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What Degree Do You Need To Be An Art Teacher

Are you passionate about art and love working with students? Becoming an art teacher might be the perfect career path for you. As an art teacher, you will have the opportunity to inspire and nurture young creative minds, helping them develop their artistic skills and appreciation for the arts. But what degree do you need to pursue this rewarding profession? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the educational requirements, qualifications, and steps you need to take to become an art teacher.

Whether you are considering a career change or planning your educational path, understanding the necessary qualifications for becoming an art teacher is crucial. While requirements may vary from state to state or country to country, this article aims to provide you with a general overview of the degree programs and certifications that are commonly sought after in the field of art education.

Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education

Bachelor'S Degree In Art Education

A Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education is typically the first step towards becoming an art teacher. This degree program combines coursework in art with educational theory and teaching methods. It equips future art teachers with the necessary skills to create engaging lesson plans, manage classrooms, and assess student progress. Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education provides a solid foundation in both art and education, enabling you to teach art at various grade levels.

Art Courses

Within a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education program, you will have the opportunity to take a wide range of art courses. These courses may include drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography, and digital art. By studying different art forms, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of various artistic techniques and mediums. These courses will not only enhance your artistic skills but also provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to teach these art forms to your future students.

Education Courses

In addition to art courses, a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education will also include various education courses. These courses focus on teaching methods, educational psychology, classroom management, and curriculum development. You will learn how to design effective lesson plans that align with educational standards, create engaging learning environments, and assess student learning. These education courses will provide you with the pedagogical skills needed to be an effective art teacher in a school setting.

Field Experience

Many art education programs require students to complete field experience or practicum hours. These experiences provide you with the opportunity to observe experienced art teachers in action and gain hands-on teaching experience. You may assist with lesson planning, deliver instruction, and work with students in a classroom setting. Field experience allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned in your coursework to real-world teaching situations, helping you develop confidence and competence as an art teacher.

Master’s Degree in Art Education

Master'S Degree In Art Education

While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some teaching positions, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Art Education can significantly enhance your career prospects. This advanced degree delves deeper into pedagogy, art history, curriculum development, and research methodologies. It provides art teachers with the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of art education, such as art therapy, museum education, or community arts.

Specialization Options

One of the advantages of pursuing a master’s degree in art education is the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest. This specialization allows you to deepen your knowledge and expertise in a specific aspect of art education. For example, if you are passionate about using art as a therapeutic tool, you may choose to specialize in art therapy. This specialization will provide you with specialized coursework and practical experiences that align with your career goals.

Advanced Art Education Theory

A Master’s Degree in Art Education goes beyond the basic principles covered in a bachelor’s degree program. It delves into advanced art education theories and research. You will explore the historical and philosophical foundations of art education, gaining a deeper understanding of the role of art in society and its impact on students’ development. This advanced theoretical knowledge will inform your teaching practices and help you become a more effective and knowledgeable art educator.

Curriculum Development and Assessment

As a master’s degree student in art education, you will also learn how to design and develop art curricula that align with educational standards and meet the diverse needs of students. You will study different approaches to curriculum development and learn how to create engaging and meaningful art experiences for your future students. Additionally, you will gain expertise in assessing student learning and progress, using a variety of assessment methods and tools to evaluate artistic growth and understanding.

Teaching Certification

Teaching Certification

In addition to a degree in art education, most states require art teachers to obtain a teaching certification. This certification ensures that art teachers possess the necessary knowledge and skills to educate students effectively. The specific requirements for teaching certification vary from state to state, but typically involve completing a teacher preparation program, passing exams, and fulfilling student teaching requirements.

Teacher Preparation Program

A teacher preparation program is designed to provide aspiring teachers with the necessary coursework and practical experiences to become effective educators. These programs often include a combination of education courses, field experiences, and student teaching. The coursework in a teacher preparation program covers topics such as educational psychology, curriculum design, and teaching methods. These programs can usually be completed alongside or after obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in art education.


As part of the certification process, art teachers are often required to pass exams that assess their knowledge in areas such as pedagogy, subject matter expertise, and professional teaching standards. These exams may be administered by the state or by national organizations. The specific exams required can vary depending on the state or country in which you plan to teach. It is essential to research and understand the exam requirements in your desired teaching location.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is a critical component of the certification process for art teachers. During student teaching, you will work closely with an experienced art teacher in a classroom setting, gradually assuming teaching responsibilities under their guidance. This hands-on experience allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned in your degree program and develop practical teaching skills. Student teaching provides invaluable opportunities for reflection, feedback, and growth as an art educator.

Special Education Certification

Special Education Certification

Obtaining a special education certification can be beneficial for art teachers who wish to work with students who have special needs. This certification equips art teachers with strategies and techniques to support and accommodate students with diverse learning abilities. It enables art teachers to create inclusive and enriching art experiences for all students.

Inclusion and Differentiation

Special education certification provides art teachers with a deep understanding of inclusion and differentiation strategies. Inclusion refers to the practice of including students with special needs in general education classrooms. As an art teacher, you will learn how to create an inclusive environment where all students can participate and thrive. Differentiation involves modifying instruction and activities to meet the unique needs of each student. Art teachers with special education certification will be equipped to adapt their teaching methods to ensure that all students can engage in meaningful art experiences.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

Special education certification also familiarizes art teachers with the process of developing and implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). IEPs are customized plans designed to meet the specific educational needs of students with disabilities. As an art teacher, you may be involved in the IEP process, collaborating with other teachers, parents, and specialists to create art-related goals and accommodations for students with special needs. Special education certification will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to support and advocate for students with disabilities in the art classroom.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Continuing Education And Professional Development

As an art teacher, it is essential to stay informed about the latest trends, techniques, and research in art education. Continuing education and professional development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, and graduate courses, can help you expand your knowledge and refine your teaching practices. These experiences also provide networking opportunities and allow you to connect with other art educators, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

Workshops and Conferences

Attending art education workshops and conferences is an excellent way to stay updated on the latest teaching strategies, curriculum resources, and artistic techniques. These events often feature presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on activities led by experienced art educators and renowned artists. Workshops and conferences provide opportunities to connect with other professionals in the field, share ideas, and gain inspiration for your own teaching practice.

Graduate Courses and Advanced Degrees

Pursuing advanceddegrees or taking graduate courses in art education is another avenue for continuing education and professional development. These programs offer in-depth study and research opportunities that allow art teachers to further specialize in a particular area of interest. Graduate courses may focus on topics such as art therapy, museum education, or curriculum design. By pursuing advanced degrees or taking graduate courses, art teachers can stay at the forefront of the field and contribute to the advancement of art education.

Online Courses and Webinars

In today’s digital age, online courses and webinars have become increasingly popular options for art teachers to engage in professional development. These virtual learning opportunities provide flexibility and convenience, allowing art teachers to access high-quality educational content from the comfort of their own homes. Online courses and webinars cover a wide range of topics, from art techniques and lesson planning to incorporating technology in the art classroom. Art teachers can choose courses that align with their specific interests or areas for growth, enabling them to enhance their teaching practice at their own pace.

Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations dedicated to art education is another valuable way to stay connected, informed, and engaged in the field. These organizations offer numerous benefits, including access to resources, publications, and networking opportunities. Art educators can attend conferences, participate in online forums, and collaborate with colleagues from around the world. Professional organizations also advocate for the importance of art education, promote best practices, and provide support for art teachers at all stages of their careers.