Have you ever thought about being an arts integration specialist? If so, you might be wondering a couple of things:
- Are there really jobs out there for this?
- What does an arts integration specialist do?
- How do you become an arts integration specialist?
All are great questions! Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail and explore some new possibilities.
THE JOB MARKET
Before making any kind of career decision, it’s always wise to consider if there are really jobs out there in the field. As schools evolve and change, more and more are finding a need for educators trained in using integrated approaches like Arts Integration, STEAM and Project-Based Learning. While many would love to hire a dedicated teacher-leader for these roles, the pool of candidates is limited. This means schools may have to turn to repurposing teacher positions in a building or adding more responsibilities to current teacher roles.
This is definitely not ideal, and if a candidate is available who has been trained in the approach, they are much more likely to get some dedicated time towards becoming a mentor or facilitator in this role.
Additionally, as the new ESEA law has started to come into effect, more schools than ever are applying for (and receiving) funding for arts integration and STEAM initiatives. Part of the funding equation is providing for a specialist to work with teachers, plan lessons, demonstrate strategies and help review data.
Finally, don’t forget to think outside of the school walls! Central offices are hiring arts integration specialists at district levels to both begin and continue integration efforts. And of course, many curriculum companies, museums and private education firms are always looking to hire educators who have received training in arts integration.
If you’re interested in an arts integration specialist position, you’ll want to be prepared for everything the job entails. One of the great things about being an arts integration specialist is the sheer variety of what you get to do. The creative possibilities are exciting and the leadership experience is so valuable. Of course, it can also be overwhelming if you aren’t aware of everything that goes into this role. Here’s just a few activities arts integration specialists are responsible for:
- Planning and preparing arts integration lessons, assignments, assessments and materials
- Developing an arts integration budget
- Creating and delivering professional development and online resources
- Recruiting and supporting arts integration efforts in the school or district
- Curriculum mapping standards across multiple content areas and the arts
- Planning and administering arts integration assessments
- Modeling various arts strategies to be used in the classrooms
- Demonstrating and co-teaching arts integrated lessons
- Maintaining and analyzing arts integration-related data
- Counseling teachers when academic and adjustment problems arise related to teaching through the arts
As you can see, arts integration specialists can do a lot for a school or district! Want to see what an actual arts integration specialist job description looks like? Download our job resource to review expectations and qualifications for this kind of position.
HOW DO YOU BECOME AN ARTS INTEGRATION SPECIALIST?
Ok… so now that you know there’s a job market out there for this and you are excited by the job description, what are your next steps? There’s several possibilities you can pursue. First, you could get a master’s in Integrated Arts or STEAM through a program like Concordia University, Lesley University or University of San Diego. You could also pursue a STEAM endorsement from Clemson University if you’d like to add something new beyond a Master’s Degree.
If you don’t need a master’s degree but are looking to get certified as an Arts Integration Specialist, I’d invite you to check out our certification program. It’s a 1-year, online program that is unlike anything else out in the market. Participants are grouped into cohorts with others in their region and assigned a dedicated mentor from our team. Everyone also has direct access to me. I also personally engage with everyone in the program to ensure they reach their goals.
CERTIFICATION PROGRAM OPENING SOON
Now that it’s February, our online Arts Integration Specialist Certification Program is gearing up for enrollment. We open enrollment once per year and only for about 3 weeks. During this time, we receive hundreds of applications from educators all over the world who want to become leaders in this field.
Right now, several of our current students have already received and accepted job offers as arts integration specialists just by being in this program. And we’re all so excited to cheer them on.
We only accept 125 applicants each year to provide as much personalized interaction as possible. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to get on our waitlist and apply! This may be just the change you were looking for. If so, it would be our honor to help you reach your goals.
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.