10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (2024)

Want to hone your creative skills? Interested in art and design careers? Then online art school might be the right path for you. Many art and design jobs require a bachelor’s degree — and online art schools offer a flexible path to an art degree.

What can you do with an online art degree? How do you get into art school? And is online art school worth it? Our resources, including a ranking of the best online art schools, can help you learn more and make an informed decision.

What Is an Online Art Degree Exactly?

Online art schools emphasize visual design, digital media, and creative studies. Students who enroll in art programs online complete graduation requirements in a virtual classroom. You’ll collaborate on projects, critique work, and build a portfolio in online classes.

You can earn an online art degree in many fields, including animation, fine arts, music, and photography.

Many online art schools also offer design majors like graphic design, web design, fashion design, game design, and interior design. Alternatively, you can study art education or art history.

In the performing arts, you can complete some coursework online while also taking in-person classes.

Common Types of Online Art Degrees

  • Animation
  • Art History
  • Drama/Theater
  • Fashion Design
  • Game Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior Design
  • Music
  • Photography

Explore Our Featured Art Programs Today

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Top 10 Online Art Schools to Check Out

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Does Accreditation Matter for Online Art School?

When you’re earning a degree, accreditation matters. Accreditation indicates that a school or program meets certain standards of educational quality.

What’s more, only accredited colleges can distribute federal financial aid. And many employers only hire graduates from accredited institutions.

Some art programs will be programmatically accredited. Here are some of the major art and design accreditors to look for:

What Are the Requirements for Online Art School?

While admission requirements can vary, most online art schools require you to submit:

  • An online application
  • A portfolio
  • Transcripts
  • Test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement

Online art schools often require a final project such as a portfolio, thesis, performance, or exhibition in order to graduate.

Due to the field’s hands-on nature, many online art programs incorporate some on-campus components, such as summer studio intensives.

What Can I Do With an Online Art Degree?

Artists play a critical role in many industries.

Designers, illustrators, and graphic designers often work in advertising, manufacturing, publishing, and entertainment. Art education majors may work as teachers in art departments.

Art history students, meanwhile, may be interested in becoming museum curators.

Although many art positions don’t require a degree, a college education can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs.

10 Popular Jobs for Online Art Degree-Holders
JobMedian Annual Salary (May 2021)Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)Minimum Education Required
Actors$23.48 per hour8%Some college, no degree
Art Directors$100,8904%Bachelor’s
Fashion Designers$77,4503%Bachelor’s
Fine Artists$60,8206%None
Graphic Designers$50,7103%Bachelor’s
Industrial Designers$77,0303%Bachelor’s
Interior Designers$60,3401%Bachelor’s
Musicians and Singers$30.49 per hour4%None
Photographers$38,9509%High school diploma
Special Effects Artists and Animators$78,7905%Bachelor’s

Source: BLS

Q&A With a Real Artist and Art School Graduate

Q: Why did you decide to go to art school?

“I’ve been a 2D artist since I was a child, but as I got into high school, I saw on the internet how I didn’t quite compare to the best out there. I was introduced to 3D modeling and animation by my sister. I tried a Maya class in my community college, loved it, and got my associate of arts in art and new media. I eventually searched for ways to get my bachelor’s [in 3D modeling].”

10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (1)

Anna Cavasos, 3D Visual Effects Artist

Q: How did you choose your art program?

“I considered a few schools. I ended up choosing Gnomon [School of Visual Effects] because the student reels looked like professional work.”

10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (2)

Anna C.

Q: What surprised you the most about earning an art degree?

“I was surprised at how much a school’s name can get you in the door. … The job department was excellent and would follow up with studios after I applied to make sure I got that extra edge. I also had interviewers tell me that since I went to Gnomon, they knew I was capable and would be able to perform their work.”

10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (3)

Anna C.

Q: How did art school help you reach your personal or professional goals?

“The biggest way art school helped me was to give me access to industry professionals. Getting critique from them really helped me bring my work to another standard. They taught me techniques and skills that I would never have been able to learn otherwise. They also helped me look at my own work with a critical eye, which helps me in my personal work.”

10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (4)

Anna C.

Is Online Art School Worth It?

Whether online art school is worth it depends on your interests, circ*mstances, and goals. For some, an art degree can open doors. Others, however, might benefit from a different major or delivery format.

Carefully consider the pros and cons of online art schools before you apply.

Online Art School May Be Worth It If …

  • You need a flexible schedule.
  • You’re working and need the flexibility of an online program to pursue your career goals.
  • You choose an art school that fits your budget and offers degrees in your creative field.
  • Earning an art degree would lead to new job opportunities or a higher salary.
  • You have a clear plan for your career path and it requires a bachelor’s degree.

Online Art School May Not Be Worth It If …

  • You’re interested in an art degree that requires in-person training not offered by online programs.
  • Earning an art degree would require significant debt, and you plan to pursue a lower-paying role.
  • You can gain experience in your field and qualify for roles without a degree.
  • You’re not sure whether you want to pursue a career in the arts and want a more interdisciplinary education.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Art School

Can you learn art online?

Yes, you can learn art online. Many art programs offer online options in areas like animation, design, and drama. For example, you can earn a game design or interior design degree online. You can also study web design, art history, music, and art education online.

Some fields require in-person study. If you’re a performance-based major, you might consider a hybrid program that blends in-person and online coursework.

Are art jobs in demand?

Many creative careers are projected to grow over the next decade. For instance, jobs for fine artists are projected to grow by 6% from 2021-2031 according to the BLS, while jobs for special effects artists and animators are projected to grow by 5%.

Jobs for fashion designers and graphic designers are also projected to grow in the next decade.

Currently, the fastest-growing creative field is digital design, which includes web developers. According to the BLS, this field is projected to grow at a 23% rate, with around 21,800 job openings each year between 2021 and 2031.

What type of artist gets paid the most?

The highest-paid art career is art director, according to the BLS. These creative professionals typically work in advertising, publishing, or public relations. Art directors create a visual style for product layouts, packaging, media productions, and magazines.

In May 2021, art directors reported a median annual salary of $100,890.

Other high-paying art and design careers include animation, fashion design, and industrial design. These careers all reported median salaries of over $75,000 per year in May 2021.

What is the best degree for art?

Many art and design jobs require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. A bachelor’s can lead to opportunities as a graphic designer, animator, fashion designer, or interior designer.

Roles like digital designer also typically require a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re considering an online degree in art, research the program’s graduation and job placement rates. You should also ask about internships and experiential learning opportunities. Finally, look for programs that offer career advising and support.

What is the cheapest art school?

The cheapest art schools are public and private schools that offer low tuition rates and/or plenty of financial aid support. For example, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in art or design at a public university for around $9,000 per year.

While private art schools usually charge higher tuition rates, many offer scholarships and discounts for fully online students.

When researching the best online art schools, check tuition rates. Reach out to schools and ask about financial aid opportunities. And don’t forget to calculate the total cost of the degree to determine your potential return on investment.

Next Steps

10 Best Online Art Schools 2023 (2024)


What is the best online art program? ›

Here are our top picks
Course HighlightWorkload
Best Digital Sketching Course (Udemy)6 hours
Best Character Coloring and Painting Course for Beginners (Udemy)20 hours
Best Vector Art Course with Adobe Illustrator (Udemy)8 hours
Best Free Procreate Digital Painting Tutorials (Art with Flo)75 hours
5 more rows
Mar 18, 2024

What is the #1 art school in the US? ›

University of California--Los Angeles

Are online art schools worth it? ›

Ultimately, the decision of whether online art classes are worth it depends on your individual goals, preferences, and circ*mstances. However, for many aspiring artists, the convenience, flexibility, and opportunities for growth that online art classes offer make them a worthwhile investment in their artistic journey.

What is the hardest art school to get into in the US? ›

Out of all the different art colleges, Harvard is the hardest to get into when looking strictly at acceptance rates. That is to say, Harvard has the lowest acceptance rate among all schools that offer a degree in fine arts, according to U.S. News.

What is the most popular art program? ›

Best Overall: Adobe Photoshop

It is an industry-standard and is revered as the best overall digital art software. Its extensive feature set includes advanced tools for photo editing, digital painting, graphic design, and more.

What is the best free art program? ›

The best free drawing software of 2024 in full:
  1. Krita. Best free drawing software overall. ...
  2. Artweaver Free. Best free drawing tool for beginners. ...
  3. Microsoft Paint 3D. Best free drawing software for basic 3D modeling. ...
  4. Microsoft Fresh Paint. Best free drawing app for painters. ...
  5. MyPaint.
Feb 5, 2024

What is the #1 art school in the world? ›

Royal College of Art

What is the most prestigious art school in the world? ›

QS Ranking of the Top Arts Schools in the World
UniversitiesQS World University Ranking by Subject Arts and Design 2023
Royal College of Art, London#1
University of the Arts London, London, UK#2
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA#3
Parsons School of Design at The New School, NYC, USA#4
6 more rows
Jan 18, 2024

What is the top ranking school of art? ›

Yale University

#1 Best Colleges for Art in America.

What are the cons of art school? ›

Beyond the cost of art school, which the media covers exhaustively, there are other reasons people say, “Don't go to art school.” Studio classes can be exhausting and homework takes a lot of time. If you went to art school for a specific major, you could feel like your foundation classes are a waste of time.

Can I teach art online without a degree? ›

University teachers need at least a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) or Master of Arts (MA). Private online teachers may not need additional education or certification, but employers may want to see a substantial portfolio of their work before hiring you to teach in their online programs.

What is the easiest art to get into? ›

Hand Sketching. One of the easiest art ideas to start with that requires no special materials is drawing.

What GPA do most art schools require? ›

Your GPA is an important part of the admissions process. It informs the admissions committee of your academic abilities. By looking at your GPA, the admission officer can get an idea of what kind of student you've been and will be. The typical high school GPA requirement of a top art college ranges from 3.3 to 3.9.

Which art form is most difficult? ›

'Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential. ' ~ Wassily Kandinsky.

What art program do professionals use? ›

Adobe Photoshop is the best drawing app for Windows devices. The digital art software sets an industry-standard for features and tools, including impressive AI work to lighten the load. It also works well combined with the likes of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Fresco.

What is the most realistic painting program? ›

Rebelle is the award-winning, hyper-realistic painting software with phenomenal oils, acrylics, watercolors, and other wet and dry media.

What is the easiest digital art program to learn? ›

Procreate has many digital features, such as brush customization, perspective rulers, clipping masks, text tools, and animation. Not only is it rich in features, but it also has a clean interface that's easy for beginners to understand.

How good is Procreate? ›

With its bountiful features and effects, brushes and brush types, Animation Assist, and 3D painting, Procreate feels like it's worth even more than its asking price, which isn't something we say too often. That's why it's an Editors' Choice winner for sketching, painting, and illustrating.


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