Becoming an Art Teacher
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Art education or a degree in art with a teacher certification|
|Experience||Internships or volunteer positions may enhance professional prospects|
|Licensure/Certification||Vary by state for public schools; private schools and community art programs may not require teachers to be certified.|
|Key Skills||Artistic skills including oil painting, watercolor, clay, charcoal; creativity; organizational and time-management skills|
|Salary||$54,500 - $57,210 (2015 median range for all kindergarten through high school teachers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Art teachers help students develop their artistic skills by cultivating creative expression and fostering an understanding of textures, shapes, and colors. The majority of an art teacher's work entails guiding students through different projects in ceramics, sculpture, painting, drawing, and other areas. Some also teach art history and introduce students to the works of master artists.
Potential art teachers must obtain a bachelor's degree in art or in art education to gain a solid background in color theory, design, and painting as well as lesson planning, classroom management, and teaching methods. Employment openings for art teachers can be found through local school boards, career-building websites, publications for educators and teachers' unions, as well as classified ads and more.
Step 1: Develop a Range of Artistic Skills
Art teachers need to show proficiency in various styles and subjects of art. They should be able to demonstrate basic skills in oil painting, watercolor, clay, charcoal, and other types of art mediums. Colleges and universities offer a variety of art courses in which students can explore their interests.
Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Traditionally, many aspiring art teachers complete a bachelor's degree program in art education. However, students can also become art teachers by obtaining a bachelor's degree in art and then completing a teacher education program. Many students concentrate in a specific art-related field, such as art history, graphic arts, painting, or digital art. Accordingly, classes may differ, but generally cover topics in color theory, design, and painting.
Step 3: Complete a Teacher Education Program
Bachelor's degree programs in art education generally include teacher education preparation programs so college students can earn their credentials and begin teaching after graduation. Teacher education programs typically require students to complete supplemental courses in lesson planning, classroom management, and teaching methods. Additionally, students are assigned to teach at a school under the supervision of a licensed teacher. This allows them to apply learned methods and techniques, as well as gain teaching experience.
Step 4: Obtain a Teacher's Certification
The requirements for obtaining a teacher's certification vary by state, but most states only offer certification to applicants who have completed a formal education program. States also require that applicants pass basic skills tests in math and reading, in addition to demonstrating competency in art, media, and design. Public schools hire only certified art teachers, while private schools and community art programs may not require teachers to be certified.
Step 5: Gain Experience Teaching
Completing an internship, volunteering as an art teacher for community children's programs, or working as a substitute teacher may provide prospective art teachers with valuable teaching experience and networking opportunities. Employment openings for art teachers can be found through local school boards, on-line job listings, publications for educators and teachers' unions, as well as classified ads and more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school teachers will experience a 6% hike in job growth between 2014 and 2024. Additionally, the BLS reported that median annual salaries for these career fields ranged between $54,500 and $57,210 as of May 2015.
In summary, the five steps to becoming an art teacher are:
- Developing a range of artistic skills
- Earning a bachelor's degree
- Completing a teacher education program
- Obtaining a teacher's certification
- Gaining experience teaching