Earning a masters in secondary education online offers flexibility and an affordable path for working professionals to pursue their advanced degrees.
While having a masters in education can often lead to increased pay, it can also provide many other benefits, such as professional development and enhanced marketability.
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If you’re ready to continue developing skills and making a positive impact in your chosen field, you might want to learn more about secondary education graduate programs.
Online Masters in Secondary Education Programs
You can earn your masters in secondary education degree online without the hassle of taking on-campus classes. In addition, you can often study at your own pace when completing your degrees in education online.
The core topics covered in secondary education masters programs typically include:
- Classroom discipline
- Classroom management
- Literacy development
- Curriculum development
- Educational ethics and issues
- Sociology of education
An online masters in secondary education program caters to the busy schedules of working professionals since the curriculum doesn’t require any in-person activities. You also have the option to study full-time or part-time, depending on your schedule.
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Online courses are typically delivered by the same faculty who teach on-site courses. Through a secondary education masters program, you can receive relevant tools that support curricular innovation and improvement in specialized areas.
Also, for teachers wishing to work more closely with adult students, a growing number of universities offer online masters in adult education programs.
Common Secondary Education Master’s Concentrations
This graduate program has several major concentrations you can choose from. While the specifics can vary from one program to another, the learning outcomes for each area are generally pretty standard.
Here are some of the common concentrations offered by online master’s in secondary education programs:
- Educational Leadership. This concentration provides strategies for students to manage their learning environment and communicate effectively with stakeholders.
- English as a Second Language. This concentration helps you understand the psychology of English language development and the cognitive processes that affect literacy instruction.
- Special Education. This concentration focuses on teaching you how to deal with children with special needs. It also helps you evaluate policies affecting special education.
- Equity and Social Justice in Education. This concentration focuses on engaging professionals to develop a community-wide approach to improving equity and social justice in the community. Educators play a vital role in supporting students in addressing these issues.
- STEM. STEM encompasses science, technology, engineering, and math. This concentration helps you research and evaluate the current issues and foundation of STEM education to transform education communities.
Secondary education programs require you to select your concentration, allowing you to develop specialized skills and better understand your discipline of study.
Secondary Education Careers & Salaries
There are a range of career opportunities for professionals with advanced training in the field of secondary education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some careers related to secondary education, along with their corresponding salary information.
|Careers||Annual Median Pay|
|K-12 Principals — Public Schools||$99,690|
|K-12 Principals — Private Schools||$89,350|
|High School Teachers — Public Schools||$63,400|
|Training and Development Specialists||$62,700|
|Special Education Teachers||$61,500|
|Middle School Teachers||$60,810|
|High School Teachers — Private Schools||$58,550|
|School and Career Counselors and Advisors||$58,120|
|Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers||$55,350|
This field is continuously growing. Teaching positions typically require a state teaching license. The positions you can qualify for will depend on a number of factors, such as your work experience and degree concentration.
Secondary Education Masters Curriculum & Courses
Here are some examples of the courses you might take when enrolling in a secondary education master’s program:
- Research in Secondary Education: This course allows you to research relevant issues and offers opportunities to critically analyze a research project under a faculty member’s guidance.
- Educational Issues for Public Schools: Through reading, writing, research, and discussion, you can gain a deeper understanding of the most pressing issues in education today and how they affect secondary classrooms and public schools.
- Curriculum in Theory and Practice: This course allows you to learn about theories, principles, strategies, methods, and best practices underlying the design, development, and assessment of curriculum and instruction.
- Computers in Instruction: In this course, you can learn about developing a website, educational software, cloud-based collaboration, learning management systems, and other technological solutions for effective teaching and learning.
- Content Area Literacy and Learning: This course focuses on implementing teaching strategies for content area classes.
- Teaching Contemporary Mathematics: This course allows mathematics teachers to implement a modern program and covers content and strategies for effective mathematics instruction.
- Theory and Research in Teaching English: This course involves studying current issues and developments in teaching English at the middle and senior high school levels.
- Educational Website Development: This course helps you learn how to develop websites and more online activities to help engage learners.
- Classroom Motivational Strategies: This course involves researching issues, principles, and methods behind student motivation and the classroom environment to develop motivational strategies.
- Advanced Laboratory Curriculum Development: This course helps educators develop a wide range of laboratory activities, focusing on practices described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for enhanced science learning.
Once you’ve chosen your subject area, your program’s coursework can help you acquire a balance of content area expertise and practical learning to strengthen your knowledge and skills.
How to Choose an Online Secondary Education Master’s Degree Program
When researching online secondary education masters degree programs, there are several factors you may want to consider, including:
- Accreditation. Accreditation is a vital factor because it guarantees that institutions meet the minimum quality standards for their educational offerings.
- Graduation rate. This metric allows you to understand how many graduates the institution produces on time after enrollment. This metric holds the institution accountable and helps you measure its quality.
- Cost. Cost is another critical consideration. Fortunately, some online secondary education degree programs are more affordable because they eliminate the need for on-site classes.
- Program specifics. You can evaluate the program to see if it helps you achieve your objectives and if it offers a concentration that aligns with your professional goals.
- Size of the university. The size of the university is another element to consider. You might receive more personal focus and attention from professors at smaller universities. In larger schools, you may be exposed to more social interactions, professional opportunities, and cultural diversity.
While there is no perfect combination of the factors above, considering these aspects can help you find the program that is best for your needs.
Secondary education masters programs have fairly standard admission requirements. For you to qualify for admission, you typically need the following:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Minimum GPA of 3.0, on average
- Professional experience
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
Some programs require applicants to hold a current teaching license. It’s helpful to verify the specific admission requirements set by the department administering your master’s program.
Masters in Secondary Education Programs Accreditation
Regional accreditation sets quality standards for institutions and programs and helps maintain confidence in the private sector.
The accreditation process makes institutions accountable. It ensures that they offer quality education and have sound operational and administrative practices. Employers also tend to prefer candidates who have been trained by accredited schools or programs. Graduating from a regionally accredited school can help speak to your qualifications and high-quality education in the field.
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When considering candidate schools, you can verify whether a school is accredited by visiting the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Secondary Education Licensure and Certifications
Educators generally need a teaching license issued by the state when teaching at public schools. Both a bachelor’s and a master’s in secondary education can help you qualify for a secondary teaching license.
While teaching licensure requirements vary by state, common criteria include a bachelor’s in education, student teaching requirements, and a standardized exam. In addition to a teaching license, there are various certifications in the field of education that you can apply for, depending on your specialty and career goals.
For instance, some educators pursue national board certification in their subject area. Earning this type of certification consists of multiple portfolio assessments and an exam.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Once you’ve decided to pursue a master’s degree, one of the first steps to consider is how you’ll pay for it. Financial aid and scholarships play a critical role for most students when completing their master’s degree. You can explore federal aid, state aid, employer programs, and scholarship opportunities.
To see if you qualify for federal aid and other need-based aid, you can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to identify what type of assistance you are eligible to receive.
Secondary Education Professional Organizations
Joining a secondary education professional organization is beneficial to pursuing growth and collaboration. It also helps you gain access to career resources, research opportunities, grants, and fellowships. Additionally, it can help you stay abreast of current issues and best practices.
Here are some professional organizations for educators:
- Association of American Educators (AAE)
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
- National Education Association (NEA)
Being a part of a professional organization offers many benefits, including networking opportunities and access to other experts in your field.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Secondary Education?
A master’s in secondary education can help prepare you for a wide range of careers. Since most programs offer concentrations, job prospects and corresponding salaries can vary depending on your area of specialty.
With a master’s degree, you can receive advanced professional development. You can use your expertise to equip students at the secondary school level or to work in various administrative positions related to secondary education.
Some graduates go on to work as instructional coordinators, influencing curriculum designs. Others pursue positions in administration, such as middle or high school principal or superintendent. Common careers in secondary education include middle school teachers, high school teachers, and special education teachers.
Are There Any Non Teaching Jobs with a Master’s in Education?
Not all educators put their skills to use inside the classroom. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are other career options to consider for those seeking a career outside the traditional classroom.
For instance, some secondary education masters graduates go on to become school and career counselors, training and development specialists, and survey researchers. Some careers, such as school counselor, require specialty training and licensure, so it’s beneficial to find a secondary education concentration that matches your professional goals.
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There are other factors that can affect the positions you can qualify for as well, such as your location and professional experience.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Secondary Education Online?
An online master’s degree in secondary education generally requires you to earn between 30 units and 36 units, which can often be completed in 1 to 2 years if you enroll full-time. It might take you longer if you are only able to study part-time or if you are required to write a thesis.
If your program does require 36 credits or less, you may be able to finish in 1 year if you enroll full-time and study year-round, including taking summer courses.
What’s the Difference Between an MAT vs. MEd in Secondary Education Degree?
The following table summarizes the key differences between a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Education (MEd).
In summary, an MAT degree is geared toward future or current educators who want to develop their craft in classroom teaching. An MEd is designed for those who want to transition from classroom-style education into an administrative position within the educational system.
Is a Secondary Education Masters Degree Worth It?
Yes, a secondary education masters degree is worth it for many students. A masters degree has the potential to increase your qualifications as well as your earning potential. A graduate program also promotes personal and professional development, enabling you to share your learning and skills with students and fellow educators.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for education, training, and library occupations is expected to grow by 10% over the next ten years. Secondary teachers and administrators, instructional coordinators, and special education teachers are all projected to see steady job growth.
Universities Offering Online Masters in Secondary Education Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
The American College of Education offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching. It is intended for students who are transitioning into teaching from other careers.
Students are expected to complete many field experiences and observations throughout the program and end with a student teaching experience. The program is designed to provide flexibility so students can plan their coursework around their lives.
American College of Education is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Arizona State University offers a Master of Education in Secondary Education. This online program includes thirteen courses that are each 7.5 weeks long. Courses include Instructional Design, Planning, and Assessment, Research and Evaluation in Education, Literacy Across the Disciplines, and more.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ball State University offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Secondary Education. It can potentially be completed in as little as 4 semesters. Concentration options include Education Core, Secondary Teaching License (Grades 6-12), and Dual Credit Teaching Credential (for limited content areas). For students that are already licensed teachers, they also have Teaching of a Content and Special Area concentrations.
Ball State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The California University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Education in Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership. The program is fully online. Courses are asynchronous, but students are expected to move through the program with a cohort. The program covers instructional strategies, differentiated instruction, technology use in the classroom, and more.
California University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Drexel University offers an online Master’s in Secondary Education program. This is a flexible, part-time program designed to fit into schedules conveniently. Class sizes are small and allow for extensive interaction between classmates and instructors. Certification areas include Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, English, General Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Social Studies.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Georgia College and State University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with a major in Secondary Teacher Education. The program is designed to prepare students for teaching certification in grades 6-12. Students can choose one of the following areas of focus: Biology, Business Education, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, Physics, or Political Science.
Georgia College & State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Georgia Southern University offers a fully online Master of Education in Secondary Education. This program is intended for those already certified to teach in the state of Georgia and leads to a certificate upgrade. The program emphasizes developmentally appropriate practices and field experiences working with diverse student populations.
Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Liberty University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching – Secondary Education. Classes are 100% online and 8 weeks long. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours and usually takes a year and a half to complete. The curriculum is based on a foundation of biblical principles. This is a licensure-track program.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
New York University offers a combined residency and Master of Arts in Teaching program that is designed to be completed in 1 year. The program provides mentorship and experience working directly in classrooms. NYU has partner schools not only in New York but also in Connecticut, California, Florida, and Washington, DC. Coursework emphasizes equality and culturally responsive instruction.
New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Old Dominion University’s online Master of Science in Secondary Education program is designed to help students gain initial teaching certification in the state of Virginia. It is intended for students who have a non-teaching bachelor’s degree. Areas of concentration include English, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, History and Social Science, and TESOL.
Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama offers a Master of Arts in Secondary Education. The program is designed to help those already certified to teach English language arts, social science, or science in grades 6-12 to advance their teaching skills. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours. All coursework is available online.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Louisiana—Monroe offers a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education intended for those with a bachelor’s degree outside of education. It requires the completion of 36 credit hours of coursework. Prospective students must apply for admission to the university first and then to the program.
The University of Louisiana Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of New Mexico offers an online program for an MA in Secondary Education. It requires the completion of 30 credit hours and is designed to give students the opportunity to construct their studies around their personal and professional goals. Courses include Research Applications to Education, Advanced Instructional Strategies, Social Justice in Education, and more.
The University of New Mexico is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of North Texas offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education. It consists of twelve courses, for a total of 36 credit hours. The program is mostly online, but students are expected to complete an internship. There is also an optional face-to-face orientation.
The University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Southern California offers a Master of Arts in Teaching that can be earned online. Full-time and part-time paths are available, and students usually take 1-3 years to finish their degrees. Students are expected to attend weekly online, live classes that are complemented by self-paced coursework outside of class.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Getting Your Degree in Secondary Education Masters Online
If you want to progress your career development, you may want to consider masters in teaching programs online.
Online programs are known for their convenience and flexibility, allowing you to better balance your studies with other work or life responsibilities. Your masters degree in secondary education can help you develop specialized skills and give you a leg up in the competitive landscape.
If you’re ready to enhance your knowledge and skills in your chosen specialty, you can start looking for accredited secondary education programs that align with your interests and goals today.