An art education degree prepares you to teach art to students ranging from preschool to high school -- and possibly college. Legal requirements to become a teacher are established by each state, but all states require art teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree. Other types of art education jobs might not legally require that you have a degree, but employers might request that you do.
School Art Teacher
Many people pursue art education degrees to become art teachers in public or private schools. You can work with children ranging from preschoolers to high schoolers as long as you meet state licensing requirements. You'll teach students about art history, different media, art appreciation and the basics of creating art. Some school art teachers also become involved in additional educational pursuits. You might, for example, help students start a literary magazine, start an after-school art club or coach a sports team.
Community Art Teacher
Some art teachers work in their communities teaching art to day or overnight camp attendees or to children at museums. You might also give private art lessons or tutor students who want to master a particular kind of art. While many private art teachers work for themselves, some work with organizations dedicated to helping students learn about art. Others work with tutoring companies.
If you're not interested in teaching, your art education degree might make you an attractive candidate to organizations dedicated to preserving art or educating the public about art. Museums, art-centered nonprofit organizations and art advocacy organizations sometimes hire art education majors to fill a variety of roles. You might work in fundraising and public outreach, select works of art or provide write-ups about pieces. Also, you might serve as a docent or curator who answers questions about art and artists.
With an art education degree, you'll receive training in both art and education, and your background in art might give you the experience and connections you need to become an artist. There's no specific educational requirement for being an artist. Instead, you'll need to hone your craft and create novel pieces that build buzz in the art world. However, the people you'll meet as an art education major are often people who can help you in your career and you may put you in touch with art buyers or museums.
Organizations that sell art and art-related material may be interested in hiring art education majors because they can educate potential buyers about the value of their products. Craft stores, art supply stores and similar shops might hire you to design ad campaigns, to sell their products or to choose which products to buy. You could also end up working for an art dealer or buyer.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.