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 their home.

When you’re investigating online master’s programs in secondary education, it’s important to find one that aligns with your long-term career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Secondary Education

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.

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

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.

Expected Salary

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.

Career Opportunities

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.

Professional Organizations

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 development opportunities.

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 professional resources.

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.