Master’s in Secondary Education Career Guide
What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Secondary Education?
Graduates of online master’s programs in secondary education are
prepared to teach students at the high school level in a variety of
subjects and also may be qualified to take on various administrative
roles, such as with curriculum development.
Online master’s programs offer the same quality education as what you
would find in traditional on-campus instruction but in a more
convenient format. Students who take online classes can complete
milestones at their own pace, and they can do it all from the comfort of
When you’re investigating online master’s programs in secondary
education, it’s important to find one that aligns with your long-term
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Secondary Education
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION|
|Educational Leadership||Students learn skills such as managing learning environments, implementing instructional strategies and learning how to communicate with other members of administration and student families.||Assistant principal, principal, instructional supervisors, secondary education adminstrators|
|English as a Second Language||Students are equipped with teaching strategies for ESL students. It typically focuses on the psychology of learning English, and graduate students examine the cognitive processes that influence language development and literacy instruction.||ESL Teacher at the high school level, roles within assessment and consultation for ESL students|
|Special Education||Prepares students to work with children who have a wide range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physical disabilities.||Special education teacher for adolescents|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Secondary Education
The specifics of a master’s in secondary education degree vary by
program and school; however, there are some common courses you can
expect to take.
|Curriculum Development||Provides you with training in instruction and curriculum design, and you learn how to create engaging environments to reach students across all cognitive levels.|
|Adolescent Psychology||Explores motivational learning strategies, different approaches to classroom management and assessment techniques. In this type of course, you’ll learn how to create learning opportunities that meet individual needs and levels of motivation.|
|Foundations in Secondary Education||An overview of the historical and contemporary issues present in education. Students learn about current trends and policies that affect how educational systems operate.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Secondary Education?
Most students enrolled in an online master’s degree for secondary
education complete their degrees within two years. In general, most
programs are around 36 credits. If enrolled full-time, some students may
be able to complete the degree within a year, assuming they’re taking
18 credits per semester, while part-time students usually finish within
two or three years.
Factors that influence the length of the program include your chosen
area of concentration, student teaching requirements, any prior teaching
experience you might have and requirements for initial licensure.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Secondary Education Prepares For
|State Teaching License||Requirements for teacher licensure vary widely by state, so be sure to check with the board of education in the state you plan to teach in find out what their requirements are. Many programs have initial licensure built into the program, and you take an exam as part of its completion. Once licensed, teachers can pursue careers in public and private schools.|
|Instructional Leadership Licensure||For professionals seeking administrative positions in education, such as if you concentrate in educational leadership, many states require an instructional leadership license. The process of earning it is similar to teacher licensure, where you have to sit for an exam to demonstrate your knowledge. Many schools require principals and/or assistant principals to hold this type of license.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Secondary Education
Accredited schools are the best choices for enrolling in an online
master’s degree in secondary education. These schools participate in
voluntary peer review processes and are held accountable by regional or
national governing bodies. Accreditation essentially verifies the
legitimacy of your education and ensures that the program you attended
met certain minimum standards of quality.
Accreditation is also important for employment purposes — many
schools, public and private, require teaching job applicants to have
completed a master’s program through an accredited institution. You can
search for higher education accredited programs by program or school
through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) database.
For teacher training programs, including online master’s in secondary education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides accreditation through evidence-based practices to ensure quality and continuous improvement.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Secondary Education Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
While a bachelor’s degree can certainly help you gain entry-level
positions in teaching, an advanced degree, such as a master’s, opens up a
host of job opportunities and can help boost your salary potential.
An online master’s degree in secondary education prepares students for careers as teachers, educational administrators and instructional coordinators. Below are some of the most common career pursuits for graduates with a master’s in secondary education degree and their median annual salaries.
The salary of a secondary school teacher also varies by subject: a
chemistry or history teacher, for example, may earn more than an English
or writing teacher depending on the school and whether the school is
public or private.
Geographical location also plays a role in salary rates. Below is a list of top-paying states for secondary school teachers. This group includes all secondary school teachers except those in special education or career/technical education. Most of them are located in the northeast or on the west coast.
An advanced master’s degree in secondary education lets secondary
teachers focus on the instruction of a specific subject, such as
science, history, English or math, or pursue a variety of leadership
roles at a school or district-wide level. Listed below are some of the
most common career opportunities available to graduates with an online
master’s degree in secondary education.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|High School Teacher||Sometimes also called secondary school teachers, high school teachers provide students in grades 9-12 with academic instruction. They may teach a single subject, such as science or math, with additional certificates or credentials, or they may teach multiple subjects. They’re responsible for planning lessons, communicating with families and incorporating state-standardized testing into their curriculum.||$59,170 per year||8%|
|Secondary School Special Education Teacher||In addition to a master’s in secondary education, high school special education teachers may have additional licenses or certifications. They work with adolescents who have learning and developmental disabilities. They often help assist students with special needs in the transition to a job or career after graduation.||$59,980 per year||8%|
|Instructional Coordinators||Overseeing school curricula and teaching standards, instructional coordinators work closely with classroom teachers, school principals and department heads to develop instructional material and coordinate its implementation. They also usually participate in the process to assess its effectiveness on student learning.||$63,750 per year||11%|
|Principals||Secondary school principals work in middle schools and high schools and oversee the daily operations of the school while also managing faculty and staff. They also help coordinate curricula and provide an overall safe learning environment for all their students.||$94,390 per year||8%|
For current graduate students and recent graduates, professional
organizations provide a wealth of resources for professional
development, job growth and classroom support. Many professional
organizations offer teaching strategies and tools for developing
comprehensive lesson plans, communicating effectively with families and
motivating students. Students who choose to become members of these
educational professional organizations learn how to advocate for their
profession and the students they serve.
American Federation of Teachers:
A professional union, the AFT provides its members with a variety of
legal and financial services, scholarships and numerous professional
Association of American Educators:
Members of the AAE have access to the organization’s numerous
publications to help them with classroom teaching. They also offer
liability insurance, classroom grants and a library of useful
National Education Association:
Members who belong to the NEA have access to scholarships, articles and
new teacher resources. This professional organization conducts
workshops and conferences throughout the year across the country.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Secondary Education
While earning an online degree is often less expensive, many students
still need financial aid to help them pay for the cost of tuition.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is
a logical first step when obtaining financial aid because it provides
you with information about grants, scholarships and loans available to
you through the federal government.
Also, be sure to investigate what scholarships and grants may be
available to you through the schools you are considering applying to and
their individual programs. Other grants and scholarships may be
obtained from nonprofit organizations and private companies.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Federal Financial Aid for Teachers|
Eligibility: The TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) grant provides aspiring teachers with up to $4,000 annually to finance their education in exchange for a four-year teaching commitment at a low-income school upon graduation.
Eligibility: Must have a 3.5 GPA. This scholarship is open to current teachers trying to advance their careers or to brand new teachers just beginning the process.
Eligibility: Students enrolled in a graduate teaching program and working to become math or science teachers can receive an annual payment equal to yearly tuition for a New York State resident in exchange for five years of full-time employment as a math or science teacher in grades 7-12 in New York State.