Job Description: Art teachers teach various artistic techniques (drawing, painting, photography, etc.) to children of all ages in private and public school settings. Art teachers may also arrange exhibitions of students’ work.
Training and Educational Qualifications: Requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten through grade 12 vary by state. However, all states require general education teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher training program with a prescribed number of subject and education credits as well as supervised practice teaching. Some states also mandate technology training and the attainment of a minimum grade point average. A number of states require that teachers obtain a master’s degree in education within a specified period after they begin teaching.
Job Outlook: Through 2016, overall student enrollment in elementary, middle, and secondary schools a key factor in the demand for teachers is expected to rise more slowly than in the past as children of the baby boom generation leave the school system. Projected enrollments will vary by region.
Salary: The median annual earnings of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers range from $43,580 to $48,690; the lowest 10 percent earn $28,590 to $33,070; the top 10 percent earn $67,490 to $76,100.
According to the American Federation of Teachers, beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $31,753 in the 2003-04 school year. The estimated average salary of all public elementary and secondary school teachers in the 2004-05 school year was $47,602. Private school teachers generally earn less than public school teachers but may be given other benefits, such as free or subsidized housing.
• In addition to conducting classroom activities, teachers oversee study halls and homerooms, supervise extracurricular activities and accompany students on field trips.
• Public school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher education program and be licensed.
• Many states offer alternative licensing programs to attract people into teaching, especially for hard to fill positions.
Architectural illustrator, freelance illustrator, set designer, middle school art teacher, high school art teacher and department chair for school system, part time college professor
Did you have an internship in this field prior to starting your job?
I student taught for 16 weeks in the public school system where I am now employed.
Which companies have the best internships in this field and are known to help launch successful careers?
I chose Fulton County Schools for my internship because I was the most impressed by that school system’s dedication to Fine Arts when I moved to Atlanta. Depending on where you go to college or plan to teach, your internship opportunities will differ.
Where are the best cities to live to find jobs like yours?
Teaching is universal; part of its appeal is that you can live around the world and still share your love of art with students.
What is your typical day like?
I teach sculpture and ceramics for half of my regular work day and then spend the afternoon doing my administrative duties as department chair of 14 secondary art teachers. In the evening, I teach art education and a computer based graphic arts class to future art educators.
What are your job responsibilities?
I teach 150 students per day in my day position and then manage the art departments of seven schools and twenty teachers. I order supplies, create instructional materials, write curriculum and act as a mentor to other teachers.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy all of it. The students are wonderful and I would like to continue teaching foundation courses for college.
What do you dislike about your job?
Long hours and a general lack of understanding about why the arts are so important to education in the United States.
Have you had any turning point or “light bulb” moments in your career that have helped you get to where you are today?
I got a job in illustration as soon as I graduated from college but grew tired and bored with it after the second year. I had begun training new employees for the company and enjoyed showing them how we operated as a company. Then one day it just struck me that I preferred the “teaching” part of my day to the illustrating part. I quit shortly after that and spent the next year getting certified to teach art in the state of Georgia. I also earned my master’s degree. It was the best decision I ever made and I have never looked back.
Describe how you got into this industry and how you got your most recent job.
I student taught in the school system where I currently am employed. At the time, I was so impressed with the art program and the support for the arts that I applied for a position and was hired. I recently was promoted to department chair based on curriculum writing experience, mentorship and leadership certification.
If you weren’t doing this job, what similar careers might you consider?
I would be a college professor full time or a graphic designer.
To what professional associations do you belong?
I am a member of the National Art Education Association, the GA Art Education Association, the Professional Association of GA Educators and the International Sculpture Society.
What advice do you have for others who would like to pursue this career?
Student teaching is the most important and influential part of the certification program. Learn all that you can during this part of your education.