Artist: Online Diploma

Find out about online art courses and in which training programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Online diploma programs aren't all that common in arts-related fields, but there are a few fully online programs available. They may focus specifically on an artistic discipline, and they're often offered as certificates instead of diplomas. Specific art equipment and software is typically required.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Art
  • Art History
  • Arts Management
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Metal and Jewelry Art
  • Multimedia Arts
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Weaving and Textile Arts

Artist Diplomas and Certificates

While art programs are not yet prevalent through online formats, a few schools offer broad-based diplomas. If a student is looking for a specific type of art education, such as graphic design, certificate programs can be more easily located. Because these aren't degree programs, prerequisites and prior testing is minimal or non-existent. Programs focus on giving students the basic tools and skill pallets they need to work in a variety of media.

Information and Requirements

Online art programs are offered entirely online. Classes are taught via streaming media, animation, email, discussion boards and platforms such as The Open Studio. Completion time is often flexible, especially at schools offering self-paced programs in which students may have up to two years to graduate.

Prerequisite coursework and prior testing are generally not required for entrance into online art programs. Technical requirements, however, vary between programs. For example, a graphic arts program may require software such as Dreamweaver and Photoshop, while more tactile programs rely on high-speed Internet connections and recent model computers.

Common Courses

Basic courses teach students how to work within their chosen medium. For example, fine arts students explore techniques such as brush strokes and knife painting. Meanwhile, prospective graphic artists take classes that teach them how to use various software programs. Some courses, however, are required of almost all art students. These may include the courses listed below.

Color Theory

Students learn tint creation and shade blending. They also look at how various hues elicit emotional responses and convey ideals.

2-D Design

This class teaches students how to use the space available to convey the artist's concept through balance and relationships of design elements. After completing this course, the student should understand how to plan an art piece that expresses ideas creatively and effectively.


Coursework begins with lessons in drawing simple lines and shapes. These fundamental sketches become the student's building blocks for creating images with perspective. Subject matter often includes human form, life stills, landscapes, and animals.

Career Information

One career path for graduates is that of graphic designer, but students will need at least a bachelor's degree for most entry-level positions. Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $46,900 in May 2015, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those interested in this field face stiff competition for jobs. Opportunities for graphic designers are predicted to grow only 1% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than the average job growth rate for all occupations.

Craft and fine artists also face tough odds of landing a job in the field. The BLS predicted a mere 2% job growth rate for them over the 2014-2024 decade. As of May 2015, fine artists earned a median salary of $46,460.

Aspiring artists may be able to find an online certificate or diploma program in the field. These programs are typically self-directed and allow students to focus on a specific medium of interest.

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