continuing Education Choices

Candidates can aspire to become licensed teachers by completing bachelor’s or master’s programs in teacher education. Schools offer degrees in accordance with grade levels, such as early childhood education, secondary education and elementary education. Individuals who wish to pursue teaching careers in middle or high school levels can choose the concentration area of study accordingly and complete a separate teacher-training program coursework. Schools typically require students to participate in teaching internships. In some states, teachers are required to complete a master’s degree within a certain period of time after they begin their teaching careers (BLS).

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