Teacher friends are asking about Graduate Studies. Usually, when a teacher makes the decision to advance their careers in education, they will need to pursue a graduate-level degree. Now, the common dilemma they face is whether to pursue a master of arts in education degree, master of education or a master of arts in teaching degree. Truth is, all programs have their own merits. And if you are working for credits on your profession, all will yield such credit. Another truth is that not all universities within your area may not offer all three. What becomes more important is which type of degree program fits his or her long-term educational goals. I tell them to ask themselves how they envision their career path. Let’s look at all three more closely. Now let’s try to understand the teacher graduate programs closely. Then you can start finding the right university.
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
A master of arts in teaching, or MAT, is a degree most often pursued by people who have completed a bachelor’s degree, and wish to pursue further studies in their area of specialization at the graduate level while becoming a certified teacher.
Simpler said; the MAT essentially serves the same purpose as a bachelor of education. MAT can also be an alternate route for those who already attained a bachelor degree in different fields but desire to become teachers.
It will also best suit teachers whose motivation is to continue working in the classroom. MAT coursework is directed at improving teacher performance through such topics as methodology, strategies, teaching styles, identifying the diversity in student learning styles and creating differentiated instruction and assessments. Also, MAT learning is directed in the teacher’s chosen major area or specialization of teaching.
Now, a teacher’s salary is commonly based on seniority and level of education. The teacher applicants who have opted to complete a MAT, rather than Bed or BS Ed, are often considered more desirable candidates, and start their first job higher up the pay scale.
Master of Education (MEd)
Practicing or current classroom teachers who are looking for career growth generally go for the MEd. The master of education (also known as the MEd or EdM) is generally considered a practical degree designed to enhance the professional practice of working teachers. In fact, most teachers deciding on the M.Ed. stay in the classroom. However, it is not uncommon that the goal is towards the path to becoming a specialist or consultant. It can also be as a preparation to move into school administration, leading to a principal position.
Also, MEd offers several different concentrations. Some common M.Ed. track are Special Education, Educational Leadership, Adult Education, ESL (English as Secondary Language) and Psychology but it greatly differs from one university to another.
Master of Arts in Education (MAEd)
And of course, there is the option to complete a master of arts in education. While the master of education or master of arts in teaching is taken by educators and teachers; those who choose to pursue a master of arts in education are not always practicing teachers. Most often, they are people with an interest in educational studies. Getting in these program allows variety of insights from interaction of people in varied fiels beyond the classroom. Most people who complete a master of arts, or MA in education (MA Ed) may carry out research on topics as varied as anti-racist pedagogy, LGBT subcultures, and the impact of social media on education. Many MA Ed finishers may be found in the non-profit sector, a government agency, or some opt to continue their studies in education by completing a doctorate in education.