Teacher Certification Degrees » Teaching Career Center » Art Teacher Career Outlook & Job Description

Art Teacher Career Outlook & Job Description

Art teachers work primarily to bring knowledge of artistic and creative concepts to students in elementary, secondary and post secondary learning environments. They help students understand the artistic concepts in various types of visual communication, including drawing, painting, ceramics and design. Additionally, art teachers must work to cultivate these skills while meeting the academic and emotional needs of each student as well as the grading and curriculum requirements of their respective institution.

Art Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks

A bachelor’s degree in art or fine arts with an emphasis in education is the basic requirement for how to become an art teacher at a public school. Additionally, each state requires teachers to obtain a license along with practical experience or an internship in the field. Licenses are not required for art teachers working in private institutions. For prospective teachers who did not complete the necessary educational courses devoted to teaching theory, classroom management and psychology, all states now offer provisional licensure. Additionally, professional artists without a formal degree may qualify based on experience, but still need to secure a state license. Once licensed, art teachers instruct the basic principles of art and its history through hands-on interaction with their students. They must supervise student progress, assist students in cultivating their creativity, manage classroom discipline, grade papers and prepare lessons. Furthermore, art teachers interact with management, other instructors, parents and the community to address issues from the student level to the school budget. The basic attributes of a successful art teacher will include high levels of organization and time management, patience, reliability and artistic creativity.

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Art Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

The job outlook for art teachers is on par in comparison to the average career, with postsecondary salaries ranging from $30,000 to $50,000. Teachers who acquire further training or a national certification will benefit from increased salaries and health care benefits. Positions in extreme urban or rural environments offer higher salaries due to the demand for quality teachers in those areas. Additionally, states in the South and West are experiencing large enrollment increases, resulting in a heightened demand for art teachers in those areas. Northwest enrollment is forecast to decline, so teachers who are willing to relocate will be more likely to obtain a position. Moreover, the non-English speaking population continues to increase, resulting in a high demand for bilingual teachers.

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How to Become an Art Teacher

Those who wish to become an art teacher must first choose which path they are interested in taking. Some candidates decide upon an elementary certificate with a middle school endorsement in art, which enables them to teach art in middle school, while others decide upon a special K-12 certificate, which would allow them to teach art at any level.

To receive an elementary certificate with a middle school endorsement in art, students can expect to take two years of general courses. After admission into the education program at their university, these students will then begin taking a regimen of courses on the methods of teaching. These classes will cover content of all subject areas, and after passing the mandatory state testing and completing all observations and one semester of student teaching, a graduate will be entitled to an elementary certificate. To receive the endorsement in art, students must to take a number of art courses (which varies from school to school, but usually is around 18 credit hours) and the proper courses for middle school endorsement (usually two or three courses). This route would allow the candidate to teach in an elementary school as a regular education teacher, or allow them to teach middle school art.

A special K-12 certificate entitles the bearer to teach art in any elementary or high school. With the extra courses, those educators will also be eligible to teach in any middle school or junior high school. The student can expect to take two years of general education classes, and then move on to the education classes after being accepted into a school of education. These students will experience a variety of methods courses designed to expose the student to a variety of grade levels and topics. A number of art classes are also required. After passing the state mandated testing and successfully completing student teaching and all other requirements, the graduate will be eligible to apply for a license to teach. There are alternate paths to certification, which are based on each student’s educational background and experience.

Art Teacher Degrees and Programs

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