What is an Art Instructor? And How Do I Become One?

Art Instructor

For the purpose of this article, we will define an “art instructor” as individuals teaching art in schools as requirements for individuals teaching art in private practice are much different. An art instructor or art educator is an individual who helps students to understand, describe, and create art. Art teachers are responsible for preparing developmentally appropriate art activities that include art history, art appreciation, and expressive arts. Art lessons vary depending on the learner’s age, materials (including technology) available in the classroom, and the school-wide curriculum. Art teachers perform ancillary teacher duties in schools such as hall monitoring and bus duty. As an art teacher you may be expected to collaborate with other special subject area educators like music educators and theater instructors during school performances. Meaning, an individual who remains flexible and adaptable is an ideal candidate for art education. Other traits necessary for the teaching profession are compassion, organizational skills, punctuality, behavioral management skills, flexibility, and a positive attitude.

Salary of an Art Instructor

The average salary of an art educator can vary greatly in accordance with location, experience level, and job description. Art instructors can earn in the range from $30,000-$71,000 per year. Some areas and locations will offer less or more.

How to apply to a Master’s in Art Education

Every school is different and applying to a master’s in art education commonly require specific GRE test scores, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, a resume or curriculum vitae, and official transcripts. Occasionally, institutions will require a video of the individual performing their teaching duties either in a classroom, small group or 1:1. In lieu of this experience many institutions will allow for a statement of purpose or intent to take its place. It is always advised to check with your institutions of interest for admission requirements. In the case of art education, you may be required to have a bachelor’s degree in Art Education and experience with studio art and art history.

What Should I Expect During My Master’s Degree in Art Education?

Though each program is unique there are many common components to a art education master’s. Many programs will start with art education foundations like the history of art education, curriculum design for teaching art, contemporary issues that shape today’s classrooms, and research. Often times programs allow for elective courses to further tailor your degree to your specific interests and needs. Good programs will also offer digital imaging, digital video and studio art electives as well as topics like ceramics, drawing, painting, design, and multi-media art. Many programs include classes on art and the global world as well as a contemporary analysis of art.

Contemporary Art Education

Contemporary art is the art of the present and provides an opportunity to reflect on society and the issues that are relevant to self and our world. Much of contemporary art is distinguishable as art without a set uniform governance and focuses more on art and identity and therefor reflects diversity. Areas where art intersects with a more global perspective may be through social activism or critical theory- where are demands an exchange/ transactional approach to its viewing. Students who are educated in contemporary arts may be encouraged to participate in a movement, reflect on their identity, or participate collaboratively across disciplines. Many of the best art schools in the world utilize an interdisciplinary approach to educating their artists and encourage collaboration with other art forms, pundits, scientists and others.

Common Skills Needed As a Art Educator

Critical Theory
fine arts experience
Good Communication Skills
Patience and Encouragement
Curriculum Development
Classroom management skills
Lesson Planning
Knowledge of latest art technology programs
Studio art experience
Knowledge of Art History
Differentiation skills for all types of learners
Strong written and verbal communication skills
Team development skills
Positive encouragement

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