High school teachers, also known as secondary education teachers, prepare students for the demands of college and adult life. And with an online master’s degree in secondary education, you’ll be ready to meet the challenges of this exciting and fulfilling educational role. This degree program will teach you how to become a highly effective high school teacher with courses in classroom engagement, curriculum development, educational philosophy, and more.
Why a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education is a Smart Move
Educational budgets are undergoing drastic cuts and school districts are asking for more from teachers than ever before. As the field grows more competitive, it’s increasingly important to show you’ve got what it takes to educate today’s students. An advanced degree in secondary education will give you the edge you need to get hired for and retain the best teaching positions available.
A master’s degree in secondary education is also likely to offer a career boost, allowing you to earn higher pay and fulfill continuing education programs. Teachers who are interested in leadership positions or entering school administration will find a master’s degree in secondary education useful as well, as most school districts expect school leadership to possess at least a master’s degree.
Secondary Education Degree Curriculum
Coursework in a master’s of secondary education degree program is typically split into two parts: the candidate’s area of concentration (such as math, Spanish or history) and general education curriculum. These courses typically include:
- Instructional Strategies
- Curriculum Development and Assessment
- Classroom Management
- Developmental Psychology
In addition to coursework, your secondary education degree should include an in-class teaching component. Supervised student teaching (otherwise known as a practicum or an approved teacher training program) is required for state licensure.
High School Education Trends
Although high school graduation levels dropped to 86 percent in 2005, they have steadily increased since then. A 2012 report from the Pew Research Center noted that a record share of the nation’s young adults ages 25 to 29 (90 percent) has finished high school, a promising development for the future.
Preparing these graduates for a modern world has been on the minds of many educators. Better online access, slick digital tools, collaborative social media, gaming, and blended learning are part of the drive to integrate technology into the high school classroom; however, budget pressures can stymie these efforts.
On high school campuses, teenage drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a concern. In 2012, an annual survey from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that nearly nine out of 10 high school students reported that their peers were drinking, smoking or using drugs during the school day; almost half knew a student who sold drugs.
High School Teaching Requirements
The United States requires that all public high school teachers have a state-issued certification or teaching license, although private schools may waive this condition. Aspiring high school educators should check with their state licensing organization for specific licensure requirements. Common prerequisites include:
- A bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a minor in the subject the candidate wishes to teach or a major in this subject area with a minor in education
- Passing scores from teacher certification exams such as Praxis tests
- Student teaching experience
A master’s degree in secondary education is designed to help aspiring teachers meet all of these requirements.
Additionally, those interested in a career change to teaching should investigate their options. States often provide alternative licensing programs for candidates who have a relevant bachelor’s degree. After achieving a bachelor’s degree, high school teachers can choose to pursue voluntary teaching credentials such as National Board Certification or a graduate degree. Some high schools require teachers to attain a master’s degree in education as part of their employment agreement.
Careers in Secondary Education
High school teachers, also known as secondary school teachers, educate, mentor, and advise teenage students in grades nine through 12 and prepare them for life after graduation. With a teacher’s help, students acquire the skills they need to thrive in a 21st century workplace or pursue a college education.
In addition to teaching a specific subject (such as English, science, or history), high school teachers are responsible for creating lesson plans, assessing and evaluating student progress, supervising activities and meeting with parents and staff to discuss student development.
Career Outlook for High School Teachers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment for high school teachers will grow by 6% from 2012 to 2022, slower than jobs for elementary school and middle school teachers. However, in that time, the student-to-teacher ratio is expected to decline, increasing the demand for teachers, particularly in the South and West.
Qualified high school teachers may choose to work in public or private schools. Teachers with a graduate degree tend to have more career options, such as employment in district administration or in a high schools for gifted students. High school teachers can expect to earn about $55,050 per year.