Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Art

About Art K–12 Teaching Certification

Inspire creativity and enhance the visual literacy of K-12 students.

Embark on a rewarding career teaching art by pursuing a master's degree in art education with teaching certification from PennWest California. Level I teaching certification for grades K-12 and a secondary education master's degree can be completed in four semesters of classes and one semester of student teaching.

Designed for practicing artists, but open to bachelor's degree holders in any field, this graduate program combines core courses in pedagogy with studio art and art history classes as needed.

Experiential learning creates top teachers. 

  • Excel in student teaching and stand out in the art education job PennWest California students complete extensive fieldwork in local school districts prior to full-time student teaching.
  • Founded as a teacher's college, PennWest California has been taking a hands-on approach to teacher training for more than 160 years.

PennWest California's teaching programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.



Flexible Schedule: A combination of online courses, on-site field experiences and a two-day, on-campus summer residency give art education graduate students the flexibility to continue working while earning their degree.

Students that need additional coursework to fulfill the Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements may need to take on-campus courses.

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average annual salary for secondary education teachers in Pennsylvania. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
weeks of full-time student teaching in a real classroom


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Degree Benefits

Graduate degree courses in K-12 arts education will give you mastery of the latest teaching practices and theories while deepening your expertise in visual arts. You'll also gain extensive hands-on experience through fieldwork and student teaching.

  • Study art curriculum development techniques and how to use the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
  • Learn top strategies in classroom management.
  • Master classroom technology for teaching art.
  • Take specialized studio art courses if needed.
  • Deepen your knowledge of art history.
  • Gain real-world classroom experience.
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Graduate Outcomes

Graduates of this program are prepared to teach K-12 art at public or private schools. They also thrive in many other art- and education-related careers.  PennWest California secondary education alumni hold teaching and related positions at dozens of schools, museums, art centers, and art education organizations.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

Our rigorous art education courses will deepen your own artistic practice while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in art education. This professional graduate degree program is delivered online, on-site in assigned field experiences, and during a two-day summer residency. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
Required Courses
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Education 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 3
MSE 645  Technology Integration in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 655  Methods of Art Teaching K-12 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching 9
Total Credits 33

Undergraduate Content Course Requirements

Certification requirements for the Pennsylvania Department of Education include appropriate certification testing. A minimum of 30 credits of content area coursework is required. These courses may be taken at the undergraduate level. Students must demonstrate college coursework with a grade of C or higher in:

  • Drawing
  • 2D design
  • 3D design
  • Western art history
  • Non-western art history
  • Art history or art theory
  • At least five art studio courses in at least four different media, such as printmaking, ceramics, jewelry, metals, painting, sculpture, photography or graphic arts

Note: Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements are subject to change.

Chapter 49-2

Chapter 49-2 requirements (12 credits) mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education must be met in order to receive certification. Courses may be satisfied with previously taken undergraduate or graduate courses, subject to approval of the program coordinator. Undergraduate 49-2 courses cannot be accepted for the graduate special education add-on certification program for students who later complete that program. If not already completed, the following courses are needed in addition to the requirements above:

  • ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration
  • ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis
  • ESP 613  Evidence-based Practices in Secondary Inclusion
  • EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner

Student Teaching

Applications for spring student teaching are due October 1. Applications for fall student teaching are due April 1.

Student teaching requirements include:

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher for all courses, including undergraduate content course requirements
  • A grade of C or higher for all required courses
  • Completion of all required courses prior to student teaching
  • Required clearances
  • No incomplete (I) grades
  • Passing of required Praxis tests
  • TB tests
  • Liability insurance
  • Education requirements, such as seminars and portfolios

Program Notes

  • The summer courses require a two-day residency in July.
  • Clearances are required at all times throughout the program and must be updated every July.
  • LiveText Watermark software is required for this program. 


Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

Program Requirements

    • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification. 

Related Programs


PennWest California art faculty member.

Learn Proven Best Practices

All core secondary education faculty members have doctorate degrees and most have taught in public schools at the middle or high school level. You'll learn educational best practices from professors who have first-hand experience in their application.

A professor helps students with project.

Course Spotlight: Methods of Art in Teaching

This essential degree course is where it all comes together. Learn key insights into teaching a broad range of artistic techniques to students at the elementary, middle/junior high or high school level.

A student teaches a sample lesson.

On-campus Summer Residency

Every summer, PennWest California arts education graduate students benefit from two days of face-to face instruction, interaction with their peers and teaching sample lessons.



Art Certification Faculty

Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Connie Monroe

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Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

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Dr. Michael Perrotti
Education Department Chair; University-Wide Curriculum Committee Chair; Associate Professor

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Michael Ulderich
Assistant Professor

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.