Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994


Do you Need an Art Degree?

Submitted by: Rachael Harris and Richard McMunn

How2become Ltd., Churchill Square, Kent, UK


How Artists Can Benefit From Visual Arts Degrees
In order to know how an artist can benefit from a Visual Arts degree, one must first have an understanding of what visual arts encompass. Visual arts are basically any piece of art that is primarily visual. This can be ceramics, painting, printmaking, crafts, video, architecture, drawing, sculpture, design, photography and even filmmaking. Applied arts can also be included in this category. Those types of art would be such as graphic design, interior design, industrial design fashion design and even decorative arts. There are also what are called art disciplines that are included. These would be things like performing arts, textile arts and even conceptual art.

Why don’t we break it down and look at the benefits of a Visual Arts degree by category? We will start with the broad category and then move on to applied arts and then art disciplines.

Visual Arts
In terms of the broad category that is Visual Arts a degree would be useful for a great many things. There are many career fields in visual arts where a degree is actually demanded. One of those fields is in architecture. While a degree may not be necessary in many of the other areas, the degree is not the important part. The experience, training and knowledge that you get while trying to attain your degree is the important part. Trying to earn a degree will give you a wealth of knowledge and develop your skills in a manner and scope that is far beyond what you may have ever achieved on your own. You will be exposed to many different types of art using many different mediums and learn to be inspired by what you see, hear and even feel. Once you have that knowledge it is a part of you that will stay with you for life.

studentApplied Art
When talking about visual art in the specific area of applied arts, getting a degree becomes even more important. Graphic, interior and industrial design schools will teach you how to more fully develop your skills while focusing them in the area of your choosing. Benefits of getting a degree in this area will let future employers know that you have worked hard and that you set goals for yourself and that you work until you accomplish those goals. That is important in any career field but especially in fields like graphic design and industrial design.

If you happen to want to be a video game designer for instance there will be times when you are working on a deadline. You may have to come up with a concept for a new video game complete with a story line. That will probably be the first deadline on a project like this. The second one would be outlining the characters and completing rough sketches of them. If those are approved then you move to the next deadline and the next and so on until the game is complete and ready to be marketed.

By showing potential employers that even a visual arts major can reach their goals, they will be doubly impressed and more apt to hire you.

Face it, visual arts has a reputation that is amazing in an artistic way and people love what visual arts contributes to the world. At the same time, artists have a reputation to be flighty and do their own thing. That means that a degree in Visual Arts is that much more powerful than any other kind because it flies in the face of the artistic reputation. It is one more way to rebel!

Conceptual Arts
Conceptual artists could be benefiting from a degree if they were to go into a field such as textile arts. This, too, is a rather broad category and encompasses things such as sewing, designing tiles and many other things. This again goes back to showing future employers that you are dedicated enough to keep going and finish what you start. You will also have developed skills that people who did not go to university will be lacking. You will have a more rounded approach to each project you attempt.

While getting a degree in visual arts is not necessary in many of the possible career fields, it is recommended due to the training, experience and knowledge that comes with it which allow you to broaden your horizons so that when you graduate you can outshine everyone.

Richard McMunn is a writer for; a leading career and recruitment specialist for public sector careers. For the last 8 years How2become has helped numerous people prepare for and pass tough recruitment processes and assessment centres in order to secure their dream job. You can also connect with How2become on Google Plus.