CONTACT  |  EMAIL SIGN-UP  |  DONATE  |  ABOUT THE SCHOOLNEWS & EVENTS  | TWitter2.jpg   Facebook2.jpg

Visual Arts College and Career Resources

From the academic study of art history to studio practice in areas such as sculpture, painting, and photography, to ”new media” work in web design, and 2 and 3D digital rendering, this large area of study translates into a thousands of possible training programs and careers.

In exploring different applications for your art form, you may discover lesser-known opportunities for study and work in the visual arts such as industrial design, fashion, architecture, toy and environmental design, to name just a few.

Degree Options
B.A. or B.F.A. in Visual Arts
With a B.A. program, approximate 2/3 of your coursework will be in general areas of academic study, such as English, the Social and Physical Sciences and Math. Commonly, these general courses are taken the first two years, and studio coursework in the visual arts area of your choice begins your junior year.

If you pursue a B.F.A. program on the other hand, 2/3 of your work will be in a studio setting, and only 1/3 in the general classroom. Often, the first year of an Arts B.F.A. program is a “fundamentals” year during which you will take courses in color, three dimensional design, figure, and the like. In your sophomore year, you may declare an arts specialty and pursue studio work in this. Some B.F.A. programs allow (or require) choice/study in the area of specialty from the very beginning of the program.

M.F.A.s and Ph.D.s in Visual Arts
At the graduate level, there are M.F.A. and PhD programs in the visual arts for students who want to extend their studio work and/or pursue study and research in such fields as art history, museum curator studies, and art restoration. M.F.A. programs are offered at select independent colleges and through both the California State and University of California systems. PhD programs, which involve a significant research component are found primarily in the University of California system.

Associates degrees (A.A.)
Many local community colleges around the state have strong art departments at which students can earn either certificates or Associates degrees in a range of specialties from CAD (computer-aided drafting) and web design to art history.

Bridge to College Tip: Ask an expert! If you are interested in an area such as industrial design, seek out instructors in that field for information on the course of study/ professional opportunities available.

12 Questions to Consider as you select a program in the Visual Arts:

  1. Look at the courses offered. Are there a sufficient number of advanced courses in your particular area of interest?
  2. What does the progression of coursework look like from year to year—are you comfortable with the this or would you rather have access to different sorts of classes?
  3. Is there a particular orientation of the program—toward traditional or “modern/contemporary” rendering, for example—and if so, does this mirror your leaning?
  4. How many students are there and do the studio spaces/ materials and equipment available seem sufficient to answer accommodate this number?
  5. What is the reputation/ achievements of faculty members? Are these reputations based on creative ability or teaching skill?
  6. Are you comfortable with public critiques of your work?
  7. Is your orientation more toward the reading of art history/ critical analysis ofart or the hands-on creation of original material?
  8. Will your classes be taught by the main faculty member or by graduate students?
  9. Does the department encourage collegiality among students via mentorship programs, art clubs or other social groups?
  10. Will you prepare a collection of works for a culminating show?
  11. What do administrators/ instructors feel distinguishes their program from competitors?
  12. What support—internships, career counseling, etc.— does the school givestudents when they are ready to be placed in work or graduate settings? Dothey teach the business of art, such as marketing?

Highlights of college level training in California
Searching for the Right College Fit: Do they have my major?

Based on the seven disciplines offered at CSSSA, here is a pocket guide to see at-a-glance what arts majors are offered at four-year state colleges / universities:
The California State University system
The University of California system

Colleges that participate in Bridge to College or the CSSSA College Fair:
Independent Colleges – In California
Independent Colleges – Outside of California

Bridge to College Tip: The computer-related arts are sometimes housed in the computer rather than the art department of community colleges.

In addition, here is a pocket guide to the California Community Colleges also based on the seven CSSSA disciplines: Click Here.

Educational Institutions: If you would like to see your college or university listed here, please contact the CSSSA Foundation.

Listing here does not constitute an endorsement, but is intended for educational purposes only. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this

BFA or BA?
Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 National Association for College Admission Counseling

Practical Photography or Photo Answers has a ton of photography information (Digital Photo website) (longstanding artist’s magazine)
Layers magazine (provides tutorials, techniques, insights about the entire Adobe Creative Suite®,
.Net (magazine for web designers)
Print (bimonthly magazine about design on and off the page)
 I.D. (covering the art, business, and culture of design. concepts, products, environments, interactive, furniture, and more.
Communication Arts magazine showcases the top work in graphic design, advertising, illustration, photography and interactive design.
CMYK Magazine is where aspiring creatives showcase their talents to an industry driven by inspiration and new ways of creative problem solving.
Computer Arts is the one-stop shop for professional advice on creating digital art and illustrations.

The Kennedy Center’s Arts Edge webpage on Visual Arts Careers
Artjob website
School Soup’s visual arts career information
ArtsJobArtSearch website
UT Studio Art Career Center

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to endorse, guarantee, warrant, or recommend any particular program or course of study. Parents and students are encouraged to consult their school’s guidance counselor or other educational professionals before making any decision about investment in higher education. CSSSA Foundation 2015.

Highlighting Careers in the Arts: Graphic Designer for Sony Pictures Drew Hand walks us through her process. Brought to you by Gigniks.

Highlighting Careers in the Arts: Production Designer Denny Dugally discusses her career path. Brought to you by Gigniks.