Online Art Schools
With the rapid development of digital technology, online art schools now incorporate a broad range of disciplines that not only include traditional drawing and painting skills but also knowledge of web-based applications like:
- Adobe photoshop
- Digital media design
- Sound arts
- Special effects design
- Video game development
- 3D animation
- Digital design research
- Graphics multimedia
- Video and audio production
In addition, online art schools also explore related fields such as floral design, landscape design, fashion design and interior decorating. Earning a degree in some form of art provides individuals with the ability to obtain employment in a wide variety of jobs ranging from complex website design to working as a make-up artist for film and stage productions.
Degrees Provided by Online Art Schools
Students can obtain several degrees by successfully completing an online art school program that offers:
Associate Degree and Associate of (Arts) and Science Degree
Associate degrees are awarded to those successfully completing a two-year program at a community college, technical school or any higher education institution qualified to grant AAs and AASs. These degrees include introductory courses regarding specialized areas of the arts along with classes required to obtain an AA degree, such as English, liberal arts and algebra.
For example, a student pursuing a two-year degree in graphic design will need to enroll in classes consisting of computer design software, composition, color theory, typography and logo design. Alternatively, students desiring an AA degree in fashion design will take classes about fashion history and current fashion trends, fabrics and textiles and pattern design using CAD (computer-aided design) software.
An Associate of Science degree program includes several additional classes that further develop a student’s knowledge of the area in which they are interested. However, earning an AAS degree takes the same amount of time that earning an AA does, since the program simply incorporates more in-depth examination of subjects related to a specialized field.
Online art schools offering Associate of Arts diplomas include:
- Academy of Art University
- International Academy of Design and Technology
- Westwood College–Online Campus
- The Art Institute Online
Obtaining an associate’s degree is necessary before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art.
Bachelor of Arts in a Specialized Field, Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and Bachelor of Science Degrees
Students seeking a bachelor of arts degree in fields related to the arts will attend four years of an online art school, or two more years after earning an associate degree. Bachelor of arts degrees encompass such areas as photography, graphic design and interior decorating. A BA in graphic design may include courses such as CAD, technical drawing, printmaking, imaging and color theory. Curriculum intended for receiving a BA in photography will involve traditional and experimental camera techniques, studio portraiture, control of focus and plane and composition. With an art-oriented education, courses will differ greatly depending on the specialty of the BA desired.
Online art schools offering a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) formulate programs that include mostly visual art classes, with about one-third of the classes comprised of liberal arts studies. Liberal arts classes consist of philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature and the fundamentals of psychology and sociology. Additionally, students earning a BFA will spend a large part of their time designing or creating various projects highlighting the field in which they wish to specialize.
Students can receive a BFA in any one of the following areas:
- Computer animation
- Creative writing
- Visual arts
- Film production
Alhough considered a four-year degree, earning a BFA may take slightly longer than earning a BA in the arts due to the intense focus on developing original projects and engaging in other creative pursuits.
Bachelor of Science degrees will concentrate on a particular area of the arts and involve courses emphasizing that area. For example, students enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Advertising program will take courses investigating marketing research, storyboarding, psychology of consumer behavior, graphic design techniques and brand marketing.
Individuals interested in a Bachelor of Science degree in Game Design and Art will take classes emphasizing the creative aspects of game design rather than courses intended for video game computer programming. Students will develop art skills, enhance their ability to create dynamic characters and backgrounds and learn aspects of 3-D artistry when enrolled in this type of program.
Online art schools offering Bachelor of Science degrees in various art-related fields are:
- Full Sail Online University
- Art Institute Online
- International Academy of Design and Technology
- Stevens-Henager College Online
Master of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a graduate degree that takes around three years of postgraduate work once a BFA is earned. MFAs are generally given to those studying filmmaking, performing arts, dance or creative writing. A Master of Arts degree differs from an MFA in that those with an MA have focused on more academic or scholarly areas of study. While someone with an MA may pursue a doctorate or PhD degree, those earning an MFA have received the highest degree in their field of study and therefore cannot obtain a more advanced degree.
National Accrediting Organizations for Online Art Schools
Online art schools that are accredited means that the school has been subjected to a rigorous review by an organization comprised of higher education professionals who investigate all facets of a school’s administration, faculty and curriculum. To maintain accreditation, online art schools are periodically investigated to assure the public that the school is continuing to demonstrate ongoing development that goes beyond existing standards.
Accreditation also allows schools to have access to state and federally funded financial aid programs. For an online art school to offer financial aid to its students, the school is required to be accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, graduates of accredited online art schools qualify to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees at other accredited schools.
When searching for an art school to attend online, students should check to see if the school in which they are interested has been accredited by any of the following agencies:
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
- Council for Interior Design Accreditation
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
- North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern/Western Association of Colleges and Schools
Cost of Attending an Online Art School
Because online art degrees usually require more materials and supplies, the cost for completing an art degree is slightly higher than that of other degrees. Total price for a four-year degree averages between $35,000 and $50,000, depending on the field being studied. In addition, all online art schools require fees for submitting an application (usually around $100) and some may ask for a nonrefundable deposit before registering for classes. Of course, accredited schools are eligible to offer students who qualify for financial aid assistance with Pell grants and Stafford loans.
Enrolling in an online art school requires that you fill out application forms, submit any previous transcripts and/or credit if pursuing a bachelor or master’s degree and proper photo identification. Students will not be allowed to register until all forms, including financial aid or semester payment plans, have been verified by the school’s administration representatives.
Salary Information and Employment Opportunities
Individuals obtaining online art degrees can earn anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 annually when working as digital designers and/or website design and art instructors. Alternatively, breaking into the film or animation industry is extremely difficult and highly competitive, as is professional photography, which tends to provide only part-time income.
Many graphic designers, illustrators, and interior designers work as freelancers, obtaining steady employment by networking and advertising their work on social media websites. Because of the flexibility afforded by earning an art degree, graduates of online art schools should not encounter a lack of job opportunities requiring the skills learned from these programs.