Teaching Budding Artists with a Art Teacher Education Degree

With an art teacher education degree, you will gain an understanding of the art making process whilst combining this with the joy and satisfaction of teaching by being able to share your knowledge of art history, visual arts and design to a new generation. An education degree will typically incorporate elements of human development, classroom management, education methodology and research methodology.

A bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate are required in order to teach art at any public school. For those looking to move into administrative and managerial positions, a Master of Education, Master of Fine Arts or other advanced degrees will help you.

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Art Teacher Education Degree Information

People who wish to become art teachers in public schools must get at least a bachelor’s degree. Most students get their bachelor’s in art, then complement their major with education classes and student teaching. All 50 states require teachers to get teacher certification and licensure. Some states and some schools want their teachers to hold master’s degrees. A bachelor’s in Art Education focuses on both art and education. The student for this bachelor’s will take art courses in art theory and history, studio courses in drawing, painting, sculpting and printmaking. They will also take education courses in teaching methods, classroom management and lesson planning, as well as child and adolescent development and teaching diverse learners. As part of the education training, students are required to do a stint student teaching for hands-on classroom experience.

Some students who hadn’t planned on teaching may get a bachelor’s degree in any major of their choice. To become an art teacher, these students will need to develop their art techniques as well as take a teacher training course, with the student teaching practicum. Checking to see that your chosen program is accredited ensures that you will be able to apply for certification and licensure upon graduation.

Online Art Teacher Education Programs

Art teacher training program are available online, both at bachelor’s and master’s level. Many online programs have the same classes as those offered in a traditional classroom setting, but at more flexible times. Current art teachers who wish to enhance their education may take online master’s courses. Artists who decide to become art teachers might also choose this route to becoming an art teacher.

Online Art Education Curriculum

Many online art education programs will focus on both art and education. Art courses will include art history from cave painting to Picasso and art theory and practice as well as electives in various art disciplines such as painting or sculpting or ceramics. Education classes will include psychology of education, multicultural education, educational foundations and technology. These online programs


No state requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in the area you wish to teach, but a bachelor’s degree with a major is required. Most art teachers either earn a major in art or art history then take the necessary education classes or they get a bachelor’s in art education, which includes both art and education classes, including a student teaching program. Once graduated, the B.A. student must obtain the teaching certification by passing a state exam.


Many art teachers go on and get their master’s degree, either a master of fine arts or a master’s in art education. A graduate degree in art education will build on the foundation laid down in the bachelor level studies. Today’s art teachers must learn the new technology of digital media and web applications and tools. While a graduate degree isn’t always necessary, it will help the art teacher expand his or her career horizons.


Art courses for prospective art teachers will include a good basic introduction to art history and theory. Students will also take classes such as

  • Philosophy of art education
  • Artistic development of children
  • Cultural diversity
  • Art history
  • Foundations of art education
  • Art criticism

Education classes teach the rudiments and advanced techniques of teaching, including:

  • Philosophy of education
  • Human development
  • Classroom management
  • Teaching methods
  • Psychology of learning
  • Science of education
  • Lesson planning

Career Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides teaching into kindergarten and elementary school teachers and high school. Kindergarten and elementary school teacher employment is expected to increase by 17 percent, an average rate of growth. While no great increase in jobs is expected, there will always be a need for qualified teachers, at kindergarten and elementary schools and in middle and high schools. Art, music and drama teachers work at all levels, as well as in colleges and universities, and the rate of employment is about the same for other teachers. All teachers in the U.S. must earn at least a bachelor’s and be certified and licensed by the state in which they live and work.

Earning Potential

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for art teachers is between $48,000 and $51,000. Art teachers willing to work in underserved rural districts may earn more due to higher demand. Art teachers willing to relocate can also earn more as enrollment of students varies by the region. In the northwest, enrollment is falling while at the same time, students are enrolling in greater numbers in the south and west. Art teachers who can speak Spanish or another language besides English are also in greater demand due to high immigration numbers. The top 10 percents of high-earning art teachers made between $75,000 and $80,000. As with all teachers, art teachers who have worked for many years definitely earn higher salaries.

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Art Teacher Education FAQ

What types of jobs can I expect with an art teacher degree?

Art teachers work Monday through Fridays during school hours, although they continue to work planning lessons, gathering needed supplies and grading artwork after hours and on weekends. Like all teachers, most art teachers do not work during the summers. Some art teachers also teach summer classes at junior colleges, art centers and museums. Teaching is a profession and being an art teacher means a dedication to both art and to teaching. If a person has the passion for the job, they’ll love teaching their appreciation of art and making art to their students. Art teachers are employed at all levels from kindergarten to university.

How long does it take to earn an art teacher degree?

Becoming an art teacher requires at least a four year bachelor’s degree, usually with teacher training education on top of that, so count on between four and six years for all the education required.

Where are the highest-paying art teacher jobs?

New Jersey, California and Connecticut tend to pay higher wages for art teachers than other states. Wisconsin pays less, as does Florida. An art teacher looking for work would do well to research various states and their respective rates of pay for teachers. Teacher Portal charts teacher’s salaries by the state. The longer an art teacher has worked, generally the more money they will make. Some 10 year and up art teachers surprisingly earn six figure salaries.

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