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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Teaching

Majors Overview February 6, 2014

An Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in teaching is the first step towards being a teacher, although it is not enough to meet licensing requirements in some states. This may also help those looking forward to earning a bachelor’s degree complete the first two years at a lower cost. Usually community colleges offer associate’s degree programs but they are also available from colleges all across the United States.

A.A. Programs in Teaching

Students enrolled in an Associate’s degree program in teaching are allowed the flexibility of being able to earn a legitimate degree while simultaneously helping them to prepare for higher-level and graduate courses. Coursework in these programs includes learning theories, and key concepts on the teaching process and in education. Students are also expected to participate in internships which involve assisting and observing in real-life classroom environments. It typically takes two years to complete the program.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Preference may be given to individuals who have maintained a grade of 2.0 or higher in college-level prep coursework in a foreign language, the sciences and math.


Coursework in a majority of associate’s degree program in teaching includes general education classes in math, natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities. There may also be coursework that’s directly related to education and teaching such as:

•Special education introduction
•Teaching techniques for secondary education
•Teaching methods for elementary education
•Introductory early childhood education
•Education fundamentals
•Child growth and development
•Child nutrition and health

Job and Wage Info

Graduates of an associate’s degree in teaching can seek entry-level jobs as teacher’s assistants in work settings such as public schools at secondary, middle and elementary levels; they can also seek employment with preschools, community centers, childcare centers and private schools.

A job growth of 10% has been projected for teacher assistants during the period from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While fewer school-aged children are expected to enroll, the size of the job category is expected to grow, leading to greater demand for assistants to support teachers imparting instruction to English as a Second Language (ESL) as well as special needs students. This trend is expected to fuel demand for more teacher assistants. In May 2012, teacher assistants earned an average annual wage of $23,640.

Continuing Education Choices

State licensure norms require Associate’s degree holders who aspire to become licensed teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree in teacher education; a master’s degree will boost the job prospects of students. Transfer programs – especially in the field of education – are offered to community college graduates, in many public university systems.

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