Career Profile of Art Teacher at Elementary School

An art teacher teaches painting to children in an elementary school. Image courtesy KidStock, Getty Images.

Job Description of Art Teacher at Elementary School

An Elementary School Art Teacher works full-time in an elementary school (first grade to fifth grade) teaching art to children whose ages range from 6 to 11 years old.

Education Needed to Be an Art Teacher at Elementary School

Art Teachers need to have a college degree in early education. Art Teachers in the USA are required to have a teaching certificate in the subject and grade level issued by their state of employment.


Duties Required to Be an Art Teacher at Elementary School

An Elementary School Art Teacher plans, organizes, and teaches instructional art lessons and activities to children aged 6 to 11.

Duties include outlining the objectives of the course, and preparing the lesson materials, supplies, tools and equipment for the specific art project being taught. Setting up labs, designing tests, studying and homework materials, and maintaining discipline in the classroom is necessary.

An Art Teacher provides instruction to a class, individually, or in groups, by various methods such as oral presentations, demonstrations, discussion of homework assignments, answering questions, offering laboratory directions, and interactive games.

Maintaining student progress and grade reports, recording attendance and absences, obtaining permission slips from students, and evaluating student performance are key duties, plus consulting with parents via parent-teacher conferences, progress reports, letters, and special meetings.

Besides art-related duties, if any issues or needs arise from the student, the Art Teacher consults with school staff and parents in order to remedy the situation. Art Teachers also supervise students both inside and outside the classroom, (i.e. during fire drills, between classes, during assemblies, arriving and departing school) to ensure good, safe behavior.

To maintain teaching as a life career, an Art Teacher regularly attends seminars, workshops, conferences and other classes in order to learn new skills and to further develop the career.

Teaching also requires fulfilling the school’s administrative duties, such as attending faculty and staff meetings, ordering equipment and supplies, coordinating department activities, creating bulletin boards, and writing regular reports.

Skills Required to Be an Art Teacher at Elementary School

An Elementary School Art Teacher uses current educational methodologies and techniques in the classroom. Being empathetic, patient, sensitive, and flexible; having a deep understanding of child and adolescent development; and being able to skillfully manage student behavior (both individual and group) are mandatory skills.

Being a skilled communicator, working as part of a team, and ensuring that the students are provided with a safe and healthy environment is also part of the necessary skill set.

Art Teachers typically teach in a standard classroom environment working with children, so it is a physically active job requiring standing, walking, bending, kneeling and sitting. Some light lifting may be required.

A classroom environment can sometimes be stressful, so it is important that the teacher stays in emotional control.

Art Teachers may also have to act as guardians when classes make field trips to art museums or other outside sites.

How to Be Hired as an Art Teacher at Elementary School

Having a college or university degree in education, plus having the appropriate teaching certification makes a candidate eligible for the available position. Showing knowledge and enthusiasm helps the job applicant succeed in the interview process.

Please note that some schools will hire professional artists, as freelancers or independent contractors, to come teach several art classes. But this type of position does not come with benefits like insurance or job security. However, this may be a good option for artists who are looking to earn some extra money in a temporary situation.

Further Resources

The following weblinks are for online job listings for art related jobs such as teaching.

Please note that these job listings have deadlines, and that the data is constantly changing.