2022 Best Online Secondary Education Degrees

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 6/21/2022

Individuals who enjoy teaching children aged 11-18 may be interested in earning a secondary education degree online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for school teachers is rising. The US 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 below of the best secondary education degrees is organized by the highest alumni salaries for each program. View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.

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List Of Accredited Online Schools

School Online Enrollment Salary Score Median Starting Salary
Western Governors University 136,139 136,139 38 38 $34,615 $34,615
Texas Tech University 3,742 NA NA
Touro University Worldwide 1,880 NA NA
Western New Mexico University 1,112 NA NA
Southwestern Assemblies of God University 1,077 NA NA
Chadron State College 1,067 46 $35,603
Thomas University 646 NA NA
Hope International University 562 NA NA
Chaminade University of Honolulu 490 82 $40,383
The Baptist College of Florida 291 NA NA
Ottawa University Online 261 20 $32,184
Drury University 193 6 $28,908
Arizona Christian University 109 35 $34,250
Judson College 50 NA NA

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Salary Score: 82
  • Median Starting Salary: $40,383
  • Locations: Honolulu (HI)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Caminade University of Honolulu (CUH) is a small, private institution. It has an online Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education that requires 120 credits. CUH provides students with knowledge about learner development and diverse environments, which helps prepare students to optimize their learning styles for secondary students. Some core courses in this program include Managing School Environments, Introduction to Exceptional Children, and Curriculum & Instruction. The program also requires Seminar and Student Teaching courses. It has four licensure tracks: (1) English, (2) Social Studies, (3) Science, and (4) Mathematics. Students can complete their degree in four years with a full-time schedule. Graduates of CUH’s program are eligible for licensure in the state of Hawaii.

At CUH, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is mostly online and asynchronous.

Chadron State College

  • Salary Score: 46
  • Median Starting Salary: $35,603
  • Locations: Chadron (NE)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Chadron State College (CSC) is a small, public institution. CSC offers an online Bachelor of Science in Education - Secondary (6-12, 7-12, PK-12, K-12) requiring 120 credits. CSC’s BS in Education offers both Field Endorsement Programs and Subject Endorsement Programs, meaning you can specialize in a general field — like English or Mathematics — or a specific subject — like Biology or History. The program takes about four years to complete, with the last year being a “Professional Year” that includes a capstone course and teaching internship. This major offers education courses that include Technology Resources for Learning, Assessment Foundations, and Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Classrooms.

At CSC, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is asynchronous.

Western Governors University

  • Salary Score: 38
  • Median Starting Salary: $34,615
  • Locations: Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Western Governors University (WGU) is a large, private institution that offers several online Bachelor’s of Science degrees for Secondary Education. These science and math programs lead to licensure and teaching at various levels. These degree programs take between three and four years with a full-time schedule, including Demonstration Teaching, a Cohort Seminar, and a Professional Portfolio. All programs offer classes in their specific concentrations as well as teaching classes, such as Educational Technology for Teaching & Learning, Secondary Reading Instruction & Interventions, and Fundamentals of Diverse Learners. Some programs send students laboratory equipment to assist their coursework at home.

At WGU, students use Handshake to access their coursework. The coursework is mostly online, except for Demonstration Teaching.

Arizona Christian University

  • Salary Score: 35
  • Median Starting Salary: $34,250
  • Locations: Phoenix (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arizona Christian University (ACU) is a small, private university. ACU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, which includes specialization options in business, language arts, history, math, and science. These programs require 120 credit hours, and students with a full-time schedule can complete their chosen degree in four years. Education courses in this major include Tests & Measurements, Educational Psychology, and Classroom Management. This program requires Directed Student Teaching and a Secondary Education capstone course, both of which provide graduates with teaching experience before they pursue careers in education.

At ACU, students use Canvas to access their online coursework, which is asynchronous.

Ottawa University Online

  • Salary Score: 20
  • Median Starting Salary: $32,184
  • Locations: Ottawa (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ottawa University Online (OU) is a small, private institution. OU offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics - Secondary Education, which requires 124 credit hours. Some core classes in this major include Educational Psychology, Foundations of Schools in a Diverse Society, and Transition to Higher Mathematics. The program also requires a capstone course — called Integrative Seminar in Mathematics — in which students create an integrative project. OU’s online degree program takes four years with a full-time schedule, and graduates go on to work as teachers and researchers.

At OU, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous.

Drury University

  • Salary Score: 6
  • Median Starting Salary: $28,908
  • Locations: Springfield (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Drury University (DU) is a small, private institution that offers an online Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, which requires 124 credit hours and takes four years with a full-time schedule. This program has three content areas for certification: (1) Biology, (2) English & Writing, and (3) History. All three programs have courses specific to them, but some general education courses include Collaborative Classroom Environments, Diversity & Social Justice in Education, and Introduction To Mild/Moderate Disabilities. Students get experience teaching and developing curriculum before they graduate to become teachers and school administrators.

At DU, students use Moodle to access their coursework, which is completely online and asynchronous.

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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.

Common Courses

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.

The following are some typical online courses in secondary education programs.

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.

Diverse Learners

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.

Are you unsure about pursuing secondary education? You may also be interested in exploring teacher licensure programs, psychology bachelor's degrees, or social work programs.

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.

Licensing Requirements

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!

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