States typically require aspiring early childhood art teachers at public schools to obtain a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or pursue a fine arts bachelor's degree with a minor in art education. These 4-year education programs include a prescribed number of fieldwork hours in a classroom setting. Some states mandate that teachers earn a 2-year master's degree in education after they start teaching.
Early Childhood Art Education Coursework
Through curriculum development courses, labs, and required teaching internships, students in an early childhood education bachelor's degree program learn to teach and create lesson plans for a variety of subjects. These programs often require students to choose a minor in subjects like reading or math. Additionally, many degree programs include coursework in art education, though it's not typically offered as a concentration. All early childhood education programs focus on teaching children from infancy through age eight. Many arts and fine arts departments offer a minor in art education, though students may also choose to minor in early childhood education. These minors provide a foundation in education, incorporating coursework in teaching methods and educational psychology, as well as a student teaching experience. Students in these programs take a variety of education and art courses, including:
- Child development
- Childhood nutrition
- Classroom management
- Drawing, painting, and sculpture
- New media
A state teaching license is required for early childhood art education in public schools, though it may not be necessary for positions in private schools. While licensing requirements vary, most states administer exams that cover such areas as teaching methods and curriculum preparation. These exams must be taken after students have earned an approved bachelor's degree with teacher training.
Many states also mandate Child Development Associate (CDA) certification, which is administered by the Council for Professional Recognition and widely recognized in the field of early childhood art education. This certification requires applicants to have taken early childhood education courses, complete field experiences and pass a test. Other states require educators to have CPR and first aid certification.
To become an early childhood art teacher, one must obtain either a bachelor's or master's degree. State licensing is also required for public school teaching positions, and CDA certification may be required by some states.