Earn an associate degree through SSCC’s Online Pathway


Southern State Community College now offers a two-year associate degree in education and all classes can be taken online. Students enrolling in the program can attend classes from the comfort and convenience of their own homes, all while saving dollars on college tuition costs.

Every year, many people earn their teaching degrees and are poised to make a difference in the minds of future generations. According to the National Center for Education Information (NCEI), the number of teachers employed is expected to grow to nearly four million. You also may be surprised to learn that salaries are competitive. Generous benefits and extensive vacation time also make getting a teaching degree even better.

Leading Southern State’s education program is full-time faculty member Nicole Sheppard.

Sheppard attended the University of Cincinnati and earned an Associate of Science degree as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in education. Following graduation, she attended Northern Kentucky University and earned a Master of Arts in education. Sheppard was a preschool teacher for 16 years before moving into higher education. She is dually certified as a regular education teacher and a special education teacher.

“I believe in high-quality, affordable, and accessible education for all,” says Sheppard. “Southern State exemplifies all of these qualities. The staff at Southern State are welcoming and accepting. They go above and beyond to meet the needs of students. It is like a home away from home.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for high-quality teachers is expected to grow by 18 percent.

Southern State offers several programs for students who may be interested in pursuing a career in education. All three programs can be completed online while still receiving direct support from education faculty.

· Paraprofessional education – Associate Degree Pathway: Southern State is one of the only schools in Ohio that offer a Paraprofessional Education – Associate Degree Pathway. Paraprofessionals work in school districts and play a critical role in supporting individual students, especially those students considered at risk. In this role, those with the degree will work alongside a professional under the direction of licensed teachers to directly support students.

· Early Childhood Education – Associate Degree Pathway: If early childhood education is your passion, Southern State offers the Early Childhood Education – Associate Degree Pathway. You can earn an Associate of Science Degree in early childhood education in this program. This pathway also allows students to transfer to a four-year college to complete a teaching degree while enjoying huge cost savings.

· Teacher Education – Pathway to Licensure: At Southern State, you can earn your Associate of Science Degree and transfer to a four-year college to complete your teaching degree in early elementary, middle childhood, adolescent-to-young adult, or special education. You will complete your Ohio Transfer 36 and work with an advisor to plan your program. The education courses to be taken are dependent on the age group you intend to teach and the four-year college you choose after graduating from Southern State. Students who go this route save on overall college tuition costs, with less debt upon degree completion.

According to Southern State Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Erika Goodwin, “The need for teachers and education staff is great in our local and regional area. Offering a fully online option for a degree will offer the flexibility and access to nearly anyone wishing to pursue a new career.”

If you are interested in a teaching career, Southern State has something for you. Call Sheppard at 937-393-3431, ext. 3665 or email her at [email protected].

Submitted by Elizabeth Burkard, director of marketing, Southern State Community College.

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