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Elementary School Art Teacher Certification Information

A bachelor's degree is the most common form of education for any individual pursuing teaching certification at the elementary level. Many universities and colleges do offer specific degrees tailored to aspiring art teachers, such as a Bachelor of Art in Art Education, that lead to certification. Read on to learn more.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's programs in art education prepare art teachers to work at the elementary or secondary level. They combine instruction in studio arts with an overview of teaching theory, acting almost as a double major in education and art. The majority of classes focus on the studio concepts of drawing, painting, design and ceramics, with extensive coursework in teaching skills and classroom management. Students also complete a student-teaching experience at a local school lasting at least ten weeks.

All states require that public school teachers be licensed. Requirements for licensing include completing an accredited teacher education degree program and passing a competency test.

Education Prerequisites

A high school diploma and GPA of at least 2.5 are common prerequisites to gaining admittance into an undergraduate school with an art education degree program. Most applicants are required to submit a portfolio of artistic achievements such as drawings or paintings before they can be admitted into an art education program.

Program Coursework

The courses most commonly offered in an art education degree program focus on art forms as well as theories and techniques for professional education. Specific topics include:

  • Foundations of art education
  • Teaching methods at the elementary level
  • General educational psychology
  • Painting
  • Figure drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Computer design

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer data specific to elementary school art teachers, it did find that elementary teachers in general earned a median annual salary of $53,400 as of 2012. The BLS also indicated that in the same year, elementary education professionals numbered over 1.3 million across the U.S. Some of the top-paying states for elementary teachers included Rhode Island, Alaska, Connecticut, New York and California (

Certification Options

All states require elementary school teachers to gain licensure before they can earn a position in a public school district. The State Board of Education typically provides licensure to those educators teaching preschool through third grade, as well as those teaching grades 1-6. Requirements vary by state, but most regions require teaching candidates to complete a state-approved teacher education bachelor's degree program and some supervised student-teacher hours before qualifying for licensure.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics