Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

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With so many different graduate degree options in the field of education, it’s difficult to know which one is the right choice for you. Fortunately, there are simple questions you can ask yourself to find out which type of program you should explore. For many prospective college students, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree could be the perfect fit.

The Difference Between a Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Education Degree

Do you want to be a classroom teacher, rather than an administrator or school counselor? If so, then the MAT degree makes sense. If not, you might be better off looking for a more specialized program that better suits your interests, such as school counseling or educational administration and supervision.

Have you already earned a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education? Typically, you can’t begin working toward your master’s degree unless you already have an undergraduate degree. In this particular case, that undergraduate degree should be in a different discipline. MAT programs are designed for midcareer professionals in other fields who are looking to transition into a teaching role, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Don’t confuse the MAT program with the Master of Education program. The names may seem similar, but the degrees are very different. The curriculum of a master’s in teaching program assumes that the students enrolled already have a well-rounded college-level education but no previous coursework in education. As a result, these programs focus on covering the specialized knowledge that teachers need to succeed within the classroom setting. Earning your Master of Arts in Teaching degree qualifies you to attain your teaching license or certification so you can work as an elementary, middle or high school teacher, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The Master of Arts in Teaching Curriculum

How can you tell the quality of a master’s in teaching program, especially if you don’t have a background in the study of education? Fortunately, some of the top graduate degree programs for teaching in the United States offer Master of Arts in Teaching degrees as well as Master of Education degrees. These schools have earned national recognition for the quality of their graduate education programs.

When you enroll in a school’s MAT program, you will study the fundamentals of the teaching profession, according to U.S. News & World Report. You will take coursework in teaching methods, language and literacy, child and adolescent development, behavior management, educational psychology and tests and measurements. A good deal of your classes will revolve around a concentration such as special education, elementary education or secondary education. You will also gain hands-on work experience through field work in student-teaching.

Teaching Jobs and Salaries

Teachers are typically divided into categories based on the grade level they teach. High school teachers, who usually teach grades nine through 12, earn the highest median salary, $57,200 per year, the BLS reported. Next is the category of special education teachers. These educators work with students at various age groups who have special needs. They earn a median salary of $57,200 annually. Middle school teachers generally teach grades six through eight and earn a median wage of $55,860. Elementary school teachers manage kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms and make $54,550 per year.

For most teachers, whether they start out in the field of education or transition into it midcareer, teaching is a labor of love. If you feel a calling to become an educator, earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree can help.