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New York Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Research shows that students engaged in the arts tend to do better in all areas of academic achievement. New York has made a commitment to visual arts education as a component of the core curriculum, and established standards that encourage students to create, perform, and participate in the arts at all grade levels.

In New York, teaching certificates are issued by the Office of Teaching Initiatives. To become an arts teacher in the state, complete the following steps:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for a License
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

The first step to becoming an art teacher in New York is to earn a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete an approved teacher training program that includes student teaching. A list of approved teacher prep programs in the state may be found here. After completing an approved program, your school will recommend you for certification via an online system. To check if your school is regionally accredited, visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Note that you are required to complete six clock hours of coursework or training in Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention in accordance with recently passed state law. Assuming you’ve graduated from an approved teacher prep program after February 2014, this coursework will have been completed as part of your degree requirements. If you completed your degree earlier, you will need to complete an appropriate workshop and earn a Certification of Completion. When you apply for the certificate, you will send this document to the NYS Education Department, Office of Teaching, 89 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12234. (Photocopies are acceptable). A list of providers is available on the DASA providers Web page.

 


 

Step 2. Complete Testing

New York requires you to pass a series of examinations before becoming an art teacher. These tests measure knowledge and skills in the liberal arts and sciences, in teaching theory and practice, and in areas specifically relating to art. You must receive passing scores on the following four tests before becoming an art teacher in New York:

The Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) consists of selected-response items, two focused constructed-response items, and one extended written assignment. In general, the ALST measures academic literacy skills necessary to teach effectively in New York State public schools.

The Educating All Students test consists of selected-response items and constructed-response items. Each constructed-response item will share scenario-based stimulus material with several selected-response items. The EAS test measures the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills necessary to teach all students effectively in New York State public schools.

The Visual Arts content test is a four-hour, paper-based test with 90 selected-response items and 1 constructed-response assignment. The test examines visual arts materials and processes, the principles and elements of art and design, the relationships between visual arts and culture, how the arts relate to the community, how to identify art from around the world, and more. More information about the test, including the dates it is offered, is available here. A test prep booklet is available here.

edTPA is a multiple measure assessment of teaching focused on student learning. You submit materials used in your teaching (such as lesson plans, video clips of instruction, student work samples) during a clinical field experience. You also submit commentaries that provide a rationale to support your instructional practices based on student learning strengths and needs. Your evidence is evaluated across five scoring components of teaching: Planning, Instruction, Assessment, Analysis of Teaching, and Academic Language. For more information about edTPA, visit edtpa.com.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Your License

You must be certified to teach in a New York public school. The first certificate to apply for is the Initial Certificate, which is good for 5 years. In New York, you apply to become certified as a Visual Arts teacher in preK-grade 12 inclusive.

You can apply for certification online. If you are enrolled in a New York State teacher preparation program or alternative teacher preparation program, choose “Pathway: Approved Teacher Preparation Program ” as your pathway. Your college Certification officer will submit your institutional recommendation online as well.

Note that you must must be cleared by the New York State Education Department through a fingerprint-supported criminal history background check as part of the application requirements.

Once you have applied online for a certificate, you must send the Education Department all supporting documentation, such as transcripts and score reports. Send these to:

New York State Education Department
Office of Teaching Initiatives, Room 5N-EB
89 Washington Avenue
Albany NY 12234

Note that you will not receive a paper copy of your Initial Certificate.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License

The next certificate to apply for is the Professional Certificate, which is the advanced-level certificate for classroom teachers. You must have at least three years of paid, full-time experience as well as a mentored experience to apply for this certificate. Completion of the mentored experience must be verified by the superintendent of your school district through the TEACH online system by entering a superintendent statement and selecting “Verification of Mentoring” as the statement.

You can apply for a Professional Certificate online using the TEACH system.

The Professional Certificate can be kept continuously valid with completion of 175 hours of professional development on a five-year professional development cycle. Requirements vary, and you may need to get your school district to approve these hours in advance. For more information on acceptable professional development activities, and how to report and record hours completed, go to Professional Development for Professional Certificate Holders.

 


 

Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

New York offers a variety of post-baccalaureate programs in arts education, many of which can be used to earn certification at the same time. Some of these programs include:

  • Masters of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Arts in Arts Education
  • MA in Art, Education, and Community Practice
  • MA Teaching Art and Social Studies
  • Master of Science in Visual Arts
  • Master of Arts in Art History
  • Master of Arts in Art Education
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of Art

 




 


New York Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in New York (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $43,839, significantly higher than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 76,130 $72,840
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 39,890 $75,340
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 65,940 $75,250

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 3,780 $59,150
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,630 $63,180
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 150 $64,730
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,960 $62,350
 

 

Binghamton, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 720 $57,430
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 650 $59,570
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 50 $58,720
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 920 $63,100
 

 

Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 4,700 $60,640
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,930 $58,700
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 150 $54,910
 

 

Elmira, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 500 $47,500
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 240 $65,370
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 260 $57,020
 

 

Glens Falls, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 420 $58,390
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 160 $58,400
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 600 $56,980
 

 

Ithaca, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 440 $67,590
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 530 $66,880
 

 

Kingston, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 620 $81,400
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 450 $79,060
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 730 $68,130
 

 

Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metropolitan Division
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 11,950 $96,860
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 6,830 $97,920
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 12,030 $96,250
 

 

Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 2,460 $76,040
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,950 $75,910
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,840 $77,500
 

 

Rochester, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 4,900 $55,810
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,320 $56,670
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 4,610 $58,900
 

 

Syracuse, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 2,500 $63,700
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,410 $70,760
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,710 $67,240
 

 

Utica-Rome, NY
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,500 $62,280
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 420 $61,850
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 40 $60,780
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,000 $56,840

Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. In New York City, starting teacher salaries range from $45,530 (bachelor’s degree, no prior teaching experience) to $51,425 for teachers who have a master’s degree but no

teaching experience. With annual increases plus increases for additional coursework, teachers’ salaries can rise to the current maximum of $100,049 per year. New York City’s complete salary schedule may be found here. Information on the rest of the state’s salary schedules can be found here.

Information on postsecondary art, music, and drama teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
540
62760
Binghamton NY
130
65290
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
380
59760
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
600
59080
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
9980
102300
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Estimate Not Released
53640
Rochester NY
640
84400
Syracuse NY
400
58730
Utica-Rome NY
90
83900
Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area
160
64240
Central New York nonmetropolitan area
170
45820
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area
270
43520

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