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Art teacher

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Summary of occupation

Art teachers working in schools teach students painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics. Art teachers teaching in secondary school teach the practical skills and theory of various art forms, and may also teach the history of these art forms. Depending on the school's facilities, art teachers may set-up and operate kilns, photographic darkrooms or other specialist art studios and/or equipment. When planning lessons and projects they must ensure that there are sufficient art supplies and tools for all students. Some art teachers may arrange exhibitions of student art work within a school and the local community. They may also work privately or at art centres.

ANZSCO description: Art teachers often work in schools, teaching students the practical skills and theory of various art forms.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An art teacher needs:

  • to enjoy working with children and young people
  • artistic talent
  • to be enthusiastic and able to motivate and encourage others
  • good communication skills
  • high levels of creative and organisational skill
  • patience and tolerance.
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Working conditions

Most art teachers work in private and public schools throughout Western Australia - teaching students from Year 1 through to Year 12. While they work regular school hours, they are also expected to work additional hours to prepare for lessons, attend staff meetings and carry out administrative tasks, such as marking and report writing. Teachers in any discipline (including art) are also expected to attend regular professional development courses.

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Salary details

Graduate teachers working in a Western Australian public school can expect to earn $53,954* in their first year. With each additional year of experience this salary increases, until their 9th year, when they can expect to earn $84,863*. Additional allowances are available for teachers working in schools located more than 35km outside of the Perth metropolitan region. These figures may vary for teachers working in a private school.

* Department of Education - Teaching WA, (2010)

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Tools and technologies

Art teachers work with a range of media and materials, which may include pencils, paints, palette knives, dyes, paper, canvases, clay and textiles. Some art teachers may also use textbooks, whiteboards and other standard classroom equipment, especially when teaching art theory and history. They may also use computers, especially when they are teaching digital art forms, and when writing student performance reports.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a secondary school art teacher, you usually need to complete a degree with major studies in creative graphic or visual arts followed by a postgraduate qualification in teaching. You can also complete a 4-year integrated course in which the art and teaching components are taught throughout (e.g. a Bachelor of Education majoring in Visual Arts). 

Edith Cowan University (Mt Lawley campus) offers a Bachelor of Arts (Education)/Bachelor of Creative Arts (4 years full-time or equivalent).

University of Western Australian (Crawley campus) offers a Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts majoring in Fine Arts – 4 years full-time or equivalent.

All teachers in Western Australia must register with the Western Australian College of Teaching.

In Western Australia anyone working with children must obtain a Working with Children check, which is comprised of a compulsory criminal check and is administered by the Working with Children Screening Unit (WWCSU), Department for Child Protection.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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