What Is a Primary School Art Teacher?

Explore a career as a primary school art teacher. Learn about education and licensing requirements, work responsibilities, salary and potential job growth to see if this is the right field for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Primary School Art Teacher?

Primary school art teachers work with students in first through fifth grade. They teach art concepts and skills to students. Like other teachers, they refer to the curriculum guidelines and develop lesson plans and teach classes. They also use tests, assignments and projects to grade their students, and may meet with parents to discuss their child's progress. Primary school art teachers also address behavioral issues when necessary, and they may display artwork from their students in the school.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree preferred for some jobs
Education Field of Study Elementary education with a focus on art
Licensure State certification in early education required for jobs in public schools
Training Approximately 500 hours of student teaching required for certification
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all elementary school teachers)
Average Salary (2015)* $57,730 (for all elementary school teachers, except special education)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Primary School Art Teacher Do?

Primary school teachers, also referred to as elementary school teachers, typically educate children between grades one and five. As a primary school art teacher, you'll be responsible for teaching children to create a variety of visual art projects, from drawing and painting to sculpting. The approach you'll typically take depends not only on personal style and expertise, but the grade level and age that you're teaching. For example, in a first grade classroom, you might teach a unit on finger-painting, while in fourth or fifth grade, you might help the class complete a public mural.

What Education Do I Need?

If you have your high school diploma or a GED, one way to become a primary school art teacher is by earning a bachelor's degree in art or art history. Another common way is by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in elementary education. Upon graduation, an option is to enroll in a master's degree program in art education or a related field. A few subjects that you can expect to cover in such a program are child development, child growth, art history, art curriculum and teaching methods.

How Do I Get My License?

After earning your bachelor's degree or higher, the next step towards becoming a primary school art teacher is to get your teaching license. The process to do this varies from state to state, with each state having its own specific program. You will usually need to pass an exam for the level that you wish to teach, in this case elementary education. Additionally, you usually will be required to have completed a minimum number of hours in the classroom under the lead of a licensed teacher. Most states will provide you with any training you need, although if you are a graduate of an elementary education program, you'll probably be ready to earn your license already.

What Is the Job Market Like?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of teaching professionals at the elementary school level, including art teachers, is expected to increase by 6% from 2014 to 2024. The top-paying states for elementary educators in 2015 were Connecticut, where teachers earned an average of $75,700; Alaska, where the average salary was $73,220; and New York, where the average income for elementary school teachers was $72,930.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Middle and high school art teachers perform the same duties as primary art school teachers. The develop lesson plans, teach classes and assess the performance of their students. They meet with parents to discuss their child's progress, and they also address behavioral issues and may display artwork in the school. Like primary art school teachers, middle and high school art teachers need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. The key difference between these teachers is the age of the students that they work with. Middle school teachers work with students in grades six through eight, and high school teachers work with students in grades nine through twelve. Middle and high school art teachers may also be involved in student art clubs, and may facilitate opportunities for their students to enter art competitions.

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