Many aspiring teachers, current teachers and other mid-career professionals have learned that a bachelor’s degree is not as valued as it once was. As the number people looking for employment rises and the number of available jobs decreases, competition for jobs has intensified. Earning a Masters in Education or a Masters in Teaching may present new options for job improvement and career advancement.
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, also known as the Masters in Teaching (MIT), prepares college graduates, career-changers and other students with liberal arts backgrounds to become licensed classroom teachers.
The Master of Arts in Teaching degree was designed for individuals interested in becoming certified educators who may not have taken teacher preparation classes.
This degree is offered at some higher education institutions as a fifth year program, so after completion of undergraduate work, students spend an additional year earning a master’s degree while satisfying requirements for a state teaching license.
The Masters in Teaching provides the degree necessary for obtaining an initial teaching license. The coursework prepares teachers to take state teaching examinations in the state where they are attending school.
Masters in Education (M.Ed.)
The Masters in Education (M.Ed.) was designed for individuals who have a background in education, such as public school teachers who want to advance their careers, update their knowledge and broaden their scope.
Masters of Education degrees are considered professional degrees, rather than academic degrees. They are often in the same subject or discipline as an individual’s bachelor’s degree.
Masters in Education programs can vary in length and expectations from school to school, based on the curricula of each school or program. Typical Masters in Education programs last between one and two years.
Masters of Science in Education Degree (MS.Ed.)
The MS.Ed. provides a strong foundation in the field of education and prepares graduates for professional positions in academic institutions. This degree is also for teachers who want to add to their theoretical backgrounds in child and adolescent development or public education policy
Pre-requisites for Entering a Master’s Degree Program for Teachers
Admissions requirements for masters in education programs can vary widely. Graduate programs typically require an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution; admissions tests, such as the GRE; or current teacher certification. Each school sets its own standards and admission process, just as each state determines its requirements for teacher credentialing or licensing.
Some requirements, such as the GRE, may be waived for teacher candidates who are continuing as fifth year students to earn their Masters Degree in Teaching or Education at the same university where they obtained their Bachelor’s degree.
Students who are changing careers or transferring from a different college must present transcripts verifying their undergraduate degree. They will probably be required to take the GRE.
How to Earn a Master’s Degree
To earn their Masters degree in Education or Teaching, most graduate students will need to complete 45-60 class hours. This tends to take two years, including student teaching for new teachers. Masters in Education and Masters in Teaching degree programs are offered at many universities and colleges across the nation. Students enrolled in accredited on-campus graduate programs attend classes on-site, generally on a prescribed schedule.
Some accredited Masters in Education programs offer online degrees that allow students to begin studying as soon as they are accepted. Individuals take classes and exams on a flexible schedule, which is an option that benefits many people, including workers who must continue to full-time employment while attending school or parents raising young children. Some online programs can be accelerated, as students complete all their classes at their convenience with the goal of earning a degree that will lead to a teacher’s license or an upgraded license.
Career Opportunities with a Master’s Degree
Masters in Education or Masters in Teaching degrees provide advanced level training in teaching for instructors who want to teach specific subjects in middle or high school, as well as training for early childhood, elementary and special education.Teachers also enroll in master’s degree programs for careers in curriculum design, instructional technology, school counseling and administrative positions, such as school principal and guidance counselors.All of these fields require state licensure, and each state’s M.Ed. or MIT programs are designed to meet licensing standards for that state.
Public education has become a more complex field in the 21st century. Traditional teaching and administrative positions focus not only on core subjects, but on areas that include reading & literacy, computer science, educational technology, English as a second language and special education.