“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” - Aristotle
Do you love art and want to teach it? How can you find jobs as an art teacher?
There are currently 506,400 full-time teachers in the UK. You need to get qualified teacher status before you can teach in most schools in the UK. However, that’s not the only way you have to teach. Here are the different ways to become an art teacher.
Becoming an Art Teacher in Schools
The first way most people think of becoming an art teacher will be by working in schools. This is the most common type of teacher in the UK.
If your subject is taught as part of the national curriculum, you can become a teacher in state schools. While sometimes the arts seem to be under attack, art is still taught in both primary and secondary schools. This means that there’ll still be a demand for art teachers.
So how do you become an art teacher in a state school?
Firstly you'll need an accepted teacher certification that grants you qualified teacher status (QTS). Generally, this is a PGCE (Postgraduate Certification in Education) and is offered across many universities in the UK.
Most universities will have a department of education or school of education where they offer this teaching certification, which is the most common requirement for teaching in a secondary school. Most education courses focus on teacher training and teacher preparation as it's assumed that you're already an expert in your field or subject.
School teachers will usually study their subject at degree level and then move onto a postgraduate qualification for becoming a teacher. In these qualifications, they'll gain teaching experience and take the biggest step towards becoming a teacher.
Once they've got the qualification, their teaching career can start. While we've mainly mentioned the PGCE, you can get an alternative certification for teaching in a primary school or secondary school but you should always check what's required for your subject area and the jobs you're looking at.
Find out more about becoming an art teacher.
Teaching Art in Private Schools
Teaching in private schools is different from teaching in state schools. However, the route to becoming a private school teacher is very similar.
Private schools don’t have to follow the same rules as state schools when it comes to recruiting their teachers. However, in most cases, they’ll still expect you to have qualified teacher status (QTS) but it’s not necessarily a requirement.
The application processes won’t necessarily be the same as state schools so make sure you carefully read a few job postings for private schools before you choose which courses you apply to.
Teaching Art in Art Schools and Universities
If you’re not interested in teaching kids, you can always teach in art schools and universities.
If you want to teach at a university, you’ll need a degree and often a master’s degree in art. Similarly, you won’t apply to these positions in the same way as you would state schools, either. Experience in art or teaching will also help your application.
Since you'll be in a university as you study to become an art lecturer, there'll be plenty of people who you can ask about the best ways to launch. Make sure you ask around.
Find out how much art teachers earn.
Teaching Art Elsewhere
Schools aren’t the only place you can teach art. A lot of places offer drawing, painting, or art lessons to adults and children alike.
In some cases, these are private businesses and in other cases, they’re classes run by the government. These courses often follow the academic calendar and run from the autumn until the following summer. They can be for absolute beginners or experienced artists.
To teach in these kinds of places, the requirements aren’t usually as strict for teachers. You’ll probably need fewer qualifications and less experience to get started teaching beginners how to paint in a casual class.
While a degree in fine art can get you into teaching in schools, you don’t necessarily need an art degree to teach. In fact, for some teaching jobs, you don’t need any qualifications. That said, you’ll probably need some experience.
Find out how to study to become an art teacher.
Becoming a Private Art Tutor
Another way to teach art is as a private tutor and a lot of people are interested in art and not just those still in school. Some people would like to discover more about art outside of work or school and will get in touch with a private tutor.
You don’t need any formal qualifications to teach art as a private tutor and you get to be the boss. Your experience and your knowledge of art will be enough to plan your tutorials.
However, students tend to find qualifications reassuring. Students with qualifications tend to be chosen more often than those without one.
If you've studied art history, sculpture, art and design, printmaking, or contemporary art, make sure you tell any potential students. When it comes to home tutoring or online tutoring, while formal qualifications aren't essential, they definitely will increase the likeliness of you finding students. Qualified tutors tend to be able to charge more for their tutorials, too so don’t hesitate to mention your qualifications on your profile.
With the visual arts, you can also use examples of your work to show off your capabilities as an artist. Of course, your tutoring services don't just depend on whether you're good with acrylic, mixed media, ceramics, or colour theory, it's about how well you can transfer your knowledge and understanding of the creative process to your students.
Find out what makes a good art teacher.
If you're interested in becoming a private art or drawing tutor, consider signing up to Superprof and creating your profile. You can offer three different types of tutorials: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. As there are pros and cons to each for both the student and the tutor, you need to think carefully about which combination of them you'll offer before you start.
Face-to-face tutorials are just between you and your student. With just one student in the session, every session needs to be tailored to them. Of course, this means that you'll need to prepare a lot outside of the lessons. However, you can reflect this in your rates as you're offering a tailored bespoke service to the student. Face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive type of tutorials but they're also the most cost-effective for students so make sure that they're aware of this.
Online tutorials are also between you and your student but you won't physically be there in the room with them. Instead, you'll teach them remotely using a computer, webcam, and video conferencing software like Skype. Much like face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials are a tailored service and you'll have to spend time planning each session but you'll save a lot of travel time as you only need to make it to your computer rather than the student's house. With all the time you save by not travelling, you can add even more tutorials into your schedule. With fewer outgoings and increased earning potential, you can charge more competitive rates for your tutorials.
Group tutorials involve teaching several students at the same time. Of course, with several students to keep happy, you won't be able to fully tailor the tutorials to each student. However, with several students paying for each hour of your time, you can charge less and still earn more at the end of each hour. Of course, this only works if your classes are full and the more students you have in your class, the less appealing your tutorials will be. Furthermore, group art tutorials will require a large space so if you don't have a studio or dedicated space available, you may have to look into renting a space for your lessons.
Finally, don't forget that many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tuition for free. This is a great opportunity for tutors to show off their teaching skills, meet potential students, and discuss what their tutorials will be like. Students will use these sessions to try out several different tutors so make sure you stand out when you meet them.
If you offer good tutorials at fair rates, you'll soon have a profile full of favourable reviews and have no problem finding students and earning a living.