Sometimes people refer to an M.A. in Teaching and an M.A. in Education interchangeably. Both of these degrees help further the careers and skills of people interesting in pursuing a career in education. Still, these two master's degrees vary significantly in content and in the kinds of educators who are most likely to benefit from them. Take a moment to compare a MAED versus a MAT to understand the difference and figure out which one will help you achieve your specific goals.


Do you really need a master's degree to teach? Well, most states and school districts will not require new teachers to already hold a master's degree. However, they tend to heavily encourage this level of education by offering raises and promotions to educators who have successfully completed post-graduate programs. And while some places don't require a master's degree for new teachers, they will ask teachers to complete one once they begin their careers.

While educators can benefit in many ways by continuing their own educations, it's important for them to find the right course of study for their interests and career goals. Because both a master's in education and a master's in teaching focus upon various facets of education, current or prospective educators often consider one of these two programs. While they both serve current or aspiring teachers, they do have different aims. Let’s explore the difference:


As the name implies, this teaching degree focuses on the practice of teaching. Generally, people who already have a bachelor's degree but want to qualify as teachers will have an interest in an M.A. in Teaching. On the other hand, people who already teach but want to expand their qualifications to other subjects or grades tend to enroll in a teaching master's program to build the skills that they need.

Graduate students may also select certain areas of concentration, such as special education, elementary education, or subject areas for higher grades. Generally, these degrees blend classes with actual classroom experience to provide a very broad depth of experience and knowledge for students. As in the case of the Master of Arts in Teaching at University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, completion of the class may also fulfill certification requirements for state licensing boards.


In contrast to a master's in teaching, universities develop programs for a master's in education to attract licensed teachers who already have classroom experience. For instance, teachers may have an interest in working in administration as a principal or focusing on becoming a school counselor or reading specialist. An education master's degree can open these sorts of doors.

This degree may not satisfy all licensing requirements because it has been tailored more for individuals who already hold teaching licenses; however, candidates can choose certain concentrations for additional certification. For example, the M.A. in Education at University of the Cumberlands offers certification-level instruction in Literacy Specialist, Teacher as Leader, and School Counseling.


Current and prospective teachers decide to earn a master's degree for a variety of reasons. Here are three: 


Statistics show that teachers with a master's degree earn more than those without one. For instance, the National Center for Education Statistics demonstrates that teachers with a post-graduate degree earned an average of $11,000 more a year than teachers with only a bachelor's degree.

Of course, teaching salaries vary a lot in different parts of the country, so some educators may earn more or less than the average. It's also fair to say that many of these educators have also gained more experience by the time they’ve earned their advanced degree, and that can account for differences in pay as well.

At the same time, a master's degree can open the door for higher-paying educational careers, such as school principal or counselor. These degrees can also develop teaching skills to make more opportunities available, so teachers can choose better-paying opportunities.


Most educators view their jobs as much more than a way to earn a salary. Instead, they view it as a vocation that they can use to positively impact other people and improve their communities. The education provided by an online MAT or online MAED will give educators the knowledge, confidence, and experience they need to grow in their careers and better serve their own students and fellow educators. Master's degree students may enroll in a program in order to move up to administration or to specialize in a specific type of teaching or course of study.  Some school districts even offer tuition reimbursement for approved courses.  Check with your local school district to see if you are eligible for tuition reimbursement. 


Some students may apply for one of these educational master's degrees right after they earn their bachelor's degrees. However, many prospective students already have jobs, either in schools or in another field. To serve these students, top universities have developed online and flexible degree plans to help busy people fit them into their schedules.


If you're looking for a convenient, flexible, and effective online M.A. in Education or M.A. in Teaching, consider University of the Cumberlands. Top professors have hands-on experience in their fields and a commitment to developing future educators. The university offers extremely competitive tuition rates, supportive instructors, and flexible programs to help meet the needs of today's busy students. While these programs were developed to meet licensing or certification requirements in Kentucky, they may also satisfy other states with reciprocity agreements. You can even begin your application online or request more information about admissions, specific programs, and financial aid.