Science educators are responsible for teaching the next generation about core scientific principles and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow. An online degree in science education can help prepare you to become a certified elementary, middle, or high school teacher. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for teachers is expected to be about 6% between 2014-2024, which is close to the national average. However, science teachers in particular are in high demand. In fact, many parts of the country are experiencing a shortage of science and other STEM teachers.

What are the best science education programs of 2020? Here are our top 3:

Rank School Location
1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
2 Midway University Midway, KY
3 St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL

Below, we'll help you learn how to choose the best online bachelor's in science education programs for your needs, goals, and interests.

Choosing a Program

An online degree in science education combines the traditional coursework of an education program with specialized scientific study. You can expect to enroll in education courses on human development, teaching methods, educational psychology, and instructional design. You can also expect to enroll in a variety of science classes, on topics like biology, chemistry, physics, physiology, and environmental science.

However, each program will also have its own unique course offerings. Some programs offer classes catered specifically towards future science teachers, while others may offer concentrations in a particular age level or a specific subfield of science, such as chemistry or biology. Most programs also have generous electives policies, allowing students to tailor their coursework around their interests.

Accredited Online Bachelor's in Science Education Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

WGU is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and serves over 121,000 distance learners each year. The university's comprehensive academic catalog includes five online bachelor of science in science education programs.

Students can pursue a bachelor's in science education for physics, chemistry, earth science, and biological science. They can also enroll in a science education track specifically for future educators who want to teach middle school.

Applicants must pass a basic skills test for their home state. Some of WGU's teacher education programs do not accept learners from certain U.S. states; prospective students should confirm their eligibility with an enrollment advisor. WGU's education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

2

Midway University

Midway, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Midway offers over 30 certificates and degrees, including an online bachelor's degree in education studies with a science emphasis. Because this 120-credit degree does not lead to initial teaching licensure, the program serves students who want to teach outside the U.S., work in administrative/paraprofessional positions, or immediately pursue a master's degree.

Required coursework covers topics like classroom management theory and multicultural education. Learners gain hands-on experience through a practicum. They can use 22-28 elective credits to take advanced major coursework or complete a complementary minor. The university powers distance education with the Moodle platform.

To qualify for enrollment, first-year applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Midway also prefers applicants who score at least 18 on the ACT or the equivalent on the SAT.

3

St. Petersburg College

Clearwater, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

About 20,000 students at SPC take online classes, and the school offers more than 50 programs to distance learners. This includes an online bachelor of science in middle grades general science education program, which serves as a degree completion pathway.

Major core courses include physical science for middle grades teachers, introduction to environmental science, and interactive projects that promote learning in science. Participants also complete 160 clock hours of field experiences and a 15-week internship. Graduates prepare for science teaching positions in grades 5-9.

Applicants should have an associate degree or at least 60 credits earned at an accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students should have also passed all sections of Florida's General Knowledge test.

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?

Many online bachelor's in science education programs include the same core requirements and prepare students to teach at any level in the K-12 system. However, each program has its own unique course offerings, formats, and other factors that set each program apart. Below, you'll find more information on what you can expect to learn, how to pay for college, and what kinds of jobs and salary you can expect during your career.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN SCIENCE EDUCATION?

How long it takes to earn an online bachelor's in science education degree depends on several factors, such as the format of the program and whether you plan to study part- or full-time. For reference, a typical bachelor's program with a full-time courseload can be completed in fours years.

However, there are ways to reduce the amount of time it takes to earn your degree. If you have previously completed college-level coursework, you may be able to transfer it into your current program to reduce the amount of classes you have to take. There are also programs that offer accelerated formats and summer classes, which can also allow you to earn your degree at a faster rate. There are other program that allow students to enroll in classes at their own pace, with the results varying depending on the students. If you can complete more classes than normal, then you can earn your degree in less time. On the other hand, students who need to enroll in part-time courses will likely have to study for more than four years.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Science Education Degrees

When choosing between online bachelor's in science education programs, one of the most crucial factors of your search should be finding an accredited program. Accreditation is the process that colleges go through to ensure that their offerings meet certain standards for quality. Accreditation can be regional or national, with regional accreditation commonly recognized as being more prestigious.

Regionally-accredited schools tend to be more prestigious, but are often more expensive and have higher admissions and academic standards. Nationally-accredited schools tend to be less prestigious, but often have lower tuition rates, lower admissions standards, and more flexible academic standards. The best-known accrediting bodies in the the U.S. including regional agencies like the MSA, NEASC, NCA, NAC, SACS and WASC, and national agencies such as DETC, ACICS, and ACCSC. Online bachelor's in science education programs often have education program accreditation, most notably through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Accrediting agencies are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CHEA is an independent, nongovernmental organization that recognizes some 60 accrediting agencies. Both the DoEd and the publish databases of the agencies that have achieved academic accreditation. You can visit the DoEd or CHEA websites to learn more.

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

CAREER PATHS

If you're dedicated, patient, resourceful, creative, and have an aptitude and passion for science, then a career in science education may be right for you. An online degree in science education can prepare you to teach at any level in the K-12 system. You can also find work in science museums, at summer camps, or an after-school programs.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

These educators instruct younger children, typical through 5th or 6th grade. At these grade levels, educators may be teaching students on a variety of other topics in addition to science.

Median Annual Salary - $55,490
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Middle School Teachers

These educators teach 7th and 8th grade students. At this level, they teach students foundational science topics like biology and include lab requirements in their courses.

Median Annual Salary - $56,720
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

High School Teachers

High school science educators do much of the same work as their middle school counterparts, although they have the freedom to teach a wider variety of topics. High school science classes may cover advanced topics such as physics, chemistry, and more.

Median Annual Salary - $58,030
Projected Growth Rate - 6%

Museum Workers

Museum educators plan, promote, and implement activities for visitors. They may guide students through tours, hands-on activities, and more. Science educators may also perform research projects or begin conservation projects.

Median Annual Salary - $47,230
Projected Growth Rate - 7%

EDUCATIONAL PATHS

Many teachers choose to continue their education beyond a bachelor's degree. Pursuing a graduate degree is a good way for you to earn a higher salary and advance your career opportunities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, first-year teachers with a master's degree earn almost $7,000 more per year over their colleagues with a bachelor's degree in 2011-12.

First-year teachers with a master's degree earn almost $7,000 more per year over their colleagues with a bachelor's degree

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program?

The coursework in each science education bachelor's degree varies from program to program. However, each program will emphasize two main topics: teaching and science. The below are a few examples courses that you will find in any bachelor's in science education program:

Human Development: Human development is usually a required course for all education majors. In this course, students learn about the theories, controversies, and issues surrounding cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development during the human lifespan. This course emphasizes students learning and best practices for teaching students in different age groups.

Biology: Biology covers a basic survey of the principles and origins of life, basic chemistry, cell structures, genetics, reproduction, and ecology. This will likely be the first of many science courses that you will enroll in.

Instructional Planning: Instructional planning is one of the most important components of a teacher's job. This course covers the best practices for designing and implementing lesson plans and investigates how student diversity impacts lesson planning, how to effectively manage a classroom, and how to assess student learning.

Student Teaching: Most states require that teachers have student teaching experience to teach in public schools. This course is typically completed during a student's final year and allows them to gain practical experience in a classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher. This course is sometimes paired with a seminar component that has students examine and discuss their experiences.

Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Science Education Graduates

BACHELOR'S IN SCIENCE EDUCATION SALARY

There are a number of factors that influence how much an educator is paid, such as the kind of degree you have and how long you've been teaching. Another big factors is where you live, as some states have a higher cost of living and higher average salaries for teachers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, these states had the highest estimated average salaries during the 2013-14 school year:

State Average Salary
1. New York $76,566
2. Massachusetts $73,736
3. Connecticut $70,584
4. California $70,126
5. New Jersey $70,060

Licensure and Certification

Many states require professional licensure to teach science courses. While the requirements for obtaining licensure vary from state to state, it typically involves supervised teaching and passing an exam. To teach science in middle or high school, you may need to pass a science-specific exam.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Professional organizations are often open to students and offer a number of great opportunities for future science teachers. Membership in one of these professional organizations provides students with access to networking, professional development opportunities, skills training, industry journals, and national and local conferences. Professional organizations also offer job boards and other resources that are useful for finding a career. Below are some of the best known professional organizations for science educators:

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA): This is the world's largest professional organization for science teachers. The NSTA holds conferences, publishes journals, and advocates for scientific literacy.

Kappa Delta Pi: This academic honor society is limited to exceptional students and professionals. Kappa Delta Pi holds conferences and workshops and offers resources for job searching and professional development.

The Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE): The ASTE has members around the world. They hold an annual conference, post job opportunities, offer educational resources, and more.

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Science Education Program

There are several ways to get help paying for school, whether that's through federal loans, private loans, work-study jobs, grants, or scholarships. The first step in this process is filling out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This is essential because some schools require that students complete the FAFSA before applying for other forms of financial aid.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.