Table of Contents » Chapter 4 : Employment » K-12


“When you think about the purposes of education, there are three. We’re preparing kids for jobs. We’re preparing them to be citizens. And we’re teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. The third is as important as the other two.” – Tom Horne, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction.


K-12 Teaching Categories

There is A LOT of information about K-12 teaching online; Public, Private and Charter schools are listed state by state, including job requirements and salary. To teach K-12 in a public school, teachers need a specific certification that can vary in each state: However teaching in private or charter schools often do not require a certification, though often a MFA or MA. Check out these links for certification info by state.

Public Schools

Those that teach in a public school will have a higher level of diversity among students and abilities throughout the school year. Those in the public-school system are most likely to work in middle or high school. Public schools are free to attend for all students and are subject to state standards and testing. This is usually not much of a concern for art teachers who do not teach an area that is tested.

Private Schools

Those that teach in private school will have students who are paying to attend classes. These classes may have a stricter curriculum and have required topics to cover. Private schools may also have a religious or group affiliation that affects the type of teaching that can take place. Licenses are not required for art teachers working in private institutions but some private schools may prefer teachers with a state license or certification.

Charter Schools

Those who choose to teach at a charter or magnet school may find success as some programs focus on the arts. This means that the students will be well versed in the arts and need a diverse curriculum. Charter schools are free to attend, but because they are not state funded, the curriculum is controlled by the school and a bit more variation can exist. 

General information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
(pay, requirements, job availability

Job Placement

*In addition – word of mouth and visiting school where you would like to be employed is often very successful!

“If they’re worried about their test scores and want a way to get them higher, they need to give kids more arts, not less … There’s lots of evidence that kids immersed in the arts do better on their academic tests.” – Tom Horne, Arizona’s state superintendent of public instruction.

Additional Information/Opportunities

There are a lot of resources for K-12 teachers, these often vary from state to state, so googling you state will be helpful,  Use key words “Arts Council” or “Art Commission”. 

Grants/support for K-12 teachers
Here are some national places to find support:

“Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence,” sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz has said. Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.” Fran Smith, Eutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation


Layce Nichols Tips for Your First Year

Lacye Nichols is a first year high school teacher who has quickly learned that it is easier to apologize than ask for permission. Originally from Alabama, she has somehow found her way up north and has quickly learned how to master driving and biking in the snow. She has been working in clay for the past 10 years, mastering decals and covering her work in gold glitter.

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Jenny Hager – teaching K-12 online

Jennifer Lemonine teaches visual art and drawing on line to high school students all over the state of Georgia. She earned her MFA in ceramics from Louisiana State University in 2014. Jennifer has a new baby daughter, Stella, and is choosing to teaching online has allowed her to stay home with her child. 

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Resources for teaching online:   K12 has online schools in just about every state. “Tuition-free, K12-powered public schools feature rigorous online curriculum with hands-on materials delivered to your door.* Dedicated, state-certified teachers provide instruction and support for students in grades K–12.”  Connections Academy schools are tuition-free online public schools for students in grades K–12. Most Connections Academy-supported schools are accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies.  K12 International Academy is a fully accredited, U.S. diploma-granting, private online school for grades K–12.  A state by state listings of online schools