Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Many teachers earn more than the U.S. median salary. Learn how a bachelor's in social studies teacher education program trains people for this career.
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A bachelor's in social studies teacher education program prepares students to teach at a middle or high school. Degree-seekers perform student teaching and pass exams to earn an initial teaching license.

Most top programs require learners to take all coursework on campus and complete student teaching at schools in the surrounding area.

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Some colleges and universities offer a hybrid social studies teacher education program. These programs let learners take some classes online during the summer. Online classes may feature an asynchronous curriculum, a benefit for degree-seekers working while in school.

An on-campus or hybrid bachelor's in social studies teacher education program takes four years to complete for learners without prior college experience. Students in a hybrid program can calculate the total cost of attendance by researching tuition, fees, and other online learning expenses.

The average middle or high school teacher earns a median salary higher than the typical U.S. worker. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also projects steady growth for both professions.

Our Top Pick

Clarks Summit University — Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Why It's #1: Clarks Summit University (CSU) is the No. 1-ranked school on our Best Social Studies Teaching Education Programs list. CSU features an 88% graduation rate and a low 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The university also admits 87% of applicants and requires only a short admissions form. Although learners pay more at this private institution than degree-seekers at some public schools on our list, 95% of full-time CSU students receive at least one institutional scholarship.

Read Our Rankings Methodology

Best Accredited Bachelor's in Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

#1 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Clarks Summit University

  • South Abington Township, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $990 per credit
Out of State | $990 per credit

Credits to Graduate
126

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Pennsylvania Department of Education 

CSU's bachelor's in secondary education — social studies prepares students for an initial Pennsylvania teaching license in just four years. The Christian-centered curriculum requires classes in world religions and theological distinctives. Degree-seekers enjoy a low 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

CSU encourages prospective first-year students to speak with an admissions counselor before applying. The application takes only 15-20 minutes to complete. Applicants must submit Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) results and official high school or undergraduate transcripts, as well. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,082
Out-of-state
$26,082
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
771
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#2 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

CUNY Hunter College

  • New York, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $305 per credit
Out of State | $620 per credit

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation 

Aspiring New York state public school teachers choose Hunter's adolescent social studies (BA) program. Students customize the degree by choosing education electives that include adolescent development and building the foundations of literacy. Learners remain in good academic standing by maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA. 

Aspiring first-year students apply for the spring or fall semester. Requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent and an essay demonstrating curiosity and leadership potential. Hunter recommends but does not require recommendation letters. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
35%
Students Enrolled
23,193
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
7% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#3 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Purdue University-Main Campus

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $348 per credit
Out of State | $948 per credit

Credits to Graduate
129

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Degree-seekers in Purdue's bachelor's in social studies education program train for a teaching career by taking classes in multiculturalism, community issues and applications, and learning and motivation. Opportunities for clinical practice and student teaching exist through the Indianapolis Public School Urban Experience. Graduates qualify for an Indiana teaching license. 

First-year applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Other admission requirements include ACT or SAT scores. Applicants using the Common Application must also submit an essay.

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,208
Out-of-state
$28,010
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
45,500
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Providence College

  • Providence, RI
  • 4 years
  • Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Year
In State | $57,790 per year
Out of State | $57,790 per year

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

The bachelor's in social science teacher education program at Providence College (PC) lets students create a unique history concentration. Learners do so by selecting seven major electives. 

Required classes include Colonial North America, creating a nation, and the American century. Learners may substitute some requirements by earning a 4-5 score on an Advanced Placement exam. 

PC accepts the Common Application and requires high school transcripts, a personal statement, and recommendation letters. Applicants submit ACT or SAT scores, as well.

Average Tuition
In-state
$51,490
Out-of-state
$51,490
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
47%
Students Enrolled
4,618
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#5 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

CUNY Brooklyn College

  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $305 per credit
Out of State | $620 per credit

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | N/A

Brooklyn College's social studies teacher (7-12) program features nine concentrations that include anthropology, economics, and political science. Students also select from dozens of education electives, such as critical issues in U.S. education and teaching adolescents in content areas. Learners maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Prospective first-year students apply with the City University of New York (CUNY) Application. Application materials include high school transcripts, SAT scores, and a fee. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$14,880
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
17,811
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
7% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#6 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Mississippi College

  • Clinton, MS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit
In State | $614 per credit
Out of State | $614 per credit

Credits to Graduate
130

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Mississippi College's social studies education program offers students a Christian education with coursework in the American economic system, adolescent psychology, and interpersonal communication. Coursework also trains learners in classroom management and assessment. Required courses and student teaching qualify graduates for a Mississippi teaching license. 

Applicants submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Standard admission requirements include a minimum 18 ACT or 940 ACT score, as well. Homeschooled students may apply by submitting additional materials.

Average Tuition
In-state
$17,550
Out-of-state
$17,550
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
42%
Students Enrolled
4,733
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Calvin University

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • 4 years
  • Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Year
In State | $38,370 per year
Out of State | $38,370 per year

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Michigan residents preparing for a career as a secondary social studies teacher enroll in Calvin's teacher-preparation program. Learners concentrate in general history, economics, geography, or political science. Required major classes include societal structures, methods of pedagogies, and principles of microeconomics.

Calvin accepts new degree-seekers in the spring and fall semesters. First-year applicants may submit the Common Application or the university application. Other requirements include ACT or SAT scores.

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,100
Out-of-state
$36,100
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
3,570
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Cedarville University

  • Cedarville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Year
In State | $34,500 per year
Out of State | $34,500 per year

Credits to Graduate
132

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Students in Cedarville's BA in social studies education program receive a biblical education qualifying them for an Ohio teaching license. Learners concentrate in economics, geography, political science, or sociology. Degree-seekers may further customize their education by minoring in church history, criminal history, history, or international studies. 

Application requirements include high school transcripts and evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Applicants need not submit ACT or SAT scores. All incoming first-year students receive some institutional financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,122
Out-of-state
$31,122
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
4,302
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Messiah University

  • Mechanicsburg, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Self-Paced and Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Year
In State | $38,550 per year
Out of State | $38,550 per year

Credits to Graduate
126-127

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Pennsylvania Department of Education

Messiah provides aspiring Pennsylvania educators with a Christ-centered social studies teacher licensure program. Education classes include introduction to special education, perspectives on education, and instructional design and assessment for middle and secondary grades. Learners may take some general education classes online. 

Prospective students' application files include a personal statement and high school transcripts. Messiah recommends but does not require ACT or SAT scores. Incoming first-year degree-seekers with an excellent high school GPA receive up to $15,000 a year in automatic scholarships.

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,280
Out-of-state
$35,280
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
3,374
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#10 Best Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

LeTourneau University

  • Longview, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Year
In State | $33,670 per year
Out of State | $33,670 per year

Credits to Graduate
121

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Texas State Board for Educator Certification

The bachelor's in social studies program at LeTourneau University (LETU) features two field experiences and coursework in ethical and legal topics in education, classroom management, and the history of the modern Middle East. Learners prepare for a career in education with a mix of courses and student teaching. The program also requires a class in licensure exam preparation. 

LETU uses a 3.0 high school GPA cutoff and accepts standardized test scores. Applicants also submit Free Application for Federal Student Aid results. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,520
Out-of-state
$30,520
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
3,150
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Popular Online Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Schools

Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Best Bachelor's in Social Studies Teacher Education ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 225 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution.
  • Must offer a bachelor's degree program in the given subject.
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking, and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).

The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.

BestColleges' Ranking Factors

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Studies Teacher Education Programs

Is a bachelor's in social studies teacher education worth it?

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Is a bachelor's in social studies teacher education worth it?

A social studies teacher education program offers many advantages. The BLS projects the number of jobs for middle school teachers to grow by 7% between 2020-2030. The BLS projects an 8% growth in jobs for high school teachers during the same timeframe.

A career in education also presents opportunities for career advancement, such as becoming an administrator or instructional coordinator. Other professionals use what they learn as a teacher to pursue jobs in another field.

Prospective students starting their journey should consider an online education's benefits. Online learners receive the same rigorous educational experience as their on-campus peers. Other advantages may include an asynchronous curriculum.

What can I do with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education?

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Recent graduates with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education start their career as a middle or high school teacher. This position lets them gain experience and explore career paths within the education field.

Professionals who do not return to school to earn a master's or doctorate in education may advance their career by researching positions in another field. Former teachers may work as a social and community service manager. This role lets them use their teaching background to create programs benefiting individuals and communities.

Related positions that include health education specialist may require some additional training. However, the profession's emphasis on interpersonal and instructional skills makes it an appealing choice for former teachers.

What continuing education is available for social studies teacher education graduates?

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Teachers and other education professionals take continuing education (CE) classes to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and best practices. States also require CE for licensure renewal. Tennessee educators, for example, must earn 60 CE points every renewal cycle by taking approved classes.

Other options to satisfy states' CE requirements include taking college classes, such as earning a master's or doctorate in education. Individuals with a master's may work as a principal, district administrator, or instructional coordinator. Jobs for professionals with a doctorate include college president and school superintendent.

New educators with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education work with administrators and peers to explore CE opportunities leading to career advancement.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education?

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The BLS reports that middle school teachers earned a median annual salary of $61,320, as of May 2021, approximately $16,000 more than the U.S. median salary for all U.S. workers. Middle school teachers in New York, California, and Massachusetts made more than their peers. However, these states feature some of the highest cost of living rates in the country.

High school teachers with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education made a slightly higher median annual salary as of May 2021, $61,820. Those working for a public school earned approximately $7,000 more per year than their peers employed by a private school. High school teachers in California made the highest mean salary in the country, $94,600.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education?

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Social and community service managers made a median annual salary of $74,000, as of May 2021, approximately $13,000 more per year than the typical middle or high school teacher.

Other lucrative opportunities for professionals with a bachelor's in social studies teacher education include intelligence analyst. These workers earn an average annual salary of $72,430, as of June 2022, according to Payscale. Some Central Intelligence Agency analyst careers requiring a bachelor's degree pay more than $100,000 a year, as of July 2022.

Students earning an online bachelor's in social studies teacher education work with a career counselor to explore lucrative positions in and outside of the education field. Doing so helps them develop a long-term career plan.

Feature Image: Maskot / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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