High School Art Teacher: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a high school art teacher. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a High School Art Teacher?

High school art teachers convey the principles of art to their students through lessons in theory and hands-on practice. They usually offer introductory courses that provide an overview of studio art, as well as more focused courses in artistic methods such as drawing, painting, ceramics or photography. For advanced students, art teachers may offer specific preparation classes for one of the standardized AP art exams. They may also organize art shows in which students can display their work. Aside from teaching, high school art teachers may be involved in curriculum development, school policy implementation and student supervision in the hallways and cafeteria.

The following chart gives you an overview of a career as a high school art teacher.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Art education
Key Responsibilities Prepare lesson plans; teach classes according to lesson plans and student ability; grade students' performance and communicate student progress with parents; supervise students in a variety of school settings
Licensure Secondary school teachers in public schools must be licensed
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for all secondary school teachers*
Median Salary (2015) $57,200 for all secondary school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a High School Art Teacher Do?

As a high school art teacher, you are responsible for instructing students, grades 9-12, in history and theory topics related to the field. This may involve creating lesson plans, assignments and tests that revolve around certain artistic periods or famous artists. You also must review tests and assign grades to students each semester.

As an art teacher, you may also teach students technical skills involved in creating art. Through studio sessions, you teach students how to draw, sketch, paint and sculpt. You might also advise artistically inclined students on how to create a portfolio, set up an exhibition or apply for postsecondary art schools.

What Are the Education Requirements?

You are required to have a bachelor's degree before you can teach any subject at the secondary school level. Aspiring high school art teachers should enroll in a 4-year university or college with an art education program. Some schools allow you to further specialize in an area such as drawing, ceramics, digital art or printmaking. In addition to undertaking studies in art, you'll also complete a teacher preparation program, which provides practical experience in the field. Some schools may allow you to declare a major in art and a minor in teaching.

Is Licensure Necessary?

Every state requires you to gain licensure before you're allowed to teach in a public high school, though licensure isn't necessary for private school teachers. You must earn licensure through your state's board of education by proving that you have completed a bachelor's degree program in the field as well as a teacher preparation program. You may also be required to pass a proficiency test covering teaching skills in addition to art-specific subject matter before you can earn licensure.

What Salary Can I Expect to Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secondary school teachers held 962,820 jobs in 2015 (www.bls.gov). While the BLS does not report specific salary information for high school art teachers, it does report that secondary school teachers in general made a median annual salary of $57,200 in 2015. Some of the highest-paying states in the field included New York, Alaska and Connecticut.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Jobs teaching art are also available at the middle and elementary school levels. Although lower-level teachers may not offer specialized courses, they get to share their love of art with students between kindergarten and eighth grade. Like high school art teachers, they need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. Another job option in education is a career as a school principal or administrator. In order to take on this leadership position, experienced teachers must earn a master's degree in educational leadership or a closely related subject.

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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