4 answers

What steps can I take to become and art professor?

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4 answers

Ellen’s Answer

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I'm assuming you mean teaching fine art in a college, university or art school. To be a "Professor" of art, means to teach a the college or university level (post secondary). The terminal degree is usually not a doctorate, but a Master of Fine Arts, or MFA. You can earn an MFA at numerous colleges, universities and art schools.

To gain entrance into an MFA program, you will need to get an undergraduate degree in art from a college, university, or art school, and be able to demonstrate your artistic vision, talent, and skills through your art work. Gaining employment as an art professor is very competitive, and rarely do you start our as a full professor, but usually as an instructor and work your way up. Advancing to become a full-tenured professor takes time and hard work, and having your work exhibited in galleries on a regular basis can also be important.

So, the steps start early, and it is a lot of work. If you are in high school, take art classes and talk to your teachers about building an art portfolio that will get you into art school, or help you gain admission into a college or university with an art department. Keep your eyes open to what is going on in the art world. If you can, got to art museums or art galleries. If you aren't near a museum, you can always visit museum websites, and of course, checking out art on Pinterest or Instagram is also an option.

If you like the idea of teaching art and like working with kids, another route is to teach art to elementary, middle, or high school students. I taught art in middle school, and I loved it. Getting a job as an art teacher in elementary and secondary schools is less competitive than getting a job teaching art at the college level. To teach in public schools, you'll need to earn a teaching certificate or teaching license. Depending on the requirement of the state where you live, you'll need at a minimum a Bachelor's degree in art education, but many states now require a masters degree as well. I had an undergraduate in art history, and I got a masters in Art Education. It is very rewarding career, and from what I understand, the salary and benefits match, if not exceed, those of teaching at the college or university level. Of course, your students will be very different, but if you like work ing with kids, then I'd check this out. Contact the National Art Education Association (NAEA) for more information about teaching in elementary and secondary schools.

Best wishes! Hope this helps.
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Hannah’s Answer

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Hi Ahna!

I want to add that not all professors are full-time, and not all of them are working toward tenure (where they are assured job security by the colleges they work for). As Ellen mentioned, there are great opportunities to teach art at the secondary (high school) level, but don't forget about community colleges, either! These colleges often hire part-time (adjunct) faculty to teach classes, which means you could possibly even teach art while pursuing other career opportunities at the same time. You would still probably need an MFA, or at least graduate-level coursework in studio art, but community college can be a great place to get teaching experience and work in smaller classrooms of students!

I also encourage you to think about what kind of art you might want to teach - what kind of art do you like to create? Is it digital art or maybe ceramics? Do you like learning about the history of art or talking to people about the visual things around them? Could you see yourself being an art history professor?
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Judith’s Answer

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Becoming an art professor can be from many disciplines. It is important to network, produce a considerable body of work, and work at perfecting your area. One needs to complete an MFA in studio arts or a Ph.D. in art history. It is helpful to have work experience such as curating as well.

Part of this is with luck of course, but one can start out in the Community College level as an adjunct professor. Have your resume out there and be willing to move if necessary. It may be worthwhile to speak with a headhunter.

Dealing with all sorts of matters professionally could lead to a tenured position. It is important to maintain professionalism at all times. You never know who will be observing you.

Judith recommends the following next steps:

  • Complete your education.
  • Produce a considerable body of work.
  • Have some work experience.
  • Network.
  • Get your resume out there.
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geny’s Answer

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Professor means you have to get a doctorate in arts but first of all you must LOVE anything that deals with painting, drawing, sculpting, making things with your hands, learning or inventing new stuff, admiring a sun set, watching how others work, etc...the list goes on. Good luck. geny h
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