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Turn a Passion and Talent for Art into a Fulfilling Career

By Ryan Hickey updated on Monday, September 30, 2013

In the competitive field of the arts, pursuing education beyond high school can open many doors. Not only might you be able to refine your technique and find your own artistic voice, you will likely find yourself among other creative students to inspire you, instructors who can guide you, and the opportunity to present your work to the larger community. This can mean the difference between having a hobby in the arts and having a viable career that allows you to express yourself artistically while also earning a living for yourself and your family.

If you are considering a career in the arts, you might want to stretch your imagination and think beyond the basics of ‘painter’, ‘musician’ or ‘sculptor’. These are great professions. However, they are not the only ways to apply your creativity. For those with a knack for drawing, there are numerous industries in which to use your skills. Far from being a thing of Victorian textbooks, medical and science illustrations are needed to help students visualize complex science and medical concepts as well as explain intricate phenomenon to lay people. Video game developers use illustrators to help them design game platforms, characters, costumes, and weaponry. Musicians can find work as music directors or write pieces that are used not only for movies and television but also local productions and even online videos. In addition, there has been an explosion in the demand for crafts. From furniture to clothing, an artist might find a name for themselves by combining their creative and practical sides.

While there are successful artists who did not go to college, a quick look will show that these are in the minority. Most artists seek some form of formal training past high school. However, as a larger number of big universities seek to distinguish themselves as research institutions, arts programs and art students may not receive the attention they need. Therefore, you might consider a college that has an arts focus. For example, the majority of degrees available at Pratt Institute, located in Brooklyn, are either from their School of Architecture or their School of features Art and Design. Pratt also offers many cross-disciplinary degrees in the arts, such as Art Therapy, and actually offers a higher number of graduate degrees than undergraduate programs. 

However, it is not necessary to live in an artist’s haven like Brooklyn to find high-quality arts education. The Art Institutes (or “Ai”) has over 50 locations across the United States and Canada. Ai offers students a broad range of educational options, from certificate programs through master’s degrees. They also have flexible schedules to accommodate people who cannot attend daytime classes. With their broad network, students have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and present their work in multiple venues. Pulitzer Prize winning photographers and well-known fashion designers and chefs can be found among Ai’s graduates.

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About the Author

Ryan Hickey is the Managing Editor of Peterson's and an expert in college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in admissions for nearly a decade writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants. He enjoys sharing his knowledge to aid others in achieving their educational goals and, when he gets a break, loves hiking and fly fishing with his wife and two border-collie mixes.

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