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Should I go to an art college?


I was wondering if you think it would be beneficial for me to go to an art college? As of right now, I am traditional artist, taking classes at community college, who has an interest in learning more about digital art because of the many opportunities available for people who can create art on a computerized format as opposed to the traditional pencil to paper approach. My only concern is that art colleges are expensive and I also wonder if they are really necessary for improving skills and knowledge because in this day and age the internet provides artists with nearly infinite amount of information about art related subjects. If you do, however, believe that attending art college would help my situation then what kind of art colleges would you recommend for someone who is interested in digital art and what kind of career fields would be open for that kind of an artist?

I look forward to hearing your responses and thank you. #higher-education #artist #art-college #career-planning #digital-art #art-education #art-and-illustration #digital-artist

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Subject: Career question for you


5 answers

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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Timothy,
Great questions! I've advised college students for 7+ years on careers in the digital arts. You asked about going to an Art college-- my advice would be to take a closer look at other things first because you said you were interested in Digital art. By going to an Art school, you would potentially be learning more traditional art skills, not preparing for a career in a digital art field.

So to answer your question about types of careers, there are several areas you could consider:
-Graphic Design
-Web Design
-Interactive Design
-Visual Effects
-CAD Design
And these are just some of the areas/careers. See below for more resources where you can learn more about these careers, their salaries, job outlooks, etc.

For getting into the above fields you could:

-Enroll & get a certificate program at your community college (like Web Design, Web & Graphic Design, CAD Design, or Landscape Architecture Design)
-Enroll in a Training Program (online or in-person) --there are free CAD programs; other programs for Web Design or Interactive Design can cost $$, but are often short in length, 10-12 weeks
-Look at enrolling in a Bachelors program at a college or university in one of the areas

I understand your concerns about college costs and I agree college can be expensive. If you consider getting a Bachelors, I would just suggest comparing the total cost of the degree to the estimate of the first year's salary after graduating (and not to have the cost of the degree exceed that first year salary estimate).

I know you also had questions because there is a lot of information that can be learned from the internet, but in the eyes of employers, that is not the same as earning an associates, bachelors or certificate from an accredited 2 or 4 year college. When you're applying to jobs and internships, employers will look for those degrees and certificates.

One last thing-- having work experience and/or an internship on your resume is important to employers. If you have work experience not related to your major, do not discount it. The skills you learned at that job are skills employers look for like teamwork, communication and leadership. Getting an internship (paid or unpaid) related to your major is also important. If you are having difficulty finding an internship, try visiting the Career Center at your community college --career centers are usually very helpful!

Hope this helps!

More Resources:

-Career One Stop- Great website for exploring careers, training, & lots of other related career info

-ONET- Another great website for exploring jobs and careers. Has detailed descriptions of different jobs.

-Info about Interactive Careers from the Creative Group

-Info about Graphic Design

-U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - Job Outlook of each career (until 2024), Education & Pay info

-Salary Info
Find out what careers pay at

National Association of School of Art & Design: Search for accredited art & design schools in US

-General Assembly -online training school that trains web design & interactive design

-CourseReport - online website to research online training schools and "Bootcamps"

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June’s Answer

I agree with the answer provided by Mr. Noble. Having a college degree is usually not a bad idea- but that does not mean you have to go to Art School. Perhaps you might want to look st state schools which have art departments and consider branching out. You might look into communications or business with an art minor if you feel the need to have a degree.

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Frida’s Answer

Education today is necessary ,
Everywhere but also there is allot of internships , maybe you can write a proffesional CV and yes with a portfolio And get on linkedin and contact different business's ?
Good luck !!

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John’s Answer

Hi, Timothy: you ask an excellent question! Art school IS expensive and often there is little financial aid available . . . so here's what I often say to aspiring artists of any kind: if you think you can assemble a professional portfolio on your own, perhaps with the help of mentors/advisors, then I think you can skip art school and head out on your own. If you don't have that discipline, or the help of experienced advisors, then art school might be worth the investment. The key to getting work like that you aspire to is having an excellent portfolio. That said, it is also helpful to have contacts who can put you on to good leads. Again, that might be one thing to recommend art school . . . you are afforded an instant network of alumni. So, in sum, there are good reasons to consider both directions. Perhaps a good middle ground is to find shorter term educational opportunities where you can gain access to professionals. It's a lot less expensive and it might give what you need to get started. Best of luck with your worthy goal!!

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Nayeli G.’s Answer

Well, it all depends on the career you want to have. I would say do some research on career options and figure out if employers actually require a Bachelors.
I think most of the time, the most important thing is going to be your portfolio, proving that you can do the job, and the way you present yourself. Also do a lot of networking.

Now, going to an art school is not necessary, you can search for college & universities with good art programs & compare their scholarships & financial aid programs.