How Do I Become an Art Teacher?

To teach in elementary public schools, a teacher education certification is needed in addition to a four year degree.
Completing an undergraduate degree in an art-related field is often the first step toward teaching art.
Art teachers are expected to explain how pieces of art, like Norman Rockwell's paintings, reflect the values of the societies individual artists were raised in.
An art teacher may have a degree in art history.
Private school elementary art teachers may not need a teaching certificate.
An art teacher needs to have a passion for art, as well as the ability to teach effectively.
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Teaching art can be a very enjoyable and rewarding career. The steps necessary to become an art teacher vary depending on the field you want to work in. The most common and recognized way is to first complete an undergraduate degree. A bachelor's from a teacher education program, or in a specific subject of art is very helpful, thought not required. A degree in art history, fine or visual art, or even graphic design is recommended.

To teach in most public schools, colleges, and universities, you'll need to take graduate-level classes or certification courses. In the U.S., it is common for those who want to teach in a public elementary, intermediate, or high school to complete a teacher education certification in addition to a bachelor's degree. Getting a graduate degree will likely increase your salary and provide more flexibility to move about in this career field.

If you want to teach at a community or two year college, completing a master's degree in an art-related field is required. At the university level, a Ph.D. is usually required, and this should be earned at an accredited, well-respected university.

Private elementary and high schools will often hire teachers who are not certified. Sometimes they will even hire teachers who have a great deal of experience, or who are knowledgeable about a certain type of art, but do not necessarily have a formal education.


Some states in the U.S. approve private school teachers who possess at least a bachelor's degree to apply for a state-issued teaching license after a number of years of teaching and certain conditions are met. Licensing varies by state and should be verified by contacting the state teacher licensing board. This is another route available for those who want to become an art teacher and also earn a license or certification to teach.

Yet another route, and likely the most promising one, is to first decide which type of art you want to teach. You should then figure out which sector you want to teach in, be it public, private, or non-profit. From there, contact human resources or hiring departments and learn the requirements needed to work as an art teacher. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities and internships in hopes of securing a paid position teaching art.

The decision to become an art teacher is one that can lead to a career working with students of various ages and abilities. There are opportunities to move about in the field, and art teachers are not limited to teaching at public or private schools. Other art teaching jobs can be found in hospitals, elderly care facilities, community recreation programs, prisons, rehabilitation centers, and at privately owned businesses, such as art centers and art museum programs.


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Post 5

It seems like I should have sucked it up and gone to do the two or three years of studying for art school after all. It's something that I am interested in, and maybe I would have met more people I have things in common with. My advice to you all: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Post 4

Thank you so much for the information. Definitely helpful for a College student like myself trying to figure out which route to take.

Post 3

Cafe41-Many art teachers in order for them to become teachers have to work with different mediums and be very comfortable with them.

So you really have to have experience with various types of mixed media, graphic design, watercolor and acrylic paint, along with ceramics and print making materials.

Post 2

Icecream17-Some are teachers have an MFA, which stands for a Masters of fine arts.

This degree is required for teaching art at the college level. You can also seek a Masters and then a doctorate in art education, but that is usually not necessary as the MFA is a Masters in studio art is what most schools are interested in.

Most schools want to hire artists with degrees and experience in the field. This will provide a more enriching experience for the students.

Establishing a portfolio is also critical when learning how to become an art teacher.

Your skills as an artist will also have an effect on how to become a teacher.

Post 1

How to become an elementary art teacher is easy. You can actually get a bachelor's degree in art education, which is the degree in which you would actually have an internship and would receive practical on-the-job experience on becoming an art teacher.

You can also get a BFA, which stands for bachelors of fine arts which is a pure art degree.

In order to be able to teach you would have to get a teaching certification which can be done by taking an exam in your subject area as well as taking a few extra courses regarding teaching in the classroom.

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