Art teachers work with students, teaching them how to paint, draw, take photographs, and create ceramics and sculptures. They can find work in schools, art studios, private clients, or workshops.

As an art teacher, you’ll deliver the curriculum by giving lectures and preparing lesson notes and plans. You’ll also facilitate your students’ acquisition of art supplies and equipment and source for art technique instructors for your students according to their competence level.

Teaching art is an exciting opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to society while increasing your self-awareness and earning a stable income.

We have compiled an exhaustive step-by-step guide on how you can join this exciting career, the skill requirement, and the benefits.  

how to become an art teacher step by step guide.

Art Teacher Job Definition

Art teachers help students learn how to express themselves creatively. This can be through practical activities such as painting, pottery, photography, sculpturing, drawing, and textiles.

Besides helping students develop artistic skills, they also meet their academic and emotional needs. Art teachers are involved in the general responsibilities of teachers, such as grading and monitoring their academic progress.

Art Teacher’s Responsibilities

As an art teacher, you introduce students to the formal qualities of art and varied media or artistic creation. And, you help them become accustomed to the tools and materials they will use in illustrative, sculptural, and craft-based art. 

As an art teacher, you’ll be expected to:  

  • Develop level-suitable learning activities– The art education curriculum should meet students’ interests and abilities. For instance, short-term activities with easy-to-use materials are ideal for younger students, while time-consuming projects such as sculpturing and painting will suit older art students.
  • Sparking enthusiasm and talent in your students– Encouraging creativity and artistic expression helps students grow their love for art as an emotional outlet and a possible career path.
  • Introducing art technique– This includes sketching, shading, and brush strokes. You help learners master these techniques to present their artistic work better.
  • Introducing concepts– Through lessons and projects, you introduce art concepts such as types of lines, symbols, and color relationships to students.
  • Offering critique– In higher levels of learning, art educators critique students’ work to develop a more profound sense of analysis and improve their art.
  • Monitoring progress and awarding grades– This includes establishing grading criteria and providing parents with student progress reports.

How to Become an Art Teacher

Passion for the art alone is not enough. A number of steps lead to your initial art teaching licensure. Traditionally, becoming an art teacher involves the following steps:

Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

The beginning point to becoming an art teacher is earning a Bachelor’s degree in art. You may opt for a bachelor’s degree in education with a major in Graphic or visual arts, art appreciation, drawing, ceramics, or art history. 

You may also continue and get a master’s degree to become more knowledgeable and earn more.  

Pass Art and Core Competency Exams

Different states have different requirements, but they mostly require that graduates take similar examinations. Passing these competency exams assures the licensing state that you are competent in all the areas in which you have been trained.

The core competency exams include the National Evaluation Series (NES), Praxis, and others. Each series will test essential reading, writing, and math skills. 

For an art teacher, states will require that you take a content knowledge test in art education that addresses the following areas: 

  • Art history
  • Art Theory
  • Art creation and use

The competence tests are offered on various schedules, some only a few times a year, and you need to prepare well. Once you have passed your core competency exams, it is time for your state license application.

Apply for the State License

For your license, you’ll need to provide your state with these documents:

  • An official copy of your degree certificate
  • Evidence of students teaching
  • Fingerprint and background check
  • An application fee 

Compile an Art Portfolio

An art portfolio displays your best artwork and showcases your art versatility. In your portfolio, include your finished artwork, sketches, and working documents showing your creative process.

Arrange your images in a narrative flow, with the best of your works in the first and last images. Include a variety of images within your areas of specialization.

Apply for Art Teaching Positions

Once your portfolio is ready, it is time to apply for those teaching positions. First, identify a school that offers art education and values art. This will create a promising working environment for your career growth. 

Next, consider the learning level of the learners you would like to teach and are qualified to teach and apply to join the field of art as a teacher.

required skills for art teachers

Required Skills for Art Teachers

To effectively and successfully teach art, you need these skills: 

Art Knowledge

You need to have skills in a variety of artistic mediums. Although your interest may be in a particular area, knowledge in various mediums will make you a more effective teacher.

For instance, you should be able to guide students through creating 3-dimensional objects with clay, drawing, and painting. Exposing students to a wide range of art mediums will help them to choose a medium when it’s time to specialize correctly.

Classroom Management

Art classes need to be closely monitored, especially with younger learners. You should be able to grab the learners’ attention and keep them focused on the task at hand even when they’re excited. 

Professional Development

Today, you can easily learn to teach art. With the availability of books, training courses, free online courses, and university programs, art teachers can grow their skills. 

In addition, continuous professional development helps teachers enhance their creative skills, which can elevate their teaching skills to greater heights.

Student Learning

Your students need thorough guidance through each step of art because art is a process. You should identify suitable creative approaches that draw the attention of less attentive learners and help them identify captivating entry points to the lesson.

Reasons to Become an Art Teacher

Creating art is magical. Becoming an art teacher allows you to inspire children. You create a difference in society by developing critical thinkers, creators, and decision-makers. 

You help your learners become better risk-takers by nurturing a brave space in your studio and they appreciate failure as a positive learning experience

And, teaching offers excellent job security once you have put in the hard work and earned the certificates. Finally, it offers excellent job security since the flexibility in mobility allows one to teach almost anywhere in the world. 

Let’s look at other reasons that make teaching art a great career option.

Salary Expectations

Art teachers’ salaries vary depending on the grade taught, the years of experience, the type of school, and the geographical location. 

But, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $ 58230 for elementary art teachers, $58,600 for middle school teachers, and $60,320 for high school teachers per year.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not explicitly give job outlook data for art teachers but job opportunities for elementary, middle, and high school are projected to rise by 4% from 2019-2029

Even when there’s a decline in funding for art in public schools, charter cools provide an excellent opportunity for art teachers.

Post-secondary teachers will experience much faster growth of 12% in job opportunities in the next few years.  In addition, the teacher shortage in some locations creates better opportunities for those willing to relocate or join the profession.

Tips on How to Be a Successful Art Teacher 

Building a successful career in teaching demands that you are always open to learning. 

Look at every failure or gap in knowledge as an opportunity to learn. We have researched some tips that successful art teachers swear by. These include:

Foster Ideas Instead of Just Applying Teaching Techniques

As art is about creativity, teaching art requires that you model creative ways of thinking and playfully interact with the content. This allows learners to work with your ideas to create art creatively. 

As an art teacher, you should be aware of your creative limitations and embrace creative dimensions for your  learners to emulate.

Ignite Empathy

Creating a compassionate, empathetic environment helps your learners to connect with you. They will be free to display their creativity and be open to new risks and challenges. 

Also, an accepting environment will give them the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them.

Advocate for Your Students

As an art teacher, you are the number one advocate for your student’s work. You can do this by sharing their work with the administrators and shareholders. This will make them appreciate the role of art in the lives of these students compelling more support.

Be an Art Leader to Your Students

Being an art leader to your students requires that you are open to connecting and listening to your students. Lead them by challenging the status quo, encourage them to venture into new creative and innovative spaces, and help them grow through it. 

You also must encourage your learners by letting them critique your work, creating boldness and confidence in their art skills.

Feed Your Creativity First

Developing creative and innovative students requires that you are a knowledgeable teacher. Creative teachers are knowledgeable in other areas. 

Feeding your creativity involves continually learning new skills and art dimensions that grow your learner’s confidence in you. Taking up an artistic hobby, such as learning a musical instrument, is a great way to start.

take the next step to your art teaching career.

Take the Next Step to Your Art Teaching Career

Teaching art helps you develop your creativity and innovation as you help students  approach problems from different solution dimensions. You encourage mistakes and experimentation, developing your students’ autonomy and independence. 

By joining this adventurous career, you will have the opportunity to stimulate young people’s imagination and grow their cognitive and problem-solving skills. 

Also, as an art teacher, you play with art supplies all day long; what an exciting way to spend your day while being paid for it. 

Getting certification in teaching art is essential since it gives you a better chance of getting employed in public schools and many art institutions. Certification gives you confidence and shows that you have met the requirements to become an art teacher.