What Education Do I Need to Become an Artist?

While there are no formal education requirements for artists, entering an undergraduate degree program might be one way to develop your skills. If you're a seasoned artist with a bachelor's degree, you might consider a graduate program to gain skills for an arts-related career. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The art world is comprised of several media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, crafts, and multimedia. Typically, artists are self-employed; however, you may find employment as an art director or in-house artists, such as an animator, illustrator, or graphic designer. Fine artists might have a personal studio where they produce their art and then display it in galleries or museums.

Important Facts About Becoming An Artist

Specializations Ceramics, drawing, painting, metalworking, printmaking
Online Availability BFA and MFA programs are available
Internships Some BFA and MFA programs require internship completion
Programs For jobs in graphic design, companies like Adobe offer training and certification in Acrobat and After Effects

Educational Requirements

While there might not be a standard educational requirement for artists in general, most artists regardless of the medium complete formal training through a community college or university. Formal training is available from associate's to doctoral levels. You may also complete certificate programs to enhance your skill set.

Typically, programs are designed based on your area of interest, including fine arts, graphic design, multimedia, or animation. Most art or fine arts programs offer a concentration that will cover your specific field of study, such as:

  • Crafts
  • Design
  • Multimedia
  • Visual arts
  • Photography
  • Motion graphics


Regardless of your concentration, many art programs require the completion of foundational classes in drawing, color theory, and design. You might encounter theory and critical analysis, as well as art history classes. You may also delve into digital design software. Additionally, you will get the opportunity to develop a portfolio from your created works. You will also be expected to participate in instructor and student critique.

Advanced Education

You may pursue advanced education to improve skills or move into another arts-related career. These advanced art degree programs can include visual and critical studies, design, and art education. Admission into a graduate degree program requires submitting a portfolio of original work.

Career Outlook & Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported a 6% increase in employment opportunities for craft and fine artists from 2016-2026. Multimedia artists and animators could see growth of about 8% during the decade while graphic designers will experience employment growth of 4%, which is slower than the average.

Craft and fine artists earned a median income of $48,960 in 2018, while multimedia artists and animators earned 72,520. Graphic designers also reported an annual median wage of $50,370, per the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Towson University

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • Vanderbilt University

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Nashville