If you are an artist, interested in sharing your passion and talent with others, becoming an art teacher might just be the right career for you. There are numerous environments and age groups you may find you enjoy teaching -- explore your options when you consider a career in education, and share your love of art with the next generation.
As an art teacher, you may choose to work in a high school environment, in elementary education, in a general art education class for elementary school children, or you might work with teens, adults or seniors. You will most likely plan class projects and assignments, order and care for supplies, grade and assess student progress, lecture and show slides on artists and art history, attend staff meetings and interact in some capacity with the community. If you are teaching in a traditional public or private school setting, or at a community college or university as either a staff or adjunct teacher, you’ll attend staff meetings and have regular open studio hours where students can find you for advice and support.
What are the perks of being an art teacher? You get to do what you love, and share it with others. Students tend to enjoy art class and feel it’s “not like regular school,’ so you can often get reluctant students to become engaged more easily than in other environments. That also means that maintaining discipline may be more of a challenge.
If you’re teaching in higher education, you tend to have fewer behavioral disruptions than with younger students and teens, but there are fewer job openings for art instructors at college and university levels. Many college art teachers to work part-time (also known as ‘adjunct’) to supplement their art careers, or as part of a multi-part-time job lifestyle.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed art teachers for a 2009 salary range report, taking into account location, type of employment, and degree level obtained. Art teachers working full-time in secondary education reported they that earned, on average, more than $54,000 a year – the higher range reported by the more experienced and more educated teachers.
If you’re interested in working as an art teacher in either a public primary or secondary school, you will find that there is no set “art teaching degree.” You will need a bachelor’s degree (possibly with a focus on art education), teacher training, and a teaching certificate. Depending on the state in which you plan to teach, you may also be required to have a master’s degree and have met other certificate requirements. If you plan to teach at the college level, you will be required to have a master's and possibly also a doctorate degree and some level of intensive teacher training.
Working as an art teacher will allow you to foster student creativity, and your own. You may work with and inspire your students to learn more about art and foster a deep appreciation for the riches of the art world. Your art instruction may broaden the knowledge of students, and enrich their lives, and you may even work with and encourage the next generation of truly revolutionary artists.