Drama Teacher Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Educators in general and theater educators in particular can still find employment opportunities despite the funding constraints most school districts face. A small number of colleges and universities offer drama teacher certificate programs that prepare established educators and theater professionals to teach theater to students.

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Drama Teacher Certificate

Schools may also refer to a drama teacher certificate program as a certificate in teaching theater or a certificate in theater education. Programs are designed for established theater professionals who want to teach theater in formal and non-formal settings, and licensed teachers who want to improve upon their arts education competency. Course content emphasizes the integration of theater education throughout the K-12 curriculum. A certificate may be completed in a year or less.

Education Prerequisites

Prior course work in theater is required for enrollment in a drama teacher certificate program. Some programs have options for applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree in theater and for those who have not.

Program Coursework

Courses in a drama teacher certificate program cover the essentials of mounting a live theatrical production. Possible course topics in a drama teacher program include:

  • Teaching through theater
  • Playwriting fundamentals
  • Directing fundamentals
  • Acting fundamentals
  • Lighting, stagecraft and stage management
  • Costume design and makeup
  • Scene design

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Job prospects for drama teachers will generally reflect the availability of arts education grants and the level of state and federal arts education spending. During times of economic stress, public funding for arts education often comes under pressure because the arts are less likely to be viewed as a fundamental educational necessity compared to reading, writing and mathematics.

A drama teacher certificate qualifies established, licensed teachers to move into theater education. Theater professionals who earn the certificate but don't have a teaching license may still find opportunities to teach theater as adjunct teachers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that all postsecondary teachers will have 17% job growth for the decade 2010-2020. In 2012, the BLS reported that art, music and drama postsecondary teachers earned $62,160 as a median annual salary.

Continuing Education Information

A handful of schools offer master's degree programs either in theater education or in drama or theater with a teaching emphasis. Credits from a certificate program may be transferable to a master's program.

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