Artist Training Programs
Although not always required to work in the field, aspiring artists can acquire formal education and training through Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs such as those that have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
In general, a BFA curriculum covers topics related to artistic mediums and techniques, art criticism, graphic design, and modern art. Aspiring artists may also study aesthetics, architecture, color, and the cultural impact of art. Students can choose from a wide variety of concentrations including ceramic or multimedia arts, illustration and photography.
Some programs also offer or require participation in an internship where students can receive on-the-job training in an art or design studio, museum, or other related organization. Students also have the chance to develop a professional portfolio, a collection or sampling of their best work.
BFA in Studio Art
Undergraduates enrolled in fine arts programs are introduced to a variety of artistic media, styles and techniques. Examples of core subjects include:
- 2D art
- 3D art
- Art history
- Digital media
- Drawing and painting
Students who graduate with a BFA may find work in advertising and marketing agencies, media and publishing companies, entertainment organizations and related businesses. Many artists become instructors and teachers in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015 artists and related workers earned a median annual salary of $58,450 while find artists like illustrators, painters and sculptors earned $46,460. From 2014-2024, the BLS expects no change in employment for artists and related workers. Fine artists can expect a 3% (slower than average) increase in employment during the same ten year period.
Continuing education options for graduates of fine arts programs include certificate programs, seminars and workshops such as those offered by employers and schools about current trends in the art world. Many professional development organizations like the National Association of Independent Artists and Americans for the Arts offer networking opportunities and resources in the form of newsletters, blogs and online publications. Artists who use multimedia tools or computer programs may seek certification in the use of specific software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
Let's recap what we've just discussed. If you'd like to pursue formal training as an artist, you can apply to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art program, which will give you a chance to build a professional portfolio. Although a slow-growing field, once employed some fine artists may earn a median salary of just over $46,000 a year.