degree-of-interest: Master of Education

Charting a Successful Teaching Career: Benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching

Charting a Successful Teaching Career: Benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a graduate degree program designed for educators who want to advance their skills in the classroom. In an age where teachers are called upon to do so much more than just educate, an advanced degree program can allow passionate educators to refine their skills and specialize in niche areas of teaching.

Understanding the Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

Intended for teachers who want a lifelong career in the classroom, the Master of Arts in Teaching degree program provides educators with an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the profession while gaining practical experience that allows them to improve their skills and professional competencies.

A Master of Arts in Teaching is commonly confused with a Master of Education, which prepares existing educators to take on higher-level roles within the education profession. According to, a teacher who pursues an MEd is more likely to expand their career outside of the classroom, such as working in administration or curriculum development, while a teacher who completes one of the online MAT programs will likely continue to work in a classroom setting.

Curriculum Overview

The Master of Art in Teaching features a comprehensive curriculum that prepares teachers for licensure in the state where they wish to work. Students also have an opportunity to select a specialization, such as elementary or special education.

The courses completed will vary based on the chosen specialty, but some of the courses within the MAT program can include:

  • Educational Technology
  • Classroom Management
  • Educational Research
  • Literacy Methods

In addition to traditional coursework, MAT students also are required to complete student teaching placements and seminars to gain practical experience in the classroom. The student teaching experience provides teachers with opportunities to implement their improved classroom management skills and begin to understand how their new learning applies when working with students.

Advancing Your Teaching Skills

The Master of Arts in Teaching program is designed to prepare students for teaching certification, and the program emphasizes the skills a teacher will use in the classroom. Not only will you learn more about the best teaching methodologies and how to diversify instruction based on the needs of the individual learner, but you also will learn more about the different teaching styles that many educators adopt in the classroom. Throughout the program, you will learn what it takes to be an effective educator and discover the type of teacher you want to be.

Skills Developed Through Online MAT Programs

These are some of the skills developed throughout the MAT degree:

  • Classroom management techniques
  • Student assessment
  • Curriculum design and development
  • Inclusive education strategies
  • Differentiated instruction

Continuous Learning and Professional Development in Education

Most educators consider themselves lifelong learners, and their passion for their profession ensures they are constantly looking for new ways to improve. Continuous learning and professional development in teaching play a critical role in career development. In many cases, teachers must complete a certain number of professional development courses to maintain their teaching license.

Professional development is vital in the teaching profession because it:

  • Provides teachers with up-to-date information about the latest educational research and best practices in the field.
  • Allows teachers to incorporate new technology into their classroom instruction.
  • Offers insight into the ever-evolving educational landscape, ensuring all teachers are aware of the dynamic needs of modern learners.

Career Advancement and Opportunities

The MAT program is designed for existing teachers looking to elevate their classroom skills, as well as those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject area but are ready for a career shift.

Most MAT graduates will pursue opportunities in the classroom, but this advanced degree may also help existing teachers earn a higher salary. According to the National Education Association, teachers who earn a master’s degree are more likely to earn a higher salary than if they did not have a master’s degree. Data collected by the NEA during the 2020-2021 school year revealed that, at the federal level, the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree was around $54,000, while the starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree was about $62,000.

Personal Fulfillment and Job Satisfaction

For many educators, teaching is more than just a job — it’s a calling. Most teachers are not spending their days in the classroom simply to collect a paycheck; they truly enjoy working with students and helping them become the best version of themselves. The intrinsic rewards of teaching often lead to increased teacher job satisfaction. Some of the most fulfilling moments in teaching include:

  • Helping students make critical connections that allow them to achieve their learning goals.
  • Connecting with students and learning more about what they love to do.
  • Partnering with other teachers in the building to create a cohesive school community.
  • Watching students react to an exciting project you have planned or an experience you have provided.

Through the MAT degree program, you will become a more confident teacher. With a better understanding of who you want to be as a teacher and an improved set of classroom management skills, you will feel right at home in the classroom setting.

Networking and Professional Connections

Professional life for any teacher must extend beyond the walls of the classroom. By actively building and nurturing a professional network, you will be able to rely on other experienced educators as you seek to improve your skills and grow your career.

When you have a well-developed professional network, you will find more opportunities to share curricula, explore new teaching strategies, address the unique needs of your students, and learn about new resources that educators can use.

One of the best ways to network in education is to enroll in a graduate degree program. The Master of Arts in Teaching not only provides you with a chance to meet other like-minded educators in the same stage of their career, but it also allows you to meet with professors and instructors who have established connections in the education field. Through your MAT program, you may be able to connect with a mentor and learn about new job opportunities through your classmates.

The Practicalities: Time, Cost, and Commitment

Before you begin your master’s degree in teaching, you will want to learn more about the time commitment and the cost of the degree program.

The amount of time it takes to complete an MAT degree can vary based on your schedule and the pace you choose for your program. However, most students typically complete this graduate degree within two years. Online MAT programs may offer greater flexibility than traditional, in-person graduate degree programs.

Pursuing a master’s degree in teaching also requires a financial investment. The exact cost of the program will vary based on the school you choose and the format you pursue for your degree, but in most cases, you will find financial aid and teaching degree scholarships available to offset the costs.

Most teachers pursuing an MAT degree are also working full time in the classroom or another profession, requiring them to balance professional responsibilities with their studies. You can achieve work-life balance during this hectic period in your life by:

  • Enrolling in an online degree program. Online MAT programs are known for their flexibility and versatility, allowing you to complete coursework in a time and manner that is convenient for you.
  • Setting aside time for yourself. You will be a better teacher and a better student when you prioritize self-care.
  • Creating boundaries and sticking to them. Do not do homework for class while you are on a break from teaching in the classroom. Avoid taking your students’ assessments home and grading them well into the evening. Carve out space for your professional work, studies, and home life, and make your boundaries a priority.

Financial Assistance and Funding Options

Earning a graduate degree requires a financial investment, but there are financial assistance and funding options available. Many teachers earning their master’s degree rely on student loans to finance their education, knowing that the increased earning potential over time is worthwhile. Others can secure teaching degree scholarships, which can help offset the costs of tuition, books, and more.

In some cases, school districts or companies will provide teachers with financial assistance to earn their master’s degree. However, employer tuition benefits are relatively rare among public school districts in the United States. While many districts are not able to cover all or some of the costs associated with pursuing a master’s degree, a significant number will pay teachers a higher salary once they have earned a graduate degree in teaching.

Learn More!

As a Christian liberal arts university, we are on a mission to help students reach their fullest potential as educated citizens and worldwide servant leaders, no matter what industry or field they choose to pursue. At Carson-Newman, you’ll develop and expand the skills needed to stand out in the job market. If you’re interested in learning more about the Master of Arts in Teachingconnect with Carson-Newman. We’ll help you prepare for a rewarding and dynamic career.

Previous CPS Blog Post

What to Know About Getting Your MBA and Leveling Up Your Career

Next CPS Blog Post

Navigating Specializations in a Master's in Counseling Program  

Related College of Professional Studies Blog

  • Where will your master of education degree take you?

    Where will Your Master of Education Degree Take you?

    Do you enjoy spending time in an educational environment, but not necessarily as the teacher? If so, it might be worth looking into earning your Master of Education degree. With a master’s degree […]

  • Earning A Master Of Education At Carson-Newman University: Tips For Enrolling And Thriving In An M.Ed. Program 

    You love teaching but you’re also ready to level up your educational career. Have you considered pursuing your Master of Education? This degree could be your ticket to a job you […]

  • How Will A Master Of Education Help My Career? Why An M.Ed. Is Worthwhile? 

    As a passionate educator, you go the extra mile to give students the support they need. You’ve accomplished a great deal as a teacher, but what if you’re ready for […]