How to Become an Art Teacher in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for art teachers. Get the facts about licensure, degree requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Art Teacher?

Art teachers are responsible for developing an age-appropriate curriculum and instructing students in art concepts and techniques. They monitor student progress and grade their work, and may also meet with parents to discuss their child's progress. Art can be taught at elementary, middle and secondary school levels. A school art teacher will need a degree and a teaching license. Although many art teachers work for schools, it is also possible to teach community recreational art classes. Another option is to become an art professor, but teaching at the college level requires a minimum of a master's degree.

Kindergarten Teacher Middle School Teacher High School Teacher
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Elementary education Education Education
Licensure/Certification Licensure or certification is required for all art teachers in public schools Licensure or certification is required for all art teachers in public schools Licensure or certification is required for all art teachers in public schools
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all kindergarten teachers, except special education)* 6% (for all middle school teachers)* 6% (for all high school teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $51,640 (for all kindergarten teachers, except special education)* $55,860 (for all middle school teachers, except special and career/technical education)* $57,200 (for all secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Art Teacher Career Duties and Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, an art teacher is responsible for teaching art to children at the preschool, kindergarten, elementary or secondary school level. An art teacher fosters creative abilities within their students through an arts-based curriculum that covers drawing, painting, photography, pottery making and other mediums of expression. An undergraduate degree in arts education is required for entry-level teaching jobs. Applicants must also have licensure and certification.

Step 2: Preparing for a Formal Course of Education

According to College Board,, high school students interested in a career as an Art Teacher should find a university with an education program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. They should also ensure that it has well equipped art studios.

Step 3: Completing a Course of Study in Education

Students enrolled in an arts education degree program will take courses in the arts and classes that cover practical and theoretical aspects of education. An arts education program requires courses in research methods in arts education, artistic development of children, historical foundations of art education and artistic development from adolescence to adulthood.

Step 4: Obtaining Licensure

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require that public school teachers be licensed. State boards of education are usually the governing body that grants licensure. Licensing requirements vary state to state but generally require an approved education program with some supervised practice teaching. Testing in the teacher's subject area as well as reading and writing are also required.

Step 5: Building Strong Communication Skills

Strong communication skills are essential to an art teacher. An art teacher will be required to communicate with a variety of students that have different personality and unique cultural backgrounds. The better the communication is between the student and the teacher the more easily the teacher will be able to build a relationship of trust, which will facilitate the learning process for all.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Preschool, elementary, middle and high school teachers of other subjects all perform tasks that are similar to those of an art teacher. They must create an age-appropriate curriculum, instruct students and evaluate student progress. They also need to have a bachelor's degree and those who teach in the public school system need to have their teaching license. Childcare workers may incorporate art projects and activities into their program while caring for young children. These employees usually don't need a degree, but may need to complete licensing requirements and have a high school diploma. Craft and fine artists create works of art to sell and/or exhibit. A formal education is not required to become a craft artist, but fine artists often have at least a bachelor's degree.

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