Online Fine Arts and Crafts Degrees
Fine artists create art intended for display, such as sculpture, painting, photography or prints. Craft artists create functional art such as jewelry, pottery, stained glass, quilts and furniture. Artists in both fields study a variety of materials, including clay, fibers, glass, metal and wood, and learn the processes necessary to take projects from inception to completion.
Fine arts and crafts degrees
Fine arts and crafts degrees are offered through university art departments and art institutes at the following levels:
- Certificate. Craft certificate programs generally take three years to complete and provide intensive instruction in craft materials and production. Unlike degree-granting programs, a certificate in crafts does not include general liberal arts coursework.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). A BFA in crafts or fine arts requires four years of full-time study and includes a combination of liberal arts courses, craft theory and studio work. Introductory courses like three-dimensional design, drawing and art history lay the groundwork for students beginning their craft degree. Students may then pursue more advanced courses like jewelry making, metalsmithing, paper and book making, glass casting and ceramics.
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA). An MFA in crafts is considered a terminal degree, and it allows graduate students to gain expertise in a particular type of craft or material. MFA programs usually require two years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree.
Online degrees in fine arts and crafts
Degrees in fine arts and crafts require a lot of hands-on work. In the online environment, technology serves as a substitute for live interactions, still allowing students to benefit from the same level of experimentation, practice and feedback as in a traditional classroom.
For example, one school offering online degrees in fine arts and crafts makes use of a virtual photography studio that requires students to do everything from make sure equipment is plugged in to check lighting and composition. Online drawing programs allow students to experiment with technical concepts such as perspective, while videotaped demonstrations allow professors to break down concepts and give students the opportunity to watch videos until they understand difficult techniques.
Building a career in arts and crafts
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were nearly 5,000 craft artists working in the U.S. in 2010. The majority of these artists were self-employed and earned a living by creating and selling their own pieces. Those who weren't self-employed worked in a variety of industries, including advertising and education. According to the BLS, the following industries employed the most craft artists in 2010:
- Clay product and refractory manufacturing
- Museums and historical sites
- Glass product manufacturing
While independent craft artists don't need formal education, few succeed without specialized training. Craft artists hoping to teach art at the elementary or high-school level usually need a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate. An MFA is often required for craft artists hoping to work for museums or teach at the university level.
In addition to artistic talent, craft artists need dexterity, creativity and problem-solving ability. Often, earning a living requires selling art to customers, so craft artists should also be effective communicators and convincing salespeople.
Fine arts and crafts at a glance
- Salary: The mean annual salary for craft artists in the U.S. was $32,010 in 2010 (BLS).
- Top industries: Independent art, clay and glass manufacturing, museums and historical sites.
- Self-employment: Approximately 60 percent of fine artists, including craft artists, are self-employed.
Online Degree Programs in Fine Art & Craft
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