2020 Best Master's in Secondary Education Online Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 9, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Secondary Education Badge

Ranked based on affordability and earning potential, these 18 schools offer the best online master's programs in secondary education. Graduates of the #1-ranked school, The George Washington University, earn a median salary of $91,400 after earning their MA in Education and Human Development in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services. Mercy College ranks #2, with a median salary of $89,000 and an annual tuition rate of $13,455.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 $15,750 $91,400
# 2 #2 $13,455 $89,000
# 3 #3 $13,374 $80,100
# 4 #4 $6,480 $76,900
# 5 #5 $11,322 $66,900
# 6 #6 $13,131 $67,300
# 7 #7 $12,146 $66,900
# 8 #8 $17,800 $68,600
# 9 #9 $10,455 $64,700
# 10 #10 $9,765 $63,900
# 11 #11 $4,583 $58,600
# 12 #12 $6,300 $58,400
# 13 #13 $9,960 $59,800
# 14 #14 $8,892 $59,100
# 15 #15 $53,850 $77,000
# 16 #16 $6,060 $57,000
# 17 #17 $8,925 $55,000
# 18 #18 $8,313 $54,600
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Secondary Education Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 The George Washington University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,750
  • Median Salary: $91,400
  • Locations: Washington D.C. (DC)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The George Washington University offers a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services. The program’s curriculum has a social justice foundation and focuses on teaching students the skills necessary to develop transition programs for children grades 6 through 12 with disabilities, specifically preparing those individuals for higher educational settings, employment opportunities, or independent living. The 33-credit degree includes courses in research techniques, adolescent assessment, and a teaching internship component. Successful graduates must complete a comprehensive exam.

#2 Mercy College

  • Annual Tuition: $13,455
  • Median Salary: $89,000
  • Locations: Dobbs Ferry (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

The Department of Secondary Education at Mercy College has a couple of options for individuals interested in teaching at the seventh through the twelfth-grade level: a Master of Science in Adolescence Education (Grades 7-12) and a Master of Science in Educational Studies – Secondary Education. These online programs take approximately two years to complete and require a total of 36 credit hours. Admitted students may select from a list of specific certifications including mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, social studies, and English. Graduates will be qualified to apply for the New York State Teacher Certification. An online bachelor’s/master’s dual-degree is also available.

#3 California State University-Fullerton

  • Annual Tuition: $13,374
  • Median Salary: $80,100
  • Locations: Fullerton (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

Individuals pursuing an online degree in secondary education through California State University-Fullerton have both thesis and non-thesis options in either a Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education or a Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education with a focus on teaching foundational mathematics. The curriculum in both degree programs focuses on theory, research techniques, and developing multicultural competencies. Those pursuing a non-thesis track may complete a comprehensive exam, a curriculum project, or a research article. Students may also submit for National Board Certification.

#4 Western Governors University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,480
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • Locations: Multiple Locations
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Students interested in an online graduate degree in secondary education have several options through Western Governors University, including a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education (Secondary), a Master of Science in Education (with specializations in secondary chemistry, secondary biological science, secondary earth science, or secondary physics), and a Master of Arts in Teaching (with specializations in secondary English education, secondary mathematics education, or secondary science education). Western Governors University is a fully online nonprofit institution that provides mentoring support for its students.

#5 University of Georgia

  • Annual Tuition: $11,322
  • Median Salary: $66,900
  • Locations: Athens (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, has an online Master of Education in Middle Grades Education. This degree, offered through the UGA Online Learning platform, is most appropriate for currently certified teachers who wish to pursue additional study in the best practices for teaching fourth grade through eighth grade. The curriculum is designed to accommodate full-time working teachers. This program requires six semesters for a total of 36 credit hours. Accepted candidates study instructional strategies, curriculum planning, and have an opportunity to select from several electives.

#6 University of South Florida Online

  • Annual Tuition: $13,131
  • Median Salary: $67,300
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of South Florida offers a 33-credit Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Secondary Education – Foreign Language Education. This online secondary education degree requires a concentration in a subject area such as Foreign Language Education, TESOL, English, or Mathematics. Concentration areas are offered in collaboration with many other academic departments. Certain concentrations are not available every semester. The program is for licensed teachers, as well as educators interested in the advanced study of educational foundations in classroom instruction, program development, or corporate training. The 33-credit curriculum entails nine credit hours of core classes in curriculum and instruction, learning methods, and research, as well as foundational classes in psychology and sociology. The plan of study may then be customized by selecting 6 credit hours of electives and 18 credits in an area of concentration, such as Foreign Language Education, that complement the student’s professional goals. On the Canvas Learning Management System, students in online courses have 24/7 access to all their course materials. Prospective students must submit an online application, resume, goal statement, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts to be considered for admission. 

#7 University of North Texas

  • Annual Tuition: $12,146
  • Median Salary: $66,900
  • Locations: Denton (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of North Texas offers a Master of Education in Teaching: Secondary Education Certification Track that requires the completion of 12 online classes. Five start dates allow students to enroll soon after admittance to the program. Most classes are taught in an accelerated eight-week format. The curriculum of UNT’s 36 credit hour online education master’s program entails 12 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours in the specialization, six credit hours of educational foundation classes, and six credit hours of student teaching. Asynchronous classes can be accessed 24/7 allowing busy students to juggle school with competing responsibilities at work and at home. Admission to UNT is a two-step process that involves applying to the Toulouse Graduate School via the applytexas.org website and to the UNT Department of Teacher Education and Administration. Requirements include official transcripts, a one-page resume, and a two-page essay. Graduate academic advisors are available by email, phone, and Zoom to assist students with questions regarding program requirements, degree plans, and student support services.

#8 Kansas State University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,800
  • Median Salary: $68,600
  • Locations: Manhattan (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Kansas State University offers an online 31-credit Master of Arts in Teaching (Secondary Education) Degree that admits students to a cohort in May. This online degree is for aspiring educators who hold a bachelor’s degree in an area other than teaching. Students studying at an accelerated pace can earn a master’s degree in 12 months. The curriculum consists of core courses in teaching methods, colloquiums, practicums, internships in nearby middle and secondary schools, and a summative portfolio. Students may choose to teach a subject that differs from their undergraduate major. Technology requirements include a tablet and webcam for participating in virtual classroom meetings. Course content is also conveniently accessible 24/7 online via the Canvas Learning Management System. Admission standards include a bachelor’s degree, 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, structured videotaped interview, three letters of recommendation, and passing scores on the PRAXIS content exam. Upon successful completion of their MAT, students receive a recommendation for an initial teacher license in Kansas that is reciprocal in other states.

#9 University of Memphis

  • Annual Tuition: $10,455
  • Median Salary: $64,700
  • Locations: Memphis (TN)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Memphis offers an online Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Secondary Education, grades 7–12, through the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership. The program is designed for those seeking an initial teaching credential in Secondary Education. Students study adolescent development, learning theory, educational foundations, and teaching methods. Along with online classes, students must complete fieldwork requirements. Classes are taught in a 24/7 asynchronous format, which allows students to conveniently access courses around their job and other responsibilities. Applicants must pass a teacher proficiency test before applying to the online master’s in education. Specifically, passing scores are needed on the Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) and the Praxis II exam. Students seeking initial teacher licensure must also apply to the College of Education Teacher Education Program (TEP), clear a background check, maintain a 3.25 GPA, interview with faculty, fulfill all MAT requirements, create a professional portfolio, and pass a Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). Students are supported in many ways throughout the program, including help with registration, advising, career planning, tutoring, and 24/7 tech assistance. Graduates of the program qualify for licensure in Tennessee.

#10 Ball State University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,765
  • Median Salary: $63,900
  • Locations: Muncie (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ball State University offers an online Master of Arts in Secondary Education with concentrations in Secondary Teaching License, Teaching of a Content or Special Area, Dual Credit Teaching Credential, and Education Core. Another option is the online Master of Arts in Mathematics in Education – Secondary School Teachers degree. The online master’s in education allows students to customize their degree to fit career goals and objectives. Most students complete their 30-credit master’s program in four to five semesters. The MAT curriculum offers licensed and aspiring teachers new strategies for increasing instructional effectiveness. Classes focus on pedagogy, curriculum and instruction, multicultural education, and research. Students take 12–18 credits in their area of specialization, learning how to apply theory to the practice of effective teaching. The Secondary track also requires a 16-week student teaching placement. Asynchronous classes are taught on the easy-to-use Canvas learning management system that lets students decide when and where to work on their courses. Admission requirements vary by program. At a minimum, prospective students must submit an online application, official transcripts, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Student success is bolstered through academic and advising services, peer mentoring, 24/7 tech assistance, and career services.

#11 University of New Mexico

  • Annual Tuition: $4,583
  • Median Salary: $58,600
  • Locations: Albuquerque (NM)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of New Mexico offers an online Master of Arts in Secondary Education with a concentration in Teacher Leadership. This 32-credit online secondary education degree is designed for teachers seeking advanced professional development and leadership training. Students study strategies for effecting transformative change, building collaborative learning communities, shaping school culture, and setting high standards. No thesis is required. Required courses include topics such as research applications, curriculum development, social justice, educational leadership, reflection and inquiry, and advanced instructional strategies. Classes are asynchronous, and accessible 24/7 via the Blackboard learning management system, which also provides notifications, email, and announcements to help students feel connected. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, 3.0 GPA, official transcripts, and a current teaching license. Students seeking to enhance their research skills and scholarly writing can access assistance through the Graduate Resource Center. The degree is not designed as a credentialing track.

#12 University of Alabama

  • Annual Tuition: $6,300
  • Median Salary: $58,400
  • Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of Alabama Bama by Distance program offers four online master’s in education degrees. The online MA in Secondary Education focuses on pedagogy and instructional methods. By adding a concentration, students can leverage a Master of Arts in Secondary Education degree to fit their career goals and aspirations. Optional specializations include English for Speakers of Other Languages P–12, English Language Arts 6–12 Certification, Reading Specialist P–12 Certification, and Science Certification. The 30-credit online master’s degree programs are composed of educational foundation courses, content specialization courses, internship experiences, and survey courses. All online master’s programs can lead to an advanced degree and eligibility for master’s level certification. Online classes are designed for flexibility to accommodate the schedules of busy teachers. Course content is accessible 24/7 via Blackboard Learning technology. Admission requirements vary by program. Successful applicants generally have a 3.0 GPA or higher, teaching credential, two years of classroom experience, acceptable MAT or GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Enrolled students seeking program information or support services can obtain assistance by reaching out to the Bama by Distance Student Services team.

#13 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,960
  • Median Salary: $59,800
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University offers an online 36-credit Master of Arts in Teaching that can be customized by adding a 9-credit concentration in Elementary Education, Middle Grades, Secondary Education, or Special Education. Also available online is the 36-credit Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a non-licensure middle-grades emphasis. Accelerated eight-week courses enable students to earn a degree in 18 months. Students pursuing an online master’s in education study curriculum and design, educational foundations, classroom management, teaching styles, assessment, and research methods. A concentration gives students the opportunity to learn advanced instructional approaches in the area of their intended specialization. Liberty University’s educational curriculum is grounded in Biblical principles congruent with the school’s values. Online courses are taught via the Blackboard platform that provides 24/7 access to course materials, discussions, email, notifications, and assignments, anytime and anywhere. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Prospective students must apply online and submit transcripts. Online students have access to student services such as library resources for research papers, 24/7 tech support, and academic advising.

#14 Troy University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,892
  • Median Salary: $59,100
  • Locations: Troy (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Troy University offers two online education master’s programs: 36-credit Master of Science in Education – Social Science Education (6–12) and the 36-credit Master of Science in History Education (6–12). Short nine-week courses make it possible to earn a degree in less time than a traditional semester program. Start dates are available five times throughout the year, which appeals to those eager to begin their studies. The curriculum of these online master’s programs is split between general courses in educational foundations and specific classes in the teaching field. Students study pedagogy and instructional methods geared to teaching students in middle school and high school. Asynchronous online classes allow 24/7 access making it possible for busy adult learners to work full-time while pursuing an advanced degree. Admission to Troy University requires submission of an online application, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. Troy University has a flexible transfer policy that can shorten the time to degree completion. Support services such as online library research assistance and academic advising help students achieve their academic and personal goals.

#15 New York University

  • Annual Tuition: $53,850
  • Median Salary: $77,000
  • Locations: New York (NY)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

New York University has a unique 30-credit Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education for aspiring teachers. The 12-month program entails rigorous online coursework along with a paid 40-hour per week residency in diverse, underserved schools. Part-time students spend 20 hours per week at their assigned site. Synchronous online classes are taught in the evening. Students study subjects such as classroom management, pedagogical methods, assessment, and lesson planning. Emphasis is placed on meeting the needs of diverse learners in urban schools. Graduates of the program continue working at the school for a contracted period. Students interested in the program must complete an application and submit a resume, personal essay, and official transcripts to begin the admission process. Selected students are admitted to the program as part of a cohort that starts in June. Successful completion of all degree requirements leads to a master’s degree and a recommendation for initial teaching certification in the state. Throughout the program, students receive support, coaching, and mentoring from faculty and staff.

#16 Stephen F. Austin State University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,060
  • Median Salary: $57,000
  • Locations: Nacogdoches (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Stephen F. Austin University offers an online 30-credit Master of Arts in Teaching with EC–12 and 7–12 Teacher Certification. This online master’s in education is designed for aspiring teachers who earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching major and now wish to become licensed to teach in Texas. Admitted students learn methods of teaching diverse learners. The curriculum consists of 18 credit hours of certification courses and 12 more credit hours for the master’s degree. In addition to completing online classes, students must fulfill student teaching requirements for certification in EC–12 or 7–12 content areas. Shortly before graduation, students are expected to travel to campus on a Saturday to prep for the state certification exam. Asynchronous classes are taught on the Brightspace D2L learning platform that offers students convenient 24/7 access. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, passing scores on the PACT content area exam, and a favorable impression in an admission interview with program faculty. Students should also have sufficient undergraduate coursework in their desired content area before applying to the program. Graduate students have access to online library resources and writing assistance through the Academic Success and Resource Center.

#17 Old Dominion University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,925
  • Median Salary: $55,000
  • Locations: Norfolk (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Old Dominion University offers a 34-credit online Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education (6–12) with initial Virginia licensure for aspiring teachers, and a 33-credit Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education for Licensed Teachers. Students seeking initial licensure take classes in human development, assessment, instructional strategies, and engage in student teaching. Licensed teachers concentrate on English language learners, research, evaluation, and instructional technology. Instead of student teaching, experienced teachers must complete a capstone project that may include writing a thesis. The instructional format of the master’s program includes asynchronous classes that are accessible anytime and live synchronous classes that meet in real-time. Admission to the program requires an online application, transcripts, essay, two recommendation letters, and a copy of a teaching license, if applicable. Student success is supported through online access to offices such as ITS, Student Services Center, and the Career Development Center.

#18 Mississippi State University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,313
  • Median Salary: $54,600
  • Locations: Mississippi State (MS)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Mississippi State University has a Master of Science in Secondary Education with a specialization in 7–12 or K–12. The online master’s in education is well suited to new and experienced teachers. The 33-credit program integrates educational theories, research, and practices. Core courses focus on research methods, planning, middle and secondary school curriculum, inquiry, and reflection. Students also take six to nine credit hours directly related to their content area. The program culminates in a comprehensive examination of theories and applications. Students access asynchronous classes on the Canvas platform that provides 24/7 access to course content along with email, notifications, and discussion boards. Admission to the program includes an online application, statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Graduates of the program qualify for Class AA Mississippi Educator License. Student support includes access to free eTextbooks, Online Writing Center, and the Center for Distance Education. Students are encouraged to connect with one another through multiple apps to enrich the graduate experience.

Online Master's in Secondary Education Overview

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 teach 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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