A Four-Tiered Certification Program for Artists Wishing to Expand Their Careers and Enhance their Skills as an Artist-Educator

In all aspects of education, there is increasing interest in “whole-brain” learning — learning that is proven to be highly effective when delivered through the arts. Over the past decade, neuroscientists have learned much about the developing brain. As part of The Royal Conservatory, Learning Through the Arts® (LTTA) has been developing its arts-based integrative learning methodology since 1994. Due to our consistent framework and focus on artist training and teacher professional development, we are now seen to be at the leading edge of integrative learning worldwide. LTTA has grown to become one of the most extensive arts-based public school initiatives globally.

This certification is in response to the need for consistent training of Artist-Educators. We anticipate there will continue to be an expanding need for artists at all levels in schools across Canada and, increasingly, in international and corporate settings as well as social service agencies. The four-tiered artist training program is designed to provide community artists with:

• Relevant learning modules
• Consistent standards of delivery
• Highly skilled facilitators
• Practical tools for artists
• A sequence of clear levels of achievement in building skills and experiences
• Opportunities for reflection and growth

What is the Opportunity for Artists?
Curriculum Modules for Artist Certification Program
Artist Success
Course Descriptions and Modules
     Artist-Educator Foundations Course
     Level I – Artist-Educator
     Level II – Lead Artist
     Level III – Mentor Artist
Frequently Asked Questions
Course Admission

What is the Opportunity for Artists?
Working in classrooms, social service agencies, and other institutions requires a special kind of multifaceted person.  An Artist-Educator is someone who is proficient in one or many art forms but who also possesses many other skills and qualities such as compassion, patience, creativity, and ability to communicate effectively.  Artist-Educators have the desire to learn and weave important educational and community concepts with their knowledge about their art form.

The purpose of this training program is to help artists develop advanced educational skills, such as creative problem solving, knowledge of curriculum, and an understanding of child development. Certification is an opportunity for interested artists wishing to deepen and strengthen their Artist-Educator practice.

Courses offered as part of the Artist-Educator Professional Training:

  • Foundations Course 
  • Level I – Artist-Educator
  • Level II – Lead Artist
  • Level III – Mentor Artist

All artists participating in these courses are expected to develop professionally by attending all sessions, submitting expected lesson plans and assignments, continuing their work in the classroom or community as well as practicing their art form.

Curriculum Modules for Artist Certification Program
The curriculum for each course level is divided into various strands — Program Orientation, Program Planning and Delivery, Marketing, and Public Relations — which increase in complexity and depth at each level, enabling artists to build substantively on their skills, if they choose to continue through the levels.

Artist Success
The intended outcome of this training is to provide artists with the prerequisite skills to successfully implement the certification program. Artist evaluation will include:
• Successful completion of the training modules
• Effective participation in the training modules
• Lesson plan writing
• Collaboration skills
• Presentation skills
• Self-reflection
• Peer Mentorship

Course Descriptions and Modules

Artist-Educator Foundations Course

The Artist-Educator Foundations Course for artists who would like to learn more about arts education. This 30-hour course offers artists a window into working in schools and/or in community settings.  The course is created by artists for artists and all material is taught using a multidisciplinary and highly-interactive approach involving creative play and activity-based exploration. 

Each class of the Artist-Educator Foundations Course is a structured exploration of a module (listed below) using fun, hands-on arts-infused learning.  Each lesson, once delivered, is deconstructed to ensure understanding of the teaching tactics and arts-based techniques.  The course combines educational content and theory with a creative “laboratory” environment – artists are given supported activities though which they experiment with applying their arts discipline in educational and community contexts.  During class presentations, artists will participate as a “student” learner and as a “facilitator”.  The course includes modules on how people learn at different stages of life, effective partnering, and how to develop and structure arts-based lessons that are effective and engaging for learners.  Our Foundations courses are facilitated by expert leaders who are both working artists and experienced educators.

Artists are required to attend all six days, and complete homework assignments, to receive a pass in the course.

Foundations Course prepares you for

  • Work in elementary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as in community settings
  • Developing meaningful and relevant lesson plans
  • Effective communication with students, teachers and staff
  • Development of solid partnerships with educational or community partners
  • Making appropriate programming choices for a variety of ages, stages and abilities

Course Modules for Foundations

  • Merging Artist and Teacher/Community Worker Culture
  • Engaging Effective Partnering
  • Engaging Effective Session Management – Teaching Tactics and Strategies
  • Exploring Multiliteracies and Multimodal Learning
  • Understanding the Arts Curriculum
  • Preparing Lesson Plans (Foundations Level)
  • Understanding Ages and Stages of Development (Foundations Level)
  • Understanding OAC’s Arts Education and Community Arts Grants through Your Creative Process


Must be a practicing artist. A practicing artist is defined as someone who has basic training (formal or informal), or are self-taught in their fields, spends a significant amount of time practicing their art, and seeks payment for their work. 


regarding the Artist-Educator Foundations courses sponsored by the OAC

How do the different Ontario sites (cities) get chosen every year?

The Royal Conservatory and the Ontario Arts Council work in partnership to offer the Foundations Course to Ontario Artists each year.  The two organizations collaborate to decide where the course will be offered.  Decisions are based on several criteria, including:

  • Catchment areas
  • Artist population in each site
  • Venue availability
  • Course Demand in each site (if we have delivered previously at a site and there were full class numbers and a sizable waiting list)
  • Historical patterns of where the course has been offered previously (to ensure broad coverage)

I have a degree in teaching but I am also an artist. Can I take this course?

The OAC stipulates that people who have had significant learning opportunities in the field of education, such as people who are already certified and/or practicing teachers in the school system, are not eligible for this subsidy and therefore may not be accepted to this course.  However, the RCM does offer the Foundations course every fall in Toronto at full cost and you should be accepted into that course if you apply.

I know that if I get a spot in the Foundations course full attendance is mandatory.  What happens if I miss a half day due to an emergency?

It is important to try and attend all of the classes. However, if you need to miss one half day due to an emergency, please ask a peer in the class to help you catch up on the material that you missed. No make-up assignments are given by the Instructors. Missing a full day or more will jeopardize your ability to pass the course.

When can I expect to receive my letter of completion for the Foundations course?

The Royal Conservatory sends out letters of completion every summer – as early as June or as late as August.  Thank you for your patience as we endeavor to create and send out the letters of completion in a timely fashion.

Will Artist-Educator Level I or Level II courses ever take place in cities other than Toronto?

While we continue to investigate funding possibilities for delivering the other Levels of the Artist-Educator Professional Training Program in other sites across Ontario and Canada, we are currently offering Levels I, II, & III in Toronto only.

 Level I – Artist-Educator

The Artist Educator Professional Training builds on the learning begun in the Artist Educator Foundations course and adds another layer of understanding to the work of an Artist Educator. Through this course, artists develop their skills to work successfully in schools and or in community settings, blending educational content and theory within a creative, arts-infused, “laboratory” environment. Artists apply their learning through the creation of lesson plans and presentations. 

Modules will be presented on subjects such as arts curriculum, working with youth and how to develop and structure arts-based lessons that are effective and engaging for learners. Participants can expect to come out of this level with concrete skills which they can use to bring their art form to work with children and youth in various settings.

A Level I Artist-Educator is a highly effective communicator capable of developing meaningful relationships with teachers and community partners. The Artist-Educator is motivated to make a contribution to community and school settings.

The Level I course prepares you for

  • Work in elementary, intermediate and secondary schools as well as in community settings
  • Working with core curriculum such as math and language arts
  • Developing meaningful and relevant lesson plans
  • Effective communication with students, teachers and staff
  • Development of solid partnerships with educational or community partners
  • Making appropriate programming choices for a variety of ages, stages and abilities

Course Modules for Level I

  • Understanding School Culture and Teacher Culture
  • Working with Community and Social Service Organizations
  • Engaging Effective Partnering in Schools or Community Settings
  • Session Management – The Art of Questioning (Level I)
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Social Studies, Science and Math Curriculum through the Arts
  • Literacy Curriculum through the Arts
  • Preparing Lesson Plans (Level I)
  • Inclusive Practices (Level I)
  • Understanding Ages and Stages of Development – Working with Youth

Prerequisite for Level I

Must have completed the Artist-Educator Foundations Course with a passing grade.

Level II – Lead Artist

The Level II course continues the learning of Level I, deepening the artist’s ability to work in schools and community settings. This course leads to the designation of “Lead Artist” and blends a sequential approach to core educational content and theory with a creative “laboratory” environment in which artists can experiment with applying their art forms to the delivery of interesting projects.

The course focuses on topics such as how people learn at different stages of life, adult education, understanding the brain, and how to develop and structure arts-based lessons that are effective and engaging for learners, including adult learners, as well as marketing yourself and your projects. Participants in this course will gain a deeper understanding of presentation skills and how to approach potential partners to pitch their projects.

A Level II Artist-Educator is preparing for a leadership role. In addition to working in classrooms, these Artist-Educators are also capable of delivering a variety of adult workshops to teachers, artists, parents, administrators and the community.

The Level II course prepares you to

  • Deliver workshops to teachers, school administrators, and staff in a community setting
  • Deliver demonstrations to funders, media or other audiences
  • Deliver workshops for other artists
  • Present to parent and community groups

Course Modules for Level II

  • Teaching in a Variety of Contexts
  • Session Management – Workshops for Adults
  • Current Brain Research and the Arts
  • Media Literacy
  • Rubrics and Assessment
  • Creating Lesson Units
  • Inclusive Practices (Level II)
  • Understanding Ages and Stages of Development – Adult Learning
  • Technology Skills for Presentations – Working with Still Images and Text
  • Presentation Skills – Pitching Yourself as an Artist Educator
  • Facilitating Professional Development
  • Parent and Community Presentations
  • Marketing and Communications – Resumes and Bios

Prerequisites for Level II

  1. Must have completed Artist-Educator Professional Training – Level I (minimum of 65%)
  2. Permission from the Course Director

Level III - Mentor Artist

Building on the core learning of the Level II Lead Artist training, this intensive course leads to certification as a LTTA Mentor Artist. The Conservatory defines an LTTA Mentor Artist as an arts-education professional equipped to play a significant role in contributing to the training and mentoring of other artists and teachers, and who has the capacity to work with a wide range of organizations at a very high level, reaching a national and international scale.

Artists will be accepted into this course only if they meet the pre-requisites (see below) and after they have completed at least 40 hours of practice at integrating the learning acquired in Levels I and II training.

Upon successful completion of all course requirements, a certified Mentor Artist will have the capacity to act as a senior ambassador for the Arts and Education. S/he will have enough knowledge and confidence to present at conferences and events, and make presentations to corporations, governments and other potential funders. A certified Mentor Artist is someone who can expand his or her skills to work with NGO’s and social service agencies, and contributes to the development of Arts and Education on the international stage.

Level III Course Modules

  • Teaching in the Global Context
  • Communication Skills – Conflict Resolution
  • Communication Styles
  • Visioning Your Artist-Educator Dream Project
  • Arts in Education Project Planning and Budgeting
  • Inclusive Practices (Level III)
  • Technology Skills for Presentations – Working with Video
  • Presentation Skills – Understanding Context to Create Effective Content
  • Coaching, Evaluation and Feedback
  • Marketing and Communications – Building Relationships for Sales
  • Marketing and Communications – Promoting Yourself through Social Media

Certification Completion Requirements

  1. 60 hours of in-class instruction
  2. Practicum of 60 hours of teaching or facilitating to be completed within one year after the coursework
  3. Reflective Assignment

Pre-requisites and Requirements for Admission to Level III:

  1. Successful completion of Artist-Educator Level II training (course passed with a minimum grade of 65%)
  2. Demonstration of completion of a minimum of 40 hours of teaching or facilitating, in either a school or social service organization, or both, accumulated within the last three years. (Please complete and submit the attached Level III Pre-requisite Chart)
  3. Completed application questions (including a short bio) included in this online submission

Application and Registration Process

Please note that your application package will be reviewed by the Course Director once all application components are received (ie. Pre-requisite chart and application questions).  You will be contacted shortly afterwards with the status of your application and instructions on how to register, if selected.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I am a teacher who is familiar with the arts. Can I still take the course?

These courses are for working artists who are interested in working in educational or community and social service settings. They are not designed for teachers, although an exception may be made for artists with teacher training.

2.  Are these Royal Conservatory courses or Ontario Arts Council courses?

All of these courses are created and run by The Royal Conservatory. The Ontario Arts Council is a sponsor for the Foundations courses that take place Ontario-wide in the Spring only. They have offered advice and guidelines in reference to the content and delivery of the Foundations course. 

3.  What are the differences between all courses? What are the main areas of focus for each course?

See the descriptions for each level for details and course modules. The Foundations course is an introduction. The three other levels build upon each other and together create a truly comprehensive exploration of the skills needed to be an expert in the field of arts and education. 

4.  What exactly will I get once I complete all three levels?

You will have full certification from The Royal Conservatory. You will receive a certificate and be invited to attend Convocation, the graduation ceremony held by The Royal Conservatory.

5.  Is the certification recognized in the community?

Yes. The Royal Conservatory is an internationally recognized institution.

6.  What are the job prospects once I have completed?

You are taking a certification program from an internationally recognized institution, with the support and recognition of the Ontario Arts Council. You are also receiving training in presentation skills, marketing your projects and grant writing. The aim of these courses is to empower the artists who participate in it.  It provides you with the skills you need to work as an Artist-Educator.

7.  What are some examples of what people can do with this training?

This training will help artists to work in schools and community and social service agencies such as mental health facilities, shelters, or youth centres. You can also apply to existing arts-based programs or for arts education grants to create and implement your own projects.

Course Admission

Advanced Standing or Equivalent
Please note that we do not accept any advance standing or equivalent experience for Foundations. All applicants must start with Foundations to move on to Level I and then to Level II.

Certificate Requirements
In order to receive final certification, students must complete all required assignments and practicum hours as well as receive a minimum of 65 percent for all three levels of training.

Applicants may be eligible for an Access and Career Development grant through the Ontario Arts Council. The annual deadline is in early May. Click here for more information. Other grants available through the Ontario Arts Council can be found here.

For questions related to Royal Conservatory courses, please contact:
Phone: 416.408.2825 / 1.888.408.2825
Email: conservatoryschool@rcmusic.ca

For questions related to the Ontario Arts Council, please contact:
General Inquiries
Phone: 416.961.1660 / 1.800.387.0058
Email: info@arts.on.ca