Best Online Associate in Art History Programs

We've ranked the top online associate in art and art history programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your associate degree online.
Updated on May 3, 2023
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Taylor Gadsden has worked as an editor for BestColleges, focusing on degree, college, and career planning resources for prospective students. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Georgia. Taylor is a former editor at Red Ventures....
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Students pursuing an online associate in art and art history gain essential knowledge involving various eras in art history, their cultural significance, and art's evolution. Typically offered at community colleges, this program is ideal for the art-minded student interested in a flexible and affordable program that they can complete in a few years.

But students gain far more than foundational art and art history knowledge. Before graduating with an associate degree, students complete general education requirements that may count toward a bachelor's degree, saving them money in tuition and associated costs. For many students, an associate degree prepares them for a bachelor's degree.

On the below page, we look at the components of associate in art and art history programs, potential courses, admission requirements, and career options. Continue reading to find out what an online associate in art and art history at a top online school can do for you.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Art History Program?

Students pursuing an online associate in art and art history complete general education requirements and art classes. Like other associate degrees, an online associate in art and art history typically requires students to complete around 60 credits. Full-time learners can complete requirements in about two years. Ambitious students or those in accelerated programs often graduate faster.

Along with an art and art history focus, students complete general education requirements that may transfer to a four-year school. During their associate program, students encounter art-centric classes surveying various time periods, cultures, and artistic styles. In addition to gaining a cultural and historical understanding of art, students may also take courses devoted to studio art.

While online learners may take classes that involve live online lectures, many programs use asynchronous learning. Through online platforms, students can log in and complete coursework at their own pace. This style is incredibly convenient for working students. Online students can also expect to watch recorded lectures, participate in class message boards, and complete group assignments.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Art History Program?

Introduction to Art

This course introduces the foundational elements of art. Throughout this class, students cover topics including art theory, themes, terminology, techniques, and how they evolve. Additionally, students encounter the art of various cultures while applying theoretical concepts to the physical practice of art.

Survey of Western Art from the Renaissance to Contemporary

This course introduces learners to architecture, sculpture, and painting from the Renaissance to the modern period. Students encounter iconic names like Michelangelo, Van Gogh, and Picasso while learning about works of art within various social, religious, and historical contexts.

Survey of Asian Art

This course reviews the culture and art of areas including Japan, China, and India. Students encounter the evolution and impact of architecture, painting, and printmaking while exploring the influence of religion and philosophy. Additionally, online learners compare and contrast the cultural influence on Asian art.

Modern Art

Students explore the architecture, painting, and sculpture spanning from the late 19th century to the present. Along with demonstrating an understanding of various 20th-century art movements, degree-seekers gain familiarity with historical vocabulary and interpretive methods.

Survey of Art and Civilization from Prehistory Through the Middle Ages

This online course explores the influential art created around the globe, covering the Paleolithic era to the early Renaissance art in Italy. Students also encounter the art of Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations and Greek and Roman empires. They also study the impact of Christianity and Islam on art's evolution.

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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Art History Program?

While admission requirements can vary significantly between schools and programs, students pursuing an online associate in art and art history often enroll at community colleges. Boasting open admissions and affordable tuition rates, community colleges traditionally just require a high school or GED diploma for admission.

For students applying to associate degrees at four-year institutions, the admission requirements are generally more involved. Four-year colleges and universities traditionally require standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and minimum GPAs. Additionally, some schools require applicants to submit a personal essay outlining personal, academic, and career goals.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Art History Degree?

Career Outlook

Often an online associate in art and art history opens the door to future academic work in bachelor's and graduate-level programs. That said, an associate degree does prepare graduates with various skills essential to entry-level art jobs. Common careers include museum technicians and administrative assistants.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a relatively flat job outlook for entry-level retail workers and administrative assistants, the BLS projects careers for artists, craftspeople, and museum workers to grow faster than average. Despite the lower wages associated with entry-level positions, associate degree graduates can increase earning potential and employment options by earning a four-year degree.

An art history degree can lead to many career opportunities. Learn more about art history careers.

Career Paths

Museum Technicians

Museum technicians, along with similar positions, including collections specialists and registrars, tackle various responsibilities within a museum or gallery. These workers help create exhibits and oversee many of the physical duties of installing, building, and transporting art. Museum technicians may also handle various administrative tasks.

Median Annual Salary: $45,710

Retail Sales Workers

Whether working at a museum or an art supplies store, these workers help ensure that their business functions effectively. Retail sales workers in an art-related environment use their knowledge to sell various products, answer customer questions, and stock merchandise. An art-related retail job can offer relatively flexible hours for working students.

Median Annual Salary: $27,320

Administrative Assistants

Administrative assistants often play a crucial role in managing the day-to-day functions of various business and office environments. These workers typically communicate with clients, maintain schedules, and keep up with databases and bookkeeping. Administrative assistants also commonly work with vendors and keep merchandise stocked.

Median Annual Salary: $38,850

Crafts and Fine Artists

Artists and craftspeople cover a broad swath of creative, visual endeavors that include ceramics, digital design, cartooning, painting, and jewelry. These individuals work in diverse environments, including museums, retail storefronts, and galleries. In addition to academic work, artists and craftspeople continually hone their skills.

Median Annual Salary: $49,120


Typically requiring a master's degree, art historians gather historical information from primary sources, academic research, and various archives and publications. In addition to research and writing, these historians commonly work for and with museums and help design art-related educational programming.

Median Annual Salary: $63,100

Art History Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Many art and art history professionals go on to earn a bachelor's degree in the field. As a result, continuing education plays a vital role if a student wants to pursue an art career. Additionally, community college-based art and art history associate degrees offer a clear path when transferring to a four-year program.

An associate degree in art and art history not only provides an introduction to foundational art topics, but associate degree grads also complete general education classes. Students can work with advisors and admission professionals to effectively manage the transfer process between schools.

In addition to earning a bachelor's degree, many art professionals pursue advanced training through master's and Ph.D. programs. MFAs in various disciplines are also a popular graduate-level option. Students can also pursue graduate certificates in world art history and arts administration.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Art History Program?


When evaluating prospective programs, students should assess the true cost of college. This cost includes the sum of tuition, student fees, and books. While online and on-campus learners typically pay similar tuition rates, online students often avoid expenses associated with in-person learning. Additionally, public schools cost less than private institutions, and in-state learners usually pay significantly less than out-of-state students.

Program Format

When determining which program works best for them, students should consider an online program's format. Asynchronous programs offer learners a flexible option to complete coursework at their own pace. Synchronous programs require students to attend live online sessions. Enrollment as a full-time or part-time student can significantly impact degree-completion times.


Before enrolling, online degree-seekers should determine if their program of choice has any in-person requirements. While not necessarily a requirement for an online associate in art or art history, STEM degrees and nursing programs often have in-person lab and clinical requirements. Additionally, location can impact tuition rates. In-state students typically pay less than out-of-state students.


Regardless of the online associate in art and art history program a student chooses, considering accreditation is vital. When evaluating programs, prospective students should prioritize schools that hold institutional accreditation. Public community colleges traditionally hold accreditation, ensuring that students receive quality academic programming, student services, and financial aid opportunities.

Student Support

Academics play a significant role in a college experience. But access to student support services can have both an immediate and lasting impact. The best associate in art and art history programs offer various internship opportunities and mentorship programs. Before enrolling, online learners should inquire about available online student services.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Art History Programs

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Best Online Associate in Art and Art History Programs

  1. Foothill College

    Los Altos Hills, CA



    Located in the Bay Area, Foothill College is one of the Golden State's best community colleges. The school recently expanded its distance learning department, which now offers several programs, including an online art history associate degree. Students must complete a total of 90 units over the course of two years. Required courses include Asian art, western art, and the history of women in art. For students hoping to continue their studies at a four-year university, Foothill recommends that they also complete one or two years of a foreign language.

    Foothill's art history program delivers coursework asynchronously through the Canvas learning platform. Though out-of-state students pay higher tuition, the non-resident tuition rate is still affordable. All transfer students must take assessments in Math and English, or submit proof of coursework at another college to fulfill prerequisites.

  2. Colorado Mountain College

    Glenwood Springs, CO



    Maintaining 11 campuses throughout the state, Colorado Mountain College's primary focus is providing affordable education to mountain communities. The school recently expanded its distance learning offerings, bringing affordable programs to students nationwide. The school's online associate degree in art history requires students to complete at least 60 credits in areas such as ancient and medieval art, Renaissance art, modern art, and drawing. Students in the program complete asynchronous coursework through Basecamp.

    The advantage of the online art history associate degree at Colorado Mountain College is the ease with which students can transfer their credits to four-year programs. CMC maintains articulation agreements with every state university in Colorado, and some students have even transferred their credits from CMC to Ivy League schools.

  3. Allen Community College

    Iola, KS



    Primarily serving the area in and around Iola, Kansas, Allen Community College now offers a number of its programs online. One such program is the online AA degree with an emphasis in art, which requires students to complete a total of 64 credits over the course of two years. Unlike art history programs, Allen's program focuses on the creation of art, and students take courses in painting, digital photography, design, and drawing. Students also complete a course in public speaking to ensure that they can satisfactorily present their art to different audiences.

    Since students study a wide range of art forms, they can find careers as graphic designers, illustrators, fashion designers, and art directors. The school's articulation agreements with seven Kansas state schools — including Kansas State, Kansas University, and Wichita State — allow students to continue their art education in a bachelor's program. For admission to Allen, students must complete online application and placement tests.

  4. Essex County College

    Newark, NJ



    Essex County College prides itself on its open doors policy, which means the school makes its online AA in art program as accessible as possible. Based in Newark, New Jersey, the school requires students to complete a total of 66 credits that mirror the first two years of a bachelor's degree in art. Students in the program complete coursework in a range of artistic disciplines, including art history, painting, 3D design, drawing, and computer art.

    Essex maintains articulation agreements with most New Jersey state universities, allowing its students to transfer their credits to in-state four-year schools, including Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The program includes options for face-to-face, hybrid, or online asynchronous courses, which the school delivers through the Moodle platform.

  5. Cerro Coso Community College

    Ridgecrest, CA



    Operating five instructional sites in the Eastern Sierras of Southern California, Cerro Coso also offers numerous online programs. One of the school's strongest online programs is its AA degree in art history, which the college designed specifically for students who plan to earn a bachelor's degree. Students who complete their online art history associate degree at Cerro Coso receive guaranteed admission to any four-year school in the California State University system.

    Cerro Coso's art history program covers a wide range of topics, preparing students to earn their bachelor's degrees in art history, studio arts, fine arts, art education, and art therapy. Students complete a total of 60 credits, including courses in drawing, modern art history, and sculpture. Out-of-state students pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. The program delivers coursework both synchronously and asynchronously through the Canvas learning platform.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Art History Programs

Is an associate degree in art and art history worth it?

One of the most valuable elements of earning an associate in art and art history degree is that it prepares students with the foundational knowledge to transfer to a four-year program. Online associate degrees are often flexible and affordable, allowing learners to complete many general education requirements at a lower tuition rate.

Completing an associate degree is not only a practical financial choice, but it also acts as a hands-on introduction to the academic rigor of higher education. Community college coursework allows students to explore the academic and career prospects of an art and art history degree.

How fast can I get an associate in art and art history degree online?

Traditionally, associate programs allow full-time learners to earn their diplomas in two years. But the time to graduation can vary significantly. Full-time or part-time status, accelerated programs, larger course loads, and the completion of summer classes can impact program lengths.

For working students, enrolling in an online associate in art and art history program part-time can leave enough time to meet academic, personal, and professional obligations. Conversely, students enrolled in accelerated programs can graduate in as few as 12 months.

Is an online associate degree in art and art history credible?

The best online associate degree in art and art history programs hold institutional accreditation. This accreditation ensures that students receive quality academics, financial aid resources, and access to various student services. And while an associate degree in art does not qualify graduates for every art career, students gain essential knowledge in art, art history, and general education classes.

How much money can I make with an associate in art and art history?

To qualify for more art careers, graduates with an associate in art and art history often choose to pursue further education through bachelor's and graduate-level programs. That said, an associate degree provides students with a broad skill set that can often lead to entry-level positions and various administrative roles.

As a result, students interested in earning higher wages should consider completing a bachelor's degree and even master's and Ph.D. programs. Art directors and nonprofit arts fundraising managers earned a median wage of about $100,000 or more per year in May 2020.

Is an associate degree in art and art history in demand?

Like other associate degrees in the arts and humanities, an associate degree in art and art history prepares students with in-demand skills involving research, writing, and critical thinking.

The job outlook for art and art history graduates varies significantly depending on the career. The BLS projects jobs for fundraising managers, art directors, artists, and museum workers to grow between 2020-2030. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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