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Arkansas State University

Does an MAT Degree Kickstart Your Public School Teaching Career?

As an aspiring public school teacher, helping students learn and grow is probably one of your driving motivations. Teaching is a stable, dependable career. Yet, most teachers aren’t “in it for the money.” The success of students during and after school may be reward enough.

However, regardless of your motivations, you have options for starting your teaching career. Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree can be a particularly good option if you are interested in transitioning into the teaching profession.

In fact, Arkansas State University (A-State) offers several 100% online MAT programs designed specifically for working professionals. With the flexibility and convenience of the online model, you can plan your studies around your existing schedule. Plus, A-State’s online MAT courses are accelerated, so you can earn a degree and put it to work quickly.

This is the first in a series of three articles exploring what an MAT degree is and how it can help prepare you for a career in public school teaching. Follow the links at the bottom of this article to discover more about this unique degree and what it can do for you.

Education-Oriented Master’s Degrees at a Glance

There are several master’s-level graduate degrees for educators, the most common of which being:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Science in Education (MSE)
  • Master of Arts in Education (M.A. in Education)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.)

While studies in these education degree programs may overlap somewhat, they are all geared toward different professional outcomes. For instance, MAT and M.Ed. degree programs may both offer courses in subjects like teaching methodologies and instructional techniques. MAT programs often focus more on pragmatic, advanced classroom management and teaching skill development. In contrast, M.Ed. programs generally emphasize the skills and knowledge educators need to move into positions beyond the classroom.

The differences between the MAT and M.Ed. degrees largely center around what an educator intends to do with their degree and existing experience. MAT programs help professionals with limited or no teaching experience become excellent educators and maximize their positive impact in the classroom. M.Ed. programs help educators pursue specialized roles in curriculum and instruction design, educational administration or the school principalship.

Concentrate on the Teaching Career You Want With an MAT Degree

As with other education-oriented master’s degrees, schools commonly offer MAT concentrations to help candidates focus on the professional specialization they wish to pursue. For example, A-State’s graduate-level education programs include the following online MAT concentrations:

Each MAT concentration prepares candidates for targeted teaching careers — like teaching a certain age range in the general classroom, specializing in exceptional education or being an art or business/technology teacher. With the exception of the MAT – Special Education K-12 program, A-State’s MAT concentrations are specifically designed for and offered to candidates who plan on teaching at public schools in Arkansas.

Why Should You Choose an MAT Program?

As outlined above, earning an MAT degree can help you achieve distinct goals like transitioning into teaching or focusing your practice and qualifications on a specific age and developmental range, subject area or population. Above all, what you learn in quality, accredited MAT programs (like those offered online by A-State) can help you improve student learning experiences, setting students up for success in the classroom and beyond.

If these outcomes mirror what you hope to achieve by pursuing a master’s degree in education, an MAT program could be a good choice. In addition, earning an MAT degree can help you enter the education field, boost your income potential and expand your career opportunities. Plus, completing the degree program online can offer these benefits without the logistical and financial challenges working adults may face when earning a degree through a campus-based program.

Check back soon for the next two articles in this series to read more about how A-State’s online MAT programs can help you boost your teaching skills, classroom impact, salary and career.

Learn more about A-State’s online MAT programs.

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