The National Art Education Association notes that the arts teach children a variety of important lessons: how to make good judgments about qualitative relationships, that problems can have more than one solution, that it’s important to celebrate multiple perspectives, that language does not define the limits of our cognition, that small differences can have large effects, and more. In addition, the arts are recognized as a core academic subject under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. According to the advocacy group Americans for the Arts, low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.
The Louisiana Department of Education’s Constituent Service Center deals with teacher licensing for the state. To become an arts teacher in Louisiana, complete the following steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program|
|Apply for Your Certificate|
|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 Louisiana is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program, or to follow one of the state’s approved alternate routes.
In Louisiana, a traditional teacher preparation program is a four-year Bachelor of Arts or Science degree program that includes the following:
- General education courses
- A certification area of focus
- Professional education
- 180 hours of field experiences
- One semester of student teaching or internship in a school
Your degree program should integrate content knowledge, professional knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technology. Prospective arts teachers should choose all-level (K-12) traditional teacher preparation programs. A list of all of the state-approved teacher prep programs, with contact information, is available here.
Note that you are required to complete your program with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Information on the alternative-route programs, all of which still require a bachelor’s degree, is available here.
Step 2. Complete Testing
To become an art teacher in Louisiana, whether you follow a traditional or alternate route, you must pass the following tests:
- Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in reading, writing, and mathematics
- One of the Principles of Learning and Teaching tests
- Praxis II Art: Content Knowledge test
The Praxis Core tests measures basic skills in reading, writing, and math through multiple-choice questions and two thirty-minute essay questions. In Louisiana, passing scores are as follows:
- Reading: 156
- Writing: 162
- Math: 150
You can take all three tests combined at the same time, or individually. All tests are computerized.
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.
The Art: Content Knowledge test (5134) is 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 in Louisiana is 159.
Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate
All teachers in a public school in Louisiana must be certified. The state offers three levels of certification for arts teachers:
- Level 1 Professional
- Level 2 Professional
- Level 3 Professional
The first level of certificate to apply for is the Level 1 Professional Certificate, which is valid for three years. The following requirements apply for in-state applicants:
- You must graduate from a state-approved teacher preparation program (traditional or alternative path) with a minimum 2.5 GPA
- Pass all required exams listed above
- Be recommended by your university or private provider
To apply for a Level I Professional Certificate, you must contact the school where you received your degree.
In addition, a Temporary Employment Permit (TEP), valid for one school year, may be granted to those candidates who meet all requirements for a Level 1 certificate with the exception of passing the required exams. An application for a TEP may be found here.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License
A Level I Professional Certificate may only be renewed once, for an additional three years, either at the request of your school district or superintendent (or corresponding official in the private school system), or by completing six semester hours of resident, extension, or correspondence credit from a regionally accredited university/college directly related to arts teaching. Your district must submit a completed Certification Update Packet & pay the appropriate certification fee.
Level 2 Professional Certificate
The next level of certification to apply for is the Level 2 Professional Certificate, which is valid for five years. This requires passing the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP) and teaching arts education for three years in an approved educational setting. The LATAAP consists of two parts, a mentoring program and an assessment process to establish teachers’ qualifications to teach in Louisiana classrooms.
To renew a Level 2 certificate, you must complete 150 continuing learning units (CLUs) of district-approved and verified professional development over five years. Your district must verify the CLUs using the Certification Update Packet. Each school district in Louisiana decides which activities may be used to earn CLUs, which leads to a wide array of options. These may include:
- Mentoring new teachers in the LATAAP program
- Presenting workshops for other teachers
- Participating in faculty study groups
- Other school improvement activities that increase professional skills
Level 3 Professional Certificate
The next level of certificate to apply for is the Level 3 Professional Certificate, which is available to those with a Level 1 or Level 2 Professional Certificate who complete the following:
- A Masters Degree from a regionally accredited university/college
- Teaching arts for five years
- Passing the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP)
To renew a Level 3 license, you must complete 150 continuing learning units (CLUs) of district-approved and verified professional development over five years.
As in all states, National Board Certification for teachers is available, although Louisiana provides less support for this certification than others states. All decisions regarding National Board Certification are made at the district level, and so teachers are encouraged to contact human resources in their district for more information. Louisiana currently has 1,864 teachers who have achieved National Board Certification.
Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work
A master’s degree is required for the highest level of licensure in Louisiana, the Level 3 Professional Certificate. A variety of post-baccalaureate options for education are available in the state, including the following:
- Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
- Master of Education in Counseling
- Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
- Master of Science in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
- Master of Education in Educational Leadership
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum & Instruction
- Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction
- Doctor of Education in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
- EdD in Educational Leadership
- Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education
Louisiana Art Teacher Salaries
According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Louisiana (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $38,655, higher than the national average of $36,141. The average teacher salary is $48,627.
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||14,710||$47,440|
|Middle School Teachers||11,200||$48,870|
|Secondary School Teachers||16,800||$49,470|
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||Employment||Annual Mean Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||820||$40,440|
|Middle School Teachers||220||$41,870|
|Secondary School Teachers||650||$44,030|
|Baton Rouge, LA|
|Elementary School Teachers||2,240||$48,400|
|Middle School Teachers||2,410||$50,680|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,710||$52,110|
|Elementary School Teachers||160||$57,010|
|Middle School Teachers||980||$49,280|
|Elementary School Teachers||1,100||$47,370|
|Middle School Teachers||80||$48,960|
|Secondary School Teachers||700||$48,910|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA|
|Elementary School Teachers||3,050||$47,700|
|Middle School Teachers||3,440||$48,810|
|Secondary School Teachers||3,220||$51,380|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA|
|Elementary School Teachers||690||$53,820|
|Middle School Teachers||1,340||$49,550|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,150||$49,970|
Recently passed legislation in Louisiana requires school districts to create compensation systems based on effectiveness, demand, and experience. Information on the model compensation systems being built in the state is available here.
Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries in some areas of Louisiana can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: