How to Become an Art Teacher in Colorado: Certification & Requirements

Colorado art teachers work in kindergarten through grade twelve classrooms, and readers can learn more about the art teacher education program and possible exam they complete to become licensed.

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With access to educational resources and annual art conferences, the Colorado Art Education Association is a great group for future art teachers to join, even before they are officially licensed. To begin networking with this group, you can learn more here about the average annual salary for these educators, as well as the types of art and education courses they complete and the standardized exam they may have to pass.

Requirements for Colorado Art Teacher Certification

Average Salary for Colorado Teachers (2016)* $49,330 (Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education);
$51,360 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education);
$51,800 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education);
$53,640 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Art Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Art: Content and Analysis

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Step One: Complete an Art Education Degree Program

To be admitted into an accredited art education program in Colorado, candidates may need to undergo a review of their portfolio. This is a chance for them to demonstrate their very best artistic work in one place. Art teachers in Colorado are licensed to teach kindergarten through grade 12 students in public school settings, so their teacher education covers methods for teaching all grade-school students.

From classes that cover contemporary artistic practices, to those that show students how to create a series of interrelated works, art education is a major focus for this program. In addition to that, students will also take classes that focus on education topics like creating curriculum and lesson plans, assessing student work, and understanding cultural and artistic diversity among students. As part of the practicum experiences, students will have an opportunity to intern in a classroom under the guidance of an experienced art educator. The official transcripts from this formal education will be required when applying for a teaching license.

Step Two: Pass Art Endorsement Test

To be qualified to teach art in Colorado, future educators may need to pass the Praxis Art: Content Analysis exam with a score of 158. Test-takers are given two hours to answer 85 multiple-choice questions and three short-answer questions. Art teacher candidates are asked to prove their knowledge of various topics including: art media and processes, art history (both within and beyond the Western tradition), and art analysis.

It should be noted that art teacher candidates could avoid this standardized test by completing 24 semester hours of course credit in visual art. These can include art studio courses, an art theory course, and a survey of art history course.

Step Three: Pass a Background Check

To keep children safe, the Colorado Department of Education requires all teachers to submit to extensive background checks before they are able to apply for a teaching license in the state. First, candidates' fingerprints are collected by law enforcement, which then are turned over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The former will look for state-level infractions on a candidate's record, while the latter will check for federal crimes.

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