How to Become an Art Teacher

Art Teacher Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $68,870
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 4%

Becoming an Art Teacher would be a natural path for individuals who have an affinity for art and enjoy working with students.

The path an individual needs to take to become an Art Teacher varies for the age group they would like to work with.

Individuals can pursue an art teaching position at the elementary, middle school or high school and even the post-secondary levels.

Education Requirements to Become an Art Teacher

Although the path to become an Art Teacher may seem like an enjoyable task, it also takes a lot dedication, persistence and hard work to secure a job in this position.

The first step for individuals who want to become an Art Teacher is to complete their undergrad studies.

Once beginning their college careers, students can focus on attaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) or a similar degree with some courses in the Arts or Art History.

Individuals who want to become an Art Teacher can choose from the following majors to focus on during their collegiate career:

  • Photography
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture
  • Art History

After acquiring their Bachelor’s or Bachelor of Fine Arts, an individual seeking a position in elementary, middle school or high school levels, must attain a teaching certificate.

This route is for individuals who not only have an interest in art, but also passionate about working with school aged children.

In addition, some individuals participate in an internship located within a similar school they would like to work for.

This route is similar to completing the first year of teaching.

Individuals seeking a position in the public school system must also seek licensure before being allowed to manage a classroom on their own.

An individual must continue their education and attend graduate school if interested in working with students who want to teach art to a more mature group in the post-secondary field.

Candidates have the option of acquiring a Master’s degree or a doctoral degree in the arts for those seeking higher level positions.

Art Teacher Job Description

No matter what age group an Art Teacher is working with, their main goal is to provide support and guidance to students learning about art.

Art Teachers must be good with working with other individuals and being able to help nurture their students’ natural artistic ability.

Because art is one way individuals can express themselves, Art Teachers can help students realize their emotions and therefore facilitating expressing themselves through art.

Some art can also help individuals express what they think about the world, their surroundings and life in general.

Art teachers use a variety of art forms to help their students achieve expressions.

Some examples can be painting but using different kinds of paints, textures and supplies.

The majority of Art Teachers work in public or private schools in elementary, middle, high school and post-secondary age groups.

Some Art Teachers may also teach adult art education for individuals not going to school full time.

Art Teacher Salary and Career Path

Individuals who want to work with younger students should expect an average salary of $57,770 per year in any secondary school.

Individuals wanting to work with even younger students should expect a different salary.

Elementary school teachers earn an average of $56,130 while middle schools teachers should expect an average annual salary of $56,280.

For those seeking work as Art Teachers in the post-secondary field the average annual salary is approximately $73,340.

Some Art Teachers also find jobs working at trade or technical schools and can expect the average annual salary to be $51,390, while Art Teachers working at junior colleges make an average annual income of $74,810.

Job expectations for elementary and secondary teachers should increase by 17% through 2020.

High school teaching jobs are expected to increase by 7% through 2020 and post-secondary teachers will see job opportunities increase by 17% throughout the same time.

Art Teachers have a variety of options when seeking employment.

Whether it is working with elementary aged students or adults interested in a new hobby and craft, potential Art Teachers can seek rest assured their skills are in demand.

In addition, Art Teachers can take satisfaction that they make a difference in people’s lives by nurturing their students’ natural skills and creativity.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$80,870
New Hampshire$86,900
New Jersey$84,190
New Mexico$69,420
New York$107,020
North Carolina$71,760
North Dakota$68,160
Rhode Island$91,280
South Carolina$77,930
Virginia- NA -
West Virginia$51,270
Puerto Rico$35,720

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $147,680.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $147,680
New York - $107,020
Rhode Island - $91,280
Minnesota - $88,020
Oregon - $86,970
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary, OCC Code 25-1121, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an art teacher do?

An art teacher is a professional who can work privately, at art centers or in the school system.

The main aim of art teachers is to teach the students how to draw, paint; create ceramics and sculptures; learn photography, etc.

The typical responsibilities of an art teacher usually include planning lessons and projects; making sure they have enough supplies and tools for all the students; covering specific school curriculums, and so on.

Art teachers can work with a wide range of different materials – paints, pencils, clay, textiles; nowadays, professionals might also use computers and teach digital art forms.

The duties will certainly vary depending on the level of the students.

How much do art teachers make?

On average, an art teacher can make a little more than $34.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $28.000 and $60.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the school you work for, the location and so on.

Teachers that work in New York, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level art teacher can earn around $13 per hour, while a top-level specialist with plenty of experience can make $29 and more per hour.

How much does it cost to become an art teacher?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree in teacher education with a specification in fine arts, in order to become an art teacher.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

You must be certified to be able to teach in schools; the cost of teacher certification can vary from state to state, so be prepared to pay anywhere between $40 and $200.

What is the demand for art teachers?

Between 2018 and 2028, the elementary, middle and high school teacher job market is expected to grow by 3-4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is pretty much the same as the national average for all occupations in the United States.

At the postsecondary level, the demand for teachers will grow by 11%.

Those who possess a master’s or a doctorate degree will have better job prospects.

How long does it take to become an art teacher?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree; 1-2 years to earn a master’s degree, in case you decide to go for one.

To become a certified teacher, you would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program, pass a background check and knowledge and skills tests.

The initial certificate is valid for 5 years; you would have to complete a certain number of professional development hours every five years to maintain the certification.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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