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How to Become an Art Teacher

Art Teacher

The art classroom is often considered a place for the creative process to be unleashed.  Many elementary and high school students find the art classroom to be a place that allows them to use their imagination and ingenuity.

If you would like to pursue a career as an art teacher, you will not only need ability and knowledge in art but you will required to know and understand a number of various art techniques including drawing, sculpting, painting, and all the different teaching and educational methods used to teach art to students of different skill and age levels.  If this sounds like something you would like to do, and career teaching art can be a wonderful decision. In this article I will discuss the different requirements and paths one might take to pursue a career in art education and teaching in the United States.

To become an Art teacher, teachers are required to hold degrees in Art Education, Fine Arts, or a related art field by most US states.    Now, becoming an art teacher in a elementary of high school setting is not something to laugh at.   And teaching and becoming an art teacher is definitely not easy.   These art degree programs will prepare you with the knowledge and expertise you will need.  A Fine Arts degree can help you develop a number of different artistic techniques and skills and many universities offer both Fine Arts degrees and Art Education degree programs which will help prepare you for teaching art in an elementary or high school setting. Courses in an Art Education program usually include Painting, Sculpting, Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, and other creative and art courses.   Teaching and education subjects can include Teaching Preschool Art, K-8 Art Education, Secondary Art Education, Child Development, Art Education Issues, Seminars, and Practicum. 

Traditional Art degree programs usually take 4 years like other bachelor degrees, but 5-year integrated master’s degrees in Fine Arts are also available.  Although these accelerated 5 year masters degree programs do not include a teaching certification, they do include education courses and student teaching workshops can lead nicely into a career as an art teacher.   Many states also require teachers to obtain a masters degree in a specific period of time after accepting a teaching position, so having one upfront is only a positive and can save you time and money down the road.   Finally, before obtaining a teaching certification you will also be required to pass an assessment examination administered by the state board of education.

Accelerated teaching certifications can also be obtained in some states to become an art teacher through compressed prep courses that will allow aspiring educators to receive a provisional or probationary certification to teach.   In most cases, the requirements are a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in art courses, successful completion of the Preparation Courses, plus a teaching internship. A probationary teacher certification will allow teachers to receive pay while working as an intern or teacher assistant.   You will then be observed by school district board members and other personnel to determine if you are capable of taking on a class of your own.  If an aspiring art teacher can successfully complete all the accelerated training needs, an official certification to teach can be issued without the need for obtaining a graduate degree.  

Requirements on exactly how to become an art teacher can vary by state, but the above should give you a general idea of the requirements to be an art teacher.  Always check with states board of education for specific requirements and alternative pathways you can explore that can show the way to a license to teach art education.