There are a number of degrees available to future art educators. All elementary school teachers require at least a bachelor’s degree in order to become certified. Many elementary art teachers choose to pursue postgraduate education, as teachers with a master’s degree are frequently eligible for higher pay and increased job opportunities.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts degree is the most common path to teaching elementary art as it requires less investment in money and time. For a future elementary art teacher, many students choose to major in art education or elementary education. For a B.A. in art education, students take courses in art production, art education and general education in preparation for teacher certification. Classes in a bachelor’s degree elementary education program focus on general education, and students must pass the required state test to receive a teaching license.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
Unlike a bachelor of arts degree, students working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts study the production of art through studio classes and experience. Some universities include general education requirements necessary to work toward a teaching certificate though this does typically result in a longer educational experience.
Bachelor of Science in Art Education
A Bachelor of Science in art education includes practical experience in the classroom. Coursework typically involves classes in art production, art studio and education. Graduates can go on to teach in public schools, private schools and through community art programs at the elementary level.
Master’s Degree in Education
Master’s degrees in both arts and sciences are used as certification to teach elementary art. Generally, the end product of a one- to two-year program, a master’s in education or in art education focuses largely on pedagogical concerns and the methodologies supporting teaching art than on the art itself. In some states, elementary school teachers with a master’s degree earn more than teachers who hold only a bachelor’s degree.
Doctorate in Art Education
It is uncommon for a person with an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in art education to teach at the elementary level because of the amount of time and money going into the degree, and most choose to work at the university level. However, a doctorate in art education might be the right choice for a person who wants to work at the elementary level but also wants job flexibility and career advancement later or for someone who hopes to contribute to the field of knowledge for future teachers.