How To Become An Art Teacher: A Complete Guide

Art is not just a course in school. It is an expression of one’s creativity and imagination. Teaching art is not just a profession, it is also sharing a passion. But what does it take to become an art teacher?


Art Teacher

Art courses aim to develop skills in painting, design, craft and other visual expression of students. An art teacher helps students develop their artistic skills not only by using classroom instruction but more importantly by giving hands on projects in sculpture, painting and other areas of the arts.

As a classroom facilitator, the basic role of a teacher is to prepare the course outline and see to it that it meets the school requisites. The syllabus will serve as the instructional guide for daily lectures and assignments. Examinations are conducted and graded to ensure the comprehension of the students.

But unlike other academic courses, creative hands-on projects are more important gauges of the student’s learning.  An art teacher examines a student’s portfolio of artwork in order to judge his overall progress.  The teacher becomes a coach by providing assistance in the areas where the student needs improvement.

Aside from these classroom activities, art teachers often take their students on field trips to see art galleries, exhibits and even visit master artists to observe and at the same time get a grasp of the creative world.


how to become an art teacher



Teaching usually requires a degree in education. In the case of art teachers, it is Art Education. However, there are institutions that allow other degree holders to teach art, especially those who are Art Degree Holders.

These Teaching Education Programs require additional subjects including lesson planning, classroom management and teaching methods. Once you complete this program, you can begin teaching.

There are also universities that require art teachers to have a master’s degree or doctorate degree in Fine Arts. These degrees usually take multiple years to complete after the bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers who have a doctorate degree have a higher earning potential.

The US National Art Education Association (NAEA) is one of the largest professional art education associations. It has a foundation that provides various grants and scholarships relating to art education.  Please see the link for details:




The requirements for a teaching license/certification vary by state as detailed below:

Generally, public schools hire only certified art teachers while private schools may not require teachers to be certified.

There are states that require teachers to pass basic skills exams in math and reading while there are those that require demonstration of competency in the arts.

There are schools that prefer those who have prior work experience like internship, volunteer for community programs or being a substitute teacher but these are not required. Hands-on experience in painting, sculpture and other arts can also be a very important factor in becoming an art teacher.



The Arts is a very unique field. An art teacher must be creative and have a passion for the arts. You must have the desire to share that passion with other people. It is having the ability to inspire and drive your students to be innovative. You must let them use their imagination and express creativity through their craft.

Since artists take time to develop, an art teacher must be patient and have empathy.  Listening is also an important skill in the arts, because in this field, there are no boundaries and set of rules. Artists are unique and must be treated differently. Communication skills are also very crucial in this field.


Other Info

According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for post- secondary arts teachers in 2012 is $62,160.00. For Kindergarten to high school teachers in general, the median pay ranges from $53,090.00 to $55,050.00. Although the pay for art teachers is not as high as that of other educators, teaching arts is rewarding. Art teachers get to work with students from various ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds.

In the  same BLS report, the number of art teachers is 114,300 in 2012 but is projected to increase to 132,600 in 2022 or a 16% increase as compared to the average of 11% for all occupations.  There will be a difference however in the demand for tenured positions as universities and colleges are now leaning towards hiring part-time teachers instead.  Opportunities are therefore higher for those who want to freelance or teach part time.

It’s not about mathematical formulas, profit and loss, chemical symbols and even political laws. Art is about passion, imagination and creativity. We all have those inside of us. If you want them unleashed, be an artist – be an art teacher.

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