“An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along.” - Andre Maurois
Teaching isn’t as popular a profession as it once was. An alarming number of newly-qualified teachers leave the profession after only a few years. Teachers are undervalued and given a very difficult job and most people only do it because of a passion for a noble career.
So if you love art, how do you become a teacher? Do you need a teacher certification? How long does it take?
In this article, we're looking at how you can teach art.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an Art Teacher?
As we said, teaching art is a noble profession. Those who love art can choose to pass their passion for it onto future generations. That said, not just anyone can become an art teacher, especially if you want to teach in schools in the UK.
In terms of teaching, you'll usually need a bachelor's degree or formal certification in your subject (art), then you'll need to complete your teacher education to prove that you can also teach.
In the UK, art is taught in primary and secondary schools. To get a job in a state school, you’ll need to have qualified teacher status (QTS). For those wanting to teach in a secondary school, you'll usually need to complete the PGCE to get your QTS. The PGCE (and similar courses) will include the theoretical side of teaching such as creating lesson plans, following the national curriculum, and everything else you need to study for becoming a teacher.
Most teacher preparation programmes will be taught in a university's department of education and, in many cases, you won't have to study much of your particular content area for certification as your degree will usually act as proof of your skills in this area.
In terms of actual teaching experience, you'll do a placement in a secondary school or primary school to help you to become a teacher in every sense of the word. After all, the best educators will be experts in their subject area and know everything they need to know for teaching their subject. Whether it's primary education, secondary education, further education, or higher education, a teaching certificate or degree in education won't be enough, you'll need to prove you can hack it in the classroom.
Similarly, once you become a teacher, you'll regularly attend teacher training to ensure that even your basic skills remain sharp.
It should be noted that if you want to become a private art tutor, no formal qualifications are required. However, it's much easier to find potential students if you have an education degree or have studied education courses as this can reassure your students. That said, once you've got a glowing reputation and endorsements from current and former students, most people won't be bothered whether you've worked in the teaching profession in a public or private school.
Find out more about qualifications for art teachers.
How Much Do Art Teachers Earn?
Before you start teaching art, you might want to know how much you’ll earn. Generally, the longer you’ve worked as the teacher, the higher your earning potential. Similarly, private schools tend to offer their teachers more money than state schools.
Around £17k is the starting wage for unqualified teachers and the main pay range for qualified teachers outside of London is £24k. Teachers in London will start by earning between £25k and £30k. Of course, these are just the lower ranges and a teacher salary will vary according to qualifications, experience, etc. The main pay ranges reach up to £35k outside of London and between £37k and £41k for those in and around the capital.
Outside of London, experienced teachers can earn between £37k and 40k and those in and around London are on £38k and £49k a year. Of course, these are the teaching jobs at the upper pay ranges and are reserved for school teachers with experience in the school system and great results.
Beyond the upper pay ranges, there are also leading practitioners. These exceptional teachers can earn between £41k and £62k outside of London and between £42k and £70k in London.
Finally, if you want to become a private art tutor, you can choose your rates. For example, the average cost of art tutorials in London is £24 per hour. That said, you need to carefully choose your rates as to not put off potential students but also earn a living.
Those just starting shouldn’t expect to earn a fortune as they need to make a name for themselves first.
Find out more about how much art teachers earn.
How Can You Study to Become an Art Teacher or Tutor?
If you want to be a teacher, you'll need to study. While a teaching certification or qualification is the most obvious way, other requirements aren't as tangible as a master of arts in teaching, a PGCE, or any other alternative certification.
There are several routes into art teaching but doing a PGCE is by far the most common method for those wanting to teach the subject in state secondary schools.
Find out more about studying to become an art teacher.
The Qualities that an Art Teacher Needs
Becoming an art teacher isn’t for everyone and certain qualities will help you become a better teacher. For the most part, you can gain these skills over time.
Here are some of the skills that every art teacher should have:
- Knowledge of different teaching approaches
- Listening skills
- Student management
- Dealing with noise and chaos
- Presentation skills
- Art history knowledge
- Technical art knowledge
Two of the most important qualities for any teacher are pedagogy and patience.
Pedagogy is the art of teaching and being a good teacher is all about knowing how to teach and effective teaching methods, explaining things clearly, in different ways, managing a classroom, etc.
Patience is essential because you’ll be expected to explain things several times and in different ways. This is especially true in art as it’s a subject where things aren’t always as they seem.
Art teachers need to also manage a lot of materials. You need to make sure things are neat and tidy. Similarly, you need to make sure that your students use the materials safely.
In short, you need to be a good teacher who’s passionate about art.
Find out more about what it takes to be 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.