Art Education Major Guide for 2013-2014

What is Art Education

Art education is for individuals who decide to pursue art and teaching as a career. Art educators teach art in the public and private schools, museums, after school and summer programs and more. Students wishing to go into an area of art—painting, ceramics, sculpture, drawing, media arts, graphic design, photography—may complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with a second major in art education which will lead to a license to teach kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12).

Art education students (pre-service teachers) study and practice how to teach art in a classroom setting. At the University of Tennessee, pre-service teachers examine how to create art (production), how to critically examine and discuss art (art criticism), how to look at art from various cultures and relate it to history (art history), and how to encourage exploration of personal thoughts and responses to art (aesthetics). An understanding of studio concepts and studio exploration into two- and three-dimensional processes, a background in art history, aesthetics, and art criticism, as well as the study of the functions and purposes of art from various cultures prepares the future art teacher with the skills to address state and national art education standards.

In addition, the study of historical development and prevailing theories of art education, visual perception and brain research, art education philosophies, and opportunities to practice teaching of art through field experiences are vital components of the art education program at the University of Tennessee.

Career Opportunities in Art Education

The K–12 licensure program qualifies art educators for teaching in an elementary school (K–5), middle school (6–8) and/or public high school (9–12). Many private schools also offer elementary, middle, and high school art experiences. Art museums hire art education coordinators. Art educators in the museum setting design instructional aids and lesson plans for schoolteachers to use in their classrooms or while visiting the museum, and train and coordinate the docent or tour guide program. Art educators may also teach after school and summer programs to children and/or adults, or teach art in adult education. Art educators may teach at the community college or university level with appropriate degrees (master’s, MFA, or doctorate) as determined by the hiring institution.

Salary Trends in Art Education

Art teachers are paid on the same scale as other teachers with comparable training. In Tennessee, teachers are paid according to their formal education (bachelor’s degree, master’s, educational specialist, and doctorate) and the number of years taught. The salary levels from state to state vary, as well as salary differences between school systems. Many state departments of education offer listings of salaries through their Internet sites. Art education students upon graduating with a B.F.A. or B.A. from the University of Tennessee complete a one- year internship in the schools, which is considered the equivalent of a first year of teaching. In addition, most art education graduates complete their master’s degree at the end of their teaching year. The master’s degree and one year of teaching allows art education graduates to be compensated two steps up on the pay scale when employed with a Tennessee school system.

High School Preparation

Students wishing to go into art education should prepare for this experience through art courses in high school. Most high schools offer Art I, Art II, and/ or Advanced Art coursework. In addition, students must complete the basic college track requirements to be admitted to the University.  Contact the University of Tennessee, School of Art for admission requirements into the B.F.A. or B.A. program.  High school guidance counselors are familiar with admission standards required by respective colleges and universities. Experiences in art and the education of art benefit the high school student seeking an art major at a university. High school art clubs provide opportunities to share with peers and often offer outreach community art experiences. Working with children through outside experiences such as private art lessons, and summer recreation camps enhance the understanding of the practice of teaching art, and prepare the high school student for entrance into art education.

How to Major in Art Education

Prospective students seek advising for the B.F.A. or B.A. through the School of Art in the College of Arts and Sciences. The College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) Office of Student Services offers advising for the education aspect of art. Students apply for admission into the art education program after completion of a minimum of 45 semester hours of college level coursework, and a cumulative GPA no lower than 2.70.

Students must also meet the required composite score of either the ENACT or RSAT tests for admission into the Teacher Education Program. When necessary, students attaining passing scores on the Praxis I: PPST exam may also be considered for admission. Satisfactory completion of the speech and hearing screening and an interview with the Admissions Board are also required for the application process.

Undergraduate students take art education coursework while completing the B.F.A. or B.A. Art Education 301, 302, and 303 do not require admission into the Teacher Education Program. These courses prepare the art student for teaching experiences by examining the basic philosophical tenets and processes of art education (301), multicultural aspects of art education and incorporation into school art curriculum (302), and exploration of three-dimensional processes and curriculum building for the art classroom (303).

Requirements for Art Education

Upon admission to the Teacher Education Program, students take Art Education 350, which is the field experience component. Students are placed with an art teacher in the schools in order to observe classroom experiences and teach. The semester before the internship, students take Art Education 400. The AE400 course provides instruction on the development and refinement of elementary, middle and high school curriculum, and provides videotaped peer-teaching experiences. From the AE400 class on, students remain together as a cohort group for the internship experience and master’s coursework.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The art education internship program at the University of Tennessee prepares the student for teaching grades K–12 by three rotation placements. Art Education interns are placed with mentor art teachers in an elementary, middle and high school during the fall semester. This allows the art education intern to observe and work with several mentoring teachers, and teach in diverse settings. In the spring semester, interns return to their yearlong placement the entire semester, where they will carry out the responsibilities of planning and teaching their own classes.

Highlights of Art Education

Students in art education have exhibitions of their artwork in the Cookie Aytes Elliott Art Education Gallery, in addition to their field experience and yearlong internship. The student chapter of the National Art Education Association at the University of Tennessee is an active organization concentrating on providing effective transition from art education preparation to professional practice through exchanges of concepts and ideas with faculty, peers, art educators in the community and other professionals. The chapter also sponsors speakers, symposia, and exhibitions, and promotes art education and all areas of the visual arts as a career choice. Both the national association and the university recognize the student chapter.

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The Art Education program assists students to become educators as leaders by preparing them to be “ready for the world” through coursework that addresses the needs of diverse learners. Issues of diversity, including English language learners are addressed in art education classes through readings, discussions and reflection. Art Education 302 “Multiculturalism in Visual Art” specifically examines both intercultural and international issues by studying the artwork of various cultures. Students complete their preparation with field and internship placements in a variety of school settings to not only explore, but practice working with diverse populations.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors.

Consult an academic advisor early in your academic career about the best time for you to study abroad as well as what courses you may need to take. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.


Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to

For More Information

E. Stephanie Cramer, EdD
Art Education Coordinator
108 Bailey Education Complex
Knoxville, TN 37996-3442
(865) 974-4255



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.