How to Become an Art Teacher in California

To become an art teacher in California, you need to know about its academic requirements, understand the state’s certification process and meet its standards and ensure that your skill as an art teacher is up to standard for all school-age children.

Teachers in the art department teach students about different mediums for artistic creation. They teach techniques and materials like illustrative, craft-based, and sculptural creation. Some art teachers teach other subjects like photography or filmmaking. Arts teachers are required in California because the demand for art teachers far exceeds the supply of art teachers in the state. This article talks about how to become an art teacher in California and includes tips on what you should do if you want to become one.

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Discovering Your Passion

If you are considering becoming an art teacher, you should consider the following when first getting started: what your goals are, what makes you passionate about being an art teacher, and how much time you’re willing to devote to the profession. You should also figure out what kind of art teaching experience you have.

Become an Art Teacher in California

To become an art teacher, you will need a bachelor’s degree. The best programs provide graduates with the experience and knowledge to be able to teach the arts effectively. To qualify for a teaching position in California, you must also be certified (or credentialed) by completing the two-step process consisting of certification exams. It can take up to two to five years for your certification process to be implemented.

Education RequiredAt least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in visual arts Completion of an accredited art teacher preparation program
Required ExamsBasic skills exam Art subject knowledge exam (depending on educational background)
Credentials Renewal Period5 years for the clear credential
CEU Credits Required for RenewalNone necessary
Median Wage$51,822
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)8%

Degree Requirements – You must have at least a bachelor’s degree to teach in California. However, it does not specify that the degree must be in Arts for the certificate requirements. When you receive your teaching certificate, you will need to demonstrate your subject knowledge of the arts. Earning a bachelor’s degree with arts as one of 15 state-approved arts programs in California is a great way to demonstrate this knowledge.

Teacher Training Requirements – After earning your bachelor’s degree, you must graduate in these programs to train as an art teacher. They all include learning about health education, how to teach English language skills, and using technology in the classroom.

Exam Requirements – You must demonstrate your math and English skills to the credentialing commission. You can also skip one of several exams available. If you earned your bachelor’s degree outside of a California art school, you will also need to pass two CSET exams. Learn about theories of learning in art, creativity and expression, artistic perception, aesthetics, and the cultural context of the visual arts. Having a degree in the US Constitution is required. If you did not a complete one, you will also need to take an exam at an approved school to graduate.

Earning a Clear Credential – For a preliminary teacher to satisfy the requirements of the clear credential, they must have completed the initial teaching credential within five years. Only two options exist for getting a clear credential. Teachers who want to teach while they learn can take an accredited teacher induction program. Mentors, support, and on-the-job training are provided during the duration of the program. To become an art teacher, you have the other option of earning your certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Credential Renewal – This preliminary credential is a five-year license. It cannot be renewed after this period. But a clear credential is easy to renew every five years. There is no requirement to show professional development, like CEU credits. You can do this process online.

The Art Teacher Salary and Career Outlook

The median wage for an art teacher in California is $51,822. The career outlook for an art teacher is also very promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of art teacher jobs to grow by 8% from 2016 to 2026.


Teaching art in California is a little bit different than in other states. The state accepts many people with no education, and the state has a law that states that all teachers must be certified by the Board of Education. It is also important to take a course in art so that you can teach at the level your classes are at, have a portfolio to show people what type of education you’ve had, and look for schools in your area that need more art teachers.

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