Elementary Art Teacher Career Info and Education Requirements

Elementary art teachers must have some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

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Elementary art teachers are responsible for helping young students appreciate art and develop their own artistic expression. Requirements for this career include a bachelor's degree and some student teaching experience, as well as state licensure for teaching in public schools settings. Learn about the work of an elementary art teacher, as well as information about requirements and job growth.

Essential Information

Elementary art teachers help young children develop their artistic abilities. They work in public and private schools, art studios and community centers. A bachelor's degree in education and student teaching experience are generally required for these teachers. Elementary art teachers who teach in public schools must be licensed by the state.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements License needed to teach in public schools; student teaching experience usually necessary
Projected Job Growth (2014 - 2024)* 6% for all elementary school teachers, except special education
Median Salary (2015)* $54,890 annually for all elementary school teachers, except special education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information for Elementary Art Teachers

Most elementary art teachers specialize in one medium but can use drawings, sculpture, painting and other forms to help children create and appreciate art. They design art projects that allow children to explore different materials, like clay, paint, charcoal and pastels. They may also provide basic instruction in art history.

Individuals pursuing an elementary teacher career will find job opportunities most plentiful in Texas and California. The number of elementary school teachers is expected to increase 6% between 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Many schools only have one or two art teachers, so prospective elementary art teachers may find competition to be stiff. According to the BLS, elementary teachers (excluding special education teachers) earned a median salary of $54,890 in 2015.

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Education Requirements

Elementary art teacher education requirements vary by state. Aspiring teachers usually earn a Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus in art or a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. These two bachelor's degree programs should include the coursework needed to apply for a state teaching license. All students must complete a student teaching experience. Student teachers spend at least a semester in an elementary art classroom, teaching under the direction of an experienced art teacher. They plan lessons and teach students how to create art projects.

In some states, individuals with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts may apply for a teaching license if they complete teaching prerequisites. There usually are no state licensing requirements for elementary art teachers who work in private schools.

Candidates who don't earn an undergraduate degree in art education or education may pursue master's degrees in these areas. Relevant master's degree programs include Master of Education and Master of Arts in Art Education. These programs are often aimed at working artists who would like to transition into teaching.


Elementary art teacher education programs include general education classes, like educational theory and child development. Aspiring art teachers also take art teaching methods classes. Common courses include art history, drawing, painting, artistic styles and art concepts. Education courses cover areas such as teaching methods, human development, lesson planning and fundamentals of public education.

Certification Information

There are no formal certification requirements for elementary art teachers beyond state licensing requirements. Some art teachers seek certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NPBTS). The organization offers art certification in early-middle childhood and early adolescence-young adulthood. Some states require teachers, including elementary art teachers, to obtain first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.

Elementary art teachers inspire young children to create art projects, teaching them to use different materials and artistic concepts. A bachelor's degree is required, and public school positions require state licensure and student teaching experience. Elementary art teachers can work in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, community centers or art studios, and job growth for this field is predicted to increase 6% through 2024.

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