With an estimated 3.1 million teaching jobs currently available in the U.S. and a projected job growth of 6% from 2014 to 2024, the career outlook for teachers appears promising.    However, the demand for teachers varies dramatically from state to state, with some schools reporting a shortage of teachers and others being overwhelmed with applications from qualified teachers struggling to find jobs.
With such uncertainty in the profession, many qualified or aspiring teachers are considering how to gain an edge in this competitive industry. By specializing in a field and enhancing their education to the master’s level, educators can unlock more career opportunities.
A Master of Art Education program could be an excellent way to boost your credentials and learn more about the valuable nature of arts education and how it can unleash the potential of K-12 students. Covering various aspects of the arts in education, it can help current or aspiring teachers, or those with a passion for art and education, to develop their understanding of key art education principles, conduct their own research into the benefits of art education, and become experts in the policies that are shaping the arts curriculums of modern schools.
Greater salary potential
Art teachers at the postsecondary level where a master’s degree is a common qualification often enjoy higher earnings, with average salaries reported in 2016 at $81,050.  Compare that with salaries for high school art teachers where a bachelor’s degree is a more common qualification and the average salary is $58,030.  There may also be increased opportunities for administrative positions which could involve salaries in the region of $90,000. 
Opportunity to specialize
Art education programs are often very flexible, with a variety of electives that allow students to tailor their education to their interests. This can increase job prospects, particularly to higher paying positions as teachers, instructors, or administrators.
Students can also expect to gain practical skills that they can carry directly to the classroom. This type of expertise is highly sought after in education environments and is also in high demand in non-education environments which require expert knowledge to help formulate art education programs and policies.
Make a difference for young students
The National Art Education Association (NAEA) highlights the incredible benefits of art education for students of all ages.  The arts can offer therapeutic relief for young people as well as help to shape their understanding of the world. Student growth can be expanded through the arts, and by specializing in art education, master’s students can be at the forefront of delivering valuable arts instruction to young people.
Expand your knowledge of education
A master’s in art education allows students to discover new methods for teaching that can help their pupils develop problem-solving skills, creativity, and innovative thinking.
The NAEA explains that art can help children achieve a better understanding of the world around them, better express their feelings, and understand that there is often more than just a right or wrong answer to a problem.  With a degree in art education, graduates can incorporate this expertise into their classrooms and have more opportunity to unlock their students’ potential.
Those more interested in administrative or managerial positions can also develop a strong understanding of past and current art education policies and will be able to use this knowledge to influence change in art education, whether in schools or other organizations. Their knowledge of education could be put to work developing curriculums, managing art education budgets, or overseeing outreach programs.
Duties: Teach young students, typically up to fourth or fifth grade, basic subjects and prepare them for future schooling.
Median salary: $52,620
Top salary: $81,210
Projected job growth: 6%
Duties: Teach students, typically in sixth to eighth grade, about more advanced subjects in preparation for the more complex curriculum of high school.
Median salary: $56,720
Top salary: $89,120
Projected job growth: 6%
Duties: Teach in a specialist subject area such as art, music, or theater to prepare ninth to twelfth-grade students for standardized tests and college education.
Median salary: $58,030
Top salary: $92,920
Projected job growth: 6%
Duties: Oversee teaching standards and school curriculums in various educational environments including schools and colleges.
Median salary: $62,460
Top salary: $100,320
Projected job growth: 7%
Duties: Plan, direct, and manage the administrative department of an education facility or an art department.
Median salary: $90,050
Top salary: $159,30
Projected job growth: 8%
Duties: Plan, direct, and coordinate arts and recreation-based treatments for people with illness, disability, or injury.
Median salary: $46,410
Top salary: $72,340
Projected job growth: 12%
Although the majority of awarded degrees related to teaching art are bachelor’s degrees, 42% are master’s, which suggests that many educators are eager to advance their skills and knowledge with a postgraduate degree. It also suggests that art education master’s graduates could be at an advantage in terms of job prospects. 
Current teachers looking to achieve higher-level positions, such as in school administration, are ideal candidates for a Master of Art Education. Having a master’s degree can allow teachers to achieve higher salaries, and higher paying managerial or administrative positions could offer more responsibility and the opportunity to influence policy, which can appeal to those who feel passionate about the value of the arts to children’s development.
Those who are not teachers and don’t plan to go into teaching, but simply have a background in the arts, can also benefit from a Master of Art Education program. The degree may open doors to administrative and managerial positions in museums, art studios, community outreach programs or government agencies.
The most common environments where art education graduates work are schools, colleges, and universities, but some also work in child daycare services. 
Many graduates will find positions directly in the classroom, but others might opt for office-based roles in education establishments or in private or nonprofit community outreach organizations. Education services are the biggest employer of administrators,  but it may also be possible to find positions in museums or art galleries. Others may find positions as tutors, teachers, or program leaders in art education programs offered in environments such as prisons, senior citizen facilities, and hospitals.
Most programs also enable students to choose a series of electives to tailor their education to suit them. For those aspiring to teach K-12 students, it will be particularly important to choose electives based around curriculum, classroom-based learning, and policies and principles of art education in schools.
For those aiming for careers in administration, leadership, policy, and advocacy are likely to be the most appealing choices.
Individuals who are most interested in pursuing research-based positions may find electives relating to history and studies of art education most valuable.
Typical electives available in a Master of Art Education program might include:    
A graduate degree in art education is designed for students with a BA in a related field. With an advanced degree, graduates can teach at a community college, or be involved in museum education and arts administration.
A master’s in art education is designed for current art educators interested in pursuing advanced study in art education and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing development.
A graduate degree in art education can provide opportunities not necessarily available to those with just a bachelor’s degree. The advanced degree may qualify a graduate for specialized positions, which can include special education art teaching, leadership within the art department, and roles within higher education, galleries, and museums.
The focus of the master’s in art education degree is a mix of art history knowledge, methods, and materials with specific students’ energy, interests, and age level in mind.
The key attributes to look for in a master’s in art education program are those that contribute to your ability to pursue your teaching credentials. This means you will have the opportunity to study art theory and learn how to participate in research, as well as learning the techniques and standards to operate professionally in the classroom.
Some schools offer a master’s in art education (MAAE) and others a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), or Master of Arts (MA). The difference is that an MFA degree is typically designed for professional artists, musicians, and designers. An MA degree focuses on the academic theory and analysis, and places a stronger emphasis on writing and research skills, whereas the MAAE curriculum is designed for art educators looking to enhance their practice and advance their career.
The admission requirements vary by school, but typically a minimum GPA of 2.75 is required.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE/GMAT prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you choose. There are many programs that do not require a GRE/GMAT. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.
The admissions requirements vary by school, but the master’s in art education programs that do require a standardized test typically will not accept work experience as a substitute.
Admission into a graduate degree in art education program typically requires undergraduate coursework in art, art history, or art education and completion of a degree from an accredited university. Additionally, a background in a museum, art education, art instruction, or enrichment courses is preferred.
Not every master’s in art education program will require prior work experience, but some will require an instructing background in a museum or as an art educator or enrichment course instructor.
Most master’s in art education programs require that your undergraduate degree be from an accredited university. In addition, they may require you to have undergraduate coursework in art, art history, or art education for admission.
Most master’s in art education programs can be completed in roughly 18 months to 2 years of full-time study. This can vary based on the school and format selected.
Depending on the program, fieldwork may be required. Additionally, teaching licensure may or may not be included as part of curriculum.
Yes, there are several online master’s in art education programs offered in an online format.
No, any degree earned from a university will not indicate whether the program was online or in-person. Online and on-campus diplomas typically will be indistinguishable.
Yes, most universities match the curriculum offered on-campus as the online offerings. In some cases, the faculty may be the same as well. The online format affords a great deal of flexibility to complete the coursework without commuting or moving to a new town. The curriculum in the online format is just a rigorous as on campus, so do not confuse online with being an easier option.
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students who may be working around a busy work schedule or home life. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees.
The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and the course. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets..
Most masters in art education programs do not offer concentrations. Most master’s in art education programs do offer a variety of elective courses, such as art therapy, printmaking, and digital photography, that can be used to help you specialize your career.
Most master’s in art education programs don’t offer specific concentrations. If your program does offer specialization options, this could help you develop credentials to set you apart from other candidates.
Certification associated with a master’s in art education is typically focused on the teaching certification needed and determined at a state level for K-12 education. Universities and community colleges individually determine if a master’s-level graduate can teach their courses.
With a master’s in art education, one can pursue career paths such as teaching in public and private primary and secondary schools, or working in settings such as museums, community centers, or alternative education.
Career settings for those with a master’s in art education include the following, with a median salary of $62,830, and as high as $122,360: 
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for kindergarten and elementary school teachers from 2014 to 2024 is expected to increase by 6%. 
No, attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated employment growth of 8% for all education, training, and library occupations in the 10-year period ending in 2024. The BLS predicted a job growth of 6% within the same time frame for teachers at all levels of study. 
According to the BLS, in 2015, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and secondary school teachers earned median salaries of $51,640, $54,890, $55,860, and $57,200, respectively. Postsecondary art, drama, and music teachers earned a median salary of $65,340. However, salaries can vary based on many factors, such as location and employer. 
A master’s in art education program should be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). This group is composed of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities to establish standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for art, design, and related disciplines.
An accredited degree signals to an employer that you’ve earned an education from a legitimate institution with defined standards for that discipline. Earning a degree from a school without accreditation could impact your ability to secure employment.
Accreditation by NASAD ensures that art education programs adhere to high quality standards, are delivered by qualified faculty, and are updated as the industry shifts. Attending an accredited school or program could help you be more competitive on the job market.
SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.
Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. 
Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.