There is a lot that an educator can do with an online Master's in Secondary Education, both inside and outside of the classroom. From becoming a principal to moving into becoming an educational director at a museum, the career possibilities can open an educator into a new world. But with a full-time career, many professionals are forgoing a master's degree in order to focus on their obligations.
There's no reason to let go of the dream of earning a master's degree; there are several online opportunities available. Online programs are also the best way for working professionals to pursue their educational goals. Flexible and more affordable than traditional programs, online degrees give students the freedom to pursue their education whenever their career permits them. The 10 schools listed in this ranking also come with a variety of features, which are discussed below.
This ranking was made by possible by researching information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Using the College Navigator database, an initial pool of 70 schools was created with the final 10 being chosen based on their in-state graduate tuition rates. These are the schools listed below.
Ranking Low-cost Online Secondary Education Master's
10. Northwest State University of Louisiana
Online Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education Grades 6-12, Professional Studies Program
Northwest State University of Louisiana confers an online Master's in Secondary Education that leads to initial Louisiana teacher licensure at the secondary school level. This degree was built for professionals who come from a non-education background and would like to move into education. It is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is offered entirely online. Students will note that this program requires a one-year student teaching internship; this can be completed in their community. The degree is delivered online through asynchronous courses and can be completed in two years of part-time study. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, an internship, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Educational Psychology Applied to Teaching, Reading Strategies for Teaching in Content Area, and The Study of Individuals with Disabilities.
9. California State University at Fullerton
Online Masters in Secondary Education
Teachers in California who are interested in earning advanced teaching licensure in the state will want to consider California State University at Fullerton. The school's Master's in Secondary Education online degree was developed specifically for working teachers, offering them opportunities to do research and explore new concepts in secondary education. Candidates who successfully complete the requirements for this degree will have the chance to earn National Board certification in the field. This program is delivered online in an asynchronous format and on the traditional 16-week term schedule. Students will find that the majority of the core curriculum focuses on research and scholarly writing. The school also offers three options for the final project: a comprehensive exam, a project focused on action research or a thesis. Students can expect to complete 31 credit hours of coursework and their final project; no internship is needed. Sample courses include Survey of Educational Research, Advanced Instructional Proficiency in Educational Technology, and Curriculum Theory and Development.
8. University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Online Master of Arts in Elementary or Secondary Education, Teacher Leadership Specialization
The University of New Mexico offers students the opportunity to earn an online Master's in Secondary education. This is a 100 percent cohort online program that was designed to be completed in two years with part-time study. Students will note that this degree does not offer a pathway towards administrative licensure and they are required to produce evidence that they have a valid teaching license in their state. The program offers free access to all UNM libraries and online databases, including reference materials, as well as online tutoring services and the bookstore. Students will complete 32 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Effective Teaching and Student Learning, Educational Leadership in a Democratic Society, and Principles of Curriculum Development.
7. University of West Alabama
Online Master of Education in High School Education, Grades 6-12
Teachers who are ready to advance in their careers will find that the secondary education master's online degree program at the University of West Alabama is a great fit. This degree is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. This school requires that students hold a valid teaching license in their home state and was created to help prepare students for advanced licensure. The program is offered entirely online through asynchronous courses; it can be completed in two years with part-time study. Students can choose from six content areas to specialize in, including Social Science, Biology, and English Language Arts. Graduation requirements include 34 credit hours of coursework, a technology portfolio, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Technology and Education, Foundations of Education, and Counseling Multicultural Populations.
6. Kennesaw State University
Online Master of Education in Secondary Education
Kennesaw State University confers the online Master's in Secondary Education for teachers who are prepared to become experts in their content area. It is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and is open to all students who hold a valid teaching license in their state. The degree provides four concentrations in English, Mathematics, Science, and History. Students should note that the Science concentration is available only as a hybrid program. The curriculum focuses on evidence-based teaching and research prior to students moving into their chosen content area. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Applied Quantitative and Qualitative Research, Technology and Mathematics, and Transformative Teaching and Learning with Families and Communities.
5. Ball State University
Online Master of Arts in Secondary Education
Educators interested in advancing their own understanding of their teaching field have long loved the online secondary education master's degree at Ball State University. This degree is conferred 100 percent online and provides students with a firm understanding of educational technology, research, curriculum, and other core areas. Students will find that this program does prepare students for a pathway to teaching licensure, but BSU is limited by state regulations; therefore, students seeking initial licensure should check with their state's board of education to ensure this degree is a good fit for them. All courses are delivered online through both asynchronous and synchronous formats; the plan of study was created to be completed in as little as two years with part-time study. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a research project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Research on Impacting Student Learning, Social Foundations of Education, and Secondary School Curriculum.
4. Georgia Southern University
Online Master of Education in Secondary Education
Georgia Southern University confers an online Master's in Secondary Education to students who already possess a teaching license that is in good standing in a variety of different content areas. This degree prepares students for advanced licensure in these content areas; students who are seeking initial licensure should opt for the Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education, which is offered as a hybrid degree. This program is 100 percent online, delivered asynchronously, and can be completed in as little as two years. There are also options for certifications and endorsements in a variety of areas, including Curriculum and Pedagogy for Social Justice, Reading, and Online Teaching and Learning Endorsement. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Classroom Assessment and Data Literacy, Enhancing Student Performance, and Learning Theories and Applications.
3. University of Alabama
Online Master of Arts in Secondary Education
Teachers will find that the online Master's in Secondary Education provided by the University of Alabama will suit their needs perfectly. Designed for Alabama teachers interested in pursuing a Class A teaching licensure, this degree focuses on applying advanced concepts and skills to the classroom. There are six content areas supported by this degree; they include History, General Science, and Math. This is an online cohort program that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students will be required to prove they have a valid teaching license in their home state. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, including 15 credit hours in their content area, as well as a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Modern Secondary School Programs, Introduction to Educational Research, and Improving Science Instruction.
2. Black Hills State University
Spearfish, South Dakota
Online Master of Science in Secondary Education
Black Hills State University provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in an online Master's in Secondary Education in order to switch careers. Known as Project SECOND, this degree provides students with the opportunity to earn initial teaching licensure in the state of South Dakota, regardless of their educational and work backgrounds. This degree is delivered entirely online with the exception of the one-year student teaching practicum; this can be completed in a student's own community. It was designed to be completed in as little as one or two years, depending on a student's ability to study full-time or part-time. This degree also provides the ability to specialize in one of 12 content areas, including English, Political Science, and History. Students will be expected to complete 35 credit hours of coursework, a year-long practicum, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Teaching Reading in Content Area, Foundations of Education and Learning Theory, and Characteristics and Exceptionalities of Adolescents.
1. Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Online Master of Arts in Secondary Education
Southeast Missouri State University confers a cheap secondary education master's degree online that was designed specifically for teachers who hold a valid teaching license. The program, which is delivered 100 percent online, will not lead to initial or advanced licensure for any student; however, initial teaching licensures are not required for this program. The degree offers two concentrations: Educational Studies and Educational Technology. Students will be offered an online-only program that is delivered asynchronously and on the 16-week term schedule. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive written exam. Sample courses include Methods of Research, Improvement of Instruction and Assessment, and Planning for Technology in the School District/Organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Your Career Options for an Online Master's in Secondary Education Degree?
Many teachers choose an online Master's in Secondary Education to enhance their job and salary prospects in their current career. However, there are a variety of other options that are available to those who earn this degree. While many of these career options are rooted in the school system in America, some are not, and they deserve to be notated here.
Schools, both public and private, as well as school districts, hire secondary education professionals for a variety of positions. This can include as a teacher, a principal, an administrator, or an AP teacher that focuses on dual-credit courses. Some private schools also hire tutors and educational consultants who work as freelancers; they are contracted to help with curriculum development as well as a referral service for students who need extra help with their schoolwork.
Outside of the school system, it is possible for these graduates to work as SEO content writers, specializing in education. This is an in-demand position, as many educational websites and companies require content from experts in the field. They may also work as media and technology specialists, creating educational content for everything from websites to television shows.
The list is endless. Education is necessary for everyone, regardless of age, so these graduates will find no shortage of career opportunities that are available to them. One need only do a little research to see what exciting opportunities exist.
How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
The current salary range for secondary education professional ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. This range accounts for a variety of work experience levels and positions held by those with a master's degree in this field. It also accounts for teachers in both public and private schools and institutions, with those in private schools making more than those who work for public schools.
While most secondary school teachers with a master's degree have salaries that start at $50,000, America is facing a shortage of teachers who teach math and science. Therefore, it is important to note that secondary school educators that focus on these content areas will make substantially more than their liberal arts counterparts.
What are the Various Disciplines of Secondary Education?
Secondary education is influenced most of all by education. This will come as no surprise, as the main duty of a teacher is to educate adolescents. But teachers have other disciplines that inform their careers, which will be briefly discussed below.
Secondary school teachers often focus on one content area, which is the subject they teach in the classroom. This is the secondary discipline that informs their duties; they must be well aware of any advancements in that content area and stay updated with the issues and trends that affect their subject in the classroom. From research studies to global concerns, this is where a secondary school teacher focuses most of their time and energy.
Regardless of content area, teachers will also work in other disciplines. Management, curriculum, instruction, and administration are two of the daily disciplines professionals will interact with most; this has to do with curriculum study plans, managing students with behavioral issues, adhering to state education regulations, grading papers, and more.
Finally, psychology and adolescent development, as well as cultural studies, also play a role. Students are going through developmental changes, and while at the secondary school level, they are close to becoming adults, they still may have behavioral issues. Cultural studies as well play a role; America is a diverse country with multicultural communities and understanding all cultures is required by teachers in order to ensure they are providing students with a proper education.
Do You Need Advanced Licensure if You Already Have an Initial Teaching Licensure?
Initial teaching licensure is the base professional certificate for teachers. It is required by law that all teachers who teach in schools, public or nonpublic, hold a state initial professional license. This is the basis of all bachelors-level teaching and education programs.
Advanced licensure, however, is optional. Teachers are not obligated by law to apply for advanced licensure, which is also known as National Board Certification, and therefore many teachers choose not to apply for this license. It can be time-consuming, challenging, requires a master's degree, and also requires recertification every three to five years depending on state regulations.
But if a teacher would like to achieve the highest possible salary range for their content area, would like to access better professional opportunities, and make the move from state to state easier, advanced licensure is highly recommended. This is especially true of all teachers who are earning a master's degree in secondary education.
Advanced licensure is the highest level of professional certification available. Available only after a teacher has earned their initial license and has taught for three years in a classroom, it can be a prestigious distinction that sets teachers apart, especially during the job hunt process. Every teacher who wants to pursue a graduate degree should seriously consider advanced licensure after graduation.
What are Content Areas? Can You Choose One Different From the One You Teach?
Schools use the term "content areas" when describing the different subjects taught at American secondary schools. These can include Biology, History, Economics, Art, English, and more. Content areas generally make up half of the online Master's in Secondary Education. They are important because all states provide certification in one content area to teachers with valid teaching licenses.
It is possible to change content areas for both in-service and pre-service teachers; however, this is decidedly easier for pre-service professionals. This is because teachers who have yet to be hired in their field, or for those changing careers, don't have a set content area just yet. The master's degree helps them specialize, which, in turn, makes it easier for employers to decide whether they need a teacher in that specific content area.
In-service professionals will find that changing content areas may be difficult. If they wish to remain employed with the school that they teach, changing content areas may mean the loss of their job, especially if a position in that content area is already filled. They may also find it difficult if they have previous work experience in one content area yet wish to become employed in their new content area.
It is still possible for teachers to make the change. Advanced certification takes precedence over previous work experience and as long as they earn a degree from a program that requires practicums, the decision to change or add a new content area should not drastically alter their career path.
Secondary education is a field that is just as important as early childhood education; this is when students begin to learn advanced concepts at the high school level, which in turn prepares them for their university education. Without qualified secondary educators, a student's prospects can wither. That's why so many dedicated professionals are choosing to pursue an online Master's in Secondary Education which enriches both their lives and the lives of each of their students.