Be a Drama Teacher: Career Information and Requirements

Learn how to become a drama teacher. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career as a drama teacher.

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Do I Want to Be a Drama Teacher?

Drama teachers assist students in exploring their creativity and building interpersonal skills via classroom activities and theater productions. They utilize instructional methods to create lesson plans, exercises and other activities to help students master costume and set design, acting and directing. These teachers may work with students from kindergarten through high school, depending on the certification type offered by one's university. Working with young people on a daily basis may be tiring or frustrating. Many educators find great reward in seeing their students' progress and accomplishments, however.

Job Requirements

A bachelor's degree in theater or drama with teacher preparation credit is required to teach drama at all school levels. After completing their degrees and all specified exams, aspiring teachers should be poised to secure teacher certification for the state where they expect to be employed in the public schools.

The following table displays the primary requirements for working as a drama teacher:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree required; some states require a master's degree*
Degree Field Theater arts education**
Licensure and/or Certification Teacher certification required*
Experience Student teaching internship required*
Key Skills Patience, instructional skills, communication skills*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **University of North Carolina-Asheville.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The minimum education requirement for a career as a drama teacher is the completion of a 4-year degree program at a college or university. Bachelor's degrees in theater arts education or drama education are typical for drama teachers in secondary schools. Education programs center on areas such as child and adolescent development, teaching diverse learners and lesson preparation. Teacher education programs can be completed concurrently with the bachelor's degree program or independently after earning a bachelor's degree. While attending college, a prospective drama teacher must fulfill an internship or supervised field experience at a local school.

Success Tip:

  • Get certification in an additional supplementary area. Some theater or drama education programs suggest future drama teachers should become licensed in another subject area as well as drama. If one decides to pursue dual certification in a related discipline, the versatility of being able to teach another class could be helpful when seeking employment.

Step 2: Get a Teaching Certificate

All teaching positions in public school systems, including drama, require applicants to have state certification. Each state's State Board of Education usually administers licensing. Licensing requirements vary but typically include the completion of a teacher preparation program, internship and an exam. Alternative licenses are also available for individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education.

Other than a bachelor's degree and student teaching field experience, the guidelines for certification differ by state. Every state usually assesses educators using an examination process to confirm they're eligible, but the exams utilized may differ. A teacher should be able to obtain teacher certification after finishing a bachelor's degree, student teaching and passing all professional examinations relevant to his or her state. Requirements to stay licensed may also vary, but can include continuing education classes. Some states require teachers to earn an additional post-baccalaureate degree.

Step 3: Complete a Master's Degree

Certain public schools require teaching applicants to possess a master's degree. Master's degree programs concentrate on teaching literature, literary theory, linguistics, rhetoric and composition, and many require the completion of a master's thesis or research project. Many master's programs are designed for those who have received a bachelor's degree in theater arts or drama, but are not certified, or for educators certified in different subjects who would like a drama or theater arts certification. Sometimes theater arts or drama teachers with bachelor's degrees enroll in a master's degree program to further their careers even when their state does not expect education beyond a bachelor's degree.

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