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Secondary Education and Teaching


Secondary education and teaching programs prepare people to teach in high schools.

In secondary education and teaching programs students learn to teach a specific subject or a broad set of courses. They also learn to plan lessons and design projects that both motivate and challenge students

Secondary school education and teaching programs include topics such as:


Typically, secondary teachers need a bachelor's degree in education to teach; however, they should also receive a concentration or minor in the subject matter they wish to teach. These subjects might include:


Most teaching programs require students to complete a practicum, or student teaching experience, before graduation. As student teachers, students work in a classroom under the supervision of a licensed teacher.


Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in secondary teacher education. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities also offer graduate programs in secondary teacher education. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Getting admitted to a college does not always guarantee admission to its undergraduate secondary education and teaching program. In such a case, you typically apply to the program after your freshman or sophomore year of college.

Program admissions vary. However, for all programs, you need good grades. You also usually need to complete some combination of the following requirements:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. Your bachelor's degree doesn't have to be in any particular major. However, it may be helpful to major in a subject that you'd like to teach.

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Some programs - especially doctoral degree programs - may require an academic writing sample to show your scholarly research abilities. Other programs prefer applicants with previous teaching experience. Note that this experience doesn't necessarily need to be in a classroom setting.

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses such as the following:

You also take courses related to your chosen concentrations.

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs varies. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum usually looks like the following:

The core courses are often a more thorough study of issues and topics that are introduced in undergraduate secondary education programs.

The portfolio is a final project that you compile throughout your schooling. It's a collection of the best of your academic work, reflecting your growth as both a student and a developing teacher. It also shows your learning processes.

All programs require you to complete pre-practicum fieldwork and a student-teaching practicum.

The pre-practicum fieldwork usually consists of classroom observation under the guidance of an experienced teacher. This fieldwork gives you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with classroom teaching before trying it yourself.

You also benefit from the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced secondary education teacher when you begin your student-teaching practicum. During this practicum, you work with an advisor from your program who may observe your teaching and offer advice for improvement.

You usually start the practicum by leading some of the classroom activities and teaching part of the lesson. Eventually, however, you are given full responsibility for teaching your supervisor's class, including planning the lessons.

Things to Know

Many states require that secondary teachers earn a graduate degree such as a Master in Teaching (MAT) degree before they are hired or within a limited time of being hired.

Teachers who can teach in more than one subject are in great demand. If possible, you should choose more than one concentration.

Teachers are in demand in urban, inner city areas. Students in many of these areas are bilingual or English as Second Language (ESL) students. If you want to teach in those areas, course work in a second language is helpful.

You need to be licensed to teach in public schools. All states require you to have at least a bachelor's degree and a certain amount of supervised practice teaching experience. Some states also require that you have a master's degree.

Part of the licensure requirements of many states includes one or more tests such as the Praxis exam.

Because some states don't have official certification processes, you need to develop a teaching portfolio. This showcases your teaching vision, achievements, and competency to potential employers. As a student, you can start compiling samples of syllabi and student work that you've graded, as well as other materials that reflect your growth and development as a teacher. You can also include a statement of your teaching philosophy and career objectives.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Central Washington University - Des Moines

City University of Seattle

Everett Community College

Green River College

Highline College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

North Seattle College

Northwest University

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Bothell

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Spokane Community College

Spokane Falls Community College

Washington State University Health Sciences - Spokane

Whitworth University

Statewide and Distance Learning

Washington State University - Global Campus

WGU Washington

Tacoma Area

Evergreen State College, The (Tacoma Campus)

Pacific Lutheran University

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College Puyallup

University of Puget Sound

University of Washington - Tacoma

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College

Washington State University - Tri-Cities

Vancouver Area

Clark College

Washington State University - Vancouver

West Side Area

Centralia College

Columbia College - Whidbey Island

Grays Harbor College

Lower Columbia College

Peninsula College

Saint Martin's University

Western Washington University

Yakima Area

Heritage University