Master of Education

Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education: What’s the Difference?

If you are considering a master’s degree in the education field you are likely weighing your options and researching potential avenues to begin or elevate you career. As you begin looking into potential options, one of the first decisions you must make is what type of degree you want – a Master of Education or a Master of Arts in Teaching. This is important, because although they may sound extremely similar, these two degrees are actually very different. So what is the actual difference between a Master of Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching?

Master of Education (M.Ed.)  

A Master of Education degree is designed for current educators who would like to expand their understanding of teaching theories, pedagogy and strategies. Students in an M.Ed. program typically have aspirations of expanding their career beyond the classroom and working in the broader world of academia. For example, if you are interested in becoming a school principal or working in educational administration or perhaps have an interest in designing school curriculum, the M.Ed. will give you the skills required to be successful in these roles. It is also very common for those in M.Ed. programs to specialize in a specific area such as  STEAM, Curriculum & Instruction, Literacy & Digital Learning, Inclusive Learning or School Leadership. Most M.Ed. degrees will prepare you for initial licensure in your state.

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Traditionally, M.Ed. programs take about two years to complete. Fortunately, many schools offer flexible formats for teachers which will allow you to keep your full-time teaching job while working toward your Master of Education degree.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

A Master of Arts in Teaching on the other hand is designed to give current and prospective teachers the hands-on, practical skills they will need to be effective in the classroom. If you are currently teaching and would like to stay in the classroom but gain additional subject-specific skills and strategies to enhance your teaching, the MAT is for you. Similarly, if you are looking to change careers and move into the teaching field, the MAT will offer you the education you need to do so and prepare you for initial licensure in your state. Another reason the MAT degree is the best option for career changers is that there is typically a required student teaching component, which will allow you to practice and experience an actual classroom.

Much like the M.Ed. degree, MAT degree programs typically take about two years to complete and are offered in varying formats at many schools across the country.

At the University of San Diego we offer a 100% online Master of Education degree designed for educators with a minimum of two years of teaching experience from a wide variety of classroom settings including public district, charter, independent or non-traditional schools. Sound like you? Speak with an admissions representative to learn more about USD’s nationally ranked program and discover how you can become a designer of learning in the 21st century.

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