Teaching fine arts at the high school level can blend your passion for the arts with your desire for a career in education. Knowing the requirements to pursue a career in this exciting field is the first step toward sharing your passion for art with the younger generation.
Complete a Bachelor's Degree
Completing a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university is the first step toward becoming a high school fine arts teacher. While a bachelor's degree in your desired field, such as fine art, theater or music performance, is preferable, you could also major in other related fields, such as art education or general education, complemented by a minor in the art form of your choice.
Teaching Education and Artistic Skill Development
The development of your teaching and artistic skills are both vital. Becoming a credentialed fine arts teacher requires participation in teacher education programs, such as student teaching, so you can observe the teaching practices of others to help you develop your own lesson plans and educational aims. These programs are typically a component of your undergraduate education and can require separate admission requirements and test scores, such as results of the Praxis I text. If you intend to teach in a specific medium or field, you might also wish to intern or apprentice with a professional artist or gallery or performing arts theater company to further develop your abilities.
In addition to the completion of any required teacher education or student teaching program, you will need to be licensed and certified according to your state's requirements to teach fine arts at the high school level. Preliminary certification can include passing several tests, including your state's basic skills or proficiency exam or the Praxis II Subject Assessments as designated by your state. These credentials are valid for a predetermined period of time and can be renewed with continuing education and development classes over the course of your teaching career. Also included in the preliminary certification process is a background check.
Many states also require a secondary single-subject teaching credential in art to be completed after preliminary credentials have been established. Some states also provide medium-specific teaching certification, for example, in the field of ceramics or drawing, if you wish to teach in a specialized field. If you lack the education coursework to qualify for traditional teaching certification, you can sometimes pursue alternative routes to achieve it.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: High School Teachers
- California Commission on Teacher Credentialing: Art Teacher Preparation In California
- Illinois Licensure Testing System
- ETS: The Praxis II Overview: For Test Takers
- State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing: Single Subject Teaching Credentials
- National Center for Education Information: Alternative Teaching Certification
Teresa J. Siskin has been a researcher, writer and editor since 2009. She holds a doctorate in art history.