Before arriving at Southwest Minnesota State University in Fall of 1969, Amato taught at the University of New York, Binghamton and the University of California, Riverside, as well as for two years at Kimball High School, in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Southwest Minnesota State University
At Southwest Minnesota State University, Amato was a founder and chair of the History Department and Social Sciences. With a handful of colleagues he was one of the architects of the university's required Rural Studies curriculum in the 1970s. He served its development as Director of Rural and Regional curriculum and program in the 1980s and 1990s, converting it into a small and activist Center for Rural and Regional Studies. He also was instrumental in the founding of the Society for the Study of Local and Regional History, developed, edited, and produced the Rural and Regional Essay Series and Crossings Press, and has supported the university's History Center since its founding in the early 1970s. He has written many successful grants to support rural and regional conferences, curriculum development; promoted a wide array of rural publications, and advocated the formation of rural and regional curriculum and centers.
Amato taught a range of courses in European intellectual and cultural history and historiography, as well as ethics. He also offered a variety of courses in Rural and Regional Studies. He has been considered outstanding university teacher in the past.