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Bachelor of Science

Science Education Degree
(Secondary Earth Science)

Leads to Teacher Licensure

OVERVIEW

Impact Your Community as an Earth Science Education Teacher


 

Earth science (also called geoscience) explores society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and the health of the environment. Earth science education teachers need to have the up-to-date knowledge, skills, and credentials to help young minds develop a passion for understanding the physical aspects of the Earth, including its composition, structure, and processes. If you're ready to make a difference for students, earth science education could be the perfect fit for you.

WGU's online earth science education degree program focuses on competencies including astronomy, geology, meteorology, and oceanography. Our curriculum is designed to prepare you for a meaningful career teaching geosciences in middle schools and high schools across America. And WGU's Teachers College is CAEP-accredited.

62% of students finish within 

29 months

WGU lets you move more quickly through material you already know and advance as soon as you're ready. The result: You may finish this teaching bachelor's degree faster.

 

Tuition per six-month term is

$3,575

Put it together and you'll see that you're in control of the cost of your teaching degree. We charge tuition per-term instead of per-credit. Finish faster, pay less!

 

On average, students transfer

29 credits

Your associate’s degree or previous college may waive some courses through transfer. We review your transcripts for transfer credits, helping you accelerate this bachelor's degree in education.

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?

Next Start Date: November 1

Start Dates the 1st of Every Month

COURSES & COMPETENCIES

Secondary Earth Science Education Courses

A nationally recognized curriculum designed to help you become a highly qualified science teacher.

WGU's bachelor's degree program in earth science education is an affordable, online program that leads to teacher licensure. You will study general science, advanced earth science, and teaching methods necessary to become a highly qualified earth science teacher.

To ensure WGU graduates acquire the knowledge and skills sought by today’s schools, this online earth science curriculum was developed with significant input from experts and educational leaders who serve on our Education Program Council. Our online bachelor's degree for earth science teachers is nationally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

The program also includes a home science lab kit. You will be provided with a self-contained laboratory kit—including science equipment, specimens and chemicals—to complete lab experiments at home.

Students will take eight professional core courses that will prepare them to handle unique educational situations and become better teachers. These education courses focus on a variety of important topics including social and emotional learning, and technology and diversity inclusion in the classroom. 

Plus, students will get to use augmented reality experiences to give them the opportunity to practice their work before entering the classroom. These eight professional core courses are also coupled with preclinical experience to help ensure teachers are ready for their classroom.

Some of the courses in this program may be waived through transfer from your previous college experience. The rest you will complete one at a time as you make your way through your program, working with your Program Mentor each term to build your personalized Degree Plan. You’ll work through each course as quickly as you can study and learn the material. This means that you can finish as many courses as you're able in a term at no additional cost.

Washington students, please note that you will be required to complete one additional course that is not listed below: Survey of Pacific Northwest History for Educators. View the Washington program guide.

General Education
Science
General Science Content
Chemistry Content
Geosciences Content
Science Education
Professional Core
Pedagogy
Field Experience
Education
Demonstration Teaching

39 Courses

Program consists of 39 courses

At WGU, we design our curriculum to be timely, relevant, and practical—all to ensure your degree is proof you really know your stuff.

Professional Portfolio

Special requirements for this program

You will complete a professional portfolio, which will include your resume and Philosophy of Teaching Statement and serve as a way to showcase the skills you have acquired throughout your degree program and Demonstration Teaching. 

“The set up of classes works well with any schedule. A personal mentor is a great help. I recommend WGU to anyone pursuing a degree.”

—Gregory
M.A. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science)

Why WGU?

You Aren't On Your Own

WGU has Program Mentors who work with you from the day you start, all the way through graduation. They help you set up your Demonstration Teaching, learn about teaching certification in your state, and more. You're not alone when you choose an online education degree at WGU.

On Your Schedule

Students choose WGU for their online teaching degree program because of its flexibility. Whether you already have a full-time job, have responsibilities as a parent, or just have a busy schedule, WGU can work for you.

Licensure In Any State

WGU's online science education degree prepares you for a teaching license in any state in the United States. It's valuable to learn the other requirements in your state to know the full process for gaining licensure.

Accredited, Respected,
Recognized

One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized.

COST & TIME

An Affordable Earth Science Degree Program

By charging per six-month term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. The faster you complete your program, the less you pay for your degree.

Tuition Calculator
Pay less by completing your program faster
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A College Degree Is Within Reach

There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:

The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2019 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.

Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits. 

Many scholarship opportunities are available. Find out what you might be eligible for.
 

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE

A Different Way to Learn: Degree Programs Designed to Fit Your Life—and All the Demands on Your Time

Professional responsibilities. Family obligations. Personal commitments. At WGU, we understand schedules are tight and often unpredictable for adult students. That’s why we offer a flexible, personalized approach to how education should be. No rigid class schedules. Just a solid, career-focused teaching program that meshes with your current lifestyle. You'll be challenged. You'll work hard. But if you commit yourself and put in the hours needed, WGU makes it possible for you to earn a highly respected degree as a busy working adult.

“I had two different schools fighting over me. I'm a highly qualified teacher and I absolutely love it. I'm going to do something worthwhile. I'm going to affect people's lives.”

—Ken S.
B.A. Science (Middle Grades)

CAREER OUTLOOK

Make a Fulfilling Career Move and Become a Science Teacher

Curious young minds need passionate, inspired educators with the knowledge and skill to teach them about critical issues like conservation, renewable energy, mineral resources, and water availability. WGU's online geoscience degree is nationally recognized for preparing highly qualified educators with an advanced understanding of the structure and function of Earth's systems.

A serious shortage of STEM teachers nationwide means science teachers are in very high demand. A B.S. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) degree from WGU's CAEP-accredited Teachers College can prepare you to fill a critically important role in secondary education.

Return on Your Investment

4%

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a shortage of STEM teachers especially, job opportunities for science teachers should be especially strong. 

—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

WGU Has Alumni Teaching in Schools Across the Country

Graduates of WGU's online Teachers College have found meaningful, rewarding teaching careers in classrooms at:

  • Inclusionary K–12 classrooms
  • Middle/junior high schools
  • High schools
  • Private and charter schools

Impressive Class of Graduates

Graduates of the WGU Teachers College include recipients of many professional honors, including:

  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • Intel Grant for Mathematics and Technology
  • Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award
  • Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award
  • Association of Public Charter Schools Educator of the Year Award

Focused on Equity and Accessibility

The WGU Teachers College is in the top 1% for granting degrees for Black and Hispanic/Latinx educators at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is second in the nation for combined graduate and undergraduate degrees and credentials for students of color, according to the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

ADMISSIONS

Secondary Earth Science Bachelor's Admission Requirements

Students who are seeking initial teacher licensure in a bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate, or master’s program must also pass a state-specific basic skills test for the state in which they live as a prerequisite to Demonstration Teaching (student teaching). (Registering and paying for the test is the student’s responsibility.) This requirement can be met either prior to admission or before beginning the Foundations of Teaching subject area once you are in your WGU program.

WGU’s teacher licensure programs also include Demonstration Teaching (student teaching). You must be at least 18 years of age before you may begin the application process or participate in Preclinical Experiences and Demonstration Teaching. You must also submit to a criminal background check prior to entering the classroom for this component of your program.

An Enrollment Counselor can help you best determine whether you have the sufficient background for entry into your program of choice.

Transfer Credits

If you’ve taken courses or received a degree from a community college or another college or university, you're likely already well on your way to a WGU degree. You can almost always transfer credits when you send bachelor's or associate's degree transcripts to WGU for a college transfer evaluation. 

Get Your Enrollment Checklist

Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.

Get Your Questions Answered

Talk to an WGU Enrollment Counselor.

MORE DETAILS

Becoming a Licensed Teacher


 

State-specific licensure requirements: Each state in the U.S. has specific testing requirements that must be met or completed in addition to completing your teaching degree program at WGU. Teacher licensure requirements vary depending on state laws and may include a number of factors, such as:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree program
  • Submission of transcripts
  • Completion and clearance of a background check
  • Passing of required entrance exams and basic skills tests

Preclinical Experiences    

As part of this program, you'll participate in a wide range of in-classroom teaching experiences through at least 75 hours of in-classroom observation.

Demonstration Teaching

To help you prepare to work in classrooms, this program includes a student teaching component (we call it Demonstration Teaching, or DT). DT is a full-time, supervised, in-classroom experience of a minimum of 12–20 weeks during which you will be hosted by an experienced teacher and observed by a Clinical Supervisor. Your host teacher will evaluate your performance based on accepted professional standards. Learn more.

More About the B.S. in Secondary Earth Science Education

Earth science is also called geoscience and typically focuses on the areas of science that influence the Earth. Things like air, water, rocks, and more are all part of earth science. 

There are four main branches of earth science that teachers need to understand and prepare to teach. They are:

  • Geology
  • Oceanography
  • Meteorology
  • Astronomy

A Bachelor of Science in Science Education (Secondary Earth Science) can prepare you for a number of teaching positions at the secondary level. An earth science degree in education will qualify you to teach certain science classes including:

  • Earth science
  • Environmental science
  • Astronomy
  • Meteorology
  • Hydrology

An earth science degree utilizes complex subjects but isn't difficult if you are passionate and interested in the subject matter. When you earn a degree at WGU, you can use your understanding to propel through courses, and you can spend more time learning in areas that are less natural to you.

To become an earth science teacher, especially at the secondary education level, you must earn a degree in earth science teaching, or a closely related field. In order to teach, you must also be certified. Each state has different certification and licensure requirements. Be sure to find a program that will give you the right credentials and prepare you for licensure in your state.

Earth science teachers might teach courses in many areas of science such as climate science, geology, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, or environmental science. Or they may teach a course simply entitled “Earth Science.” In general, an earth science teacher teaches science that is related to the study of our natural surroundings, often with a focus on how we can understand, respect, and responsibly manage the earth’s resources.

The average salary for science teachers varies by state. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average is $46,183. On the high end, science teachers can earn $77,000, with the top 10% making $57,000 or more. In general, earning potential increases depending on the teacher’s level of education and experience. 

It depends on your state and which Teachers College program you complete, so it is best to ask your Enrollment Counselor. Typically, teachers with an elementary education license can teach anywhere from kindergarten through 8th grade, and secondary teachers in math, English, or science can teach anywhere from 5th to 12th grades. K–12 special education licenses typically enable teachers to work with students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

It depends on your state and your program, but for most Teachers College programs, Demonstration Teaching is typically about the length of one full traditional school semester. DT is a minimum of 12–16 weeks, but it can be longer in other programs.

WGU has a team that works with you to connect you with schools in your area, and with host teachers that will support you through your Demonstration Teaching.

Your Enrollment Counselor can provide more details about your specific situation. While you can provide recommendations of a school you want to be placed in, generally, our Field Placement Office will be selecting and setting up the placement in the end.

Your Enrollment Counselor has access to an up-to-date database that tracks requirements and eligibility for all WGU programs and all US states and territories, so a conversation with your Enrollment Counselor can quickly verify this for you based on where you live and your desired program.

Yes. Transcripts are used by your program mentor to help develop your personalized degree plan. WGU requires that official transcripts of previous academic work completed at other colleges or graduate schools be submitted for evaluation. It is your obligation to request official transcripts from the institutions you have attended when applying for admission. At the present time, we don't require a minimum grade point average (GPA) or SAT/ACT scores for admission.

Yes. Students applying to a graduate degree program must send bachelor's degree official transcripts verifying their receipt of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or DETC-accredited institution. The Records and Admissions Departments should receive the official transcripts by the 1st of the month prior to the start of your program. WGU accepts limited college transfer credits at the graduate (master’s) level in only a few programs: M.S. Nursing and Master of Health Leadership. Transfer credit is not accepted in all other master's programs. For all other graduate-level programs, requirements are not cleared through transfer because of prior graduate school study. However, competencies obtained through prior study will help students to accelerate toward degree completion.

Your official transcripts will be evaluated by a member of the Transcripts Department. The time it takes to review your transcripts and report which subject areas (domains) are cleared will vary. We will inform you via email when your transcripts arrive, and we endeavor to report transfer decisions through your Enrollment Counselor within two weeks of that date.

Because your mentor will use your transcripts to help develop your personalized Degree Plan, it is important we receive official transcripts directly from all the colleges and universities you have previously attended no later than the 1st of the month prior to your intended start date. WGU will not award transfer credit based upon the work identified by transcripts received after your start date.

If you have questions about your transcripts prior to submission of your official transcripts, you may contact your Enrollment Counselor to discuss the Transfer Evaluation Guidelines for your intended degree program.

Yes. If you’re applying for a bachelor’s degree program and have completed college coursework at another institution, you may have your transcripts evaluated and may be able to have some or all of the requirements for lower-division courses cleared through transfer credits. In some programs, professional certifications may clear additional requirements.

Many students transfer into a WGU degree program already having accumulated many credit hours or having earned an associate’s degree. Transcripts are evaluated on a course-by-course basis according to the following general guidelines:

  • If you hold an Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree from an institution that is recognized as nationally or regionally accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, you should clear all or many of the lower-division requirements for a bachelor’s degree in Business or Information Technology. For Health Professions and Teachers College programs, a course-by-course evaluation is typically required. Only an official transcript evaluation can determine how many requirements you may be able to waive.
  • If you earned an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or other applied associate’s degree, you may be able to clear a significant portion of WGU's lower-division degree requirements.
  • If you have completed college courses but have not earned a degree of any type, you may also be able to have some degree requirements cleared through a course-by-course transcript evaluation.
  • WGU accepts limited college transfer credits at the graduate (master’s) level in only a few programs: M.S. Nursing and Master of Health Leadership. Transfer credit into the M.S. Nursing and Master of Health Leadership programs will only be considered for new students beginning their program on February 1, 2021, and beyond. Transfer credit is not accepted in all other master's programs. For all other graduate-level programs, requirements are not cleared through transfer because of prior graduate school study. However, competencies obtained through prior study will help students to accelerate toward degree completion.

It depends on how well the courses you’ve already taken match the competencies in the WGU degree program you’re applying for.

Each WGU degree program specifies the competencies you must possess and demonstrate mastery of in order to receive your degree; having accumulated credits isn’t sufficient proof that you have mastered the competencies.

Prior courses must be relevant. If your prior coursework directly matches the requirements for your WGU bachelor’s degree, you may be able to clear one or more required lower-division courses. However, if your coursework was in subject areas that don’t match WGU's degree requirements, the amount of transfer credit you receive may be limited.

Ready to Start Your WGU Journey?