Art Teacher: Job Description & Career Information

Read about a career in art education. Research the educational and skill requirements and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for an art teacher.

Job Description for Art Teachers

Art teachers work in school and community settings, instructing students in the basic principles of art and art history. Art instruction is included in the curriculum at many U.S. elementary and secondary schools and is also available through colleges, universities, and adult or community education programs. As a result, an art teacher may choose to specialize not only in the instruction of a particular age group, but also in art mediums such as paint, pencil, charcoal, pastels, and even photography. Art teachers supervise and assist students, grade artwork, encourage creativity, and teach techniques in a variety of mediums. Art history teachers spend much of their time focusing on didactic instruction since art history courses primarily focus on the history of art through different eras.

Education Bachelor's or master's degree in fine arts or a related field
Job Duties Supervise and assist students, grade artwork, encourage creativity
Median Salary (2017)* $66,930 (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 12% (art, drama, and music teachers, postsecondary)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Art teachers who instruct at a community setting may not need to have any formal education in the field and are required instead to demonstrate their understanding of various art mediums, their own talent to create, and their ability to teach skills to others. Art teachers who serve at a college or university setting typically hold a graduate degree of some type, usually a Master of Fine Arts. Art teachers at public and private schools serving students from kindergarten through grade 12 usually have a bachelor's degree in art or fine arts with an emphasis in education. Professional artists may be able to substitute extensive experience for a degree, but still may be required to complete some education training that may include classes such as child psychology, teaching methods, classroom management, and the foundations of education. Art teachers must hold state licensure to teach at public schools.

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that art teachers must be skilled in the following aspects:

  • Knowledge of art history and different art genres in order to teach a range of art styles
  • Ability to communicate concrete and abstract concepts to students
  • Ability to spot and cultivate creativity

Employment and Salary Outlook

Demand for art teachers varies based on education budgets and the level. According to the BLS, the majority of art teachers work at colleges, universities and professional schools. Per the BLS, the median annual wage was $66,930 for these art teachers in May 2017. The website also projected a 12% employment growth for postsecondary art teachers from 2016-2026.


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