The need for qualified, dedicated high school teachers isn't likely to disappear anytime soon. The professionals who pursue these careers help high school students succeed and form an integral part of the communities they serve. If you are considering an online bachelor's degree in secondary education, you will be joining a steadily growing workforce of inspiring and well-educated teaching professionals. This page will serve as a guide as you navigate the process of choosing the best secondary education degree program.

What are the best secondary education programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
2 Arizona Christian University Phoenix, AZ
3 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI
4 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
5 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Greensboro, NC
6 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
7 Great Basin College Elko, NV
8 Ottawa University Ottawa, KS
9 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH
10 Prescott College Prescott, AZ

What Are The Best Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs?

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle

Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

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.


Arizona Christian University

Phoenix, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

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.


Chaminade University of Honolulu

Honolulu, HI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

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.


Western Governors University

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

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.


North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Greensboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

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.


Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

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.


Great Basin College

Elko, NV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

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.


Ottawa University

Ottawa, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

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.


Union Institute & University

Cincinnati, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 11%

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.


Prescott College

Prescott, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

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.

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

As you research the available secondary education degrees online, it's important to remember that each program is unique and may have different program requirements. Programs may differ in admissions criteria, program length, available courses, and thesis/capstone requirements. Below is a list of sample courses that you may encounter while pursuing your online bachelor's degree in secondary education.

  • Practicum in Secondary English Observation is an integral part of most secondary education programs, even those offered online. This particular practicum course centers around secondary English courses. By observing practicing English teachers, students will learn to reflect critically on issues related to curriculum, implementation, and classroom management.
  • Teaching Internship Internships in the field generally come after the student completes necessary practicum coursework. These internships often entail entering a secondary classroom in a specific content area (such as English, social studies, or science), and teaching lessons alongside a mentor teacher.
  • Early Intervention Strategies Interventions are important for struggling students in any content area, but most early intervention strategies target students who are having difficulty with reading, writing, or math. This course teaches you to help struggling students succeed through lesson plans tailored to the individual needs of each student.

Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Degrees

Checking a school's accreditation is a crucial step in the college application process. Accreditation is a way of ensuring that a school meets minimum standards of academic quality. Accreditation is also important because the degrees and credits earned from unaccredited programs may not be recognized by other institutions or potential employers.

A school can be accredited through regional or national agencies, but regional accreditation is the more popular of the two. Regional accrediting agencies are widely recognized and degrees/earned credits from regionally accredited schools are more easily transferred to other institutions. Besides regional accreditation, some majors may also have field-specific accreditation. For example, many online degrees in secondary education are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Consider looking for this specific accreditation when researching programs.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both offer comprehensive databases of all regionally and nationally accredited institutions. Choosing a school from one of these lists is very important, as students enrolled in unaccredited schools are ineligible to receive federal financial aid.

Career Opportunities for Bachelor's in Secondary Education Graduates

While it may seem like graduates of secondary education degree programs only go on to work as high school teachers, there are a number of other career options in the education sphere — even ones that exist outside of a traditional classroom setting. The list below outlines a few of these career possibilities.

High School Teacher

These teachers work specifically within secondary school settings. They may work in public schools, private schools, or even in magnet or specialized schools. They generally focus in a specific content area, such as English, mathematics, social studies, or the sciences.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work closely with students who possess a range of special needs, including physical and mental disabilities. These teachers work at all levels of education, and sometimes work with small groups of students throughout their high school years.

High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher

These educators work with people earning their GED or high school equivalency diplomas. Their students are generally adults of all ages who want to earn an education credential in order to qualify for certain job opportunities. Teachers of this kind may work in a number of content areas, including adult literacy.

Career and Technical Education Teacher

Sometimes called vocational teachers, these professionals teach students to work within technical careers, including culinary arts, cosmetology, and automotive repair. Some experience in the specific vocation they are teaching is generally required.

Coaches and Scouts

Athletic coaches at secondary schools often wear many hats in their jobs. In addition to being coaches, they are often certified teachers. Coaches must also have some level of experience with a particular sport at either the amateur or professional level.

Bachelor's in Secondary Education Salary

As you may have noticed from the list of careers in the previous section, there are a range of potential job options for graduates of secondary education degree programs. On top of other rewards, like the satisfaction of helping high school students achieve their goals, these careers also offer competitive salaries. While the median salaries of most secondary education jobs range from $50,000 to $58,000, coaches and scouts may earn considerably less than full-time educators.

Career Median Salary (2016)
High School Teacher $58,030
Special Education Teacher $57,910
High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher $50,650
Career and Technical Education Teacher $54,020
Coaches and Scouts $31,460

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Program

Figuring out how you will finance your bachelor's degree can seem daunting, but there are some simple steps you can take to find ways to pay for your degree. The first and most important step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each year that you are enrolled. This application connects you with any available federal funding, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study awards. Students earning their bachelor's degree in secondary education may also be eligible for major-specific grants and scholarships that are available for future educators. On top of federal financial aid, look into scholarships offered by teacher education associations and organizations to see whether you qualify.


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