A career in art can be very exciting, but it can also be very competitive. Whether you are planning on going into business for yourself or working for a company, a degree will almost always be a necessity. So, if you are getting ready to graduate high school and considering a career in art, you have likely been investigating schools. There are a lot of schools out there to research, and many of them are really good schools. Choosing the school that will work best for you, and choosing an art program that fits your needs can feel a little overwhelming. Here are some tips that may help you make that choice.

Certificate program vs a degree:

One of the first choices you may be faced with is whether to take a certification program or to get an associate or bachelor degree in art. The upside to a certificate program is that you typically can complete the program in months instead of years, and can get to work in your discipline quicker. The downside is that, job candidates with a degree rather than a certification, tend to be preferred, are often in higher demand and will likely end up with more senior (and higher paying) positions.

There are other reasons to choose a degree program over a certification. When you get an associate or bachelor degree, you’ll be taking classes that are related to other subjects as well as art. This gives you a more well-rounded education and can help you in your future career in more ways than you think. A career in art is hardly ever just about art. In order for art to become your career, you need to learn about the business world and how to market yourself. You need to be able to communicate well. A bachelor’s degree – the degree that many prospective employers will prefer – will simply give you more tools and make you more prepared and more qualified for positions in your career.

Things to consider when choosing a school:

  • Reputation – is the school well-known? What percentage of graduates end up employed in their chosen field?
  • Accreditation – Is the school accredited? Accreditation is important because it means that the schools education programs meet certain standards; standards that other schools and employers may require.
  • Location – Particularly if you will be living away from home and on campus, location is an important factor.
  • Facilities and teachers- Many art professions require state-of-the-art equipment and a familiarity with certain equipment or software. Make sure that your prospective school has high quality equipment, computers, and software. If you visit the school, try to sit in on a few classes to get an idea of what the professors are like and what the teaching style is for the school.
  • Culture – This is a more subjective measure, often discovered during the college visit. You want to get an idea of the “feel” of the school, whether you think you will thrive in the culture.

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