If you want to improve your teaching skills and have the opportunity to earn a higher salary, you should consider earning your master’s degree in teaching, or MAT. Today there are many strong MAT programs online that allow you to do most of your instruction from your home. In most cases, you will need to complete some sort of teaching internship in your local community to complete your degree requirements.
Earning your master’s degree in teaching will improve your knowledge in a specific area of teaching, and will provide you with more advanced teaching skills. This will make you a more valuable asset to your school, and will often lead to higher salaries and advancement opportunities.
The MAT is often sought by teachers who want to teach in both middle school and high school, because the graduate school curriculum focuses on a certain subject and allows you to become more of an expert in that area.
The primary purpose of the MAT is to advance your teaching career. In your graduate program, you will focus on advanced coursework in your specific subject area. Also, you will take classes focused on pedagogical theory and implementation.
The master’s degree in teaching differs from a master’s degree in education, or M. Ed. A master’s in education tends to focus on counseling, administration, curriculum or instruction. This degree is more about providing you the skills to have an influence on the education system itself. A master’s in education may be better suited for someone who is interested in working more in the administrative side of educational institutions.
Why Earn a Master’s in Teaching
Many experienced teachers decide to earn their MAT because it will give them a high level of skill in the classroom. Those skills can make you a more effective teacher, and could result in a higher salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for high school teachers in 2010 was $53,000. The top 10%, which almost always consists of professionals with a master’s degree, earned a median salary of $83,000.This type of salary boost from earning a master’s degree makes it clear why so many teachers decide to get their graduate degree.
Many school districts continue to place a priority on hiring teachers who have earned their masters; this extra degree is recognized by many people to signify a higher level of teacher quality.
Overall, the growth of high school teacher employment is expected to grow 7% in the next 10 years, which is slower than average. However, this will vary a great deal based upon which area of the country you are in. If you earn your MAT, you should be prepared to move to areas of the country where your skills are in most demand.
The growth of elementary school teachers is expected to grow by about 17% in the next 10 years, which is about as fast as average when compared to other professions.
Note that most MAT programs are designed for current teachers with an active teacher’s license.
Featured Online Master’s in Teaching
- Master of Arts in Teaching – Professional Learning Communities: This MAT program from Grand Canyon University is designed for the licensed teacher who wants to be more valued in their school for their expertise. For example, if you want to become a mentor teacher or want to become more effective in the classroom, this is a strong degree choice. This program focuses on research, rationale, and realities that are related to moving towards professional learning communities in schools. This program can be completed online, but it includes an action research component that involves you doing research in your current teaching position.
- Master of Arts in Teaching – Teacher Leadership: This program from Grand Canyon University is made for licensed teachers that want to become more effective in their teaching careers and also want to be experts in instructional leadership, classroom management and curriculum coaching. You will learn advanced techniques that are needed for you to successfully engage and manage in a diverse learning environment. This is a strong program that can often lead to career advancement.
- Master of Arts in Teaching: If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field and are interested in entering the field of teaching, you should consider this online graduate degree from Kaplan University. This non certification program will help you to develop the professional teaching competencies that you need to teach in elementary, middle and high school. This program can be completed mostly online in 24 months. While it will not certify you as a teacher, it provides you with the foundation that you need to pursue alternative routes to certification.
- Master of Arts of Teaching in Mathematical Education: If you want to become a more skilled mathematics teacher, you should consider this MAT from Western Governors University. This advanced degree will prepare you for certification in teaching secondary mathematics, and also provide you with the professional skills that you need to teach elementary school math. You will be able to focus your studies on elementary, middle school or high school mathematics.
- Master of Arts in Teaching – English Language Learning: This MAT from Western Governors University will prepare you to be an effective teacher in an English as a Second Language classroom. This program is designed for licensed teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in teaching or education and are interested in becoming an ESL teacher. This program focuses on English language learning and research fundamentals.
- Master of Arts in Teaching: You can inspire your students to learn and boost your classroom skills with this online MAT from the University of Saint Mary. You will learn how meet the needs of your students with greatly different styles of learning, how to use curriculum most effectively, and also the latest instructional models and strategies. You also will learn leadership skills, including communication, motivation and problem solving. Also, for one year after you graduate, you will have access to faculty who will help to mentor you as you enter the workforce with your new degree.
- Master of Arts in Teaching: This MAT from Liberty University Online is designed for the professional who does not have prior teaching experience. You will take the core courses in this program, and also will choose one of three areas for your licensure – elementary, secondary or special education. Most aspiring teachers can complete the degree requirements in about 2.5 years. Note that this program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Liberty is featured in our top 100 online graduate programs report for 2017.
Popular Career Paths for Master’s in Teaching
By earning your MAT degree, you will have many excellent teaching career options open to you. Some of the best career options available today with this degree include:
Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work with pupils who have a broad range of developmental, learning, mental or emotional disorders. With a master’s degree in special education teaching, you will adapt your general education lessons and teach many different subjects to special learners.
You will need to teach your special education students subjects including writing, math and reading, so that they can understand the subject material. You also will be teaching your students basic communication and literacy skills so that they are able to engage in basic conversation and interactions with other people.
Some of the duties that MAT holders do as special education teachers include:
- Assess the skills of students to determine what their needs are, and develop proper teaching plans that are appropriate for their level
- Develop an individualized education program (IEP) for every student
- Teach and mentor students in small groups and one on one
- Discuss the level of the student’s progress with parents and other stakeholders
- Supervise and mentor new teachers who are working with students who have disabilities
- Prepare students to be able to transition from one grade to another and after they graduate
Some special education teachers will work with students who have serious physical and sensory disabilities. These may include blindness and deafness. Some may be bound to a wheelchair.
Special education teachers need to be able to work with regular teachers, counselors, administrators, superintendents and parents. As a teaching team, they have to develop a teaching plan that is appropriate for the needs of every student.
The IEP will provide an outline and goals for every student, including working with psychologists, counselors and special education teachers. Teachers also need to work with parents and school counselors to discuss the IEP and changes needed to it.
Special education teachers will experience a six percent increase in demand by 2024, which is about as fast as average. Depending upon the exact type of special education teacher you are, demand for your particular special education disability speciality could be higher.
Areas of the country that have higher enrollments for special education students could see higher job demand in the next several years.
The median pay for special education teachers is $56,800, but the top 10% earn up to $90,260.
Career and Technical Education Teachers
These teachers instruct students of all ages on technical and vocational programs including auto repair, culinary arts and healthcare. They also teach technical and academic content to students so that they have the knowledge and skills to enter technical occupations.
Some of the typical job duties for these teachers include:
- Creating lesson plans and assignments
- Instructing students on developing various technical skills
- Show students how they can apply knowledge from the classroom in hands on work
- Show students how to use equipment in a safe manner
- Talk to parents and other stakeholders about the progress students have made
A teacher with an MAT degree could help students to explore fields as varied as information technology technician to healthcare administration worker. Teachers will usually oversee the tasks they teach in a workshop or laboratory in the school.
It is estimated that career and technical education teachers will see 4% job growth by 2024, which is slower than average. However, due to stronger economic growth in the economy, some career and technical education programs could see stronger demand in the more populated cities.
The median salary in this field is $52,800, with the top 10% earning $86,610 per year.
Instructional coordinators are responsible for the oversight of the curriculum for a school as well as teaching standards. They also will develop instructional material, coordinate implementation with principals and teachers, and assess how effective the programs and materials are.
This is a position with a high level of responsibility and much skill is required. That is why a master’s degree in teaching or in a related area is usually required.
Duties that you will have in this job include:
- Develop and coordinate the curriculum for a school or district
- Plan, organize and conduct training conferences for teachers
- Analyze the test data for students to determine if the school curriculum is working
- Develop new procedures for teachers to implement the curriculum
- Mentor and coach teachers so that they are more effective teachers
Growth in employment in this field will be 7% by 2024. Employment growth will occur because schools must show proof today that their teaching is effective. States and localities are focused on improving teacher skills so that students are better prepared for college.
The median salary is $62,270, and the top 10% earn more than $97,000 per year.
- Special Education Teachers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-2
- Career and Technical Education Teachers. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm#tab-2
- Instructional Coordinators. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-2