Introduction to Secondary Education Careers

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Below is a directory (broken down by state) of all of the Secondary Education programs we could find, from over 1,700 accredited colleges and universities across the US.

The middle and high school years are a time of tremendous intellectual and emotional growth. At this stage, students are ready for the more specialized subject area instruction that secondary teachers provide.

Secondary education teachers help shape the minds of adolescents who attend high school and teach their particular field of study that is reflected by their degree major. Teachers in secondary education may teach biology, chemistry, mathematics, history or foreign languages. Those who teach secondary school usually have a talent for communicating with young people and embody a natural gift for motivating adolescents to achieve academic excellence.

Featured Online Programs:

Online programs may not be available in all states

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Find Secondary Education Programs by Degree Level

  • Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education
  • Masters Degree in Secondary Education
  • Alternative Teacher Certification in Secondary Education
  • Secondary Education Job Description

    Secondary teachers deliver in-depth instruction to students in grades seven to twelve. They typically specialize in a subject area such as math, English, social studies or science. Secondary teachers are responsible for developing and delivering lesson plans, evaluating student achievement, maintaining classroom discipline and communicating student progress to parents and administrators. In addition, they may supervise extracurricular activities, coordinate field trips, and attend staff meetings and in-service training.

    For most secondary teachers the schedule is a standard 10 months with two months of summer break. A few schools, though, are open year-round with shorter breaks interspersed throughout the year.

    Secondary Education Requirements

    No matter where you live, you will need a license or state certification to be a secondary teacher in a public school. A license may not be required to teach in a private secondary school. Specific licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state, but basic requirements include a bachelor's degree from an approved teacher education program, a passing grade on a competency test, and a student teaching internship. For those with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education, states offer alternative means of licensing. After you attain initial teacher certification, expect to do regular professional development to maintain an active license.

    Secondary Education Career Outlook

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts secondary teacher employment will grow at about the average for all occupations. Job prospects will vary depending on geographic location and specialty area. A study by the American Association for Employment in Education reports that demand will be high for math, science and bilingual education teachers, while there is expected to be a surplus of social studies, health, and physical education teachers. Head to the South and the West, where student enrollment is growing, for the most job opportunities.

    According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for teachers in 2008 was between $47,000 to $51, 000. The lowest 10 percent of teachers earned between $31,000 and $34,000 while the highest 10 percent earned between $75,000 and $80,000.

    Secondary teachers can earn additional income by supervising or coaching extracurricular activities, earning a masters in education or advanced certification, or becoming an administrator. Expect a smaller salary if you teach in a private school.

    Secondary Education Trends

    The National Education Association reports that a major trend in middle and high schools across the nation is the move to block scheduling. Instead of eight to ten short subject periods, students are scheduled in three to four longer blocks (as much as 90 minutes) of instruction. Teachers working with a block schedule will need to adjust their lesson plans and instruction accordingly.

    Another noteworthy trend is the continuing decline in student to teacher ratios over the last 40 years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics the number of students per teacher averaged 15.5 for public schools in 2007.

    Secondary Education Degrees Online

    Are you interested in earning an online degree in secondary education? Be prepared to choose a specialty.

    Teachers at the secondary level specialize in everything from math and English to special education and business. Thus, colleges and universities have developed a wide range of online secondary education programs in various specialties to meet the needs of both new and aspiring secondary teachers. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as 18 months. Others take longer.

    While the concentration areas may vary, there are several common components among online secondary education programs. First, courses are delivered via the Internet and supplemented with other Web-based programs such as email, video chats and virtual classrooms. Second, some coursework, such as student assessment and secondary teaching methodology, is common to all specialty areas.

    How can you tell if a secondary education degree online is high quality? Look for programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or affiliated with a professional organization serving your specialty area.

    Online Secondary Education Degrees to Consider:

    Jones International University in Centennial, Colorado, offers online secondary education programs in a variety of specialties, including instructional technology, English as a Second Language and educational leadership. These programs are suitable for current and aspiring teachers.

    Walden University in Minneapolis also offers online secondary education programs for both current and aspiring teachers. Available concentration areas include adolescent literacy and technology, special education and teacher leadership. There is even a specialization just for educators in the middle (fifth through eighth) grades.

    Kaplan University offers an online Master of Arts in teaching for aspiring fifth through twelfth-grade teachers that leads to initial certification. There is also a Master of Science in education for current secondary teachers. Other specializations are available in secondary math, science, literacy and instructional technology.

    Curriculum for Secondary Education Programs

    Core courses designed for your program in secondary education may include classes that are common to all subject areas that teachers require to help their students succeed. Prerequisites may be satisfied by the completion of a specific total of general education courses that are determined by your individual program. In addition, you will have courses that pertain to your major such as teaching science, mathematics, English and other areas of expertise. Your secondary education core courses may include some of the following:

    Introduction to Teaching at the Secondary Level

    Prospective teachers can learn the organization, selection and the appropriate use of materials that are the most effective in teaching adolescents. An overview of planning lessons, discipline, facilitating class discussions and other methodologies that are necessary for effectual teaching are presented. This course introduces the prospective teacher to the historical perspective of teaching secondary classes and how it has affected current trends in political and economic influences of teaching in America. Aspiring teachers may also discuss personal views and philosophies on the goals and objectives of teaching.

    Principles of Learning in Secondary Education

    Aspiring teachers may study discipline-specific ideologies that promote effective learning in collaboration, group communication and problem solving skills. Research-based strategies are presented to assist teachers to reduce barriers to group socialization and effectively promote teamwork in their students with optimal participation and successful assimilation. The course also outlines the common behaviors that cause class disruption and the effective strategies that have been proven to restore a classroom to an organized and helpful learning environment. Research-based methodologies provide prospective teachers with critical thinking skills and valuable resources to maintain a successful classroom.

    Psychology of Teaching in the Secondary Classroom

    This course examines the brain of the adolescent and how perception of the environment facilitates learning and stimulates motivation. Cognition and language are explored as it pertains to the secondary school student. Prospective teachers may discover how adolescents construct language, mathematical knowledge and scientific thinking. Research and learning theories are presented for the design and evaluation of class curriculum for effectively identifying course objectives, the appropriate level of learners and the effectiveness of learning materials to develop successful strategies for teaching adolescents. Aspiring teachers use research-based psychological methodologies to evaluate the success of their lesson plans and assignments.

    Language and Learning Instruction for Adolescents

    This course examines theories of reading development for all prospective teachers and regardless of subject concentration. Teachers learn to evaluate the deficits in students' reading, language skills and writing content on an appropriate level. Aspiring teachers may be provided with methods to improve language comprehension, promote better communication and refer students with low language skills for remedial assistance or tutoring. In addition, this course may provide an insight into bilingual instruction and the integration of language, theories of reading development and teaching methods for teachers who instruct students with English as a second language.

    Applying Learning Technologies to the Classroom Environment

    Qualitative research has clearly shown that adolescents learn more effectively from multi-media driven information and learning technologies as an adjunct to classroom activities. This course presents the diverse learning styles that can be addressed by using software, video streams and other computer-based programs to provide a visual source of interactive learning. Due to home schooling, online virtual high schools and advances in special education, teaching is no longer confined to the classroom. In this course, aspiring teachers achieve a working knowledge of research-based learning technologies and the incorporation of key concepts into distance learning.

    Secondary School Teachers Explore Computer-Based Technology

    It is no secret that adolescents love technology, and many are extremely immersed in social media and communication. Today's high school classrooms are filled with technology and teachers are finding that computers and multi-media are a huge help in keeping their students engaged and motivated. According to USA Today, bringing technology into the classroom has reduced time constraints and has provided avenues for students to take advantage of learning online.

    If you want to learn more about pursuing a career in secondary education, use our directory of school listings to request information about programs that accept students in your area. Be sure to compare and request information from multiple programs to make sure you choose one that will help you achieve your goals.

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