Art Restoration Programs & Courses

While some undergraduate programs offer courses in art restoration, and there are additional workshops and seminars available, a master's degree is usually required to obtain conservation work at museums and historical sites. Schools offering Museum Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Programs Are Available?

Undergraduate students interested in art conservation should obtain credits in art history, chemistry and studio art. Some Bachelor of Fine Arts programs will offer opportunities to study art restoration, including internships and introductory courses.

A master's degree program in art conservation can take two to four years. The first year of coursework often provides students with a general overview, after which they choose a specialization. Areas of focus can include paintings, photographs, documents, architecture, furniture or textiles.

As there are only a minimal number of undergraduate programs that prepare students to study art restoration at the graduate level, many candidates find jobs or internships in conservation prior to applying to a graduate program. Another way of exploring one's interest is to enroll in workshops or courses at a conservation facility.

Non-Degree OpportunitiesWorkshops, seminars, community college classes
Undergraduate CourseworkArt history, chemistry, studio art, conservation
Length of Master's Degree ProgramTwo to four years
Additional RequirementsInternships, fellowships, continued education
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)$43,020 (for museum technicians and conservators)*
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)12% (for museum technicians and conservators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Resources Can Support Personal Development?

Workshops and courses in conservation techniques are offered by a variety of institutions, including community colleges, decorative art academies, preservation institutes and conservation centers.

These workshops can provide individual enrichment or an opportunity to explore one's interest in art restoration prior to applying to a graduate program. Because the field is constantly evolving to incorporate new developments and scientific advances, it's also important for professionals to continue their education through workshops, professional meetings and short-term courses.

The American Institute for Conservation is an organization that supports professionals as they advance in their fields, while its Emerging Conservation Professionals Network provides resources to students prior to and during their graduate studies, as well as assisting them to develop their careers.

What Does a Master's Degree Involve?

When deciding between different master's programs, it's important for students to consider their desired specialization and whether the instructors available have experience in that field. It's also wise for candidates to take into account the geographical location in which they desire to work and which museums or other organizations may be affiliated with the program of their choice.

A master's degree in art conservation often includes coursework, summer internships, written and oral examinations and a research paper. Coursework varies depending on the chosen specialty and can include subjects such as:

• Technology & Conservation of Works of Art on Paper

• Polymers in Art & Conservation

• Principles of Conservation

• Modern Building Technology

• Preventative Conservation

• Science Fundamentals in the Conservation Materials

• Modern American Architecture

• Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials

What Is Required to Get a Job?

In addition to a master's degree, graduates typically need to find fellowships, internships or other minimally paid contract positions before they can obtain secure, full-time employment.

Art restoration professionals can work at museums, governmental organizations and historical sites. Museum technicians and conservators--who restore, maintain or prepare objects such as fossils, art or textiles--earned a median salary of $43,020 per year as of 2018, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in their field are expected to grow 12% from 2016-2026, the agency reported.

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:

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