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The demand for skilled secondary educators is growing. A master’s in secondary education equips students with the knowledge and expertise necessary to excel in teaching roles, fostering the development of young minds in middle and high school settings. Graduates of these programs are prepared for a range of impactful roles, including subject-area teachers, curriculum developers, instructional coordinators, and school administrators.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secondary school teachers earn an average salary of $65,220 per year, with the potential for higher earnings based on experience and location. The degree program typically spans one to two years, depending on the institution and whether it’s pursued full-time or part-time. As for cost, the National Center for Education Statistics reports an average expense of $12,000 to $30,000 for master’s degree programs, though this can vary based on factors such as residency status and program features.

How to Choose a Master’s in Secondary Education Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing the right area of study is crucial for career success and personal fulfillment. First, assess your interests and strengths to identify which subject or specialization aligns best with your passion and expertise. Look for colleges and universities that offer programs with a focus that aligns with your areas of interest. It may help to consider the job market demand and salary prospects for educators in your desired field. Seek guidance, if necessary, from academic advisors or professionals in the field to gain insights and advice on making an informed decision.

Research schools and programs

Researching schools and programs involves several key steps. Begin by compiling a list of accredited institutions offering the program, considering factors such as location, reputation, and program structure. Explore each school’s website to gather information on faculty expertise, curriculum details, and available resources like internships or teaching opportunities. Make use of online forums, alumni networks, and educational publications to gather insights and reviews from current and former students. Once you have located some likely options, reach out to admissions offices or program coordinators to ask specific questions and request additional information.

Prepare for tests and applications

Begin your preparations by familiarizing yourself with the application requirements and deadlines for each program you’re interested in. Dedicate ample time to study for standardized tests like the GRE or Praxis, utilizing study guides, practice tests, and online resources. Gather all necessary documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, well in advance to ensure a smooth application process. Consider seeking feedback on your application materials from mentors or advisors. Stay organized by creating a timeline and checklist to track your progress and meet deadlines effectively.

Select your program

Selecting the right program involves thorough consideration of various factors. Begin by clarifying your career goals and preferred teaching approach to identify programs that align with your aspirations. Evaluate each program’s curriculum, faculty expertise, and available resources to ensure they meet your academic and professional needs. Consider factors like program duration, flexibility, and location to determine the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences. Ultimately, prioritize accredited programs that offer a comprehensive education and ample support for your growth as an educator.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Start by assessing your financial situation and exploring available funding options, such as scholarships, grants, and assistantships offered by the school or external organizations. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal loans and work-study programs. Research tuition payment plans, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and potential opportunities for part-time work or internships in your field. By carefully evaluating your options and planning ahead, you can effectively manage the cost of your degree.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Secondary Education Degree Programs

Best Master's in Secondary Education Degree Programs_2024 badge

Vanderbilt Peabody College

University of Michigan Marsal Family School of Education

University of Washington

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Boston College

NYU Steinhardt

Indiana University - Bloomington

Lehigh University

Western Washington University

Loyola University Chicago

National Louis University

Teachers College at Columbia University

DePaul University

Mercer University

Worcester State University

University of Alabama

Clemson University

Whitworth University

University of Mississippi

Temple University

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How we rank schools

We looked at many master’s in secondary education degree programs, including Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Education (MEd) programs. Our list contains online, hybrid, and dual-mode programs.

All of these programs are regionally accredited, and many are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP). Attending an accredited program ensures the quality and acceptance of your degree.We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Secondary Education Degree Program?

A master’s in secondary education offers prospective students a comprehensive educational experience tailored to prepare them for successful careers in teaching and educational leadership. Students can expect to gain in-depth knowledge of pedagogy, curriculum development, classroom management, and educational psychology, among other essential topics. Many programs offer specialized coursework or concentrations in areas such as special education, STEM education, or literacy instruction, allowing students to tailor their studies to their career interests and goals.

Program duration typically ranges from one to two years, depending on factors such as full-time or part-time enrollment and any prerequisite coursework required. Prospective students should also be aware of potential additional requirements, such as practicum experiences, student teaching placements, or in-person residencies, which provide hands-on teaching experience and may be integral to program completion.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in secondary education degree program

  • Foundations of Education. Provides an overview of the historical, philosophical and sociological foundations of education, examining key theories and their implications for teaching and learning in secondary schools.
  • Curriculum Development and Design. Explores principles and practices of designing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum for secondary education settings, focusing on alignment with standards, student needs, and instructional goals.
  • Educational Psychology. Delves into the psychological principles underlying adolescent development, learning processes, motivation, and classroom management strategies, equipping students with insights into fostering effective teaching and student engagement.
  • Instructional Strategies. Students learn a variety of instructional methods and techniques tailored to the diverse needs and learning styles of secondary students. These emphasize differentiation, assessment, and technology integration to enhance teaching effectiveness.
  • Content Area Methods. Focuses on strategies for teaching specific subject areas, such as English, mathematics, science, or social studies, incorporating pedagogical approaches, assessment strategies, and standards-based instruction relevant to each content area.
  • Assessment and Evaluation. Explore principles and practices of assessment, including formative and summative assessment methods, data analysis, and feedback mechanisms to monitor student progress and inform instructional decisions.
  • Classroom Management. Addresses strategies for creating a positive, inclusive classroom environment conducive to learning, emphasizing behavior management techniques, conflict resolution, and building positive relationships with students.

Master’s in Secondary Education Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in secondary education degree program?

Start by reviewing the specific admission requirements of your chosen program. Typically, you’ll need to complete an online application form and submit official transcripts from all previous academic institutions. Most programs require letters of recommendation, often from academic or professional references. Some programs may also require standardized test scores, such as the GRE or Praxis. Reach out to an admissions counselor before applying to discuss any program-specific requirements and ensure you have a clear understanding of the application process. Admissions counselors can also provide valuable guidance and support throughout the application process.

How much does a master's in secondary education degree cost?

The cost of a master’s in secondary education degree varies depending on factors such as institution, program format, and location. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition for such programs ranges from $12,000 to $30,000. Additionally, students should consider other expenses such as textbooks, technology fees, and transportation. Online programs may offer flexibility but can still incur similar tuition costs along with potential technology or online learning platform fees. It’s essential to research and compare total costs across different programs to make an informed decision about affordability and value.

How long does it take to earn a master's in secondary education degree?

Earning a master’s in secondary education generally takes from one to two years for full-time students, depending on the program’s structure and credit requirements. Part-time enrollment may extend the completion time, allowing flexibility for working professionals. Online programs often offer accelerated or self-paced options, potentially shortening the time to completion. Always consider the total number of required credits and any prerequisites, as they can impact program length. Prospective students should review program details carefully to understand the expected timeline and choose an option that aligns with their schedule and goals.

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