What is a MAT Degree?

If you are a mid career professional in a field other than teaching, one of the easiest and most common ways to become a teacher and get your teaching certification is to take an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program.

This master’s program provides an efficient way for an experienced professional with no earlier teaching experience to become a teacher in 18-24 months in many cases.

A MAT degree differs a good deal from a Master in Education degree; that program is mostly designed for professionals who already work in education.

MAT Coursework Overview

Students have to have a bachelor’s degree already in any field to be admitted to an online MAT program. You also will need to select a specialization; this can include elementary education, middle school education, or special education.

While a MAT degree can largely be completed online, you will have to complete several months of teaching experience in a local school to earning your teaching certification.

Generally, MAT programs will feature courses in several general areas:

  • Foundational: These classes provide you with deep dive knowledge of sociological and psychological theories and how they apply in the classroom. These courses also introduce the latest teaching strategies that infuse technology with teaching.
  • Teaching methods: These classes lay the foundation for learning how to teach linguistically and ethnically diverse groups of students in rural and urban high schools. The classes will prepare you to better understand and demonstrate teaching expertise in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, environment, critical thinking and discourse, etc.
  • Language and literacy: These courses will teach you language and literacy theories that will help you to lead national and global education reforms.
  • Field experiences: You will work in a local classroom in almost all of these programs to learn how to apply the theories and methods that you are learning. Most students must eventually complete 3-4 months of student teaching.

MAT Programs to Consider

Liberty University

You can earn your MAT degree from Liberty University which is made for students who do not have any earlier teaching experience. Many find that this is the ideal program for students who want to earn teaching licensure while learning online.

Liberty University allows you to earn your teaching license in either elementary, secondary or special education.

The courses in this two year graduate program allows you to specialize in one of these areas:

  • Elementary Education
  • Middle School
  • Secondary Education
  • Special Education

Whichever specialization you select, you will need to participate in three intensives which require you to stay on campus for a week each time.

Your required classes for the Elementary Education specialization include:

  • Learning Theory
  • Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education
  • Foundations of Exceptionality
  • Tests and Measurements
  • Teaching Mathematics
  • Teaching the Natural and Social Sciences
  • Reading and Language Acquisition
  • Language Acquisition and Instruction
  • Curriculum Fundamentals
  • Student Teaching
  • Principles of Behavior Management
  • Teaching Content Area Reading

Marygrove College

The MAT degree from Marygrove College provides all aspiring and experienced teachers with the chance to learn about the latest developments in the research of education, and apply those to your own teaching.

The two year MAT program has been designed to provide teachers with better skills by focusing on the advanced teaching knowledge and know how that you need to deliver modern, effective instruction to all types of learners from all backgrounds.

You can earn your MAT online in the following areas:

  • Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
  • Elementary Reading and Literacy
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • Middle Level Mathematics
  • Effective Teaching in the 21st Century

Each MAT focus has 10 classes. All of them require you to take the following six classes:

  • Teacher as a Leader
  • Meeting the Needs of All Students
  • Instructional Design
  • Effective Design
  • Teacher as Researcher
  • Evidence Based Interventions

There also are many exciting elective courses that you can take:

  • Classroom Technology Tools
  • Online Teaching and Learning
  • Technology Issues and Curriculum Planning
  • Digital Literacy
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Classroom Assessment for Today’s Teacher
  • Teacher as Everyday Hero
  • Cultural Literacy
  • Instructional Strategies for Successful Learning
  • Student-Directed Learning to Foster Motivation and Engagement

American College of Education

Did you know that you can make a difference in the lives of others as you are changing your career to teaching? You can become a teacher through the American College of Education with this MAT degree in either Elementary Teaching or Secondary Teaching.

You may earn your MAT degree by completing the required classes in the Master of Arts in Elementary Teaching or the Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching programs.

For example, the elementary teaching program will provide you with an advanced and accredited online master’s program that will provide your initial elementary teacher certification. For most students to qualify, you simply need to have a bachelor’s degree in another field and a 2.5 or higher GPA.

What you will learn

This two year online MAT will show you how to manage a K-6 classroom while meeting the complex learning needs of all types of elementary students. You will be researching best practices and will guide your students toward further success in school.

Also, you will learn how to master the foundations of literacy and how to properly integrate digital technology and to apply the latest teaching skills that are specially designed for young learners.

Local teaching experience

While you can complete your classes online, you also will enjoy the rigor and mentorship of a regular MAT program. This means that you will be participating in a student teaching experience in your area. You are required to complete this student teaching and also embedded field experiences throughout your MAT program.

Your required courses will include:

  • Orientation to Elementary Teaching
  • The Digital Learner
  • Student Teaching Seminar
  • Elementary School Teaching
  • Strengthening Literacy for Elementary Teacher Preparation
  • Emerging Literacy for Elementary Teacher Preparation
  • Social Studies and the Language Arts
  • Assessment for Elementary Teachers
  • Community Engagement for Elementary Teachers
  • Capstone Experience for Elementary Teachers

Fresno State University

There are some online MAT programs that are designed for current teachers, and the program at Fresno State University is one of them. This is a unique, two year program that is designed for the licensed and experienced teacher. The major focus is on social justice, multiculturalism and intensive action research.

Each year, there is a new cohort of teachers that starts this program, which is three semesters in length. You may be able to transfer as many as nine units of previous graduate coursework from an accredited university program.

This program takes two years to finish online and you will need to complete a total of 30 credit hours:

  • Social Justice and the Multicultural Classroom
  • Research on Teaching in the Diverse Classroom
  • Teaching for Equity and Justice in the Multicultural Classroom
  • Investigating Classroom Practice in the Multicultural Classroom
  • Action Research in the Multicultural Classroom

Rice University

Rice University offers a MAT program that is 36 hours long and has a nonthesis option. This is a program that has been designed for both new and experienced teachers. It is a solid choice for professionals who have a bachelor’s degree and want to move into education.

But it also is good for experienced teachers who want to learn more advanced teaching skills. The dedicated instructors here offer experienced teachers and new teachers much personal contact, support and supervision. Also, the program features an internship that will greatly improve your classroom management skills and ability to teach diverse learners.

The MAT program for new teachers has both classroom courses that are all online, and also field experiences. The plan of study features a strong look at historical, political and philosophical backgrounds of education in America, and also:

  • Structure, culture, curriculum of elementary and secondary schools
  • Development of the psychology of both children and adolescents

These classes will serve as your foundation for teaching seminars and development of curriculum. Your required courses will include:

  • Educational Psychology
  • EDUC 516 Assessment 3
  • EDUC 519 Teaching and Learning with Inquiry
  • EDUC 520 Teaching Diverse Learners
  • EDUC 521 Curriculum Development
  • HIST 521 Race, Education & Society in the Urban South
  • EDUC 522 Literacy Across the Curriculum
  • EDUC 560-566 Content Specific Theory and Methods
  • EDUC 567 Practicum for Pre-Service Teachers
  • EDUC 540 Seminar for First Year Teachers (Internship I)
  • EDUC 540 Seminar for First Year Teachers (Internship II)

There also are electives, such as Contemporary Issues in Education; Introduction to Special Education; Adolescent Literature; Ed Tech and Digital Learning; and Race, Class and Gender in Education.