10 Most Affordable Master’s in Secondary Education Online in 2021

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Updated June 17, 2021

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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.

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Most Affordable Master's in Secondary Education

  • Appalachian State University

    Boone, NC



    Appalachian State University is a public coed university which was founded originally as a "teacher's college" in 1899. The goal of this school would be to specifically shape the minds and skillsets of future educators for years to come. This self-professed goal has not changed, although, since those times, the school has taken on a number of other specialties as well. The Educational Leadership Ed.D offered by the university is a hybrid, online and in-class program. In addition, the school boasts an impressive six distinctly separate concentrations for this particular degree.

  • Ball State University

    Muncie, IN



    In 1917, the Ball Brothers, now famous for their founding of the Ball Corporation, took over a faltering school called the Normal Institute. Under its new leadership, this school would then rise back to greatness under a new leadership and name – Ball State University, or BSU. Among its many offerings today, BSU provides a noteworthy Doctor of Education in Higher Education. Additionally, the school offers very similarly aligned Doctorates in Adult and Community Education as well as Community College Leadership.

  • Delta State University

    Cleveland, MS



    One of eight publicly-funded universities in the state of Mississippi, Delta State University provides a great opportunity for those seeking a quality yet cheap online higher education Ed.D. Here, the student gets to choose from one of three great tracks in the Doctor of Education in Professional Studies: Higher Education, Educational Leadership, and the often hard-to-find Curriculum and Instruction concentration. In all tracks, however, a keen aim in the building of leadership skills prevails.

  • East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC



    East Carolina University, also commonly known as ECU, is the third largest school in North Carolina and is officially recognized as one of the nation's select Innovation and Economic Prosperity Campuses. Those seeking a doctorate in higher education here will find a great hybrid program aimed at creating leaders in the K-20 educational industry. The program and university are also members of the Carnegie Project. To attend, one must have the required master's degree as well as considerable work experience in the educational field.

  • Indiana State University

    Terre Haute, IN



    Founded in 1865, Indiana State University has garnered a name for itself with over 100 undergraduate majors in addition to another 75 professional and special graduate programs. The Educational Administration Ph.D at ISU also features several specialization choices in this particular degree program, such as school administration and leadership in higher education. Students can also choose from an exclusively online program or to incorporate brick-and-mortar classes into their program as well.

  • Saint Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud, MN



    Founded in 1869 along the Mississippi River, St. Cloud State University has made many futures secure over the decades. It is known for being the largest provider of higher education in the state of Minnesota as well as a top school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The Higher Education Administration Ed.D. here takes a highly concentrated approach on leadership values and skills in higher education specifically. Flexible course schedules and tailored programs for working professionals also make this program and school a preferred choice.

  • University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    The University of Florida, also known as UF, encompasses a grand 2,000-acre parcel in Gainesville, Florida and began as a subtle startup in 1853. This is officially considered to be a public land, sea, and space grant university. UF's respected Higher Education Administration Degree is a hybrid program, utilizing on and off-campus resources and classrooms. This is a blended format curriculum based on cohort style administration. While assistantships aren't offered for the school's Ed.D program, they are offered to its very similar Ph.D program.

  • University of Nebraska – Lincoln

    Lincoln, NE



    With Warren Buffett among others included in its great list of respected alumni, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln has a reputation for success stories. The school was first charted in 1869 as part of the famous 1862 Morrill Act and has since only further established itself in the callings of higher education. Here, students have access to a pleasantly wide variety of education Ph.D and Ed.D degree routes. Ample state certifications, endorsements, and specialized training programs also greet those in attendance here.

  • University of North Dakota

    Bismark, ND



    The University of North Dakota serves as not just a higher learning institution, but also as a historic point of value. It is the state's oldest university and was actually established before this territory of the United States was actually part of any state. Today, students at the university have access to online and distance learning options as well as the ability to combine both within their chosen program of study. This is a 90-credit program that is eligible for in-state tuition rates despite the student's true state of residence.

  • University of South Alabama

    Mobile, AL



    A higher education online Ed.D doesn't get much more straightforward than that provided by the University of South Alabama. Here, the choice is simple – the student can choose from either a focus path of P-12 Leadership or Higher Education Leadership. No matter the choice, this is a hybrid program requiring at least a 3.25 GPA of prior students for entry. The University of South Alabama was formed in 1963 as a public national research university and is often lovingly and quite simply referred to as "South."

Our Methodology, Explained

Grad School Hub compiles rankings based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics play a significant role in how we source our educational data. After collecting insight for each institution, we organize information into five weighted categories.
Metric Data Used Percentage
Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 30%
Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 10%
Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 30%
Program Offerings Number of program options 20%
Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 10%
A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible on our Ranking Methodology page.

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.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs. 

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Master's in Secondary Education Online.

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GradSchoolHub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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