What is Secondary Education?
Secondary education is the bridge between Early Childhood Education and Collegiate Education in the United States. It traditionally refers to grades 9-12, when students enter Jr. high or high school. However, it can also be extended to include middle school education, for students in grades 6-8.
How much money can I earn working in Secondary Education?
Secondary Education is a surprisingly lucrative field to enter. Many people joke about teachers earning middling salaries, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median income for a high school teacher is $59,170/year. There is also no on the job training required, and students only need a Bachelor’s degree to enter the position.
The BLS also projects that there will be an 8 percent increase in the number of high school teaching jobs available over the next decade. More than 1 million high school teachers are already employed in the U.S., which means that over the next 10 years teachers will see almost 80,000 new job openings!
Why choose an Affordable Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education?
The national news has been plagued by stories about students leaving school with mounds of debt in the form of student loans. It’s important to get the best education possible, but students should also be able to leave college unburdened by tens of thousands of dollars in loans.
Affordable programs help deliver a high-quality education, but at a price that most students will find highly affordable. And with financial aid, grants, and scholarships available, many of these programs can become even more affordable than simply their tuition would suggest.
If you want to explore other degrees but love the affordability and flexibility of online schools, check out College Choice’s Most Affordable Online Colleges.
What are the Most Affordable Online Bachelors in Secondary Education?
College Choice considers a multitude of factors when developing rankings, including institutional success, student well-being, and financial return. Institutional success combines metrics such as endowment, graduation rates and student-to-faculty ratios to measure each school’s ability to provide exemplary and practical education for each student. Student well-being measures how satisfied current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at their school. And finally, financial return looks at the monetary benefits students are likely to receive from each school’s education, balanced against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans.
In the end, we believe these are the 15 Most Affordable Bachelors in Secondary Education.
See our rankings methodology page.
Western Governors University
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.
Murray State University
Average Net Price: $10,529
Murray State University is a public university located in Murray, KY. The school has around 10,500 students and roughly 400 academic staff members. Murray State also operates campuses in Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Henderson. Murray State was founded in 1922 as the Murray State Normal School, which helped to educate teachers for the state of Kentucky.
Murray State offers a multitude of certifications for various subjects and grade levels. Students will take approximately 120-140 hours of courses, including subject-matter content majors or areas. Secondary level certifications available include:
- Biological Science
- Earth and Space Science
- Social Studies
- Political Science
Course content focuses on appropriate teaching methods for the subject matter. These methods are based on a mixture of best practices and pedagogical research.
Murray State was rated one of the top 10 regional universities in the South in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to coursework, students will complete practicum courses (field-based learning activities) that are intended to help solidify what students have learned in the classroom. Students take on dual advisors in the subject-matter department and in the Adolescent, Career, and Special Education Department.
Great Basin College
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.
University of Southern Mississippi
Average Net Price: $11,916
The University of Southern Mississippi, also known as Southern Miss, is a public university located in Hattiesburg, MS. The University was founded in 1910 as the Mississippi Normal College, which helped to prepare and train educators. The school now offers a wide range of degrees and major programs. The Carnegie Foundations designates the school as having a “High Research Activity” level. Southern Miss has around 14,500 students.
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a number of different Bachelor of Science degrees in secondary education, which also include teaching licensures in the given subject matter (earned through the teaching licensure emphasis). Available degrees include:
- Biological Sciences
Some students are eligible to receive TEACH grants of up to $4,000/year. Students must have at least a 3.25 GPA and fulfill grant specific eligibility requirements.
Biological Sciences and Mathematics licensure is available through the Hattiesburg and Long Beach campuses. Chemistry and Physics licenses are offered through the Hattiesburg campus only. Southern Mississippi does offer some online course options, though the majority of the program is intended to be on campus.
Fort Hays State University
Average Net Price: $11,993
Fort Hays State University is a public university located in Hays, KS. The school has a student population of around 11,000 students, which makes it the third largest public university in the state of Kansas. Fort Hays State was founded in 1902 as part of the Kansas State Normal School, which helped educate future teachers for the state public school system.
Fort Hays State offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. Students may also choose to pursue a double major to become a licensed middle or high school teacher upon graduation. Students take courses in some of the following:
- English Composition
- College Algebra
- Human Growth and Development
- The Secondary School Experience
Secondary education students take a similar set of general education courses. However, subject specific courses are created by the respective field of study department. All fields of study courses are offered on-campus, but some of the general education classes may be taken online.
Students take roughly 55 General Education course hours, 19 Secondary Education Core Hours, 12 Student Teaching Hours, and then field of study hours vary by the given department. Fort Hays offers teaching related scholarship, including the InPLACE Scholarship of up to $1,000/semester.
Valley City State University
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.
East Carolina University
Average Net Price: $12,817
East Carolina University is a public research university located in Greenville, NC. ECU first opened in 1907 as the East Carolina Teachers Training School, but has since grown to offer bachelors, masters, professional, and doctoral degrees in a range of subjects. They have just over 2,000 academic staff members, who serve a student body of around 30,000 total students, including 23,000 undergraduates.
East Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education. The program is not fully online, but a number of courses may be taken through ECU’s distance learning platform. After completing general education requirements, students complete their final steps to graduation:
- Completion of an internship to gain real-world experience
- Senior Summary: a check to make sure students have met all program, teacher education, and university requirements for graduation
- Licensure Application: complete the necessary paperwork during the mandatory Senior II seminar
Some students are able to graduate in three years, though most students find it easier to fulfill the necessary requirements in four years.
Students who have completed the necessary 2 + 2 community college/ECU plan are generally able to graduate on time once they have enrolled in ECU. Students must have and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.7 once they enter their Upper Division level of studies in their junior year.
Southeast Missouri State University
Average Net Price: $13,567
Southeast Missouri State University is a public, accredited university located in Cape Girardeau, MO. SEMO was originally founded as the Third District Normal School, which helped to prepare teachers. Southeast Missouri has a student population of around 11,500 students, most of whom are undergraduates. They also have around 400 academic staff members.
SEMO offers a number of different secondary education programs, each with their own unique areas of emphasis. Students may choose from a host of options, including:
- Agriculture Education
- Chemistry Education
- English Education
- Mathematical Education
- Physics Education
- Social Studies
Some of the general education courses may be taken online, however upper division courses in the students area of study are mostly going to be held on campus. Each avenue of focus includes career planning steps to help students become employed as soon as they graduate.
Other subjects areas available are: Biology, Unified Science: Biology, Technology and Engineering, and Unified Science: Physics. The department also offers K-12 instruction in subjects such as Art Instruction, Foreign Language Instruction, Music Education, and Physical Education. To enter into the teaching program students must possess a 2.75 cumulative GPA and have passed the Missouri General Education Assessment.
Iowa State University
Average Net Price: $13,623
Iowa State University of Science and Technology, commonly known as Iowa State, is a public university in Ames, IA. Iowa State is the largest university in the state of Iowa. The school was originally founded as the Iowa Agricultural College in 1864. It now has a student body of more than 30,000 students, along with an endowment of roughly $838 million.
Iowa State University offers a Bachelor’s program in secondary education and K-12 education. Students must first choose a major in their area of interest, or that they intend to teach. Students enroll in the college where this major can be found, before then applying to the Educator Preparation Program.
In the Educator Preparation Program students will take professional courses on teaching, practicum experiences, student teaching assignments, and licensure/guidance steps. Coursework will vary based on the major/area of interest chosen by students, but the professional teaching courses should be the same.
Iowa State offers 13 undergraduate licensures at the secondary education level, including Biology, Chemistry, History, and Physics. It is recommended that students major in their area of interest. These courses might be available online, but it does depend on which college and area of interest are chosen by the student.
Mississippi State University
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. After the junior year, students must be able to complete field experiences during the school days for 2-6 hours per week. In-class time will increase during the senior year, when students will work an internship in a classroom as a teaching intern.
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.
University of Alabama Birmingham
Average Net Price: $16,092
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public university located in Birmingham, AL. The school started as the Birmingham Extension Center in 1936, but eventually became a fully autonomous university in 1969. The school has a student population of more than 20,000, of which around 13,000 are undergraduates. They have around 2,000 academic staff members and an endowment of roughly $420 million.
The University of Alabama Birmingham offers a Secondary Education program. The program is intended to provide students with coursework and experience to help students teach in any of the following areas:
- Social Studies
- English Language Arts
Some courses are offered on Saturdays and during the summer, as well as online, if traditional scheduling is problematic. There are also hybrid courses that combine online and on-campus instruction.
Total credit hours vary depending on the student’s chosen concentration. Teachers interested in teaching science may choose a specific subject such as Chemistry. They may also choose to major in general science, while majoring in subjects as Civil Engineering or Biophysics. Birmingham also offers the UABTEACH program, which helps students earn their degree and their teaching certification for grades 6-12.
Michigan Technological University
Average Net Price: $16,276
Michigan Technological University, also known as Michigan Tech, is a public university located in Houghton, MI. The school was founded in 1885 as the Michigan Mining School, to train engineers to operate local copper mines. MTU now has more than 7,000 students, as well as 477 academic staff members. Their endowment is just under $100 million.
Michigan Tech offers a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, with an emphasis in secondary education. Courses in the program include:
- Mathematical modeling with differential equations
- Calculus with Technology I
- Introduction to Abstract Algebra
- Introduction to Combinatorics
To pursue the concentration, students must be admitted to the teacher education program. Students must have an overall 2.50 GPA, along with similar GPAs in their major and within the teaching minor.
A number of the required math courses should be available online, but the higher level education courses may only be offered on campus. Students will receive their teacher certification upon passing the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. Content options for the teaching minor include example such as computer science and economics, as well as English.
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.
Bowling Green State University
Average Net Price: $17,313
Bowling Green State University is a public university located in Bowling Green, OH. Bowling Green originally began as the Bowling Green State Normal School, which helped to educate teachers for the local area. Bowling Green now has almost 20,000 students, around 16,000 of which are undergraduates. They have nearly 2,000 academic staff members and an endowment of $148 million.
BGSU offers a Middle Childhood Education degree through their School of Teaching & Learning. Completion of this program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, as well as an Ohio state teaching license. Successful graduates may teach up to two subject areas from the list of mathematics, social studies, language arts, and science. The program helps students to pass the three necessary tests:
- Ohio Assessment for Educators exam in each of the two selected concentration areas
- Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Middle Childhood [4-9]
Students may also choose to pursue the Ohio Middle Childhood Generalist Endorsement, which allows teachers to instruct all subjects in grades 4-6, as well as their area of specialization for grades 7 through 9. BGSU has an online course platform, but most courses in the program will need to be taken on campus.
University of the Cumberlands
Average Net Price: $17,619
University of the Cumberlands is a private, religious college located in Williamsburg, KY. The school has an enrollment of approximately 7,000 students, and has an endowment of $73 million. The school is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, which is the state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The University of Cumberlands offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle School Education. Graduation requirements for the degree include general education courses from subjects including Christian Faith and Aesthetic Appreciation. The Middle School Education degree offers the following specializations:
- Mathematics Studies
- Social Studies
- Special Education- Learning & Behavior Disabilities
Course examples include Reading and Language Arts I, Studies in Education: Special Topics, and Fundamentals of Secondary Education.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a completed online application. Home schooled or GED-educated applicants may also apply, having provided their GED certificate or home school transcript. Most specializations require roughly 25 hours of coursework, from the 120 credit hours total needed for the degree.