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By submitting this request for more information, you are giving your express written consent for Lindenwood University and its partners to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text - including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to the wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase good or services and you may always email us directly, including to opt out, at [email protected].

Home Blog The Versatile Career Options of an Online Art and Design Degree

The Versatile Career Options of an Online Art and Design Degree

April 21, 2023

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

7 mins read

Whether you have a passion for painting, graphic design, photography, or fashion, the skills you acquire through an art and design degree can be applied to numerous industries. Businesses and organizations are looking for innovative and creative individuals who can bring a fresh perspective to their work. With a degree in art and design, you can pursue a variety of career paths, from working as a freelance graphic designer to becoming a creative director for a major corporation. In this article, we will explore some of the exciting career options available for individuals with a degree in art and design. 

What is Art and Design?

 Art and design are broad fields that encompass a variety of creative disciplines. Art refers to the expression of human creativity through the creation of visual or performing works, such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, and performances. On the other hand, design is planning and creating objects, systems, or environments that meet specific functional or aesthetic needs.

Design can include graphic design, product design, interior design, and fashion design. Both art and design require creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to produce works that are visually appealing and effective in fulfilling their intended purpose. Art and design can communicate ideas, evoke emotions, solve problems, and inspire change in society. 

Can Your Learn Art and Design Online?

With the advancements in technology and the increasing popularity of online education, many reputable institutions now offer online courses and degree programs in art and design. These online programs provide students with access to a variety of resources, including video tutorials, virtual classrooms, online forums, and critique sessions with instructors and peers. 

Online art and design degree programs tend to focus on digital art, graphic design, web design, and photography because these types of art can be sent and evaluated in an online environment. That said, some online art programs also cover fine art, allowing students to upload images or videos of their projects. 

Skills You Gain from an Online Art and Design Degree Program

An art and design program can provide you with a diverse set of skills that can be applied to a range of careers in the creative industry. Some of the key skills you can gain through an art and design program include: 

  • Knowledge of color and design theories
  • How to integrate design into art 
  • Art and design history 
  • Basics of computer-based design 
  • Use of graphic design and photo editing software 
  • Knowledge of visual arts theories and concepts 

Different Types of Art and Design Careers

There are multiple career paths to consider if you’re interested in studying art and design. Sometimes, artists take a traditional role and sell their art or their artistic abilities. Others take what they learn in school and pass it on through work in education. This is a varied degree with multiple career paths to consider. Some common paths include: 

Creative Careers in Graphic Design, Photography, and Illustration

Many art and design graduates choose creative careers, such as graphic design, illustration, web design, or digital photography. With the internet and social media driving much of the modern world, especially in marketing, the ability to create visually appealing digital art is vital, putting these professionals in high demand. Many creative digital artists combine multiple skills into one career, giving them the flexibility to work as independent contractors if desired. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 23% increase in demand for web developers and digital designers between 2021 and 2031, and these professionals earned a median pay range of over $78,000 in 2021. Graphic designers saw a median pay of $50,710. While photographers had a much lower median pay rate, they are expected to see steady job growth of 9% from 2021 to 2031.  

An online bachelor’s degree in art and design can also open the door to traditional fine art jobs. Artists can work as painters or sculptors, displaying and selling their work in their own galleries or through art shows and online venues, or they could work in education to teach these skills.  

Estimating the average pay for fine artists is challenging, as the range varies depending on how much demand is for the artist’s work. In 2021, the BLS estimated a median pay of close to $50,000, but the highest 10 percent of wage earners in this field can earn over $125,000 annually.  

Education-Based Positions, Such as Art Teacher or Museum Curator

Schools and museums need artistically trained and knowledgeable individuals to teach others about art. These education-based positions benefit from the design and art history expertise developed in an art and design degree program. While many education-based positions are found in schools, you will also find there is a demand for art and design educators in museums and even libraries.  

Museum workers and curators are in high demand, and the BLS estimates a growth of 12% by 2031. Curators earn over $60,100 a year, and those involved in educational services are some of the highest-paid among museum professionals. Similarly, schools need trained art professionals to teach the next generation of artists. Art teachers who work at the high school level have the potential to earn around $61,820 a year.  

Technical Roles, Such as a 3D Modeler or Visual Effects Artist

Finally, art and design careers include a number of technical roles. The technological aspect of this degree program can open the door to careers such as visual effects artists, 3D modelers, and animation roles. Many game design professionals also have a background in art and design. 

According to the BLS, special effects artists and animators earn a median salary of $78,790. The growth in movies and films made entirely from digital art has increased the demand for these professionals in media fields. Web developers and digital designers, which include game design professionals, can earn around $78,300 a year

Art and Design Career Progression

What does career progression look like for people in art and design careers? First, most of the career paths mentioned above require a bachelor’s degree. A few, like graphic design and photography, may only need an associate degree for entry-level work. While none of the careers we covered strictly require a master’s degree, master’s-level training can help you stand out from other candidates. Sometimes, students who start with an online bachelor’s degree in art will go on to get a graduate degree to work as an art director, gallery director, or museum curator. 

Many will start their art careers in a traditional workforce, gaining more skills and further building their portfolios. It is common for artists to eventually branch out on their own. Many of these art professionals enjoy the flexibility that self-employment has to offer. 

Create a Visual Portfolio to Showcase Your Skills

A key component of any art degree is a portfolio of the student’s artistic work they can take to job interviews to showcase their abilities. An online student will create a portfolio in much the same way that a traditional student will, but it may be comprised of digital art more than traditional fine art. 

A visual portfolio should showcase multiple skill sets and media when possible. The more variety in an artist's portfolio, the more appealing they will be to a potential employer. While completing an art and design degree online, students will create art for their coursework which can then be added to their visual portfolio. Sometimes a portfolio showcase is a capstone project to complete these degrees, so students should keep copies of all the art they create while attending online art school. 

Apply for an Art and Design Degree Online

The digital world has made art degree careers even more in demand now than they were in past generations. Whether you are interested in digital photography, game design, fine art, or web design, an art and design degree is the starting point. 

At Lindenwood University, you can earn an art degree entirely online, and still benefit from the military benefits and financial aid of a four-year university. Our online bachelor’s in art and design is a 120-credit program that takes two to four years to complete. With four career-focused concentrations, this art degree allows you to customize your education. You can also transfer up to 90 credits from any prior college work you have completed. If you want to learn more, reach out to our admissions team to start your application or get your questions answered. 

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