Masters in Teaching vs. Masters in Education

Masters in Teaching vs. Masters in Education

The Masters in Teaching degree (MIT) more commonly known as the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is designed to help working teachers upgrade their teaching abilities and possibly teaching credentials. It is also meant to provide an avenue for working professionals who completed a bachelor's degree in another field to pursue a teaching credential and switch careers. Some MIT programs are also open to undergraduates who want to teach and would rather obtain training for licensure with a master's in teaching than through a master of education program.

A Degree for Teachers

The Masters in Teaching degree differs from the MEd principally in its focus on the academic area of teaching that the student has selected. The MIT curriculum focuses on the math, or literacy, or chemistry, or biology training needed to teach those subjects. The same focus applies to other teaching disciplines available as MIT options. There is not a lot of classroom time devoted to the theory and practice of teaching.

A Degree for Education Professionals

The Masters in Education is a more traditional graduate degree with intense focus on all aspects of education. It is designed to be a precursor for a PhD program in education if the student wishes to continue on. MEd programs for teacher training and as groundwork for teaching licensure are just one of many areas of concentration that may be available to the MEd student.

The school of education at most universities may offer MEd programs in educational administration or leadership, in curriculum and instruction, in school counseling, in educational technology and often in instructional design. There may be other specializations found in graduate education programs as well, but these are the standard selections for students who intend to make the master's a terminal degree and move into the education workforce.

If You're a Teacher Interested in Management

A working teacher or an undergraduate completing a degree in education may obtain graduate level teachers training and licensure through either the MIT or the MEd. But any teacher who may want to move on from the classroom one day into an administrative position or into counseling or curriculum development is better off sticking with the traditional master's in education. The overall training in teaching theory, behavioral issues, and teaching technique lends itself more readily to greater responsibility than a degree that is designed simply to train teachers.

The broader scope of study in the Master of Education degree has value to a teacher in part because of the deeper perspective it offers on the profession, but also because of the opportunities it may lead to beyond teaching. A MEd graduate who studied for teaching licensure may have to return to school to pursue necessary academic training for counseling or principal licensure, but wouldn't have nearly as much additional academic ground to cover as a MIT graduate who wants to move out of the classroom and into the administrative offices.