What are Secondary Education Degree Programs?

Secondary education degree programs prepare people to teach middle school and high school students a particular discipline like physics or English. As the education process moves from primary school to middle and high school, classes become more demanding for students and teachers alike, so a secondary education degree ensures teachers have enough knowledge of their specialties to handle these demands.

People interested in pursuing a secondary education degree should take time to become familiar with the requirements to earn the degree and the career options it creates. Here’s a quick summary:

Education Requirements

Secondary education degrees can be earned at the undergraduate or graduate level. For those seeking a bachelor degree in secondary education, either a high school diploma or a GED is necessary. Some schools will require the applicant to complete a standardized test, such as the SAT or ACT.

Those who want to pursue a master degree in secondary education must earn a bachelor degree. Many people choose to pursue a career in high school education after obtaining a bachelor degree in an unrelated field, so it is not uncommon for master degree programs to accept a variety of bachelor degrees. Master programs will also typically require applicants to have several academic references that demonstrate their ability to handle the program’s advanced requirements.

It is also possible to pursue a doctoral degree in secondary education, which will prepare students to teach at the university level and to pursue administrative jobs.

Career Options: What You Can Do With A Secondary Education Degree

Whether you choose a public or private school, your secondary education degree will qualify you for a wide variety of career options in education.

For those who obtain a bachelor degree, positions will be available in:

Elementary Schools

While the specification of secondary education does offer access to middle and high school, degree holders do not have to take this path. Degree holders will be just as capable of taking on the role of elementary school teacher if they so choose.

Middle & High Schools

This degree will train teachers in pedagogical approaches that are specific either to middle schools or to high schools.

Special Education

Working with special-needs children can be a very rewarding option for teachers who earn this degree.

Administrative Roles

Advanced secondary education degrees can help people qualify for roles in education administration.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Secondary Education Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teaching jobs are expected to grow by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is considered slower-than-average, and is partly attributed to the decline in student-to-teacher ratios across the country.

The BLS points out that this will vary by region. It is also important to remember that job availability will depend upon specialization. Typically, math and science teachers are in higher demand than English teachers.

BLS data indicates that for 2010, the median annual salary of a high school teacher was $53,230. The lowest 10 percent earned under $35,020, while the highest 10 percent made more than $83,230.

For those considering a secondary education degree, it is important to remember that starting wages will likely be at the lower end of the spectrum. This, however, will also vary by region.

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