What Is Master Of Arts In Education: Exploring The Key Differences And Advantages




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What is Master of Arts in Education

What Is Master Of Arts In Education
What Is Master Of Arts In Education

Are you pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching or a Master of Education? Though seemingly similar, advanced degrees cater to different career goals and educational interests.

This post will help untangle these options by highlighting their key differences and advantages. Join us as we delve into how each could accelerate your journey in the education field!

Key Takeaways

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) focuses on learning how to teach and offers specialized coursework in specific subject areas, such as art education.
  •   Master of Education (MEd) is broader and prepares individuals for administrative or leadership roles, with coursework covering topics like school administration and educational policy.
  •   Both degrees offer advantages, including expanded career opportunities and higher salaries in the education field.
  •   MAT is ideal for those who want to improve teaching skills and remain in the classroom, while MEd caters to those seeking administrative or leadership positions.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) vs. Master of Education (MEd)

Master in Art Education Students
Students in a Classroom

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master of Education (MEd) are two different graduate degree programs in education.

Master of Arts in Education

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is about learning how to teach. You get to learn about classroom control and teaching methods.

The program makes you a better teacher. On the other hand, the Master of Education (M.Ed) helps you learn more than just teaching.

It lets you look at jobs outside of teaching, too. It’s also good if you want to be a boss in education settings like schools or districts.

Concentration areas

Discuss concentration areas in a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Education (MEd) degree. These focus spots help you dig deep into a specific part of teaching or education.

  1. STEAM: Here, you learn to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
  2.  Special Education: This area teaches you how to help kids with different needs.
  3.  Early Childhood Education: You learn how to educate young kids.
  4.  Secondary Education: This is for teaching high school students.
  1. Educational Leadership: You learn how to be a leader in schools.
  2.  Curriculum Development: This helps you make learning plans for schools.
  3.  Instructional Technology: You learn new tools and tech that aid teaching.
  4.  Counselor Education: Become an expert in guiding students on their career path.

Career paths

A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Education (MEd) open various educational career opportunities, particularly for artists, art students, and art educators.

However, their focuses vary, leading to different potential roles.

Career Paths with MATCareer Paths with MEd
Art Teacher in Elementary, Middle or High SchoolsCurriculum Developer or Instructional Coordinator
Museum Education OfficerSchool Administrator or Principal
Special Education TeacherEducational Consultant or Coach
Art Therapist in Educational SettingsHigher Education Administrator
College Art ProfessorDirector of Education Programs

The MAT is typically for individuals who want to improve their teaching skills and remain in the classroom, thus leading to roles such as art teacher or museum education officer.

Conversely, the MEd often caters to those who wish to move into administrative or leadership roles within educational institutions, such as becoming a principal or an educational consultant.

With both degrees, opportunities abound for a rewarding career in education.

Advantages of a Master of Arts in Teaching

Masters of Art in Education
Smiling Students

A Master of Arts in Teaching offers advantages such as specialized coursework, credit requirements tailored to individual needs, and flexibility for those with prior teaching experience.

Master of Arts in Teaching


An MAT program’s coursework focuses on learning theory, pedagogy, and curriculum development


It provides in-depth knowledge in a specific subject area, such as art education. The coursework emphasizes practical information that is relevant to teaching art to students.

On the other hand, an MEd program covers broader topics like school administration and educational policy.

If you are an artist or art student interested in becoming an art educator, an MAT program would be more beneficial for you because it offers specialized coursework that will enhance your teaching skills, specifically in art education.

Credit requirements

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program usually requires around 30-35 credits, while the Master of Education (MEd) program typically requires about 36 credits.

In comparison, a bachelor’s degree typically requires 120 credit points, and a master’s degree usually requires 180 credits.

The credit system in education allows for flexibility in choosing courses and personalizing the degree to fit your needs as an artist, art student, or art educator.

Prior teaching experience

Prior teaching experience is a big advantage when pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree.

This program is designed for individuals with experience in the teaching profession, so it builds on their existing knowledge and expertise.

By having hands-on experience in the classroom, individuals with prior teaching experience gain a deeper understanding of educational theories and pedagogical strategies.

This allows them to design and implement effective instructional practices that can impact students’ learning.

It also opens up opportunities for advancement in their teaching careers.


A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program allows students to work around their class and school responsibilities.

This is especially beneficial for art educators with a busy schedule balancing teaching and pursuing their master’s degree.

The online Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to be practical and convenient, allowing students to access coursework anytime and anywhere.

It provides the flexibility needed for full-time teaching, allowing them to study at their own pace while still meeting their professional obligations.

With this flexibility, art educators can enhance their skills and knowledge without sacrificing their current responsibilities or compromising the quality of education they provide to their students.

Advantages of a Master of Education

A Master of Education offers numerous advantages, including expanded career opportunities and higher salaries in the education field.

Why Get a Master’s Degree in Education?

Career opportunities and salaries

With a Master of Education (MEd), numerous rewarding career opportunities open up. Beyond teaching, this degree can lead you to various leadership and administrative roles in education.

Not to mention, these positions are generally quite lucrative. Let’s delve into some potential careers and their average salaries:

CareerAverage Salary
Instructional Coordinator$66,290
School Principal$96,400
Academic Counselor$57,040
Special Education Director$77,840
Postsecondary Education Administrator$95,410
Note: the above salary scale may change over time

These numbers do not only prove that earning a Master of Education can increase your earning potential.

It also shows that the degree can lead to upper-level positions that typically require a master’s degree or higher.

Pursuing a master’s degree provides many advantages for current and aspiring educators.

Program structure

Master’s degree programs in education have different program structures depending on your specific degree.

For example, a Master of Education (MEd) program typically focuses on advanced coursework in education administration, curriculum development, and educational leadership.

These programs often require students to complete around 30-36 credit hours of coursework and may include field experiences or internships.

On the other hand, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program focuses more on teaching methods and strategies.

MAT programs usually require students to complete 36-45 credit hours of coursework emphasizing classroom teaching and learning.

Field experience is also essential to MAT programs, allowing students to apply what they’ve learned in real-world classroom settings.

Time commitment

Completing a Master’s degree in Education requiressignificant time commitment. Generally, it takes about two years of full-time study to earn a Master of Education or Master of Arts in Education.

However, part-time options are available for those who cannot commit to full-time study. The time to complete either degree can also vary depending on program options and individual circumstances.

Considering your capacity to devote the necessary time before pursuing these degrees is important.

Field experience

Field experience is a crucial part of a Master of Education program. It allows students to learn by doing and apply what they’ve learned in real-life educational settings.

During the field experience, individuals gain practical skills essential for their teaching careers. They also have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on their teaching methods critically.

Overall, field experience is vital in preparing educators for the challenges they may face in the classroom.

Choosing the Right Master’s Degree in Education

Considering the differences between MAT and MEd programs and other factors like specialization and online options is crucial to finding the right master’s degree in education for your career goals.

Read on to make an informed decision that aligns with your aspirations.

Differences between MAT and MEd

The main differences between a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and a Master of Education (MEd) revolve around their learning objectivesprogram structurecoursework, and career aspirations. Here’s a closer look at their key distinctions:

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)Master of Education (MEd)
Learning ObjectivesMAT focuses on the art and science of teaching, providing intensive training for those who aspire to be effective teachers.MEd encompasses a broader scope including learning theory, pedagogy, curriculum development, and educational research, making it ideal for those interested in leadership roles in education.
Program StructureMAT offers graduate courses in education as well as a specific content area, with a strong focus on practical aspects of education.MEd offers graduate courses in education along with a broader range of subjects, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the field.
CourseworkMAT coursework is designed to equip educators with practical teaching skills and in-depth knowledge in a specific content area.MEd coursework is largely theory-based, covering a wide spectrum of educational disciplines. It often includes research components as well.
Career AspirationsMAT is aimed at individuals who wish to enhance their teaching skills and specialize in a particular area of education. It’s ideal for those interested in classroom teaching.MEd is suitable for those who aim to take up administrative or leadership roles within educational institutions or looking to influence education policy and practice.

Remember, choosing a MAT and MEd largely depends on your career goals and interests. Both degrees empower educators to serve students to the best of their abilities.

Factors to consider

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a master’s degree program in education:

  1. Cost: Consider the tuition fees and any additional expenses associated with the program. Compare the costs of different options to find one that fits your budget.
  2.  Program Focus: Look for a program that aligns with your specific interests and goals in art education. Some programs offer specializations or concentrations in art instruction, curriculum development, or educational technology.
  3.  Flexibility: Consider whether you prefer a program that offers flexibility regarding class scheduling and online learning options. This can be particularly beneficial if you have other commitments or prefer to learn at your own pace.
  4.  Reputation: Research the reputation of the program and the institution offering it. Look for accreditation and seek reviews or testimonials from current or former students.
  5.  Career Opportunities: Consider how the program can help advance your career as an art educator. Look at the types of positions that graduates have obtained and whether they align with your aspirations.
  6.  Networking Opportunities: Find out if there are opportunities for networking and collaboration within the program, such as connections with local art organizations or guest speaker events.
  7.  Faculty Expertise: Investigate the qualifications and expertise of the faculty members who will be teaching in the program. Look for experienced educators who know your specific area of interest.
  8.  Internship or Practicum Opportunities: Check for opportunities for practical experience, such as internships or practicums, which can provide valuable hands-on learning experiences in real-world educational settings.
  9.  Support Services: Consider what support services are available to students, such as academic advising, career counseling, and access to resources like libraries or research databases.
  10.  Alumni Network: Explore whether there is an active alum network associated with the program, as this can provide additional support, mentorship, and networking opportunities after graduation.

Online options

Online options for obtaining a master’s degree in education are becoming increasingly popular. Here are some advantages of pursuing an online program:

  1. Flexibility: Online programs allow you to study at your own pace and schedule. This is especially beneficial for working professionals or individuals with other commitments.
  2.  Access to desired programs and courses: Online schools offer a wide range of programs and courses, allowing you to choose the specialization that aligns with your interests and career goals.
  3.  Convenience: With online education, you can study from anywhere, eliminating the need to commute to a physical campus. This saves time and money on transportation costs.
  4.  Personal growth: Earning an online master’s degree requires self-discipline, time management, and motivation. These skills can contribute to personal growth and improve your work ethic.
  5.  Career advancement: Obtaining a master’s degree in education can open doors to higher-paying positions and leadership roles. An online degree can make it easier to balance work responsibilities while pursuing further education.
  6.  Improved teaching skills: Online courses often utilize innovative technology and teaching methods, which can enhance your teaching skills and help you stay up-to-date with the latest educational practices.
  7.  Networking opportunities: Online programs provide opportunities for collaboration and networking with fellow educators across different locations, allowing you to exchange ideas, share experiences, and build professional relationships.

Concluding Thoughts on What is Master of Arts in Education

The Master of Arts in Education and the Master of Education have unique advantages.

The MA in Education focuses on subject knowledge and teaching skills, while the MEd covers various topics like school administration and counseling.

Both degrees help educators enhance their expertise and advance their careers. It’s important to choose the right program based on your goals and interests in the field of education.

FAQs About What is Master of Arts in Education

1. What is a Master of Arts in Education?

A Master of Arts in Education is a degree that focuses on teaching and instructional strategies for teachers who want to teach students more effectively.

2. How does a Master of Arts in Teaching differ from a Master of Education?

The main difference between a Master of Arts in Teaching and a Master of Education is what they focus on. The former focuses on advanced teaching skills, while the latter deals with educational administration and curriculum instruction.

3. Which one should I choose a Master’s in Teaching or Education?

If you aim to always be within the classroom setting, using your effective teaching strategies, go for a teaching degree like the Masters’ in Teaching (MAT). If you prefer administrative roles or duties outside direct classroom management, choose the education master’s instead.

4. Do these degrees help me get licensure as an education professional?

Yes! Both degrees can support your goal to earn state teaching certification which would need two years to complete typically.

5. Can I specialize my studies under these degree programs?

Absolutely! You may opt for specializations such as higher-ed administration for those eyeing leadership roles at colleges and universities or secondary education if you’re inclined towards dealing with older students.

6. Is there any role of technology within these fields?

In this digital age, both programs acknowledge the importance of and utilize education technology to help equip tomorrow’s educators to adapt better.

Source URLs:

  1. https://educationonline.ku.edu/community/master-of-arts-vs-master-of-ed
  2. https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/master-education-vs-master-arts-teaching/
  3. https://www.coursera.org/articles/masters-in-education
  4. https://www.gcu.edu/blog/teaching-school-administration/8-benefits-of-a-masters-education-degree
  5. https://resilienteducator.com/degrees/the-difference-between-master-of-arts-in-teaching-and-master-of-education/
  6. https://teach.com/online-ed/education-degrees/online-mat-programs/mat-vs-me/
  7. https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/masters-degree-benefits/

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