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What Is a Master of Arts in Teaching?

The future depends on teachers. Classrooms all over the world are full of tomorrow's politicians, doctors, artists, parents, and scientists. Students look to teachers not only for information, but also for inspiration and the motivation to learn, do more, and grow into effective and successful adults.

The field of teaching and education is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the world's increasing population of students. In order to remain relevant and successful, teachers must always strive to learn more about the subjects they teach and to keep abreast of educational research and technological advancements in schools.

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) allows teachers at all levels to broaden and deepen their knowledge and instructional skills. MAT degree programs are designed to help new or experienced teachers hone their classroom skills, advance their careers, and refine their pedagogies, while bringing student teachers up-to-date on advancements in technology, theory, and methodology in the field of education.

In fact, numerous school systems now require new hires to earn master's degrees within a certain time period. As a result, many working teachers with bachelor's degrees are enrolling in online Master of Arts in Teaching programs, in order to meet these requirements without stepping off the tenure track. Online degree programs offer flexibility in location and scheduling, but may still require an in-person student teaching component if you are not already a licensed teacher.

The best MAT degree programs encourage student teachers to:
• increase their knowledge of specialized subjects,
• to examine theories of education, and
• to develop skills in areas such as curriculum design and educational leadership. Many Master of Arts in Teaching degree programs offer a wide range of concentrations for both new and experienced teachers. While some MAT programs cater specifically to mid-career teachers, other programs also admit students who have no classroom experience so they can transition from other careers to teaching. Preparing for a Graduate Program in Teaching

Eligibility requirements vary from school to school, but most on-campus and online Master of Arts in Teaching programs generally require applicants to hold bachelor's degrees. Some programs require applicants to be licensed teachers, while others admit students who have no previous teaching experience. These programs may allow students to complete their credential requirements while currently enrolled in the master's program.

Master of Arts in Teaching: Coursework and Degree Requirements

Many graduate-level teaching programs include coursework that is focused specifically on one subject area such as literacy, ESL, special needs, or technology. Many programs require completion of a master's thesis, while others entail a certain amount of fieldwork. Students considering enrollment in MAT degree programs should consider the subjects they wish to focus on in their studies. Possible concentrations vary by school. Program length also varies, generally ranging between one and two years.

What to Expect

Students enrolled in a Master of Arts in Teaching program should be prepared to study both practical and theoretical educational research, and to conduct research on their own. Students should expect to work toward the development of a refined personal teaching ideology as they engage in advanced coursework and intensive research, writing, or fieldwork. During the course of the program, students will, in most cases, be expected to narrow their focus of study and research in order to master a specialized subject in the field of education. In general, students enrolling in MAT programs should expect that a relatively heavy workload will pay off in the end.

What to Consider

Potential applicants to Master of Arts in Teaching degree programs should consider the following questions when...
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