Best Online Master’s in Secondary Education
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With a master's in secondary education, teachers can strengthen their classroom skills and increase their earning potential. An online format makes it easier to earn a master's degree.
More than 60% of public school secondary teachers hold graduate degrees, according to 2017/2018 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Earning a master's in secondary education offers advanced training in a subject area and helps teachers stand out in the job market. In many school districts, educators with master's degrees also earn higher salaries.
An online program provides a flexible, affordable path to a teaching degree. This guide ranks the top online master's programs in secondary education. Prospective students can use these rankings to find the best fit for their interests and career goals.
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The Best Online Master's in Secondary Education
Though the school is perhaps most famous nationwide for its Crimson Tide football teams, the University of Alabama’s academics have mirrored the athletics department’s rise to prominence. As the University of Alabama has grown and invested more resources in various programs, the university has also expanded the number of degrees it offers online or through blended learning. The school’s three secondary education programs online – all which award MA degrees in secondary education – are particularly strong. Students can pursue the reading specialist (P–12 certification) and English language arts (grades six through 12 certification) degrees online without ever having to visit campus in Tuscaloosa. Online students can also enroll in the special education program, which leads to collaborative grades six through 12 certification and uses a blended learning format.
The reading specialist program consists of 36 credits while the English language arts degree only requires 30. Each program’s curriculum consists of subject–specific coursework (course titles include literary coaching and introduction to educational research, for example) in addition to practicum experiences. Admissions requirements are comprehensive, as all applicants must hold an Alabama Class B teaching license (or a comparable license in another state). In addition, all applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and a GRE score of at least 300 (or an MAT score in at least the 50th percentile). Even though the University of Alabama is proud of its service to the Yellowhammer State, all students can pay the same tuition rate regardless of their state of residence.
Based out of the city of Muncie, Indiana, Ball State University is a public research university that has historically focused on serving the residents of the Hoosier State. That focus has shifted slightly with the school’s introduction of online programs. Now, students nationwide can benefit from Ball State’s excellent master’s of arts degree in secondary education. The program does not include any concentrations and consists primarily of a broad survey of secondary education theory.
The program’s 30–credit curriculum includes courses in classroom management, educational ethics, and the sociology of education. Coursework focuses on six primary areas: multicultural education, pedagogy, research, curriculum, foundations, and technology. Taking a more theoretical approach to the discipline, the program does not include a capstone or thesis requirement but does mandate that students complete a research project on student learning.
Students at Ball State can earn their online master’s in secondary education in a year of full–time study. The school delivers its coursework asynchronously. Students enrolled in the online program need never visit campus in Muncie unless they would like to attend graduation. As Ball State prides itself on serving the citizens of Indiana, out–of–state students pay a higher tuition than Indiana residents. Applicants to the program must submit transcripts showing an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better to earn consideration for admission. Once accepted, students gain access to technology support, career support, academic support, and advising services.
Traditionally a research university, the University of North Texas has also expanded into the education field. The school’s master’s of education in teaching program includes secondary education certification. Moreover, students enrolled in the 36–credit program can earn their master’s in secondary education online without ever having to set foot on campus in Denton, Texas, as the curriculum does not include any in–person requirements. However, full–time students who live near campus are eligible for graduate assistantships that can ease some of the burden of graduate tuition.
Using an asynchronous format, the program aims to fit into the busy schedules of practicing educators, as students can graduate on time by taking a full–time schedule of courses in the summer and two courses each in the fall and spring. Required courses include studies in curriculum development, classroom discipline, and literacy development. The secondary education certification includes additional requirements in public education and the teaching profession and successful teaching in the secondary school. Furthermore, each student must complete six credits of either student teaching or practicum experiences.
All applicants to the program must apply to UNT’s Toulouse Graduate School. Toulouse requires applicants to submit transcripts showing a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in addition to GRE scores. As the flagship university of the UNT system and a proud public university, UNT charges out–of–state online students a higher tuition rate than Texas residents.
Unlike some comparable programs that award a secondary education degree online, Liberty University’s master’s of arts in teaching — secondary education program specifically targets students who have never taught before. The program’s 36–credit curriculum includes studies in profession–specific foundational areas, such as classroom management and curriculum design. The curriculum also opts for a broad approach, as students complete coursework in mathematics, science, social studies, and literacy teaching. At the program’s conclusion, students must complete a three–credit internship or student teaching experience. Upon graduation, students are certified and ready to teach in middle or high school classrooms.
Liberty also distinguishes itself from other online secondary education degree offerings through its flexibility regarding transfer students. Incoming students may apply up to 18 approved, previously–earned credits toward their degree. However, students are not able to complete the entire program online, as Liberty requires the completion of certain “intensives” on campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty offers its coursework asynchronously in its online programs and allows students to pursue both full and part–time courses of study. Most students complete the program in five semesters.
In order to earn unconditional admission to Liberty’s MA in teaching program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Liberty does not require applicants to graduate programs to submit GRE scores. As a private university, Liberty charges out–of–state online students the same tuition as Virginia residents.
Although the University of Central Missouri originally focused on serving the population in and around the town of Warrensburg, Missouri, the school now enrolls students in 60 countries thanks to its slate of distance education programs. As UCM’s first iteration was a teacher’s college, the school’s online master’s of arts degree in teaching – which includes concentrations in secondary education or middle school education – is particularly strong. Requiring two years to complete, the program results in teacher certification for grades six through 12.
In addition to certification and practical topics such as classroom discipline and curriculum development, the program consists of theory, including studies in advanced foundations of education and advanced educational psychology. The 30–credit curriculum also includes a mandatory internship and a research course. While online students in the program never need to visit campus in Warrensburg, students who prefer a blended learning model can choose to take select courses face–to–face. UCM’s online programs deliver coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard platform.
In order to earn the chance to complete their online degrees in secondary education at UCM, all applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better. UCM does not require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores. Though UCM is a state school, the university’s online programs form a large portion of its identity. As such, all online students pay the same per–credit tuition rate regardless of their state (or country) of residence.
The largest institution of higher learning in the southern part of Georgia, Georgia Southern University operates a diverse range of programs and enrolls an eclectic group of students from all 50 states and 102 countries. GSU’s expanding online presence has only extended the university’s national and global reach, allowing the school to serve students who live well beyond the environs of campus in Statesboro.
GSU’s master’s of education in secondary education program requires a total of 36 credits. Unlike comparable programs, GSU’s M.Ed targets teachers who already hold a teaching certification in a major subject area (science, English, mathematics, history, etc). As such, the curriculum combines content area–specific studies with broader coursework in educational trends, issues, research, and learning methods. Each student chooses a concentration area that matches his or her certification area. Students usually complete the program in 12–24 months.
In addition to possessing a teaching certificate, all applicants to GSU’s online M.Ed program must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or better. In addition, all applicants must submit either GRE or MAT scores. All online students can pay the same tuition per–credit, even if they reside outside of the friendly confines of the Peach State.
Based in the quintessential Maine town of Orono, the University of Maine is one of the few universities nationwide to have earned sea, space, and land grant distinctions. That diversity extends to the university’s online programs, which include a variety of undergraduate and graduate options. Among these options is UMaine’s master’s of education in elementary and secondary education program, which includes a concentration in curriculum, assessment, and instruction.
Requiring a total of 33 credits, the program consists of eight core courses and three electives. Those core courses include studies in educational assessment, curriculum dynamics, and classroom practices. There are no thesis or capstone requirements in the curriculum. As the program is primarily theory and research–based in nature, students do not have internship or student teaching experiences. Online students never need to visit campus in Orono, as there are no in–person requirements. The program uses asynchronous learning and most students earn their degree in 12–24 months.
Like many comparable secondary education programs online, UMaine’s M.Ed program allows transfer students to apply up to six credits toward their degree. Students transferring from another branch of the University of Maine may bring up to 12 credits with them. As the flagship university of the Pine Tree State, the University of Maine charges out–of–state students a higher tuition rate than Maine residents. In order to earn admission, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Applicants who do not meet that threshold must submit MAT (preferred) or GRE scores.
Based just outside of Atlanta in the eponymous city of Kennesaw, Kennesaw State University is one of the largest universities in Georgia and one of the 50 largest public universities in the entire nation. In recent years, the university has allocated substantial resources into its online learning department. As a result, students can now earn their master’s in secondary education online at KSU.
KSU’s master’s of education in secondary education program is standards–based and content–focused and includes concentrations in three content areas: English, history, and mathematics. These three concentrations eschew on–campus requirements and utilize a cohort model, and students can earn their degree without ever visiting Kennesaw by completing asynchronous coursework online. Students willing to earn a hybrid degree that includes select on–campus requirements can also pursue a concentration in science.
No matter their chosen concentration, students must complete 36 credits to earn their M.Ed degree. Transfer students may apply up to nine approved credits toward their degree. In order to earn admission to the program, applicants must already have a teaching credential in their concentration field. Applicants must also have earned a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75. All online students at KSU can pay the same tuition rate regardless of location.
Originally a branch of the College of William & Mary, Old Dominion University became an independent institution in 1962, and has since grown into one of the largest universities in Virginia. The public research university is based in the city of Norfolk and enrolls nearly 25,000 students in total. Old Dominion has offered distance education for over 30 years, and now offers 89 degrees entirely online. Two such programs award an online secondary education degree: the master’s of science program in secondary education (grades six through 12) with initial Virginia licensure and its sister program, which enrolls teachers who have already earned licensure.
While the initial VA licensure program requires students to earn a total of 34 credits to graduate, the licensed teachers program requires only 30. Students in the initial VA licensure program can choose from concentrations in a variety of content areas, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, English, history, and TESOL. Students in the licensed teachers program take content courses in the area in which they have already earned certification.
Each program mixes synchronous and asynchronous elements, as students occasionally must attend live class meetings via webcam. Each program is cohort–based and typically takes students 18 months to complete. As ODU prides itself on serving Virginia’s students, out–of–state online students are not able to pay in–state tuition.
Unlike several comparable secondary education programs online, Wisconsin Lutheran University’s master’s of arts degree in transition to teaching — which can include secondary certification/licensure — caters specifically to mid–career professionals who are not satisfied with their current trade and want to switch to teaching. Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field are also welcome to apply to the program.
The program’s curriculum consists of 42 credits, which typically takes students 24 months to complete. Using both synchronous and asynchronous elements, coursework includes studies in educational research design, human relations for educators, and content area–specific offerings. Students must also complete a six–credit capstone experience which blends theory and practice to earn their master’s degree. Students who do not wish to complete the capstone can still earn their certification, but do not earn a master’s degree.
Online students also benefit from access to WLU’s advising and Student Success Center services. WLU does not list minimum GPA or standardized test requirements for admission to the program. Once accepted, all students can pay the same per–credit tuition rate even if they don’t live in Wisconsin. In addition, teachers currently practicing in a K–12 Christian school receive a 25% discount on their tuition.
Based out of Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University’s Hilltopper football and basketball teams have earned national acclaim for punching above their weight. That quality extends beyond the basketball court and the football field, as WKU’s distance education programs compete with the best universities nationwide. WKU has been expanding since the 1990s, both physically and online.
WKU’s master’s of arts program in education (MAE) for teacher leaders (secondary education) is an example of the high quality of the university’s distance education programs. The 30–37 credit curriculum is divided into two categories: professional education (10–16 credits) and specialization (18 credits). The professional education core consists of broad studies in pedagogy and leadership, while specialization options include biology, ESL, literacy, mathematics, history, and exceptional education.
In order to earn admission to the MAE program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better. Students who don’t meet this threshold must submit GRE scores. All transfer applicants must have earned a GPA of 3.0 or better in all previous graduate coursework. Applicants must also provide proof of either teacher certification or eligibility for teacher certification. WKU prides itself on serving the Bluegrass State, and as such, out–of–state students are not able to pay in–state tuition and practicing Kentucky teachers receive an extra discount.
Operating out of the city of Starkville, affectionately known as “Stark Vegas” by locals and fans of the university’s football team, Mississippi State University is one of the flagship universities of the Magnolia State. The university is well–known as a doctoral research land–grant university. However, Mississippi State also hosts a major distance education program, including two online degrees in secondary education: a master’s of arts program in teaching (secondary alternate route, known as MATS) and a master’s of science program in secondary education (SEED) .
While the SEED program requires each student to complete a total of 33 credits, the MATS program only requires 30. The SEED curriculum consists primarily of theory courses, including studies in improving instruction, issues of accountability, and advanced planning and managing. Each SEED student also selects a specialization in a content area. Options include biology, business, chemistry, reading, mathematics, and social studies.
The MATS curriculum is a bit different, focusing more on practical areas, such as teaching reading in secondary schools. The MATS program also includes a mandatory six–credit internship in a secondary school. Despite Mississippi State’s state school status, all students in the MATS and SEED programs can pay the same tuition rate whether they live in Mississippi. Applicants to both programs must submit GRE scores, while applicants to the SEED program must also provide proof of a teaching credential.
Created by the Alabama Legislature in the city of Mobile in 1963, the University of South Alabama – known as just “South” for short – is perhaps best known for its research programs and its medical school. However, South also operates online programs in several different fields, including a master’s of education program in secondary education, which leads to certification in P–12 English for speakers of other languages.
The program consists of two pathways: the standard M.Ed degree and the alternative M.Ed degree. The standard pathway is open to teachers who have already earned certification. Once they arrive at South, these teachers need only complete 30 credits – including studies in writing skills in English, advanced reading fluency in English, and models of ESL instruction – to earn their online secondary education degree. The alternative pathway – designed for teachers who are not yet certified – requires students to complete a total of 42 credits. Upon graduation, students in the alternative pathway program are prepared for certification. Students in the alternative pathway program typically graduate in five to six months.
In order to earn admission to either pathway, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. Applicants must also submit evidence of a passing score on either an appropriate PRAXIS test or the MAT/GRE. South does not allow out–of–state online students to pay the same tuition as Alabama residents.
Originally founded as a regional university — the school operates campuses in the cities of Yuma and Flagstaff in addition to smaller satellite campuses throughout the state — Northern Arizona University now prides itself on its ability to serve students worldwide through its distance education programs. The school’s master’s of education in secondary education with a continuing professional emphasis allows students to earn their master’s in secondary education online without ever having to set foot in the Grand Canyon State.
NAU’s 30–credit M.Ed program combines theoretical and practical elements, including courses in research, the foundations of educational law, and the cultural foundations of education. Students must also complete either a capstone research project or a thesis at the conclusion of their studies. NAU delivers program coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard Learn platform.
In order to earn admission to the program, applicants must submit proof of an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. NAU does not require applicants to submit GRE scores. NAU also does not accept transfer credits towards the program requirements. As the university prides itself on the accessibility of its online programs and aims to enroll students across the nation, all online students pay the same per–credit tuition rate at NAU.
Mississippi College is the oldest college in the Magnolia State, one of the oldest Baptist–affiliated colleges in the nation, and the first college in the U.S. to award a degree to a woman. Based in Clinton (a city west of Jackson, the capital), MC is perhaps best known nationwide for its nursing and business programs. Nevertheless, the college offers strong programs in other areas, including the online master’s of education degree in teaching arts (secondary grades seven through 12).
MC’s teaching arts degree has a bit of a different focus than most secondary education programs online. In addition to studies in industry standard areas, such as curriculum development, technology in education, and psychology of exceptional children, MC’s M.Ed in teaching arts program focuses on imparting the “six dimensions of leadership”: resource, informational, instructional, political, organizational, and personal/interpersonal. In addition, each student must complete a six–credit internship in a school. All students with a GPA of less than 3.75 in graduate coursework must also complete a comprehensive exam at the conclusion of their studies.
In order to earn admission to MC’s M.Ed program, applicants must have completed the PRAXIS I and II with satisfactory scores. All applicants must also have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better. As a private college, MC charges each online student the same tuition rate, regardless of their state residency status.
A Southern Baptist–affiliated university based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, William Carey University primarily focuses on the liberal arts. The university is named after a missionary and linguist who traveled to India in the 18th century. WM Carey offers online programs in nursing, education, natural and behavioral sciences, and music and ministry studies.
WM Carey’s master’s of education program in secondary education requires each student to earn a total of 30 credits in three categories: professional education, specialized concentrations, and electives. Professional courses include broad, industry standard areas, such as curriculum planning and the historical/philosophical foundations of education. The secondary education concentration does not include any practicum, internship, or capstone courses, but it does include studies in secondary methods and technology in education.
WM Carey delivers online coursework asynchronously through the Canvas platform. Applicants to the M.Ed program need only submit their undergraduate transcripts to earn consideration for admission. WM Carey does not require its graduate applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores and does not list minimum GPA requirements. As a private university, WM Carey charges each online student the same per–credit tuition even if they reside outside of the Magnolia State. Transfer applicants may apply up to six approved credits toward their online master’s in secondary education at WM Carey.
A Roman Catholic and Franciscan–affiliated liberal arts university based in northeastern Indiana, the University of St. Francis enrolls over 2,000 students, most of whom hail from the Midwest. The school also offers several degrees online, including an online master’s of arts in teaching program.
USF’s MAT program delivers its coursework asynchronously, and students can earn their online master’s in secondary education in 12 months. Students can pursue both an initial licensure track and a non–licensure track. Students who complete the initial licensure track are prepared to enter the classrooms of students in grades five through 12 upon graduating. Possible courses in the program include integrated classroom technology, collaborative classrooms and schools, and responsive classroom management. Students can also optionally complete internships and practicum experiences.
USF’s MAT program prefers applicants who have earned an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better if they are pursuing the licensure track (2.5 is the minimum for the non–licensure track). Applicants can also earn acceptance if they have a 2.75 GPA and five years of professional experience. The school admits applicants who do not meet these thresholds if they can submit a Pearson CORE score of at least 220. Once accepted, all students in the MAT program can pay the same tuition rate no matter their location.
Despite its potentially confusing name, California University is not located in the Golden State. Instead, Cal U calls the city of California, Pennsylvania home. Nevertheless, students well beyond California and Pennsylvania can benefit from Cal U’s myriad programs, as the university’s Global Online department offers over 75 entirely online programs. The school’s offerings include an online master’s in secondary education program: the master’s of education degree in advanced studies in secondary education and teacher leadership.
Students can complete the Cal U M.Ed program without ever having to visit campus in Pennsylvania. The program runs on a cohort model — with the same group of students progressing through the same set of courses — and uses an asynchronous course format. The curriculum includes studies in advanced classroom management, advanced instructional technology, and instructional design and assessment. All students in the program must complete a research project at the conclusion of their studies.
In order to earn admission to Cal U’s M.Ed program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate of GPA of 2.8 or better. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or MAT scores, but they do need to submit proof of a teaching certification. Despite its roots as a state school, Cal U charges out–of–state online students the same discounted tuition rate as Pennsylvania residents.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe is one of nine institutions that make up the University of Louisiana system. ULM is perhaps best known for its programs in business, English, family and marriage counseling, and pharmacy. ULM offers several teacher preparation programs as well, including two master’s of arts in teaching programs online: an MAT in secondary education and an MAT in secondary education and special education for students in grades six through 12 with mild to moderate disabilities.
While the secondary education program requires students to complete 36 credits to earn their master’s in secondary education online, the special education program requires 42 credits. ULM delivers coursework asynchronously for both programs. In order to earn admission, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or better and a passing score on the PRAXIS. Applicants who do not meet these requirements can still earn admission if they scored a 22 or above on the ACT. Applicants must also demonstrate content area knowledge. As a state school, ULM does not permit out–of–state online students to pay in–state tuition.
A member of the public University System of Georgia, Columbus State University became a four–year institution approximately two decades ago. Particularly, renowned for its business and music programs, CSU also offers two online master’s of arts in teaching secondary education programs: an MAT in mathematics and an MAT in science. Each program is completely online, as enrolled students need never visit campus in Columbus.
Students enrolled in CSU’s MAT programs can pursue certification in biology, physics, chemistry, earth/space science, and mathematics at the secondary level (grades six through 12). The program’s curriculum consists of 39 credits, including studies in classroom management, transition to teaching, and methods in teaching for either secondary mathematics or secondary science. The curriculum’s practical requirements are extensive, as students must complete a practicum, an internship, and student teaching.
In order to earn admission, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or better. In addition, if applicants do not meet a minimum threshold of SAT, ACT, or GRE scores, they must complete GACE program admission tests with a satisfactory score. Online students can pay the same tuition rate regardless of location.
A quick note for out–of–state students: state regulations limit the distance education programs that CSU can offer in certain states. Out–of–state applicants must contact to school to ensure that they can in fact enroll in the program.
Operating campuses throughout the Bayou State, Northwestern State University of Louisiana chose the city of Natchitoches for its central campus. A member of the University of Louisiana System, NSU has been famous for nursing and business programs since its inception in the 19th century. The school has since developed its other departments and expanded its presence in the distance education sphere. As a result, online learners can now complete three different online degrees in secondary education: a master’s of education degree with a concentration in middle grades (grade four through eight) and secondary (grades six through 12) mild/moderate special education, and two separate master’s of arts in teaching programs, one in secondary education and the other in both secondary education and special education.
Each program is available entirely online without any visits to Natchitoches required, and each program delivers coursework asynchronously. Each program takes 12–24 months to complete, as the secondary education MAT program consists of 33 credits and the secondary/special education MAT program requires 39. Students in these two programs must pass the PRAXIS II in their chosen content area before progressing to the internship stage of the curriculum. Despite NSU’s membership in the University of Louisiana system, all online students pay the same tuition regardless of their place of residence.
Located mere steps from the Mississippi River in the city of Cape Girardeau, Southeast Missouri State University is a regional university. The university extends its reach nationally through its 16 online programs, which include two online degrees in secondary education: a master’s of arts program in secondary school administration and a master’s of arts program in secondary education that includes options in either educational technology or educational studies.
SEMO’s secondary school administration program requires a total of 30 credits, which takes most students five semesters. Coursework includes studies in research methods and curriculum for educational leaders and two required internships. In order to gain admission, applicants must submit proof of a teaching license.
The 33–credit secondary education program does not require a teaching license. Students earn 15 credits in either educational technology, with courses covering the internet in education and instructional design and tech, or in educational studies, which is fulfilled by open electives. SEMO delivers both programs asynchronously. Neither program requires the GRE for admission. Applicants must submit transcripts showing an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better. Students in both programs pay the same tuition no matter where they call home.
Based in the city of Adelphi, the University of Maryland – University College seems like a typical regional university at first glance. However, UMUC also operates campuses globally in Europe and Asia. In addition, UMUC is one of the largest universities in the world in terms of distance education enrollment. In 2015 alone, the school processed nearly 250,000 online course enrollments worldwide.
The master’s of arts in teaching program is included in UMUC’s vast slate of degrees available online. The 30–credit curriculum consists of five six–credit courses, including studies in reading and multiple literacies and foundations of teaching for learning. In addition, each student must complete a practicum and an internship. Students must take the PRAXIS II in their chosen content area before graduating. The program delivers coursework asynchronously and enrolled students are never required to visit Adelphi to earn their secondary education degree online.
In order to earn admission to UMUC’s MAT program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better in a field related to their proposed content area. Applicants must also have earned a “qualifying score” on the PRAXIS I, GRE, SAT, or ACT. UMUC does not permit out–of–state online students to pay in–state tuition.
A private research university operating four campuses throughout the Empire State – Yorktown Heights, the Bronx, Manhattan, and a hub campus in Dobbs Ferry – Mercy College offers an online secondary education degree (a master’s of science) with six possible content areas: biology, chemistry, English, history, mathematics, and physics. Each program requires students to complete a total of 36 credits to earn their degree.
Students in the biology, English, history, and mathematics content areas can pursue a BS/MS dual degree that allows them to complete 15 master’s credits during their undergraduate studies. Students in all content areas must complete the same five core secondary education graduate courses, including education foundations from different perspectives and educational psychology and adolescent development. MC delivers coursework in each content area asynchronously through the Blackboard platform, and students need never visit campus in New York to earn their degree.
Transfer students in each content area may apply six approved and previously earned credits to their MC degree. First time applicants must submit transcripts showing an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better; however, MC does not require GRE or MAT scores for admission. As a private university, all students enrolled in online programs at Mercy pay the same tuition.
University of the Cumberlands is an affiliate of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Located in the mountains in the city of Williamsburg, Kentucky, UC manages to reach students nationwide through a focused group of online programs. One such offering – the master’s of arts degree in teaching with an emphasis in secondary education (grades eight through 12) – is a great option for unlicensed students who hold a bachelor’s degree and want to become educators. Students typically take 18 months to complete the program.
The program’s 30–credit curriculum focuses primarily on broad topics in pedagogy and learning. Coursework includes studies in instructional design and curriculum, classroom management, and the modern secondary school. Each student must also choose an emphasis area. Options include biology, earth science, mathematics, chemistry, English, social studies, and physics. Students conclude the program with a three–credit internship or practicum. UC delivers its coursework asynchronously, giving students the flexibility to complete coursework when it is convenient for them.
Applicants to the program must submit either GRE or PRAXIS I scores and transcripts showing a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better or a GPA of 3.0 or better over the last 30 credits of undergraduate study. Transfer applicants can apply up to nine approved credits toward their online master’s in secondary education. UC charges all students in the program the same tuition rate, even non–Kentucky residents.
Based in sun–soaked Hawaii, Chaminade University of Honolulu is a Marianist–affiliated university specializing in nursing, criminal justice, business, and education. In recent years, the university has begun offering some of its programs online, including the master’s of arts degree in teaching, which leads to secondary education licensure. Unlike comparable secondary education programs online, Chaminade uses an accelerated schedule that delivers courses in 10–week terms, allowing its students to graduate with licensure within 21 months.
Each student enrolled in the secondary education program must select a content area concentration in either mathematics, social studies, science, or English. While Chaminade uses an asynchronous format in its online programs, the MAT faculty can give each student plenty of individual attention thanks to small class sizes. The curriculum consists of 36 credits and includes studies in learning environments, diverse learners, and the history and the profession of educators. Each student must also pass the PRAXIS II in his or her content area and complete student teaching before graduating.
Chaminade requires applicants to the MAT program to submit transcripts showing an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better to earn consideration for admission. The school charges each student in the MAT program the same tuition rate, even if they live on one of the islands of Hawaii.
Formerly an agricultural school, Southern Arkansas University has since expanded its focus to include a variety of fields, offering rare programs such as game and animation design. This innovation is doubly impressive given that SAU is one of the few institutions of higher learning in its region, as its campus — based in the city of Magnolia — sits in a rural area near the Louisiana border. The school’s progressive thinking extends to distance education, as SAU offers numerous programs online, including several education degrees.
Students can pursue online degrees in secondary education through two of those online programs: a master’s of arts degree in teaching and a master’s of education degree in curriculum and instruction. The two 30–credit degrees share many commonalities, as both programs take two years to complete, use an asynchronous format, and do not allow out–of–state online learners to pay in–state tuition.
The two programs also share two required courses: classroom management and classroom assessment. At that point, the MAT program diverges more toward content area–specific studies (students choose a concentration, such as agriculture, art, English, life science, or mathematics) while the M.Ed program takes a broader, more theoretical approach to the discipline, with students completing studies in advanced curriculum design and technology in education.
While the MAT program concludes with student teaching, the M.Ed program opts for a capstone project. The MAT program does not require GRE or MAT scores for admission, and the M.Ed program only requires GRE or MAT scores for students who have an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.0.
The liberal arts wing of the University of Arkansas system, the University of Arkansas at Monticello aims to serve students beyond the “land of opportunity.” To that end, UAM offers in–state tuition to students in six nearby states. UAM’s efforts to expand beyond Arkansas have also resulted in the creation of several online programs, including the university’s master’s of arts in teaching (grades seven through 12 secondary) program.
UAM’s 30–credit program targets both recent graduates and professionals who are seeking a career change, those with bachelor’s degrees but no teaching certification. The program aims to provide these students with an online master’s in secondary education in the most expedient manner possible, allowing them to quickly enter the classroom. Students can complete the degree in a year of full–time study (two summer terms, a fall term, and a spring term).
Coursework includes studies in classroom management, instructional technology, and teaching reading. Students must also complete two internship experiences before graduating. UAM does not list a minimum GPA requirement for graduate admission, but all applicants must submit GRE scores. UAM does not allow out–of–state online students to pay the same tuition rate as in–state students.
Based out of the city of Livingston, the University of West Alabama was originally a school for women. Eventually, the school became a state teachers college before reaching its current iteration as a public, regional university. Nevertheless, the school remembers its roots, priding itself on educator preparation programs. One such offering, the master’s of education program, which includes high school (grades six through 12) certification, allows students nationwide to earn their secondary education degree online without ever having to visit the Yellowhammer State.
Students enrolled in UWA’s M.Ed program must complete 34 credits to graduate. Those 34 credits usually take students a year to complete. With multiple start dates throughout the year and asynchronous coursework, UWA aims for flexibility above all in its online programs. The M.Ed curriculum consists of 19 credits of professional courses — including broad studies in technology education, foundations of education, and educational psychology — and 15 credits of teaching field courses, which consist of content area studies. Students in the program can specialize in social science, mathematics, science, English language arts, mathematics, history, or biology.
Transfer students may apply up to nine approved credits toward the program. Although UWA is a state university, the school allows all online students to pay the same per–credit tuition rate.
A public liberal arts university based out of Spearfish, South Dakota, Black Hills State University is home to students from all 66 South Dakota counties, 44 states, and 32 countries and offers several programs online. Online students who are interested in becoming educators can pursue BHSU’s master’s of science in secondary education program.
Known as Project SECOND, the program takes students one or two years to complete. The most common completion time is three consecutive semesters (summer, fall, spring) of full–time study. The program’s 35–credit curriculum combines theory and practice and includes coursework in characteristics and exceptionalities of adolescents, new and emerging technologies for schools, and South Dakota Indian studies. In addition, each student must complete a six–credit student teaching experience. BHSU uses the Desire2Learn online platform to deliver coursework asynchronously.
Applicants must have earned an undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or better to earn consideration for admission. BHSU does not require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores, and unlicensed teachers are welcome to apply. As BHSU does not allow out–of–state students enrolled in the online secondary education degree program to pay in–state tuition.
Online Master's in Secondary Education Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
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What Is an Online Master's in Secondary Education?
Teachers can pursue master's degrees to strengthen their training, specialize their skills, and advance their careers. An online master's in secondary education can offer a flexible route to a graduate degree.
This degree may appeal to current teachers and individuals looking to shift careers into education. Teachers often increase their earning potential or move into specialized career paths after earning a master's degree. Some programs offer licensure for those without prior teaching experience. Students seeking a career change can also consider bachelor's degrees in education.
During a master's degree, graduate students complete courses in education and their teaching areas. Many programs incorporate practicum hours to gain practical experience. Graduate students can also complete requirements to add certifications or endorsements to their teaching licenses.
Why Get an Online Master's Degree in Secondary Education?
A master's degree in secondary education helps educators add specializations to their teaching licenses, move into leadership roles, and increase their earning potential. The degree also helps professionals launch their teaching careers.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Master's in Secondary Education?
Earning a master's degree in secondary education online typically takes two years for full-time students. Some programs offer accelerated one-year pathways to the degree. Learners can also consider part-time enrollment options.
During a master's program, secondary education students complete online coursework and meet student teaching or practicum requirements. Learners can choose concentrations and electives to focus their coursework. For example, some programs offer courses related to online teaching. Programs may also require master's exams or master's thesis projects to graduate.
Secondary Education Concentrations and Certifications
Most middle school and high school teachers need a teaching license or certification. Educators also need an endorsement or certificate in their subject area. Students earning a master's in secondary education often choose concentrations to focus their coursework. These concentrations prepare educators for certification in their subjects.
Common secondary education concentrations include English language arts, science, history/social science, and mathematics. Educators can also specialize in special education, teaching English as a second language (TESL), gifted and talented education, and educational technology. This section introduces common concentrations in master's in secondary education programs.
A master's in science education combines graduate courses in science with classes in teaching methods and strategies. Learners take classes in their science subjects while studying classroom management, differentiated instruction, and inclusive classrooms. The program may also include practicum hours. This degree prepares educators for board certification as science teachers.
A concentration in English/language arts emphasizes teaching secondary-level reading, writing, and comprehension skills. Educators study research on English education, curriculum development, and program evaluation. The concentration may include classroom practicum hours. A master's helps teachers become board certified English Language Arts teachers.
A mathematics concentration provides graduate-level coursework in core math concepts and the best practices in math education. The concentration covers topics like algebra, geometry, and calculus. Learners also strengthen their approach to teaching math. After earning a master's degree, graduates can become board certified math teachers.
History and social studies teachers at the secondary level cover core topics like U.S. history, U.S. government, world history, and civics. This concentration combines graduate courses in history with training in education methods. Graduates can pursue board certification as social studies and history teachers.
A concentration in TESL emphasizes language acquisition education. Educators learn how to explain language structure and teach language skills to secondary students. The coursework also covers topics like technology in TESL and English immersion techniques. Graduates can work as ESL teachers in middle schools and high schools.
Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Secondary Education
Master's programs in secondary education set prerequisite requirements for admission. Each applicant typically needs a bachelor's degree, and some programs require an education or teaching major. Certain programs may also require a current teaching license.
Applicants must also meet minimum GPA requirements and potentially submit standardized test scores from the GRE or Praxis. Finally, a program may require letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. Before selecting programs, prospective students should ensure that they meet the admission requirements.
How Much Does an Online Master's Degree in Secondary Education Cost?
Earning a master's degree in secondary education typically costs $9,000-$22,000. The total cost varies depending on the program, enrollment status, and credit requirements.
Master's students can lower the cost of their degree in several ways. Applicants should seek out affordable programs. An online learning format makes it easier to attend an affordable program in another state. Prospective enrollees should research scholarships, tuition discounts, and financial aid opportunities. Master's students qualify for the TEACH Grant and other forms of financial aid.
Choosing an Online Master's in Elementary Education Program
When researching online master's in secondary education programs, applicants should consider several factors, including cost, program length, and class formats. Some schools offer tuition discounts for fully online learners, and working educators may prefer the flexibility of an asynchronous learning format.
Applicants should also research topics like specialization options, student teaching requirements, and licensure eligibility. For instance, some master's programs offer initial licensure, while others do not. Educators interested in specific career paths should make sure the program meets the requirements in their state for a license or endorsement.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Elementary Education Degrees
Prospective master's students should research college accreditation before applying to secondary education programs. Accredited universities meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees. In addition to school accreditation, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) grants accreditation to education programs. In some states, only CAEP-accredited degrees meet the requirements for an educator license.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Secondary Education?
A master's in secondary education prepares graduates for many diverse careers. Educators can pursue careers as middle school teachers, high school teachers, special education teachers, and school administrators.
|Median Salary (2020):$66,970|
Instructional coordinators manage a school's curriculum and teaching standards. These professionals develop materials to meet curriculum standards and assess their effectiveness by reviewing test data. Instructional coordinators introduce educators to teaching techniques and technologies. They also recommend changes to improve student learning. An instructional coordinator needs a master's degree. In some states, the position requires a school administrator license.
|Median Salary (2020):$62,870|
High school teachers prepare learners for the workforce or college. They educate students in subjects like science, history, English, and mathematics. High school teachers prepare and deliver lesson plans, assess each learner's strengths and weaknesses, and enforce classroom policies. They usually hold a secondary education degree with coursework in their teaching field. Public school teachers generally need teaching licensure or certification.
|Median Salary (2020):$62,460|
Career and technical secondary education teachers train high schoolers in vocational skills like automotive repair, culinary arts, and technology. They teach students how to use machinery or master techniques. These teachers also demonstrate lessons and guide students through practical assignments. Typically, career and technical education teachers need professional experience in their subjects. Many states offer separate licensure tracks for these educators.
|Median Salary (2020):$61,420|
Special education teachers educate learners with disabilities. At the secondary level, they adapt lessons for students with mild or moderate disabilities. Special education teachers also help learners with severe disabilities learn basic skills. In addition to specialized coursework, a special education teacher often needs a teaching license with a special education endorsement. A master's in secondary education with a special education focus generally meets the requirements.
|Median Salary (2020):$61,410|
ESL teachers specialize in educating English language learners. At the secondary level, ESL teachers work with middle schoolers and high schoolers who do not speak English as their native language. They educate learners in core secondary subjects while strengthening their English grammar, writing, and communication skills. ESL teachers at public schools typically need teaching licenses.
|Median Salary (2020):$60,810|
Middle school teachers prepare students for high school by educating learners in core subjects. They specialize in subjects like social studies, mathematics, science, and language arts. A middle school teacher creates lesson plans that align with their district's curriculum. They assess student learning and identify areas for improvement. At public middle schools, teachers generally need state-issued teaching licenses with endorsements in their teaching areas.
Common Questions About Master's in Secondary Education Programs
A master's in education helps teachers advance their classroom skills and pursue specialized roles. Educators can add endorsements to their teaching licenses and increase their earning potential by earning master's degrees.
A middle school teacher generally holds a bachelor's or master's in secondary education. These degrees blend coursework on teaching with classes in the educator's teaching area.
Most high school teachers major in education. A secondary education degree includes student teaching experience and meets the requirements for teaching licensure.
Yes. Educators with master's degrees typically earn higher salaries than teachers with bachelor's degrees. In many districts, a master's degree qualifies teachers for a higher salary schedule.
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