Online Art & Design Degrees
Earning an online degree in art and design can help prepare students for a career in creative industries such as fashion design, graphic design, and visual style design. Individuals studying at online schools for art and design typically learn how to harness their flair for creativity and turn their ideas into marketable and profitable products. In addition, degree programs often familiarize students with the software programs commonly used by design professionals.
Online Degrees in Art and Design
Earning on online degree in art and design can be beneficial for students who need a flexible schedule or the ability to study in between other responsibilities. Curriculum may focus on inspiring students to create unique and innovative designs, some of which might be turned into commercial products. Online schools for art and design often employ multiple learning styles in order to cover the many aspects of the broad range of specialties available.
Online design schools may incorporate hands-on learning in addition to virtual course work. Online, on-campus, and hybrid programs may be available, and individuals can choose the school and program that best fits their needs. While curriculums may vary, students studying at an online art school will typically be exposed to a variety of art-related courses that may include computer art and design, graphic design, textile design, photography, or even medical illustration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design is charged with accrediting schools offering postsecondary education in this field (bls.gov, ooh, 2012).
Art and Design Degree Specialization
Most online schools for design offer several degree types for students to choose from. Typical degree specializations include graphic design, animation, web design, video game design, and illustration. Examples of available degrees include:
- Associate Degree in Art and Design - Students hoping to enter the workforce quickly may want to consider earning an online associate degree in art and design. Programs generally cover design basics such as utilization of industry-specific software, portfolio preparation, and design fundamentals. Since many design jobs require a bachelor's degree, students graduating with an associate degree in art and design may be able to find employment as an assistant designer or in another entry-level position, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An associate degree can be completed in as little as two years of full-time study.
- Bachelor's Degree in Art and Design - Students working toward a bachelor's degree may be able to earn their degree in as little as four years of full-time study. Typically referred to a Bachelor of Arts, this degree can help students look for employment in a wide variety of art and design occupations. Curriculum typically focuses on providing a broad base of technical and conceptual skills that can be applied to any job within the industry.
- Master's Degree in Art and Design - Students who choose to earn a graduate degree in art and design will likely work toward a Master of Fine Arts or Master of Science degree. Earning a master's degree in art and design can help propel individuals to the highest positions within the industry. Curriculum typically goes in-depth and focuses on complex concepts and learning methodologies. Although individuals may focus on a specialty, typical courses at this level include studies of visual media, design teaching methods, critical analysis, and verbal and visual language systems. A master's degree can be completed in as little as two years after completion of a bachelor's degree, and is considered the terminal degree for this field in many instances.
- Doctoral Degree in Art and Design - Although a master's degree is typically considered the terminal degree for art and design, some students do choose to pursue a doctoral degree in the field. The doctoral degrees typically offered are the Ph.D. of Design Science or the Doctor of Philosophy in Art and Design. Curriculum typically focuses on the principles and methods that shape the art and design world and its components. Although courses may vary depending on the school chosen, a doctoral degree can typically be completed in two years of full-time study after completion of a master's degree.
Related Careers in Art and Design
The field of art and design comprises a wide range of separate industries within the creative community. Some of the careers available include:
- Graphic Designers - A bachelor's degree in graphic design can help prepare students for employment in this industry. Graphic designers create visual concepts to promote ideas. They may develop logos for businesses or design memorable artwork for advertisements, according to the BLS. Graphic designers typically work in a design studio and collaborate with clients in order to create compositions or campaigns that meet their needs.
- Art Directors - These professionals are in charge of overseeing the creative elements of a diverse array of projects including magazines, newspapers, and product packaging. Art directors generally start in entry-level positions and gain this position through promotion.
- Fashion Designers - Although a degree isn't always a requirement for a career in fashion design, postsecondary education may be preferred by some employers. In addition to on-the-job experience and creativity, fashion designers need to have communication skills, attention to detail, and artistic ability in order to create the clothing and accessories that consumers demand, according to the BLS. Fashion designers may also need experience in computer-aided design technology since it has become so prevalent in the industry.
Art and Design Industry Trends
Although this industry isn't experiencing exceptional growth, the demand for art and design professionals has remained steady. The BLS (bls.gov, 2012) predicts that the following careers will continue to grow over the next decade:
- Graphic Designers - 13 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
- Craft and Fine Artists - 5 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
- Industrial Designers - 10 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
- Art Directors - 9 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Graphic Designers, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/art-and-design/graphic-designers.htm#tab-1
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Art Directors, August 31, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/art-and-design/art-directors.htm
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Fashion Designers, July 23, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/art-and-design/fashion-designers.htm#tab-1
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Craft and Fine Artists, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/art-and-design/craft-and-fine-artists.htm#tab-6
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Industrial Designers, April 5, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/art-and-design/industrial-designers.htm#tab-6