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Master’s Degree Programs in Secondary Education Overview

Majors Overview August 10, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in secondary education and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and licensure requirements.

Information on Secondary Education Programs

Master’s degree programs in secondary education are available at many schools. Some schools offer programs aimed at licensed teachers seeking to further their education. Others target bachelor’s degree holders in any field seeking to earn secondary school teacher certification. In some schools, many courses are offered in online formats.

Schools allow enrolled students to select a concentration in the subject in which they want to teach, such as mathematics or English. Coursework incorporates child and adolescent development, teaching methods, and curriculum planning. A period of student teaching must find completion by students who want to fulfill licensure requirements. Research and presentation of a project may be a requirement of licensed teachers enrolled in the master’s program.

In every state, public school teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree, in addition to completing an accredited teacher training program. A master’s degree program can incorporate this teacher training. Passage of a licensing examination is also a requirement. Some states make it mandatory to obtain a master’s degree within a certain period after gaining licensure.

Master’s Programs in Secondary Education

Graduates who complete a master’s degree program in education with a secondary education emphasis can seek jobs in high, middle and junior schools as administrators or teachers. Music, science, or literacy are available as areas of focus. Master’s program students gain a grasp of the complex issues faced by students. They also learn about applying their knowledge of sociology and psychology to the learning environment and developing and monitoring curricula that can meet their school’s needs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree in any major; schools may prefer a background in teaching. For instance, a certification or state teaching license may be mandatory for admission to some schools.


Coursework in master’s degree programs in secondary education emphasizes the ability of competently disseminating information in a classroom setting. They must also become adept at counseling children through specific learning processes and evaluating current programs to enhance efficiency. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Critical thinking
•Psychology of Teaching
•Learning and cognition
•Education philosophy
•Curriculum theory and development
•Instructional proficiency

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for teachers in secondary schools (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics); this would translate into 52,900 new positions. During the same period, secondary school training, education and library positions are expected to see a 15% job growth (BLS). In May 2012, school teachers in secondary education, other than special education and vocational teachers, brought in an average annual wage of $55,050 (BLS).

Licensure Requirements

All secondary teachers must obtain licensure before they can work in the public school system in the United States. Each state has its eligibility criteria for licensing. Common requirements include the possession of a bachelor’s degree and some formal teacher training. They are also required to have practical teaching experience. Licensure or state certification is obtainable through the passage of multi-subject and/or subject-specific exams. Teachers in many states are required to gain a master’s degree within a specific time-span after gaining licensure.

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