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 Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs?
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Western Governors University was founded in 1997 by a group of U.S. governors aiming to provide a path to higher education for working adults. WGU offers comprehensive, fully online programs to allow students to earn their degree on their own schedules. WGU emphasizes competency-based education, which gives learners the opportunity to accelerate their degrees and complete course requirements at their own pace.
Among the numerous online programs at WGU, students can pursue the secondary education degree online as a bachelor of science in mathematics or science education. Within these BS degrees, students can further specialize in secondary biological science, chemistry, physics, or earth science. Each degree has different minimum credit and graduation requirements, but students typically complete at least 124 credits.
WGU's competency-based education allows learners to complete degree requirements at a speed that suits their life; therefore, a student's time-to-completion will vary, though most graduates finish in 16-48 months. The secondary education degree options at WGU all lead to licensure, though actual grade level qualification can vary based on each student's home state requirements.
The secondary degree options at WGU require a full term of observation and student teaching in a classroom in the student's local community. Some states may have additional licensure requirements, so students may need to complete work outside of WGU's program to earn licensure in their home state.
Western Governors University holds regional accreditation from Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Fort Hays State University
|Hays, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Founded in 1902 Hays, Kansas with an incoming class of 57 students, today FHSU serves a student body of over 15,000 and boasts some of the lowest tuition costs in the Kansas Board of Regents college system. The school also hosts more than 7,000 students pursuing their degrees online and through distance learning.
FHSU offers several degree options for students seeking an online secondary education degree. Teacher education programs at FHSU have are ranked third in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university's emphasis on education technology prepares graduates to use and adopt emerging technology in their future classrooms. Students pursuing secondary education can specialize in areas like biology, chemistry, and language arts.
Depending on each student's specialization, credit requirements vary, but all students complete a minimum of 86 credits in general education, core courses, and student teaching. Students seeking licensure must complete a core major in secondary education and an additional field of study. Graduates from FHSU's teaching programs boast a 100% pass rate for state-required certification tests, with 95% of graduates employed in the teaching field.
To apply to FHSU as an incoming freshman student, applicants must submit ACT and SAT scores. Transfer students with a minimum of 24 credits must have earned at least a 2.0 on all prior college coursework, as well as meet freshman admissions requirements.
Fort Hays State University holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
North Carolina A & T State University
|Greensboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
As the largest public Historically Black College in the country, North Carolina A&T State University serves a student body of over 12,000. NCAT opened originally in 1890 as a land-grant research institution, and has carried that tradition of excellence in scholarship and research into its online and distance learning programs. Offered through A&T Online, students can pursue over 20 academic programs at all degree levels through a flexible, asynchronous coursework.
As an agricultural institution, NCAT offers a bachelor of science in agricultural education with a concentration in secondary education. The 124-credit degree takes around four years to complete, and includes general education and core courses in agriculture. The secondary education concentration features courses in animal science, rural sociology, and natural resources and environmental sciences. This program qualifies graduates for licensure from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; students pursuing this degree from outside North Carolina should check their own state's teacher licensure requirements. Some graduates of this program go on to pursue careers in agricultural business, or work for the government.
NCAT welcomes transfer students to apply. Applicants with less than 24 credits and new incoming freshmen must submit SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students must have earned a minimum of a 2.0 GPA on all college coursework.
North Carolina A&T State University holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
|Ottawa, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Founded in the American Baptist religious tradition, Ottawa University emphasizes service, quality education, and accessible degree options for adults. Originally opened in 1865 in Ottawa, Kansas, the university now has six campuses in Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arizona, as well as a broad offering of online degree options. Ottawa enrolls more than 4,000 students across all of its campuses, and boasts competitive tuition rates and a Christ-centered approach to learning.
As part of Ottawa's abundant online program offerings, students can earn an online bachelor of arts in secondary education. The program emphasizes a pre-professional curriculum that leads to licensure in Kansas and Arizona, as guided by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Students take courses in educational history and philosophy, and explore topics in cultural diversity and the various political and social contexts they encounter in education.
In this secondary education program, students can select from a variety of content specializations, such as business, English, history, mathematics, and music. The program also emphasizes instruction of English language learners, and all students complete a practicum observation in a local secondary classroom. In addition to holding programmatic accreditation from CAEP, the program also holds accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
For admission to the education major, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and pass a basic skills assessment. Applicants should also demonstrate an ACT score of 24 or higher, or an SAT score of at least 1100.
Ottawa University holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commision (HLC).
Chaminade University of Honolulu
|Honolulu, HI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
With a student body of just over 2,000, Chaminade University of Honolulu is the only Catholic university in Hawaii. Chaminade's small student population allows for intimate class sizes, a student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, and an average class size of just 19. Chaminade embodies the Montessori teaching philosophy of teaching the whole student, and curricula in the institution develop the mind, body, and spirit simultaneously. Since opening in 1955, Chaminade's Marianist teachings provide students with the tools to make change in their local communities and the world.
The 120-credit secondary education degree online program prepares learners for teacher licensure in Hawaii and many other states. This bachelor of science degree emphasizes preparation for Praxis exams, and follows guidelines set by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. Students take pre-major courses in areas like educational foundations and psychology, then enter into major coursework that explores curriculum and instruction, managing school environments, and assessment. The program offers four major concentrations in English, social studies, science, and mathematics. Students are also required to participate in a student teaching experience in their home community, which entails working within a secondary classroom and compiling a formal teaching portfolio.
To begin their student teaching experience, students must earn at least a 3.0 in all coursework. Transfer applicants and incoming first-year students must demonstrate ACT scores of 19 or higher or SAT scores of 1000 or higher, and have at least a 2.5 GPA.
Chaminade University of Honolulu holds regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Best Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS 3 Prescott College Prescott, AZ 4 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH 5 Great Basin College Elko, NV
- Best Online Bachelor's in Secondary Education Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS 3 Prescott College Prescott, AZ 4 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH 5 Great Basin College Elko, NV