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Best Online Secondary Education Degrees in 2024

Best Online Secondary Education Degrees in 2024

Interested in making a lasting impact on student lives? Then you might want to consider an degree in secondary education. Use this guide to find a program, learn about curriculum, research financial aid options, and so much more.

Consider this: Most people vividly recall their favorite high school teachers — well into their adulthood and beyond. The four years of high school are a wonderful, challenging time in student lives, and high school teachers are there to help them navigate the obstacles while teaching them crucial life skills — with a bit of math and English along the way.

If you’re looking to become a high school teacher, then you’ll be considering a secondary education degree. And luckily, you have the option to complete this degree online to better fit into your schedule. This page will discuss that option, spotlighting stand-out degree programs and helping you find the best program suited to your needs and goals as an aspiring high school educator.

Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Secondary Education for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Silver City, NM
    Public $

    Western New Mexico University has several programs that prepare students for teacher licensure. One such program is its Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, which is intended for future teachers of students in grades 7-12. This is a hybrid program where students complete their classroom requirements online but must also complete field experiences in person. Multiple teaching endorsements are available, such as Art, Health Education Sciences, Spanish, Science, Mathematics, Psychology, and Social Studies.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: About 4 years
    • Cost: : $327.82/credit (in-state); $414.65/credit (out-of-state)
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: HLC
  • Hays, KS
    Public $

    Fort Hays State University’s Secondary Education Bachelor of Science degree program requires students to graduate with a double major. In addition to the Secondary Education major, students will major in an academic field of study, such as Chemistry, Agriculture, Biology, Art, Music, Mathematics, Physics, or Spanish. The curriculum consists of 34 general education credits, 19 credits in core secondary education classes, 12 credits for student teaching experience and the rest in the student’s chosen field of study. Because of the student teaching requirement, this is a partially online program with both online classes and in-person training requirements.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: About 4 years
    • Cost: $242.76/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: HLC
  • Charleston, SC
    Public $

    The Citadel Military College of South Carolina offers transfer students the opportunity to become licensed social studies teachers at the secondary level. The BS in Secondary Education degree is intended for students who have already completed roughly two years of college studies and want to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree that leads to initial teacher licensure. Most classes are only offered in the evening, and the program requires students to complete 123 to 125 credits to graduate. However, 65 to 67 credits must be completed at another institution, and 58 must be completed at the Citadel.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (Social Studies Concentration)

    • Credits: 123 to 125
    • Length: About 2 years
    • Cost: $500/credit
    • Mode: Online or in-person
    • Accreditation: CAEP

Spotlight on Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Secondary Education

In order to become a high school teacher, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate. You’ll want to attend a school that is accredited, as that objective standard guarantees a level of academic rigor and often allows you to transfer credits among programs. Of course, different programs are all a bit different in terms of goals, outcomes, and courses offered, but regardless of where you attend, you’ll want to ensure the school is accredited and offers any certifications you may want. Below, we’ll look at three accredited standout options offering an online secondary education degree.

Western Governors University

Description of program: If you’re looking to teach math or science in high school, you should consider looking into Western Governors University. This nonprofit, private university offers secondary education in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biological science, or earth science. While coursework varies by degree program, each specialization will help you learn how to work with unique students using different learning techniques and strategies. WGU offers six-month terms, and you can take as many classes as you want each semester until the degree is finished.

Texas Tech University

Description of program: If you’re looking to teach math or science in high school, you should consider looking into Western Governors University. This nonprofit, private university offers secondary education in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biological science, or earth science. While coursework varies by degree program, each specialization will help you learn how to work with unique students using different learning techniques and strategies. WGU offers six-month terms, and you can take as many classes as you want each semester until the degree is finished.

Arizona Christian University

Description of program: This program is completely online, but may opt to take hybrid classes at its campus in Phoenix. You’ll be able to teach at public, private, charter, and Christian schools once you earn this degree (and after completing any specific licensure requirements). This curriculum provides a biblical liberal arts foundation, and you’re required to choose an emphasis in history, math, language arts, business, or PE. In order to be granted entry into the program, you must score a minimum of 18 on the ACT or 860 on the SAT with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Inside Coursework for Secondary Education Degree’s Online

Online secondary education degree programs offer classes that cover a variety of topics. Depending on your concentration, you’ll take coursework in math, history, language arts, and more. But there are some core classes that remain consistent across different programs. These core classes will build the framework for your education and inform your teaching foundation. Classes like the following offer the necessary background for a well-rounded high school teaching education.

  • Child Psychology and Development 

    This course will take you through different learning and developmental theories starting from birth and moving through the lifecycle. Extra time will be spent during the adolescent development stages, so you can clearly understand what teenagers are experiencing from an informed perspective. You may cover topics such as the connections between child, family, and community; lifecycle from pre-birth to death; and special challenges for adolescents. 

  • Learning Models in Education

    This course will teach you to engage with a variety of different learning styles and abilities. You’ll cover learning through visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic methods, and how to teach effectively for students with different learning needs. You’ll learn about the different intelligences of adolescents and create assignments — and sometimes lesson plans — that highlight education rooted in these intelligences. 

  • Classroom Management 

    In this class, you will learn how to manage a classroom effectively. Modules may include lessons in addressing challenging behaviors; engagement; classroom expectations and routine; creating a classroom community; and trauma-informed pedagogy. The goal of this class is to prepare you for real-world situations you’ll encounter in the classroom. You’ll be graded on classroom management style and how well you can adapt your lesson plans to meet different learning styles and approaches. 

  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

    Every teacher needs to know how to develop a solid curriculum, and this class dives deep into all stages of this process. You’ll learn to create lesson plans, engage with ideas in materials to create great classroom discussion, and how to accurately grade student work. Rubrics are key in this class, and you’ll create one — or many — as part of your assignments. You’ll also practice giving age-appropriate lessons and encouraging teamwork with classmates to create a unique learning experience.

  • Directed Student Teaching

    Student teaching is a degree requirement for almost every degree in secondary education. Generally speaking, you’ll be paired with a master educator who will help you learn, in real time, how to teach. You’ll make lesson plans, give student instruction, and receive feedback from your mentor and students. Toward the end of the year, you’ll be given a module to develop entirely by yourself to teach to your classroom. 

Cost of Earning Your Online Secondary Education Degree

Earning an online bachelor’s degree in secondary education can be expensive, but many online schools offer cost savings; after all, many don’t charge different tuition rates whether you’re in state or out of state. We’ll discuss financial aid options below, but first, let’s examine a few different schools offering an online secondary education degree to get a sense of the range of tuition prices you’ll find. In addition to tuition, many schools charge fees, and you’ll also need to factor in hard costs like books when deciding if you can afford a specific school.

SchoolCost Per CreditNumber of Credits
Chadron State College$309 120
Grand Canyon University$455 120 
Liberty University Online$390120
Midway University$395120
Western New Mexico University$327.82 (if taking 15 credits)120

How to Pay for an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education

Not sure how you’re going to pay for college? You’re not alone. Plenty of prospective students in online secondary education degree programs need peace of mind about how they can afford a college degree. While taking out loans to cover expenses is a common technique, when you are pursuing a teaching degree, you’ll have a variety of specific grants and scholarships available to you. Check out just a few of the resources below dedicated to helping future educators pay for their education.

  • TEACH Grants

    Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, commonly called TEACH Grants, offer up to $4,000 a year while in school. In order to qualify, you need to agree to teach a needed subject at a low-income school for a certain number of years after you graduate with your degree. You do not have to repay the grant unless you do not fulfill your obligation. This is a great option for securing funding outside of traditional loans and scholarships because you get to give back while receiving funding.

  • Teacher.org Scholarships

    Check out Teacher.org for their list of scholarships. These scholarships are broken up into categories. If you’re an aspiring art teacher, for example, you’ll find art teacher scholarships listed on the page; same thing for English or math. They even have them sorted by grade-level as well. With such a wide range of scholarships available, it’s smart to apply for as many as possible.

  • State-Specific Grants for Education

    Below, you’ll find just a few of states that offer state-specific grants dedicated to future teachers. Be sure to check your specific state for any possible grant programs. 

    • California: The Golden State Teacher Grant (GSTG) Program awards up to $20,000 to students currently enrolled in a professional preparation program approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and working toward earning their preliminary teaching or pupil personnel services credential.
    • Minnesota: Minnesota Student Teacher Grants provide postsecondary financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in Minnesota teacher preparation programs. There are two grants available based on eligibility, totaling up to $7,500 per term.
    • Nevada: The Teach Nevada Scholarship (TNVS) awards up to $24,000 to students at participating teacher preparation programs who agree to obtain an endorsement to teach English as a Second Language or an endorsement to teach Special Education.
  • Local and Community Foundations

    Future educators can also research local and community foundations for scholarships specifically tailored to local/regional areas. These funds are made available by donors who establish specific criteria for administering their scholarships. Some are more general, offered to any student serving a specific community — like these scholarships offered through the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Others may be specifically offered to future educators or secondary education teachers.

What Can You Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education

Online degrees in secondary education can introduce you to a world of career paths. Of course you can become a teacher once you’re degreed and licensed, and while this is the most likely career path, it’s certainly not the only one. You can also take on roles designing curriculum or working with adolescent populations in other capacities, such as in a training or leadership role.

  • Secondary School Teacher

    The most obvious job is a high school educator, and your specific degree may indicate your area of specialty — whether your emphasis is in teaching science to grades 9-12 or physical education, for example. Generally speaking, you’ll be licensed with a specific subject, and it will be your job to teach that subject to a class of up to 30 high school students at a time. While it varies state to state, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals a nationwide median salary of $61,820. Your duties include supervising the education of high schoolers, writing lesson plans, grading papers and tests, and more. While this job isn’t the highest paying, it is very rewarding, as you are influencing the lives of young students.

  • Instructional Coordinator

    If you don’t want to be in the classroom, that’s okay. Not everyone who gets a degree in secondary education is going to become a teacher. Instead, you could become a curriculum coordinator and develop curriculum used in classrooms. The BLS notes that typical entry-level instructional coordinators hold a master’s degree, but this could also be a position for someone with many years in the field; median salary is $63,740. You’ll be in charge of maintaining high educational standards for the curriculum and designing it to fit the needs of diverse students.

  • Health Education Specialist

    A teaching education gives you a versatile skill set, but if your secondary education degree has a health focus, you can bring unique skills to schools and community health agencies. Health education specialists make a nationwide median of $48,860, according to the BLS. You can typically work remotely, in-person, or in a hybrid capacity. Your job is to develop programs to teach people about conditions affecting well-being. You’ll need strong communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills to be successful in this role.

FAQs About Secondary Education Degree Online Programs

Here are five of the most pressing questions about this degree, according to our readers.

  • Are online bachelor’s degree programs in secondary education fully online?

    Yes and no. While your coursework may be 100% online, you’ll be required to complete some sort of student teaching. In these cases, you’ll need to be in a physical classroom in order to complete the degree requirements. You might also be required to observe classrooms, which is another instance of something that can’t be done online. Talk to your advisor about specific on-ground or clinical hours required for degree completion.

  • What accreditation should I look for in an online bachelor’s in secondary education program?

    If you’re going to an online school, you’re going to want to research both institutional and programmatic accreditation. Most schools have institutional accreditation offered by agencies like the HLC or SACSCOC. Some programs are additionally accredited by bodies that govern specific types of programs, like the CAEP for some education-related degrees. Accreditation guarantees a certain level of academic rigor, helps employers know that your education meets standards, and helps you transfer credits from school to school.

  • What does the admissions process look like for this degree?

    The admissions process is going to be similar to any other degree program. Depending on your school, you’ll need a minimum GPA (generally above 2.5), and some schools require SAT or ACT scores. Admissions offices might also ask for an essay about why you want to become a teacher, or who most motivates you on your academic journey. You’ll want to research admissions processes for both the school you’re considering as well as the specific degree program to guarantee you’re a qualified candidate.

  • How long does it take to complete a bachelor’s degree in secondary education online?

    Generally speaking, it takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in secondary education online. However, online learning gives you more flexibility to work faster or slower than the traditional on-campus undergraduate student, depending on your needs and schedule. If you’re going to be a part-time student, you might take five to six years to graduate. If you’re an accelerated student, it might take only three years to graduate.

  • What academic and career support services are available to online students earning their bachelor’s degree in secondary education?

    Your level of success may hinge on whether your school offers support to students earning their bachelor’s degree in secondary education online. You’ll find different kinds of support at different schools, ranging from virtual academic advising to IT support to career placement, post-graduation. Ask your enrollment advisor or research support services before committing to a degree program to ensure you’ll have the support you need to earn your online degree.

More Education Degrees to Explore

Are you still undecided which bachelor’s degree in education you are going to choose. Check out these other education degree options: