Secondary education teachers teach students in middle school and high school, typically grades nine through twelve. Unlike early childhood education and elementary education degree programs that focus on younger children, earning a secondary education degree can prepare you to work with older children who are going through adolescence.

To teach secondary education, you can consider completing a degree program at one of the best secondary education colleges, featured below. If you already hold a degree in another subject, such as biology, history or psychology, for example, you can still pursue a secondary education career by earning a teaching credential rather than an entire degree in secondary education. Secondary education teachers often specialize in a specific subject such as English, math or science in order to and teach it to different groups of students throughout the day.

Regardless of the path you choose to become a secondary education teacher, you are likely to land jobs in your chosen field as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment rate for middle school teachers and high school teachers is projected to grow 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively from 2018 to 2028.

Below, we'll take a closer look into secondary education degree programs and discuss the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

Although you can complete the majority of a secondary education degree program online, many programs, especially those at the bachelor's degree level require a student teaching experience in a middle school or high school environment. By student teaching, students can gain valuable hands-on experience before they secure employment in the secondary education field.
In addition to being accredited, a strong online secondary education program allows you to participate in an internship or student teaching experience at a middle school or high school in your local area. It may also prepare you for obtaining teaching licensure and guide you through the process of doing so.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) are a few examples of the agencies that accredit secondary education degree online programs.
A successful secondary school teacher has strong verbal and written communication skills and a thorough understanding of the common challenges adolescents face. In addition, you know how to develop strong relationships with students and their parents. You are also flexible, patient, collaborative, and empathic.
While those who attend the best secondary education colleges often go on to teach middle school or high school, some become principals, school counselors, or school librarians. You can also pursue careers designing curriculums and train secondary education teachers.

Secondary Education Online Colleges in 2019-20

To help you select the right online college for your unique needs and preferences, has compiled two rankings: one for the best undergraduate online colleges for secondary education and one for the best graduate online colleges for secondary education. Each ranking features brief profiles of the schools, how they support online students, and what types of accredited secondary education degree programs they offer. Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.


Great Basin College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Elko, NV
School Type

GBC's Academic Focus: Although GBC was founded in rural Elko, Nev., its campuses and educational centers now service more than 85,000 square miles in 10 of Nevada's biggest counties. GBC offers associate and baccalaureate-level instruction in career and technical education and academic areas.

Featured GBC Resource: GBC participates in the Nevada Promise Scholarship program, which covers up to three years of registration and other fees for eligible students.

Secondary Education at Great Basin College

Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education

  • Students can focus on specific concentrations including mathematics,social science,biological science,English,business education,and career and technical education
  • Prepares students for certification by the Nevada State Board of Education
  • Students gain first - hand experience through the program 's collaboration with six rural school districts in Nevada

Holmes Community College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Goodman, MS
School Type

HCC's Academic Focus: Holmes Community College, a public community college, provides educational and cultural opportunities while seeking to prepare its students for university transfer, productive employment and lifelong learning. HCC offers an associate of arts degree program, associate of applied science degree program, technical certificate and career certificate programs as well as workforce training.

Featured HCC Resource: At the Trek Center, students pursuing a secondary education degree program online can receive assistance with resume writing and interviewing. The Trek Center also offers workshops that focus on academics, life skills and career coaching.

Secondary Education at Holmes Community College

Secondary Education Pathway

  • Designed for students who would like to eventually transfer to a four - year degree program in secondary education
  • It prepares students to pass a PRAXIS examination in order to fulfill the necessary requirements to transfer
  • Concentration areas include biology / science,chemistry / physical science,English,math,music instruments,piano,voice,physical education / kinesiology,physics,and social studies
  • General courses include English,algebra and fine arts

Salem University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Salem, WV
School Type

SU's Academic Focus: This state university, founded in 1854, is located about 15 miles north of downtown Boston and is one of the largest state universities in Massachusetts. Academic programs include innovative and immersive educational experiences designed to help students succeed in a complex global society.

Featured SU Resource: The university's LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Diversity) office seeks to help online and campus students become transformation leaders through intentional advocacy and social justice education.

Secondary Education at Salem University

Bachelor 's degrees in secondary education

  • 4 + 1 programs are offered for students who finish the program to graduate with a bachelor 's degree and education minor for specialist and secondary students
  • 4 + 1 degree programs can be taken in English,history,math,Spanish and physical education
  • Students can earn initial licensure after five year

San Antonio College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
San Antonio, TX
School Type

SAC's Academic Focus: San Antonio College seeks to empower students for success in meeting the postsecondary learning needs of a diverse and globally networked society. Online students can take classes from any institution in the Alamo Colleges District as they work to complete their two-year degree program requirements.

Featured SAC Resource: Enrolled students can receive tutoring resources at the Student Learning Assistant Center. They also can schedule one-on-one online tutoring sessions in a wide range of subjects.

Secondary Education at San Antonio College

Associate of Arts in Teaching

  • is transferable to any public university in Texas which offers bachelor degree programs that lead to teacher certification
  • Students participate in 16 hours of field experience as an opportunity to decide whether teaching is right for them
  • 60 total credit hours

East Mississippi Community College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Scooba, MS
School Type

EMCC's Academic Focus: East Mississippi Community College, a public community college serving six counties in East Central Mississippi, offers career-technical programs, workforce programs and university-parallel programs.

Featured EMCC Resource: Students have 24/7 access to the EMCC Library where they can find articles,eBooks,videos,references and other resources.They can also ask a librarian for help online any time they need it.

Secondary Education at East Mississippi Community College

A.A.Secondary Education

  • This program has an agreement between the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning(four - year universities) which can aptly prepare students in transferring to a four - year college
  • Students can be prepared to complete the Praxis Core Academic Skill for Educators(formerly Praxis I) examination in order to transfer to one of the institutions represented in the Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning

Amarillo College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Amarillo, TX
School Type

AC Academic Focus: Amarillo College is a public community college that provides associate degree and certificate programs that can prepare students to transfer to a four-year university or enter the workforce right away.

Featured AC 's Resource: Through the SMARTHINKING portal, students can enroll in online tutoring. SMARTHINKING allows them to chat with live tutors, email questions and receive writing critiques in 24 hours.

Secondary Education at Amarillo College


  • 42 credit hours
  • Designed for students seeking to earn a Texas teacher certification in grades 8 - 12 with their degree
  • Some major courses required include Introduction to the Teaching Profession and Introduction to Special Populations
  • Upon graduation,students can focus on and teach science,physical science,life science,business,math,English and other subjects at the secondary level

Panola College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Carthage, TX
School Type

PC Academic Focus: Panola College, a community college, offers technical and workforce, university transfer and continuing education programs. It has been involved in distance education since 1998.

Featured PC 's Resource: The Brainfuse 24/7 online tutoring platform is available to students enrolled in secondary education degree online programs. Through this website, they can receive live online help from a tutor on various subjects and schedule study sessions with classmates in private virtual study rooms.

Secondary Education at Panola College

Associate of Arts in Teaching(A.A.T.)

  • The program prepares students for transferring to a bachelor 's program where they can become licensed teachers in Texas
  • This program also can satisfy the requirements for paraprofessionals
  • Some courses require fieldwork where students receive the opportunity to learn in an public school setting

Prescott College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Prescott, AZ
School Type

PC's Academic Focus: As a private liberal arts college, Prescott College promotes experiential learning and self-direction through interdisciplinary curriculums that invite students to solve social and environmental problems.

Featured PC Resource: The mentored studies pathway can give online students a chance to work with a faculty advisor to design their coursework. It can consist of a seminar, research project or community service effort that deeply involves them in their secondary education degree program online.

Secondary Education at Prescott College

Certificate in Secondary Education

  • Designed for students who hold a bachelor 's degree and are interested in earning an Arizona Teaching Intern Certificate, which enables these individuals to teach full-time while completing the requirements for an Arizona provisional teaching certificate
  • It 's a hybrid program with online courses and in-person mentored study components in which students can work with teachers or school administrators in their local communities
  • Qualified individuals can apply for a scholarship available for this specific program

North Carolina Central University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Durham, NC
School Type

NCCU's Academic Focus: The North Carolina Central University is a public college that prepares students to become global leaders and practitioners who transform communities. Its core offerings include various degree programs for teachers.

Featured NCCU Resource: Onlinestudents can participate in one-on-one advising sessions that guide them toward their goals. Individual sessions can help them select the right degree program, transition to a teaching career, and build a portfolio with resumes, cover letters and other essentials.

Secondary Education at North Carolina Central University

Bachelor of Arts in Middle Education

  • The program offers 10 different concentration options including social studies and science,language arts and mathematics and math and science
  • Second - degree options can be available for students who already hold a bachelor 's in a different field
  • Leads to initial teacher licensure in North Carolina

Fort Hays State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Hays, KS
School Type

FHSU's Academic Focus: This public college provides accessible quality education to Kansas and seeks to develop engaged global citizen-leaders. They take pride in their diversity and embracement of students of all different backgrounds.

Featured FHSU Resource: FHSU offers its students an online library and resources, special collections, archives, and exhibits.

Secondary Education at Fort Hays State University

Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

  • Students pursue double majors in secondary education and an additional field of their choice;however,only the business major along with secondary education is offered online
  • Students who meet certain requirements are eligible for a teaching program - specific scholarship

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Natchitoches, LA
School Type

NSUL's Academic Focus: Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public university that's committed to the creation, acquisition and distribution of knowledge through teaching, research and service. The university maintains quality teaching in the graduate and undergraduate programs as its highest priority.

Featured NSUL Resource: Students enrolled in online master's in secondary education programs can receive research assistance from librarians at the Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. They can also access a variety of online databases, ebooks, ejournals and other materials.

Secondary Education at Northwestern State University of Louisiana

MAT in Secondary Education,Grades 6 - 12

  • Designedfor students with bachelor 's degrees in non-education fields who want to earn initial Louisiana teacher certification and teach grades 6 through 12
  • Areas of concentration include biology education,business education,family and consumer sciences,chemistry education,English education,mathematics education,social studies education,physics education and speech education
  • Requires a one - year internship in teaching

Georgia Southern University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Statesboro, GA
School Type

UMUC's Academic Focus: The University of Maryland School of Public Health not only offers degree programs to train students to enter the healthcare management field, but also opportunities to assist with research on topics like economics, sociology, public policy and organizational development. Some of this research is conducted through the school's Center on Aging, which tackles topics to help improve the lives of older individuals.

Featured UMUC Resource: The Help Center is available 24 hours a day for online students to receive assistance with software and devices.

Healthcare Management at University of Maryland-University College

Global Health Management Graduate Certificate

  • Learn how to assess and design global health services within different national contexts
  • Understand how to develop an action plan for improving the health of a community or population
  • Build skills for creating interdisciplinary teams and communicate with clinical providers, administrators, and patients using appropriate cultural practices

GSU's Academic Focus: Georgia Southern University is a public research university that values collaboration, discovery, integrity, inclusion and sustainability. Maintaining a hands-on approach to learning, they apply practical methods to their practicums.

Featured GSU Resource: GSU's Graduate Student Organization is offered to students in online master's in secondary education programs as well as other graduate fields of study. It offers grants opportunities to eligible students and hosts various professional development events that members are welcome to attend.

Secondary Education at Georgia Southern University Secondary Education

  • Intendedfor students who have a Professional Level Four Certificate or equivalent in biology,broad fields science,chemistry,economics,English,geography,history,mathematics,physics or political science
  • The program meets Georgia Professional Standards Commission 's certificate upgrade requirements
  • Incorporates an intensive field experience outside of the online classroom setting Secondary Education

  • Designed for students who hope to fulfill the content - specific requirements in their secondary certification field: biology education,broad fields science education,business education,chemistry education,economics education,English education,geography education,history education,mathematics education,physics education and political science education
  • Focuses on the development of technology skills,which can be used to evaluate student learning
  • Provides the opportunity for students to perform research in their secondary education concentration area

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Lynchburg, VA
School Type

LU's Academic Focus: Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university that offers secondary education degree programs on-campus in Lynchburg, Virginia and online. It is known as one of the largest Christian universities in the world.

Featured LU Resource: The Eagle Scholars Program, for high-achieving students at LU, offers a number of benefits including priority early registration for classes, university leadership opportunities and professional development training.

Secondary Education at Liberty University


  • Middle Grades
        • Prepares students without a teaching license to teach middle school
        • Concentrations include English,math,science,or social studies
        • Required semester of student teaching at the end of the program
      • Secondary Education
        • Designed for students who do not hold a teaching license but wish to teach high school
        • Program focuses on topics such as educational behavior and development,theories and methodologies of education and current trends in the education field
        • Student teaching experience required


      • Middle Grades Education
        • Designed for students who hope to pursue careers in educational administration or research
        • Centers around the physical,social,emotional and intellectual development of young adolescents
        • Offers on - campus intensives so that students can test their skills and knowledge in hands - on environments
        • Consists of courses such as Middle Grades Curriculum and Methods and Professional Writing and Research
      • Secondary Education
        • Focuses on advanced education theory and best practices for high school teachers
        • Includes a capstone project that may lead to a published work


      • Middle Grades
        • Created for students who would like to advance their teaching career,pursue a Doctor of Education,develop middle school curriculums or become school administrators
        • Incorporates courses like Advanced Learning Theory and Research and Professional Development in Middle Grades
      • Secondary Education
        • Prepares students for research and curriculum development at the high school level
        • Required courses include Survey of Educational Research and Advanced Research and Writing

Grand Canyon University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Phoenix, AZ
School Type

GCU's Academic Focus: Grand Canyon University is a for-profit, private Christian university that aims to prepare students to become critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders by providing a values-based curriculum from the context of a Christian heritage. It welcomes students from all faiths and backgrounds.

Featured GCU Resource: Through LoudCloud, GCU's learning management system, students pursuing online master's in secondary education programs can access eBooks, student forums, and calendar reminders.

Secondary Education at Grand Canyon University Secondary Education

  • Prepares students to obtain an Arizona teaching license and teach at a public middle or high school
  • Core courses include U.S.and Arizona constitutions for teacher candidates and assessment and evaluation for middle and high school
  • Includes a required student teaching experience in a middle or high school classroom Secondary Education - Non - Licensure

  • Upon completion,students can teach middle or high school at a private school or academic support organization
  • Centers around lesson planning,development,assessment and methods to engage diverse learners
  • Includes courses such as creating and engaging learning environments and adolescent literacy Secondary Humanities Education

  • Created for students who are interested in becoming humanities teachers at the middle or high school level
  • Offers Nevada teaching candidates an Alternative Route to Licensure(ARL) and leads to a standard teaching license in Nevada Secondary STEM Education

  • Designed for students who wish to teach biology,physics and math in middle and high school settings
  • Revolves around STEM content teaching strategies,current trends in STEM education,and tips for motivating adolescents
  • Allows Nevada teachers to continue working while completing their degree programs and prepares them for a standard Nevada teaching license

Kennesaw State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Kennesaw, GA
School Type

KSU's Academic Focus: Kennesaw State University is a public university with an online campus as well as campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta. The school focuses on research and is a member of the University System of Georgia.

Featured KSU Resource: The Science and Math Academic Resource and Tutoring (SMART) Center at KSU offers math tutoring services that those pursuing a secondary education degree program online may find useful.

Secondary Education at Kennesaw State University Middle Grades Education

  • Designed for teachers certified in middle(grades 4 through 8) education
  • Available concentrations include language arts,mathematics and social studies
  • Consists of 15 hours of core courses and 12 hours of teaching field courses
  • Program begins in the fall and summer semesters Secondary Education

  • Intended for teachers who hold a certification in secondary(grades 6 through 12) education
  • Can be completed in four semesters if students take nine credits each semester
  • Available concentrations are English,history,and mathematics
  • Intended for teachers who hold a certification
  • Students can start in the fall or summer semester

Missouri State University-Springfield

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Springfield, MO
School Type

MSUS's Academic Focus: MSU-Springfield focuses on providing excellence in academics and in ethical leadership, cultural competence and community engagement. The university seeks to educates students to be global citizen scholars committed to public affairs.

Featured MSUS Resource: Transfer students comprise 45 percent of the new undergraduate student body at Missouri State University. Incoming transfer students may be eligible for the Missouri Community College Scholarship or one of dozens of institutional scholarships offered by MSU-Springfield.

Secondary Education at Missouri State University - Springfield

Master of Science in Education - Secondary Education

  • Students earn their M.S.Ed.through the department of their particular discipline
  • Citizenship and Service Learning program allows students to earn an additional credit in select courses by completing 40 hours of service relevant to their field of study

Master of Arts in Teaching

  • Students can earn a teaching certificate and a master 's degree
  • The program is for people considering a career change to pursue certification in an area closely related to their degree program
  • Action research project and oral presentation required

Georgia College & State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Milledgeville, GA
School Type

GCSU's Academic Focus: A public liberal arts university, Georgia College & State University offers graduate education programs through the John H. Lounsbury College of Education. It is a member of the University System of Georgia and the Council of Public Liberal Arts College.

Featured GCSU Resource: The Writing Center allows online students to receive assistance from consultants. Consultants can help them with every aspect of the writing process including brainstorming and editing.

Secondary Education at Georgia College & amp;State University

Master of Arts in Teaching

  • Created for college graduates with undergraduate degrees in fields other than education
  • Focuses on technology in the classroom,teaching literacy skills and diversity issues in the classroom
  • Two - year part - time program that begins each fall semester
  • Prepares students to teach grades 6 - 12
  • Field experience and internship required

Western New Mexico University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Silver City, NM
School Type

WNMU's Academic Focus: An open-access institution, Western New Mexico University combines a foundation of liberal arts education with career and technical preparation in a diverse, creative and caring community of learners.

Featured WNMU Resource: Through WNMU's Career Development Center, students can participate in an annual Job Shadow Program. The program allows them to shadow teachers for a day and develop strong connections with teachers in the area.

Secondary Education at Western New Mexico University

Master of Arts in Teaching

  • Intended for students who wish to pursue careers as teachers and hold undergraduate degrees in fields other than education
  • Required courses include classroom management,secondary curriculum & amp;instruction and classroom assessment
  • Upon graduation,students can pursue a New Mexico State teaching license
  • Teaching experience in a secondary classroom required

University of Arkansas at Monticello

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Monticello, AR
School Type

UAM's Academic Focus: University of Arkansas at Monticello is part of the University of Arkansas System, and seeks to foster a quality, comprehensive and seamless education for diverse student learners.

Featured UAM Resource: UAM has an open admissions policy, as well as a fast-track master's degree program designed to get qualified teachers into classrooms more quickly.

Secondary Education at University of Arkansas at Monticello

  • Master of Arts in Teaching program designed for students who hold a bachelor's degree but don't have a teaching credential
  • 30 - credit hour program has tracks in 4 - 8 middle education and secondary K - 12
  • Emphasis areas include language arts,math,social studies,science and physical education

Texas A & M International University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Laredo, TX
School Type

TAMIU Academic Focus: Founded as a public university that centers around faculty and student research as well as public service. This branch of the Texas A&M System, with its distinctly global focus, seeks to prepare students for an increasingly diverse and complex society.

Featured TAMIU Resource: The Writing Center provides students with an opportunity to attend individual and small group tutoring sessions, peer review writing sessions and writing workshops.

Secondary Education at Texas A & amp;M International University

Master 's of Education or Masters of Science

  • Has specializations in English language arts and reading grades 7 - 12 or social studies grades 7 - 12
  • Not designed for students who have already obtained a teaching certificate
  • It is a teacher preparation and certification program
  • Includes courses such as courses in curriculum,models of teaching and philosophy of education
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Secondary Education Program Overview

Here's a look at what students can expect if they enroll in an online bachelor's in secondary education or an online master's in secondary education. Although there are noteworthy differences among these degree levels - described in the degree-specific sections below - there are also important similarities.

For instance, regardless of whether you decide to earn a bachelor's or master's in secondary education, it can be important to develop excellent organization skills as you can expect to juggle a variety of tasks once you're in the classroom, including lesson planning, teaching, attending teacher meetings, communicating with parents, and grading papers. In addition, secondary education programs at both the bachelor's and master's levels often include writing assignments and presentations, thus writing skills can be important to develop.

Earning an Online Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education

How Long Does an Online Bachelor's Degree Program in Secondary Education Take?

An online bachelor's in secondary education typically takes four years from start to finish.

Requirements to Start an Online Bachelor's Degree Program in Secondary Education

Prior to enrolling in this program, you must show proof of a high school diploma or GED. If you are transferring from another college or university, you may do so as long as you meet the minimum GPA requirement, which is often 2.0.

Degree Timeline

Take general education courses:

An online bachelor's in secondary education usually starts with general education courses like math, English and science. The purpose of these courses is to help you become a well-rounded middle school or high school teacher.

Complete professional education courses:

Through field-specific courses, you can gain the knowledge and skills you need to successfully teach in middle school or high school environments. These courses often focus on the nature of secondary schools, curriculum planning and educational psychology.

Take specific subject courses:

Since most online bachelor's in secondary education programs allow you to specialize in a subject like math or science, you usually take courses related to your chosen subject .

Participate in an internship student teaching experience:

Undergraduate degrees in secondary education often end with an internship or student teaching experience that can be completed at a local middle school or high school classroom. This experience gives you the opportunity to gain meaningful hands-on experience in the field.

  • 1.Common Courses
    • Foundations of Secondary Education
    • Classroom Management
    • Assessments and Interventions in Secondary Education
    • Technology Integration in Secondary Education
    • Evidence Based Practices for Secondary Education
    • Student Teaching Practicum
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Middle school teacher
    • High school teacher
    • Tutor
    • Family service professional

Earning an Online Master's Degree in Secondary Education

How Long Does an Online Master's Degree Program in Secondary Education Take?

In most cases, an online master's in secondary education degree takes one to two years to complete.

Requirements to Start an Online Master's Degree Program in Secondary Education

To pursue this type of program, you must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Even if you do not have a bachelor's degree in secondary education, you may be able to enroll in a graduate program that is specifically intended to transition students from another field to secondary education.

Degree Timeline

Take foundation courses:

The goal of foundation courses in an online master's in secondary education program is to expose you to the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in advanced secondary education careers. A few examples of these courses include Curriculum Planning or Philosophical Foundations of Education.

Complete subject specific courses:

Once you have completed all of the required foundation courses, you can take courses related to the subject you'd like to eventually teach, such as English, biology, art or Spanish . Courses can vary depending on the specialty chosen.

Participate in a student teaching or seminar experience:

Most online master's in secondary education programs end with a student teaching experience or seminar in a middle school or high school environment.

  • 1.Common Courses
    • Education Research
    • Principles and Procedures of Curriculum Development
    • Human Development and Learning
    • Education and Society
    • Advanced Educational Psychology
  • 2. Common Careers:
    • Middle school teachers
    • High school teachers
    • Department heads
    • Curriculum designers
    • School principals
    • School counselors

Complementary Fields of Study

There are several complementary fields of study that students who are pursuing a secondary education degree online may find worthwhile. You might choose to pursue them as a double major or minor in them, or you can simply take a few extra courses on the side to expand your knowledge of the subject.

Curriculum Design

The goal of curriculum design is to create courses and degree requirements that deliver what you could need to learn through every stage of your educational journey. To design an effective curriculum for secondary education, designers understand the ability of middle school or high school students and are well-versed in state and federal requirements.

Curriculum design is often incorporated into an online master's in secondary education program as a course or double major.

Education Technology

Sometimes referred to as EduTech or EdTech, education technology focuses on how to use and integrate technology in learning environments. It can teach you how to use technology to your advantage, regardless of whether your classroom has one computer or various technologies.
While some colleges offer education technology double major and minors, others incorporate an education technology course or two in their secondary education degree programs. By incorporating education technology into your degree plan, you'll learn about multimedia and web-based technology, mobile technology and the design of instructional programs.


English as a Second Language (ESL) can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to teach multilingual middle school or high school students who consider English to be their second language.

Since there is a growing population of non-native English speakers in the U.S., the demand for teachers who can teach these students and accommodate their unique academic needs is significant. Some schools that offer secondary education degree online programs offer ESL as a minor.


Psychology is the study of human thought, behavior, development, and emotion. Understanding how middle school or high school students think, act and behave, can benefit you as a teacher. Since secondary education teachers teach children who are going through adolescence, you may find that a background in psychology makes it easier to relate and understand your students. Many of the best colleges for secondary education majors incorporate psychology courses into their degree programs.

How to Earn Your Teaching Credential: Secondary School

Once you graduate from one of the best secondary education colleges, it's time to pursue your teaching credential. With a teaching credential, you can officially teach a specific subject to middle school and high school students in public school environments. This differs from an elementary education teaching credential where you are prepared to teach multiple subjects in public schools.

Despite the fact that they are often used interchangeably, a teaching credential and certificate in education are not the same. A teaching credential is the licensure necessary to teach in public schools. On the other hand, a certificate of education is awarded after you complete an academic program.

Essentially, a teaching credential grants you the right to seek employment in public schools.

Can I Earn a Teaching Credential Online?

No. One of the most important components of a teaching credential is student teaching, an experience that must be completed in a physical classroom rather than a virtual one. Therefore, while it would be convenient to earn a teaching credential online, this is not an option.

Fortunately, however, secondary education degree online programs are still an option for any student who wishes to earn a teaching credential because colleges often allow students to meet their student teaching obligations at a school near their home.

Credentialing Differences Between States

Although each state has its own credentialing process, the majority of states require that you earn at least a bachelor's degree, complete a preparation program, and pass state-specific exams. Below is an overview of the teaching credential process in California, New York and Texas. For the most up-to-date requirements for earning a teaching credential, check your state's Department of Education website.

CaliforniaTexasNew York
Education RequirementsBachelor's degree, approved teacher preparation programBachelor's degree, approved teacher preparation programBachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5, approved teacher preparation program
Documentation RequirementsFingerprints and background check, transcriptsFingerprints and background check, transcriptsFingerprints and background check, transcripts
Fees$50 application fee and $1.38 service fee$134 test fee$50 for applicants who qualify for certification by completing a New York State approved program or $100 for applicants who qualify via another pathway
Test RequirementsCalifornia Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET)The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) and the Texas Examinations for Master Teachers (TExMaT)Educating All Students (EAS) Test, edTPA and Content Specialty Test (CST)
Renewal RequirementsComplete the requirements for a Clear Credential within 5 years or become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching StandardsComplete 150 continuing professional education (CPE) hours every 5 yearsComplete 3 years of teaching to earn a 3 Professional Certificate or request a request a one-time Initial Certificate Reissuance, which lasts for 5 years

The Praxis Exams

The purpose of the Praxis exam is to measure your skills and knowledge of specific subjects like math and science so you can successfully teach in middle school or high school environments. Since it can determine whether you can earn a teaching licensure and teach in a public school, it is considered a crucial exam.

While most state education agencies in the country use the Praxis exam to make decisions regarding the licensing of new teachers, not all do. Visit the official Praxis website for detailed information on the requirements in your state.

Alternate Credentialing Paths

Some states permit you to teach in middle school or high school settings without earning a teaching license. Here are a couple of examples:

Do I Need a Credential to Teach at a Private School?

You may be able to teach middle school or high school in private schools without earning a teaching credential. Here's why: Private schools do not have to meet state-specific educational standards and can therefore hire teachers without credentials.

However, if you apply to teach at a private school without a credential, you may still have to meet specific teaching requirements. For instance, a private school may implement their own credentialing program that aligns with their unique school vision and goals.

Career Outlook for a Secondary Education Degree

With a secondary education degree in hand, you can pursue a variety of career paths. Although many students find positions as middle school or high school teachers in public school or private school environments, others work in places such as private practices, child welfare agencies, community development agencies or libraries

Here's a glance at the most common careers for students who have completed a secondary education degree program, along with typical occupation requirements, job duties and responsibilities.

Secondary Education Teacher

Job Duties: Secondary education teachers teach students in middle school or high school environments. In most cases, they focus on a specific subject such as science or math. They plan, prepare, and deliver lessons, and create a positive educational environment for students and performance goals outlined by their school district.

Expected Qualifications: Professionals are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree. If they wish to find employment in a public school, a teaching license is required.

Special Education Teacher (Secondary Schools)

Job Duties: Special education teachers in middle schools or high schools work with students who have a number of different learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia. Their goal is to adapt lessons to meet the unique needs of their disabled students. They may also teach literacy and communication techniques as well as other life skills.

Expected Qualifications: To teach special education, professionals must hold a bachelor's degree. Some states require a master's degree and/or certification in special education as well as licensure.

Secondary School Principal

Job Duties: Secondary school principals manage the operations of public or private middle schools or high schools. They are responsible for ensuring their school operates smoothly and fosters a positive learning environment. On a day-to-day basis, they may critique curriculums, interpret standardized test scores, and create action plans to help improve the performance of their school.

Expected Qualifications: These professionals must hold a master's degree in a field of study such as education leadership or education administration. A valid teaching license and teaching experience are required as well.

School Counselor

Job Duties: School counselors are particularly vital for middle school and high school students who are not only going through adolescence but who are also starting to think about potential career paths. School counselors focus on assisting students with various social, emotional, and behavioral issues they may face in and out of the school environment. They can offer valuable advice, foster the development of coping mechanisms, and help students prepare for life as an adult.

Expected Qualifications: To become a school counselor, professionals must earn a master's degree in school counseling or a related subject. A school counseling internship or another clinical experience may also be necessary.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations can be useful to you if you are currently enrolled in secondary education degree programs. They can help you learn about advancements and challenges in the field and provide opportunities to network with secondary education teachers and administrators.

Known as the largest professional employee organization that is focused on advancing public education, the NEA offers a variety of resources to students studying the field of education. Some of these resources include literature, webinars, and other materials that help them understand common classroom challenges.
The NASSP may be a beneficial organization for students who hope to become secondary education principals at some point during their careers. It offers online professional development, networking opportunities, conferences and a newsletter.
Students who would like to pursue careers in middle school environments may want to join AMLE, which strives to help middle school teachers grow professionally. Members can enjoy complete access to valuable content as well as invitations to conferences and discounts on books and other resources.
The NASET helps prepare students who are pursuing careers in special education as well as help special education teachers who are already in the workforce. This organization offers a number of membership benefits including a professional development program, a weekly email newsletter, career center and printable handouts.

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