A master’s degree in secondary education prepares students for teaching and administration careers in public and private secondary schools. Upon the completion of their master’s studies, students will be capable of attaining positions in secondary schools. A master’s degree requires students to research various topics in secondary education through their thesis writing and research. Common thesis topics explored in a master’s degree program include child development; learning theories; the social/historical context of education; classroom management; and classroom evaluation. Master’s degree programs in secondary education commonly allow students to select a specific topic to focus their course studies in, such as history, art, geography, and various other interesting subjects.
Why a Master’s Degree?
Those who seek to integrate advanced study into their academic careers commonly pursue a certificate in secondary education or a masters in secondary education. With a graduate degree in this discipline, students will pursue advanced thesis research and teach students in middle schools and high schools. Students who complete a secondary education master’s degree commonly accept instructor positions; however, they are also qualified to work as administrators as well.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), middle school teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued license to teach. Those who want to work as high school teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued license to teach. The BLS further reports that school administrators are required to have a master’s degree and various certifications.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
Requirements for admission into a masters in secondary education degree vary, depending on the college. However, most programs require the following from their candidates:
- Bachelor’s degree in secondary education or related subject
- Relevant work experience
- Current resume
- Academic and/or professional letters of recommendation
- GMAT or GRE scores
Inside a Secondary Education Master’s Degree Program
Students who commit to full-time coursework usually complete their master’s degree in three to five years. Throughout their degree studies, students will enroll in graduate courses that discuss secondary education topics, as well as courses related to the subject matter they desire to teach. Some of the most popular secondary education graduate courses include adolescent psychology, talent development in secondary education, classroom management, creating classroom environments, and curriculum development. On top of passing their graduate courses, students are required to complete thesis research and pursue student teaching in secondary schools. A student’s master’s thesis and their student-teaching experience are two of the most vital resources in attaining positions as teachers and administrators in schools.
Due to an increase in educational technology in recent years, many colleges now offer a masters in secondary education online. Working professionals, stay-at-home parents, and students who aren’t able to attend college away from home commonly pursue this type of degree. An online degree is a flexible option in that students can complete their work at their own pace. That said, students are still expected to submit assignments, exams, and projects according to a calendar of deadlines. Because online students must complete their work independently and on a timely basis, students must be committed to and engaged with their coursework at all times.
What’s Next for Secondary Education Master’s Degree Holders?
The completion of a master’s degree in secondary education qualifies students for teaching and administrative positions in secondary schools. According to the BLS, middle school teachers earn nearly $52,000 a year. High school teachers earn slightly more, averaging about $53,000 a year. It’s worth mentioning that teaching positions are expected to increase over the 2010-2020 time period, yet high school positions are expected to increase at a slower rate. Administrators make a significantly higher salary than teachers, earning an average of $83,710 a year.