Art & Design

Art and design professionals have an important role in many industries. A visual eye is required for the design and creation of just about every consumable product, including the clothes we wear and the images we see in print and other forms of online media.

Art and design encompasses an expansive field of careers that include animation, audio, fashion, film/video/photography, fine and studio arts, graphic design/multimedia, interior design, photography, video game design, visual communication and web development and design.

Working in any of the careers associated with art and design requires creativity, rather than the memorization of rote facts that can be applied to the job. However, creativity is only the first step toward a successful career in art and design.

Required Education

While some people who work in art and design fields managed to work their way up the ladder to success without any formal education, these days, making it in the industry is almost unheard of without advanced training and a college degree.
There are several levels of degrees available in the art and design industry.

Some professions within the art and design field lend themselves to an associate degree, which can take just 18 to 24 months to complete. Among the programs ideal for an associate degree are fashion and design, graphic arts and interior design. There are several programs – both traditional and online – which offer associate degrees in an art-related field.

While an associate’s degree qualifies candidates for most entry-level positions in the industry, some students opt to continue their education toward earning an undergraduate degree. Bachelors degrees in an art and design program can be completed online or in a traditional classroom setting and generally take four years to complete. Emphasis should be placed on courses which hone students’ skills in creativity, critical thinking and project development, engaging the community in projects and mastering technique.

Graduate degrees in art and design are available, but generally only needed by those who wish to teach the arts at a college level. They take an additional one to two years beyond a bachelor’s degree to complete.

Regardless of the level of degree being sought, students should seek out programs that have received accreditation from a recognized agency. Among the accrediting agencies which commonly examine art and design programs is the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education, the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Technical and Career Institutions.

Future Outlook

According to figures provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most fields within the art and design industry can expect to see a 9 percent growth in demand until 2020. The demand for trained professionals in the industry is on par with other careers studied during the same time frame.

Among all concentrations within the arts professions, art directors were expected to command the highest salaries, at more than $80,000 annually. Fashion designers, graphic artists and industrial designers also ranked high on the pay scale, with annual averages of $64,530, $43,500 and $58,230 respectively.

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