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Education And Career Overview For Art And Design

Are you interested in pursuing a career in art and design? The art and design field may be ideal for individuals interested in creating fine art, visual effects, and animations, as well as those who love to create visually compelling and functional spaces and structures. This industry is comprised of a number of different job types, but most center around media presentation. Several common art and design professions are:

  • Fine Artist
  • Photographer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Printmaker
  • Curator
  • Industrial Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Animator
  • Arts Administrator
  • Educator
  • Art Director
  • Archivist

Degree Options

Because artistry is often a natural talent you’re born with, you may think you don’t need formal education. This isn’t necessarily the case, however, as educational courses and training can help you fine-tune your abilities. Some of the most common types of art degrees include certificates, associate degrees, undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and doctoral degrees.

Associate Degree

Many art professionals choose to enroll in an associate art degree program to hone their skills. These programs are particularly popular among those interested in online learning, so many of the degree options center around media subjects. This type of degree generally consists of 60 credit hours of coursework that full-time students can complete within two years.

Undergraduate Degree

Earning an undergraduate degree in art is a great first step, especially for those who intend to continue their education in the future. They’re also nearly essential for individuals who plan to have an art history career or work in an administrative capacity.A bachelor’s degree in art and designis generally made up of 120 credit hours of coursework which a full-time student can complete in about four years.


Art is a broad field, so many educational institutes provide students with the opportunity to earn undergraduate certificates. A certificate isn’t a degree; it’s confirmation that a student has completed a certain number of additional courses on a specific topic. Certificates vary in length, but always demonstrate specialized knowledge beyond a basic degree. Common certificates include art history, digital art, and studio art.

Graduate Degree

A graduate degree in art is important for those who want to advance their career or work as an art educator. There are few general art master’s degrees available, so students must usually pick a specific concentration. Common examples include photography, painting, and sculpting.Programs are usually 30 to 60 credit hours long and can be completed in two years.

Doctoral Degree

Doctoral degrees in art are usually sought by individuals interested in a research position. The coursework generally prepares them to work in higher education or with an art organization.Program credit requirements vary, but usually range from 60 to 120 hours that can be completed in three to seven years.

Fields of Study

Art and design is an extremely vast field that offers those interested a wide variety of career opportunities. Degree and certificate programs help to narrow down a person’s specialization. Common fields of study within art and design are:

  • Game and Interactive Media Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Studio Arts
  • Art Studies
  • Interior Design
  • Digital Arts
  • Industrial Design
  • Student Arts Management
  • Commercial and Advertising Art
  • Fashion Design
  • Photography

Career and Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for art and design occupations is lower than average. While the demand for animation and visual effects is good for many media outlets, publishing and manufacturing outlets are expected to decline. Still, the art and design industry is expected to grow 4 percent between 2016 and 2026. While salaries vary, the median annual wage for art and design professionals was $45,250 in 2017, which is slightly above the median wage for all occupations surveyed. (Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary)


Health Occupations. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved on August 9, 2018 from:

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