Secondary Education Graduate Degrees & Secondary Education Graduate Schools

Secondary Education graduate programs may aim at educating the educators – helping prepare them for their role in the classroom by giving them the techniques, methods, and skills that could come into play each day. In addition, pursuing a degree program could assist those looking for a new career path, giving them the opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills that may be needed to take their first steps into the classroom.

Secondary Education Degree Programs

With the variety of programs offered in just as many convenient formats, there may be a perfect program suited not only for you, but could be best for your lifestyle, schedule, and top personal career goals.

Pursuing Secondary Education Graduate Programs : The Basics

Secondary education graduate degree programs may offer master’s, doctorates, or graduate certificate tracks. You may be asking yourself, why should I earn a graduate degree in secondary education? The answer is, there could be a lot of reasons! For current teachers, it could be to meet a state requirement to maintain their licensure. For those entering the field, it could be a great way to earn your license and begin a career.[i]

Not convinced yet? Here are a few facts that could tip the scales in favor of a secondary education graduate degree program:

  • Some states may require teachers to earn advanced degrees to maintain their licensure.[i] Check your state’s guidelines to ensure criteria are met.
  • Education admins who have earned their master’s degree may have a wage premium of $23,000 over their colleagues who earned only a bachelor’s degree[ii].
  • Teachers may see career enhancement when they earn a graduate degree. They could pursue roles such as instructional coordinators, administration leadership, or even principals.[iii]

Which Secondary Education Graduate Degree Program may be Perfect for You?

With so many potential choices for your secondary education graduate degree program, it may seem a bit confusing! Deciding on the necessary criteria for your program could be a great way to narrow down the field. Did you already earn an undergraduate degree in education? Are you currently teaching? What are your specific career goals? With these in mind, it could be easier to pick a degree program that checks your required boxes!

Do keep in mind, some programs may require students to already have their teaching license before enrollment. Check your course catalog to ensure that requirements are met prior to applying.

Secondary Education Master’s Programs

As with many degree programs, admission requirements for secondary education master’s programs may differ based on the course intensity and your past teaching experience. Programs may require applicants to hold a 3.0 or higher undergraduate GPA. Other general admissions requirements could be official transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, CVs and resumes, and a professional teaching portfolio. Make sure to check your school’s admission policies to ensure requirements are fulfilled.

New to the educational field? Make sure your chosen program also offers a licensure program. This way, you could begin your career immediately post-graduation. Some schools that do not offer a licensure program solely accept currently licensed educators, so be sure to find a program to fit your needs.

Master’s degree programs could come in a few of the following formats:

  • A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a concentration in Secondary Education is a great degree program for those looking to jump into the educational field because it focuses on common core courses for grades 5-12. MAT programs may differ between schools, but many focus their studies on classroom management, curriculum development and implementation, and teaching methods for diverse student populations.
  • The Master of Science in Secondary Education prepares teachers to have a strong working knowledge of the subjects they teach: focusing on in-depth study of courses such as history, English, and STEM subjects. Like the MAT, the M.S. in Secondary Education also builds in-classroom skills, like improving pedagogical strategies and classroom development.
  • Master of Education in Secondary Education degree programs are a two-pronged process: programs focus on general liberal arts education while also placing emphasis on educational research and development. Many programs additionally offer licensure programs for those seeking to enter the educational field, making this a great program that may not require an undergraduate degree in education.

Secondary Education Doctoral Programs

To be admitted to a secondary education doctorate program, schools may require a GPA of 3.0 to 3.5, as well as GRE scores. Earning a doctoral degree in secondary education could involve undergoing intensive coursework, and depending on the depth of your study, the program may take anywhere from 3 to 6 years to complete. Program lengths and subject areas vary by school. Many doctoral programs may require dissertation coursework as part of their curriculum. Be sure to check your school’s course catalog to ensure class criteria are completed.

A doctorate of education (EdD) in instructional leadership may prepare teachers to pursue leadership roles within a school system by focusing on clinical research implementation. Professional skills may be honed with research based coursework that could include educational policy studies and creation, conflict resolution, and using evidence-based data to address educational hurdles. This degree program may not be suited for those seeking to enter the educational field, but may fit those looking to take the next step and enhance their teaching career.

Secondary Education Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs in secondary education may be a great way for students to more quickly jumpstart their career in the educational field or for current teachers considering pursuing a master’s degree at a later date. For those new to the field, this is great news because the programs may not require an undergraduate degree in education. For those already teaching, this could be a great way to test the waters of a master’s degree to see if the coursework could fit your busy schedule. These programs may be quicker than a doctoral or master’s degree program, taking anywhere from 1 to 2 years to complete depending on the school. Admission departments may require a 2.5 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Coursework may vary, but typical studies could include:

  • Teaching theory & method
  • Core curriculum
  • Lesson planning

Students obtaining a graduate certificate may be required to pass state licensure exams before or during enrollment. Be sure to check with your school to make sure criteria are completed.


Completing an accredited graduate degree program is not required for state licensure, but doing so means students are studying a standard national education curriculum. The U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation. The NCATE accredits schools, colleges, and departments of education in U.S. colleges and universities, as well as non-university entities that prepare educators for P-12 schools[iv].

List of Secondary Education Graduate Programs

Secondary Education Graduate ProgramTopics CoveredAverage Length to Completion
Masters of Arts in Teaching – Concentration in Secondary EducationClassroom management, Curriculum Development and Implementation, Teaching methods2-3 Years
Master of Science in Secondary EducationIn-Classroom Skills, Pedagogical strategies, Classroom development2-3 Years
Doctorate in Secondary EducationIn Depth Study of Secondary Education3-6 Years
EdD in Instructional LeadershipStrategies Educational Leadership, Clinical Research Implementation, Quantitative Research3-6 Years
Graduate Certificates in Secondary EducationTeaching theory, Lesson Planning, Core Curriculum1-2 Years

Program Formats: On-Campus vs Online

Now that you’ve picked one of the secondary education graduate programs for your goals, it’s time to consider which learning format supports your lifestyle. Secondary education degree programs are presented in many ways, so there may be one that lines up with your own day-to-day schedule – whether that means work, additional coursework, or family time.

  • On-campus secondary education graduate programs may be a great choice for students seeking a traditional campus experience. This program format could place students in a perfect environment for academic debate, individualized professor attention, and peer networking. Not to mention, you might have the chance to tap into the college culture like football games, homecoming, and other campus events. Schools might also offer online courses as part of their course catalog: you might want to check out these convenient classes if your own schedule gets a little busy!
  • Online secondary education graduate programs could be a great choice for the student that values convenience and flexibility. Taking classes online may allow students to log in when their time allows to complete coursework. This could be helpful for educators earning a graduate degree while simultaneously teaching their own students. Just when you finish grading your students’ papers, you could turn one in to your professor! Still stuck between online and on-campus? Consider that online programs may offer live-streamed lectures or online chatrooms for students to tap into the traditional, on-campus experience.

Find a Perfect Secondary Education Graduate Program Today

Out of the different choices of secondary education graduate programs, there could be a perfect secondary education graduate program out there for you – whether you’re looking to take your first few steps into the classroom, or you already have your undergraduate degree and are searching for the next big push. Now that you made your decision to start your search, is ready to help! Select your preferred program and format to narrow down your search. You could also refine your results further by selecting your city and state. We hope you find a great secondary education graduate program today!

Sources: [i] | [ii]| [iii] | [iv]

  • Grand Canyon University

  • Purdue University Global