Online Bachelor's in Art Degrees
Online bachelor's in art degrees are available in several subfields. Curricula vary based on the program, but students can major in commercial art, architecture, computer animation, fashion, graphic design, visual communication, and web design, to name a few. In general, online learners should spend some time determining which medium, style, and subject matter they find most appealing so they can begin mastering specific techniques and developing their creative processes. This way, art students may graduate with a set of professional and technical skills, an understanding of the creative industry, and a polished portfolio in their chosen arena.
Enrollment in an online bachelor's in art program requires applicants to have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Competitive programs may further require that students submit a portfolio of artwork. While an art bachelor's typically takes four years to complete, accelerated programs are designed to be finished in as little as two-and-a-half years.
Common Courses in an Online Art Program
Students enrolled in an online bachelor's of art program often have some flexibility when developing the coursework to fit their educational goals. For instance, they can choose to take online classes in visual marketing, consumer psychology, and design technology. Many modules also involve gaining hands-on experience with specific tools or software, thus helping students develop applied skills in their chosen area of expertise. While classes vary by program, the following is a list of common online courses students can expect to take with a bachelor's in art.
Students taking this class gain an understanding of historical art forms with the objective of contextualizing their personal work in a particular style or movement. In addition to learning about how techniques have evolved, they also cover how cultural movements influenced artistic expression.
Many art programs include math courses to help students develop transferable skills. This class typically includes foundational concepts in algebra and calculus, with some versions focusing on how to apply quantitative reasoning to subjects, including architecture, sculpting, and painting.
In this fundamental course, students learn about the basics of color harmony. Specifically, they explore why and how different color combinations complement each other from a psychological and visual arts perspective. Students also learn about the differences associated with applying color theory in two- and three-dimensional mediums.
Composition and Visual Design
Usually aimed at students majoring in certain niches, including digital photography, film, or multimedia, this course introduces the basics of visual storytelling. Students delve into foundational concepts — such as exposure, depth of field, and movement — and learn how these factors affect image quality. They also typically gain hands-on experience with an array of camera equipment.
In this course, students learn how to effectively visualize and present their ideas to an audience. Topics covered include digital media, graphic arts, and streamlining the creative process. Students taking this class have the opportunity to gain valuable problem-solving and communication skills in marketing and interior design.
What Can You Do With an Art Degree?
Graduates with an art degree may find employment in a range of settings, including galleries, museums, studios, schools, and non-profits. As an alternative to traditional employment, many artists choose to work as independent contractors or freelancers, providing specific services or selling artwork to clients. As with other professions, job opportunities in this field largely depend on the wider economy — especially the demand for artistic services and products. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in art sales in 2020, but employment in galleries began to rebound in 2021.
Graduates with an art degree may find employment in a range of settings, including galleries, museums, studios, schools, and non-profits. As an alternative to traditional employment, many artists choose to work as independent contractors or freelancers.
Artists with a bachelor’s degree typically qualify for a range of employment opportunities. Additionally, an online art degree offers the chance to develop skills in a particular area, signaling to employers that a graduate has formalized knowledge and training. Below is a list of potential career paths for art graduates along with median annual salary and job outlook information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Median Annual Salary: $52,140
Job Growth Rate: 19%
Archivists, curators, and museum workers manage private and public artwork collections. This may involve identifying and appraising new pieces, maintaining existing catalogs, and planning exhibitions. Some professionals in this vein may also work as independent consultants to help private collectors acquire specific kinds of artwork.
Median Annual Salary: $97,270
Job Growth Rate: 11%
Art directors are managers that oversee the work of an artistic team. Their job involves conceptualizing artistic objectives, approving designs, and overseeing the completion of projects. Art directors can work for publications, movie studios, or even public relations firms.
Median Annual Salary: $49,120
Job Growth Rate: 14%
Fine artists create pieces that typically convey emotions or meanings through various mediums. They may also fashion everyday items into artwork, like furniture or cutlery that perform specific functions. Many fine artists display their work in museums or galleries.
Median Annual Salary: $53,380
Job Growth Rate: 3%
Graphic designers are responsible for visualizing and communicating complex ideas to different audiences. They tend to work with specific design software in order to present important information to clients. Graphic designers often use their skills to construct websites, develop product packaging, or create logos.
Median Annual Salary: $41,280
Job Growth Rate: 17%
Photographers are usually freelancers and may specialize in specific genres, such as photojournalism, portraiture, wedding photography, or cinematography. Photographers may also work in postproduction, editing pictures and videos to meet client needs.
Median Annual Salary: $77,770
Job Growth Rate: 16%
Special effects artists and animators use software to create images, videos, and other visual media designs. They may work on movies, video games, television commercials, and diverse media art forms, often completing a specific part of a larger project.
Accredited Online Art Programs
Prospective students seeking an online art degree should consider enrolling in an art school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, an organization that sets nationwide standards for higher education in the arts. Alternatively, they should ensure that their school has been evaluated by an accrediting agency recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Accreditation is a process in which third parties evaluate colleges and universities to determine whether they offer students a quality education. Attending an accredited institution has several benefits, and it's especially important for online students because it signals a program's credibility to potential employers and qualifies students for federal financial aid.