What Can You Do With a Master's in Secondary Education?

Feb 19, 2018

Those interested in working with students at the high school level may pursue a variety of education jobs with a master's in secondary education. Learn about some of the options, their median salaries and expected job growth rates.

A master's degree in secondary education can prepare students for a range of careers in the field of education. These careers vary in their specific duties, but professionals can use the skills and knowledge found in these graduate programs to help high school students learn and grow. Find out about a few of the available careers for those with a master's in secondary education.

Career Options for a Master's in Secondary Education

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
High School Teachers $58,030 8%
High School Principals (Including Elementary and Middle) $92,510 8%
Instructional Coordinators $62,460 11%
Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers $50,650 -5% (Decline)
Special Education Teachers, Secondary School $59,700 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Secondary Education Jobs Requiring a Master's

High School Teachers

High school, or secondary, teachers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some states require a master's degree and many teachers may choose to earn one to further their education. They specialize in teaching kids in the 9th to 12th grades in a variety of subjects, which requires them to create lesson plans, exams and activities that are usually based on state education standards. High school teachers may work with individuals, small groups of students or whole classes to challenge them and help strengthen any educational weaknesses, all while providing structure and safety in the classroom. They usually maintain communication with parents and/or administrators concerning students' abilities and behavior and help supervise students during free time as needed.

High School Principals

High school principals must have teaching experience and hold a master's degree, and although they typically have a master's in education administration or leadership, there are some secondary education programs with a focus in these areas. These administrators oversee the activities of a school and work to provide students with a healthy learning environment. They work closely with teachers and school staff to manage activities, implement the curriculum and set safety standards and other school rules. High school principals also manage the school's budget, provide professional development opportunities for staff and communicate with parents about students as needed.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators need a master's degree in an education-related field, and they also usually need some teaching or administrative experience. Some of these coordinators may specialize in working at secondary schools to manage the school's curriculum and help teachers implement the required educational standards. They typically help create learning materials and/or approve textbooks and other materials for various subjects, observe teachers and further train teachers on the curriculum. Instructional coordinators also usually examine students' test scores to identify areas of weakness and mentor teachers to help them improve their teaching skills.

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers need at least a bachelor's degree, but some employers may require these educators to have a master's degree. Those with a background in secondary education may be especially prepared to help teach high school equivalency courses. These teachers specialize in working with adult and/or English as a Second Language (ESL) learners to help them write, speak and read English, usually while working toward their high school equivalent diploma. They still plan lessons and monitor students' progress like high school teachers, but they may put extra emphasis on job-related skills and help connect students with various community resources.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers must have a bachelor's degree, but some may be required to earn a master's degree in special education or another education area. Some may decide to earn a graduate degree in secondary education if they wish to work with high school students, and there are universities that offer master's degree programs focused on both secondary and special education.

Special education teachers at the secondary level may work with students of varying learning, physical, emotional and mental disabilities to help them learn basic skills and prepare them for life after graduation. They typically need to adapt lesson plans to meet the individual needs of students according to their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and update IEPs as students make progress. These teachers stay in close contact with parents, administrators and other teachers concerning their students and may manage teaching assistants in special education.

A master's degree in secondary education allows graduates to teach at the secondary school level, but it also opens doors to working in different administrative and specialized positions related to high school education. Most of these positions are expected to have positive job growth in the near future, according to the BLS.

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