Is Art School Worth It? A Clear-Cut Guide to Help You Decide

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Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Dee

Deciding on an art education is a significant choice that can shape your future. Are you wrestling with the idea of enrolling in an art school but feeling uncertain about its worth? This common dilemma touches on various important aspects, from the enrichment and skills art school offers to its financial implications and uncertain impact on career prospects.

Our comprehensive guide delves into the heart of this decision. We present a balanced view, weaving in the insights and experiences of art school graduates. By examining both the advantages and challenges of pursuing an art education, we aim to equip you with the necessary information to make a choice that aligns with your aspirations and circumstances. Embark on this journey with us to uncover the true value of art school and its role in sculpting your artistic path.

is art school worth it

One of the main benefits of attending art school is the opportunity to develop your artistic skills and techniques.

Art school provides a structured and immersive environment where you can focus on your craft and receive guidance from experienced instructors. You will be exposed to a range of art theory and practical resources as well as instructional videos.

Additionally, art school can offer opportunities for networking and collaboration with other artists, which can be valuable for your career.

However, the cost of attending art school can be a significant barrier for many students, and the return on investment may not always be clear.

The Value of Art School

If you’re considering getting an art education, you may be wondering if the investment is worth it. While it’s true that art school can be expensive, there are many benefits to pursuing a degree in the arts. Here are two key areas where art education can provide value:

Personal Growth

Art school isn’t just about learning how to draw or paint. It’s also a place where an art student can explore her creativity and develop your own artistic voice.

In art classes, you’ll be encouraged to experiment with different mediums and techniques, and you’ll receive feedback from experienced instructors and your peers. This can help you to develop your own unique style and gain confidence in your abilities.

Art school can also be a place where you can connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for the arts. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with other students on projects, attend art shows and events, and build a network of contacts that can be invaluable in your future career.

Skills Development

Art school can provide you with the technical skills you need to succeed as an artist. In classes, you’ll learn about color theory, composition, and other fundamental concepts that are essential for creating compelling artwork. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop your skills in a variety of mediums, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and digital art.

In addition to technical skills, art school can also help you to develop other valuable skills, such as time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills can be useful in any career, not just in the arts.

Overall, attending art school can be a valuable investment in your future. While it may be expensive, the personal growth and skills development you’ll experience can be priceless. If you’re a teen or considering taking a class to develop your artistic skills, attending art school may be a great option for you.

The Cost of Art School

Attending art school can be a dream come true for many aspiring artists, but the cost of tuition and living expenses can be a major concern. In this section, we will break down the cost of art school into two sub-sections: tuition fees and living expenses.

Tuition Fees

The cost of tuition for art school can vary greatly depending on the school and program. According to Campus Explorer, many art schools are among the most expensive colleges in the U.S. Tuition fees can range from $20,000 to $60,000 per year, with some private art schools costing even more. However, it is important to note that many public art schools also have lower tuition fees.

When considering the cost of tuition, it is important to also consider the financial aid and scholarship opportunities available. Many art schools offer financial aid and scholarships based on merit, need, and talent. It is important to research and apply for these opportunities early on in the application process.

Living Expenses

In addition to tuition fees, living expenses can also add up quickly for art school students. This includes the cost of housing, food, transportation, and art supplies. The cost of living can vary greatly depending on the location of the school and the student’s lifestyle.

One way to save on living expenses is to consider living off-campus or in shared housing. This can be a more affordable option than living on-campus or in a single apartment. Students can also save on food expenses by cooking their own meals instead of eating out.

Overall, the cost of art school can be a major concern for many students. However, with careful planning and research, it is possible to find affordable options and make the most of financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Alternatives to Art School

If you’re considering a career in the arts, you might be wondering if you need to go to art school. While art school can provide valuable networking opportunities and a structured curriculum, it can also be expensive and time-consuming. Luckily, there are several alternatives to art school that can help you develop your skills and build your career.

Online Courses

One alternative to art school is taking online courses. There are several websites that offer courses in a variety of art-related subjects, such as drawing, painting, and graphic design. Some popular options include Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera. These courses are often much cheaper than traditional art school programs and can be completed at your own pace.

Another benefit of online courses is that they often provide access to a community of artists and instructors. Many courses have forums or chat rooms where you can ask questions, share your work, and get feedback from other students. This can be a valuable resource for building your portfolio and networking with other artists.


Another alternative to art school is self-study and becoming a self taught artist. This involves developing your skills on your own, without the structure of a formal curriculum. While self-study can be challenging, it can also be rewarding and cost-effective.

One way to self-study is by using art history books, art techniques and online resources. There are many books on art theory, technique, and history that can help you improve your skills and knowledge. You can also find tutorials and instructional videos on websites like YouTube and Twitter. You can also listen to podcasts about history to get a general understanding of your field.

Another way to self-study is by attending workshops and conferences for professional development. Many organizations and galleries offer workshops and classes on a variety of art-related subjects. These can be a great way to learn new skills, meet both young artists and older artists, and build your portfolio.

In conclusion, while art school can be a valuable experience, it’s not the only way to build a career in the arts. Many artists choose online courses and self-study as cost-effective alternatives that provide access to valuable resources and communities.

Art School and Career Prospects

If you’re considering art school, one of the most important factors to consider is how it will affect your career prospects. While there’s no guarantee that attending art school will lead to job opportunities, there are some potential benefits that could make it worth your while.

Job Opportunities

One of the most obvious benefits of attending art school is that it can help you develop the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue an art career. Depending on your interests and goals, this could mean working as a graphic designer, illustrator, fine artist, or any number of other creative professions.

While there’s no guarantee that an art degree will lead directly to a job, many art schools have resources available to help art students find employment after graduation. These might include job boards, career counseling services, or connections with alumni who are already working in the field.

Networking Opportunities

Another potential benefit of attending art school is the opportunity to network with other artists, designers, and creative professionals. This could include your classmates, faculty members, visiting artists, and guest lecturers.

Networking can be an important part of building a successful career in the arts, as it can help you make connections, find job opportunities, and learn about new trends and techniques in your field. By attending art school, you’ll have the chance to meet and collaborate with other talented individuals who share your passion for creativity.

In conclusion, attending art school can be a great way to develop your skills and knowledge, connect with other artists and designers, and pursue a career in the arts. While there’s no guarantee that it will lead directly to a job, the potential benefits are certainly worth considering.

Experiences from Art School Graduates

As with any educational path, attending art school can come with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. Here are some experiences from art school graduates to help you get a better understanding of what to expect.

Success Stories

Many art school graduates have gone on to have successful careers in their chosen field. They credit their time in art school as being instrumental in their success. Art school provided them with the opportunity to develop their skills, network with other artists, and gain exposure to different styles and techniques.

Some graduates have even gone on to win prestigious awards and recognition for their work. For example, artist and art school graduate, Kara Walker, was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1997 for her work in the field of contemporary art.

Challenges Encountered

While attending art school can be a rewarding experience, it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges that art school graduates face is the high cost of tuition. Many graduates are left with significant student loan debt that can take years to pay off.

Another challenge that art school graduates face is finding work in their chosen field. While some graduates are able to secure jobs in the arts, others may struggle to find work or may need to take on multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Additionally, art school can be a competitive environment, which can be both motivating and intimidating for students. Some graduates may struggle with feelings of self-doubt or imposter syndrome as they navigate their way through art school.

Overall, attending art school can be a valuable experience for those who are passionate about the arts. However, it is important to weigh the potential challenges and rewards before making a decision to attend.

is art school worth it


In conclusion, the decision to attend art school is a personal one that requires careful consideration. While art school can offer valuable networking opportunities and knowledge, it is not a guarantee of success in the art world.

It is important to weigh the cost of attending art school against potential career opportunities and earning potential. As noted in the search results, the cost of attending art school can be significant, and the salary of an artist may not always be high enough to justify the expense.

Additionally, it is important to consider the audience for your art. While art school can provide a strong foundation in technique and theory, it may not necessarily prepare artists for the practicalities of marketing and selling their work to a wider audience.

Ultimately, the decision to attend art school should be based on individual goals and circumstances. As with any educational pursuit, it is important to do research and consider all options before making a decision.

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