What can you do with an Art degree?

October 20, 2022
By AdmissionSight

What can you do with an Arts degree?

A degree in art could be the perfect way for someone who is creative and imaginative to express themselves.  Even though art is not a vocational subject – that is, a subject that leads to a particular line of work – this does not mean that studying it will not be beneficial in preparing one for the working world.

Regardless of whether you decide to specialize in fine art or the history of art, the skills you acquire during your degree program are likely to be highly valued and transferable to many sectors, including specialized art careers as well as many other graduate roles. 

What is an Arts degree?

First things first, let’s take a look first at what exactly it entails to have a degree in art. 

An art degree can prepare one for work in a variety of different fields. Many degrees in the applied arts can lead to employment in contemporary forms of art and media, in addition to the more traditional degrees that can be earned in the visual and fine arts. 

Online and traditional on-campus schools both offer classes in a variety of subjects, including graphic design, animation, music, and more.

Young woman creating art in a table.

Becoming an art major and obtaining at least some level of formal education is frequently the most effective place to begin when one possesses a specific talent or passion that one would like to develop into a career. 

Developing a successful career can be more or less difficult, depending on the medium in which you work. However, if you have a passion for art and want to make a career out of it, earning a degree in art might be worth it for you.

What are the different kinds of art degrees?

In general, art degrees can be classified as either fine arts or media arts. These two categories are the most common ones. Students who pursue a degree in fine arts have the opportunity to receive training in creative fields such as music, theater, film, sculpture, painting, and other forms of visual and performing arts.  

Students sitting on the steps of a school building.

Many times, degrees that concentrate on the more business-oriented facets of art are referred to as media arts. Under this overarching category, you’ll find specializations such as graphic design, interior design, and animation, amongst others.

At any level of education, from the certificate level all the way up to the doctoral level, one can earn a degree in art. There are numerous educational institutions, including colleges and universities, that now provide some of their art programs online. 

For you to have a better view of what can you do with an art degree, take a look first at what are the different kinds of art degrees that you can take:

Certificate and Diploma Programs in Art

As the term “art” encompasses such a broad range of subfields, educational institutions typically provide students with access to a diverse array of undergraduate certificates in art-related fields. 

Unidentified person using a gadget for art.

Students who are interested can earn certificates in a variety of subjects, including art history, studio art, digital art, graphic design, and more. These types of certificates demonstrate that a student has gone above and beyond the requirements of a standard undergraduate degree by taking additional classes and obtaining specialized knowledge. 

Depending on the primary focus of the certificate, possible courses include the following:

  • Basics of Visual Studies
  • Concepts in Visual Arts
  • Fundamentals of Drawing
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics

Associate Degrees in Art

Students who are interested in pursuing careers in the arts have a variety of options available to them in terms of associate degrees. Students have the option of pursuing a traditional studio art education or concentrating their art studies in a media-related subfield of the field. 

To earn an associate degree, students must typically attend school full-time for a period of two years. Some visual and studio arts degree programs that are offered online might require students to complete a portion of their studies on campus. There may be no such requirement for students pursuing degrees in the media arts or in the history and theory of art. 

Courses leading to an associate’s degree may include:

  • Art History I
  • Introduction to Ceramics
  • Fundamentals of Painting
  • Foundations of 3D Art

Bachelor’s Degrees in Art

Students who are interested in pursuing careers in art, art history, or other art-related fields should consider earning a bachelor’s degree in art as an excellent first step toward achieving their goals. 

In addition, if a student is thinking about continuing their art education at the graduate level, enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program is an essential first step to take in the process. 

In order to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, students must typically put in a total of four years of full-time study. By requiring students to finish their general education requirements, these programs can also assist students in developing a deeper level of knowledge and understanding. Some of the more common classes that an art major at this level might take include the following:

  • Integration of Art and Design
  • Drawing for Design
  • Art History
  • Art and New Media
  • Intermediate Visual Studies

Master’s Degrees in Art

Students who are interested in obtaining a master’s degree in art typically do so in order to either further their career as a working artist or improve their chances of finding work in the academic sector. 

The Master of Fine Arts, or MFA, is the degree that graduates receive from the majority of the field’s master’s degree programs. Students pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree typically focus their studies on one particular area of concentration, such as painting, graphic design, photography, or sculpture. 

Students talking in the stairs.

A portion of the coursework for some online programs must be completed on campus, but this varies widely depending on the subject matter being studied. 

Master’s level students may take required classes in the following areas:

  • Contemporary Issues in Art
  • Typographic Methods
  • Advanced Color and Space
  • Methods for Moving Images

Doctoral Programs in Art

Students who are interested in pursuing advanced research positions within higher education or artistic organizations are typically the only ones accepted into Ph.D. programs in the field of art. 

Students investigate the function of art in cultures all over the world, as well as in their own countries. Candidates for a Ph.D. must typically first earn a master’s degree in a field that is closely related to their intended doctoral study. 

Before a student can graduate from their doctoral program, the majority of programs require them to complete and successfully defend a dissertation. A residency requirement on the student’s home campus might also be necessary. 

Courses such as these are frequently offered at this level:

  • Quantitative Research Methods for Art Education
  • Visual Culture and Literacy
  • Strategies for Visual Thinking
  • Visible Learning Strategies

What can you do with an art degree?

College art courses can provide students with a compelling experience that is rich in opportunities for creative expression. When you graduate from art school, however, it can be difficult to decide what kind of career you want to pursue. 

Female students looking bored while sitting on a table.

While some people with art degrees try to make a living by selling their original works, others are more interested in applying their skills in a variety of settings. It is a good idea to think about the different career paths that are open to you if you have recently graduated from an art program or are currently enrolled in such a program.

So, what can you do with an art degree? Here are some career paths you can take:

Professional Artist 

If you are talented and dedicated, there is no reason why you cannot pursue a career as a professional artist. As a result of the high level of competition in this line of work, you are going to need a lot of self-confidence, a lot of stamina, and the ability to sell yourself. It would be beneficial for you to have relevant work experience in the creative sector, such as working as a studio assistant. 

Additionally, you should be resourceful in finding new and interesting places to showcase and sell your work in order to make a name for yourself. Some artists choose to continue developing their work while also working in relevant full- or part-time jobs, such as that art teachers or tutors. 


Illustrators put their artistic abilities to use in the process of conveying narratives, ideas, and messages to the target audience. They usually work on a freelance basis for a variety of clients and are likely to specialize in a particular medium, such as drawing, photography, or digital illustration. 

Freelance work is common in this industry. In this instance, the items in your portfolio should demonstrate that you are able to work according to a specific brief, such as designing artwork for a book cover.

In addition to this, you should demonstrate that you are capable of working in a variety of formats, particularly with computer-aided design (CAD) methods. A postgraduate degree in fine arts with a concentration in illustration should equip you with a wide variety of marketable skills that can be presented to potential employers.


Photographers make use of a wide variety of tools in order to capture images in accordance with the guidelines and parameters established by a customer or employer. 

Photography can be used for a variety of purposes and can be specialized in a number of different ways; some examples include photojournalism, weddings, and advertising. 

You might find that having a Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in photography is helpful in certain fields, such as fashion photography, where the level of competition is particularly high.

You should work on your portfolio, but you should also look for opportunities to make contacts, have your work published, and generally gain new skills and experience through opportunities such as volunteering, work shadowing, or taking part in work experience and project work with photographers or relevant employers. 

In addition to working on your portfolio, you should look for opportunities to make contacts, have your work published, and generally gain new skills and experience.


An animator creates a series of still images known as frames, which, when played in sequence, give the impression that the subject is moving. This is the art form known as animation. Amongst other fields, animators may work in advertising or on the visual effects team of film production at times. 

This is another highly competitive field; therefore, the best way to present your work would be in the form of a showreel that is concise but compelling, such as a DVD or an online portfolio video. 

A postgraduate specialization in animation would be beneficial to increase your employability; however, obtaining such a specialization is not required. In order to pursue a career in animation, you will need to possess artistic talent in addition to solid technical skills and a good eye for detail.

Graphic Designer

A graphic designer’s job is to come up with design solutions that have a significant impact on the way something looks. Working according to a brief that has been agreed upon with the client, creative director, or account manager is part of the role. 

Graphic designers are responsible for coming up with innovative ideas and concepts, as well as selecting the most suitable medium and aesthetic to achieve the goals specified by the client. 

It is beneficial to your career as a graphic designer if you have earned a degree with a design concentration (or a design concentration in one of the subfields), and you are proficient in the necessary skills, such as the application of computer programs like Photoshop. You could also think about continuing your education by earning a Master of Design degree at the postgraduate level (MDes).


As a curator, you will be in charge of the collections of exhibits that are housed in a gallery or museum. You will also be responsible for determining the most effective way to present an exhibition to the general public, in addition to soliciting donations and grants, working in collaboration with institutions or artists, and ensuring that collections are preserved in the appropriate manner. 

Curators are responsible for a wide variety of art forms, including modern audio-visual artworks, ancient sculptures, and everything in between. Because there is typically a lot of competition in this industry, you should give some thought to earning a postgraduate degree in a subject like museum studies.


Printmakers create works of art by printing designs onto paper, typically using printing presses, and again, they typically work to specific briefs. Etching, block printing, woodcuts, silk-screening, and lithography are just some of the techniques that are utilized, although electronic and digital processes are becoming increasingly common. After obtaining a degree in fine arts, particularly if you chose to focus on design or illustration as your area of concentration, you might discover that printmaking is your preferred medium. You can boost your employability (especially if you decide to go into business for yourself) by looking for relevant work experience opportunities and building a network of relevant contacts through in-person and online interactions. This will help you find work more easily in the future.

Art Teacher

If you have a passion for art and want to use that passion to motivate and inspire young people as well as encourage the development of emerging talents, a career as an art teacher could be very rewarding for you. To teach at the elementary/secondary level in the majority of countries, you will need a teaching qualification, whereas teaching at the university level will require a postgraduate degree.

In order to effectively instruct and motivate your students, you should also possess a high level of self-assurance, as well as excellent communication and presentation skills. You could also choose to instruct art privately to individuals or in small groups, or you could specialize in a field such as art therapy. Both of these options are open to you. 

So, what can you do with an art degree? Definitely a lot! Even if none of the artistic professions described above pique your interest, you still have a wide variety of choices available to you. 

Art graduates have the opportunity to apply for graduate jobs and training in a wide variety of fields, including media, marketing, public relations, and even accounting so there’s actually no limit to what can you do with an art degree. 

You need a strong, compelling application to tell your story to admissions officers in today’s climate when competition for spots at the best graduate schools is fierce. The AdmissionSight graduate school admission program, developed over the course of more than a decade, will put you in the best possible position to gain admission to the university of your choice. Contact us and book your initial consultation today


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