How to Get Graphic Design Teaching Jobs

Teaching is a rewarding career that allows you to share your knowledge and passion for graphic design with students. However, landing that first graphic design teaching position can be challenging. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to get graphic design teaching jobs, from qualifying for positions and choosing the right schools to applying, interviewing, and getting hired. Let’s begin.

How to Get Graphic Design Teaching Jobs

How to Get Graphic Design Teaching Jobs (Simple Steps)

Qualifications and Certification

The first step is ensuring you meet the minimum qualifications for graphic design teaching positions. Most teaching jobs at the secondary or post-secondary level will require at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. Some schools may also prefer or require a master’s degree. 

In addition to your degree, you’ll likely need state certification or licensure to teach. Certification requirements vary by state but often include having a certain number of credit hours in your subject area as well as completing an approved teacher preparation or certification program. These programs involve coursework in curriculum development, teaching methods, classroom management, and student assessment.

Many states also require passing certification exams in your content area and in general teaching skills. Exam topics may cover design principles, techniques, tools, processes, professional practices, and how to teach these subjects. Start researching your state’s certification requirements early to make sure you complete all necessary steps on time. Certification demonstrates to employers that you are highly qualified to educate students in graphic design.

Developing Teaching Experience 

While not always mandatory, gaining prior classroom experience as a student teacher, teaching assistant, tutor, workshop instructor or substitute teacher can make you a more attractive job candidate. This hands-on experience allows you to hone your teaching skills, get feedback, and demonstrate your ability to effectively engage and guide students of varying abilities.

Some graphic design programs offer teaching assistant opportunities where you can help professors with tasks like grading or leading review sessions. You can also check with local art schools, universities, or continuing education programs about volunteering to teach short workshops or non-credit courses related to your areas of design expertise. Even experience instructing private lessons or camps builds your teaching resume. 

If possible, ask if these initial teaching opportunities could lead to part-time or adjunct positions. Developing connections within academic institutions through ongoing work provides networking opportunities that may help you learn of and apply for full-time teaching vacancies as they arise.

Choosing the Right Schools 

When starting your job search, research graphic design programs within commuting distance that are accepting applications. Narrow your options based on factors like:

– Accreditation status – Look for programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) to ensure a quality education. 

– Level of instruction – Consider whether you want to teach at the secondary, community college, technical college, or university level.

– Public or private institution – Weigh factors like tuition costs, class sizes, funding, and admission requirements.

– Program reputation and curriculum – Assess if the school’s focus on methodology, technology, and core graphic design disciplines match your expertise and interests. 

– Department culture and resources – Learn whether the department values teaching, innovation, and professional practice. Check facilities, materials, and technology availability.  

Researching programs online and through knowledgeable contacts can help you gauge which schools may be top choices to apply to based on fit. Reach out to academic departments to learn more about their programs and potential teaching needs as well.

Crafting a Competitive Application

Once you’ve identified target schools, it’s time to prepare competitive job application materials. The main components typically include:

Cover Letter

Highlight your qualifications and passion for teaching graphic design. Mention relevant experience and how you can contribute to the specific program or department. Express your interest in the school’s curriculum and teaching philosophy.


Emphasize both your graphic design and teaching experience, skills, and achievements. Include details on past courses taught, workshops led, design projects, and recognitions or awards received. Provide public portfolio and professional website links if possible.

Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Explain your beliefs about teaching and learning, goals for students, and sample strategies for engaging and assessing them. Discuss how you approach real-world design challenges, creative problem-solving, and developing technical skills. Cite design theory and pedagogical research to support your approaches. 


Provide contact information for professional references like former professors or supervisors who can speak to your qualifications, character, teaching abilities, and work ethic. Ask permission before listing anyone.


Submit official, sealed transcripts from all colleges attended showing your degrees awarded and courses completed, especially in graphic design.

Portfolio/Work Samples

Assemble 10-20 pieces of your highest-quality design work showcasing different projects, mediums, clients, and styles. Select diverse but cohesive samples that relate to courses you could teach. Describe each item and demonstrate your creative process. Consider including student work for teaching positions.

The application materials provide a window into your experience and skills, so take time to polish your documents and fit information to each specific job posting. Ask objective viewers for feedback to strengthen your materials before applying.

Read More: How to Choose the Best Printer for Graphic Design

Interview Prep and Performance

Landing interviews means your application connects you to opportunities. Now it’s time to prepare for lively conversations selling your qualifications. Research the department and school thoroughly prior. Prepare responses highlighting:

– Teaching philosophy and methods 

– Inspired lesson or project ideas 

– Integrating real-world design practice 

– Assessing and advising diverse student needs

– Contributing to curriculum or program development

– Using technology and facilities 

Anticipate interview questions around classroom management, design techniques, creative or technical expertise, relevant experience, and goals for the role. Practice responses and questions to ask that display your enthusiasm, knowledge, and personality.  

 On interview day, professionally dressed, arrived early, and greeted everyone with a firm handshake and eye contact. Engage interviewers by actively listening, maintaining poise, and conveying passion. Send prompt follow-up thank you notes to reinforce interest. Interviews present opportunities – make the most of them to stand out from other candidates!

Following Up and Networking

Once applications are in, maintain connections by diplomatically following up with thank you emails or calls to reaffirm interest. Keep departments informed of new experiences, awards, or published work that further spotlight your qualifications too.

Also, network constantly within the design community for leads on positions. Introduce yourself to professors at professional conferences or design Educators events. Join local AIGA chapters to meet other instructors and learn of openings. Consider attending seminars or webinars offered by the College Art Association and other educator groups as well.

The more people know you and your capabilities, the better positioned you’ll be when opportunities arise. With patience and persistence, your graphic design teaching career goals can become reality through active application, interviewing, and follow-up efforts combined with dedicated networking in the field.

Getting Acclimated Once Hired 

When offered a position, always ask about benefits, expectations, start dates, and more before accepting. Request onboarding information upfront on priorities like:  

– Department policies and required training

– Curriculum, course materials, syllabi

– Class scheduling, planning timelines

– Assessment and evaluation procedures 

– Technology/facilities training  

– Mentor introductions

– Campus resources for instructors

Take advantage of orientations, workshops, and mentoring to become familiarized quickly. Introduce yourself to colleagues and administration with courtesy and openness. Stay engaged by joining relevant campus committees too. 

Always aim to deliver effective, engaging instruction focused on student success while also continuing your professional design pursuits outside of teaching. Staying plugged in and growing in both areas will lead to longevity and career satisfaction in graphic design education.

Continuing Pursuits for Advancement

To keep progressing, make professional development continuous goals through:

– Earning higher degrees like an MFA for more leadership opportunities 

– Pursuing specialized teaching certifications or credentials

– Attending domestic and international design conferences regularly  

– Publishing or presenting your design work or innovative lesson strategies

– Contributing course innovations to department curriculum planning

– Taking on roles like program coordinator, advisor, or department chair

– Teaching distance or continuing education courses for new experiences

– Applying for internal sabbaticals or fellowships to refresh teaching

Constant self-improvement demonstrates commitment while expanding knowledge, skills, and influential network. Such efforts can open doors to promotions, tenure, prestigious fellowships, and other career milestones in graphic design education.

Read More: How to Find Graphic Design Jobs in Kansas City


In conclusion, graphic design teaching provides a meaningful way to share skills and inspire creativity for years. By meeting qualifications, gaining experience, crafting standout materials, and networking strategically, you can launch or further this incredibly rewarding career path. With passion, dedication, and continuous development, the opportunities are endless in this dynamic field.

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