How to become an art teacher

Updated February 21, 2017

A love of art isn't enough to become an art teacher. You encourage children to reach their artistic potential. You must have patience and withhold judgment. Art class is often a bright spot in a talented child's school day. The road to teaching art isn't the same for everyone, but here are things you can do to make it a success.

Find mentors in high school for your own art. Talk with your art teacher about what her job is like and how she got into it. Educate yourself about art through books, websites, magazines and museums.

Find a college that offers a degree in art education. Otherwise, study art history, fine arts or design along with education. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has a list of accredited schools by state on its website.

Observe how art teachers engage their students in the classroom. Pay attention to how they create their curriculum, encourage students and make them appreciate different techniques.

Check with the Department of Education in your state for what you need to get your teaching certificate. Consider getting a certificate from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which may get you a salary raise and allow you to teach in multiple states.

Complete an internship where you'll teach art under the supervision of an experienced teacher. Try out all three grade school levels to see which suits your temperament before deciding where you want to teach.

Volunteer to teach art in a hospital, prison, nursing home, museum or with an art education organization. You get valuable experience while contributing to your community.

Learn about disciplining students. You'll be miserable as an art teacher unless you find strategies to keep peace and maintain control in the classroom.


Make art class a fun and empowering experience because it's about self-expression. Art teachers who can't manage student behavior don't last beyond a few years. Consider working in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes if you get burned out from school teaching.

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