Online Teachers Aide Degree Programs Resource
A teacher’s aide degree prepares graduates to play a key support role in the classroom. A teacher’s aide or (also known as an educational assistant, paraprofessional, para-pro, instructional assistant, or teacher’s assistant) assists aone or more classroom instructors in day-to-day tasks such as maintaining order and discipline, helping students with assignments, organizing the classroom, taking attendance, and administering exams. These degrees are available from traditional, brick-and-mortar schools and universities or through online teacher’s aide programs.
How to Become a Teacher’s Aide
While it is possible to be hired as a teacher’s aide without a degree, an associate degree is usually preferred, and sometimes necessary, to become a classroom assistant. Generally, it doesn’t matter whether you earn an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree; both degrees will adequately prepare you for a job as a teacher’s aide. Some teacher’s aide degrees are offered online and can qualify graduates for the same jobs as traditional school graduates while giving students the benefit of selecting when, where, and how they will complete their respective programs.
Teacher’s Aide Degree Requirements and Coursework
Most teacher’s aide programs require students to take general education classes such as liberal arts, math, English composition, and a basic science class, among others. Students will also take general education electives such as general psychology, introduction to philosophy, or sociology. On average, this will take about a year. In the second year of most teacher’s aide programs, students will take core classes that specifically address education, including courses such as Classroom Management, Leadership in Education, and Theory of Education. Some students may opt to complete an internship in a classroom to prepare them for the real-world demands of the job. It’s important to note that there are also many online teacher’s aide programs that offer a valuable education with greater flexibility.
Typical classes in a teacher’s aide degree program may include:
- Foundational Studies in Early Childhood Education
- Psychology & Education of Exceptional Children
- Technology in Education
- Curriculum: Primary and Middle Grades
- Teaching in a Diverse Society
- Mathematics: Primary and Middle Grades Laboratory
- Classroom Management
- Families, Communities & Schools
- Student Teaching I: Upper Grades
Teacher’s Aide Degrees and Certification
The associate degree is earned after 60-65 credit hours of qualified classwork. In general, this takes about two years to earn for most full-time students and three to four years for most part-time students. After earning an associate degree, graduates may pursue such jobs as teacher’s aide, classroom assistant, or school library assistant. Those with an associate degree in teacher’s aide may go on to find jobs in public schools, private schools, daycare centers, nurseries, before-school programs, after-school programs, or child-centered businesses. Most accredited Associate of Science (AS) degrees and Associate of Arts (AA) degrees may be used as a stepping stone towards earning a bachelor’s degree in general education or other education degrees, with at least some of the 60 credit hours being applied towards the next degree level. Even in schools that require an associate degree as a minimum requirement, teacher’s aides who have earned a bachelor’s degree can often command higher salaries than those with an associate degree or less.
Profiles of Teacher’s Aide Education Programs
The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education offers a Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) culminating in a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree that is specially crafted for current teacher’s aides. USM’s program can be completed partly or fully online, allowing students to complete the coursework at their own pace. Students are able to complete a clinical experience as part of the program, using their current teacher assistant position if they so choose. TAP students must choose between two majors, Elementary Education and Special Education. Elementary Education majors will be eligible to become certified K-6 teachers with endorsements in reading and either Math K-8, Math 9-12, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, or English. Special Education majors will be able to become certified at the K-12 level with certification in mild/moderate disabilities.
Southern State Community College
Southern State Community College (SSCC) offers a Paraprofessional Studies associate degree comprised of 64 credit hours. Classes take place on the Central Campus in Hillsboro, Ohio, and a field placement in a public school is included. Graduates of the associate degree in paraprofessional studies at SSCC may choose to go on to receive a baccalaureate degree in education if they so choose. Courses include Observation/Assessment of Children, Guiding Children’s Behavior & Learning, Human Growth & Development, Teaching in a Diverse Society, Educational Psychology, Paraprofessional Practicum, and Children’s Literature with Reading Approaches.
Lansing Community College
Lansing Community College in Michigan offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Teacher Paraprofessional. Para-pro students can choose between one of three specialties: Early Childhood (children 0-5 years old), Elementary (ages 6-12), or Special Education (ages 3 to young adult). Required courses for all specialities include Child Self-Esteem/Positive Dis, Educational Psychology, Reading in Elementary School, Intro to Special Education, Teacher Education Practicum, and Children’s Literature. In addition, General Education Core Areas include Communication, Global Perspectives, Mathematics, Science, and Writing. The remainder of courses will be 15-17 credits in the student’s specialization area and 19 credits of related courses (electives).
Teaching and Education Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do I need a degree to become a teacher’s aide?
Answer: It depends. Not all schools require teacher’s aides to have a degree, but usually applicants with at least some college coursework are preferred. Pursuing a teacher’s aide certificate or associate’s degree will make you a more competitive candidate for para-pro jobs.
Question: Can I get a teacher’s aide degree online?
Answer: Yes, many schools offer fully- or partially-online educational assistant degrees. If you choose an online program, be sure to choose one that has been accredited and that utilizes the same faculty as the on-campus program, to ensure you are receiving a quality education.
Question: What type of teacher’s aide degree should I get ?
Answer: Teacher’s aide degrees can be pursued at the certificate, associate, and baccalaureate levels. Since a teacher’s aide associate degree can be used as a stepping stone for a more advanced education degree down the road, it is often a good place to start.