Are you considering becoming a paraeducator and wondering if going the college route and obtaining an AA degree is worth it? Well, you've come to the right place! It so happens that's the route I took. Do I recommend for every aspiring para do the same? Simply put, no. Now please allow me to guide you as we explore the ins and outs of obtaining an AA degree for paraeducator certification and link to 7 affordable online colleges for paras.
So, what is an AA degree, you ask?
Simply put, an AA degree stands for Associate of Arts and is a two-year degree offered by community colleges and some four-year colleges. The degree typically requires completing 60 credit hours of coursework, including general education classes and some major-specific classes. It provides students with a foundational understanding of various subjects such as humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences.
But, what's the purpose of an AA degree, you might be thinking?
Well, its purpose is to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce or continue their education at a four-year college. AA degree programs typically provide students with a broad education in a variety of subjects. It also allows them to explore different fields and choose a major that suits their interests and career goals. And for those seeking paraeducator certification, an AA degree can provide a solid foundation in general education subjects, such as English, mathematics, and science, which can be applied in the classroom setting.
Now, the big question is, is obtaining an AA degree worth it for paraeducator certification?
The answer is yes! Obtaining an AA degree can be beneficial for individuals seeking paraeducator certification and also desire to climb the educational corporate ladder. In addition, it increases their chances of obtaining certification and securing a job in the field. Plus, some states require individuals to have an AA degree to become certified paraeducators. So, it's definitely worth considering!
That being said the answer can also be no. Maybe you just want to be a para now and don't plan to scale. Or perhaps you are pressed for cash, and college tuition is not in the budget. Then I recommend the examination route, it is a faster and much more affordable route for paraeducator certification.
But, what's the easiest AA degree to obtain?
Well, that depends on an individual's interests and strengths. However, some of the easiest AA degrees to obtain are in general education fields, such as humanities and social sciences. These degrees typically require completing basic coursework in areas like English, history, psychology, and sociology. These courses are often offered in a variety of formats, including online and hybrid courses. Additionally, some colleges offer accelerated AA degree programs that can be completed in less than two years. That being said I recommend early childhood, elementary or general education if you plan to scale your career in education.
Now, you might be wondering where to start.
We've got you covered! I took the liberty to research the most affordable colleges that offer AAs in the field of education.
7 Affordable Online Colleges for Aspiring Paraeducators to Earn an AA in Education from Home
- Tohono O'odham Community College – Located in Arizona
- This college offers an Associate of Arts in Elementary Education for those interested in becoming paraeducators. The program includes courses in child development, educational psychology, and special education.
- Clovis Community College – College in New Mexico
- Offers an Associate of Arts in Elementary Education that prepares students for careers as paraeducators or teacher assistants. The program includes courses in education, child development, and classroom management.
- Tallahassee Community College – Located in Florida
- This college offers an Associate's degree in Early Childhood Education that includes coursework in child development, literacy, and behavior management. Graduates of the program can work as paraeducators in elementary schools.
- Broward Community College – Another Florida-based college
- Offers an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education that prepares students for careers as paraeducators in elementary schools. The program includes coursework in child development, curriculum planning, and classroom management.
- Great Basin College – Nevada-based college
- Offers an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education that includes courses in child development, curriculum planning, and classroom management. Graduates of the program can work as paraeducators in preschool and elementary settings.
- Laramie County Community College – Located in Wyoming
- Liberty University – Virginia-based university
- Offers an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education that includes coursework in child development, curriculum planning, and behavior management. Graduates of the program qualify to work as paraeducators in preschools and elementary schools.
These colleges also offer a variety of general education AA degree programs. All at an affordable cost if you are seeking a different major or other than education.
Obtaining an AA degree can be a worthwhile investment for individuals seeking paraeducator certification. If at the same time, they desire to scale the world of education. An AA can provide aspiring educators with a solid foundation in general education subjects that can be applied in the classroom. The only downside is that it can take two years. And if you desire to be a paraeducator now… then the examination route might just be for you!
That being said, if you're considering pursuing paraeducator certification via obtaining an AA degree, then we encourage you to research the requirements in your state. That includes exploring the different AA degree programs available in your area. As well as checking out some of the colleges suggested earlier. With dedication and hard work, obtaining an AA degree can open up new opportunities and lead to a rewarding career as a paraeducator. Best of luck!