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What Degree Do You Need to be An Art Teacher?

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Being an art teacher can be a great way to be around the arts every day while still having a fairly stable paycheck. There’s all sorts of art teacher jobs, ranging from guiding five year olds through finger paints to teaching university students how to sculpt. The exact requirements can vary a little depending on the job you want. Therefore, it’s a good idea to explore your options and make sure you have the right credentials.

What Level of Degree Do You Need?

In addition to the exact type of material you study, you also need to consider the type of program you are in. Degrees come in many shapes and sizes depending on how long you study and how rigorous your schooling is. The degree requirements for art teachers vary depending on the position you want.

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Can You Become an Art Teacher With Just a High School Education?

If you do not have any post-secondary education, there may be a few opportunities available. Though you usually cannot teach art at a school, you might be able to teach some sort of program. For example, a local paint store with a “Paint and Sip” class might hire teachers without a degree. You might also be able to teach art in pre-schools, individual tutoring, or community outreach programs.

If you want to teach art without a degree, you need to have a good mastery of art materials and techniques. Hiring organizations will want to hear about your experience and see examples of your work. You will need to show you have enough understanding of the subject to teach others.

Most Art Teacher Jobs Require a Bachelor’s Degree

The majority of art teaching jobs at schools and other formal organizations will need some sort of bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is also called a four year degree, because the program usually lasts around four years. You can get this degree from both colleges and universities.

This is the most common degree for art teachers due to state requirements. Many states require all teachers to have a bachelor’s from an accredited institution. This has therefore become the standard for art teachers, so even non-school organizations who hire art teachers might ask for candidates to have a bachelor’s degree.

Reasons You Might Need a Master’s or Doctoral Degree

In almost all cases, a bachelor’s degree will provide you with access to desirable jobs. However, keep in mind that an art teacher and an art professor are technically two separate things. If you want to teach art on a college level, you need more training. In these cases, a master’s degree or doctoral degree is required.

The exact degree you need will depend on what you plan on teaching and where you want to get a job. Some colleges will be fine with professors who have a general Art or Art Education degree. However, some may require more specific education such as a Masters in Fine Arts with a concentration in sculpture.

Which Bachelor’s Degree Should You Get?

Ultimately, most art teachers will need to focus on getting their bachelor’s degree. There are all sorts of fields to major in. In some states, art teachers might be required to get a specific bachelor’s degree, so make sure you check your local rules before picking a major. Here are some of the most common degree options among art teachers.

Art Education

Of course the most directly applicable degree is a Bachelor of Art Education. This degree combines both art classes and educational classes, so you learn about everything you need to teach art to others. This degree is not a common one offered at all colleges and universities. However, if you can find a program, it’s the most straightforward way to become an art teacher.

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Almost all schools will offer a variety of Bachelor of Arts degrees. These go by many names and contain many different courses. Some common ones include things like Fine Arts, Studio Arts, Graphic Design, and General Arts. All of these types of degrees can help prepare you to teach art.


Another option is getting a degree in the educational field. There are many different types of programs for students to consider. You can get a degree for elementary education or secondary education. Furthermore, you may be able to pick a specialty such as Creative Education.

Other Degrees

Depending on where you live and what job you want, it might not be necessary to have a degree specifically in the art or educational field. Some jobs are fine with teachers as long as they have any type of bachelor’s degree. Therefore unrelated degrees like Environmental Science or Finance can still lead to an art teacher career. However, you will usually need a decent amount of experience if you want to get a job teaching art with a nontraditional degree.

What’s the Difference Between a Teaching Degree and a Teaching Certificate?

When you are looking at educational programs for prospective art teachers, you might notice that many include teaching certificates. A teaching certificate or license is simply a legal formality that shows you are qualified to teach.

The exact requirements to get this certification tend to vary depending on where you live. You might need to pass exams, sit through an educational course, get a certain number of hours working as an assistant to a more experienced teacher, or pass a background check. Some colleges will include all the steps to get your certificate as part of your degree. However, if you did not get this certification while at college, you’ll need to take the extra steps to get it before you apply for art teacher jobs.

As you can see, the right education makes a big difference to your career aspirations. By obtaining a degree in your desired field, you can more easily find art teacher jobs.

Recommended Online Degree Programs

Explore our featured online programs to find the right match for you today.

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Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?