The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or Master of Science in Teaching (MST) degree is generally a pre-service degree that usually requires a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree. While the program often requires education classes in order to meet state licensure requirements, it emphasizes advanced coursework in a specific academic discipline to enhance one's knowledge in that subject area. Furthermore, it focuses on educating the candidate in practical teaching skills for use as a teacher, as opposed to focusing on performing research in the educational field. Candidates usually spend a semester as a full time student teacher in order to earn the degree. There are two general models that (MAT) degrees follow: A 5th year model in which students spend one year extra beyond their bachelor’s degree to earn a master's degree and an initial teaching license; and a Flex program which usually offers part-time weekend and evening courses to accommodate professionals who are changing careers. The Master of Arts in Teaching degree is often advantageous to middle school and secondary school teachers because it allows them to focus on subject area knowledge in their undergraduate program and then acquire pedagogical skills in their graduate studies. It differs from the Master of Education (M.Ed) degree which is usually geared toward practicing teachers, or toward those who desire to serve as counselors (school or otherwise) or as educational administrators.