Art Teacher: Educational Requirements

Art teachers equip students with the skills to express their imaginations in different shapes, textures, colors and sizes. While private schools may set their own standards, public school art teachers need a bachelor's degree, which includes coursework and experience.

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Educational Requirements for Art Teachers

Most jobs for art teachers require the minimum of a bachelor's degree. Students may attend an art education program, which combines courses in the history, practice and theories of art with education courses that lead to certification. They may also choose to major in art while undergoing a teacher preparation program. Teacher preparation programs vary for elementary and secondary teachers but both include topics such as issues in education, behavior management and assessment techniques.

Teaching Internship

Most curricula include a capstone requirement of a student teaching internship. Student teaching places a student in a classroom, allowing them to lead class and make lesson plans under the supervision of an experienced art teacher. During the experience, students are evaluated by the supervising teacher on issues like classroom management, lesson planning and professionalism.

Master's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some states require teachers to earn a master's degree within a certain timeframe after they've begun teaching ( Students may earn a bachelor's degree in a subject area and proceed directly into a Master of Education program. Graduate programs, some of which are specific to art education, require advanced coursework and may offer a practicum or other work experiences. Students in general master's programs may use elective coursework on the subject they'll be teaching.

Licensing Requirements

The BLS reports that public school teachers must obtain licensure or certification in all 50 states and that requirements vary by state. Licensure may be based on the grade-level or the subject taught. Most states require prospective teachers to pass a basic skills exam and some states may administer subject-area exams. Teachers may maintain their licenses by meeting continuing education requirements.

Professional Certifications

While professional certification is not mandatory, it may lead to career advancement and a higher salary. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers the National Board Certification that is accepted nationally ( This certification is available in 25 subject areas, including art. To be eligible for NBPTS certification, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, a valid license and have a minimum of three years of experience.

Career and Salary Information

The BLS groups music, drama and art postsecondary teachers together, and it reported in 2012 that these teachers earned $62,160 as a median annual salary. The BLS also estimates a 17% job growth for all types of postsecondary teachers in the decade 2010-2020.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics