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Primary School Art Teacher: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Primary school art teachers must have some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirement to see if this is the right career for you.

A primary school art teacher must have a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. His or her undergraduate degree should have a specialization in art or art education. Aspiring teachers must also complete classroom teaching experiences in order to qualify for licensure.

Essential Information

Primary school art teachers educate young students, usually from ages 5-12, about basic art principles and techniques while encouraging creative expression and nurturing artistic abilities. These specialized elementary school teachers develop and execute lesson plans about art techniques and art history. To teach in a public school, a candidate must typically complete a bachelor's degree program and obtain a teaching license from his or her state. Internship experience is also usually necessary.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, typically in education with a specialization in art or art education
Other Requirements State license and internship often required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for elementary school teachers, except special education
Mean Salary (2015)* $57,730 annually for elementary school teachers, except special education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Primary School Art Teacher Duties

Primary school art teachers oversee the production of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Media used may include pencil, charcoal, watercolor paint and oil-based paint; projects may also involve tactile materials such as felt, Styrofoam, fabric or clay. Some teachers incorporate lesson plans that use recycled or refuse materials to teach eco-friendliness. The curriculum usually includes art history through profiling famous artists.

Requirements for a Primary School Art Teacher

Educational Requirements

Primary school teachers should obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited teacher education program. Common degrees are a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in art or a Bachelor of Art in Art Education. Course requirements usually include child development, psychology of learning and art theory. To gain classroom experience, candidates must complete a student-teacher internship in which they are closely supervised.

Licensure Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public school teachers must hold state licensure, which is granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee. To obtain a license, candidates must pass an exam proving reading and writing skills, knowledge of teaching methods and art expertise. Private schools may not require a license. States also offer special licenses for people who earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts, for example, without graduating from a formal teaching program, but who want to transition into teaching.

Job Requirements

Teachers must possess patience and be able to motivate students. Enthusiasm and creativity are assets, as are strong organizational skills, since art teachers often oversee the ordering of supplies. It also helps to have experience working with children in an art studio. Background checks are often required.

Salary and Career Outlook for a Primary School Art Teacher

While the BLS does not gather statistics on primary art teachers specifically, its data on elementary school teachers excluding special education reflects that in 2015, these teachers earned an average of $57,730 per year. In addition, the BLS reports that employment for these teachers was expected to increase by a margin of 6% between 2014 and 2024.

Primary school art teachers show students how to create images or structures using different materials and mediums. They may work with clay, foam or felt, or have students create pictures with charcoal, paint, or watercolors. They also teach art history to their students.


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