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How to Become an Art Teacher

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Art teachers are employed in colleges and universities, where they educate students on the subjects of art and art history. Art is also a curriculum subject in many elementary and secondary schools. In addition to specializing in a particular student population, art teachers may focus on specific art mediums, such as charcoal, watercolors or sculpture. Day-to-day responsibilities of art teachers include grading artwork, teaching art techniques and lecturing on art history.

Undergraduate Education

To obtain employment as an art teacher, job seekers must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. To teach at the elementary school level, art educators must typically have a bachelor's degree in elementary education, augmented by classes in the arts. At the high school level, it is not uncommon for teachers to have a four-year degree in the arts, with additional coursework in education. In addition to passing the required coursework, students must also successfully complete a student teaching internship to obtain a degree.

Graduate Education

Post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and universities, as well as some public schools, require art teachers to have a master's degree. It's not uncommon for those who received their bachelor's degree in education to obtain a master's degree in the arts. Likewise, teachers with a bachelor's degree in the arts may choose to study education at the postgraduate level.

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State Certification

Public school systems, and some private educational facilities, require art teachers to get a state-administered teaching certificate prior to obtaining employment. To receive certification, candidates must typically possess a bachelor's degree. Additionally, they must perform a set number of internship hours, as well as successfully complete a series of examinations on related subjects, such as lesson planning and educational theory

National Certification

While not necessary to obtain employment, many educators pursue national art teaching certificates administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The NBPTS offers multiple credentials, each focused on a specific student population. Specializations include early and middle childhood, early adolescence and young adults. To qualify for national certification, candidates must possess a four-year degree, a current teaching certificate or license, and at least three years of teaching experience. The credential is obtained following the successful compilation of a four-part portfolio and completion of a series of examinations.

About the Author

KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.

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