As an aspiring art teacher there are several options that you can choose from that will lead to state certification. The most direct route — and the one that is often the most popular — is an undergraduate degree that has a teaching preparation segment as part of the program.
This of course isn’t the only way that can lead to earning your state certification, and it may not be the best either. It depends on several factors that you will want to consider as you decide how you will approach your art teaching degree.
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Undergraduate Degrees in Art Education
The popular bachelor’s degree is the first to consider. This route is typical for the student right out of high school who wants to enter the teaching field as quickly as possible. It will prepare you to earn your state certification when you have completed the program and ready you to teach art. Depending on the school you go to, the titles may vary, but typically an undergraduate degree in art education will be listed as:
- Bachelor of Arts in Art Education
- Bachelor of Arts in Education for Middle School
- Bachelor of Arts in Education for Middle School
- Bachelor of Science in Education
- Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Education
The degree programs are broken into several segments with general education coursework, art courses, and pedagogy. General education courses will usually include subjects in the following:
- Writing in your subject
- English literature
- Science with a lab
Major course requirements often include selections such as:
- Color Theory
- Elements of Design
- History of Art through the ages
- Glass Blowing
- Art Studio Work
Master’s Degrees in Education
Many states now require that new teachers have a master’s degree as part of their continuing education component. This means that you will need to have earned a master’s degree in order to renew your initial license. Some students will make the decision to complete a master’s degree prior to seeking their first teaching job. The options for a master’s degree teacher preparation program will be similar to the following:
- Master of Arts Art Education
- Master of Science in Career and Technology
- Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education
Master’s degrees in Art education can include the following topics:
- Strategies for an inclusive class environment
- Educational Psychology in the classroom
- Reading and writing – across curriculum
- Issues related to teaching middle and high school
- Methods of teaching art
- Art electives
Some schools have a Fifth Year Master’s Degree in Education. These programs lead to certification but don’t always necessarily lead to a master’s degree. It depends on the courses you take in the program. The primary goal of these programs is to prepare you to teach in your specialized field. The teacher preparation component of these programs will have the following courses:
- Foundations in Teaching
- Lesson Planning
- Student Teaching
- Classroom Management and Skills
For all master’s programs you will have a master’s thesis or a capstone project — these are typically approved by your advisor. The purpose of the thesis is to show that you have the ability to take your education and apply it to research in your field and report your findings in a scholarly manner.
Teaching K-12 requires a bachelor’s degree that often extends to a master’s degree eventually. There are, however, students who may want to consider the possibilities of other opportunities available past their early years in teaching.
If you have thoughts of going into administration, teaching at a college or a university, lecturing, writing, or any other higher level career goals, you may want to consider a doctorate. Here are just a few examples of possible degrees:
- Ed.D./Ph.D. in K-12 School Leadership
- PhD with Art Education Concentration
Alternative Degree Pathways to Teaching
While most states have the traditional requirements for a bachelor’s degree, many states offer some form of alternative method for acquiring a teaching license. These alternative methods came about during a time when there was a critical shortage of qualified teachers several decades ago. Since that time, schools have retained these pathways and added new ones as well.
One such program is Center for Career Changers to the Classroom. It began in Maryland in 2001 as a way to meet a teacher shortage. It continues today and has opened to include other states. It is a way to embrace members of our society who are looking to have an encore career, or who already hold a bachelor’s degree, and have been in the workforce for a time. It allows you to take a set number of classes that train you how to be a teacher while at the same time you become a teacher of record in your own classroom. The program leans on your practical industry knowledge. It also supports you with mentor teachers to help you with the teaching component. The program typically takes up to two years before it’s completed and at the end you are ready to apply for your state teaching certificate.
There are many other alternative pathways, but each one is basically the same. The program offers the student who already has a degree the option to enter the teaching field while fulfilling the state requisites for certification. Each program available will have varying time frames, support systems, grants available, and other things that may be important to you as an individual. It would be worth doing some research to see what is available in your state. Many curriculums may be combined with a master’s degree earned when you have completed the program.