About the Major
There are two different degree options in the education major. The Associate of Arts (AA) in Education is a liberal arts based degree that is designed to prepare you for transfer into a 4-year, Bachelor's (BA) degree program in teacher education. The AA will provide you with a solid foundation in disciplines like humanities, social science, mathematics, science, etc. You will take some courses in education, but the majority of your teacher studies will be completed at the 4-year level.
In contrast, the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is not designed for transfer-it is an applied degree with approximately 21 credits in early childhood and special education, including a capstone field experience. Most 4-year institutions will not accept more than 6 or 9 transfer credits in education. The AAS may be the right choice if you do not want to purse a BA degree or teacher certification at the state level. You can choose this degree if you would like to work in childcare centers as a teacher or assistant teacher up to kindergarten, or become a paraprofessional in the public school system.
*Both degree options provide eligibility to apply for a substitute teacher license in NJ Public Schools.
Further Facts about the Major
- See an education advisor before or during your FIRST semester at Mercer. Taking the right courses is important.
- Think about your transfer options immediately. The AA degree is very flexible, thus you may choose many courses based upon your desired transfer institution.
- Keep your grades up--Grade Point Average (GPA) matters. Many 4-year institutions require a 3.0 for entry into their teacher education programs. Once you transfer, many education programs mandate that teacher candidates maintain a 3.0 GPA in their major. Additionally, New Jersey requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 at the 4-year level for certification.
- The PRAXIS CORE is required to transfer into teacher education programs in New Jersey. It is a skills assessment that entails three parts: reading, writing, and mathematics. Prepare to take the Praxis Core early in your studies at Mercer. Take the math section while you are taking a math course at Mercer. It is not recommended to take all three parts on the same day. Consult an education advisor for further advisement.
- Distinguish yourself as a student. Teaching is a competitive field; consider volunteering or joining a club. Student Activities can help you. Mercer also has Honor Societies you can join (if eligible), such as Phi Theta Kappa, or the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi.