Online Degrees in Art and Design

Article Sources
  • Arts Alumni in their Communities 2017 SNAAP Annual Report, , Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, November 2017, http://snaap.indiana.edu/pdf/2017/SNAAP_Annual_Report_2017.pdf
  • Careers, Association of Medical Illustrators, https://ami.org/medical-illustration/enter-the-profession/careers,accessed April 2018

A successful career in the fine arts takes more than passion. Successful artists and designers must be disciplined, driven to succeed, creative, organized, detail-oriented and often computer savvy.

Art and design students may aspire to careers in computer-aided drafting rather than oil painting; however, the hallmark of an artist - creativity - is still the most important requirement for success.According to The College Board, careers in the art and design field require self-starters who can work independently, sometimes honing their craft without the aid of a supervisor or clock to keep them on track.If that sounds like you, read on!

An art and design online degree program typically exposes students to a wide variety of disciplines within the creative world. When you enroll in a college or university offering online bachelor's degree programs in art and design, you can expect to blend your creativity with studies in communication, marketing, software and merchandising. Online art and design schools aim to combine practical skills training with aesthetic theory, art history and the latest digital technologies.

Most design programs include general courses in color and composition, drawing, and visual arts, as well as applied career training in web-based design, graphics and animation, and visual communications.

While potential coursework can depend on the school and program, you may find subjects like these:

  • Animation
  • Fashion trends
  • Graphic arts
  • Life drawing
  • Photography
  • Web design and interactive media

Associate or bachelor's degree in art and design

An online associate or bachelor's degree program in art and design can help you develop skills in an array of different fieldsand open doors to a range of creative careers in the design business. Specialties include:

  • Art education
  • Entertainment set design
  • Gallery management
  • Interior design
  • Medical illustration
  • Multimedia production

Hybrid programs may include web-based courses and on-campus residencies for studio experience. Computer-based study programs lend themselves to the increasing use of digital techniques in art and design.

Master's degree in art and design

Nearly all online master's degrees in art and design contain some elements of business, such as marketing, web promotion or branding, which is useful for the many professional artists and designers who work freelance.

The importance of accredited online degree programs cannot be underestimated. Accreditation usually indicates that the degree program aligns with quality standards of education set by the accrediting body. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design has over 350 accredited institutions across the country. Apart from this, you might want to look at schools accredited by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design or ones that are regionally accredited.

Accreditation also can open up opportunities for you to apply for several types of financial aid that are available only to students who are enrolled in an accredited program or school.

Types of online degree programs in art and design

Depending on one's area of specialization, art and design students may spend a lot of time working in the studio, experimenting with computer design programs or researching a critical period in art history. Three common areas of specialization are:

  • Art history, which allows students to explore the art of various regions and time periods and focuses more on research and writing rather than the creation of art
  • Studio arts, which focus on the creation of art with various mediums, such as sketching, painting, sculpting, or creating pottery and ceramics
  • Technical arts, which focus on disciplines such as photography and digital imaging.

The common thread underlying these diverse applications of art and design is a focus on effective ways to communicate abstract ideas.

Pursuing an online degree in art and design can offer many advantages employers often notice when comparing resumes and portfolios. Successfully taking and completing courses online requires a self-starter who has the discipline to finish courses on his or her own time - a trait many employers seek in their new hires.

Additionally, online degree programs in art and design allow students to become more familiar with the computer programs that could be used in careers such as computer-aided drafting.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes thatemployment of artists and related workers is likely to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026 with about 33,700 new job openings in this field. The table below lists common job titles with their mean pay.

Occupations In-Demand for Art Design
Job Openings (2016-26)
Average Salary (2016)
Total Employment
Projected Job Growth (2016-26)
Recreation Workers70,600$27,950352,3509%
Production Workers, All Other31,600$32,910256,0505%
Graphic Designers26,200$53,280217,1705%
Musicians and Singers18,000N/A40,1707%
Gaming Dealers14,500$22,91094,2601%
Producers and Directors14,000$90,770117,52012%
Merchandise Displayers and Window Trimmers13,700$30,940120,8704%
Art Directors8,000$103,51038,1107%
Music Directors and Composers7,800$61,49015,4006%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

A survey from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) discovered that

  • 67 percent found professional careers;
  • 31 percent of art & design graduates either practiced or performed art in their own time or were engaged in the arts in voluntary work

The 2017 survey also found that

  • 56 percent of art & design graduates worked as artists
  • 28 percent teach art; and
  • 19 percent administer a business or organization in the arts. Many of the alumni work in more than one role

Graduates of online associate degree programs in art and design usually qualify for entry-level jobs in creative communications and applied art media. They may assist in designing brand logos or packaging, internet publications, websites, consumer products, furniture, residential and commercial interiors, and more. Career opportunities should be especially strong in web design, as e-commerce and internet media continues to expand.

To move up the career ladder or work on your own, it may be wise to continue to a bachelor's degree program.The Association of Medical Illustrators says graduates in their field take jobs with hospitals and clinics, medical schools, medical publishers and research institutions. Earning an online bachelor's degree in art and design can help you further develop your talents while exploring the many paths open to you.

Online master's degrees in art and design could give you the skills and knowledge needed to seek success as a professional artist or art educator. Whereas some undergraduate degrees in this field might be general in scope, online graduate degree programs typically encourage you to specialize in a particular discipline. For example, a master's in graphic design would delve into typography, branding and packaging as well as design.

Article Sources
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