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Art Teacher

Education and Training: 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Art or Fine Arts
Average Salary: $30,000 to $70,000 per year
Job Outlook: Good

As a professional practitioner and instructor of the arts, an art teacher is tasked with discovering the various genres, artistic styles, and theories and teaching them to students. From the basics of sketching to the more complex theories on practical art and art appreciation, the art teacher’s lessons would provide the pathway by which the student will learn about the arts.

Provide materials for the student. An art teacher is tasked with selecting the right tools, educational materials, reading sources, and the like that the students would use in class.

Motivate the students. The art teacher has to teach the students all about art—regardless of the talent or lack thereof of the student. Talented students should be further cultivated under the care and supervision of the art teacher, while those who do not wish to pursue a career in the arts should be taught about art appreciation.

Education and Training Requirements

Most universities and schools would require an aspiring art teacher to have at least a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts or Art. While there are cases when some universities would overlook the lack of degree of professional practicing artists based on their prior experience, these art teachers are still required to complete an education or training that is focused on education in order to become regular employees of the school.

Just like other professors, art teachers should have a state licensure or certification for qualification to teach in public schools. Private schools do not extend this requirement, but they still encourage the practice.

Getting the Job

Given their 4-year degree in the arts, art teachers are expected to have extensive knowledge about the subject. In addition, an aspiring art teacher has to be knowledgeable about the different art genres and be skilled in various mediums and materials to tap into a wider range of style in the arts. This will enable the art teacher to guide the students into learning more about visual communication, interpretation, and depiction through the arts.

A big part of the profession involves cultivating the inner artistic talents of the students. In the event of non-artistic students, the art teacher should still aim to instill a sense of art appreciation in the students, so that even without the talent, they would find something interesting, engaging, and worthwhile in the arts.

In order to teach a fully comprehensible and complete course in the arts, the art teacher has to utilize other means such as exhibits, art shows, museums, and summer art programs in order to aid the students to further discover and tap into their creative genius. This will then be complemented by exams and design-making in class, so that the student will be able to remember the lessons by heart. Because of all these, the art teacher should be patient and committed to the work, because it part of the job to make the subject interesting for the student.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job opportunities for art teachers often vary per university or school. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, urban areas are one of the best places where the job market is open and flexible. In fact, for those who would want to work in universities, they can take another job since they can be a part time art teacher, depending on his workload and schedule.

Overall, the job outlook for teachers is still good, with the expected rise of 16% from now until 2018. The demand for art teachers rides on this wave of demand, as well as the budget that the university can allot for the subject. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that more than three million teachers were employed for both private and public schools.

Working Conditions and Environment

Similar to the working schedule of other school teachers, an art teacher usually works full time and devotes 70 minutes or so for a particular class. However, instead of having to teach the same lesson plan to different classes, an art teacher would have to create various lessons that are appropriate to the different age and grade levels.

An art teacher’s schedule can be booked, like teaching three double periods a week, or they can opt to adjust schedules so that they can control their time. This is usually done in university-level classes, when the art teacher is the one who dictates the time for teaching a lesson.

Normally, an art teacher would have to handle a class of twenty to twenty-five students. Preparing the lessons is part of an art teacher’s everyday schedule.

Salary and Benefits

The norm for art teaches’ salaries is between $27,000 and $33,000. However, there are several factors, the two most prominent of which are the workplace and the number of experience, that can affect the salary of art teachers.

For instance, a fresh graduate who tries for a job as an art teacher can receive $24,000 to $40,000 while a veteran art teacher with more than 20 years of experience can earn as much as $43,000 to $70,000 per year.

Similarly, the workplace plays a major role in the salary distribution. The lowest paying environment would be rural schools or middle schools, where one would earn $32,000 to $45,000. College-level art teachers can get as much as $54,000 while self-employed art teachers or those who are working in a major company can earn $60,000 to $90,000 a year.

Where to Go for More Information

National Art Education Association
1806 Robert Fulton Dr., Ste. 300
Reston, VA 20191
(703) 860-8000

The National Society for Education in Art and Design
3 Masons Wharf, Potley Lane, Corsham
Wiltshire, England SN13 9FY
01225 810134

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training