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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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).


Master's in Secondary Education Program Overview

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.

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 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.

Degree Timeline

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.

Common Courses

  • Education Research
  • Principles and Procedures of Curriculum Development
  • Human Development and Learning
  • Education and Society
  • Advanced Educational Psychology

Common Careers:

  • Middle school teachers
  • High school teachers
  • Department heads
  • Curriculum designers
  • School principals
  • School counselors

Concentrations for Online Master's in Secondary Education

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.

  • Mathematics. For those who teach mathematics and want to advance their education, this specialization helps them learn concepts of middle school mathematics, as well as educational research, curriculum theory and education technology.
  • Chemistry. Those who focus on this specialization are teaching students how to understand the physical world. Educators will learn the latest strategies and research for teaching secondary school science, ways to perform assessments on student understanding and literacy in different content areas.
  • Social studies. In this concentration, you learn advanced skills that can be used in the classroom to create critical thinkers that are good citizens. The curriculum may cover topics such as inclusive teaching methods, instilling an understanding of social studies in the classroom and educational technology.
  • Reading. This concentration is for those who teach communication arts, such as reading and writing. When you enroll in the reading specialization, you may take coursework that focuses on working with students with reading disabilities, strategies for teaching writing and reading, and literacy acquisition of students from diverse backgrounds.

Career Outlook

What Can You Do with a Master's in Secondary Education?

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.

Secondary Education Salaries by State

State NameAverage SalaryAnnual Job OpeningsProjected Job Growth Potential
New York$71,3906801.2%
New Jersey$70,5701201.5%
New Hampshire$53,960201.8%
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Financial Aid for a Master's in Secondary Education

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.

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Master's in Secondary Education Certifications

Educator Certification

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

National Board Certification

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

CERI Certification

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

Media Literacy Educator Certification

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 Master's in Secondary Education

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.