How to Become an Art Teacher

Carolina Jacobs

May 12, 2021

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Art is a way for many students to express themselves. As an art teacher, you can inspire students’ creativity in a unique way. But to become an art teacher, you must have the proper education and certifications. Here are some of the steps to take when pursuing a career as an art teacher.

Qualifications and Responsibilities of an Art Teacher

When entering into your career as an art teacher, you want to make sure you can showcase your artistic abilities and encourage students to demonstrate theirs. You also want to motivate students to take the basic skills they learned and apply them further.

Another essential part of teaching is to inspire your students to take on tasks they may be uncomfortable with at first.

Your job requirements will be similar to other educators. Here are some of the typical responsibilities for art professors:

  • Creating lesson plans
  • Explaining different types of art techniques
  • Teaching the history of art
  • Evaluating assignments
  • Organizing instructional field trips to museums and art galleries

3 Steps to Becoming an Art Teacher

Pursuing a career as an art teacher takes more than just an inspiring personality. There are other education requirements, too. Here are the steps for how to become an art teacher.

  1. Get the Proper Education

The first step in pursuing your art career is to get a formal education.

You will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in art alongside completing a teacher preparation program. You can obtain a master’s degree if you want to receive a higher salary or complete your education before starting a full-time position. Some states also require you to obtain a master’s degree when renewing your license.

The teacher preparation course is structured to help prepare you to lead a classroom independently. Some schools will offer a bachelor’s degree and preparation course as a package. If they do, this is the most efficient way to complete both.

However, if you have already completed your education, consider incorporating a teacher preparation program alongside a full-time art teacher position. Here are some programs you may want to consider looking into:

  • Linden University: Offers a bachelor’s in both art and design.
  • Liberty University: Offers a bachelor’s in fine arts and graphic design.
  • Grand Canyon University: Provides a bachelor’s and master’s in early childhood education and a master’s in special education.
  • Winthrop University: They have a Master of Arts and Administration program.
  • Rasmussen University: Their featured programs include an Early Childhood Education Certificate and diploma plus bachelor’s and associate-level degrees.

2. Take a Competency Exam 

As with other professions, you must take a state exam to evaluate your teaching and art practices knowledge.

There is a variety of testing series issued, such as The National Evaluation Series. These exams test your basic skills in reading, writing, and math. The second section tests your knowledge in the area of art, such as art history and theory.

3. Apply for Your License

The last step in the process is to apply for your state license. There are certain items you will need to send in with your application:

  • A copy of your degree
  • Proof of your student teaching experience
  • Verification documents from your fingerprint and background check
  • The application fee

Most states have an online site where you can sign up for the application.

Places to Teach Once Certified

Once you have your teaching license and have received the proper education, you now have to decide where you want to work.

Each educational setting will be slightly different, so consider the type of learning environment you would like to teach in. Here are some of the options to choose from.

  1. Public School

At a public school, you are more likely to encounter students from diverse backgrounds. If you want to work with students from multiple walks of life, a public school could be a good fit for you.

You will most likely be teaching students in middle or high school. If you enjoy working with students who fall into this age group, you should think about teaching at a public school.

  1. Private School

Students pay to attend these types of institutions, which means classes often have a required curriculum to follow. Consider teaching at a private school if you like having a more structured lesson plan.

Many private schools also have specific religious affiliations that influence their teaching methods. Be sure you are aware of these affiliations before accepting a position.

  1. Charter School

These schools tend to focus more on the arts and have a more diverse curriculum. Since they are not state-funded, they have a less strict educational program.

 A charter school might be the way to go if you prefer to have a more varied lesson plan.

Tips for Creating Your Curriculum

Planning your syllabus takes careful thought. You want to make sure your students are learning effectively. Consider these factors that could impact your overall lesson plans:

  • Classroom management strategies: To ensure students can learn adequately, you need to be able to keep them focused and engaged.
  • Socio-economic factors: You need to be sensitive to the socio-economic background of your students and try to have classroom events that can include all your students.
  • Evolving workplace expectations: As technology advances, how the workplace functions is constantly changing. You want to help prepare your students for these changes by keeping up with new market trends.
  • Availability of resources and technology: Before deciding what topics to cover that day, check to see what resources are at your disposal.
  • Your unique teaching style: Think about what personality traits you have that make you stand out as an educator, such as a sense of humor, and try to incorporate them into your lesson plan.

Pursuing a Career in the Arts

Now you know how to become an art teacher!

As an art educator, you are making an impact on students’ lives through creative expression. Being an art teacher can be a rewarding profession! When thinking about becoming an art teacher, remember to obtain a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation course, take a certification exam, and apply for your state license.

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