While abstract art programs are very uncommon, an associate's degree in art develops fundamental art skills and provides a certain level of specialization via student-chosen electives. In such programs, time is split between didactic instruction and hands-on implementation of new art skills, in order to ensure concrete technique development. Admission into associate's programs require a high school diploma or a GED.
Associate of Arts Degree in General Art or Fine Arts
Introductory courses often cover art history and art appreciation. Students learn about composition and structure as they explore techniques for drawing, sculpting, painting and creating digital art. After taking foundational drawing and painting courses, students may enroll in elective courses that focus on abstraction; they may explore this artistic style through media like oil and acrylic paints, wood, plaster and clay. Other possible course topics in associate's degree programs include:
- Ancient art
- Modern global art forms
- Life-like drawing
- 2-D and 3-D art
- Watercolor painting
- Jewelry design and art metals
Popular Career Options
Graduates may seek out career positions as professional fine artists, creating and selling their pieces for income. With refined technical skills and distinctive personal style, they may be able to edge into this competitive field. A second job may be necessary while recognition is building. They may display their works in:
- Personal studios
Employment Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the job opportunities for craft and fine artists to increase by 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS data from 2015, fine artists earned a mean yearly salary of $54,170.
Graduates of the AA program may opt to continue their education by earning a Bachelor of Art (BA) degree in fine arts. Students can hone their personal artistic voice and expression while experimenting with different materials, like fabric, wax, stone and non-traditional items. Students gain insight into the aesthetics and meaning of their visual art. The additional opportunities for practice and exhibition of their works can better equip them to edge into a career in professional studio art.
Students seeking associate's degrees in fine arts will explore art techniques, as well as art history and art appreciation. Some graduates may find jobs in galleries museums, or open their own studios.