So why should I pursue my lateral-entry coursework in the M.A.T. Program?
For many lateral-entry licensure candidates, M.A.T. coursework is more efficient, more convenient, and leads to a higher-level license.
Because graduate-level courses are typically more difficult than undergraduate courses, the graduate courses in the M.A.T. program that address initial-licensure competences are able to do so within fewer credit hours. Also, M.A.T. students are enrolled in a degree program, and do not have to contend with limits to the number of credits one can take without being admitted to a degree program.
Graduate Programs at UNCP generally assume that our students have daytime employment; as a result, all courses are either online or in the evening. Although undergraduate teacher licensure programs do commonly try to rotate courses for lateral entry through evening schedules, it can still take quite some time for a lateral-entry teacher to find all necessary courses in a format that can be reconciled with a full-time teaching position.
Because of the phases of the M.A.T. Program, degree candidates earn both an initial (standard I) and advanced (M) license as they complete the degree. Phase I courses address the initial license, and if one is comparing the required number of courses to an undergraduate lateral-entry course of study, one should compare to the number of credit hours in Phase I. Phase II then prepares candidates for advanced licensure; although one can be a successful professional teacher without an advanced license, advanced-licensure coursework typically prepares candidates to be much more effective teacher leaders, and to be more effective innovators in the classroom.
Although the M.A.T. Program successfully prepares licensure candidates for the classroom, not every lateral-entry teacher is necessarily ready to undertake graduate-level work. Some candidates also find that their lateral-entry course of study is very few courses, especially for those who have done part of a licensure program as part of their undergraduate degrees. In such cases, it may make more sense to complete lateral entry with undergraduate coursework, and then pursue advanced licensure through a Master of Arts or Master of Arts in Education program.