Becoming an Art Teacher: Education Requirements

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What is an Art Teacher?

Art teachers are usually the ones seen with paint on their hands and wearing an apron or two during their classes. They offer children a creative palate and sometimes a more therapeutic retreat when other classes get tougher, not to say that art is easy. They are the ones that share their skills and education about art history or even encourage a career path in an art field to future generations, but unfortunately, being a self proclaimed artist may not be enough to teach in an already established educational institute.

What Degrees are Mostly Involved in Becoming an Art Teacher?

In the United States, becoming an art teacher requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an art field, but why exactly would one need any education requirements for this profession? An artist can have a great love for their craft, but in order to teach their skills or pass down their knowledge they will be required to have a teaching certificate and a degree in a respected art field, such as Visual Arts.

Focusing particularly on an art teacher’s education requirements, one needs to address the possibilities of looking at all career choices in the art education field, such as an elementary school art teacher. There are other choices, such as high school or secondary school art teacher careers as well. Depending on who the teacher teaches towards, an art teacher’s career description includes an education in at least a bachelor’s degree in an art field. If the student wishes to teach towards college level schools, they require more vigorous education, such as a PhD in their chosen art field; however, the main focus of this article will be more towards elementary, middle, and secondary school art teachers.

The Education Requirements to Become an Art Teacher

Many four year colleges offer a bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts, Fine Arts, or Visual Arts, which are some of the degrees well sought out by most schools. These art programs provide the students an environment to excel in creative thinking and also a chance to share their own experiences with others, hopefully future students. Unlike other education programs, a college student can either take another major that is directly involved with teaching, such as a degree in Education or General Education, or opt out.

One of the best ways to meet education requirements towards becoming an art teacher in the future is to research what a school requires their art teachers to have before even applying for that job. Make sure to have a bachelor’s in a respected art field, such as Visual Arts, Studio arts, etc., and always take a class in similar art studies, such as Ceramics or Photography, in order to expand one’s field in general arts. A word of caution, however, as some institutes may want a more rigorous and specialized degree, such as Modern Art History, and frown upon a degree that is too broad, whereas, some may want a more generalized art degree, such as Visual Arts.

Other Options

Remember understanding the education requirements to become an art teacher will become easier the more one researches the field. Having experience is a major plus when pursuing a teaching career; always make sure to keep your options open as an art degree alone may not be enough.

While a student can go on and acquire a more advanced education degree in an art field, only a bachelor’s degree is required for entry into most elementary and middle school art teaching positions; however, some states within the U.S. may require additional teaching certificates. Part of the education requirements required to become an art teacher is to research the requirements of these said certificates.


“Art Teacher Education.” College Admissions - SAT - University & College Search Tool. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.\_careers/profiles/majors/13.1302.html.

“Bachelor Degrees Online.” Distance Learning Universitites and On-Campus Degrees. Web. 30 Nov. 2010.\_Learning/Degrees\_Bachelor\_Degrees.html.