How to Become an Art Teacher In 6 Easy Steps (With Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Art education is an essential part of the curriculum in many schools. Art teachers enable students to express themselves creatively and develop artistic skills. Teaching art can be a very rewarding career path and learning the steps to pursuing this career may help you decide whether it's right for you. In this article, we discuss what an art teacher is, explore how to become an art teacher, outline the skills required for this role and answer frequently asked questions.

Read more: 8 Common Interview Questions for Teachers

What is an art teacher?

To learn more about how to become an art teacher, it can help to learn more about what they do. An art teacher instructs students on the more formal aspects of art and about different channels of artistic creation. They use tools and materials in various forms of art, such as illustration, crafts and sculptural art, so students become familiar with them. Some schools have art teachers that teach other art mediums, such as photography or film-making. Some responsibilities of art teachers include:

  • Creating a curriculum: Art teachers create a curriculum to engage their student's interests and capabilities. They may teach younger students shorter-term projects with tools that are easy to use, such as crayons, and more advanced techniques with older students, such as painting.

  • Introducing concepts: Art teachers introduce students to formal artistic concepts in their teaching, including types of lines, colour relationships and symbols.

  • Introducing techniques: Art teachers also introduce students to various techniques and demonstrate them to help students develop their skills in image and form. This may include methods such as approaches to brush strokes, shading and sketching.

  • Developing enthusiasm and talent: Art teachers encourage artistic expression as a creative and emotional outlet for all students. They also support their more advanced students in achieving their artistic potential.

  • Teaching art history: Art teachers also include some lessons on the history of art into their classes to offer more context when discussing artistic styles and ideas.

  • Offering critique: In a higher-level art class, a teacher critiques students' work to find out their accomplishments in craft and skill and to point out any areas for improvement.

  • Grading and reports: The art teacher determines the established marking criteria and supplies parents with progress reports that detail student accomplishments. They may also meet with parents throughout the year to discuss their student's development.

Read more: How to Become a Music Teacher (Including FAQs)

How to become an art teacher

There are some steps you can follow when learning how to become an art teacher. Artistic people may also like to teach their skills to others. If you think the role of an art teacher is the right fit for you, you may be interested in following these steps to prepare for the role:

1. Get a bachelor's degree in education

Art teachers typically enrol in an undergraduate program that combines art and education. You may opt for a bachelor's degree in education with a major in a field such as graphic or visual arts, art appreciation, ceramics, drawing, or art history. A bachelor's degree in education is typically a four-year teaching degree that has Initial Teacher Education (ITE) approval.

Most ITE courses focus on becoming either a primary or secondary school teacher, but some courses cover both. To be accepted into these degree programmes, you're usually required to be at least 17 years of age and have completed Year 12 with an appropriate Universities Admission Index.

2. Study for a postgraduate qualification in education

Another option is to study a single degree first and then study a two-year postgraduate course that has ITE approval. You may opt for a degree in another subject such as Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Art. You can follow this with a postgraduate qualification in education, such as a Graduate Diploma of Education.

Read more: How to Become a Primary School Teacher (With Duties and Salary)

3. Undertake practical placements

Completing practical placements is a requirement to become an art teacher. A practical placement is likely to be included as part of your bachelor's degree or postgraduate studies. Before starting a practical placement, students may obtain a Working with Children Check (WWCC). A National Police Certificate may also be necessary.

4. Obtain a teaching certificate

Once you've completed any student teaching requirements, you can apply for teaching certification, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. This certificate prepares you to deliver training in the vocational education and training sector.

5. Register as a teacher

Apply for registration through your state or territory's official body:

  • New South Wales: NSW Education Standards Authority

  • Australian Capital Territory: ACT Teacher Quality Institute

  • Victoria: Victoria Institute of Teaching

  • Queensland: Queensland College of Teachers

  • Tasmania: Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania

  • South Australia: Teachers Registration Board of South Australia

  • Northern Territory: Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory

  • Western Australia: Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia

Registration is essential for all primary and high school teachers and most early childhood teachers. Registration criteria vary, although you typically prove your educational qualifications, workplace experience and character through a Working with Children Check (WWCC) and National Police Certificate as well. Once the board approves your registration, you can accept a teaching position. Registration lengths vary between states and territories, so make sure you know how long your registration stays valid and update it as required to remain current.

6. Seek art teaching positions

Research schools in your region to find one that values art as much as you do and provides a promising environment for your professional development. Consider the age group of students you'd like to teach and pursue the openings that make sense to you. You can prepare a professional resume that summarises your more relevant skills and experience, and tailor it to each role you apply for to impress hiring managers.

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Common skills for art teachers

Besides the required formal education and training, there are specific skills that can help you excel as an art teacher. Here are some skills art teachers use regularly:

Communication skills

Unlike some subjects, art teachers often can't mark students' grasp of artistic concepts as right or wrong. Communicating creative ideas requires you to explain how colours, shapes, emotions, thoughts and techniques come together to make something people find meaningful. Art teachers may practice traditional communication skills, such as presentation, public speaking and providing feedback, but they can also communicate abstract and emotional subjects to children and teenagers.

Craft skills

Art teachers develop their own skills with various media so they can adequately show techniques to students. This requires fine motor skills and repeated practise. When helping students begin longer projects, art teachers share their knowledge of how to develop ideas, sketches and colour palettes.

Creative skills

Art teachers also create ideas for projects that best engage students. As they often teach many grade levels, this means creating a much greater variety of lesson plans. Art teachers also must be resourceful to make creative use of the supplies available. Art teachers often develop decorative projects around holidays, and for student theatre, art teachers might help create sets.

Interpretive skills

Interpreting art is a skill gained through practise and formal training. Art teachers use their interpretive abilities to lead discussions about artworks and provide feedback to students. They also use these skills to help young students develop their own methods for understanding images and forms.

Read more: How to Become a Teacher (Including FAQs)

FAQs about teaching art

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about how to become an art teacher:

How much do art teachers earn?

The average salary for an art teacher is $34.58 per hour. The exact salary may vary depending on geographic location, education, employer and work experience. Additional qualifications, such as personal artistic accomplishment or further degrees, could also increase pay. Here are some average salaries in different cities and states:

  • Port Augusta, SA: $43.37 per hour

  • Sydney, NSW: $40.84 per hour

  • Melbourne, VIC: $38.21per hour

Where can art teachers find employment?

Art teachers can pursue opportunities in public and private schools, with instruction usually beginning in kindergarten. Some schools require help with running after-school art programmes or summer camps. Other art teachers might be qualified to instruct at the college or university level. Adults often seek art instruction and prefer individual or small group art classes at ceramic or painting studios. Retirement facilities also host art classes and may require a professional to lead sessions.

Who would enjoy working as an art teacher?

Teaching art offers people who have committed time and effort to develop their artistic skills a meaningful way to continue working within their interests. Art teachers enjoy working with children are patient instructors who thrive in a unique form of instruction. Educational professionals who excel at relating to students may also do well as art teachers, as they can help students make personally expressive art.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that any companies mentioned in this article are not affiliated with Indeed.

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