How Long Does it Take to Get an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Maybe you’re already working as a teacher’s assistant in an early childhood education classroom. Or perhaps you’re a preschool teacher in a state where the minimum education requirement to hold that position is a high school diploma. 

If either one of these scenarios relates to you, earning an associate degree in early childhood education can be a great way to increase your income potential, career opportunities, or simply develop your skills as a teacher.

An associate degree in early childhood education can also be your first step to gaining your bachelor’s degree, which would provide you with the necessary knowledge and qualifications to teach all elementary grade levels. It could even be your first step to pursuing your master’s or even a PhD. 

Regardless of why you’re interested in earning an associate degree in early childhood education, one of your most pressing questions must be how long will it actually take. 

We’ll answer that question, plus tell you all you need to know about an associate degree, from earning potential to the kinds of jobs you’ll be qualified for upon graduation.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Like most associate degree programs, an AAS degree in early childhood education takes about two years for most students to complete. That’s somewhere between 60 and 72 credit hours, whether that’s at an online or in-person program.

The next most common factor when considering the pursuit of an AAS degree is how much it will cost. This can vary, particularly when comparing in-state and out-of-state costs, since many colleges charge more for out-of-state students. This added cost can be avoided by attending an online AAS program.

Nevertheless, per credit cost can range anywhere from $75 to just under $400, which makes total tuition for degree completion anywhere from $5,000 to $28,000 dollars.

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

As previously stated, you’re likely here because you’re already working in early childhood education and you’re seeking some job advancement opportunities, or you’re just beginning your educational career and you’re wondering if a transferrable AAS degree is a good place to start, and we’ll answer that one for you right now: it is! 

Regardless of your motivation for researching associate degrees in early childhood education, it’s important to consider what kinds of jobs holding such a degree will qualify you for. So the next question we’ll answer is, what you can do with an associate degree in early childhood education?

In addition to learning to manage, supervise, and teach in a preschool or childcare environment, you’ll also receive training in learning styles, child development, and child behavior. This qualifies a graduate from an AAS degree program, either online or in-person, to hold the following positions:

  • Preschool teacher
  • Director of a preschool or childcare center
  • Childcare provider

In an AAS program in early childhood education, you’ll learn about age-appropriate concepts and skills for children at this stage of development, as well as how to monitor student progress and prepare lesson plans and activities.

You’ll also learn how to perform select administrative tasks, such as managing a school or childcare center’s budget, as well as how to monitor and communicate with staff to ensure they’re performing their duties to the standard you have established.

How Much Can You Make With a Degree in Early Childhood Education?

We understand your passion is working with children, but nevertheless, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder how an AAS degree in early childhood education will affect your earning potential. 

Pursuing any kind of a degree is an investment in time and money, and it’s important to know if it will pay off in the long run.

Here are some yearly income statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics related to two jobs that a graduate with an AAS degree in early childhood education could be qualified for:

  • Preschool teacher: $30,520
  • Director of a preschool or childcare center: $48,210

It’s important to note here that many preschools and childcare centers require their teachers and directors to hold a bachelor’s degree, but that’s not always the case, particularly in private preschools where they sometimes accept a combination of education and work experience.

It’s also true that many who earn an AAS degree continue on to earn higher degrees in early childhood education, which will only continue to increase career advancement opportunities and income potential. 

Earning an associate degree in early childhood education is a great way to boost income potential and job opportunities, particularly in private preschools. AAS degrees require a relatively small time commitment, and many programs are designed around the needs of working professionals, especially programs that can be completed entirely online. 

Many who earn their AAS degree in early childhood education go on to transfer their credits to a four-year program, further developing their skills while expanding career opportunities and earning potential. 

Whether an AAS degree is your final destination or just the start of your journey: earning the degree is worth it. So let’s get started.