How Do I Become an Art Teacher?

If you have excellent art skills, patience and a natural aptitude for instructing others, you might be wondering how to become an art teacher. Art teachers educate students in the techniques used to create art in a variety of media. They can help students develop an aesthetic eye and learn how to design works of art that are visually appealing or that convey meaning. Art teachers can work with students of all ages, from the youngest children to the elderly. They find employment in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, junior colleges, universities, art schools, trade schools, museums, galleries and educational support services. The life of an art school teacher is rewarding in that it combines two passions: making art and teaching others.

Aspiring art teachers must have a formal education themselves, typically from either an art school or a university. Those who intend to teach in a public elementary, middle or high school setting must typically earn an education degree as well as complete courses in art. High school teachers in particular are often required to major in a content area, in this case art, as well as in education. For candidates for these positions, a bachelor’s degree in art education, or a dual-major that combines both education and art is a popular choice. Aspiring art teachers who are eyeing a position at a college or museum will often need to pursue a graduate-level degree in addition to their undergraduate degree. While art education programs will cover subjects such as teaching methods, aspiring art teachers must also work hard to develop their own artistic skills, especially if they intend to be self-employed teachers. They should build an impressive portfolio of their best work, which may include artwork in a variety of media.

Art teachers’ salary varies greatly depending on work environment. At colleges and universities, they earned an average salary of $73,650 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Art teachers at junior colleges earned a comparable $74,810 per year. Museum art teacher positions are among the most competitive, but they pay the highest wages, with a mean annual salary of $90,410. Technical and trade school art teachers made $51,390 per year. Many art teachers work in public schools teaching students young students. Their earnings are typically comparable to that of other teachers: $51,380 per year for elementary school teachers and $53,230 per year for high school teachers, according to the BLS.

Teaching art is a good alternative career choice for individuals who want to create art for a living but are seeking a more stable income than many professional artists are able to earn. Most art teachers find personal fulfillment in encouraging aspiring artists and helping students develop their skills to their full potential. If you are as passionate about helping other artists succeed as you are about creating artworks, knowing how to become an art teacher could be the start of a rewarding new career.

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