Best Online Science Education Programs
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If you enjoy studying the periodic table or visiting observatories and science museums, you may find an online bachelor's in science education program fascinating and rewarding.
Earning this degree from a top online college may lead to a career teaching science at the K-12 level or sharing your passion in museums and youth camps. The degree can also serve as a stepping stone to graduate school.
The U.S. is experiencing a severe shortage of qualified teachers, particularly in science and mathematics. A survey conducted by Frontline Education found that 2 out of 3 school systems reported shortages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $60,810 as of May 2020.
A bachelor's in science education takes about four years to complete. The College Board reports that average tuition and fees for a bachelor's degree ranged from $8,760-$37,500 for the 2020-21 academic year.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?
Success in this field requires empathy, patience, and a passion for sharing knowledge. While students' needs differ among age groups, core skills for all teachers include communication, resilience, and a desire to help others succeed.
Earning an online bachelor's in science education requires about 120 credits and takes four years of full-time enrollment to complete. Accelerated tracks can lead to a degree in 42 months. Programs may also specialize in teaching at the middle school or high school level.
To gain state licensure, prospective teachers must complete supervised classroom teaching. Teacher programs usually incorporate this component. Student teachers observe educators in the classroom before undertaking a full-time, supervised, in-classroom student teaching experience.
Student teaching lasts at least 12-20 weeks, though requirements vary by state and school. Programs may help you find local opportunities to complete these requirements.
Most programs offer concentrations, enabling students to align their education with their area of interest. Concentration offerings may include chemistry, biology, earth-space science, and physics. A bachelor's in science education provides students with thorough knowledge in their content discipline and in modern theories regarding educational approaches and learning.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
Popular Online Bachelor's in Science Education Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?
Concepts in Science
Students explore many scientific disciplines, including geosciences, chemistry, biology, and physics. Covered topics include analyzing scientific data, the nature of matter and energy, and chemical bonds.
Natural Science Lab
Students may receive a home science lab kit to complete lab experiments. Participants learn about the scientific method and use lab experiments to gather data and investigate a hypothesis.
Educational Technology for Teaching
This course explores the latest technologies used in classrooms to facilitate teaching and learning. Participants learn to evaluate hardware and software options while considering students' access to technology and other ethical factors.
Educational Psychology and Human Development
This class examines the theories of human development from early childhood through adolescence. Students learn how social and cognitive developments affect learning. They also explore the appropriate strategies for assessing and instructing diverse populations.
Introduction to Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Participants learn to assess learners' needs and the best approaches for modifying and delivering instructions based on those needs. Covered topics include creating engaging lessons that meet educational standards.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?
Admission requirements for on-campus and online bachelor's in science programs are typically similar. Some schools may require a virtual interview with an enrollment counselor. Applicants should make sure their prospective program meets their state's teacher education requirements.
Students may submit their college applications through a school's online portal or website. Many schools also use platforms such as Common App, which allows students to use a single application for multiple schools. Application forms often request contact information, standardized test scores, GPA, awards received in high school, and extracurricular activities.
Most schools request SAT or ACT scores. Today, many colleges make college entrance exams optional. In these cases, students should consider including test scores only if they would make their application stronger. Highly competitive colleges may list minimum test scores on their freshman admission requirements.
Letters of Recommendation
Many online bachelor of science programs do not request letters of recommendation from first-time students. All schools vary, so make sure to review this requirement. If requested, the best references come from high school guidance counselors, teachers, and supervisors. Ask for these letters in advance to ensure they arrive before the application deadline.
The college application essay or personal statement helps colleges understand applicants beyond their grades and test scores. An essay also demonstrates the applicant's writing ability, an important consideration in college readiness. Generally, colleges want to know about students' goals, students' formative experiences, and why they want to attend that particular school.
Students must submit official transcripts from high school and any postsecondary institutions previously attended. Many schools offer generous transfer credit policies.
Students may also submit GED credentials. Many programs require a minimum 2.5 high school GPA. Some schools consider college entrance exams and other criteria for students with lower GPAs.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Degree?
Science teachers are in high demand across the U.S., as are teachers in mathematics, foreign languages, and special education. The Economic Policy Institute projects that the school teacher shortage could result in 200,000 job openings by 2024. Supply cannot meet demand for qualified teachers and STEM educators.
This growing demand results in increased wages. For example, high school teachers earned a average annual salary of $67,340 as of May 2020, according to the BLS. However, teachers working in New York, a particularly high-demand state, earned an average of $88,890.
Not all graduates pursue positions as school teachers. Some work as science educators in youth facilities, museums, zoos, or other organizations. The following are common career paths for graduates. Keep in mind that public school teaching positions require certification. Private schools set their own criteria.
See where a bachelor's in science education can take you. Learn more about education careers and the most popular college majors.
High School Teacher
High school teachers usually instruct students in grades 9-12. They present scientific concepts, including gathering data to support scientific hypotheses. In addition to classroom instruction, these teachers use science labs for hands-on exploration of chemistry, biology, or physics. Additional responsibilities include developing lesson plans, demonstrating science experiments, and grading assignments.
Median Annual Salary: $62,870
Middle School Teacher
Middle school teachers generally teach grades 6-8, though the grades vary among districts. In many schools, these teachers specialize in their core subjects. In smaller, rural communities, they may teach a single class covering all subjects. These teachers assess students' abilities and develop lesson plans. When not teaching, they may provide lunchtime supervision or coach athletic teams.
Median Annual Salary: $60,810
Elementary School Teacher
Elementary school teachers may teach children from grades 1-5. These educators usually teach several subjects throughout the day. In some schools, these teachers work in teams. For example, one teacher may instruct children in science and math, and the other assumes responsibility for social studies and English. Many use experiential learning to help younger students grasp abstract concepts.
Median Annual Salary: $60,660
These professionals edit science textbooks or scientific journals. Educational editors ensure the content is accurate. They research resources and topic development. In journals, they may decide what articles to publish to peak scientists' interest and cover the hot topics in specific fields. Some journals receive many submissions, requiring editors to sift through a large volume of manuscripts.
Average Annual Salary (March 2022): $55,610
Museum technicians' roles vary significantly based on the museum's type, location, and size. These professionals may answer the public's questions regarding artifacts and exhibitions. They also help create exhibits and coordinate acquisitions, including loans from other museums. The BLS projects 19% job growth for museum workers from 2020-2030, a much faster rate than the average for all occupations.
Median Annual Salary: $52,140
Science Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Some students use an online science education degree as a stepping stone for graduate studies. Earning a master's may offer additional career opportunities and increased earning potential. According to the BLS, in 2020, bachelor's in education graduates earned a median weekly wage of $1,305. Master's degree-holders made $1,545.
Earning a master's degree can lead to management positions and roles as instructional coordinators, museum curators, and community college teachers. See below for common continuing education paths:
- Master's in Science Education
- Master's in Education
- Master's in Public Administration
- Master's in Curriculum and Instruction
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?
On-campus and online tuition costs for bachelor's in science education programs vary by school type and residency status. According to the College Board, in 2020, public colleges charged an average of $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state students. Private nonprofit universities came in at $37,650.
Some online programs do not charge out-of-state fees and offer relatively low annual tuition rates. For example, the online BS in science education from Western Governors University costs just $3,475 per term. Additional costs for online students include books, fees, and supplies.
Online programs offer several learning formats. Synchronous programs usually require weekly scheduled virtual class sessions. Asynchronous learning allows students to access online lectures and assignments at their own pace. Other options to consider include part-time or full-time enrollment and accelerated tracks, which lead to quicker completion.
Location also plays a role in program choice. Some online programs require on-campus participation. Aspiring teachers should make sure their prospective program would help them qualify for teaching licensure in their state. Additionally, some online programs may charge out-of-state fees. Learn more about on-campus versus online programs.
College accreditation ensures that a school and program meet high educational standards. Attending a regionally accredited college qualifies students for federal financial aid. Credits from regionally accredited schools transfer more easily as well. Programmatic accreditation can affect job prospects and eligibility for teaching certification. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits bachelor's in science education programs.
Student support services can play a critical role in students' success. Colleges offer varying levels of student support for online learners. Some provide one-on-one tutoring and scheduled virtual online workshops to support learning. Other online student services include career services, internship placement, and mentorship programs.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Science Education Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Science Education Programs
Is a bachelor's in science education worth it?
Yes. Students passionate about science and sharing their knowledge with children and adolescents may find that a bachelor's in science education leads to a rewarding career. The present need for teachers, particularly in STEM fields, results in high demand.
Today's online accredited programs offer the same level of education and employee recognition as their on-campus counterparts.
Most science education programs offer concentrations so students can focus on their field of interest. Possible specializations include chemistry, physics, earth science, and biology. Students may also use this degree as a stepping stone to graduate programs that may offer higher earning potential and increased job opportunities.
What can I do with a bachelor's in science education?
Most science education majors pursue careers as elementary, middle, or high school teachers. Some graduates also work as science educators outside of the classroom, in youth facilities, museums, zoos, and other organizations. Others use their writing and science abilities to work for science journals or textbook publishers, editing content.
Students may also use this degree to propel them to graduate school. A master's in education can lead to leadership roles like principal or school administrator and teaching positions at community colleges. A master's in curriculum development can qualify students for roles as instructional coordinators and educational consultants.
Are science education majors in demand?
Science teachers are experiencing high demand due to a severe national shortage of qualified teachers in STEM and other fields. Axios Media reported that some school districts are resorting to sending support staff, such as custodians and bus drivers, to college for teacher training.
The BLS reported that, on average, over 270,000 teachers are expected to leave their job every year from 2016-2026. In addition to the number of teachers leaving the labor force or transitioning to another career, increasing student enrollments also propel the demand for qualified teachers.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in science education?
Salaries for those with a bachelor's in science education vary based on the employer, position, location, and experience level. For example, the BLS reports that high school teachers earn a median annual salary of $62,870 as of May 2020. In public schools, that figure rises to $63,400, while private elementary and secondary school teachers earn $58,550.
Many teachers work 10 months and take off for two months in the summer. Some of these teachers continue teaching in summer school, receiving extra income. Science education majors who excel in writing and science may also work as science editors. PayScale reports that education editors earned an average salary of $54,910 as of December 2021.
What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in science education?
The salary for middle school and high school teachers varies dramatically. The top 10% of earners make median salaries exceeding $98,840 and $102,130, respectively.
States also experience different levels of teacher shortages. This strong demand and short supply translate to higher earnings. According to the BLS, New York reports the highest pay for middle school teachers, with an average annual salary of $89,150. High school teachers in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey earn average wages of $86,900, $84,130, and $78,900, respectively.
Feature Image: Jon Feingersh Photography Inc, Getty Images