Master of Arts in Teaching
Faculties of education offer many types of degrees in education, including several degrees at the master’s level. A master’s degree is typically completed following the completion of a bachelor’s degree. In most faculties of education, one may elect to complete either a master of education or a master of arts in teaching, or MAT.
The MAT is most often pursued by candidates who wish to further advance their knowledge in a specific field of study, such as English, history or mathematics, while obtaining a credential that will enable them to obtain initial licensure as a teacher. Notably, candidates who enter the teaching profession with a master’s degree typically start higher up the pay scale than teachers who enter with a bachelor’s degree. For this reason, the MAT is often considered a more desirable route to licensure.
Degree Requirements for a Master of Arts in Teaching
Most MAT degrees can be completed in one-year of full-time study. Coursework often entails completing graduate-level courses in an area of specialization — English, mathematics, history or art — as well as courses in education, like instructional design, child or adolescent development, classroom methods, or evaluation methods.
For example, candidates in some programs have the option of completing either a MAT in elementary or secondary school teaching. If they elect to complete the MAT focused on elementary school teaching, their coursework is in education, but if they elect to complete the MAT focused on secondary teaching, their course work includes five graduate-level courses in education, and three courses in their area of specialization.
In addition, MAT degrees require students to complete one or more teaching placements. For this reason, MAT candidates usually spend part of their time on campus engaged in course work and part of their time in a placement school working under the supervision of a seasoned classroom teacher.
Areas of Specialization
In the case of the MAT, areas of specialization are twofold: First, most MAT programs offer candidates the option of specializing in either elementary or secondary education, and some MAT programs also have a middle school specialization. In addition, beyond the elementary level, an individual is expected to choose one or more teachable subjects (e.g., English, mathematics or music). In addition to the MAT degrees offered by faculties of education, there are also a few MAT programs that enable candidates to gain additional skills in unique contexts.
Career Outlook for a Master of Arts in Teaching
Since most MAT degrees lead to initial licensure, the vast majority of graduates seek full-time appointments in elementary, middle, or high schools in their area of specialization.