How to Become an Art Teacher or Professor

By The Arty Teacher - November 4, 1989

What is an Art Teacher or Professor?

An art teacher or professor is someone who teaches visual arts to students in schools or universities. They help students explore different art techniques and styles, share knowledge about art history, and encourage creativity. These educators design lessons, give feedback, and inspire students to develop their artistic skills and appreciation for the arts. Their goal is to create an environment where students can grow as individual artists.

What Skills does an Art Teacher or Professor need?

To become an art teacher, you should have a passion for art, be patient and encouraging, and enjoy helping others discover their creativity and learn about different types of art. It’s like being a guide to the wonderful world of art!

What Qualification does an Art Teacher or Professor Need?

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in art education, fine arts, or a related field is commonly required, providing a foundation in both artistic principles and teaching methodologies. Practical experience gained through student teaching or internships is valuable for developing instructional skills. A strong portfolio showcasing the teacher’s own artistic work may also enhance their qualifications.

Types of Art Teacher or Professor

There are different types of art teachers and professors, each specializing in various educational levels, subjects, or approaches within the field of visual arts. Here are some common types:

  1. Elementary School Art Teacher: Specialising in teaching art to elementary school students, focusing on foundational artistic skills, creativity, and art appreciation.
  2. Middle School or Junior High Art Teacher: Instructing art to students in middle school, introducing more advanced techniques and concepts while building on foundational skills.
  3. High School Art Teacher: Teaching art at the high school level, often providing more specialized courses such as painting, drawing, sculpture, or digital arts.
  4. College or University Art Professor: Working at higher education institutions, art professors may specialize in specific disciplines, such as painting, sculpture, graphic design, or art history. They often teach advanced courses and may conduct research or creative projects.
  5. Community College Art Instructor: Teaching art at the community college level, offering foundational and intermediate art courses to students pursuing associate degrees or transfer to four-year institutions.
  6. Art Education Specialist: Focusing on art education theory and curriculum development, these professionals may work in schools, museums, or educational organizations to enhance art education programs.
  7. Museum Educator: Working in museums or cultural institutions, museum educators specialize in creating educational programs and experiences related to art collections for visitors and school groups.
  8. Private Art Instructor: Providing individual or group art lessons outside of formal educational institutions, often specializing in specific techniques or styles.
  9. Online Art Instructor: Teaching art courses through online platforms, catering to students worldwide and utilizing digital tools for instruction.
  10. Art Therapist: Combining art and psychology, art therapists use creative activities to help individuals express emotions and explore psychological issues.

These are just a few examples, and within each category, there can be further specialization based on mediums, art movements, or educational philosophies. The diversity of roles reflects the wide range of possibilities within the field of art education.

What Next

If you want to persue a career as an art teacher or professor, start building a CV by doing some of the following activities.

  1. Enroll in Art Education Courses: Choose to study art! Choose courses in fine art, photography, textiles, graphics or ceramics, or any other creative courses your school offers.
  2. Participate in School Art Clubs: Join or initiate art-related clubs or organisations within the school, demonstrating leadership and a passion for art.
  3. Volunteer for Art-Related Events: Offer assistance during school art exhibitions, fairs, or other events to gain hands-on experience and show dedication to the art community within the school.
  4. Assist Art Teachers: Seek opportunities to assist art teachers with classroom activities, materials preparation, and organizing art-related projects.
  5. Develop a Student Teaching Portfolio: Begin compiling a portfolio showcasing personal artwork, lesson plans, and any art-related projects undertaken during school.
  6. Attend Art Workshops or Seminars: Participate in any art education workshops, seminars, or guest lectures organized by the school or in your community to stay informed about current teaching practices.
  7. Organise Art Sessions: Collaborate with teachers to organize art sessions for fellow students or community outreach programs, demonstrating leadership and organisational skills.
  8. Participate in School Exhibitions: Showcase your artwork in school exhibitions or art shows, gaining recognition within the school community.
  9. Run Art-Related Projects: Propose and execute art projects within the school, such as mural paintings or collaborative installations, showcasing creativity and project management skills.
  10. Collaborate with Peers: Work with fellow students on art-related initiatives, fostering teamwork and collaboration.
  11. Attend School Board Meetings: If possible, attend school board meetings to learn more about the administrative aspects of education, which can be beneficial for future teaching roles.
  12. Seek Mentorship: Approach art teachers for mentorship or advice, expressing your interest in pursuing a career in art education.

By engaging in these activities within the school environment, you can effectively build a foundation for a future career as an art teacher, showcasing your commitment, leadership, and passion for art education.

Learn more about Art Careers.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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