art made easy podcast episode 149 how to embrace your role as a non-creentialed art teacher

How to Embrace Your Role as a Non-Credentialed Art Teacher: AME 149



Are you a credentialed art teacher?

Or are you teaching art without an art related degree?

I’m curious because this topic has been a HOT one in our Facebook groups. And truthfully, if I get hate mail at all, it’s usually because of two things: selling art lessons or saying you can teach art even if you’re not an artist.

I do both because I believe in both. Especially the latter.

In this episode of Art Made Easy, I talk about the friction that can happen when these two types of art educators collide.

I’ll go over my strategies that can help you adjust your mindset in order to stay positive and be confident with the skills that you have.


– Helpful practices from my experience as a non-credentialed art teacher

– How to overcome your feelings and change your mindset

– Strategies to keep your focus on happy art and happy kids

– Tips for staying motivated

– How to avoid toxic thoughts



Podcasts related to this episode:

10 Rules for Art Teachers: AME 099


The Life Coach School Podcast by Brooke Castillo:


How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs Podcast by Kris Plachy:


What do you think?

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  • Karen Griffith

    I have my fine arts BA degree and private academic school certification for our state. So yes and no. I never took the praxis test to get public school certification, I taught 15 years in private school. This past few years our school and state has pushed all teachers to get public certification in the area we are teaching within 6 years or school may cancel teaching contract. Luckily I just took the test and easily did an add on to regular education degree since my undergrad was art. I received my education certifications with my masters. I can see this being an absolute stress for some teachers who would nee to go back to school.

    • Hannah

      Thank you for sharing Karen! It’s always interesting to hear what requirements each school has. The important takeaway is to keep learning- Credentialed or not, as long as you want to learn and grow this is really is a dream job.

      I think Patty’s message is geared towards teachers aren’t required to obtain certification. It’s been an insecurity for some classroom teachers that have the passion/ art background, but don’t have their credential. Regardless of circumstance it’s an amazing thing to be able to teach art to children. How you look at your situation can make a world of difference.

      -Hannah (Team Sparkle)

  • Nancy A Popkes

    Nancy Popkes
    I was a non-credentialed art teacher for 12 years in a private school. I began as a parent volunteer and substitute teacher for 3 years on the campus where my children attended. When the art teacher position opened up I jumped at the opportunity. However, I had never taught or had an art degree. I considered myself not a “real art teacher”. One day in a meeting the head of school told me ” You are the professional in that classroom. Your passion for art and the love you have for the students is more valuable to this school than a degree.” I had my own classroom, I proposed the first ever yearly school art budget and it was accepted. It was the best job in the whole school but without credentials I still never thought I was a real art teacher. Then 3 years ago the school decided to go to a more “process based” art program. Classroom teachers would be assigned projects. Without credentials my teaching days would be over. The head of school “strongly recommended” I begin an after school program. I wouldn’t need a degree plus she offered my classroom at no charge. I had access to all my former students! It had never crossed my mind to hold private classes. I became an independent business owner. For the past 3 years I have been teaching Pre-K4’s thru 5th grade. I love it! I’m a gold star member of DSS. My membership helps keep me current and connected to teachers worldwide. Best of all I now feel qualified to call myself a real art teacher!

    • Hannah

      I love this Nancy!! It sounds like you work with a wonderful school that truly values you. 🙂 And I’m so happy that the Sparklers Club is a part of your journey too! Thank you for sharing.

      -Hannah (Team Sparkle)


    Thank you so much for this. This is my first year Teaching art, I retrained as a Teacher when I had young kids. I’ve always done a lot of art in my classroom, last year I asked our Director if she would consider bringing art back as a special, she got so excited and said yes would you like to do it. I was so excited too, but then had so many self doubts, if I would be good at it. I love it so much and feel very lucky to have the chance. I worked for a Large corporate company in the U.K. doing Graphic Design, sadly they outsourced and I changed to a PA to the Director. So I do have some art experience, but I’m certainly not an artist. We moved to the US with my Husbands job and now this is home.


      I forgot to say, without Deep Space Sparkle I don’t think I would of been so successful this year ❤️

    • Hannah

      Thank you for listening Una!! You’re doing an amazing job and I love how active you are in our community 🙂 We’re so happy you’re part of the Sparklers Club 💖

      -Hannah (Team Sparkle)

  • Jackie May

    I loved this podcast session. It was so helpful to think about how our thoughts affect us. Looking at things in a positive way makes us such a better Art Teacher!

  • Karen Garibay

    I have a BS in Secondary art education, but since there were no jobs teaching art I received my masters in Special Education and spent 28 years teaching in public schools. It wasn’t until I retired early because we adopted 3 at risk young foster children, that I started volunteering in their school to teach art. After two years I was offered a part-time job teaching art in their school. Now other schools in the district have asked me to do an Artist in Residence for the past 4 years. I have to say I love it and the Sparklers Club has made teaching so much easier!!

  • Donna Freeman

    I loved this so much! I am a non credentialed art teacher. I worked as a Teacher’s Aide(Paraprofessional as some call it) from 1975-1975-1982 stopped to raise children then in 1990=3-1996, I worked in a daycare. I then went back to my former school district to be an Aide again in 1996-2008. My husband’s job moved to Dallas, TX and I began my business in 2011. I found DSS in 2014 and joined in 2016. I have been a loyal supporter ever since. Patty, I want you to know that as your team has grown, it has become a true inspiration to me and the children I teach. I love it and will continue to support you in your endeavors as you have helped so many. One day I’ll be able to travel to one of your workshops.

  • Jennifer Jenkins

    I have an Elementary Education Degree (PreK-6) and a Reading Language Arts Master Degree with extra classes to be a Certified Reading Specialist.
    Pre-professionally, I had always longed to take art classes in high school and college and had dreams of being an art teacher. However, I was also very practical and knew that the positions were few and far between and I wanted to maximize my chances of being hired as a teacher in a state with a teacher surplus (NY).

    I ended up securing my first teaching job in Southern California (teacher shortage) where I was shocked to learn that I wasn’t just the classroom teacher – I was also the music, PE, and Art teacher! Ha! These subjects were not prioritized at my school, but I loved being able to pad my science and language arts and history lessons with tons of art. Total joy!

    Fast forward to 2019 and I found myself as stay at home mom looking to go back to work part-time.
    In my current area, there seems to always be openings for part-time Art Teachers. The positions are not desirable – they usually involve carts or shared rooms – but I wanted to give it a try.

    As I prepared to begin job hunting, I discovered that, if I passed the Art Praxis, I could earn an Art endorsement on my credential. And I did. Which means I can legally to teach art in Virginia public schools (k-12).

    Well, as I began my new teacher training with other 30 or so newly hired art teachers, my self-esteem took a hit. I realized immediately that I was surrounded by seriously talented artists. And, as I began to work with the full-time art teachers at each of my school sites, I began to truly appreciate just how unprepared and under-qualified I seemed for grades 4-6.

    While none of these trained Art Teachers have ever given me grief, it is glaringly obvious that I am unable to seamlessly fit in with this crowd. My Art Mentor was honest and let me know that, yes, I needed to start training myself or taking classes to increase my skills so that I can confidently teach kids in grades 3-6.
    Keep in mind that for the most part, grades 3-6 are assigned open ended art challenges and not DSS style lessons (as per county direction). That being said – I really feel guilty that I am doing 5th and 6th grade a major disservice. Many 5th and 6th graders can actually hold their own in a high school setting. Some of my students have trained 1:1 with master painters in Paris. I am not able to help these students to progress their skills, but the actual trained artists can.

    That being said, I will continue to pursue part-time jobs that focus on lower elementary and small-group Special Ed.

  • Gail M Domanski

    I just listened to your podcast and I am hooked! Your message was so right on that I was in tears! I am teaching at a charter school without a credential but loving teaching art to kids. I teach middle school and high school, and I come up with the curriculum, projects, and ideas. I adhere to the California standards for visual arts and teach on my own. I am reminded to read Eckart Tolle again! Thank you so much!

  • Stacy Gargalione

    One of my favorite podcasts I have to say. (I love so many of them too)
    So the kids are one of my biggest inspirations to keep going as a non-credential art teacher with bad thoughts running through my head. Their kind words and excitement, seeing how much they love a space that is just for them to be themselves makes my heart beam. I saw me becoming the kids inspiration on occasion. It pushed me each year to continue. Now I seem to be sough out by parents everywhere in town. It’s taken me a while to hush the chatter to a whisper and it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one. Once again, this podcast was amazing and it was great to hear your story Patty. You are my other inspiration to keep pushing on. Thank you for all you do for all of us. 🙏❤️

  • Lora Foster-Cave

    Patty- I appreciate this particular podcast so much! I really stumbled into my position as k-12 art teacher, at my son’s private school. I had dreams of being an art teacher for years, but not the same ambition to go back to school for yet another degree lol. Here I am, getting ready to turn 52, and about to complete my first year of teaching art. I would not have been able to do it so smoothly, and feel as confident without my fellow Sparklers, and support from Team Sparkle. I have to also give props to my fellow teachers, administrators, board members and parents, who have been so supportive and appreciative of all the great art work that has been brightening up our whole school. Thank you!

  • Cathy Palmer (wish I could say I was related to you Patty - your are terrific!)

    Great Podcast thanks – just what I needed to hear to help boost my confidence! I am a long term sub for the local elementary school and I am having a blast! Now mind you it takes me several days to plan and prepare for my four- 45 minutes classes every Thursday- PK-K, 1-2, 3-4 and 5-8 charter schoolers but I am having fun! I am teaching art so I AM an Art Teacher – Love that! I have signed up for your resources and everything is so very helpful….Thanks again!

  • Lizabeth Perry

    Hey, Patty! I’d love to listen to this podcast (How to Embrace Your Role as a Non-Credentialed Art Teacher: AME 149), however, the AME 132 podcast (Clean Up Strategies & Routines for the Art Room) is what is playing. Where can I find the AME 149 podcast, please?

    • katherine

      Hi Lizabeth, I let our Tech Team know and we’ll work on getting the page fixed as soon as possible!

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