Primary School Art Teacher: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Primary school art teachers educate young students about basic art principles and techniques while encouraging creative expression. To teach in a public school, a candidate must typically complete a formal education and obtain a teaching license from his or her state.

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Job Description for a Primary School Art Teacher

Primary art schoolteachers provide art instruction to children in elementary school, usually from ages 5-12. Art teachers develop and execute lesson plans about art techniques and art history. They create an environment that encourages creative expression while nurturing artistic abilities.

Primary School Art Teacher Duties

Primary school art teachers oversee the production of paintings, drawings and sculptures. Media used may include pencil, charcoal, watercolor paint and oil-based paint; projects may also involve tactile materials such as felt, Styrofoam, fabric or clay. Some teachers incorporate lesson plans that use recycled or refuse materials to teach eco-friendliness. The curriculum usually includes art history through profiling famous artists.

Requirements for a Primary School Art Teacher

Educational Requirements

Primary school teachers should obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited teacher education program. Common degrees are a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialization in art or a Bachelor of Art in Art Education. Course requirements usually include child development, psychology of learning and art theory. To gain classroom experience, candidates must complete a student-teacher internship in which they are closely supervised.

Licensure Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), public school teachers must hold state licensure, which is granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee (www.bls.gov). To obtain a license, candidates must pass an exam proving reading and writing skills, knowledge of teaching methods and art expertise. Private schools may not require a license. States also offer special licenses for people who earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts, for example, without graduating from a formal teaching program, but who want to transition into teaching.

Job Requirements

Teachers must possess patience and be able to motivate students. Enthusiasm and creativity are assets, as are strong organizational skills, since art teachers often oversee the ordering of supplies. It also helps to have experience working with children in an art studio. Background checks are often required.

Salary and Career Outlook for a Primary School Art Teacher

While the BLS does not gather statistics on art teachers specifically, its data on all primary school teachers reflects that in 2012, these teachers earned an average of $56,130 per year. In addition, the BLS reports that employment for elementary school teachers is expected to increase by a margin of 17% between 2010 and 2020.

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