Western Carolina’s MAT program provides alternative route into teaching

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s Master of Arts in Teaching program provides an alternative means for adults who have already earned bachelor’s degrees to make the transition into meaningful careers as public school teachers.

Individuals who apply and are accepted into Western’s program for this fall will join 81 other students already enrolled in the graduate-level program. Developed two years ago, the MAT is designed to help the region and state deal with a current shortage of qualified teachers, and a shortage that is predicted for the future.

The MAT program is intended for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching area. Following completion of the degree, graduates are eligible for graduate-level teaching licenses, which qualify them to teach in the state’s schools on the graduate-degree pay scale, said Dale Carpenter, associate dean in Western’s College of Education and Applied Sciences.

Prospective degree candidates must be interested in pursuing certification in one of the following concentration areas: high school biology, chemistry, English, mathematics and social sciences; K-12 art and music; and middle grades education, special education and physical education.

Candidates with an undergraduate degree in a field other than a MAT concentration are subject to prerequisite course requirements, depending on the credentials of the candidate, Carpenter said. The program requires a minimum of 36 to 42 semester hours of graduate study.

MAT courses are offered in Cullowhee and Asheville, and advisers for the program will be available to answer questions at an open house scheduled for Western’s Asheville programs. The open house is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, in Laurel Forum of Karpen Hall on the University of North Carolina at Asheville campus. Individuals planning to attend the open house are asked to pre-register by calling the Asheville programs office at (828) 251-6642. For general information about Western’s MAT program, contact Carpenter at (828) 227-7311.