Online Degrees for History Teachers: Program Overviews

Apr 22, 2021

Essential Information

Bachelor's and master's degree programs in history are commonly offered through a distance learning format, and they may be completed 100% online. However, programs do not usually prepare graduates to become history teachers upon graduation. Some programs are also available in a hybrid format.

Although some bachelor's and master's degree programs in history offer a specialization in teaching, this type of program isn't likely to be found in an online format. The curriculum requirements for teacher education programs include a student teaching practicum, which is necessary to qualify for state licensure. Prospective high school history teachers should investigate to what extent online history programs can prepare them for teaching certification and find out if they need to complete a separate teacher education program.

Other online history master's degree programs may be designed for currently licensed and employed history teachers who are seeking to expand their expertise.

Bachelor's Degree in History - Education

Students interested in careers as history teachers may look to earn a B.S. or a B.A. in History. Many bachelor's programs in history offer an optional concentration in education, allowing students to focus on teaching history at the secondary education level.

Program Information and Requirements

A bachelor's degree in history does not generally provide students with the certification necessary to become a teacher. The program prepares students to pursue certification or further education. In addition to coursework in history and education, students must usually complete core requirements in the liberal arts and sciences.

Students who choose to pursue an online degree in history may be able to complete the entire program via distance learning. Lectures, class discussions and some reading materials are all typically available online. Additional software downloads, DVD playback capabilities and specific hardware are often necessary.

Course Topics

Courses for history programs typically cover a wide range of topics in history on a worldwide scale. Students explore different historical periods, as well as modern history, in order to prepare them to think critically about history and its multitude of topics.

Ancient and Medieval Civilization

This course studies the development of human civilizations, dating up to the end of the middle ages. Students will consider how these historic periods relate to us today.

Modern Civilization

This course studies topics such as industrialism, capitalism, nationalism, imperialism and ideologies that have shaped the world from 1789 to the present. Students will study war in our present century and prevailing political circumstances.

American History

Students will take multiple levels of history covering the United States from its beginnings up to the present. This course will cover political, economic, cultural and social issues that have shaped our history, and continue to shape our history.

Master's Degree in Social Studies Education

An online master's degree program that combines history and education can prepare students for a position in secondary education. Such programs are generally offered as special degree options within a general history department. Students will learn techniques and methods needed to be successful in the field of education, while focusing on social studies and the specifics of that particular subject matter.

Program Information and Requirements

Students must hold at least a bachelor's degree to enroll in an online master's program in social studies. This type of program is meant to improve history teaching skills, but it typically does not provide the certification or licensure needed to be a teacher. Students need to pursue certification separately.

Online programs allow students to complete the bulk of their coursework online, but must often complete student teaching requirements in person. Online courses may require software in order to access all of the classroom materials. Video viewing capabilities are often necessary for watching lectures or informational materials. Student teaching is to be completed in a classroom setting under the supervision of a licensed professional.

Course Topics

Coursework is typically meant to provide students with the tools necessary to run their own classrooms. Students will study instructional methods, leadership techniques and curriculum development with an emphasis on social studies.

Issues in Social Studies

This course studies current issues in social studies. Students will learn about contemporary events and ideologies and how they relate to the classroom.

Instructional Strategies

This course teaches strategies in helping all students in a class learn successfully. Methods in teaching students individually and in teaching 'at risk' students and 'gifted' students will be covered.

Classroom Experience

Students will complete in-class experience under the supervision of a licensed teacher. This course is meant to give students experience in the classroom to better prepare them to run a classroom successfully.

Career Information

Many students who earn a bachelor's degree in history with a focus on education choose to pursue careers as elementary school teachers. As of May 2020, the average annual income for elementary school teachers was $65,420, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The BLS reported that, between 2019 and 2029, job opportunities in the field are expected to grow by 4%.

Many people who earn a master's degree in social studies go on to become secondary school teachers. As of May 2020, the average annual income for secondary school teachers was $67,340, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The BLS reported that between 2019 and 2029, job opportunities for middle school and high school teachers are expected to grow by 4%.

Continuing Education Information

Certification and license requirements vary from state to state. Students should look into their particular state's requirements. Oftentimes, students can earn a teaching license after earning a bachelor's degree, then go on to pursue further education if desired.

While teaching programs in history are not available online, students may enroll in online history or social studies degree programs, and pursue certification and teaching practicums separately. These online programs combine history courses with educational and leadership courses, and are beneficial to current teachers looking to broaden their expertise.

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