How to Become an Art Teacher

Amanda Martin
Amanda Martin
Elementary school music teacher; M.A.Ed. In Curriculum and Instruction
A teacher helps her students with their class art paintings.

What Does an Art Teacher Do?

Art teachers have an exciting job; not only do they get to participate in their favorite hobby while working in the classroom, but they also get to share and enhance those artistic skills with their students.

The role of an art teacher is to encourage creativity and foster various art skills within their students as they progress through an art class. As this takes place, teachers have the opportunity to watch art competencies grow and mature in their students as they continue learning. Many art techniques must be taught in an art classroom.

Most art classrooms consist of visual art activities such as drawing, painting, sculpting, and photography. As technology has continued to expand and make more opportunities available in the classroom, the art curriculum can also include graphic design, filmmaking, architecture, and design.

An art teacher is responsible for structuring content to address many of the above-mentioned skills to expose students to a variety of art experiences. Additionally, art teachers may typically follow a set of curriculum standards issued by either their state department of education or at the national level to guide them in their content planning.

Art Teacher Requirements: Skills

To pursue an art career, art teacher requirements include some background, training, or talent in a particular area of art. Many times, these skills are acquired by completing various college courses. That being said, art teachers are not expected to be experts in all areas of visual art; however, they will need to hold a basic understanding of various art techniques.

Art teachers must provide their students with guidance and knowledge when introducing various art techniques in the classroom; thus, it is essential to have a foundational understanding of multiple art skills.

Art Teacher Requirements: Education

In general, most aspiring art teachers need at least an undergraduate degree to pursue a career in art education. As mentioned above, art teachers are not expected to excel in every area of visual art for art teacher jobs. Still, they are required to acquire enough understanding and experience in those areas to be able to teach those skills to students.

While pursuing an undergraduate art degree, students must choose an area of emphasis (drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic design, and more). This area will become the art student’s most advanced skill. From that point, art students will be exposed to other elements of art, and if working toward an art education degree, most colleges will offer classes on how to teach the fundamentals of art to students.

Aside from completing an undergraduate degree in art, potential teachers will need to receive initial teaching certification to qualify to teach in a school setting. Licensure typically consists of passing a formal test (such as a Praxis test) that addresses a variety of art content for art teacher certification. In addition to testing in the potential teacher’s area of study, some states require the completion of testing in the area of education as well.

Why Should You Consider Art Teacher Jobs?

There are several advantages to becoming an art teacher and why you should consider it! Let’s take a look at some of the significant benefits of teaching art to students:

Salary and Benefits

As an art teacher, you can receive some type of competitive teacher salary. If you hold an additional degree, such as a master’s degree or higher, you may even be eligible for a higher salary if your school district offers those incentives. Relevant graduate programs for an art teacher may include curriculum and instruction, master’s in teaching, and more.

As with most teaching positions, you would have a regular work schedule, maintain health insurance benefits, and enjoy holidays off. Art teacher salary is $50,000 annually on average and $39,000 for entry-level, according to Zippia.

Creative Learning Environment

One of the most exciting things about art is that it constantly fosters creativity and other benefits to student learning. Because of this, student work will always reflect of the individual student, and as long as the basic steps of the art process are followed, there are no right or wrong answers in evaluating the finished product.

This holds for almost every visual art element from painting to photography. Another bonus is that the skills and techniques required in the art classroom are constantly changing so teachers are never stuck teaching one concept for too long.

Professional Development

Professional development opportunities for art teachers is more often formulated to grow and advance a teacher’s ability to introduce content in the classroom. Art workshops for teachers may teach new ways to provide instruction to students, share unique ideas for student activities and projects, and challenge teachers to initiate up-and-coming art styles.

Shape Student Learning

As mentioned previously, one of the best rewards of teaching art to students is watching them learn and grow in their abilities. It is also amazing to witness students find something that they are passionate about or discover skills that they did not realize they had! Art teachers have the opportunity to promote self-confidence, interpersonal skills, expand art skills, and encourage exploration into unknown topics in their students.

How to Become an Art Teacher

If being an art teacher sounds like something you would find rewarding and enjoyable, it may be beneficial to follow some of the steps below to help make that career a reality:

  1. Decide which elements of art you find most appealing and determine whether or not those skills or classes are taught and offered in the schools you would like to teach.
  2. Complete an undergraduate degree in an arts program. If you already hold a degree in education or an art field, some states and school districts may allow you to pursue an additional certification to be able to teach art to students. In addition, if the need for an art teacher is great, some school districts may be allowed to apply for a waiver that will enable you to teach without the proper certification or while you pursue certification. The rules of waivers may vary slightly depending on the state in which you want to teach.
  3. Create a resume that showcases your skills. You will want to include important information regarding your ability to teach students and your artistic background and training. It is important to show potential employers that you possess the necessary skills to teach students art techniques while maintaining classroom discipline and organization.

Interested in becoming a teacher? Check out our available programs and get started on your next journey today!

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