Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education

Graduate Certificate of Completion Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach, Secondary EducationInitial Program – Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure

Offered By: College of Education

Prepare to Teach With a Graduate Secondary Education Certificate

This graduate certificate in secondary education at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is a specialized program designed to provide you with advanced knowledge and skills in teaching and curriculum development at the secondary education level. This program is intended for those looking to becoming a certified teacher of sixth through 12th grade who already hold a bachelor’s degree but do not currently hold a teacher’s license.

This post-baccalaureate secondary education certificate serves as an alternative route for obtaining a teaching license, incorporating observation requirements, mentorship, hands-on teaching experience and theoretical knowledge of pedagogy. As a graduate of this secondary education certificate, you will be taught to work as a teacher of record in a middle or high school classroom by pursuing a non-traditional path to teacher licensure with the support of your school district.

Programs such as this graduate certificate in secondary education follow the Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach path and are designed to be accessible for both full-time students and working professionals. Earning a graduate certificate in secondary education online or in the evening can be convenient and flexible options that allow you to obtain an education on your own time and to potentially position yourself to reach your professional goals.

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The L.E.A.P. Approach to Earning a Certificate of Secondary Education

The Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach pathway is an innovative, non-traditional approach to earning a teaching certificate. This structured L.E.A.P. program prepares teacher candidates to earn your secondary education certificate through an immersive learning experience that includes daytime teaching, professional development, mentor support and graduate coursework.

The secondary education certificate program requirements include:

  • Experience with formal and informal evaluations
  • Four online GCU teacher education courses
  • Culminating hands-on capstone project
  • Professional development and mentoring

This comprehensive approach ensures that candidates are well-supported during every step of the pathway and are able to sufficiently develop their pedagogical skills.

Course Topics for Secondary Education Certificate Graduates

Teaching can be a rewarding and challenging career that requires a combination of knowledge, skills and experience. By following this certificate of secondary education pathway, you have the potential to make a significant impact on middle and secondary schools. Coursework in this certificate in secondary education program teaches skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Planning, delivery and evaluation of standards-based instruction
  • Typical and atypical development of middle and high schoolers
  • Realistic discipline plans for managing student and classroom behavior
  • Research-based reading methodologies to enhance learning strategies
  • Creating culturally and socially diverse classrooms
  • Strategies for English language learning through Structured English Immersion and other instructional programs

The graduate-level coursework within GCU’s secondary education certificate program is focused on strategies that fit within the modern classroom, preparing you to serve the types of students who will actually be in your classroom.

Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education Program FAQs

Whether you are just starting your career in education or are considering a career change, we’ve gathered a list of frequently asked questions about the graduate certificate in secondary education. Review our list of common questions and answers below to provide valuable insight into the field of secondary education.

The process of obtaining a secondary education certificate if you already have a bachelor's degree may vary depending on your specific circumstances and the program requirements in your state. However, this secondary education graduate certificate program is specifically designed for individuals who already have a bachelor's degree and are interested in pursuing a career in teaching at the middle or high school level. By completing this 16-credit secondary education certificate you will be prepared to pass certification exams to earn your teaching license.

A graduate certificate in secondary education is a good option if you enjoy teaching in a middle or high school setting and want to gain advanced knowledge and skills to enter this field. This secondary education certificate is a 16-credit program that typically consists of a series of courses that focus on topics such as curriculum design, classroom management, instructional strategies and assessment and evaluation.

A secondary education graduate certificate program is designed to provide you with advanced knowledge and skills in teaching and curriculum development at the secondary education level. Graduates may pursue career paths that require specific skills, such as:

  • Postsecondary education teacher
  • Secondary school teacher

Without proper certification, it is unlikely that you will be able to secure a job as a teacher in a secondary education setting, as most schools and districts require their teachers to hold the necessary credentials. According to Teacher-Certification-Online.Org, federal standards require that all public-school teachers be certified and state licensed.1 A certification or license typically requires completion of a teacher education program, such as the MEd in Early Childhood Education degree, which leads to licensure. This program usually includes coursework in education, teaching methods and classroom management, as well as a supervised student-teaching experience or practicum field hours that leads to licensure.


Prepare yourself to make an impact as a certified teacher. Earn your Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach certificate of secondary education online or in-person during evening classes from Grand Canyon University.

If seeking licensure or certification, applicants to the program are responsible for contacting their state department of education for licensure requirements and program approval. In addition, fingerprint and background clearance is required.

1 Teacher-Certification-Online.Org Your Online Teacher Certification Resource. (n.d.). Teaching Without Certification. Retrieved April 11, 2023.

Total Credits: 16
Online: 6 weeks
[More Info]
The University will accept one course of the total certificate requirements in transfer.
Online: $590 per credit [More Info]


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Course List

16 credits
Degree Requirements:
16 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

Candidates will identify effective classroom management techniques that foster a sense of community and promote student growth. Candidates will reflect on the importance of building a strong connection between home and school. All candidates will examine research-based strategies that engage learners in collaborative and self-directed learning. Throughout this course candidates will evaluate the logical progression of effective lessons, leveraging critical thinking skills and preferred learning styles. Candidates will engage in reflective practices, including a variety of self-assessments, to reflect on their practices and plan for necessary adjustments. Practicum/field experience hours: 1. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

This course is designed to allow the teacher candidate the opportunity to learn techniques involved in the successful engagement and management of a learning environment. Major emphasis is placed to the establishment of a realistic discipline plan to manage student behavior, as well as engagement and management techniques and strategies to maximize instructional time, classroom procedures, and physical space. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required. Prerequisite: SEC-501 or SEC-502 or approved enrollment in the Graduate Certificate of Completion Canyon L.E.A.P. to Teach, Secondary Education.

Course Description

Teacher candidates explore research-based strategies for delivering differentiated reading instruction to promote reading proficiency. Language and literacy development is examined to inform assessment, remediation and intervention practices to support middle to high school readers and ability levels, including students with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. Using this foundational knowledge, teacher candidates will select, adapt, and use research-based instructional strategies and interventions with attention focused on reading in academic curricula to advance learning for adolescent students. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

In this course, teacher candidates examine the fundamentals of the legal, historical, and educational foundations of Structured English Immersion (SEI) and other instructional programs for English language learners. Theoretical principles of language acquisition and the role of culture in learning are examined. Methods of assessment are identified and analyzed. Teacher candidates identify strategies to promote English language development and improve student achievement. Through Universal Design for Learning they plan, deliver, and evaluate standards based instruction for English language learners. Practicum/field experience hours: 15. Fingerprint clearance required.

Course Description

Teacher candidates are introduced to the educational needs of students with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, including the definitions, characteristics, prevalence, causes and educational approaches to these disabilities and disorders. Teacher candidates will identify cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional patterns of learning and development for students with mild to moderate disabilities. Teacher candidates also survey the special education process involving the application of various laws and regulations. Practicum/field experience hours: None. Fingerprint clearance not required.

Course Description

The goal of this culminating experience is to allow candidates to refine their skills in the identified InTASC standards. Teacher candidates will move to higher levels on the InTASC progressions through in-class discussions, video reflection, in-class progression of essential skills, and peer and coach mentoring. Candidates will create and evaluate appropriate learning experiences to move learners toward their next levels of development. They will dive deeper into the analysis of data to identify patterns and gaps in learning to guide instruction and provide meaningful feedback. Candidates will reevaluate plans in relation to short- and long-range goals and systematically adjust plans to meet each student’s learning needs and enhance learning. Practicum/field experience hours: 1. Fingerprint clearance required.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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