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Eastern Michigan University has a great reputation, primarily because we have been teaching art educators methods in teaching since 1895. Our program is successful because art teacher candidates transition through four areas of study (general education, art studio, art pedagogy, and general education pedagogy) which culminate in the student teaching experience. Graduates of our program earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts K-12 Visual Art Education degree which qualifies them for PK-12 visual arts certification in the state of Michigan; a certification accepted in 46 states across America. Those who receive teacher certification go on to teach art in the elementary, middle, or high school setting. EMU graduates are also qualified to pursue work at an art museum, in arts administration, or continue with advanced study in art education, art therapy, museum education, and studio art. Eastern Michigan University offers the following undergraduate degrees in Art Education:

·      Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in K-12 Visual Art Education with LQ teaching certification (K-12 Endorsement)



1.      Declare Visual Art Education (VAE) as your major

2.      Contact the School of Art & Design and ask to be assigned a VAE advisor

3.      Make an appointment with your VAE advisor to develop a course sequence plan

4.      Enroll in ARTE 357 Introduction to VAE (sophomore standing, or higher) or ARTE 355 Interpreting Art in Visual Art Education (pre-requisites: ARTH 161 and any Western art history class)

5.      Join the EMU VAE community by liking us on Facebook @emuarteducation, Instagram @emuarted, and follow us on Pinterest @cmccomb1332.


Art teachers who subscribe to a group Facebook page were asked, why do you love teaching art? Here are just a few of their responses:

·      I get to teach the subject I love the most and share my passion for it with children. -Ms. Scalan

·      I’ve never had a job that I truly enjoy as much as being an elementary art teacher. How many people get to leave their job each day with a smile knowing they’ve impacted students’ lives in such a positive way? Creativity drives the work force and it begins with us. -Mr. Jere

·      In this high test stressful world students deserve the opportunity to enjoy creating. -Ms. Hyman

·      Sometimes art is the only subject a child looks forward to in school. I was one of those kids. -Ms. Sikes

·      I had no idea what I was getting into when I started studying art education. I just knew that I loved art and that I loved working with others. It’s thirty years later I cannot envision a more rewarding career. I love to see the look on someone’s face when they realize themselves capable of creating more than they had imagined. -Dr. Cam

If you too have a passion for the visual arts and can see yourself sharing that passion with others, then art education is the career for you. As an art teacher you will impact the creative development of young people. You will become a creative change agent in the school community helping teachers of all subjects better integrate creative practices into their classrooms. You will also become a vital community member helping to educate parents, administrators, and even legislators in understanding the value of visual art practices in the development of artistic thinking and living.


Having a college degree is never a guarantee of employment. There are, however, four factors that make it likely that you will find employment as an art teacher.

1.      The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law December 10, 2015 declares the arts as required in a well-rounded education. This language is significant because while the arts have been included in previous versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, this reauthorization allows schools to request funding to support arts integration. This means that schools can request and receive funding to support visual arts initiatives.

2.      Project-based learning is a curricular approach that is transforming the way we go about educating children. Because this approach requires students to make, construct, envision, and problem-solve, schools are looking to their art teachers to assist students in integrated learning approaches. The STEAM initiative is a prime example of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math teachers working together to engage students in authentic projects and learning to solve real world problems. This initiative, and ones like it, are recognizing that visual arts education is vital to the learning process:

3.      Baby-Boomers have reached retirement age. This means as experienced art teachers retire that visual art teaching positions are opening up in all states across the country.

4.      The state of Michigan has reciprocity agreements with 46 states. This means that a degree from EMU allows you to seek employment in Michigan and every region across the United States. Visit this website for a list of states that accept Michigan Teacher Certification:



If you already have a bachelor’s degree but want to become certified to teach visual art, then you can enter the art education program as a “Post-Bac” student. As a Post-Bac you will work with Molly Thornbladh at the College of Education to set up a certification program tailored to meet your individual needs. While the requirements and timeframe vary depending on previously earned credits, it may be possible to earn certification in as few as four semesters.

 To Begin:

1.      Gather your college transcripts

2.      Email Molly Thornbladh ( Introduce yourself and ask to have your transcripts evaluated

3.      Once accepted, contact the School of Art & Design and ask to be assigned an art education advisor

4.      Enroll in ARTE 357 Introduction to Art Education and/or ARTE 355 Interpreting Art in Visual Art Education (pre-requisites: ARTH 161 and any Western art history class)

Also visit the Post-Baccalaureate Students page on the College of Education web site.


Scholarship: Excellent undergraduate students are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships awarded each spring. The application deadline is February 14.

·      April Memorial Scholarship

·      Judy Loeb Artist/Educator Award

·      Lucie Ann McCall Scholarship

Art Education Professional Development Fund: Teacher candidates who attend the state and/or national art education association conference will be reimbursed the cost of the registration fee. This support is made available by donors to the EMU Foundation for the purpose of helping EMU art teacher candidates to become professionally active at the state and national level. Applications need to be submitted to the art office within 30 days of the conference.



Art Foundation Courses

·      Art Interpretation

·      ARTE 355 - Interpreting Art in Visual Arts Education 3 hrs

·      Art History

·      ARTH 161 - Survey of Non-Western Art [GEGA] 3 hrs

·      ARTH 162 - Survey of Western Art I [GEKA] 3 hrs

·      ARTH 165 - Postmodern and Contemporary Art 3 hrs

·      ARTH 263 - Survey of Western Art II 3 hrs

·      ARTH 264 - Survey of Western Art III 3 hrs

·      Art Studio

·      AD 121 - Two-Dimensional Design 3 hrs

·      AD 122 - Three-Dimensional Design 3 hrs

·      AD 123 - Foundations Drawing I 3 hrs

·      AD 126 - Foundations Drawing II 3 hrs

·      AD 127 - Foundations Digital Media 3 hrs

·      AD 300W - Studio Concepts [GEWI] 3 hrs


·      Choose 2 courses from 3D Media (AD3D) 6 hrs

·      Choose 3 courses from 2D Media (AD2D), Graphic Design (ADGD), and/or Photography/New Media (ADPM) 9 hrs


Take 2 additional courses in one of the following areas of concentration: 2D-Media (AD2D), 3D Media (AD3D), Graphic Design (ADGD), or Photography/New Media (ADPM).

You must have previously taken one course towards meeting Art Studio Elective requirements in the selected area of concentration prefix.


Pre-Admission Phase - The Learner and the Community: 10 hours 
Student must have Sophomore standing or higher to begin this phase

·      ARTE 357 - Introduction to Visual Arts Education 3 hrs

·      EDPS 322 - Human Development and Learning 4 hrs

·      SPGN 251 - Introduction to Inclusion and Disabilities Studies in a Diverse Society [GEUS] 3 hrs

Phase I - Curriculum, Assessment and the Social Context: 9 hours

Students may enroll in the following course prior to the admission to Phase I of the Initial Teacher Preparation Program

·      SFCE 328W - Schools for a Diverse and Democratic Society [GEWI] 3 hrs

The following courses require formal admission to Phase I of the Initial Teacher Preparation Program (Application is made directly to the College of Education):

·      ARTE 358 - Curriculum and Assessment in Visual Arts Education 3 hrs Only offered winter semester

·      ARTE 359L4 - Practicum in Visual Arts Education [GELB] 3 hrs Only offered winter semester

Phase II - Content, Methods, and Teaching: 13 hours

Formal admission to Initial Teacher Preparation Program is required to begin this phase

·      ARTE 360 - Technology in Visual Arts Education 3 hrs Only offered fall semester

·      ARTE 460 - Approaches to Teaching Visual Arts Education 4 hrs Only offered fall semester

·      PRCT 311L4 - Practicum II: Secondary [GELB] 3 hrs Must be taken with RDNG 311

·      RDNG 311 - Teaching Reading in the Secondary School 3 hrs Must be taken with PRCT 311L4

Phase III - Capstone Experience: 12 hours

Completion of Phase II and 100 pre-student teaching hours is required to begin this phase. Both courses are taken during the same semester.

·      EDUC 496L4 - Student Teaching [GELB] 6 hrs

·      EDUC 497L4 - Student Teaching [GELB] 6 hrs


This major does not require a minor.