The Internet has become the great equalizer when it comes to getting an art degree. With the advances in educational technology, it’s possible to get a world-class education in art without ever leaving your home town. This is an important consideration for the adult who cannot pick up and move because of family and work considerations. Distance education brings the classroom to the student and allows the student to study in the evenings and on the weekends. For the person needing to work around life obligations this can be a God send.
What Distance Education is Not
Many people associate online degrees with “going at your own pace.” But while there are still many distance education programs out there, including a few art programs, the difference today is that the person getting an online degree is expected to turn in assignments according to due dates on the syllabus and is expected to finish all the requirements for an individual course within the semester or quarter, depending upon how the degree is structured. As well, these classes are taught by instructors who advanced degrees in art like the MFA or the Ph.D., just like an art student would get attending class in person at the local university.
Additionally, many of these online art degrees are offered by schools that already have an art program and have implemented an online option for getting the degree. Schools like the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD), the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the Academy of Art, and Full Sail offer online degrees, although many more online art programs exist than just these few.
While art students getting their degrees online will utilize many traditional instructional tools like textbooks, the professors teaching art online may also use a number of digital tools to augment instruction. They may create instructional videos or slide shows that the students can access through interfaces like Blackboard or Moodle. They may also hold conferences with the class or a group of students via Adobe Connect, Google Hangout, or Skype. As well, they may use online file sharing tools like Dropbox or an FTP server for students to upload their artwork.
What Types of Jobs Can an Art Degree Online Get You?
The short answer to this quest is the people pursuing a distance education art degree get the same jobs as the people attending an art college in person. The degree is no different. For example, a person studying for a BFA or MFA in advertising would work in an advertising agency or graphic design studio. The student pursuing fine arts like painting or drawing can open a studio and work as an independent artist. The animation student will work in a film animation or video game company.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the aspiring designer/artist usually needs at least a Bachelor’s degree to break into this art field, (and the same holds true for many other fields of art, commercial art especially). Additionally, because of the onslaught of businesses wanting web sites and mobile apps developed, the demand for certain degrees in art are on the rise. In general, the demand for designers and artists will increase by 13 percent over the next several years due to these additional technical requirements. The artist with the degree stands the best chance of getting the job that he or she desires.
For the person who loves art, but who can’t afford to pick up roots or afford to leave a full-time job, the online art degree provides an excellent option. Distance education gives students access to one-on-one attention from the instructor and allows them to pursue their degree on nights and weekend when their schedules permit. Best of all, a distance degree awards them the same degree they would get from attending class in person, giving them a leg up in the job market when they’re done with their degree.