“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” - Galileo

The UK is one of the few countries in the world where fewer and fewer people are encouraging their children to become teachers.

Despite that, British people rank primary school teachers and secondary school teachers higher than any other major European economy. It goes to show that while we respect teachers, few of us are brave enough to do the work they do. After all, there’s a lot of work to become a teacher.

In this article, we’ll look at how you can become an art teacher.

How Do You Qualify as an Art Teacher?

Generally, art teachers will need postgraduate qualifications and qualified teacher status (QTS) to work in a secondary school in the UK.

What qualifications do art teachers need?
To work in state schools, you'll need qualified teacher status (QTS). (Source: MustangJoe)

However, first, they need a qualification in their subject area. Usually, this will be a bachelor's degree in art. Once they have this, they can complete postgraduate courses (usually the Postgraduate Certificate in Education or PGCE) or teacher training.

Most UK universities ask for a lower second-class undergraduate degree (2:2) in art and design-related subjects or equivalent for an art PGCE.

Find out how to become an art teacher.

Getting Onto an Art PGCE

To become a qualified teacher, you'll usually be expected to complete the PGCE in which you'll gain professional skills while studying and learn more about the teaching practice. Similarly, PGCEs include school-based work placements for aspiring teachers.

How do you get on an art PGCE?
The most common way to become an art teacher is by doing a PGCE. (Source: poverss)

However, before you can do all this, you need to be accepted onto the course. Much like with undergraduate degrees and almost everything else in higher education, your application will be dealt with through UCAS.

Sadly, a PGCE isn't free but there are a few things you should know about the fees and funding. When you find a course and are accepted onto it, you should look to see whether or not you're eligible for a tax-free bursary, tuition fee loan or maintenance loan, or additional financial support. Bursaries go up to £9,000 and are available for those with a first, 2:1, 2:2, Master's, or PhD.

Before you start looking for a PGCE, we recommend that you check the QS World University Rankings to see which are the best universities. For example, certain universities are better for primary education while others excel in undergraduate study but fall short in postgraduate study. Similarly, most universities will sing their praises when it comes to their department of education or school of education.

You might want to also consider attending an open day once you've settled on a few universities that you're interested in.

Here are some of the best universities for PGCEs:

  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Durham
  • University of Exeter
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University College London

Find out more about the qualifications art teachers need.

Passing the Art PGCE

In comparison to most degree courses, the PGCE can be testing. A lot is expected of those who want to make their way into primary or secondary education and teacher education in the UK reflects this. You'll be expected to study a lot!

How do you pass an art PGCE?
An art PGCE could be the toughest year of study. (Source: weinstock)

As the PGCE is tough, make sure you rely on your support network. Friends, family, and, most importantly, university tutors and placement mentors are on hand to help you with guidance and assistant. If things get difficult and you start to struggle, make sure you reach out to those that can help you.

Similarly, you won't be the only person on your course so make sure that you make friends with the other PGCE students. After all, you're all in the same boat and it can be useful to work together as you all have shared goals. We're not saying that you should copy off them, but you should help each other and support one another.

One of the hardest parts of your PGCE will be the placement. While it's challenging, you should also try to make the most of it. We can't stress enough just how much you'll learn from this time and you should make sure that you're constantly learning from every challenge that's thrown your way.

The entry requirements for the PGCE might make you think that it's quite easy but it's quite the opposite. Ask anyone who's completed it and they'll tell you it was one of the toughest years of their lives. That said, it doesn't get much easier (or any easier) once they start working in primary or secondary schools. Teaching isn't for the faint of heart.

Find out how much art teachers earn.

Finding Work with an Art PGCE

Just because you've got your PGCE, is doesn't mean that you'll just automatically walk into a job teaching art in a state school. As we said earlier, you'll usually need an art degree, QTS, and, the hardest thing to get, experience.

How can you find work as an art teacher?
Once you've got your PGCE, you need to get work as an art teacher. (Source: Monfocus)

When looking for work, you'll need to do your NQT first. NQT is short for "newly qualified teacher". This means that you've got your QTS but are yet to complete the "induction for newly qualified teachers", which is a 12-month programme.

Put simply, when you get your PGCE, your first year of teaching full time will be your NQT year. This means that you'll need to be looking for NQT positions when applying. Once you've completed your NQT year, you can start searching for art teacher jobs of all types. However, like every other career, certain online tutoring jobs UK will require more experience than you have.

You can find jobs for art teachers on the gov.uk website under the teaching vacancies service. Similarly, jobs are posted to other sites like indeed.co.uk, totaljobs.co.uk, and teachin.co.uk, for example. Make sure that you apply to jobs that you're capable of doing and qualified for.

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.

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.