Being a secondary school teacher is a challenging yet fulfilling career that involves preparing middle and high schools students for life after graduation. Students in online secondary education programs participate in intensive studies, activities, and supervised teaching experiences, obtaining a broad general education and background in the foundations of secondary teaching. If you would like to support high school students in their pursuit of an education and help them transition to adulthood while enjoying the convenience of an online education, consider earning a secondary education degree online.
Online Secondary Education Degree Levels
Allowing students the flexibility to pursue their studies at times of the day that are convenient for them, online secondary education degrees are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral level.
Some community colleges offer associate’s degrees in secondary education that are designed to prepare students for bachelor’s degree programs in the field. Admissions requirements for associate’s degree programs in secondary education are usually a high school diploma or GED and a minimum required GPA.
The minimum requirement for becoming a secondary school teacher is a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED, minimum required SAT/ACT scores, and a minimum required GPA. There are also master’s programs catering to those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another area and would like to pursue teaching certification.
Graduate programs in secondary education are typically geared towards practicing teachers who want to improve their skills and content knowledge. Applicants must have a four-year degree from an accredited institution, a minimum required GPA, strong letters of recommendation, and minimum required GRE scores.
For educational specialist and/or doctoral programs candidates may have to first earn their master’s degree. A master’s degree generally takes one to two years to complete, and an educational specialist degree takes 40-45 credits beyond the master’s degree. Doctoral degrees can take from three to five years and typically culminate with a research dissertation.
Curriculum for Online Secondary Education Programs
Online secondary education programs enable students to develop a strong foundation of knowledge in the subject they plan to teach, as well in the theories and practices of teaching and learning. In most states, future secondary education teachers are required to combine an education major with a major in their content area.
Content areas in which secondary education students may specialize include English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, earth science, social studies, art, French, and Spanish, among others. Courses that secondary education students may take include the following:
- Introduction to educational technology
- Teaching in secondary school
- Speech communication
- Adolescent development
- Classroom assessment
- Secondary methods and curriculum
While it is possible to complete the majority of the coursework online, students will typically be required to participate in a semester of student teaching at a local school. Candidates are also required to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge in the subject they will teach. Secondary school teachers are typically certified to teach grades 6-12. In some states, teachers must also pursue a master’s degree after they earn their teaching certification.
Life as a Secondary Education Teacher
Most graduates of secondary education programs go on to become teachers, supervising teachers or department chairpersons, but there are also related employment opportunities available in government, private agencies, and business fields, such as publishing, sales, consulting, and human resources.
Vital to the success of our nation’s children, secondary education teachers are responsible for planning lessons, teaching class, evaluating students’ understanding of the material through assignments and exams, preparing students for standardized tests, and communicating with parents and faculty on each student’s progress.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of high school teachers is expected to grow by 7% from 2010 to 2020. Although student-teacher ratios are projected to decline, the growth in the field is slower than average compare do to other occupations, because teaching positions are based largely on state and local budgets. Opportunities are anticipated to be best in the South and West. Teachers for subjects, such as math, science, ESL, and special education, are also especially sought after in cetin districts. In 2012, the median annual wage of high school teachers was $55,050.
Students enter middle school and high school with the foundations in place to pursue more intensive studies in science, math, language, social studies, and other subjects. As a secondary school teacher, you can help young adults gain in-depth knowledge in specific subjects and get on track for academic and professional success. Secondary school teachers should have strong communication skills, extensive knowledge of the subject matter, and an affinity for working with children. Start working toward your secondary education degree online now if you want to make a difference in the lives of adolescents.