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Top 11 Art Instructor Certifications

This article explores the best art instructor certifications available to help aspiring art teachers gain the skills and qualifications necessary for a successful career.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 20 min read

Certifications for an art instructor are important in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that a candidate has the knowledge, skills and qualifications necessary to teach art. By obtaining certifications, instructors can show employers that they have taken the time and effort to demonstrate their commitment to teaching art. Certifications also provide proof of an instructor's expertise in areas such as color theory, drawing and painting techniques, computer graphics and digital media, sculpture and 3D design, printmaking, and other specialized areas. This can give instructors a competitive edge when applying for jobs or promotions. Finally, certifications can help instructors stay up-to-date on current trends in art education and ensure they are providing students with the best possible instruction.

The purpose of this article is to review and explain how some of the top certifications for Art Instructors can contribute to an art instructor's career.

What are Art Instructor Certifications?

Art instructor certification is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach art in a variety of settings. This certification is awarded by organizations such as the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).

Having an art instructor certification can help art teachers demonstrate their commitment to their profession and show that they have met accepted standards of excellence. It can also be used as a tool to promote professional development and increase job opportunities. Additionally, having an art instructor certification provides assurance to students, parents, and school administrators that they are receiving instruction from a qualified teacher with expertise in the field.

Certified instructors also have access to additional resources such as conferences, workshops, and networking opportunities which can help them stay current on best practices in teaching art. Finally, having an art instructor certification can provide teachers with increased job security since employers tend to prefer certified professionals over those without credentials.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for art instructor certification in your area before beginning the process. Each state or district may have different regulations, so it is important to be aware of any specific requirements that must be met in order to become certified.

Related: What does an Art Instructor do?

Top 11 Art Instructor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Art Instructors today.

1. National Art Education Association (NAEA) Certified Art Educator

The National Art Education Association (NAEA) Certified Art Educator program is a professional certification program that recognizes the knowledge and skills of art educators. It is designed to recognize art educators who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in their field, and to provide them with recognition and distinction within the profession.

The certification process takes approximately six months to complete. The first step is to submit an application, which includes providing evidence of your qualifications and experience as an art educator. Once your application has been approved, you will be invited to take a two-part exam. The first part consists of a written test that covers topics such as art history, aesthetics, teaching methods, and curriculum development. The second part is a portfolio review that assesses your ability to create meaningful learning experiences for students through visual arts activities.

Once you have successfully completed both parts of the exam and submitted all required documents, you will receive NAEA Certified Art Educator status. This certification is valid for five years from the date it was awarded and can be renewed by submitting additional evidence of your continuing professional development in the field.

The cost for the NAEA Certified Art Educator program varies depending on whether or not you are already an NAEA member. For non-members, it costs $250; for members, it costs $200.

2. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Certified Art Instructor

The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Certified Art Instructor is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in teaching art to children. The certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the areas of art education, curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, and classroom management.

The AAHPERD Certified Art Instructor program typically takes between six months and one year to complete. To become certified, applicants must first submit an application packet with all required materials. This includes a completed application form, official transcripts from an accredited college or university, a resume or CV outlining relevant experience in art instruction, and three letters of recommendation from qualified professionals. Once the application is approved by the AAHPERD Certification Board, applicants must then pass a comprehensive written exam that covers topics such as art history, theory and practice; curriculum development; assessment and evaluation; classroom management; and professional ethics.

The cost of becoming an AAHPERD Certified Art Instructor varies depending on the applicant’s individual circumstances. The initial application fee is typically around $50-$100 USD. In addition to this fee, applicants may also be required to pay for any additional materials needed for the certification process (e.g., textbooks or study guides). Finally, there may be additional costs associated with taking the written exam (e.g., registration fees).

3. National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Certified Art Educator

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Certified Art Educator is a professional certification program that recognizes art educators who have met rigorous standards in the field. The program is designed to ensure that art educators have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality instruction to students.

To become NCATE Certified, an art educator must complete a series of requirements, including: completing a minimum of three years of teaching experience in an accredited school or institution; demonstrating mastery of content knowledge in the areas of visual arts, history and philosophy; demonstrating mastery of pedagogical strategies related to teaching visual arts; and passing a comprehensive assessment.

The process typically takes between two and four years to complete, depending on the individual’s experience level and any additional coursework they may need to take. The cost varies depending on the institution offering the program, but typically ranges from $500-$1,000.

In order to maintain NCATE certification, art educators must participate in continuing education activities every five years. This ensures that they stay up-to-date with current trends in art education and remain knowledgeable about best practices for teaching visual arts.

4. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Art Teacher

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Art Teacher is a professional certification that recognizes the knowledge, skills, and abilities of art teachers. This certification is awarded to those who have demonstrated a mastery of the content, pedagogy, and professional practice standards for teaching art in grades Pre-K through 12. It is designed to recognize exemplary teachers who demonstrate their commitment to student learning and their profession.

In order to become NBPTS Certified Art Teacher, an individual must complete the following steps:

1. Complete an application with the NBPTS which includes a $75 nonrefundable fee.

2. Submit official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended and/or copies of any state licenses or certificates held.

3. Provide evidence of at least three years of successful teaching experience in art education at the Pre-K through 12 level within the past 10 years.

4. Pass a written assessment based on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ Five Core Propositions for Teaching Art in Grades Pre-K through 12 (Content Knowledge; Pedagogical Knowledge; Professional Practice; Student Learning; and Reflection).

5. Submit three portfolios demonstrating your teaching practice as well as your ability to reflect upon it critically (one portfolio must be focused on student learning).

6. Participate in an online review session with other candidates to discuss your portfolios and answer questions about them from reviewers.

7. Pay an additional $475 assessment fee after completing all required components of the certification process (including passing the written assessment).

The cost of obtaining NBPTS Certification can vary depending on each individual's situation but typically ranges from approximately $550-$650 total, not including any travel expenses associated with attending an online review session or other related activities such as workshops or conferences that may be necessary for completion of certain requirements prior to submitting your application materials to NBPTS. The entire process usually takes between one and two years to complete depending on how quickly you are able to complete all necessary requirements and submit your application materials for review by NBPTS staff members.

5. International Society for Education through Arts (ISEA) Certified Art Instructor

The International Society for Education through Arts (ISEA) Certified Art Instructor is a professional certification program designed to recognize and promote excellence in art instruction. It is a voluntary certification that demonstrates an individual’s commitment to the highest standards of teaching and learning in the visual arts.

The ISEA Certified Art Instructor Program consists of two components: an online course, and an assessment process. The online course covers topics such as classroom management, curriculum development, assessment strategies, and professional development. Upon completion of the course, individuals must pass a written exam to become certified.

It typically takes approximately three months to complete the online course and pass the written exam. The cost of the program depends on whether you are a member or non-member of ISEA; members pay $295 while non-members pay $395.

To get started with the ISEA Certified Art Instructor Program, visit their website at www.iseaarts.org/certification/.

6. Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Certified Art Educator

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Certified Art Educator is a professional certification program that recognizes the expertise of art educators who have demonstrated knowledge and skills in the field of special education. The CEC Certified Art Educator credential is designed to provide a national standard of excellence for art educators who work with students with disabilities, helping them achieve their full potential.

To become a CEC Certified Art Educator, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of three years’ experience teaching art to students with disabilities;
  • Possess a valid state-issued teaching license;
  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree in art education or related field;
  • Complete 30 hours of professional development related to special education within the last five years; and
  • Pass an exam administered by CEC.

The CEC Certified Art Educator exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as instructional strategies, assessment, classroom management, collaboration and communication, and legal/ethical issues. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete.

The cost for taking the CEC Certified Art Educator exam is $200. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your official certification from CEC. This certification must be renewed every five years by completing 30 hours of continuing education activities related to special education.

7. National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) Certified Art Instructor

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) Certified Art Instructor is a professional credentialing program for art instructors. It is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of art instructors who have achieved a high level of expertise in teaching art. The certification process involves completing an approved course of study, passing a comprehensive exam, and meeting other requirements.

The course of study typically takes two years to complete and includes courses in art history, studio arts, design fundamentals, educational theory, teaching methods, and assessment strategies. Upon completion of the coursework, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam administered by NASAD. This exam covers topics such as curriculum development, classroom management, assessment strategies, and professional development.

In order to be eligible for the certification program, applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in art or education and have two years of full-time teaching experience in an accredited school or institution. They must also submit letters of recommendation from three current or former supervisors or colleagues who can attest to their qualifications as an educator.

The cost for the NASAD Certified Art Instructor program varies depending on the institution offering the program. In general, tuition costs range from $2,000-$4,000 for the entire program. Additional fees may include application fees and exam fees.

8. United States Department of Education-approved art teacher certification program

The United States Department of Education (USDE) approved art teacher certification program is a program that provides teachers with the necessary qualifications to teach art in public and private schools. This certification requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in art or related field, as well as completion of an approved teacher preparation program. The program typically takes two years to complete and involves coursework, student teaching, and passing the Praxis II Art: Content Knowledge exam.

In order to get USDE-approved art teacher certification, applicants must first meet the requirements for their state's teacher licensure. These requirements vary from state to state but typically include completing an accredited teacher education program, passing a background check, and passing the required Praxis exams. After meeting these requirements, applicants can then apply for USDE-approved art teacher certification by submitting transcripts and other documents proving they have met all of the necessary criteria.

The cost of obtaining USDE-approved art teacher certification varies depending on where you live and what type of institution you attend. Generally speaking, tuition costs for accredited programs range from $10,000 - $25,000 per year depending on the institution's location and reputation. Additionally, there are fees associated with taking the Praxis exams which range from $90 - $200 each depending on which exams are taken.

9. National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Certified Art Teacher

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Certified Art Teacher program is a professional certification program that recognizes and rewards excellence in the field of art education. This certification provides recognition for teachers who have demonstrated high levels of knowledge, skill, and commitment to their profession. It also serves as an important credential for those seeking advancement in their careers.

To become certified, a teacher must meet certain qualifications, including having a minimum of three years’ experience teaching art in elementary schools and/or early childhood settings; having completed at least 24 semester hours of college-level coursework related to art education; and having participated in NAESP-approved professional development activities related to art education.

In addition, the teacher must pass an online assessment that covers topics such as curriculum development, assessment strategies, classroom management techniques, and effective communication with students and parents. The assessment must be completed within one year from the date of application submission.

The cost for the NAESP Certified Art Teacher program is $125 USD plus applicable taxes. Upon successful completion of the assessment, applicants will receive a certificate acknowledging their achievement as well as access to exclusive resources on NAESP's website.

10. Council on Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Certified Art Educator

The Council on Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Certified Art Educator is a professional certification for art educators. It is designed to recognize and promote excellence in the field of art education. CAEP Certified Art Educators demonstrate their commitment to quality teaching, knowledge, and professional development.

The process for becoming a CAEP Certified Art Educator includes completing an approved program of study at an accredited college or university, passing the National Evaluation Series (NES) Art Education exam, and submitting an application to the CAEP. The application requires documentation of prior experience as an art educator, including a minimum of three years’ full-time teaching experience or its equivalent.

The process can take up to six months from the time all required materials are received by the CAEP until certification is granted.

The cost of becoming a CAEP Certified Art Educator varies depending on the institution offering the program and other factors such as fees associated with taking the NES exam. Generally, it costs around $200-$300 in total to become certified.

11. International Baccalaureate Organization's Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) Certified Visual Arts Teacher

The International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) Certified Visual Arts Teacher is a certification program that provides educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to teach visual arts in an international context. The program is designed to help teachers develop a deeper understanding of the creative process, artistic media, and how to effectively use visual arts as a tool for learning.

The IBPYP Certified Visual Arts Teacher certification requires completion of an online course and a practicum experience. The online course covers topics such as art history, aesthetics, art criticism, studio practice, and more. It typically takes about 6 months to complete the coursework. After completing the coursework, teachers must then participate in a practicum experience which involves teaching visual arts in an international setting. This practicum can be completed at any approved school or institution that offers IBPYP curriculum.

In order to be eligible for the IBPYP Certified Visual Arts Teacher certification program, applicants must have at least three years of teaching experience in visual arts and hold a valid teaching certificate or license from their home country. Additionally, applicants must submit official transcripts from their most recent degree-granting institution and provide two letters of recommendation from current employers or supervisors attesting to their professional qualifications and commitment to teaching excellence.

The cost of becoming an IBPYP Certified Visual Arts Teacher varies depending on your location and the institution you choose for your practicum experience. Typically, the cost ranges from $1,500-$2,000 USD for tuition fees plus additional costs for materials and other expenses associated with completing the program requirements.

Do You Really Need a Art Instructor Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual. For some people, having an art instructor certificate may be necessary in order to teach art classes or to provide instruction in a professional setting. However, for others who are simply looking for a way to improve their own artistic skills and knowledge, or even just to pursue a hobby, an art instructor certificate may not be necessary.

For those who are interested in teaching art professionally, obtaining an art instructor certificate is likely the best route. This certificate provides evidence that you have received formal training and instruction in the subject matter and can be used as proof of qualifications when applying for jobs or other opportunities. Additionally, many organizations require instructors to possess certification as a condition of employment.

On the other hand, if you are simply looking to learn more about art and become better at it yourself, then taking courses through online programs or local colleges may be sufficient. While these courses will not provide any type of official certification they will still give you the knowledge and skills needed to improve your own abilities. Additionally, if you’re looking for more informal methods such as learning by doing with friends or family members then no certification would be required at all.

In conclusion, whether or not you need an art instructor certificate depends on what your goals are and what kind of opportunities you’re hoping to pursue. If teaching art professionally is something that interests you then obtaining an official certification would likely be beneficial; however, if your main goal is simply improving your own artistic skills then other methods may suffice.

Related: Art Instructor Resume Examples

FAQs About Art Instructor Certifications

Q1. What is an art instructor certification?

A1. An art instructor certification is a professional qualification that verifies the knowledge and skills of an individual to teach art classes. It demonstrates a mastery of the subject matter, as well as a commitment to providing quality instruction.

Q2. Who can benefit from an art instructor certification?

A2. Art instructors, teachers, and professionals who are looking to expand their qualifications can all benefit from obtaining an art instructor certification. It can help demonstrate expertise and credibility in one’s field, open up job opportunities, and increase earning potential.

Q3. How do I become certified as an art instructor?

A3. Depending on the institution offering the certification program, requirements may vary; however, most programs require completion of coursework in areas such as teaching methods, studio practices, and principles of visual arts education. In addition, some programs will require demonstration of skills through portfolio submission or practical experience teaching courses at accredited institutions or organizations.

Q4. How long does it take to get certified as an art instructor?

A4. The amount of time it takes to obtain an art instructor certification depends on several factors including the program requirements and individual dedication to completing the necessary coursework or other requirements (such as portfolio submission). On average it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on these factors.

Q5. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining my art instructor certification?

A5: Yes - depending on the institution offering the original certification program there may be continuing education requirements for maintaining your certificate status. These could include completing additional training courses or attending workshops related to teaching visual arts topics in order to stay up-to-date with best practices in the field