Generally speaking, a Masters of Education, or M. Ed, is geared more towards moving beyond the classroom within the education sphere. This is not to say that this degree does not apply to those looking to advance their current teaching career while remaining in the classroom. There are generally three majors of Masters in Education degrees offered by most programs.
1. Curriculum and Instruction – This Masters in Education major focuses on teaching and learning. Degrees usually require an in-depth look at teaching, public service, and scholarship. Upon completion of a Curriculum and Instruction major one can expect to be well versed in curriculum development, teacher leadership, and human development. This is a good decision for people who want to either break into a teaching career or enhance their current career with a great knowledge and understanding of educational theory and the best and most effective ways to expand children’s horizons.
2. Counselor Education – This major is geared towards those who wish to become mental health counselors. Each state is subjected to specific licensure requirements for mental health counseling, so if you’re interested in this area you should find information for your specific state here.
3. Educational Administration – This area of study focuses on a path towards principalship and higher level educational administration. Courses of study focus on educational law, building and community issues, and faculty leadership.
A Masters of Education has also more recently become associated with technology and reading specialists. If you are looking to pursue either of these categories, this program might be right for you.
Master of Arts in Teaching
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree takes a different approach from other degrees in that it focuses primarily on the advancement of your teaching career (as with our partner USC Rossier School of Education's degree program). Coursework with this degree will focus on subject area expertise and pedagogical theory and implementation. Oftentimes Master of Arts in Teaching degrees are closely paired with in-classroom experience that allows MAT students to implement their new skills and knowledge. This is a very teaching focused degree that is best suited for those who wish to remain in a classroom setting, with direct contact to students.
Additional options for advancing, or beginning, your teaching career include the Master of Arts in Education and Master of Science in Education degrees. These degrees are less wide spread than the previous two but both have their advantages. A Master of Arts in Education degree allows a bit more freedom to choose between administration and in-classroom teaching and less focus on one or the other, while the Master of Science in Education degree is more appropriate for people interested in educational research.
Ultimately, whether you want to move beyond the classroom or simply become the best teacher you can, any program you choose will greatly benefit your teaching career. It will increase your value to your employer and society as a whole by making you better prepared to teach, inspire, and lead our children into a future where their education is more important than anything else.