Accredited Online Secondary Education Degrees
Individuals who enjoy working with children aged 11-18 may be interested in earning a secondary education degree online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for schoolteachers is rising. The U.S. currently employs nearly 1.6 million middle and high school teachers, and that number is projected to increase to more than 1.7 million by 2030.
Our list provides annual tuition rates and recommendation rates from students for the most popular schools offering accredited online secondary education degrees. Following the list, we provide information about common courses, teaching careers, and licensure requirements.
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Secondary Education Bachelor's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Grand Canyon University||$17,800||52% (502 reviews)|
|# 2||Liberty University||$11,700||57% (316 reviews)|
|# 3||Western Governors University||$6,670||73% (705 reviews)|
|# 4||Touro University Worldwide||$14,600||69% (13 reviews)|
|# 5||Saint Leo University Online||$23,750||63% (93 reviews)|
|# 6||Calvary University||$11,164||Add Review|
|# 7||University of North Carolina at Wilmington||$21,246||100% (1 review)|
|# 8||Ottawa University Online||$12,316||100% (4 reviews)|
|# 9||Hope International University||$33,400||100% (2 reviews)|
|# 10||Judson College||$18,540||Add Review|
|# 11||North Carolina A&T State University||$20,167||100% (1 review)|
|# 12||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||$30,500||Add Review|
|# 13||Arizona Christian University||$27,890||Add Review|
|# 14||Central Methodist University||$15,810||100% (1 review)|
|# 15||Chadron State College||$7,586||100% (3 reviews)|
|# 16||Chaminade University of Honolulu||$26,134||100% (1 review)|
|# 17||Drury University||$29,665||Add Review|
|# 18||Granite State College||$9,015||33% (3 reviews)|
|# 19||Mississippi State University||$23,950||0% (1 review)|
|# 20||National University||$13,320||50% (100 reviews)|
|# 21||Ottawa University-Milwaukee||$11,770||Add Review|
|# 22||Ottawa University-Ottawa||$30,805||Add Review|
|# 23||Ottawa University-Phoenix||$11,770||Add Review|
|# 24||Prescott College||$32,553||100% (1 review)|
|# 25||Southwestern Assemblies of God University||$19,834||100% (1 review)|
Overview of Online Bachelor's Degrees in Secondary Education
Aspiring teachers can earn a secondary education bachelor's degree entirely through distance education by taking fully online classes. They can even complete practicum and fieldwork requirements at schools near their home. These programs are designed to prepare graduates to work as licensed classroom teachers in middle and high schools.
Teacher candidates study current theories and strategies in education while developing skills to effectively teach and manage their classes. All programs typically require 120 credit hours and are generally structured to be completed in four years of full-time study.
Aspiring teachers can earn a secondary education bachelor's degree entirely through distance education by taking fully online classes.
Students who opt for online learning may be able to reduce the cost of their college degree program by eliminating expenses for on-campus housing and transportation. Non-resident students may also benefit from choosing an online program, as many schools' online tuition rates are lower than their out-of-state student tuition rates. Overall, the online colleges on our list have a median annual tuition of $18,972, but this amount can be further reduced by applying for financial aid.
As a next step, students may be interested in learning about master's in secondary education programs.
Three Types of Secondary Education Degrees
While a Bachelor of Education degree typically trains prospective educators on how to cover a broad range of subjects, other programs are designed for those who want to teach individual subjects. For example, a Bachelor of Arts could be the best option for those who want to teach language arts, while a Bachelor of Science degree may be more useful for those who want to teach in subjects such as math and science.
The curriculum for bachelor's degrees in secondary education is based on the grade level that future graduates intend to teach. For example, if prospective educators plan to teach middle school, they would typically take courses about how to instruct their students on an array of subjects, such as English, math, and history. By contrast, future high school teachers are more likely to take classes focused on teaching a single content area. All programs, however, include general education classes, foundational courses about pedagogy, and electives in practical teaching methods and skills.
While online secondary education degree programs vary widely at the bachelor's level, they all culminate in several field experience courses, which serve as a program’s capstone. Depending on the program, fieldwork can take several forms: in-class observation, internships, and unpaid student teaching. In addition to these term-length field experiences, some online education courses may require 5-10 practicum hours. The fieldwork component varies because programs are generally designed to meet a school's state licensing requirements.
Classroom Management and Engagement
Creating a positive, productive learning environment in the classroom is essential to student and teacher success. This course introduces behavioral concepts and learning principles that teachers can use to engage their students' attention and effectively manage their classes.
Curriculum and Assessment
In this course, teacher candidates learn about curriculum development by planning and sequencing lessons to meet curricular goals and produce desired learning outcomes. Coursework may also include the administration and interpretation of standardized tests.
Children with mild to moderate disabilities or particularly strong abilities in specific areas may need additional support from educators. This course trains teacher candidates to identify specific learning patterns and provide customized special education instruction that helps many types of learners progress with their education.
Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning
Technology has proven to be a valuable asset for teaching many subjects, particularly STEM. In this course, teacher candidates discover a number of technological tools and how to incorporate them strategically into their lesson plans. They also learn to assist their students in developing skills in using technology.
Educational Psychology of Children and Adolescents
By understanding how adolescents grow and develop cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically, teachers are better prepared to work with young adults. Teacher candidates learn to use the principles of psychology to construct healthy learning environments that support and motivate their students.
Foundations of Education
This course provides a comprehensive summary of the historical, psychological, sociological, and philosophical underpinnings of the U.S. education system. At the end of the course, teacher candidates may be required to define their personal philosophy of education.
Careers in Secondary Education
Teaching is the primary career path for students with online degrees in secondary education. In addition to having solid lesson planning and instructional skills, teachers at a secondary school must be adept at active listening and clear verbal communication.
Depending on their state licensing requirements, graduates may qualify to teach one or multiple subject areas at the middle or high school level. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for middle school teachers is $60,810, and the role’s projected growth rate of 7% may result in about 48,400 new jobs each year through 2030. High school teachers earn a slightly higher median salary of $62,870, and this level has more employment opportunities, with 77,400 new openings projected to emerge annually throughout the decade.
Teaching is the primary career path for students with online degrees in secondary education.
Graduates with secondary education credentials can pursue other alternatives besides being a traditional teacher. Some interested in professional development may decide to take on additional training and teach special education or English as a second language. Experienced educators may consider earning an online master's degree in educational leadership so they can take on administrative roles, such as middle or high school principal.
Secondary teachers report having mixed feelings about their occupation. The BLS notes that while many teachers find personal satisfaction in educating young minds, some are frustrated by the working conditions sometimes found in public schools, from overlarge classes to a lack of current tools and resources. The recent pandemic has had a significant impact on teachers, especially regarding how they view their roles. In a 2020 survey of more than 1,000 educators, 46% believed that their work had become more meaningful, and 68% felt the public now placed a greater value on the importance of teachers.
Explore our career finder tool to see where popular programs can lead you on your career path.
Before enrollment, prospective online students should ensure that the program they choose prepares them to meet all of the requirements in the state where they plan to work — not just the state where the school is located. Each state has unique requirements for teaching licenses. In some states, secondary educators may need teaching certification to teach a single content area or multiple subjects and to teach specific grade levels.
The eligibility requirements to sit for a state's teacher certification exam also vary but may include specifications for college accreditation, number of completed practicum hours, types of fieldwork, teacher certification programs, and more.
For additional resources, check out our college student guides, including a guide for minority students, a mental health guide, and more!