Graduate Certificate/M.A.T. in Middle and Secondary Education

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Do you have a passion for guiding adolescents through their dynamic, exciting years of middle or high school?  Do you aspire to one day become a teacher leader and mentor fellow educators in successfully managing their classrooms?

The Graduate Certificate in Teaching Middle and Secondary Education Program  (18 hours) will earn a student the North Carolina initial “A” level licensure in the fields of English, mathematics, science and social studies in either the middle or secondary education level. In the certificate program, you will learn lesson planning, adolescent development, how to teach diverse learners and how to teach a specific discipline. Through clinicals, you will learn how coursework relates to the classroom and practice your craft during an internship. Candidates are required to have background knowledge in their content area.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate have the option of pursuing an M.A.T. in Teaching Middle and Secondary Education offered through distance education. Students take seven additional courses (21 hours) to complete the 39-hour master’s degree program in an online format. The M.A.T. leads to the Advanced (“M”) teaching license. The M.A.T. prepares you to become a teacher leader, to use research to improve your practice and to mentor novice teachers. Candidates will learn about educational research, adolescent development in more detail, middle grades or secondary curriculum and standards, and the national standards that undergird the curriculum and issues of teacher leadership.  All core courses taken for the graduate certificate will apply to the M.A.T. All coursework must be completed in a six-year time frame, beginning with the first course taken in the graduate certificate program.

Why choose our program?
  • Online coursework allows our students flexibility in scheduling their studies and projects around their work and other commitments.

  • Certificate students participate in the Niner Clinical Immersion School (NCIS).  NCIS is an innovative program designed to increase the level of meaningful engagement for pre-student teacher candidates in P12 schools.  Candidates are immersed in the P12 classroom while at the same time taking teacher training coursework. NCIS restructures the required clinical hours to better serve the needs of our teacher education candidates.

  • Our program starts with the graduate teaching certificate coursework rather than non-degree prerequisites, which allows our students to apply for available funds and financial aid.

  • Our program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). All programs are approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

  • The University is consistently ranked among the top ten universities in the Southeastern USA, offering a wide range of resources and opportunities to help graduate students succeed.

Coursework, practicum, internships

The Graduate Teaching Certificate requires a clinical component from 15-30 hours. Candidates not only observe in the classroom but also work with students in small groups. (Please note: The required classroom observation hours are limited to the state of North Carolina.) Students then complete an internship (student teaching), a 15-week experience where they take over the total course instruction load from their cooperating teacher.

In the M.A.T., students are required to do research in the form of an electronic portfolio, write grants and complete a teacher leadership project. Candidates create professional development programs for the teachers in their schools and have the opportunity to mentor a novice teacher. A number of our students have received grant funding to enhance what they are doing in the classroom.

Career Options

Our program primarily prepares classroom teachers in either middle grades or secondary education. A number of our students complete the masters degree and become curriculum facilitators, lead teachers, content specialist or even department chairs at the secondary level.  Other graduates have become assistant principals and principals. Graduates may also apply for a doctoral program which prepares them for leadership positions within their school or district. Some students who complete a doctorate pursue careers as instructors at community colleges or four-year institutions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of middle school and secondary school teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026. There is an increasing need for teachers in the areas of mathematics, science and language arts. Rising student enrollment should increase demand for both middle and high school teachers. From 2016 to 2026, a significant number of older teachers will reach retirement age, which will create job openings for new teachers.

Student Opportunities

The Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL) is an information and student success resource for current and potential teacher candidates. Their staff provides a variety of services such as: information on (and preparation resources for) testing required for program admission and teacher licensure, verification of program completion for teacher licensure, guidance surrounding the teacher licensure application process, and information on campus resources and scholarships/loans for education students.

The Office of Field Experiences provides support services to our students for school-based clinical experiences and during yearlong internships and student teaching.  Field experiences – observing, interacting with, and teaching children and youth – are a critical part of all teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte. These field experiences continue throughout a candidate’s program and culminate in a 15-week, full-time student teaching experience after completion of all other course work.

The Center for Graduate Life provides the support and sense of community students need to meet the challenges they will face throughout their graduate experience. The Center offers workshops on topics like grant writing, presentation skills, publishing in scholarly journals, and understanding the academic job search. Virtual workshops are available online on subjects such as graduate academic writing and research writing at the graduate level.

The University Career Center provides services, programs, and support for students and alumni. Services include such options as an Education Career Fair held each spring semester, individual appointments with career advisors and the Hire-A-Niner online job and internship database. Southern Teachers Agency is a free placement service that helps recent graduates in their search for education jobs in PK-12 private and independent schools around the South.

Learn from Outstanding Faculty

Our faculty members are involved in cutting-edge research that helped our College of Education earn more than $8 million in external funding last year and appear in some of the leading research journals in the field, including Research in Higher Education, Journal of Educational Psychology, and Teachers College Press. All tenure-track faculty conduct research, teach and are involved in community service. A number of our faculty have received special recognitions such as the Bank of America Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Many faculty members work in schools and community agencies serving youth and families with academic and counseling services. Others work through professional organizations leading committee work and serving as editors or reviewers for journals. Several faculty members in the College of Education serve on national-level committees to develop standards for our profession and practice.

Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of adolescents? If so, click here to learn more about the requirements for the Graduate Certificate / Master of Arts in Middle and Secondary Education, graduate student financial aid and the graduate application process.