Art teachers are skilled artists and art education students who wish to share their mastery by teaching others how to create similar art. Art teachers provide individual and classroom instruction to students from preschool to graduate school, in both private and public settings.
Why Become An Art Teacher
Art can be any medium the artist uses to express their creativity. Common art courses include introduction to art, art history, and application. Specific art subjects include painting, drawing, sculpting, dancing, photography, music, performance, and writing.
Individuals who aspire to become art teachers are typically talented in an artistic medium. The majority of art education students who become teachers do so in an academic setting. Each level (elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary) require different skills and educational criteria. Post-secondary and adult educations also require varying levels of mastery.
It is paramount that an art teacher knows how to teach according to developmental level and can demonstrate skilled mastery in a practical art. To successfully convey meaning and support art students, teachers should possess the following traits:
Time management skills
Ability to multi-task
Classroom management skills
Knowledgeable about pedagogy, cognition, and specific art medium
Art Teacher Work Environment
Art teachers can work in studios, community centers, K-12 public and private schools, and in post-secondary settings. While the majority provide instruction in an academic setting, art teachers can provide classes as a means of therapy or individual enrichment. They can own their own studios or rent space in community centers, museums, prisons, preschools/daycares, and senior centers.
The majority of art teachers will work in academic settings, both K-12 and post-secondary environments. Most classes are taught indoors, in a classroom. It is possible to provide courses in alternative settings, such as an auditorium, concert hall, or outdoors. Teachers can work for private or public schools, and post-secondary educators can work in community colleges or university settings.
Art Teacher Salary
Art teachers who work outside an academic setting will have varying levels of compensation. There are no standard salaries for teachers who work in alternative environments and these salaries are typically less than that of a classroom teacher.
Classroom teachers will receive a salary that’s comparable to the level they teach and is based on the average national salary of all teachers for that level (2013):
Elementary School: $56,320
Middle School: $56,630
High School: $58,260
Art Teacher Career Outlook
The job growth for an art teacher is above average for all other occupations, especially for art teachers who wish to work in an academic setting. Each level has its own outlook, as demographic shifts alter the demand for instruction in all subjects (2012-2022):
Elementary School: 12%
Middle School: 12%
High School: 6%
Art Teacher Degree
All art teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree to teach. For those who wish to teach in an academic setting, certification and licensing apply. For individuals who aspire to work in a post-secondary setting, a graduate degree is required.
Step 1: Obtain an undergraduate degree. Depending on the setting, it is possible to teach art in a non-academic setting with an associate degree or demonstrated skill. For those who want to teach in a K-12 setting, the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree.
Individuals have a few choices, and some choices are contingent on state and program. Typical degrees for art teachers include a bachelor’s degree in art education or a degree in education with an emphasis in art. Individuals can also obtain a degree in a specific medium and continue on into an education program. Education programs that are separate from art programs include courses in development, pedagogy, law, classroom management, and other content-specific education courses.
Step 2: Complete an internship/student teaching program. Each state and program will require a different length of supervised classroom instruction in order to graduate, the typical length is one semester to one year. This step is a requirement for all teachers in order to obtain licensure.
Step 3: Obtain a license to teach. Although some private facilities do not require a state license to teach, many do, and all public schools require their teachers to have a license to teach a specific subject. Licensing criteria varies by state. Many require individuals to take state tests in the applicable subject, after graduating with an art education degree.
Step 4: Obtain a graduate degree (post-secondary instruction). Art teachers who work at a community college or as an adjunct instructor in a university setting must have at least a master’s degree to teach. Their degree has to align with the subject they are teaching. Research and professorial positions require a doctoral degree.