Art Teaching Certification in New York

Earning certification as an art teacher in New York involves completing studies in art and education, student teaching experience and passing multiple certification exams. The initial certificate for teachers also requires a background check.

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The State of New York recognizes the value of art education. The New York Department of Education actively supports art education for students of all ages. The high salaries earned by New York teachers and commitment to artistic education are factors that may attract individuals considering a career as an art teacher.

New York Art Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in New York (2016)* $72,510 (Kindergarten);
$77,330 (Elementary);
$78,060 (Middle School);
$81,410 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Visual Arts Education
Testing Requirements edTPA, EAS, CST

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

The first step towards a career as an art teacher in New York involves earning a bachelor's degree. Those interested in this career can pursue a degree at an approved postsecondary institution or through another accredited college or university.

Approved Program Pathway

Degrees offered through approved program colleges and universities fulfill the standard academic requirements for teacher certification in New York. Art teachers will focus on visual arts education or fine arts education. As part of their studies they will complete many courses in art. They must also complete several classes in education, covering subjects such as human development, special needs education and how to instruct students in art. Two student teaching assignments are also required, which ensure that graduates have practical teaching experience. A recommendation letter must also be supplied by the postsecondary institution to fulfill the approved pathway requirements for the initial certificate.

Individual Evaluation Pathway

Those who do not graduate from an approved pathway school must earn a degree from an accredited postsecondary institution and complete the required number of courses in specific subject areas. Art teachers are expected to have at least 30 visual arts credits. They must also earn 30 liberal arts and sciences credits and 18 education credits. Their education credits must include courses in human development and teaching special needs. Students must also have training in developing a curriculum and instructing and evaluating students. Individual pathway applicants must also complete 40 days of student teaching.

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Step 2: Pass Certification Exams


The edTPA assesses the practical skills of initial certificate applicants. Elementary teachers currently need a score of 46 to pass while those teaching middle and high school must earn a score of 38. In 2020 the passing scores will increase by one for teachers in all areas. As of January 1, 2022 elementary teachers will need to score 48 to pass while middle and high school teachers will need a score of 40.


The Educating All Students (EAS) exam is required for all initial certificate applicants. This test costs $92, which must be paid when registering to take the exam. The exam is 2.25 hours in length and a score of 500 is needed to pass the EAS.


The Visual Arts Content Specialty Test (CST) takes almost 3.5 hours to complete. It costs $134, which must be paid when scheduling the exam. To pass the Visual Arts CST a score of 220 is required.

Step 3: Complete Certification Requirements

Both approved pathway and individual evaluation pathway applicants must provide their fingerprints and pass a background check to qualify for an initial certificate. All applicants are also required to take the Dignity For All Students Act workshop. Individual pathway applicants are also required to take workshops that cover dealing with school violence and child abuse.

Step 4: Apply for Initial Certificate

Once all requirements have been met for the initial certificate it is necessary to submit an application for the initial certificate. This involves paying a fee, establishing proof of your identify and providing transcripts and required paperwork to support your credentials. The fee for students who graduated from approved pathway programs is $50. Those pursuing individual evaluation must pay a fee of $100.

Teacher Certification Resources

The practice and study guide linked to here will help you prepare to take the EAS exam.

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