Susan Riley | February 2018

What Does an Arts Integration Specialist Do?

Have you ever thought about being an arts integration specialist?  If so, you might be wondering a couple of things:

  1. Are there really jobs out there for this?
  2.  What does an arts integration specialist do?
  3. 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.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

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

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO 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 STEAM education. 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. Email Susan