Kansas Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

The Teacher Licensure and Accreditation (TLA) team at the Kansas State Department of Education is responsible for licensing teachers in the state. The arts are considered core subjects in Kansas’ Basic Education Program, and the state has developed standards for arts education that focus on the visual arts as a humanizing force in a highly technological society.

The Department of Education notes that all students will benefit from skills and processes developed through arts education, regardless of their future careers. To become an arts teacher in Kansas, follow these 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 Kansas is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. A list of regionally accredited programs can be downloaded from the State Department of Education here. 16 schools in Kansas are currently certified to provide teaching endorsements for art in grade pre K-12.

No particular course or credit requirements are required according to state regulations. However, according to state standards, future arts educators should be trained to teach students to understand the meaning and value of creativity and innovation, to appreciate their artistic heritage, to develop critical thinking skills, to communicate through visual images, and other key skills. Art teachers should demonstrate a strong scholarly foundation in art education and have a clear conception of how art links students to the broad experiences of life.



Step 2. Complete Testing

All future art teachers in Kansas must pass two Praxis II exams:

  • One of the 4 Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams (see below). A passing score is 160.
  • The Art: Content Knowledge test (5134), a two-hour exam that measures basic knowledge of art making and the historical and theoretical foundations of art in the Western tradition and worldwide. A passing score is 160.

The Principles of Learning and Teaching tests measures general pedagogical knowledge through multiple-choice questions and constructed-response prompts based on case studies. These tests are administered at four grade level ranges: Early Childhood, K–6, 5–9 and 7–12. Complete the assessment for the grade range you’ll be most focused on teaching.

More information and test prep materials are available from the Praxis website.



Step 3. Apply for Your License

In Kansas, art teachers are certified at the early childhood through late adolescence and adulthood level, also known as prekindergarten through grade 12. The first step is to apply for an initial pre-K through grade 12 license with an art teacher endorsement. Initial licenses are valid for two years from the date of issue.

The requirements for an initial license for those coming from in-state school are as follows:

  • Official transcript verifying Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Verified completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • At least 8 credit hours or one year of accredited teaching experience completed within the last six years
  • Passing scores on the exams listed above
  • An application
  • A processing fee (currently $60)

All applicants for an initial Kansas license must also submit one fingerprint card for the purpose of a KBI and FBI background clearance report.

You can apply for an initial license online. Application processing time is 6-8 weeks.



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License

The only current requirement for renewing an initial license, which must be done within 5 years of the issue date, is to complete a new form. Renewal requirements if the five years have lapsed are listed here.

The next level of license to apply for is the Professional License, which for art teachers is also only issued at the pre K-grade 12 level. These expire on your fifth birthday following the date you get your license. The requirements are below:

  • Verification of successful completion of a teaching performance assessment, while employed in a school accredited by the state board or by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the state board
  • Verification of at least one year of recent accredited experience or at least eight semester hours of recent credit
  • An application for professional teacher license
  • the licensure fee.

To renew a professional license, in-state applicants with a graduate degree need the following:

  • 120 professional development points awarded by a Kansas local professional development council under an approved individual development plan
  • If retired and participating in an educational retirement system, earn 60 professional development points

If you don’t have a graduate degree:

  • Earn 160 professional development points awarded by a Kansas local professional development council under an approved individual development plan, including at least 80 points for college credit.
  • If retired and participating in an educational retirement system, earn 80 professional development points, including at least 40 points for college credit; or
  • Complete all components of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards assessment for National Board Certification.

Other possible paths to renewal exist; consult the state education board for details.

The next level of certification is the Accomplished License, which is issued to those who have completed National Board Certification. These licenses are valid for ten years, and issued in the same grade range. A limited number of subsidies are available for Kansas’s teachers seeking National Board Certification.



Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

Graduate work is one path to more advanced levels of licensure in Kansas, and often provides a salary bump. Post-baccalaureate degree programs for teachers in Kansas include:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction (art specialty)
  • Master of Science in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
  • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
  • Doctor of Education in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
  • EdD in Educational Leadership


Kansas Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Kansas (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $33,386, slightly lower than the national average of $36,141. The average teacher salary overall is $46,401.

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 EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers13,830$45,940
Middle School Teachers5,950$48,380
Secondary School Teachers9,530$48,140


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 (note that not all areas track salaries for all locations):

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Kansas City, MO-KS
Elementary School Teachers9,670$50,580
Middle School Teachers3,890$50,030
Secondary School Teachers6,840$50,100


Lawrence, KS
Elementary School Teachers470$43,140
Secondary School Teachers220$46,080


Manhattan, KS
Elementary School Teachers570$41,110
Middle School Teachers290$46,240
Secondary School Teachers330$47,230


Topeka, KS
Elementary School Teachers1,130$50,730
Middle School Teachers450$52,970
Secondary School Teachers730$51,350


Wichita, KS
Elementary School Teachers2,990$42,900
Middle School Teachers1,440$48,390
Secondary School Teachers1,700$49,430


Salary schedules vary by district. According to the Kansas Department of Education, the average contracted salary for the 2013-2014 school year was $47,343. The total median salary, including extra pay and fringe benefits, was $50,262, with the low end at $33,930 and the high end at $65,315. More information on Kansas average teacher salaries may be found here.

Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries throughout Kansas and related areas can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Kansas City MO-KS
Kansas nonmetropolitan area

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