Obtaining a Master’s in Teaching Degree (MAT) is a great way to expand your salary and career opportunities while making you an expert in your field. An MAT degree focuses on learning advanced practical skills and subject-specific curriculum that is implemented in either the K-12 or postsecondary classroom setting.
Face the Facts estimates that 52% of public school teachers hold a master’s degree, and data shows that master’s educated teachers also produce better raw student math scores and advancing students compared to teachers that hold a bachelor’s degree or lower.
What is an Online Master’s in Teaching?
An MAT degree is perfect for someone who wants to excel as a classroom teacher working hands-on with students, make a significant difference in the prosperity of future generations, and improve the outlook of teaching in a post-pandemic educational climate.
Online MAT programs can typically be completed in two years, and many provide flexible schedules to accommodate working professionals or those juggling busy calendars.
An MAT degree offers various specialization pathways to choose from allowing you to focus on your interests and developing skills that will enable you to achieve your career goals.
What Can I Do With an MAT?
Teachers with a MAT degree can obtain various teaching positions within elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary school settings that include:
- K-12 general education
- K-12 subject-specific
- Special education
- Adult English Language Learning
- Dean of Instruction
- Athletic Director
A master’s degree in teaching also allows you to move across various areas of education if you choose to change your role or interests over time.
Career Outlook and Salaries for Online MAT Graduates
Career outcomes are promising for teachers that pursue a MAT degree, and the field is projected to grow about 4% over the next 10 years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average income for teachers with a MAT degree is $60,000.3
Master’s in Teaching Online Career Paths
There is always a need for dedicated teachers to provide a positive foundation for school children in the K-12 setting. Your influence and impact can help spring a generation forward.
|Career||Salary||Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)||About the Position|
|Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers||$59,420||4%||Kindergarten and elementary school teachers set the stage for lifelong learning teaching basic subjects in math, reading, and social skills.|
|High School Teachers||$61,660||4%||High school teachers work with students in grades 9-12 and typically specialize in one subject area.|
|Middle School Teachers||$59,660||4%||Middle school teachers work with students usually in grades 6-8 by either teaching one or more subjects. The main goal is to prepare students for high school.|
|Special Education Teachers||$61,030||3%||Special education teachers work with students with special needs and disabilities by providing them with general classroom instruction and life skills.|
Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching
Online MAT programs offer a flexible approach for the working professional to advance their education and career on their own schedule.
The MAT comes with multiple teaching specializations and curriculum that allow you to focus on a specific subject or area of interest that you are passionate about.
Online Master of Arts in Teaching Specializations
Online MAT programs offer a concentrated curriculum that focuses on a particular area of interest. Common concentrations and specialization pathways include:
- Secondary education– Ideal for those that want to teach middle or high school students.
- Childhood Education– Ideal for people who want to work with children from age 0-4 and focuses on infant/toddler development.
- Elementary Education– Ideal for people who want to work in the K-6 setting and includes tools in teaching multiple subject areas.
- Special Education– Ideal for people who want to teach students with disabilities and special needs.
Courses in Master of Arts in Teaching Programs
Coursework in MAT programs usually depends on the program concentration and targeted areas of interest. Common courses in MAT programs typically focus around practical skills and subject-specific teaching information in the K-12 school environment, such as:
- Learning theories
- Classroom technology
- Teaching methods
In addition to the common core classes, students in an online MAT program may also have to complete a capstone project, student teaching, and field work to gain practical experience.
How Long Does an Online Master of Arts in Teaching Degree Take To Finish?
On average, obtaining an online MAT degree usually takes about two years to complete. However, this timeline is dependent on if you study full-time or part-time, as well as previous education completed.
MAT programs typically require 42 units/credits depending on your area of concentration and program modality.
Accelerated programs are also available that allow you to complete the program in as little as one year, best for teachers looking to quickly finish their master’s degrees.
Skills Learned in an MAT Degree Program
During an MAT program, teachers learn skills in classroom management, effective leadership, application of theory, and expanded knowledge into the classroom setting.
Choosing the Best Degree in Master of Arts in Teaching
Your current lifestyle, work status, and family commitments help guide your decision on whether to pursue a degree online or in-person.
Online vs. On Campus Graduate Degrees
Some people thrive in an online setting while others prefer in-person learning. The good news is that both online and on-campus programs are available and usually require the same course curriculum.
Should I Complete Courses Online?
Online MAT programs are becoming more abundant, and many schools offer the option to complete the degree on a part-time or full-time basis to accommodate busy schedules and working teachers. The biggest benefits of online learning include:
- Flexibility and self-paced learning
- Better time management
- Improved virtual and communication and collaboration
- No commute
- Faster graduation times
- Ability to work from anywhere
How Long do Online Courses Take to Complete?
An online MAT program typically takes about two years to complete, but this timeline depends on multiple factors including program design and whether you choose to study on a full-time or part-time basis. Other factors may include:
- Live learning vs. learn on your own curriculum
- Hybrid programs offer a mix of in-person and online learning
- Accelerated programs allow you to complete course work faster than a traditional program
- How long students have to complete an online course
Most online courses follow the traditional semester/quarter schedule, though some come in accelerated 7- or 8-week formats. Schools rarely allow students to take longer than 15 weeks to complete online courses.
Accreditation is critical for any education institute. It certifies that the school and its curriculum meet the appropriate standards and qualifications outlined by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education accreditation.
Choosing a school that is accredited is extremely important and it gives degrees credibility and validity for future and current employers.
Many programs and departments within a school may have a separate accreditation called programmatic accreditation. This accreditation elevates the credibility of the program and shows that the department has designed a program that meets a standard of excellence within the field.
Programmatic accreditation also ensures that students will receive the appropriate training and knowledge to be successful in their given fields.
Master of Arts in Teaching Admission Requirements
Admissions requirements for MAT programs depend on the type of school, degree, and program modality desired. A bachelor’s degree, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, work experience, and prior grades are a few examples of typical application requirements.
Admission requirements for MAT programs typically include:
- Transcripts (usually a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate studies)
- Bachelor’s degree
- Professional experience
- 2-3 Letters of recommendation
- GRE score
- Application fee
Paying for a Graduate Teaching Degree
How Much Does a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree Cost?
Tuition costs for online MAT programs can vary but typically range between $10,000 and $60,000 depending on factors like:
- Program modality
- Instate vs. out-of-state tuition
- Number of units required
- Type of school
A program with a high cost does not mean that it is a better program. Choosing a school that meets your lifestyle and learning requirements and allows you to succeed is the most important thing to consider.
Scholarships for Master of Arts in Teaching Students
Applying for scholarships is a great way to help reduce the out-of-pocket cost for attending a master’s program. Many public and private colleges, as well as non-profits offer scholarships to teachers looking to advance their education. A few recommended scholarship options are included below:
- Fund for Teachers
- Maley/FTEE Teacher Professional Development Scholarship
- James Madison Memorial Foundation
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Master of Arts in Teaching Career Resources
Joining a professional organization is a great way to network, get resources, and utilize training opportunities within your area of expertise. A few organizations to consider joining include:
- National Education Association– focus is to expand access to quality education in the U.S.
- Association of American Educators– non-union organization that focuses on educational advocacy, while promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence.
- Association for Middle Level Educators– provides information and professional development for middle school teachers.
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development– empowers educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading.
- National Association of Special Education Teachers– focus on ensuring that special education teachers are performing to the best of their ability.
Yes. Online teaching has become imperative during the pandemic. Online teaching opportunities are growing and a great way to use your teaching expertise.
Teacher salary can be dependent on years of experience and education units completed. The average teacher with a master’s degree makes about $60,000 compared with $50,000 for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree.
Teaching jobs are expected to grow 4% in the next 10 years which makes obtaining a MAT degree well worth it, especially if you want to advance your career and salary over time.
The value of a master’s degree usually depends on how your current employer or future employer will perceive the benefit. Having a MAT degree is usually highly perceived in the educational setting and can open doors to future career opportunities and salary increases.