What is Secondary Education?
Secondary education is the level in between elementary and college education. It most typically refers to either grades 9-12 or 10-12, when students are entering junior high or high school. However, some states and programs include middle school education within this category, meaning grades 6-8.
How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Secondary Education?
Educators in this field are often thought to have limited earnings potential, but being a secondary education teacher can actually be financially rewarding. High school and middle school teachers in the United States both earn median salaries of more than $57,000 a year. Middle school teachers are also expected to see 8 percent growth in their job market over the next decade, which translates to more than 47,000 new job openings!
If you’re cautious about your return on investment, check out College Choice’s picks for Most Affordable Online Secondary Education Degrees.
Why choose an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education?
Secondary education is an important academic field, which is why it draws in students from all sorts of diverse backgrounds. Many students work well with traditional bachelors programs, but others need more flexibility with their schedule and courses.
Online programs give students the ability to raise a family or continue pursuing a career while they are in school. Classes are available wherever and whenever students need them to be. And the experience that students gain with technology through online learning gives them even more skills to use in the classroom.
What Are the 15 Best Online Bachelors in Secondary Education?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional excellence, student satisfaction and return on investment to develop rankings.
Institutional excellence looks at stats such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios and endowment sizes to judge each school’s ability to follow through on providing an excellent education for each student. Student satisfaction measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school. And finally return on investment looks at the financial benefits students are likely to receive from the school’s education, weighed against the costs of attendance.
In the end, we are confident that these are the 15 Best Online Bachelors in Secondary Education.
See our rankings methodology page.
Mississippi State University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $15,628
Mississippi State University is a public university located in Starkville, MS. The school also has campuses in Meridian, Biloxi, and Vicksburg. MSU started in 1862 as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi, but has since expanded to offer a number of different degrees and majors across the sciences and humanities. MSU has around 22,000 total students throughout their locations.
Mississippi State offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary education, with a concentration in Middle School. The program is offered through their Distance Learning service, which allows students to take online courses through their junior year. Some experience building options are:
- Field Experiences
Courses, assignments, and requirements mirror those of on-campus classes, which means students receive the same education as they would in person.
The same program also offers a specialization in Early Childhood. This is the only online elementary education bachelor’s program in the state of Mississippi. Courses focus on delivering the most current and evidence-based educational practices. Students are no longer eligible for internships in the state of Georgia.
Western Governors University
College Choice Score: 95.45
Average Net Price: $9,115
West Governors University is a private, non-profit online university that is based out of Salt Lake City, UT. The school was founded in 1995, and utilizes a competency-based learning system to deliver its course content. The idea for the school came from 19 different U.S. Governors, who each committed $100,000 towards the project. The group was spearheaded by the then-governor of Utah Mike Leavitt.
Western Governors University offers four online, secondary education bachelor’s degrees. Students may choose to pursue either a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, or Biological Sciences, which are all intended for grades 5-12. Course schedules vary by specialty, but all programs are divided into two parts:
- Core Subject Areas such as Introduction to Humanities and College Algebra
- Key Subject Areas: Calculus III, Probability and Statistics I, and College Geometry
The program emphasizes the program’s low, flat-rate tuition and the high reported satisfaction of its alumni.
Students may pursue the degree in anywhere between one to three years. Most students choose to pursue their degree in around two years. WGU’s online secondary math program was ranked #1 by the National Council on Teacher Quality in 2014. Students must pass a state-specific skills test before entering the program.
Hope International University
College Choice Score: 94.57
Average Net Price: $20,087
Hope International University is a private, Christian university in Fullerton, CA. HIU was founded in 1928 as Pacific Bible Seminary, and now consists of five different colleges. The school has a student population of around 2,000. It identifies as non-denominational, but has strong ties to the Restoration Movement and the Christian churches and churches of Christ.
Hope International offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in Teacher Preparation, through their Liberal Arts Department. It is a 100% online program, which ranked #2 for online programs by California Edudemic. Sample courses in the program include:
- A Practical Approach to Classroom Management
- Technology for Teachers
- Written Communication
- Biological Science
Students’ credits are divided between Education Core (51-62), General Education (49), and Elective Courses (13-22), for a total of 122 credits.
Students receive their own dedicated academic coach, who helps with time-management, goals, and academic planning. The university also offers personalized career services, including a free job portal and resume/cover letter workshopping. The program generally takes students five semesters to complete. Hope International has a Master’s Degree and California certification program that students may continue in to.
Great Basin College
College Choice Score: 93.77
Average Net Price: $11,484
Great Basin College is a community college located in Elko, NV. The school was opened in 1967 as Elko Community College, and is a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Great Basin College has around 3,400 students. They offer Associates degrees in subjects such business and criminal justice. They also have four year degrees in areas such as nursing and education.
Great Basin College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education degree. The program is intended to help provide distinctive secondary education to rural Nevada. Great basin utilizes technology to offer distance education for helping deliver education courses in rural areas. Example courses include:
- Secondary Education Methods/Practicum
- Secondary Supervised Teaching Internship
- Secondary Education Capstone Course
Students may also pursue endorsements along with their degree, including Biological Science, Business Education, English, Mathematics, and Social Science.
Great Basin incorporates the heritage and traditions of the region into its teaching curriculum. The school works with six local school districts to provide clinical and field experiences throughout their programs. Students may also pursue endorsements in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language.
College Choice Score: 92.55
Average Net Price: $17,232
Judson College is a private, women’s college located in Marion, AL. The school was founded in 1838 by members of the Siloam Baptist Church. The school now has an affiliation with the Alabama Baptist Convention. They have a student population of around 340 students. The school is home to a former Carnegie library, which is now home to the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame.
Judson College offers two different distance learning programs in secondary education. Students may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English/Language Arts (6-12) or a Bachelor or Arts in Secondary General Social Studies (6-12). Courses vary by program, but samples include:
- Material and Methods of Teaching Social Science in Secondary Education
- Secondary Teaching Internship
- Reading in the Content Areas
Terms for the program run from August-December, January-April, and May-June. Most classes are delivered through Moodlerooms.
Students entering with a Provisional Certificate in a Teaching Field may take PCTF courses at Judson to earn a Traditional Class B Certificate. A 2.75 GPA must be maintained throughout the program. Students must complete General Studies coursework before moving into Education courses.
Union Institute & University
College Choice Score: 92.13
Average Net Price: $22,464
Union Institute and University is a private, non-profit university in Cincinnati, OH. The schools offers a variety of Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral programs. Union operates satellite campuses in Vermont, Florida, and California. The university has around 1,600 total students, including around 1,000 full-time and 600 part-time. The school operates on a trimester schedule.
Union offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education, which is a hybrid program. Students take classes both online and on-campus. Sample courses include:
- Classroom Management
- Physiological and Sociological Foundations of Education
- Foundations and Practices in Teaching Reading
- Educational Assessment
Students may earn up to eight credits in eight weeks. The total program requires the completion of 120 units, including 48 within the major. Students may transfer up to 90 credits from previous college courses.
The program offers four areas of specialization: English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science. These specializations are not certification programs, but they are meant to prepare students to meet the standards of certification. Students work closely with individual support staff and a personal advisor to prepare academic schedules. The program is specifically tailored towards those looking to teach in the state of Florida.
Southwestern Assemblies of God
College Choice Score: 91.00
Average Net Price: $25,466
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located in Waxahachie, TX. The school has an official affiliation with Assemblies of God USA, which is a Pentecostal Christian denomination. They have around 2,000 total students most of whom are undergraduates. They offer bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in liberal arts, Bible, and Church ministry.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Language Arts, and Reading (Middle and Secondary Education). The program is designed for those looking to teach English for grades 7-12. The school also offers a similar degree for those looking to teach Social Studies/History at the same level. Sample courses include:
- Advanced Grammar and Composition (English)
- Linear Algebra (Mathematics)
Both degrees are offered 100 percent online. Both degrees lead toward a Texas teacher certification. The base of knowledge may also lead to certification in other states.
The school notes “everything we do springs from a Christian worldview.” They emphasize a school culture and environment that strengthens faith and mind by integrating faith into learning. SAGU says that their students graduate with approximately 20 percent less debt than other private universities.
Valley City State University
College Choice Score: 90.03
Average Net Price: $12,073
Valley City State University is higher learning institute in Valley City, ND. It is a part of the North Dakota University System. The school was founded in 1890 as the Valley City State Normal School, which was a two-year college that instructed future teachers. The school has around 1,400 students. Since 1996, they have been a “laptop” campus, issuing laptops to full-time students.
Valley City State University offers four different online learning programs that students may use to pursue a career in Secondary Education. Students may choose Business Education, Career and Technical Education, History Education, or English Education. Example courses from the History Education program include:
- World Civilization to 1500
- History of Ancient Greece and Rome
- Educational Psychology
All degree plans begin with general education requirements, which then transfer to specialization/elective courses towards a student’s junior and senior years. All teaching students finish with a 10 credit student teaching course.
Field experiences for the History degree include Introduction to Education, Practicum, and Cultural Diverse Practicum. Each of these is intended to help teachers translate their knowledge to students in a diverse classroom setting, using the most up to date and research-backed methods possible.
College Choice Score: 89.40
Average Net Price: $24,717
Webster University is a non-profit university located in Webster Groves, MO. The school is non-denominational, which offers degrees in liberals arts, fine arts, performing arts, teacher education, and business/management. Webster has around 14,000 total students, and 184 full-time academic staff. The school has an endowment of $111 million.
Webster offers a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Mathematics. The secondary mathematics degree requires 128 credit hours including 33 credit hours within the major. Sample courses include:
- Behavior Management
- Apprentice Teaching: Seminar
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Education of Students with Exceptionalities
Teachers may be required to complete additional coursework to earn teacher certification and electives to complete 128 total credit hours. Students must also complete coursework in the University Global Citizenship Program.
The Bachelor’s program is not available fully online. Webster offers online course options and fully online certification programs, but not a fully online Bachelor’s program. Students may be able to take some of their courses online, but should consult with their academic advisor about how much of the program may actually be completed online.
Grand Canyon University
College Choice Score: 88.57
Average Net Price: $21,168
Grand Canyon University is a for-profit, Christian university located in Phoenix, AZ. The school was founded in 1949 as a non-profit liberals arts college, and has recently received approval to return to non-profit status in 2018. The school has 19,500 on campus students, as well as roughly 60,000 online students. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs
Grand Canyon University offers a hybrid Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education. This program combines online learning with on-campus instruction. The degree program requires completion of 120 credits, including 80 within major. Sample courses from the major include:
- Arizona and Federal Government
- Transatlantic Literature
- Social Justice for Educators
- American Encounter Narratives
Students who graduate from the program will meet the requirements for the secondary education certificate in English.
Students will also qualify for endorsements at the middle school and high school levels, which enables teaching from grades 5-12. The online and evening program generally takes around four years to complete. Certification programs may require practicum hours, state exams, student teaching, and an institutional recommendation from GCU.
College Choice Score: 88.05
Average Net Price: $25,280
Prescott College is a private liberal arts college located in Prescott, AZ. The school has a student population of around 1,200. The school was founded in 1965 as the result of an initiative by the Ford Foundation. Prescott offers a mixture of resident and low-residency undergraduate programs, along with limited-residency Master’s and PhD programs.
Prescott offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in Education & Teacher Preparation. It is a 120-credit hybrid program with start dates of either May 21st or August 28th. Example courses include:
- Foundations of Education
- Educating for Future
- Multicultural and Environmental Issues
The program does require attendance at an on-campus orientation, but the classes are fully online. Students also engage in-person with mentors and the community around Prescott, to supplement and enhance their online learning.
Students have the opportunity to earn endorsements along with their degree. Available endorsements include Early Childhood Education, Reading Specialist, and Structured English Immersion. Students will also develop two “Breadths”, which function similar to a minor. Breath is an elective, while Breadth 2 is the liberal arts.
College Choice Score: 84.08
Average Net Price: $27,370
Ottawa University is a private, Christian liberal arts university located in Ottawa, KS. The school was founded in 1865 and was originally going to be called Roger Williams University. Ottawa University has an official affiliation with the American Baptist Churches USA. They have a student population of around 7,000, including online students.
Ottawa University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, which is fully online. Students choose a content area of focus from the following list: Business, English, History, and Mathematics. Courses from the program include:
- The Exceptional Child
- Educational Psychology
- Secondary Education Methods and Reading in the Content Area
- The Teaching Profession I
These courses mix professional education together with methodological field experience and clinical practice. This mixture gives teachers the best possible skill set before entering the teaching profession.
The program also offers courses that cover material specifically for the Arizona State licensure requirements. These courses include the Arizona Constitution and United States Constitution courses. In addition to the above-mentioned emphases, Ottawa also offers Music-Choral and Music-Instrumental endorsements, which are specific to the state of Arizona.
College Choice Score: 83.25
Average Net Price: $15,380
Northcentral University is an online, for-profit university with its headquarters in San Diego, CA. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees through their online-learning platform. These programs are in Business and Technology, Education, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Psychology. They have a virtual student population of around 10,000.
NCU offers a Bachelor of Education degree, which starts at the community college level and finishes online. This degree comes with a specialization in secondary education, and includes field experience in technology and assessment.
The program generally takes students around 20 months to complete. Students must complete 30 credit hours through 10 classes. Students receive 1-on-1 attention from professionally-seasoned professors. Students practice effective leadership for their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Students may transfer up to 90 credits that they have earned in other programs, including junior college. The hybrid nature of the program is why it is referred to as the 3+1 program. It is the only one of its kind certified by the Arizona Department of Education.
College Choice Score: 81.18
Average Net Price: $14,471
Wilmington University is a private university located in New Castle, Delaware. The school was originally founded in 1968 as Wilmington College, but became a full university in 2007. Wilmington has a student body of around 21,000 students, as well as about 100 full-time academic staff members and 1,300 part-time. The school has an endowment of around $66 million.
Wilmington offers a Bachelor of Science in Education Studies, with a concentration in Middle Level Education (Grades 6-8). Students complete a total of 122 credits (or 121 for the science concentration). This can be a fully online degree program. Sample courses include:
- Introduction to Critical Thinking
- Leadership and Collaboration
- Development and Implementation of IEPs
- Diagnosis and Correction of Learning Differences in Reading
Students also take courses in instructional technology, to prepare them for the integration of new, technological methods in the classroom.
This degree offers four areas of concentration: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education (K-6), Middle Level Education (Grades 6-8), and Skilled and Technical Studies. The program emphasizes learning theory, educational psychology, child development, and education best practices.
University of West Alabama
College Choice Score: 77.55
Average Net Price: $13,545
The University of West Alabama is a public university located in Livingston, AL. The school was founded in 1835 as the Livingston Female Academy, which helped to educate young women to be teachers. West Alabama has around 97 academic staff members, who serve a student body of just over 5,000 students. Their endowment is just over $375,000.
UWA offers an online Bachelor of Science in Collaborative Teacher/Special Education K-6/6-12. It is a hybrid program that has students complete almost all of their coursework online, while supplementing their learning with on-campus seminars. Sample courses include:
- Technology and Education
- Measurement and Assessment
- Teachers and the Law
- Effective Teaching and Learning
Students are also required to complete an internship and field experience in an Alabama-approved school.
The program is intended for those seeking a Class B Professional Educator Certificate, as well as those seeking careers in special education. It is also open to individuals who are currently employed as an instructional aide or paraprofessional. The program requires completion of 128 total hours of coursework.