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

Written by: Wilson College   •  Feb 6, 2023
A dean of students shows a student a tablet.

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

According to the National Education Association (NEA), 93% of its members believe that more teachers need to be hired to bolster the post-pandemic education system. Though many pandemic restrictions have been lifted in recent months, educators continue to struggle to meet the needs of their students. These added stressors have greatly increased the need for new teachers, especially those who have advanced degrees in the fields of education and teaching.

Current teachers can also benefit from a master’s degree in teaching or education. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that teachers who hold a master’s degree generally have higher salaries than teachers without an advanced degree, even when comparing those with the same years of experience. In addition, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Master of Education (MEd) degree can pave the way for teachers who wish to move out of the classroom and into administrative or research roles.

What Is a Master of Teaching Degree?

A Master of Arts in Teaching degree provides educators with skills and knowledge regarding topics that include:

  • Classroom management theory and application
  • Teaching strategies
  • Teaching methods for gifted students
  • Teaching methods for challenged students
  • Problem-solving skills

A master’s degree in teaching is an excellent choice for educators who would like to be in the classroom full time.

What Is a Master of Education Degree?

A Master of Education degree provides a solid background in educational practices such as:

  • Curriculum development
  • Research
  • Creating assessments and setting benchmarks
  • Program design
  • Integrating technology

A master’s degree in education can be a good choice both for educators who would like to move into administrative and leadership roles, and for those interested in mastering new strategies and educational technologies to apply in their classrooms.

What Are the Differences Between a Master of Teaching and a Master of Education?

When considering a Master of Teaching vs. a Master of Education, both focus on the skills, techniques, and knowledge associated with foundational educational topics, but there are distinctions between the two.

  • Educational topics: An MAT covers topics such as classroom management, teaching methods, and meeting the needs of students within a classroom environment. An MEd focuses on broader topics such as curriculum writing, education policy, and educational research.
  • Areas of application: A Master of Arts in Teaching is usually earned by teachers whose goals involve staying in the classroom long term. A Master of Education can also benefit those who plan to continue teaching, but can also open the door to a career in administration, curriculum development, or policy design.

Master of Teaching vs. Master of Education Curriculum

While a few of the core courses in these master’s programs are the same, some courses are unique to each degree.

Courses specific to a Master of Arts in Teaching degree include:

  • History of Education
  • Education Philosophy
  • Diversity in Learning
  • Community Literacy
  • Teaching with Technology

Courses specific to a Master of Education degree include:

  • Methods in Educational Research
  • Instructional Leadership
  • Social Justice in Education
  • Educational Equality
  • Ethical Leadership in School Reform

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master of Teaching or a Master of Education?

Earning a master’s degree in either teaching or education generally takes between two and three years, with some programs able to be finished in as little as one year.

Master of Teaching vs. Master of Education Careers and Salaries

Earning either a Master of Teaching or a Master of Education generally means an increase in pay at the district level. Teachers with a master’s degree earn between $2,700 and $7,300 more per year than teachers without an advanced degree, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. Additionally, some educational fields require an individual to hold a master’s degree in either teaching or education before they can even be considered for a position. These careers have their own unique pay ranges.

Teaching and Instruction Careers

A master’s in teaching or education can help make educators more effective classroom teachers. These degrees can also prepare individuals for work in other areas. Some of these roles are listed below.

Postsecondary Instructor

Some colleges and universities employ individuals with MAT degrees to teach on a full-time basis in fields such as history, literature, English, and math. Postsecondary teachers had a median annual salary of $79,640 in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Curriculum Coordinator

Curriculum coordinators generally work with faculty and administration to oversee the content, direction, effectiveness, and equality of educational programs and coursework at every level from elementary school through college. The median annual salary for curriculum coordinators, also called instructional coordinators, was $63,740 in 2021, according to the BLS.

Corporate Trainer

Corporate trainers, also known as training and development specialists, educate employees at businesses, corporations, and even institutes of higher education about company policies, procedures, and standards. Training and development specialists had a median annual salary of $61,570 in 2021, according to the BLS.

Administrative Careers in Education

An MEd degree offers a foundation in emerging technologies and cutting-edge pedagogical theories that can be applied in the classroom, and also introduces topics for those interested in moving into areas such as administration, curriculum development, and policy writing. Some roles that Master of Education graduates may want to explore include the following.

Educational Administrator

Educational administrators work in elementary and secondary schools as well as in district offices. They also work in postsecondary education. Their role is to supervise the functioning of schools, teachers, and staff, as well as to oversee budgets and educational programs. In 2021, K-12 educational administrators had a median annual salary of $98,420, according to the BLS.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers are generally responsible for training and supervising program developers, curriculum designers, and instructors. Jobs in this field can be found both inside and outside of the education system. Training and development managers had a median annual salary of $120,130 in 2021, according to the BLS.

University Dean of Students

Deans of students oversee student programs at a college or university to identify students’ needs and shape a supportive and challenging learning environment. They also analyze metrics of student success and satisfaction, and may also supervise admissions. University deans of students had a median annual salary of approximately $83,000 as of November 2022, according to the compensation website Payscale.

Eric Michael, assistant professor and director of graduate education programs at Wilson College.

How Can a Master of Teaching or a Master of Education Degree Lead to Career Advancement?

When weighing the benefits of a Master of Teaching vs. a Master of Education, both share considerable advantages. Earning an MAT or MEd degree can help those already within the elementary and secondary education system obtain higher pay within their field and prepare them to move into administrative or policy design roles. Earning one of these advanced degrees can also help qualified individuals step into careers in postsecondary education, corporate training, or curriculum development.

Those interested in the benefits of a flexible master’s program that allows students to earn their degree 100% remotely should consider Wilson College Online’s Master of Education. Learn more about how you can broaden your career path and increase your salary potential by earning an MEd degree from Wilson College Online.

Sources:

Indeed, 10 Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s Degree in Education

National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics

National Education Association, “NEA Survey: Massive Staff Shortages in Schools Leading to Educator Burnout; Alarming Number of Educators Indicating They Plan to Leave Profession”

Payscale, Average Dean of Students (University) Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Instructional Coordinators

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postsecondary Teachers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Training and Development Specialists

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