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What to Expect When You Earn Your Online Master of Arts in Teaching

May 1, 2024

A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) benefits educators of varied experience and skill levels. The degree can help aspiring teachers pivot into education and experienced teachers gain advanced skills for specialized or senior-level positions. 

If you are worried that pursuing an MAT can be challenging if you work full-time or don’t live near a school whose program meets your career goals, American University (AU) offers a solution to those challenges: an online MAT in Elementary Education open to students across the country. Students can graduate from the flexible online program in just two years, fulfilling residency requirements wherever they currently reside.

What is it like to pursue our Master of Arts in Teaching online? This article offers some answers.

Pursue an Online MAT Degree While Working Full-Time

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Degree Advantages: Why Students Choose to Learn Online

Pursuing a master’s degree online offers several key benefits: 

  • Accessibility: Online courses are accessible to a broad range of students, including those with geographical constraints, disabilities, or other limitations that make attending traditional classes challenging. 
  • Flexibility: Students access asynchronous content when and where they choose, allowing them to balance school with work and family commitments.
  • Continued professional development: Students can earn work experience and a salary while pursuing an online degree. 
  • Building digital skills: Many online programs use digital tools and platforms to deliver educational experiences. Students can develop valuable digital literacy skills and insight into virtual learning environments while completing their degree. 

Curriculum Spotlight: What Will You Learn in the Online MAT? 

American University couples the benefits of online learning with a world-class curriculum designed to prepare current and aspiring teachers to provide an excellent elementary education to all students, regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or learning disabilities.

The online MAT curriculum leverages advances in neurodevelopment and social-emotional interventions to foster a multidisciplinary approach to teaching elementary students. Students experience research-informed pedagogy that demonstrates how to turn educational shortcomings into strengths and place social justice in the heart of classrooms. The courses prepare educators for real-world challenges, including teaching literacy and mathematics, actively supporting diverse learners, and acknowledging families and the community’s role in effective teaching and learning.

The Online Learning Experience at American University 

American University’s online MAT connects students to a diverse cohort of peers, perspectives, and community-centered learning experiences. Throughout the 33-credit program, students participate in assignments, coursework, self-paced discussions, and live online classes with peers. The average weekly time commitment required is 14 to 16 hours. 

AU online students can also access Mursion Avatar; this technology—a blend of artificial intelligence and live human interaction—allows education candidates to plan, enact, and critique their teaching in a low-stakes environment before working with live pupils. Students can also use Mursion to practice difficult yet critical conversations with parents and other caregivers regarding their child’s educational progress. 

During the fourth and fifth semesters, online MAT students participate in fieldwork to prepare for classroom environments after graduating. Fourth-semester students engage in a semester-long practicum, spending two days per week in a local classroom observing and learning new skills. Students complete their student-teaching requirement in their final semester, which requires five days a week in a local classroom to build and apply practical teaching tools through a gradual release model.

Reach Your Career Goals with a Degree That Works for You

Current or aspiring teachers who don’t want to put personal or professional commitments on hold should consider an online MAT from American University. The program produces passionate, progressive educators dedicated to ensuring students nationwide—regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or learning challenges—receive the high-quality education they deserve.

Interested applicants can learn more about this flexible online degree program by attending an online event or connecting with an enrollment advisor for one-on-one advice. 

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