schools offer a myriad of programs for students interested in a pursuing an
artistic career. The range and variety of specialties are virtually endless,
spanning artistic fields such as animation, ceramics, music, sculpture, dance,
art history, printmaking, photography, digital media, and much more.
After Art School
There are so many options to consider upon graduating from art school. Depending
on the area of interest, graduates can consider professions such
Approximately two-thirds of art school graduates are self-employed. Those who
are employed by firms often start with entry-level jobs in fields such as
advertising, publishing, film, and design services. Many simultaneously do
part-time freelance work to gain more experience and build their portfolio.
Art Training and
Although formal training at a fine arts school is not mandatory, having an art
degree would significantly benefit your employment prospects. There are numerous
schools to choose from and they vary in size, program duration and
curriculum scope. You should select a school based on your career
goals and requirements, as well as the amount of time and money you have to
invest in an education. Art schools offer various programs to suit the needs
of different students. These include vocational programs, liberal arts programs
and specialized programs.
Vocational art schools offer 2-year certificate programs, which provide students
with an Associate in Arts (AA) degree. Such schools tend to focus more on
practical studio work rather than liberal arts or conceptual work and aim to
prepare students for employment in entry-level jobs after graduation. As some
vocational schools offer curriculum similar to those at select
universities, students enrolled in these schools gain credit should they opt to
transfer to a 4-year university art program. This is a good option for those who
prefer a 4-year program but have financial constraints, as vocational
schools are considerably cheaper.
Liberal Arts Programs
Several universities have dedicated art departments
offering 4-year degree programs. These programs
tend to focus more on liberal arts courses and less on studio work. Enrolling in
such an art school is a good option for students interested in taking a wide
range of courses, in addition to art classes. Typically, universities offer a
general degree in art and allow students to focus on a particular
'concentration'. However, some accrediting bodies do not accept concentrations
as enough study for one to embark on a professional career in that field.
Graduates of 4-year programs generally acquire a Bachelor of Arts
with strong artistic capabilities or who know the specific art field they intend
to pursue may prefer a fine arts school offering a 4-year specialized program,
which leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. These schools strongly
emphasize study in the visual arts, preparing students for professional-level
work upon graduation. Generally, one-third of the course work focuses on
academic subjects while the other two-thirds concentrates on intensive study in
art and design.
Graduate programs are gaining popularity among students seeking a Master of Fine
Arts (MFA). Although not all professions require job seekers have a MFA degree,
those who have obtained one have a distinct advantage. This is especially
important for those interested in teaching art at any level.
Before applying to any fine arts school, you should thoroughly research the
institution and its accreditation. Properly accredited schools should have
dual accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
and their regional educational accrediting organization. NASAD has accredited
248 schools of art and design by ensuring they meet and adhere to NASAD's high
educational and professional standards.
Students who are interested in applying to the top specialized private art
schools can refer to the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).
There are 36 leading private art schools in the U.S. who are members of AICAD.
These select art schools offer students added incentives such as exchange
programs, extra-curricular activities and small class settings, thereby ensuring
a lower student to faculty ratio.
Graduates' Earning Potential and Employment
earning potential for graduates of art schools is extremely diverse. For
example, the median salary of art directors was approximately $64,000 in 2004.
In comparison, the median earnings of salaried craft artists were $23,520 that
same year. The median annual earnings of fine artists such as painters and
sculptors were an estimated $38,000.
prospects in most visual art fields, especially those in digital media, are
expected to grow significantly in the next decade. The increasing use of visual
information and communications also spells better employment prospects for
talented artists in these fields. Craft and fine artists are usually freelancers
and make a living just by selling their artwork. This uncertain flow of income
can make it difficult for freelance artists to earn a steady living. However,
those with outstanding talent can certainly receive major commissions for their
work and stand to earn quite well.