If I get my degree in Art Ed, what other doors will open?
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    If I get my degree in Art Ed, what other doors will open?

    Alright guys and gals, my mom got me thinking yesterday about something. If I get my degree in Art Ed, obviously I'll be certified to teach, but I don't want to limit myself to teaching.

    I want to do some illustration, I'd love to do some portrait work, maybe do some group work on a cool sculpture. I would also love to work on a comic someday, or maybe even do some work for Marvel. Everyone in my family has or has had a "9-5" job, so it's what I was raised around, and while that's great for job security (sometimes not even that), it's not all I want to do.

    Does a B.A. in Fine Arts say "I know my way around a studio and all the supplies in it" better than a B.A. in Art Education?

    Or would a degree in any field of art open up a lot of doors, but my specialization would be considered teaching? Hence, anyone looking for someone specializing in Illustration would probably pass me over.

    I hope this thread isn't too confusing, and I know we've got a lot of serious pro's on here who've done some great work. Anyone have any input?

    p.s. I hope this thread isn't too confusing!

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    If you get a job teaching, you won't make a ton of money. You will make enough to get by though and, holidays included, you'll have 4 months a year off of work to invest in your portfolio. When you do work you'll be home by 4 (as opposed to a second job) and won't be coming off of a day of physical labor. You'll have the best medical in the world and you'll start acruing some retirement at a very early age. You'd also be a candidiate for jobs in every city in the country so you could eventually move to a city near "the action".

    If you don't expect to be a proffesional grade artist by the time you're 22 then I would seriously consider getting the teaching certificate, especially if you're not going to an elite art school.

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    From what i have seen from both my my mother who has a degree in art education and my art teacher in high school... you will not improve very much artistically. My mother said most of the classes dealt with child psychology and how to teach art to beginners, while mostly neglecting her own artistic skills. My mom managed to get through university without ever taking a drawing class, only some basic painting. If you do choose to go down that path, the university will not be prepping you to be an artist, it will be prepping you to teach children art. You will have to spend a lot of personal time teaching yourself and taking workshops/outside classes etc.

    I don't know if it has changed since my mother got her degree (sometime in the '80s), but I would be wary if you truly want to pursue illustration full time eventually.

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    Art Ed is a tough road. There seems to be a stigma, deserved or not, attached to art teachers. Very few of the ones I know who go through our program or are out teaching keep up their art careers. Whether it is exhaustion from dealing with students, a demanding schedule (they do get a lot of holiday but spend a lot of it in prep), or the fact that they do not take as many art classes as a BFA student, few seem to take the art part very far. Now of course there are exceptions. Personality would have a lot to do with it. I teach at the university level and much more is demanded from us in the way of professional production, but as we all know there are many abusers of that. Too many profs use tenure to sit on their fat laurels. Getting in to college level teaching is much more competitive. But our teaching education consisted of hard core art making classes and few actual teaching classes. In fact teaching only really came in to the picture if you had an assistantship. Luckily I had those all through my program and lot of adjunct work. Sorry for the rambling but what it comes down to is your own personality. It seems to be very difficult to make the K-12 teaching thing work with a strong art career but of course is not impossible. But most pros I know had to do something else while they built their career.

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    "You'd also be a candidiate for jobs in every city in the country so you could eventually move to a city near "the action"."

    Not exactly. When you get your masters in Art Ed, you get an initial license which lasts 5 years. In that time, you need to keep taking grad classes to qualify for the professional license, which in Massachusetts, at least, you have to keep renewing through more and more "professional development" classes. It's a racket to keep schools getting money from you, especially considering the B.S. that gets fed in many of these courses. You get that license in one state. Depending on your program, you can transfer that to many other states (not all so check which ones). But that can take a long time, and you may need to retake tests. Plus, everytime you change state, you have to restart your pension program.

    I would recommend the idea if you like children. If you don't, and even if you do, it's a high stress job for several reasons:

    1. teaching elementary art is impossible, and that's where the most openings are. You're one teacher with up to 1000 students. You see each one only 45 minute a week, in some cases for only 1/3 of the year. It's not art ed, it's art exposure, and kids know the grades they earn are worthless.

    2. Teaching highschool involves a better opportunity to actually teach skills, but older kids have more issues. There's anti-authoritarians, homophobes, thugs, drug users and pushers, kids with pent up anger and weapons, etc. Add to that, your boss will try to press you into teaching the worst students (who hate art and want an easy A), and also special ed students, often mixing them all together. I remember dealing with these kinds of kids picking on a blind girl who was a bit socially clueless, and liked to sing. She had a good voice. You may or may not get support when you want certain students out of your class.
    3. There's no job security, especially in high school. Art's the first cut, and last rehired. Politicians don't even mention art, when talking about improving schools.

    Having said all that, I went down this road, and it's still my dream (still just a dream, but I'm a special case). I'm currently teaching something I don't enjoy, but there is a special art school near where I live, and I'm hoping for an opening. Teaching art keeps your skills up, because you're constantly demonstrating everything. You still have nights, and all that vacation time. Even with job cuts, teaching's still more stable than working freelance.

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    I'm not sure what the rules are where you're at, but where I'm at you can teach at a college level with a BFA (minimum requirement).

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    If you want to teach college level, you need mad skills, and/or mad BS skills with a MFA to go with it.

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    Well, I'm in Canada. The rules may be different elsewhere, but at the college I attended, teachers were required to have only a BFA and a continuing career in the arts (they have to be practicing in the field in which they teach). MFAs, Education training were encouraged but not required.

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    I have a bfa now. It does not open doors. It just wastes your money.
    Save your cash and go to an atelier.

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    Degrees in Art Ed focus on the Ed part not the Art part. If your goal is to be an artist, the training you'll receive in an Art Ed program will not be adequate. Also, you don't need a degree in Art Ed to be an art teacher. I think that if you teach at a high school level or lower all you need is a degree of some kind and a teaching certificate from the state you teach in. I could be wrong about that but I think I heard that somewhere.

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    Hrm, ok guys, thanks for all the input. I live in PA, and I've been told the degree I'm pursuing is all I need to go out and teach art.

    Bill in response to your post, I'm not aiming to make a ton of money - it'd be nice, but you have to get to a point where people know your name, and have THAT be what they pay for. Sort of like brand name food/clothes - you dont always get much, but all that money is paying for the name (and sometimes quality). Also, the part about being pro by the time I'm 22; I'm 23 already, and I have an Associates - now that doesn't necessarily make me a pro, but I like to think I'm pretty good. If you look at my sketchbook you might wonder, but only the samurai is really a current, up-to-date thing I've drawn. Everything else, as well as the things I've scanned today (and will put up shortly) are all older pieces.

    cdejong teaching art full time is what I think I'd like to do. I already spend a lot of time teaching myself stuff, but full time illustration is not something I really want to do. I just want to do a few now and then maybe for some extra cash. Somehow I get the feeling I'm gonna be very busy when I'm out of school. Your mom must've learned art somewhere else, otherwise how can she teach a subject in which she has no training?

    bcarman yea thats my plan as well - build up a career in art while teaching. I think I can really help people who want to learn.

    TASmith> To be honest, teaching children isn't my dream job. At the moment, I'm not extremely crazy about kids. Children just like to have fun, but when I teach, I'm probably not going to be the type who says "have fun" - I'm in the market to teach real art skills. I'll need real students, with a real desire to learn. I do also think all schools are different - pay varies depending on district, students probably vary even more; it's all where you decide to teach in my opinion.

    ookchk where I am at, a BFA is qualification enough for k-12. College requires a Masters. Which is what I want to get. *it's a personal goal* Education training here IS required. Or at least K-12 it's required.

    Hysoka by open doors, I meant more like teaching at an art league, a public school, or even a private school if I'm lucky. I'd also like the opportunity for some freelancing illustration, maybe help with a comic book someday.. I didn't mean go to hollywood or something.

    carl here is isn't that easy. I've already got formal art training in many mediums, and I'm teaching myself acrylics right now. I've had formal training in Conte, graphite, charcoal (vine and compressed), oils, some acrylics, pen/ink and I can do mat cutting and framing. It's pretty easy actually. If all I needed was a teaching certificate (I haven't actually checked, but I'm getting a teaching certificate with my B.A. in Art Ed anyway, so between the certification, the degree and the rest of my training, that should be more than adequate) I also don't see how one will teach if they don't know how to, and how will they teach any subject in which they haven't got much skill?

    By the way, Bill, I'm single, with no children. With how my life is now, any career that pays even 20k per year would be a great boost for me. Speaking of which, some of the guys here that replied appear to have experience. How would I find out what I can expect for a salary?

    Last edited by hitnrun; August 26th, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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    "Degrees in Art Ed focus on the Ed part not the Art part. If your goal is to be an artist, the training you'll receive in an Art Ed program will not be adequate. Also, you don't need a degree in Art Ed to be an art teacher. I think that if you teach at a high school level or lower all you need is a degree of some kind and a teaching certificate from the state you teach in. I could be wrong about that but I think I heard that somewhere."

    In Massachusetts, with a bachelors, you can earn a preliminary license to teach in any subject for about 4 years, by passing a test. However, getting a job with that can be tough, when competing with teachers who earned their masters and now have either an initial or professional licensure. If you want a long career as an educator, you have to have the masters and certificates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hitnrun View Post
    How would I find out what I can expect for a salary?
    Salaries.com should have some info for you. I checked when I first posted here and a teacher in Columbus, OH looks to start at just over 38k. For someone who's single, young, no kids, and not much debt that is a Very livable wage in Columbus. If you needed more you could easily pick something up part time in the Summers that'd get you into the 40's.

    Getting an art degree, especially a bad one, especially borrowing money in the process can put a person in a horrible hole. Teaching, in my view, would have been an opportunity to stay on top of bills, survive on 'only' one job, and take night and summer classes at CCAD in the interest of the portfolio.

    That might take a while but you get to have a life in the process, as opposed to working long ass days in unproffesional jobs as you struggle to pay rent and scratch out some progress during solitary weekends and holidays towards skills and portfolio work.

    I just spent 12 horrible years doing that and in hindsight I think my life so far would have been much better had I been teaching. I'm not saying it's the right move for someone with professional grade skills, like Carl, but if you're not professional grade at graduation it'll give you a chance to keep making progress with classes, skills, and portfolio development.

    On the other hand I think there are plenty of English, Art, Music, etc. teachers in their mid fifties who took the teaching job, got complacent or distracted, never met their goals, and lived lives much less interesting and fulfilling than what they had once imagined. It depends on the person.

    Good Luck

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    I'm wishing I could find Carl's sketchbook because I'm no novice - not by a long shot. But, I think someone's skills being "professional" level is relatively subjective. What one person thinks is pro, someone else might think looks terrible. I've seen many contradictions like that - but it's more about specific areas of a work - someone will like one part and another person will strongly dislike it.

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    Last edited by Bill; August 26th, 2009 at 10:58 PM.
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    OK wow, with paint.. I'm not there yet. If I do my best work in graphite, and take my time, I can get to that level with pencil though. Unfortunately thats not as dynamic as a good painting. Bill thanks for the links.

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    I had a girlfriend who went to school for Art Ed. She learned next to no art. Her studio courses were an absolute joke. Granted, it may not take a ton of art skill to impart in young students some basic art appreciation, but it's sad how little art matters to basic art teaching.

    In general, the only thing that consistantly opens art doors is having some skill. Art is thankfully one of the few areas where people rarely care about your education or degree, and almost solely about your actual ability.

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    Ok, answer me this: Those of you who currently teach art, or know someone who is teaching art: Did you get formal art training elsewhere? If not, and your art classes were a joke, do you not worry about how that will affect your teaching?

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

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    In general, in order to teach in the States without an Ed degree, you will need...

    BA/BFA of some sort...

    pass the PA Praxis exam(s) for art teachers (NJ only has 1 Praxis exam for art teachers, some fields require more tests. Each state has it's own requirements)...

    an "alternate route" certification course... I never got this far, but as I recall it's a year-long course.

    I believe this is all you need to get your state certificate. Of course PA may have some different requirements. Sorry, I can't advise as to keeping up with your art training. I suspect that will come back a lot to what resources you have available near you.

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    I'm pursuing my Art Ed. degree right now. Let me tell you why.

    What Carl says is true. I'm experiencing it first hand. When I started in 2007 I thought I was not good enough for an Illustration major nor Fine Arts. Knowing the requirements for Art Ed was lower I went for that. Back then my main motivation was my skills (The lack of) and the idea that Illustration and fine art doesn't make any (guaranteed) money to be able to live (In the Netherlands). If I became a teacher that wouldn't be a problem. Forget the fact I did not know if I wanted to teach. I wanted to go to art school. Period.

    My first year went quite good. I found out I liked teaching others and convinced myself I was doing the right thing. Yet, I felt there still was missing something. That summer I found about CA.org. Browsing around and looking at all the amazing art there is to see it was getting clear what I was missing. Although I liked teaching I did not produce any art myself. Yeah...well "school-art". Something the teachers had encouraged me to do. And with almost no input of my own.

    After the first semester of my second year it all came together. I WAS AT THE WRONG PLACE!! I love doing art and Art Ed is more focused on the Ed part than the Art part. I started to hate myself for choosing something I didn't really loved. I really got inspired to keep on with Art Ed. even though I didn't like it with all my heart. That was thanks to the guys of MB and Iain McCaig. After seeing a few videos of MB and all the dvds of McCaig it hit me. I can teach illustration/concept art. After all, I'm qualified to do so after I finish Art Ed. The best thing is my certificate allows me to do it all over the world!

    Don't get me wrong, you will have some art classes. Where you produce art I mean. I decided one thing. I know now, more then ever before, I want to be an illustrator, concept artist or anyone else that makes money by doing his art. Besides that I want to teach the new generation of artists what I know, for a day of two a week. That seems to work for me. I'm doing lots of studies and personal projects beside the school stuff to train myself. CA.org is helping me a lot with that, actually CA.org is the only thing that helps me pursue my dream at the moment. I just try to do illustrations or concept art at school for the art producing classes. And I will keep doing so for another two years until I have my degree. After art school I hope I can find a job for a day or two so I can work on my art and improve a lot before I start to do freelance stuff.

    Well...to summarize my life story: Think REALLY well what you want to do. I'd recommend you to study art. And if there is a possibility to gain your teacher degree afterward, do it. I regret almost every day that I didn't went for the Illustration major. Don't make the same mistake.

    Good luck.

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    Thanks for the input Lost. To be honest, I've worked so hard to get in, not doing it feels kind of wrong. I figured I could pay off my stafford/student loans, make some money, and help some students learn to draw. Perhaps I should really look into the ups and downs of both being a teacher, and being an Illustrator.

    With where I live, there's *NO* market for art. Noone is looking to buy/sell art at all. There isn't even any chance for an art teacher here. There's really no opportunities for, anything, really. My education is my key to getting out of the area, and to a place where I can live a good life. I want to also make sure my mom is taken care of because she's done a lot when it comes to helping me in life, both in general and college wise (and she continues to do so). I do have a place where I'd like to teach, so if I lived where if I live now, and taught where I want to teach - I'd have a pretty cool set up going on. But, like I said, teaching isn't all I want to do.

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    hitnrun - move somewhere where art happens, like SF or NY, take whatever job you can get, and go to an atelier. It will be a ton of work but it'll save you money in the end - ateliers are a lot cheaper than art school and it's a far superior education. If you want to work in art, you don't need a degree or certificate of any kind, you just need to have a great portfolio and be good at talking to and working with others.

    Moving to SF and going to an atelier were the two best decisions I ever made in my life, and I did them with pretty much no preparation. Your education isn't the key to getting out - your willingness to take a risk and just go is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonie View Post

    Moving to SF and going to an atelier were the two best decisions I ever made in my life, and I did them with pretty much no preparation. Your education isn't the key to getting out - your willingness to take a risk and just go is.
    Sorry to jack the thread a little, but where did you move there from? I want to move to SF after I graduate, and try for the conceptart.org Atelier. I've been thinking of spending an extra year where I live, after I graduate, to save up money/look for roommates, getting to a decent level on my own, etc.

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    I lived in Minnesota and Ohio before moving to SF. In my experience, spending time saving up money anywhere doesn't work - I'm not that disciplined in the first place but it seems like the only thing that happens when you have any more money is your family needing it, or suddenly needing a root canal, or any number of things popping up so you still never have anything saved up, and you never move. At least if you come from a poor family, the first thing you need to do is get the hell out of your hometown and *then* worry about saving up. Actually I think getting away from your family is an important first step towards success for anyone. Not that I don't like my family, I love them - but without that safety net you can actually start to feel and act responsible and get down to business.

    Also - a note about moving to SF and probably NY too - you will have *no* luck finding a place to live and roommates before you're physically there. Competition is just way too high. If you can get around $3000 saved that's about what you'll need to get into an apartment in SF, and then you have a couple weeks to a month to find a job.

    Last edited by nonie; August 27th, 2009 at 05:00 PM.
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    With how my life is now, any career that pays even 20k per year would be a great boost for me
    if you're making plans that involve what sort of degree to pursue, try taking as long a view as possible. 20k/year may sound comfortable in your late teens or even early twenties, but you're also talking about laying a groundwork for your future. It's about where you want to go with art and what you think will make you happy. Don't spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years of your life in school to get a job that you don't really want that much but figure might kinda be a stepping stone to something more interesting. Go right for what you want and go for it all the way.

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    I think.... I may be wrong, but I BELIEVE that here in the UK, you have to get your degree in Art, then go on to do a year's course in teacher training college to teach art.

    There are those who teach general college courses without a degree, but they usually have extensive experience in the workplace in the discipline that they teach.

    Again, there are differences country-to-country that I didn't appreciate before.

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    Whelp, let me say this. Nonie, right now the "pack up and go" option isn't right for me. Not yet. It might've been for you, but right now it wouldn't be in my best interest. Oh and I disagree about my education not being the "key to getting out" - I think for ME, it's exactly whats needed. Once I earn it, then I'm going to "get out" and see what I can do.

    To the rest of the CA users - I appreciate all the feedback, I really do; However this thread has become much more about the curriculum than I wanted it to be. I've reviewed the program I'm in, I know what to expect, and I'm prepared for it. I transferred to where I am now with an Associates in Fine Art (as I'm sure we all know by now) but even if I hadn't, there's a lot offered art-wise in my program of studies. (And none of the art courses here are a cake walk) If there wasn't, the double major option is always available. When I'm ready for it, I'll go for it. But, the reason I started this thread was to get some answers, and I think I may have gotten a few. We all, including myself, just got too far off the topic I wanted to know about. I know of a few people who went through college, and I know of many who didn't - lets just say from the examples life has given me, I want my education.

    Thanks again, everyone, for all of your feedback - it has given me some insight about teaching that I didn't have before. I'm sorry if I seem to be slapping all who gave me info in the face with this post, thats not what I'm trying to do. I'm just saying I've reviewed many factors and I think the direction I'm heading to is right for me.

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    nonie's suggesting a better education at an atelier. That's my dream too. If you want teacher certification, go for it, but if you want to really train in art, think of an atelier afterward. NYC is expensive, but they have a great atelier. I saw an article about it in the latest American drawing magazine.

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    If really want to be an Art Teacher... major in Art Ed.
    If you really want to be an Artist... major in Art.
    Simple as that.

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    That sounds a little frightening. So, I just sort of pack up with a few grand tucked away, and run in head first? I mean, what if you can't find a place, right away? A hotel would eat up your money a ton, until you could find somewhere to stay.

    Last edited by Jovian M; August 28th, 2009 at 05:18 PM.
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