Drama Teacher Certification and Education Requirements

Drama teachers must be certified or licensed to teach in public schools at the elementary through secondary levels, which typically requires a bachelor's degree and supervised teaching experience. Read on for more information on how to enter this profession, including information on drama courses taken in degree programs. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

If you want to teach drama at the elementary, middle school or high school levels, you most often need a bachelor's degree and arts teacher certification. If you plan to teach in private schools, you may be able to find employment without teacher certification. In this case, you may need to have several years of drama experience and a bachelor's degree in either drama or educational theater. A master's degree in educational theater qualifies you to teach at community colleges.

Degrees Undergraduate degrees in Educational Theater, Drama, or a related field; Graduate degrees in Educational Theater
Certification Undergraduate and graduate-level teaching certificate programs in Educational Theater; some online teacher certification programs are available.
Courses Theatrical design, movement, acting, stagecraft and lighting, fine arts, directing, history of the theater

How Can I Get Certified to Teach Drama?

State boards of education set the requirements for teacher licensure, so they vary. Typically, states ask that arts teachers take a series of education courses, pass one or more exams and log observed teaching hours. Online teacher certification programs are available, as is a master's degree in educational theater. Bachelor's degree programs in drama or educational theater are generally only available on campus, rather than online.

Many educational theater departments allow you to earn both your undergraduate or master's degree and teacher certification credential simultaneously. If you majored in a related subject as an undergraduate, such as English or education, then the master's in educational theater may be a good option for you. If you are preparing to begin college, a bachelor's in educational theater with teacher certification is usually the most direct route to a career in teaching drama.

What Will I Learn?

You can expect to take a full range of theater courses, including:

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Costume and lighting design
  • History of the theater
  • Stagecraft
  • Dramatic styles and concepts
  • Literature in drama

Teaching certification requires courses in human development, classroom ethics and leadership, childhood psychology, teaching methodologies and curriculum building. You are likely to spend some time student-teaching or training in the classroom with a licensed teacher.

How Should I Choose a School?

You may want to attend college in the state where you plan to teach. Some states offer reciprocity agreements with other states, so if you have already received your bachelor's degree and teacher certification, you may still be able to find work in a different location. Check your state's Board of Education website for details.

Consider which electives are offered and how the curriculum suits your background. If you have studied a certain component of drama extensively, you may want to seek out a program with more courses in your specialty area - or another focus altogether. If you are new to the field, you may prefer a program with an even number of courses in each area of theater. You'll want to consider commodities such as high-caliber staging and rehearsal facilities, as well as tie-in components such as strong music, dance and fine arts programs. The faculty and their experience and connections may also affect your school choice.

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:

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