The life of a child is one of play, imagination, laughter, and innocence. These values truly teach us, adults, what we seem to have forgotten—all of us—other than elementary school teachers. Looking back over our lives, we owe much to those early teachers who helped us learn about life through finger paint and play dough, blocks and books, and read-aloud time. If you happen to feel called to this world of innocence, to bring to life the incredible universe around us through teaching young ones, never lose sight of your goal.
To achieve your goal and teach our nation’s little ones, you need to acquire a teaching license. Every state varies in requirements and standards, so we at Top Masters in Education recommend finding your own state’s requirements, click here for a useful resource.
Many people, and you may be one, have earned a Bachelor’s degree in an area other than education and have decided to enter the world of teaching. Our universities provide opportunities to go through an educational degree program and earn licensure for those who want to teach. Operating on the premise that classroom learning is substantially improved when teachers understand children’s development, our institutions of higher education offer master’s programs that end in teacher certification.
The traditional degree for those with a non-education bachelor’s wishing to teach is the Master of Arts in Teaching or the MAT. Though this title is still the most popular, it is sometimes called a Master’s in Teaching (MIT), or just an MT. For more on the different master’s degrees, see our FAQ.
Admission to the program usually requires a bachelor’s degree and minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or 3.0. In general, MAT programs are about one year long and include courses in educational psychology, classroom management, assessment, curriculum and instruction, and philosophy of education along with elementary-specific classes in children’s literacy, teaching math to elementary students, teaching diverse learners, and more. Student teaching is typically one semester, though more robust programs require a full year of residency. There are both residential and online programs, of which we provide our 10 Best Online Master of Arts in Elementary Education, as well as hybrid models. Regarding cost, there is great variety, though there are many quality degrees for an affordable price. If the price is your driving consideration, you may be interested in our 10 Most Affordable MAster of Arts in Elementary Education.
Our methodology for this ranking is evidence-based research of various relevant categories. Data is sourced from reputable organizations; for this ranking the National Center for Educational Statistics, the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ), U.S. News and World Report, and school websites. We rely on school websites for tuition, which is always included in our rankings. Other criteria used for this list includes the school’s reputation, student to faculty ratio, and mid-career salary.