Art Teacher Courses and Degrees

Art teachers instruct students in classic art forms, like drawing, painting and sculpting, as well as new media and digital art techniques. Learn about the requirements for working as an art teacher at the elementary, secondary or postsecondary level. Review degree programs you could pursue to become an art teacher, and find out what kind of subjects you'd study. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Art teachers may teach at various educational levels, from elementary to post-secondary. While a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to teach art, a master's degree is usually required to teach at the post-secondary level, and the most competitive schools may desire teachers who have doctoral degrees. Most baccalaureate and graduate degree programs include hands-on teaching experience along with traditional coursework.

Degrees Bachelor's degrees in Art, Fine Art and Art Education; Master's degrees in Art Education; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Education and Art Education
Courses Art Criticism, Philosophies of Art Education, Human Development, Community-Based Art Education
Licensing Public school teachers below the postsecondary level must be licensed in the state in which they teach

What Credentials Do I Need to Become an Art Education Teacher?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll usually need a bachelor's degree to teach elementary or high school art classes ( Teaching the arts at colleges and universities might necessitate you earn a master's degree, though the BLS stated you could need a doctoral degree to work at some prestigious or desirable schools. In addition to any degree requirements, all 50 states require you to be certified or licensed if you work in a public school at the elementary, middle or secondary level. To earn licensure, you'll usually need to complete a program in teacher education, as well as some observational and practical teaching experience. You don't need state licensure to work at postsecondary institutions.

What Degrees Are Available?

You might need to major in the subject you teach, making bachelor's degree programs in art, fine art or art education relevant. Some programs allow you to concentrate on specialized topics, such as design and digital media, 2-D design or mixed media. Many programs require you to participate in teaching practicums to earn your degree and qualify for licensure. Art education bachelor's degrees are not offered online, though you might be able to combine an on-campus art major with an online education program through some schools. Some degree options include a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Art in Art Education in addition to a Bachelor of Art or a Bachelor of Fine Art in Art.

What About Graduate Degrees?

You can also earn a master's degree in art education, art history and visual arts. Several schools offer online options, though you might need to attend some periodic, on-campus studio work or teaching practice. Master's degree curricula vary depending on your particular field of study or concentration but could include teaching requirements at the school or with an affiliated institution.

To become more competitive, you could earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Art Education or a Doctor of Education with an emphasis on art or art education. Doctoral programs center mostly around research, and you could channel your curricula into precise studies in such areas as arts policy or college-level teaching. Many schools prefer Ph.D. applicants that have several years of teaching experience prior to enrollment. Doctoral programs can take you up to five years to complete and are typically not offered online.

What Subjects Will I Study?

In a bachelor's degree program, you might be required to complete research projects and several semesters of field teaching experience in elementary and high school classrooms. A teaching program includes human development, teaching strategies and curricula development. These topics might also be covered in your coursework:

  • Color concepts
  • Drawing
  • New media in art education
  • History of art teaching
  • Art criticism
  • Teaching art to special populations

What Graduate Courses Are Available?

Master's degree programs teach courses that are relevant from childhood to adolescent education. Internships at local schools, field experiences and study-abroad opportunities accompany lectures. You could also exhibit your art and might need to write a thesis or complete a research project.

In a doctoral program, you might be required to participate in teaching assistantships and complete a dissertation. Regardless of the degree level you choose, art programs generally require you to submit a portfolio of your artwork during the application process. The following courses may be included in a graduate program:

  • Artistic development
  • Philosophies of art education
  • Digital media in art
  • Historical foundations of art education
  • Art in visual culture
  • Community-based art education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Northcentral University

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    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

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  • University of Florida

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Gainesville
  • Towson University

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • Penn Foster High School

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