Associate in Art and Art History Program Guide

April 16, 2021

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Whether students aspire to be the next Joan Miró or spend their days educating others about influential artistic movements, pursuing an online associate degree in art and art history can be a great starting point for an art career. These programs offer a comprehensive foundational art education and provide a stepping stone to further study.

An associate in art and art history leads to several entry-level and assistant roles in art, art history, and related fields. The following guide highlights common classes found in an associate program in art and art history, career paths for graduates, and continuing education opportunities after graduating. Read on to learn more about this exciting degree.

Should I Get an Associate in Art and Art History?

Pursuing an associate degree in art and art history may not qualify graduates for advanced roles, but these programs can certainly help students begin their art careers and test the waters before moving into a bachelor's program.

Pursuing an associate degree in art and art history may not qualify graduates for advanced roles, but these programs can certainly help students begin their art careers and test the waters before moving into a bachelor's program. Most associate degrees in art and art history require two years of full-time study. Part-time learners may need three years.

When considering this path, remember that some segments of the art industry maintain strict education requirements, while others carry no expectations. Students who want to work as artists may not need to earn a degree, though a degree program can help them understand both artistic techniques and business practices. However, any job in an art museum or library typically requires at least a four-year degree.

While an associate degree in art and art history may not help graduates immediately secure art industry jobs that require a bachelor's degree, it does serve as a great first step toward a bachelor's in art and art history degree. Prospective students who intend to pursue a bachelor's degree after completing their associate program should make sure to confirm that their associate credits will transfer at the colleges they are interested in.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Art & Art History Programs

What Will I Learn in an Art and Art History Associate Program?

Courses vary by school, but most programs provide a foundational understanding of both art and art history. Programs also typically include general education courses in areas like English, public speaking, and mathematics.

Common courses in an online associate degree in art and art history include art and architecture of the ancient world, life drawing, and oil painting. Graduates develop basic skills in several different artistic styles along with an understanding of how art has evolved around the world over the ages.

Both AA and AS programs in art and art history are available. AA degrees better serve students interested in artistic careers, and AS programs better serve those interested in art administration.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Art and Art History?

An associate degree in art and art history prepares graduates for entry-level and support roles in a variety of art-centric industries, including museums, galleries, schools, and libraries. While many positions in these fields require a bachelor's degree or higher, some technician jobs may be available to associate degree-holders.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Art and Art History Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Art and Art History?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $49,600 for professionals in arts and design occupations in 2020. However, many factors affect salary potential, including experience, title, location, and employer.

For instance, a recent graduate working at a small nonprofit as an afterschool art instructor will likely earn less than an experienced professional who works for a larger, established arts organization.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Art and Art History Programs

Are art majors in demand?

It depends on the job. The BLS projects a 2% decline in demand for art directors between 2019 and 2029. During the same period, the BLS projects 11% job growth for archivists, curators, and museum professionals, a rate much faster than the national average.

What kind of jobs can I get with an associate in art and art history?

Many jobs within this field, specifically those focused on working directly with pieces of art, require more than an associate degree in art and art history. Nevertheless, graduates can find plenty of entry-level assistant and art-adjacent roles. For instance, working as a tour guide allows graduates to use their knowledge of art history to educate others.

How much does it cost to get an associate in art and art history?

Earning an online associate degree in art and art history often provides an affordable option for a first degree. Attending a public school as an in-state student typically provides the most cost-effective option. At Miami Dade College, for instance, local learners can earn an AA in art for around $7,100.

Is an associate in art and art history worth it?

Value is subjective and depends on how students plan to use their degrees and what they expect in terms of salary and upward mobility. Earning an associate in art and art history before transferring to a bachelor's program can help save money when compared to the cost of immediately entering a four-year degree program.

How long does it take to get an associate in art and art history?

Most associate in art and art history programs require approximately 60 credits. Students who take 15 credits per semester finish the program in four semesters, or two years. Part-time students usually graduate in about three years.

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