Be a Drama Teacher: Career Information and Requirements

Apr 27, 2020

Learn how you can become a drama teacher. Find information about job duties and how to fulfill the education and licensing requirements needed to start a career as a drama teacher.

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Drama Teachers

Drama teachers assist students in exploring their creativity and building interpersonal skills through classroom activities and theater productions. They utilize instructional methods to create lesson plans, exercises and other activities to help students master costume and set design, acting and directing. Drama teachers are employed in a wide range of educational settings from elementary, middle and high schools to colleges and universities.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's degree may be required
Degree Field Theater arts, education
Certification Teacher certification required
Experience Student teaching internship required
Key Skills Patience; instructional and communication skills
Median Salary (2019) $61,660 (for secondary school teachers)
$69,530 (for art, drama and music postsecondary teachers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; University of North Carolina-Asheville

Drama teachers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in drama education or a closely related field. Some positions may require a master's degree. Those who teach in public schools have to be certified. Requirements include completing a teacher education program and student teaching internship. Based on figures provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2019 high school teachers in general earned a median annual salary of $61,660. Postsecondary art, drama and music teachers earned $69,530 during the same year. Let's take a closer look at the steps involved in becoming a drama teacher.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

As we just discussed, the minimum education requirement for a career as a drama teacher is the completion of a 4-year degree program at a college or university. Drama teachers at the secondary school level usually earn a bachelor's degree in drama education or theater arts. Undergraduate course work in a teacher education program can include topics in child and adolescent development, lesson preparation and teaching diverse learners. Teacher education programs can be completed along with or after a bachelor's degree program. While enrolled, prospective drama teachers must participate in an internship or supervised field experience at a local school.

Success Tip:

Get certification in an additional supplementary area. Some drama or theater education programs suggest future drama teachers become dually certified in another subject area, as well as drama, which may prove helpful when seeking employment.

Step 2: Get a Teaching Certificate

Aspiring drama teachers who want to work in a public school systems must be certified, a process usually overseen by a state's State Board of Education. Licensing requirements vary but typically include the completion of a teacher preparation program, an internship and a passing score on an exam. Alternative licenses are also available for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education.

Other than a bachelor's degree and student teaching experience, the certification guidelines and examinations differ by state. Certified teachers may have to take continuing education classes or even earn an additional post-baccalaureate degree to maintain their licenses.

Step 3: Complete a Master's Degree

Some public schools may only hire teachers with a master's degree. Many master's programs are designed for those who have received a bachelor's degree in drama or theater arts, but are not certified, or for educators certified in different subjects who would like to teach drama or theater arts. Although not required by their states, some drama or theater arts with bachelor's degrees enroll in a master's degree program to further their careers.

Lead and Supervise

Drama teachers working in public schools can advance their career by going into a leadership or supervisory position within their district. Some may go on to drama programs in colleges and universities.

Let's review. You'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in drama education or a related major, and maybe even a master's degree, as well as state license if you want to be a drama teacher in a public school. As of May 2019, secondary teachers and post secondary teachers earned median annual salaries of $61,660 and $69,530 respectively.

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