Art Teacher Requirements in California

Aug 17, 2021

Thousands of students take art each year in California, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Their engagement in these classes reflects their teachers' preparation. Find out about the education and certification requirements to become an art teacher in this state.

California Art Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in California (2019)* $82,560 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education); $80,160 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special & Career/Technical Education); $85,080 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special & Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Art Education
Testing Requirements CBEST and CSET Art

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Candidates interested in teaching art in the California school system will need to obtain a bachelor's degree in art education through an approved college or university training program. This degree will certify candidates to teach students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Relevant coursework may include the following: introduction to drawing, life composition, introduction to photography, elementary classroom visual art, visual arts and human development, aesthetics, foundations of art, and modern art.

As part of their undergraduate training, candidates will need to complete a student teaching assignment in art. The duration of assignments may vary from one to two school semesters.

Step 2: Fulfill Certification Requirements

After completing a bachelor's degree, candidates must fulfill the certification requirements to teach art in the state of California. They will need to pass basic competency exams and a subject-specific test.

  • California Basic Assessment Educational Skills Test: California teachers need to fulfill a basic skills requirement, which is often done through passing the CBEST. This exam tests candidates' proficiency in writing, reading, and mathematics. The sections can be taken individually or simultaneously. Candidates will need a score of 41 on each section for a total passing score of 123. Otherwise, candidates can earn a score of 37 on one or two sections, as long as they meet the passing score.
  • CSET Single Subject Teaching Credential: Candidates will need to complete the art examination. It consists of two computer-based sections with 50 multiple-choice questions and four constructed-response ones. The second section also has a portfolio submission. Candidates will need a passing score of 220 on each section.

Candidates will earn a preliminary credential that is valid for up to five years. They will then need to apply for the clear credential, which offers candidates several ways to qualify. They may qualify for the credential if they completed an approved art education training program.

All teaching candidates will need to undergo a fingerprint clearance from the California Department of Justice, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Certification Resources for California Art Teachers

The course profiled below may help students prepare for their certification exams.

  • CBEST Test Prep Study Guide
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