The Master of Education (MEd) degree is designed primarily for working teachers who would like to advance their academic standing and improve teaching skills, or move into education administration. The MAT is a degree created to allow for rapid advancement for working teachers, and to introduce people who do not have a background in education to the teaching profession. A Master of Education can lead to many types of careers in the field of education; the MAT is designed to educate teachers quickly and efficiently.
MEd for Teachers
There are very few MEd programs for students who don’t already have a bachelor’s degree in education. Teachers who have obtained a basic credential from the state where they are employed will usually turn to a MEd program if they wish to move into a teaching specialization that calls for additional training and a different license. Teaching math at the middle school or secondary school level requires special licensure, as does teaching science at the middle school level and biology, chemistry or physics in high school. With some exceptions, the teaching licensure tracks for the MEd take eighteen months to two years to complete. The online MEd has become an attractive option for working teachers, as has the part time track. See a complete list of online MEd programs.
The MEd for Education Professionals.
There are many MEd options for academic concentration that simply aren’t available in the MAT area, a degree that is devoted entirely to teaching. The Master of Education degree can lead to licensure as a school principal, as a school counselor, or as an expert in curriculum & instruction. There are graduate programs at the master’s level in educational technology, instructional design and in many areas of special education. Some of the universities in metropolitan areas are offering MEd programs in urban education, student intervention and in classroom diversity. There are MEd options that focus on educational policy and research as well.
MAT for Teachers
The MAT is a more recent graduate school addition that was created to streamline the process by which more teachers could be brought into the ranks, especially in fields where there is an acute shortage. Generally those shortages include the sciences, math, and special education. There is an advanced track MAT program for working teachers that usually requires one year to complete or perhaps eighteen months if it’s an online degree program. The advanced track program for a MAT results in a master’s degree that will qualify the teacher for the state licensure exam in the chosen field of specialization. As with a MEd teachers can choose a specialization in one of the sciences, in math or in several other areas.
MAT for Non-Teachers
A person with a bachelor’s degree in almost any field can enroll in a MAT program and spend two years earning a degree that will qualify them for the basic teaching licensure in the state where they have earned the degree. This two year track for people new to the education profession is called the traditional track. In many states the initial license issued to the graduate is provisional; after a one to three years’ classroom experience that is deemed acceptable a standard license is issued. There are advanced level teaching options for students in the traditional track as well, but they need an undergraduate background in the field they’ve selected for their MAT specialization. A student who is working towards an MAT with biology concentration is going to need an undergraduate degree in biology or a closely related field. The same applies to MAT students in the traditional program who wish to teach math, chemistry or physics.