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Master of Arts in Education: Online Secondary Teacher Education Degree

Get info about online programs for a master's degree in secondary teacher education. Read about licensure requirements, online courses, and job prospects, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a related subject area and have completed related course work can train to become a middle or high school teacher by earning a Master of Arts in Education degree. Many schools offer these programs through online study. Students may be able to view lessons at any time, or they may be required to log on at established times and view class sessions live. Some programs are available in a blended online/in-person format. A semester of student teaching, which can usually be arranged at a school convenient to the student, is also required.

In these programs, which usually require about two years of full-time study, students get a basic understanding of teaching through courses that may include teaching theory, educational psychology and technology in the classroom. In preparation for teaching middle or high school, they may study adolescent psychology and curriculum development. Students get practice in teaching and developing classes in their content area through the student teaching experience.

All states require that public school teachers be licensed. Requirements generally call for a bachelor's degree, completion of an approved teacher training program, such as what these Master of Arts in Education programs provide, and passing competency tests. Students should make sure that any online teacher training program they are considering is sanctioned by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and is an approved program for initial licensure in their state.

Master's Degree in Secondary Teacher Education

Online master's degree programs in secondary teacher education include courses in education, classroom management and lesson planning. Pupils learn to prepare lessons and gain practical experience working with a classroom of high school students. While completing a secondary education program, enrollees may need to select from a specific field that they plan to teach, such as history, math, science, English or a foreign language.

Program Information and Requirements

An online master's degree program in secondary teacher education can be completed in two or three years. Learners may need to start by completing the graduate certificate in education and transfer the credits into the master's degree program. They can complete the courses asynchronously, which means there are no required class times, or synchronously, which involves logging into lessons that take place in real-time. For asynchronous courses, they can watch pre-recorded lessons around their schedule, but still have specific due dates and times for assignments, tests and quizzes. Participants don't have any on-campus requirements, but they will need to complete a semester-long student teaching experience at a public or private school near them.

Participants must have high-speed Internet access. A microphone and a headset are also required to engage in the class discussions and hear the lessons. Other hardware and software requirements include Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, Quick Time, Adobe Flash Player and an anti-virus program.

List of Common Secondary Teacher Education Courses

Teacher education courses provide learners with the skills to manage a classroom and prepare lessons. They also address specific teaching methods for individual subjects. Aspiring teachers also spend a semester in a classroom, working under the supervision of a licensed teacher.

Teaching Adolescents

This course covers the academic needs of adolescents and how to meet them in a classroom environment. Topics address the needs of students in at-risk populations, multi-cultural students and special education students.

Issues in Secondary Education

Aspiring teachers explore issues that can make teaching high school students difficult. They identify learning problems and difficulties that can arise while teaching in urban, rural or suburban schools.

Classroom Management

This class explores issues in maintaining safety in the school and handling the increasing levels of school violence. Lessons include creating a classroom environment and encouraging students to be productive.

Technology in the Classroom

Individuals study methods for using technology in the classroom to improve their students' learning experiences. For instance, in the foreign language or English as a Second Language classroom, students use technology to explore pronunciation and engage in communication.

Teaching in Secondary Education

This class covers methods for teaching high school students. Students study ways to teach writing and literature while incorporating recent academic theories.


Career Information for Graduates

Graduates of a master's degree program in secondary teacher education can teach in high schools. Typically, their undergraduate degree or the master's degree program they complete will influence whether they instruct math, science, foreign language, English or history. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the employment of high school teachers would increase by about six percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS adds that many school districts have trouble finding qualified teachers for chemistry, physics, foreign language and bilingual education, so those positions are in higher demand. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for high school teachers was $57,200, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

To teach, graduates must earn a teaching licensure from their State Board of Education. Generally, they must first complete a degree in education and acquire teaching experience. Additional online degree programs are available in educational administration and instruction, which can lead to jobs as a principal, school district supervisor or a position on a school board. These programs are available online and on-campus at the master's, educational specialist and doctoral degree levels.

Students that have a bachelor's degree in a subject area that they would like to teach at the secondary level can obtain a Master of Arts in Education degree. Programs require a semester of teaching and students must pass competency tests to obtain a license to teach in their state.


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