Another question artists should ask themselves when sizing up teaching jobs has to do with compensation and cost of living. While major schools in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago may confer institutional prestige, the compensation they offer will not necessarily go very far compared to what schools in more affordable cities can offer art teachers.
“Knowing what the cost of living is in that particular city is really important,” says T.J. Dedeaux-Norris, an artist and assistant professor at the University of Iowa. “So if you’re comparing a salary that might seem like a really, really good salary, it might not be that much money if the cost of living is really high. Or you look at a job and see that the salary feels mediocre or low compared to somebody else that you know that lives somewhere else, but then you realize that the cost of living is really low.”
From compensation to cost of living to campus culture, the more artists can know about a school before taking a job there, the better, says Vernon. “Because you will be committing a very large part of your time and your life to these spaces, and—I have to stress this because I’ve seen it happen—if you have any level of resentment toward where you have chosen to be, the students and your colleagues will sense it; they will know.”