Elementary Art Teacher: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Requirements

Learn about the typical job duties for an elementary school art teacher. See what college degree you'll need, learn about state licensing requirements and explore job growth and earnings potential for this field. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is An Elementary Art Teacher?

Elementary art teachers prepare curriculum and provide instruction in art for students in elementary school. They plan age-appropriate activities for children in kindergarten through grade five, and evaluate student performance and progress. Elementary art teachers may also be involved with art contests or presentations, or working with students to prepare props for school performances. They may also meet with parents to discuss their child's progress.

Elementary art teachers are part of the elementary specialties. Below may be important information that contains details to become an elementary art teacher

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Education, art education
Licensure Required to work in public schools
Key Duties Instruct elementary age students in art
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* (for all elementary school teachers)
Mean Salary (2015) $57,730* (for all elementary school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Do Elementary School Art Teachers Do?

Elementary art teachers provide instruction in a number of creative and challenging activities aimed at children in grades 1-8. As an elementary art teacher, you'll develop daily lesson plans and introduce students to a number of traditional art forms, including dance, theater, drawing and sculpture. Through these lessons, you'll push students to think both critically and imaginatively.

Additionally, you'll be responsible for acquiring and managing art supplies at your school. You may also be called upon to demonstrate your understanding of new technology, such as software and interactive technology programs. You may be asked to integrate art instruction with other subjects, such as math, science, geography and language arts.

What Degree Do I Need To Prepare?

You'll typically need a bachelor's or master's degree in art education or general education with a focus in art. It can take you 4-5 years to complete a bachelor's degree program in childhood education, and up to two years to complete a master's degree program. Bachelor's degree programs provide you with a core in liberal arts studies, as well as upper-level specialized courses in curriculum development, early childhood psychology and classroom management. After graduating, you may be required to gain one year of teaching experience under the guidance of professionals.

Master's degree programs typically do not include general education courses. Instead, you'll focus on topics such as psychological approaches to teaching, multicultural education, the history of art education and instructional methods. You may also be required to conduct research and prepare a thesis. Students at both the bachelor's and master's level are expected to develop teaching portfolios and gain teaching experience during the time of their studies.

What Licensure Requirements Will I Have?

If you work for a private school, you may be exempt from earning licensure; however, all states require public elementary school teachers to be licensed by their state boards of education. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but generally include at least a bachelor's degree, an approved teacher training program and supervised teaching experience. When you apply for your license, you will typically have to pass your state's basic competency test in reading, writing and math as well as a test in your subject area. Many states require licensed teachers to renew their licenses periodically. The renewal process may require you to participate in workshops or engage in lifetime learning.

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary school teachers were predicted to see a 6% increase in employment from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). To increase your number of employment opportunities, consider working for schools in inner city or rural locations. In 2015, elementary school teachers earned an average salary of $57,730.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Art teachers can work in educational settings at the elementary, middle and high school levels. They may also be employed as an art teacher at private schools. The duties for middle and high school art teachers and private school arts teachers are comparable to those of elementary art teachers; however, they may work with students of different ages. Preschool teachers may also incorporate art into their curriculum with children ages three through five. Although they may not exclusively teach art, they may include art instruction as part of their program. Their profession is similar to an elementary art teacher because they are responsible for preparing a curriculum, instructing students and evaluating their progress.

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