How Can I Become a High School Art Teacher?

Research what it takes to become a high school art teacher. Learn about job duties, education, licensure requirements 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 educate young adults about the visual arts and help them create artwork. They typically may teach general courses in studio arts, as well as more specialized classes in different types of art, such as drawing, painting, photography and ceramics. They may also guide students who are pursuing independent studies in a particular medium of interest. In addition to their teaching duties, art teachers may also be involved in curriculum development and school policy implementation.

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

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Art education, art, secondary education
Key Responsibilities Prepare lesson plans; teach lessons and assist students; grade school work, homework and tests; confer with parents about student progress
Licensure and/or Certification All states require public school teachers to 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?

Using art materials like paint, colored pencils, crayons and dyes, you would educate students on an array of visual art projects. Sculpture, computer graphics design, drawing, painting and art history are a few of the subjects that you might teach as a high school art teacher. It's possible to work in a public or private school where art is only a small part of the curriculum or a school that's much more art-focused and has a student body that attends it for that reason. What you teach and how you teach art will sometimes depend upon your specific area of expertise.

What Education Do I Need?

Teachers traditionally need a bachelor's degree to begin their career. To become an art teacher, you can choose a degree program in art, art history, art education or a related discipline. In a typical art education program, you'll be able to develop both as an artist and a teacher. A few subjects you might encounter are watercolors, photography, printmaking, 2- and 3-dimensional design, computer graphics, ceramics and classroom management. There are also grade level specific education classes, such as teaching in the secondary school. If you want to continue your education, there are a number of master's and doctorate degree programs available in art education as well.

How Do I Get My License?

In order to begin teaching high school art, you'll need to acquire your teacher's license. The requirements to accomplish this depend entirely upon what state you wish get your license to teach in. In almost all cases, you'll need to pass an exam specific to the level you want to teach, in this case secondary school. You'll also typically need to have clocked a minimum number of teaching hours in a classroom under the guidance of a lead teacher. These hours are often completed in your undergraduate or graduate school program, but if you haven't yet many states provide training programs in which you can do so.

What Is the Job Market Like?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of high school teachers is increasing (www.bls.gov). Between 2014 and 2024, the BLS predicted that the number of secondary school teachers, including art teachers, would grow by 55,900 jobs, or 6%. The Bureau further noted that student enrollment for elementary, middle and secondary children would vary by region.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Jobs teaching art are also available at the elementary and middle school levels. Because elementary and middle school art teachers work with younger students between kindergarten and eighth grade, they usually provide more general education in art. However, just like high school art teachers, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree with a teaching license. An alternative option for individuals interested in art education is a job as a museum curator or technician. These professionals may design art exhibits and hold tours and workshops for school groups and the general public. A bachelor's degree is usually required for this job as well.

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