2018 Best Online Colleges for Secondary Education Degrees

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: CAEP and TEAC
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $22,467
Avg Salary: $61,746

There are 478 online secondary education degrees available at 166 accredited schools in the United States. These programs exist at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Our list of the top online colleges highlights 24 schools offering outstanding academic programs in secondary education at affordable tuitions.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the leading accrediting body for secondary education degrees. Prospective students should choose CAEP-accredited programs to ensure the rigor and relevancy of the degrees they earn as well as to establish themselves for future careers in education. Additionally, in some states, attending an accredited program is a prerequisite for teaching licensure.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Secondary Education Degrees (166)

2018 Best Online Schools Offering a Master's in Secondary Education

Secondary Education-Top Online Colleges-2018-Badge

These are the top 24 schools offering online master’s degrees in secondary education. Ranked #1, University of Arkansas has an affordable annual tuition of $6,752 and has an academic strength score of 70%. William Carey University ranks #24 and offers a Master of Education in Mild and Moderate Disabilities (K-12) and a Master of Education in Secondary Education (7-12) for a low annual tuition of $5,550 and 59% academic rigor. All but one of the schools on this list offer online master’s degrees in secondary education that cost less than $15,000 in annual tuition.

View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Academic Strength
#1 #1 University of Arkansas Annual Tuition $6,752 Academic Strength 70%
#2 #2 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Annual Tuition $16,364 Academic Strength 79%
#3 #3 University of Alabama Annual Tuition $5,775 Academic Strength 68%
#4 #4 University of New Mexico Annual Tuition $5,806 Academic Strength 68%
#5 #5 Mississippi State University Annual Tuition $8,177 Academic Strength 69%
#6 #6 Kennesaw State University Annual Tuition $6,894 Academic Strength 67%
#7 #7 Southeast Missouri State University Annual Tuition $5,302 Academic Strength 65%
#8 #8 University of North Texas Annual Tuition $9,092 Academic Strength 68%
#9 #9 Ball State University Annual Tuition $9,240 Academic Strength 68%
#10 #10 University of Maine Annual Tuition $9,537 Academic Strength 67%
#11 #11 South Dakota State University Annual Tuition $7,108 Academic Strength 64%
#12 #12 University of Louisiana-Monroe Annual Tuition $9,000 Academic Strength 66%
#13 #13 Western New England University Annual Tuition $9,930 Academic Strength 67%
#14 #14 University of Central Missouri Annual Tuition $5,103 Academic Strength 62%
#15 #15 Regis University Annual Tuition $9,700 Academic Strength 66%
#16 #16 University of the Cumberlands Annual Tuition $5,355 Academic Strength 62%
#17 #17 University of Central Arkansas Annual Tuition $6,500 Academic Strength 62%
#18 #18 Liberty University Annual Tuition $10,170 Academic Strength 66%
#19 #19 Delta State University Annual Tuition $5,617 Academic Strength 61%
#20 #20 East Central University Annual Tuition $5,977 Academic Strength 61%
#21 #21 Prescott College Annual Tuition $10,242 Academic Strength 64%
#22 #22 Old Dominion University Annual Tuition $10,760 Academic Strength 64%
#23 #23 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Annual Tuition $8,075 Academic Strength 62%
#24 #24 William Carey University Annual Tuition $5,550 Academic Strength 59%
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Online Secondary Education Degree Overview & Career Information

At the associate level, online programs will mainly focus on preparing a student to transfer to a bachelor's degree program, but graduates may also be able to find work in a variety of educational assistant roles. A bachelor's degree is the minimum amount of education required in order to become a licensed secondary education teacher.

Master's degrees are available for those who have completed an undergraduate degree not focused in education but want to become teachers. It is also an option for teachers looking to advance in their careers. At the doctoral level, students participate in educational programs that may prepare them to work in upper-level administration positions, as well as in research and university teaching. Lastly, certificate programs exist for those who have a non-teaching bachelor's degree who want to work as secondary education teachers, but who do not want to complete a full master's degree program.

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Online Associate Degrees in Secondary Education

This level of degree is appropriate for someone who wishes to transfer to a bachelor's degree program later on to become a fully licensed teacher.

Program Requirements

Online associate degrees are usually completed within two years and around 60 credit hours. Students need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to be admitted.

Curriculum

Students will take general education courses as well as education specific classes focusing on psychology, communication, diversity, education, and more. Students can also major in a content area in which they take additional concentration courses in their chosen field, such as geography, foreign languages, physical sciences, and more.

Graduates of an associate degree in secondary education are qualified for work as a paraprofessional educator, teacher's aide, library assistant, or day care instructor. Additional certification and exams may be necessary or helpful in finding certain jobs.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Secondary Education

A bachelor's degree is the minimum education necessary to become a fully licensed teacher.

Program Requirements

To be admitted to this level of program, students must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, provide standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT, and submit an application essay. Application materials vary depending on the school. Secondary education degree programs usually last between four to five years total and are offered by colleges and universities. Those who hold an associate degree can apply to transfer their credits and finish the bachelor degree in less time.

Curriculum

Students take general education courses as well as courses in pedagogy, educational psychology, curriculum development, and lesson planning. Students in secondary education programs also typically choose one to two subject areas in which they will take additional, advanced courses, such as math or sciences, in order to be qualified to teach in this subject area. Student teaching or internship experience will usually be required.

Upon graduation from a bachelor degree program, graduates can enroll in teacher certification programs in which they will work towards their professional teaching certificate. Some programs have teacher certification built into the program, while others do not. Each state has different teacher certification requirements, including background checks, student teaching experience, general teaching exams, and more.

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Online Master's in Secondary Education

Master's degree programs in secondary education give students an in-depth preparation in how to teach at the secondary level. These programs can be an especially good fit for someone who has an undergraduate degree in a particular subject area and who wishes to apply that knowledge to teaching middle and high school, or someone who wants to make a career change and become a teacher but who has no prior teaching experience or credentials.

Program Requirements

An online master's degree will typically take about two years to complete, and in order to be admitted, applicants need to have completed a bachelor's degree. Depending on the program, the bachelor's degree will need to be in a particular teaching subject, like English or math. Students with or without previous teaching experience can apply to a master's program. Other admission requirements may include letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, and graduate test scores. Tuition will vary depending on the school and program, though students can plan on spending at least somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 a year.

Curriculum

Sample course titles that a student might take include Adolescent Psychology, Language and Culture, Curriculum and Instructional Planning for Middle and High School, and Adolescent Literature. Student teaching will also usually be required. Once the program is completed graduates will be prepared to teacher at the secondary level. A master's degree can make a teacher more competitive in the job market over those who only have a bachelor's.

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Online Doctoral Degrees in Secondary Education

The Doctor of Education, or Ed.D, in secondary education is available for those professionals who wish to advance their education as much as possible.

Program Requirements

Doctoral candidates must have a bachelor's degree and may also be required to have a master's degree in a particular specialization. They will also need to have previous teaching experience. A high GPA, strong work or academic recommendations, and an impressive history of professional experience in the educational field will all contribute to admission into a competitive doctoral program. Students can expect to spend at least three years on their doctoral program and complete at least 60 credit hours of study. Tuition will vary depending on the program, but students should expect to spend at least $11,000 a year or more.

Curriculum

Courses that students will take cover the topics of creating and evaluating a curriculum, using technology in the classroom, teaching strategies, and research methods. Independent research and a dissertation will also be required. Doctors of Education are prepared for advanced positions, such as principal or superintendent, as well as jobs in academic research, university teaching, and other top administrative roles.

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Online Certificates in Secondary Education

Upon earning a bachelor's degree, prospective teachers have the option to take an online certificate program to get their teaching licensure. Each state has its own licensure requirements, so students should look for programs offered by schools within the state they wish to teach in. Courses in pedagogy and content can be taken online, while clinical hours must be logged at program-approved middle and high schools. Graduate certificate programs take about a year to two years to complete, depending on the students' availability and completion of student teaching and required internship hours. Upon completion, certificate holders can obtain professional teaching licensure in their state and pursue full-time work as official teachers in the schools of their choice.

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Accreditation

Schools receive accreditation through a rigorous process of academic review against official standards by recognized third-party organizations. Accreditation is essential for a valid diploma on the job market or to transfer course credits between schools. In higher education, there are three kinds of accreditation: national, regional, and programmatic. National accreditation is geared towards mostly for-profit technical, career, or vocational schools, and is awarded by ten national accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education including the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), New York State Board of Regents, and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Regional accreditation is generally considered to be the most prestigious of accreditation designations. Therefore, regionally accredited schools do not normally accept credits that are transferred from nationally accredited schools.

Those looking to pursue a degree in secondary education should be sure to take courses at regionally accredited institutions from the start to ensure that their coursework will transfer if necessary and that their diploma will be valid if used towards a future graduate degree. Regional accreditation is awarded to not-for-profit, full degree institutions such as colleges and universities by one of six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S., recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Finally, programmatic accreditation is awarded by specialization or profession, such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Individuals who wish to be teachers should enroll in a program that has been accredited by CAEP. This will ensure the student that they are receiving a quality education that will prepare them for their future careers. 

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Licensing Requirements

Teacher requirements vary per state and must be verified individually on each state's department of education website; however, a bachelor's degree in teaching as well as a teaching license are standard requirements for teachers in secondary education. To get a teaching license with a non-teaching bachelor's degree an individual will have to complete an additional certification program or complete a master's degree in education. Many graduate programs in secondary education will offer initial teacher licensure for grades 7-12, setting the graduates up to teach in their desired field of specialization with targeted coursework.

Careers in Secondary Education

Secondary education involves the teaching, curriculum planning, administration, and counseling of middle and high school students. Those who wish to study secondary education may become teachers, principals, school district administrators, education counselors, college professors, education policymakers, or work in non-profit organizations or international schools. The day-to-day varies depending on the profession. While teachers spend their days planning lessons, grading papers or homework, and teaching in the classroom, administrators and policymakers deal with policies, research, and paperwork. Counselors work with students to plan their college or professional goals after high school graduation. 

References

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