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Degrees for Art Directors

An undergraduate art degree program can address the studio arts and visual or graphic arts skills you'll need for a career as an art director, while a master's program could add expertise and management skills. Read on for more information on degree options for art directors.

What Degrees Are Available?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most art directors have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). However, associate's degree programs are available and can be a stepping stone to your art career. You could choose to major in any number of areas, such as graphic or visual design, art, advertising or studio arts. Training in drawing or design can prepare you with the necessary artistic skills, and with experience, you could earn a position as an art director.

In addition, an art management degree program could help you build your leadership skills. Topics of study might include art marketing, theater and arts administration. Art-related master's degree programs are also offered. These programs can allow you to focus more intently in the arts or graphic design.

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees
Online Availability Distance learning programs are available for majors related to art direction
Job DutiesBranding, artwork selection, overseeing overall production and design
Median Salary (2018) $92,780* (for all art directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Opportunities Are There to Earn a Degree Online?

On the bachelor's level, a distance learning program in advertising, marketing or graphic design can prepare you for a career as an art director. Additionally, some colleges offer individual courses in visual communication online. There are also fine arts certificate programs if you want to enhance your knowledge after obtaining a degree.

What Does Working As an Art Director Involve?

As an art director working in media, such as newspapers, magazines and advertising, one of your primary responsibilities would be helping create the brand or look for an issue, product or campaign. You might oversee areas like photography, production, graphic design and copywriting. You'll work with writers, photographers and designers to determine how to best use artwork.

What is the Career Outlook?

As an art director, you can find employment in several areas, including advertising, public relations, journalism, book publishing and specialized design services. The BLS reported that art directors were projected to see a five percent increase in employment from 2016-2026, but competition should continue to be stiff. The growth was estimated to be due to the need for art directors' expertise in advertising. As of May 2018, the median salary for art directors was $92,780, per the BLS.