Are you relatively new to the teaching profession? Or have you been in the classroom for a while and want to expand your career horizons? Whether you are a newly-minted secondary education graduate or someone who has been in the field for a while, an online master's degree in secondary education can be a great way for you to move forward in your career by mastering advanced teaching methods and gaining additional pedagogical knowledge.
You can also be able to sharpen your skills inside and outside of the classroom by earning this degree — including the ability to effectively handle lesson planning, creating and grading assignments, and communicating in the classroom with students and outside of the classroom with parents and other educators. In order to provide these skills, online secondary education degree programs have coursework that focuses on curriculum design, different teaching modalities, learning styles of adolescents and strategies for measuring and improving student engagement.
For more information on these programs, continue reading. On this page, you can find out if this degree is right for you by learning how these programs work, what schools expect of prospective students during the admissions process, what jobs are available to graduates and what types of financial aid are offered to help fund this degree.
Generally, students can take the majority of their coursework online. However, depending on the program, they may be required to participate in field experiences so they can get hands-on training in the classroom or complete seminars that are conducted on campus.
A master's in secondary education can qualify you to move up the ladder in the field and make more money. You may be able to use this degree to continue working in the classroom or to take an administrative role at a school. In addition, you can pursue a career as an educational consultant, curriculum developer or educational coordinator.
Online master's degree programs in secondary education are accredited by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
A master's in secondary education may help you advance into an administrative or leadership role at your current school or qualify you for additional job opportunities, like a position as a distance learning coordinator or a curriculum developer. As you increase your knowledge of teaching strategies on the secondary level, you can be able to implement additional research-based learning methods and state-of-the-art technology into your teaching repertoire, or your administrative position, to help your students reach their potential.
Whether your plans include working directly or indirectly with students, a master's in secondary education can help you increase your understanding and skills in areas such as educational technology, teaching strategies, content skill development and promoting inclusivity in the classroom. In addition, students will learn the latest research in the education field and discover ways to integrate these ideas into their work. More information on what earning a secondary education master's degree entails can be found below.
How Long Does an Online Master's Degree Program in Secondary Education Take?
In most cases, an online master's degree program in secondary education 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 were not a secondary education major, you may be able to enroll in a graduate program that is specifically intended to transition students from another field to secondary education.
Take foundation courses:
The goal of foundation courses 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 finished all of the required foundation courses, you can take classes 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.
The secondary education subsection of the field is made up of several areas that students can focus their studies on, so when you enroll in a master's degree program, you have the opportunity to choose a concentration that best suits your needs and goals. The following are some examples of the specializations you may be able to select in your program, based on what you want to do in the classroom.
Earning a master's in secondary education can open up many doors for you throughout your career. The following are some of the jobs that you can compete for after completing your studies.
School Principal. Many school principals work in elementary or secondary schools. These workers are typically in charge of supervising other school staff, students and support personnel, assessing student achievement data, counseling and disciplining students, and managing their school's budget and supply levels. Depending on the size of the school and the scope of responsibility, some school principals may also be in charge of coordinating building maintenance, overseeing academic goals and assessing teacher performance.
Higher Education Administrator. Higher education administrators work in a variety of educational settings performing tasks such as meeting with prospective students, analyzing school enrollment data, reviewing student applications, and preparing promotional materials about their home school and its programs. Some higher education administrators are also responsible for planning student events and advising them on academics and personal issues. While some of these professionals work in admissions, the registrar's office or in student affairs, others work as provosts or academic deans.
Distance Learning Coordinator. While other education administrators focus their efforts on their school's physical campus, distance learning coordinators pour their soul into their school's online or distance learning programs. Although many of their tasks and responsibilities are the same as other education administrators, distance learning coordinators must perform their job duties in a virtual, online setting. These professionals are required to reach out to and communicate with new and existing students, help the school market online programs and complete any required administrative paperwork.
Instructional Coordinator. Instructional coordinators are responsible for managing the curriculum and teaching standards in schools. In order to do this effectively, these professionals are required to analyze student performance data and identify what needs to be improved, make recommendations about teaching techniques that will help bring up student scores and find the right textbooks to meet the needs of the school. In addition, instructional coordinators are involved in the training of teaching staff.
Career and Technical Education Teacher. Career and technical education teachers train their students to enter a technical occupation. To that end, they craft lesson plans and assignments for students to complete and pay attention to how they perform, provide instruction on specific skills that are relevant for their future careers and ensure that students are using any classroom equipment properly. In addition, these teachers make rules that are expected to be followed in the classroom and discipline students as necessary.
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Financial concerns should not stand in the way of you being able to achieve your career goals. If you are looking for ways to defray the cost of your online master's degree in secondary education, the information below can help. Review this table in order to explore your options for financial aid.
Applicant must be actively pursuing an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or credential/licensure for the purpose of teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) subjects at a United States middle or secondary school. Applicant must be attending an accredited U.S. college or university. Graduate-level candidates must be currently enrolled in at least two semester equivalent classes; credential/licensure students must have completed a bachelor's degree in a STEM major.
Applicants must be current FFA members and high school seniors or college students planning to enroll or currently enrolled full-time. They must have one of the following undergraduate majors: agronomy, crop science, general agriculture, agricultural communications, education, journalism, extension, public relations, business management, economics, sales and marketing, engineering, mechanization, agriculture power and equipment or welding. Students only need to complete the online application one time to be considered for all FFA-administered scholarships. The application requires information about the student's activities and a 1,000-word essay. Awards may be used for books, supplies, tuition, fees and room and board. Students must show financial need and evidence of community service participation.
Applicant must be a U.S. citizen who is a full-time student with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Selection is based upon essay, transcripts, letters of recommendation, resume, and standardized test scores.
Applicant must rank in the top 15% of class and be pursing a teaching degree. Additional preference will be given to residents of the Greater Western Region of N.Y.
Applicant must be a returning student who has completed a minimum of 12 credit hours at the College. Applicant must have declared secondary science education or math education as a major or be pursuing an associate of science degree. Academic achievement must be demonstrated, while applicant must have and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The majority of applicant's classes must be on the Douglas Campus.
Applicants must be Wisconsin legal residents, be enrolled in a teacher education program and have completed or be in the process of completing a course in mathematics teaching methods. They must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Selection is based on the overall strength of the application.
Applicant must demonstrate financial need.
Applicant must rank in the top quarter of class and demonstrate leadership potential through activities and community service.
Applicant must be a senior who has a minimum 3.0 GPA and who has demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership through participation in campus organizations and has rendered service of significant benefit to the campus community.
Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited Illinois postsecondary institution in an undergraduate mathematics education curriculum that provides preparation for becoming a teacher. They must be rising juniors or seniors who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale. Applicants must be pursuing a first bachelor's degree. Selection is based on the overall strength of the application.
Applicant must be a graduating senior from Franklin Community High School who will pursue a career in secondary math education and attend an accredited college or university full-time. Financial need and minimum 2.0 GPA required.
One award is given to the Elementary Education major with the highest GPA and one award is given to the Secondary Education major with the highest GPA.
Applicant must rank in the top two-fifths of class and have a minimum combined SAT Reasoning score of 1100.
Applicant must be enrolled full-time and must submit three letters of recommendation, transcript, 150-word essay, and proof of enrollment.
Applicant must be a graduate of a public high school in Henderson County who plans to pursue an education in preparation for teaching in secondary schools. Minimum 2.5 GPA and financial need are required.
Applicant must be a top-rated full-time student entering their first year of an undergraduate program in the Faculty of Education. The award will alternate between the secondary and elementary programs.
Applicant must be majoring in elementary or secondary education.
Applicant must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in major courses and must have completed 30 credits.
Applicants must be NEA student members, major in education and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. An essay describing activities in NEA, a brief paragraph describing financial need, two letters of recommendation and a copy of the most recent transcript are required.
Applicant must be a graduating senior from New Palestine High School who resides in Brandywine or Sugar Creek Township and is pursuing a career in elementary or secondary education.
This credential from National Geographic is for educators who teach grades K-12. This program allows teachers to enhance their skills as they network with other members of the profession.
Requirements: People interested in this certification must be a K-12 instructor
Exam Format: N/A
How long does the certification last?: N/A
This is for educators who want to demonstrate their skills and expertise above and beyond their teaching license.
Requirements: Must be an experienced teacher
Exam Format: N/A
How long does the certification last?: N/A
The Center for Effective Reading Instruction offers certifications for educators who work with students with reading challenges.
Requirements: Candidates should have at least a bachelor's degree
Exam Format: 110 multiple choice questions
How long does the certification last?: One year
This certification is for K-12 teachers who demonstrate dedication to giving students the critical thinking skills they need to be informed media consumers and creators.
Requirements: Must be a licensed K-12 teacher
Exam Format: N/A
How long does the certification last?: N/A
Associations for secondary education professionals are a great way for you to continue learning, network with other people in the field and get additional credentials that help you distinguish yourself. Below are some of the organizations in which you can participate.
This organization supports middle school educators based on the tenets of integrity, collaboration, future thinking and respect. In order to provide this support, the group offers access to publications, webinars, leadership roundtables and a job board.
The NSTA has been committed to promoting science teachers since 1944. The association does this through advocacy, professional development opportunities, resources and events.
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, or ASCD, caters to educators through professional learning opportunities like webinars, industry publications and conferences.
Founded in 1994, the Association of American Educators (AAE) represents the needs of classroom teachers around the country. The group provides professional resources, liability insurance and publications, as well as scholarships for the next generation of teachers.