Best Online Master’s in Secondary Education Programs
Our experts at BestColleges have ranked the top online master's in secondary education programs. Read on to compare schools by cost, convenience, and academic quality.
Updated June 10, 2022
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A master's in secondary education provides degree-seekers with the skills and training to help students prepare for life after high school. The training qualifies graduates for teaching licensure and many teaching and administrator positions. You can specialize your training to work with certain types of students and classrooms or teach a specific discipline.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of over 78,000 new high school teachers between 2020 and 2030. The BLS also projects over 18,000 new instructional coordinator jobs and over 21,000 new school principal jobs. In addition to these occupations, master's graduates can pursue other professional and educational paths.
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Ready to start your journey?
Here, we try to help you figure out if you should go to graduate school. We also examine the best online master's in secondary education from the top online schools. We then explore the discipline further and showcase common postgraduate options available to you.
What Can I Expect From Online Master's in Secondary Education Program?
Each graduate program may look a little different. But the typical master's in secondary education features 30-45 credits and takes students 1-2 years to complete. The training can cover topics in pedagogy, curriculum building, and educational research. Coursework may also cover educational technology.
When preparing for graduate school, students may encounter multiple degree types, including MA, MS, and M.Ed. options. While these degrees may provide similar outcomes, their training can differ. M.Ed. programs tend to offer more practical and teaching-based learning for current and aspiring teachers. MA and MS programs focus more on scholarly pursuits.
While many programs offer secondary education as a concentration within the education discipline, some schools allow learners to focus further. Concentrations can impact the courses students take during school and the careers available to them afterward. Possible options include special education, international education, and second language education. Curriculum and policy studies is another option.
In addition to standard coursework, projects, and tests, a master's in secondary education typically includes a substantial practical component. M.Ed. programs usually feature a practicum or internship. MA and MS programs may feature a thesis, which could require both practical experiences and extensive research.
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Popular Online Master'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 Master's in Secondary Education Program?
Learners in this course study the leading behavioral theories of student learning. They examine student motivation methods and instructional approaches. The training may also cover adolescent students' emotional, cognitive, and physical development.
Adolescent Learning and Development
In this course, students explore the biological and cognitive changes that occur in adolescent students and how they impact their high school experience. Learners may also look at the possible behavioral and emotional problems that arise and the best approaches for teachers.
Teaching Diverse Classrooms
This course looks at the best practices and leading theories on teaching classrooms of diverse students. Learners explore how students' differences influence their educational experience and how teachers can integrate and celebrate diversity. The training may also cover special education topics.
In this course, students learn how teachers can enrich their lessons by taking an interdisciplinary approach. They examine methods for incorporating multiple disciplines and encouraging learners to draw from different fields in their assignments.
Students usually take many teaching methods courses. In these courses, learners examine instructional methods, curriculum-design strategies, and challenges and issues for a specific subject.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Secondary Education Program?
According to our graduate admissions guide, a master's program typically requires prospective students to hold a bachelor's degree. However, an online master's in secondary education may require applicants to have an education-related bachelor's or teaching license.
Here, we highlight the most common application elements.
When submitting a college application, prospective students typically have two choices. They can use a college application system, which can make applying to multiple schools much easier. They can also apply directly to the school and program of their choice, which is the most common route at the graduate level.
Graduate schools may request standardized test results, such as GRE or GMAT scores. Since these scores can greatly affect the admission decision, prospective students should take time to prepare, such as completing GRE prep.
Letters of Recommendation
Most graduate applications request that prospective students submit three letters of recommendation. These letters usually come from former teachers or employers who can speak to the quality of the applicant. Relevant references may have the most effective impact.
Resume and Work Experience
A college application resume can impact the admission decision by highlighting useful volunteer positions, work experience, and achievements. Some schools and programs may require a specific amount of work experience.
College application essays give admissions professionals insight into an applicant's personal history, future goals, and writing quality. At the graduate level, these essays often address what the prospective student plans to study and why they chose that particular school. Candidates can learn how to write a grad school essay to improve their chances of earning admission.
Official transcripts accompany most college applications to verify what the prospective student has already studied. These records highlight grades, prerequisites, and other academic achievements. As per our transfer guide, transfer students must provide transcripts to receive transfer credits.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Secondary Education Degree?
A master's in secondary education opens the door to many roles in education, including teaching, administration, and leadership. Graduates can pursue high school teaching positions, an occupational group for which the BLS projects 8% growth between 2020 and 2030.
In administration, graduates can access instructional coordinator and related positions. The BLS projects 10% growth for these occupations between 2020 and 2030. While leadership careers in education sometimes require more training, graduates may access some principal roles. The BLS projects 8% growth for principals between 2020 and 2030.
Growth in these occupations depends on local and state government budgets. However, increasing student enrollments may continue to drive demand.
Figure out how an online master's in secondary education can change your professional life. Learn more about teaching careers.
High School Teacher
High school teachers typically educate students in their specialization. They plan their lessons based on curriculum expectations and standards and assess student knowledge with assignments and tests. They also manage classroom personalities and behaviors. High school teachers help prepare students for life after high school, including providing counseling and support when necessary.
Median Annual Salary: $62,870
Instructional coordinators seek to improve curricula and educational materials and methods for teachers, schools, and school boards. They evaluate standardized test results and student outcome data to determine where to make changes and improvements. They also ensure that school staff follow all standards and policies.
Median Annual Salary: $66,970
High School Principals
High school principals manage school operations, staffing, and facility needs. They ensure that class schedules, curricula, and performances meet the proper standards and expectations. Principals also conduct counseling and disciplinary meetings with students and their families.
Median Annual Salary: $98,490
Special Education Teachers
These professionals work in classrooms helping students with disabilities. They assess learners, develop educational plans that meet their individual needs, and adapt lessons accordingly. Special education teachers also help students adjust to life and educational changes and prepare them for future transitions.
Median Annual Salary: $61,500
Career and Technical Education Teachers
Career and technical education teachers provide training in vocational fields and career-readiness programs. They develop lessons that focus on practical skills and handling tools and equipment. These teachers may also help students identify and prepare for fields that interest them.
Median Annual Salary: $59,140
Secondary Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Master's in secondary education graduates can explore many continuing education options. The most direct paths include a doctorate in secondary education or a doctorate in education. Degree-holders can also pursue a more specialized path, such as a doctorate in special education.
To qualify for more leadership positions, graduates can earn a doctorate in educational leadership or a doctorate in educational administration.
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Secondary Education Program?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate program tuition and fees cost $19,792 per year in 2019-20. Prospective students can get more accurate cost information by calculating their true program cost, which includes all associated costs and any loss of income. Applicants might also compare online and on-campus costs, private and public school costs, and in-state and out-of-state program costs.
Educational experience depends heavily on the study schedule. Prospective students should compare different program formats to find the best schedule for them. For example, learners should compare asynchronous vs. synchronous and full-time vs. part-time schedules. Aspiring learners with open schedules may prefer an accelerated program to graduate sooner.
When choosing between online and on-campus learning, prospective students should think about location. On-campus students must consider where they will live or need to travel to for class and how much that will cost. Online learners also need to know if their program includes on-campus requirements.
As per our college accreditation guide, prospective students must confirm that their school holds institutional accreditation. This ensures that students can access federal financial aid, licensure, and adequate employment opportunities. At the programmatic level, a master's in secondary education should have recognition from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Student services and online student services can impact a student's education and experience in many ways. Programs like academic support, career services, and college mentors can foster student success. Students can check out our ultimate guide to internships to learn more about how these experiences can enrich students' education journeys.
Best Accredited Online Master's in Secondary Education Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Secondary Education Programs
Is a master's in secondary education worth it?
Yes. A master's in secondary education can benefit students interested in education careers. The degree offers access to many teaching and administrative positions. Graduates can also continue their training with a doctoral program in various related fields.
In an online master's in secondary education, learners may receive additional online degree value. With fewer travel and scheduling restrictions, online education can be more accessible for many students. Learners can also continue working more easily, which could reduce the financial impact of their studies.
What can I do with a master's in secondary education?
With a master's in secondary education, graduates can teach in traditional high school and special education classrooms. They may also access career-based and technical education teaching positions. Graduates can qualify for administrative positions as well, such as instructional coordinator roles.
Many schools offer doctoral programs in secondary education or related disciplines for those who wish to advance their training. Educational leadership or administration doctorates can lead to more leadership opportunities, such as high school principal careers. Aspiring teachers may need to earn a teaching license if they do not already have one.
Are secondary education graduates in demand?
Yes. Rising student enrollments put master's in secondary education graduates in demand. The BLS projects the addition of over 78,000 new high school teachers between 2020 and 2030. In addition, the field will add about 77,000 yearly high school teacher openings to cover the annual turnover.
Other accessible paths offer similar growth projections. The BLS projects the addition of over 37,000 new special education teachers and over 38,000 annual openings. The BLS also projects more than 18,000 new instructional coordinators and over 21,000 new principals.
How much money can I make with a master's in secondary education?
Education salaries depend on location, employer, experience, and credentials. According to the BLS, high school teachers made median annual wages of $62,870 in May 2020. The top 10% earned $102,130, and the bottom 10% earned $41,330.
In public schools, high school teachers made median annual wages of $63,400 in May 2020. In private schools, they made $58,550 during that same period. For teaching positions specifically, master's degree-holders may qualify for advanced positions with higher salaries.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in secondary education?
One of the highest-paying positions available to master's in secondary education graduates is elementary, middle, and high school principals. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual wage of $98,490 in May 2020. The top 10% in the field made more than $152,500.
Like other educational roles, the median annual salaries for this field differ depending on the school type. For example, public school principals made median annual wages of $99,690 in May 2020. Private school principals earned $89,350. Principal positions may require specialized education administration training.
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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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