Guide to a Combined Master’s and Teaching Credential Program

Even if you didn't major in education, you can still become a teacher. Research master's and teaching credential programs.
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Updated on April 16, 2024
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Teachers are dedicated and hardworking professionals. And while some decide to pursue a career in teaching early on, others make the decision later in life — and that's OK. Either way, there's a path for you.

If you've already earned a bachelor's degree and are interested in pursuing a career in education, you can complete a master's degree and earn your teaching credentials at the same time.

Why consider a combined teaching program? Because combined master's and teaching credential programs are set up to help you get into the classroom — and fast.

What Is a Combined Master's and Teaching Credential Program?

There are specific requirements for becoming a licensed teacher. A combined master's and teaching credential program allows you to earn a master's degree in an education area while also meeting the requirements to obtain your teaching credentials.

Depending on your career goals, your path will include completing a combined master's and teaching credential program through pursuing a master of education (M.Ed.) or a master of teaching (MAT).

So what's the difference between an MAT vs. an M.Ed.?

M.Ed.

  • Specialize in educational topics like inclusive learning or curriculum and instruction.
  • Prep for specialized teaching roles like STEAM or literacy.
  • Popular option for those seeking careers in administrative leadership, counseling, or educational policy.

MAT

  • Specialize in elementary education or secondary subjects like English or math.
  • Prep for classroom teaching with coursework on classroom management and teaching philosophies.
  • Popular option for people who do not have a bachelor's in education or who are not already certified teachers.

Featured Online Master's in Teaching Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Prerequisites for a Combined Master's and Teaching Credential Program

To apply to a master's program, you must hold a bachelor's degree. But keep in mind that each college has its own requirements.

A combined master's and teaching credential program prerequisites could include:

What Credentials Are Available in a Combined Master's and Teaching Credential Program?

Most teachers go into a master's and teaching credential program knowing what age group they want to work with, or what content they like to teach. Depending on your interests, you'll pursue either a single-subject teaching credential or a multiple-subject teaching credential.

Single-Subject Teaching Credentials

  • You want to teach middle or high school-aged students.
  • You are passionate about teaching a specific subject like English or science.
  • You'll deeply explore your content with strategies for working with secondary students.

Multiple-Subject Teaching Credentials

  • You enjoy working with elementary-aged kids.
  • You want to work mostly with one class of students teaching all subjects (humanities, science, etc.)
  • You'll learn curriculum standards for age groups, and classroom management strategies for young kids.

What Can You Do With a Master's in Teaching?

Combined master's and teaching credential programs qualify you to work as a public K-12 educator. Your program's concentration area determines your initial career path. Your university may offer primary, secondary, special, or career and technical education concentrations.

Some states refer to a teaching credential as a license. You may use your credential or license to work in states with licensure reciprocity. The Education Commission of the States website posts the latest reciprocity information.

A master's degree and work experience may qualify you to work as a vice principal or principal within your district. Other requirements may include exams. Check with your district office for more information.

Careers With a Master's in Teaching
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2022)
Career and Technical Education Teacher $61,450
Elementary School Teacher $61,620
High School Teacher $62,360
Middle School Teacher $61,810
Special Education Teacher $62,950
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Combined Master's and Teaching Credential Programs

How long does a combined master's and teaching credential program take?

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You can complete a combined master's and teaching credential program in as little as 14 months. Each program has its own credit and course requirements, but typically full-time students can earn their degree and teaching credentials in two years or less.

Can you get two teaching credentials at the same time?

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If you are feeling extra ambitious, you could earn two teaching credentials at once. But you would need to meet the requirements of both teaching credentials.

You may also need to meet specific conditions for each credential in the master's program. Pursuing more than one teaching credential at once may mean being in a program for longer in order to meet the program and teaching credential requirements.

What's the difference between a single subject vs. multiple subject teaching credential?

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A single-subject teaching credential is geared toward secondary teachers who will teach a specific content area like science or history. Graduates of these programs are only licensed to teach classes in that subject.

Elementary education candidates would earn a multiple-subject teaching credential. This is because elementary teachers work with a targeted age group but are responsible for teaching them multiple age-appropriate subjects like reading, writing, and math.

Is it worth it to get your master's and teaching credential at the same time?

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Yes. Master's and teaching credential programs let you start work as a K-12 educator as soon as possible. Other benefits include applying classroom knowledge during field experiences and student teaching. Mentor teachers' feedback helps you develop in-demand skills.

Master's and teacher credentialing programs may save you money on your education, especially if you enroll in a public university. Contact university admissions departments to learn more about how combined master's in teaching credential programs benefit learners.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed April 8, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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