Art Teachers: Everything You Need to Know

An art teacher is an instructor who teaches the basic principles of art and occasionally art history. Art teachers usually have a degree in Fine Arts, and sometimes, a degree or training in education. Art is a subject that is commonly taught and is included in most school curriculums. Apart from schools, such teachers may also work at art centers or as independent professionals. Most art teachers are practicing artists themselves, who choose to teach due to their passion for what they do and a strong craving to share it with their students.

They teach students how to draw, paint, create ceramics and sculptures, learn photography, understand the concept of visual design, and do other crafts. Thus, they impart knowledge of creative and artistic concepts, including color, texture, and shape, to students in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary learning settings. Additionally, art teachers must work to develop these skills while meeting the students’ academic and emotional needs as well as the school’s grading and curriculum requirements. These teachers usually know a lot about art and have a great eye for detecting exceptional students with potential for excellence in a related field.

A bachelor’s degree in education with coursework in art, art history, art education (a BFA or Bachelor of Fine Arts), or a state-approved teacher preparation program is the fundamental requirement to become an art teacher at a public school. Typically, potential art teachers at the primary level pursue a bachelor’s in education, while secondary art teachers usually get a bachelor’s degree in art or art history. 

In addition, each state needs K-12 teachers to get a certification or license from the state by fulfilling the criteria as required by the Board of Education. Usually, licenses aren’t required for art teachers working in private institutions. However, some private schools may prefer teachers with a state certification or license. 

For potential teachers who don’t hold a bachelor’s in art education, most states at present offer alternative ways to obtaining state teaching certification, including taking up a master’s degree in art education or an associated subject. Though professional artists without a formal degree may be eligible for art teacher positions due to their experience, they may still need to get a state license.

Art isn’t considered a very important subject and is often the first to get its budget cut out whenever the school has a low budget. Fortunately, there are a lot of job options for trained artists. That being said, it’s unfortunate that the subject isn’t given more importance.

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