Earning a Master's in Secondary Education Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Secondary Education Online?

A master's in secondary education online qualifies graduates to teach middle and high school students at public, private, and charter schools. Dedicated, organized, and lifelong learners, successful teachers are role models and mentors. Some secondary teachers pursue related careers as school leaders, curriculum specialists, or postsecondary instructors.

Pursuing your degree online offers flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Online courses enable you to access instruction anytime and from any location. Flexible program options allow students to work and manage family responsibilities. Since you do not need to commute to class or live on campus, an online program can also save you money.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Secondary Education Graduates

Master's in Secondary Education Salary

Most secondary education degree holders pursue positions as middle and high school teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers earn average salaries of $59,170 while middle school teachers make $57,720, on average. The BLS projects above-average job growth of 8% for both positions by 2026. Teacher salaries vary by location and experience, as shown in the charts below.

Top Paying States for Secondary School Teachers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
Alaska 2,250 $85,420
New York 70,630 $83,360
Connecticut 14,870 $78,810
California 107,680 $77,390
New Jersey 29,510 $76,430
United States 1,018,700 $59,170

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for High School Teachers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $41,783
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $47,841
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $54,216
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $60,670

Source: PayScale

Master's in Secondary Education Careers

Some students enter a master's in secondary education online program to become certified as a public middle or high school teacher. Practicing teachers may enter the program to advance their career. This degree qualifies graduates to teach middle or high school subjects, such as math or social studies. It also allows teachers to change jobs, teach older students, or advance into leadership positions. Below are five common career options for graduates.

Middle School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $57,720

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

These teachers instruct students in grades 6-8. They typically work in teams of teachers, specializing in different subjects and sharing a group of students. They use their skills in instruction, technology, and adolescent social-emotional development to plan engaging lessons, communicate with families, and support students.

High School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $59,170

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

These teachers hold licensure in a content area, such as math, and often specialize in teaching specific subjects within that content area, such as algebra. They apply advanced knowledge of subjects and instructional strategies to prepare students to succeed in college or enter the workforce. Many high school teachers take additional roles outside the classroom, such as club adviser or coach.

High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $52,100

Projected Growth Rate: -5%

These teachers help adults gain the knowledge and skills needed to pass a high school equivalency exam. While they sometimes work in schools, they may also serve students in community centers or community colleges. High school diploma teachers often work with English language learners, helping them gain the skills needed for success.

Instructional Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $63,750

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Experienced teachers with a master's degree may wish to become curriculum specialists in their content area. These instructional coordinators support classroom teachers by planning professional development workshops, providing teachers with relevant resources, and training teachers about state and local standards.

Middle or High School Principal

Annual Median Salary: $94,390

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

These administrators manage the daily operations of schools, including safety, discipline, transportation, and staffing. They oversee curricula, finances, parent-community relations, and activities. Experienced secondary teachers with graduate-level training in administration may pursue state licensure as an administrator.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statstics

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Secondary Education Program?

Master's in secondary education online programs offer advanced courses in educational theory and teaching methods. Specific courses vary by school and specialization. Programs that provide a path to state licensure include all licensure course and practicum requirements while others may not. See below for sample courses.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Secondary Education

Strategies for Teaching and Learning

This course introduces students to research-based teaching methods and classroom management skills. Preservice teachers learn how to use these strategies in lesson planning, instruction, and assessment. This course may also explore techniques for meeting diverse student needs.

Human Growth and Development

Students study the stages of human development and how they apply to teaching adolescents. Students explore the psychological roots of educational theory and practice as they prepare to apply these theories in the classroom.

Technology for Teaching and Learning

This course introduces teachers to the technical tools and skills they need to design and deliver lessons, evaluate and track student progress, and communicate with students and families. Topics may include how to use digital tools to increase student engagement and achievement.

Diversity and Inclusion

This course explores the diversity that teachers may encounter in the classroom and how it impacts learning. Teachers reflect on ways to create inclusive classrooms where all students feel welcome and thrive. Topics may include social justice and educational equity.

Research Methods

Learners study how to use quantitative and qualitative research methods in education. Educators learn the skills needed to apply educational research to practice and conduct assessments and evaluations of student learning.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Secondary Education Prepares For

  • Secondary Teacher License: Secondary teachers must hold licensure in a content area. Secondary education master's graduates whose programs included a path to licensure may apply to become social studies, English, math, science, or foreign language teachers.

  • National Board Certification: Experienced teachers can complete the National Board certification process. A master's in secondary education online may assist you in preparing for the rigorous application process. Some employers offer board-certified teachers incentives, such as financial assistance with the application or higher pay upon certification.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations offer teachers networking and professional development opportunities, legal protection, and career services. Some organizations, such as teachers' unions, advocate for higher pay and better working conditions for members. Others keep members and the public informed about the latest issues in education. Students, preservice teachers, and job seekers also benefit from the job boards and mentoring services that organizations offer.

  • National Education Association: As the largest teachers' union in the U.S., the NEA advocates for teachers, students, support professionals, and administrators at the state and national levels. It also offers resources, grants, and awards, and organizes local and national events.

  • American Federation of Teachers: As a professional union of teachers, public employees, and nurses, AFT advances public education through collective bargaining and political advocacy. It promotes awareness of issues that may impact schools, including immigration, gun violence, and school funding through press releases and other publications.

  • Phi Delta Kappa International: PDK International includes three organizations serving educators, including one for preservice teachers. The organization promotes social justice in schools, offers professional development and networking opportunities, and publishes Kappan magazine.

  • Association for Middle Level Education: AMLE offers professional development and networking opportunities to middle school teachers through its annual conference, webinars, and publications. The website provides resources on relevant topics, including bullying and social justice.

  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: ASCD's extensive professional development offerings include conferences, publications, webinars, and online courses. The organization advocates for effective, research-based instructional design models and teaching strategies.