Best Online Secondary Education Programs

Read on to learn more about our ranking of the best online bachelor's in secondary education programs nationwide. Use this resource to compare schools by cost, quality, and convenience to...
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High school teachers help students prepare for college and their professional lives after high school. In a bachelor's in secondary education, you learn how to manage diverse classrooms, develop programs that encourage critical thinking, and deliver lessons with professionalism. The training can lead to generalist and specialized teacher roles and various continuing education options.

Rising student populations should drive demand in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% growth for education occupations between 2020 and 2030. That projection equates to more than 920,500 new jobs across the industry, with high school teachers accounting for more than 75,000 of those jobs.

Here, we explore an online bachelor's in secondary education and rank the best programs from the top online schools. We also outline what you can expect from the training, the admissions process, and potential careers.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Program?

The typical online bachelor's in secondary education features about 120 credits. The degree usually takes students four years to complete. The program's first half often focuses on foundation building and general education. Coursework may also include adolescent learning and development and classroom management.

In the program's second half, learners may choose a teaching specialization. Options include English, mathematics, or special education. They also complete field observations, supervised placements, and workshops to build practical experience. These experiences help students qualify for their state licensure exam.

Degree-seekers might encounter many secondary education degree types, including a B.Ed., BA, and BS. The most common degrees that most directly align with teaching education and certification standards are B.Ed. degrees. BS and BA degrees may offer more interdisciplinary study and professional opportunities. Aspiring teachers should ensure their selected program qualifies them for licensure.

The training involved with earning an online bachelor's degree does not vary much from similar on-campus programs. Online students can usually take workshops virtually and complete placements locally. However, out-of-state students should verify if their chosen program will qualify them for licensure in their desired state.

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Popular Online Bachelor's in Secondary 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 Secondary Education Program?

Psychological Foundations of Learning and Development

This course examines learning and development theories. Students focus on adolescent cognitive development, behaviorism, and conditioning. They may look at various forms of learning, including social learning and memorization.

Inclusive Education

In this course, students learn how to create inclusive classrooms for diverse learners. They look at teaching methods for meeting the needs of students in special education. In addition, they study various learning styles.

Educational Technologies

Students in this course learn how teachers integrate technology into their lesson plans for the most effective outcomes. They explore curriculum designs with technology in mind. Course topics include introducing new media and using blended learning environments.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

In this course, students examine methods for designing curricula that get the most from high school learners. They look at various assessment strategies and teaching methods and how to align them with curriculum goals and produce the best results.

Teaching Methods

Learners can take teaching methods courses for various study topics, specializations, and endorsements. Students in these courses examine the leading theories and teaching strategies for their chosen discipline.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Program?

Admission requirements differ by school, but prospective students can prepare by looking at typical application components. In addition to the requirements below, online learners may need to meet a program's technological requirements.


The application asks prospective students to provide their personal information and identify their program of interest. As per our undergraduate application guide, applicants can apply to many schools at once by using one of the application systems, such as the Common App.

Test Scores

Applications often require college entrance exams, including the SAT and ACT. Scores from these tests help schools distinguish between otherwise similar applicants. While many schools have introduced test waivers due to the coronavirus, prospective students can still submit their test results for consideration.

Letters of Recommendation

Most applications require candidates to ask for letters of recommendation from three references. These references should come from people who can speak to the applicant's educational or professional aptitude. Examples include current or former teachers, advisors, or employers. Prospective students should provide their references with clear information, directions, and deadlines.


At the undergraduate level, college application essays often comprise personal essays detailing the applicant's journey up to that point. Some program applications may pose a specific question, which the prospective student answers in their writing. Application essays can provide additional personal information, highlight writing skills, and showcase how well the candidate follows instructions.

Official Transcript

Official transcripts provide details on the applicant's student record. Transcripts verify courses students have taken and what grades they received. These records help admissions professionals decide if the prospective student has the proper prerequisites and qualifies for entry. When transferring from a community college to a university, official transcripts help assign transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Degree?

Career Outlook

The promising career outlook has helped make teaching one of the most popular college majors. The projected increase in student enrollments may drive demand where school budgets do not decrease. The BLS projects the addition of more than 78,000 new high school teachers between 2020 and 2030, with over 77,000 annual job openings on average.

The outlooks for other accessible education fields look similar. The BLS projects 8% growth for special education teachers and 7% growth for middle school teachers between 2020 and 2030. Growth in these fields will also depend on student enrollments and local school budgets. Each of these occupations earned median annual wages over $60,000 in May 2020.

Discover where a bachelor's in secondary education can lead you professionally. Learn more about teaching careers.

Career Paths

High School Teacher

High school teachers provide generalist lessons or teachings in a specialized discipline. They develop their lesson plans to align with curriculum standards while managing classrooms. These teachers also challenge, motivate, and counsel students, helping them transition to life after high school.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students with disabilities. They make student assessments, create lesson plans adapted for specific learners, and track progress and goals. When needed, these teachers also offer support and counseling, helping students transition between grades.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Career and Technical Education Teacher

These teachers offer career-based and technical training to students in vocational schools and classrooms. They provide hands-on training and help students develop practical skills for various technical occupations. Career and technical education teachers may work with students individually and with their families to discuss and improve progress.

Median Annual Salary: $59,140

Middle School Teacher

Middle school teachers work with students in grades 6-8, preparing them for high school. They develop lesson plans, perform student assessments, and help learners overcome individual challenges. Middle school teachers must coordinate their lessons with the curriculum standards.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teacher

These teachers offer high school equivalency training. They also teach English as a second language to students of various ages. These teachers develop lessons that provide students with the language skills required for work and high school equivalency programs. They may also provide career support.

Median Annual Salary: $55,350

Secondary Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Bachelor's in secondary education graduates who wish to continue their training can pursue many options. They can earn a master's in secondary education, a master's in education, or a master's in teaching. These degrees can prepare learners for doctoral programs.

Graduates can also pursue related graduate programs, such as a master's in educational technology, a master's in educational administration, and a master's in educational leadership. These degrees qualify graduates to pursue instructional coordinator and principal occupations.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Program?


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees for an undergraduate degree at a public four-year school cost an average of $9,400 in 2019-20. Four-year private schools charged an average of $36,700 for the same year.

Prospective students can get the most accurate education pricing information by calculating the true program cost, which also includes lost income resulting from the training. Other considerations should include comparing online and on-campus program costs, in-state and out-of-state costs, and public and private school costs.

Program Format

Prospective students should consider all possible program formats and choose the one that best meets their scheduling needs. They can compare synchronous vs. asynchronous learning and full-time vs. part-time programs. They can also look at the top online schools with accelerated bachelor's degrees.


Whether students choose online or on-campus studies, location plays an important role. For on-campus learners, location impacts where they live and travel for their education. Online learners may need to complete on-campus requirements, so they also need to think about location.


When looking at schools, prospective learners need to consider both institutional and programmatic accreditation, as per our college accreditation guide. Institutional accreditation can impact student access to federal funding and employment. Programmatic accreditation for a bachelor's in secondary education primarily comes from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and can impact teaching licensure.

Student Support

Prospective students can learn a lot about a school and program by the student services and online student services offered. Academic support, college mentor programs, and practicum and internships all add value to an education. Applicants should identify which services mean the most to them and which schools offer the best student support package.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs

  1. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS



    FHSU delivers comprehensive academic programs through its 31 departments. Offerings include a bachelor of science in secondary education that prepares candidates to work as licensed middle or high school teachers if they pursue a double major. Individuals who want to become business teachers can complete all coursework online; otherwise, students must take some classes on campus.

    Classes cover topics like foundations of education, human growth and development, and educating exceptional students. Candidates also delve into instructional technology, learning how to incorporate computer software and online platforms into classroom instruction. Like other bachelor's in secondary education programs, learners also complete student teaching.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.75 GPA and adequate ACT or SAT scores. At critical points during their training, candidates undergo teacher education disposition assessments. FHSU provides a variety of financial aid, including scholarships for first-time and transfer students.

  2. Arizona Christian University

    Phoenix, AZ



    ACU provides over 50 academic programs, many of which students can access remotely. Its undergraduate catalog contains an online bachelor of science in secondary education that prepares candidates to teach at charter, private, and public schools. Students can complete a fully remote curriculum or engage in hybrid learning by taking some classes at the Phoenix campus.

    Major coursework includes educational psychology, classroom management, and introduction to the exceptional child. This bachelor's in secondary education program enables candidates to pursue a field emphasis. Options include history, math, English language arts, business, and physical education.

    First-year applicants need to score at least 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT. They must also hold a minimum 2.5 GPA. All students benefit from financial aid, such as loans, grants, and scholarships.

  3. Chaminade University of Honolulu

    Honolulu, HI



    Chaminade powers distance education with the Canvas platform, offering 10 online undergraduate programs. Degree options include a bachelor of science in secondary education. By completing this 120-credit program, graduates prepare to work as licensed grade 6-12 teachers in Hawaii and most other states.

    The online bachelor's in secondary education curriculum covers topics like managing school environments, exceptional children, and assessment methods and tools. Candidates also develop the skills needed to teach in their area of specialization, with options in science, social studies, mathematics, and English. The program culminates with student-teaching practice.

    First-year applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also score at least 19 on the ACT or 1000 on the SAT. This secondary education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

  4. Western Governors University

    Salt Lake City, UT



    WGU serves more than 121,000 distance learners each year. Students can pursue many online education degrees through the Teachers College, including five bachelor of science in secondary education programs.

    Candidates may pursue a secondary science education degree, choosing from specializations in physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. They can also enroll in a mathematics education program, which contains coursework covering probability and statistics, linear algebra, and advanced calculus. These programs hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation.

    To enroll in a bachelor's in secondary education program, applicants must pass a basic skills test for the state in which they reside. They also complete a 20-30-minute phone interview.

  5. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

    Greensboro, NC



    North Carolina A&T State University delivers remote learning opportunities through Blackboard Learn. Its academic catalog includes an online bachelor of science in agricultural education that comes with secondary education and professional service tracks. Designed for associate degree-holders, this program prepares students for careers as literacy coordinators, young farm instructors, and high school teachers.

    Bachelor's in secondary education candidates take classes like rural sociology, animal science, and agricultural business and marketing. They also examine environmental science topics, including natural resource conservation and sustainability. Graduates may pursue initial teacher licensure from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

    North Carolina A&T State University uses a holistic student evaluation process. The average incoming first-year learner boasts a 3.56 GPA and scores at least 20 on the ACT or 1053 on the SAT. Transfer applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA.

  6. Drexel University

    Philadelphia, PA



    Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel educates about 24,000 students in over 200 academic programs each year. Undergraduate candidates can enroll in an online bachelor of science in secondary education program that emphasizes instructional technology and STEM subject areas. Distance learners access asynchronous classes through Blackboard Learn.

    Course topics differ based on what subject a student chooses, with options like social studies, earth and space science, mathematics, and chemistry. All bachelor's in secondary education candidates develop crucial skills related to inclusionary teaching practices and instructional evaluation.

    At the end of their sophomore year, candidates undergo an evaluation process that determines whether they can enroll in the teacher certification program. Admission materials include a personal essay, three recommendation letters, and standardized test scores.

  7. Great Basin College

    Elko, NV



    GBC champions affordable, career-relevant education, serving about 3,800 students at campuses and learning centers across 10 Nevada counties. The school also offers remote academic options, like an online bachelor of arts in secondary education. Program graduates are prepared to gain teacher certification from the Nevada State Board of Education.

    Students pursue one of five endorsements: biological science, business education, English, social sciences, and mathematics. Learners who follow the social sciences track take classes like cultural geography and oral communication. All online bachelor's in secondary education candidates develop hands-on experience through supervised teaching internships.

    To enroll in this teacher education program, applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also pass background checks and a professional conduct review. GBC provides ample financial aid opportunities, including veterans benefits and institutional scholarships.

  8. Ottawa University

    Ottawa, KS



    As a leader in distance education, Ottawa University offers accelerated, eight-week classes that enable online students to earn certificates and degrees. The school's academic catalog includes a bachelor of arts in secondary education that trains candidates to identify and support the needs of different learners. Participants can complete a fully remote curriculum or create a hybrid experience by taking some classes on campus.

    Courses include educational psychology, foundations of schools in a diverse society, and the exceptional child. Candidates also learn to design, implement, and assess instructional materials and techniques for early and late adolescent students. Graduates can gain licensure in business, English, history, and mathematics.

    This online bachelor's in secondary education program meets teacher preparation standards in Kansas and Arizona. First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores.

  9. Union Institute & University

    Cincinnati, OH



    Union has offered accessible academics to working professionals and other nontraditional learners since 1964. Today, the school delivers a comprehensive array of degree options, including an online bachelor of science in secondary education. With courses starting every eight weeks and part-time and full-time scheduling options, candidates can obtain their credentials largely at their own pace.

    This bachelor's in secondary education program prepares candidates for teacher certification in Florida. Courses cover topics like classroom management, educational assessment, and effective instructional practices. Students pursue specialized training in their concentration, choosing from English, science, math, or social science.

    Union accepts up to 90 transfer credits based on prior work and college experience. Tuition rates ignore residency status. Distance learners can apply for a variety of scholarships, including awards for community college graduates.

  10. Prescott College

    Prescott, AZ



    Prescott College is a private liberal arts institution that serves about 800 students each year. The school delivers over 30 remote academic programs, including a bachelor of arts in education with secondary education certification. Candidates can also take some flexible classes on campus to create a hybrid learning experience

    To earn their online bachelor's degree in secondary education, students complete classes like adolescent psychology and applied reading methods. Participants round out their undergraduate training with a research-focused senior project. Graduates gain institutional recommendation for initial teacher certification in Arizona.

    Application materials include an autobiographical essay, current resume, and professional statement of intent. Prescott College provides several financial aid programs, including scholarships for online students and future educators.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs

Is a bachelor's in secondary education worth it?

Yes. An online bachelor's in secondary education offers value for students. The degree grants access to teaching roles with a strong professional outlook, as per the BLS. The degree also allows graduates to positively impact high school students.

Distance learners may benefit from the additional value of an online degree. The increased accessibility can allow for more study options or lower tuition rates. Online students benefit from more flexible schedules, which can help maintain a reasonable work schedule.

What can I do with a bachelor's in secondary education?

With a bachelor's in secondary education, graduates can access many teaching positions. Their most straightforward path takes them into high school and special education classrooms. However, they can also teach middle school, career and technical, and ESL and high school equivalency classes.

After completing a bachelor's degree, graduates can pursue a master's degree to open up new professional opportunities. They may continue with secondary education training or expand into general education. Graduates might also pursue special education, education administration, and education leadership master's degrees.

Are secondary education majors in demand?

Yes. As schools enroll more high school students, the number of teachers required may rise. The BLS projects 8% growth for high school teachers between 2020 and 2030, which is on par with the average projected rate for all occupations. The BLS also projects more than 37,000 new special education teachers during that same period.

While growth in other related teaching careers does not look as strong, annual openings from turnover may provide graduates with job opportunities. The BLS projects over 17,000 openings for career and technical school teachers and over 5,000 new roles for adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers between 2020 and 2030.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in secondary education?

Salaries for teachers with a bachelor's in secondary education depends on where and what they teach. Adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers made the lowest income in May 2020 at a median of $55,350. High school teachers made the most at $62,870.

High school career and technical education teachers made a median annual wage of $62,460 in May 2020. Special education teachers in high schools made median annual wages of $62,320. Adult basic and secondary education and ESL teachers in high schools earned $61,410.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in secondary education?

High school teachers with a bachelor's in secondary education may earn the highest salaries. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for these teachers was $62,870 in May 2020. The top 10% of earners in the field made more than $102,130.

Salaries depend on various factors, including location, teacher experience, and school type. For example, high school teachers in public schools made median annual wages of $63,400 in May 2020. In private schools, they made $58,550.

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