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The Difference Between a Master of Education Degree and a Master in the Art of Teaching

by Flora Richards-Gustafson, studioD

When an aspiring teacher makes the decision to pursue a graduate degree, knowing the difference between a Master of Education and Master in the Art of Teaching will help guide her educational and career paths. Each degree focuses on a different element within the teaching profession. By being aware of the benefits and objectives of each, a student can make a thoughtful decision about the path she chooses.

Master of Education Program

A Master of Education degree, or M.Ed., is what a teaching student chooses if he wishes to work within an education system more than in a classroom, according to the University of Southern California Rossier’s "Teach.com." While a student can still teach in a classroom setting with this degree, it allows for a broader career path if he wants to eventually work as a school counselor or a school administrator. According to Concordia University, an M.Ed. degree program may require a student to choose a specialty like mathematics, special education or educational leadership.

Master in the Art of Teaching Program

Also referred to as a Master in Teaching or M.A.T. degree, a Master in the Art of Teaching degree is best for a teaching student who wants to work with students in a classroom setting. "Teach.com" shares that this type of degree program focuses on teaching-related theories and implementation. In some programs, a student chooses a teaching specialization on which to focus, such as elementary education, early childhood education or secondary education. In other Master in the Art of Teaching programs, students focus on learning to teach a specific subject, like social studies, math or English.

Master of Education Degree Path

A Master of Education degree program generally takes one or two years to complete. An educational institution may design this degree program for individuals who already have teaching experience and wish to advance their professional careers or for those who seek a teaching license. The classes for an M.Ed. degree are less research intensive and teach students to understand and evaluate educational practices, as well as their surrounding theories.

Master in the Art of Teaching Degree Path

A Master in the Art of Teaching degree can take between nine months and two years to earn, depending on the program. Universities design this program for those who have no formal teaching experience and those who wish to earn a teaching license, according to the University of New England. Therefore, classes focus on practical instruction, methodology and stylistic approaches. Many M.A.T. programs have a student-teaching or internship component where the graduate students observe a classroom and receive hands-on training in a classroom by working as a teacher’s aide.

About the Author

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.

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