Overview of an Associate in Art Education
When you enroll in an art education or visual arts program, you should make sure to look for an education-focused option specifically rather than an art-focused program. An associate degree in art may help you with the foundation, but you'll need to complete a bachelor's in education studies, with the focused courses that go along with it, despite earning this associate degree. Earning an associate degree designed to teach you about specific education subjects will allow you to complete most of your general education courses and lower-level academics before you ever enter a bachelor's degree program. This may help you skip these courses once you reach higher-level degree programs and give you the chance to more easily complete an art program as well as your education bachelor's degree program.
In addition to all of your art courses such as studio art, art history, fine arts, graphic art technology, or performing arts, you’ll take liberal arts courses. Liberal arts classes include humanities, English, social sciences, communication and mass media, arts, math, and science. Even though these classes don’t focus on art, they will give you the grounding you need to be a good teacher. Generally, a good arts program should include individual studios for the different studio art forms such as painting, sculpture, drawing, jewelry, photography, printmaking, or ceramics. Each of these areas will have its own class with focused content.
Education Degrees & Career Paths
An associate degree in any discipline will be a good foundation for whatever career you want. In an associate degree in art education, you’ll get the general knowledge you need to teach young children about studio art, performing arts, visual arts, and more. If you decide you want to advance your education, then you can go back to a college campus and earn your bachelor’s degree in art education. By doing so, you’ll be able to do more with your education degree than you can with only an associate degree in art program.
With a two-year associate degree, you’ll accumulate educational experience so that future employers will be interested in hiring you. With that associate degree in art education from a local college, you’ll be able to earn a higher annual salary than you’d be able to earn with just a high school diploma.
After graduating, you should be able to find a job earning decent pay. However, your colleagues who have bachelor’s degrees or higher might be doing work you would prefer. You’ll find that you could do the same work if you earned the necessary degree.
While an associate degree is a strong achievement, there are higher-level educational goals that will help you succeed. An associate degree in art education, visual art, or performing arts is an entry-level degree. Varying school district policies may mean you can’t do some tasks that more senior teachers can carry out. Many schools are requiring bachelor's degrees for teachers at all levels.
If you've considered earning your bachelor’s degree (or even your master’s), but you decided it was faster to earn a two-year degree, then you'll want to give some thought to returning to school after you earn your associate degree in art education. You’ll expand your learning, knowledge, and skills in the classroom in every new course you complete and you’ll be eligible for higher-level responsibilities and careers.
Certificate vs. Associates
Unless you set each program side-by-side and look at them closely, you may have problems seeing what their differences are. A certificate in education takes only one year to earn; an associate in education takes closer to two years.
Another major difference, when you look at each program, will be the scope of work you’ll be allowed to do. The extra year required for an Associate in Art Education simply means that you have more learning behind you, and you’ll be able to assist your assigned teacher with more tasks.
What Art Education Associate Degrees are Available?
Different community colleges offer different art education degrees. Some offer transfer options as well.
- Associate in Arts
Education Transfer Path: A few programs have transfer agreements with certain partner colleges. These agreements will aid you in some teacher preparation programs, from early childhood up to middle level education, physical education and special education.
- Associate in Arts with an Emphasis in Art
This degree is a visual arts preparation program and it also allows you to transfer successfully to a four-year university. The classes include design, art appreciation, and studio work.
- Associate of Arts in Teaching
This is a transfer program that prepares you to transfer over to a baccalaureate program so you can earn your teaching certificate. You’ll be exposed to elementary and high school education, all levels of arts and special education certification, and a specialized certification if you plan to teach in early childhood up to 6th grade.
- Associate in Arts Teaching (AAT)
This is a pre-professional degree, allowing you to transfer over to a four-year university that offers a bachelor’s degree in education.
- Submit a diploma from an accredited high school or a diploma from a GED program.
- Take your SAT test, or one that is equivalent, such as the ACT.
- Meet the criteria to participate in early admissions programs.
- Even if you haven’t completed high school or earned your diploma, you can still be accepted as long as you are in an acceptable, accredited program.
- If you are in an Early College high school program, you may be eligible to enroll in college classes as a high school student. Upon graduation, you could have a high school diploma and an associate degree.
How long does it take to earn a Art Education Associates Degree?
That depends. Every student has their own circumstances that will dictate how long they will take to finish an associate degree program. As long as you take at least 15 credits per semester, you can finish your degree program in around two years.
You may not be able to do this because of family needs or job demands. This is fine—every student should only take as many credits as they can reasonably carry and still pass their classes. Thus, if you are working 25 or 30 hours a week and you can only take 12 credits per semester, then do so.
Potential Careers in Art Education with an Associates
- Camp Counselor
You’ll work with children either in a summer-long role or after school. Your responsibilities include working with other camp staff to ensure a fun, safe, and healthy environment for the children. You’ll assist with group supervision of each camper. You may assist campers with cleaning and other routine jobs. You’ll also lead small group activities, such as fitness, social engagement, or art.
Average annual salary: $20,000
- Teacher Aide or Assistant
In this role, you’ll supervise your students during recess, lunch, and instruction, ensuring order and a good learning environment. You assist the teacher with record-keeping (grades and attendance). You’ll help in developing, preparing, and handing out materials and lessons. You’ll take care of difficult behavioral issues or safety issues directly.
Average annual salary: $19,100
- Daycare Provider
You’ll prepare daily activities and schedules, arranging entertaining and educational activities. You’ll communicate clearly with parents about problems, schedules, and offerings and also prepare and clean up after lunches and snacks. You’ll maintain safety and cleanliness within the daycare center, supervise child interactions and play, and make sure the children have a safe environment.
Average annual salary: $28,900
- Infant/Toddler Caregiver
In the classroom, you’ll set up educational and entertaining activities for the babies and toddlers. You’ll ensure safety and cleanliness of the daycare center and infant/toddler room and communicate clearly with parents about problems, offerings, and schedules. You’ll also prepare snacks, lunch, and supervise child play and interactions to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
Average annual salary: $20,000
Salary by Occupation
|Art Teacher, K-12||$31,000||$44,609||$65,000|
|Art Education Teacher||$31,000||$45,000||$62,000|
|Art Education Teacher, BFA||$29,000||$47,000||$54,000|
|Art Education Teacher, BFAEd||$25,000||$46,000||$66,000|
|Art Teacher, Secondary Education||$32,000||$55,000||$66,000|
|Art Education Teacher, MA||$35,000||$43,000||$64,000|
Options to Advance
The time may come when you want to advance your teaching skills. To accomplish this, you’ll have to return to school for your bachelor’s degree. Because you’ve already completed two years of your degree, you’ll only have to complete a minimum of two additional years. If you have plans to advance your career in education, then you will need a bachelor’s degree.
As an art teacher, you’ll teach both theoretical and practical knowledge of art theory, art history, design, and other topics related to art. From kindergarten through eighth grade, the curriculum covers many broad subjects; in high school and college, this is more concentrated. Expect to work with students anywhere from K-12th grade.
If you want to be the best teacher possible in art education, then a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Education is a natural next step. You’ll learn about planning and teaching a comprehensive art program to your students.
Best Associate of Science in Art Education Programs
Everett Community College
Everett Community College was founded in 1941. The first classes were taught in a converted elementary school; In 1958, the main campus moved into its present location. Students at EVCC can choose from several educational options as they begin earning certificates, starting their four-year degrees, or training for new jobs.
- Associate in Arts and Sciences - Transfer DTA
State Fair Community College
State Fair Community College has eight campuses, plus an online option. This means students can stay close to home to attend their classes. SFCC’s academic programs include skills and professional certificates, Associate of Fine Arts and Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees.
- Associate of Fine Arts
- Associate of Arts in Teaching
Howard Community College
Students living in Baltimore can easily get to HCC. If they live in D.C., they can also easily reach campus. The student to faculty ratio is low, with 20 students to one instructor. The college offers several degrees that either lead to employment or transfer to a four-year degree program.
- Elementary Education/Early Childhood Special Education - Associate of Arts in Teaching
Houston Community College
Houston Community College was created under the governance of the Houston Independent School District, resulting from a public referendum. In 1989, HCC separated from HISD and became a public entity, establishing its own Board of Trustees. Finally, in 1992, HDD was restructured into a multi-college system.
- Associate in Arts, Teacher Education
Northampton Community College
After its establishment in 1967, Northampton Community College has provided an education to Lehigh Valley residents who want to access workforce training, earn a degree, or learn new leisure activities. More than 35,000 students are currently served in both credit and non-credit programs.
- Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
Traditional Schools Offering an AS in Art Education
National Park College
Springs National Park, Arkansas
National Park College prides itself on offering a university experience that costs less than half of the average university’s tuition. NPC offers two-year degrees and certificates, online and on-campus, as its students need. NPC was one of the top ten online colleges in the state of Arkansas for 2017.
- Associate of Arts in Art Education (transfers to a four-year university)
Shoreline Community College
Ten-thousand students attend Shoreline Community College annually; about 6,000 of these students are enrolled in degree programs in any given quarter-term. SCC attracts students from more than 50 countries, enabling them to take classes online so they can earn a degree. International students make up about 14% of the student body.
- Associate of Arts Elementary Education Pre-Major
Surry Community College
Dobson, North Carolina
Surry Community College was just a dream until it was actually built. In 1960, the Mount Airy Lions Club began study on creating the new college. The first classes opened for instruction in 1965, taking place in rented and borrowed spaces.
- Associate in Arts-Education
Pellissippi State Community College
Pellissippi State Community College got its start in 1974, being named the State Technical Institute at Knoxville. Today, it offers career-path associate degrees, associate degrees for transfer, certificates, and continuing education for the general community. It has five campuses to meet the needs of every student.
- Associate of Science for Transfer in Elementary Education
Established in 1970, Eastfield College has always strived to meet the educational needs of students in the community. Students can benefit from a wide range of academic programs, occupational and technical classes, and continuing education programs that help students to prepare for growth opportunities and new careers.
- Associate of Arts in Teaching