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Art Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Kyo Zapanta - February 21, 2022


If you’re looking to fast track your career in the arts, or you can’t afford a four-year bachelor’s degree, you should consider an associate of arts degree . When it comes to art associate degrees there are numerous options across the US. Furthermore, an art associate degree will open up a wide array of career opportunities for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the fastest-growing jobs are in media, business, education, and healthcare. With an art associate degree, you can train for these jobs, increase your earnings, and pave the way for further education in just two years. This guide will take an in-depth look at art associate degree requirements, the best colleges for art, and salary expectations for the top art associate degree jobs.

What Is Art?

Art is any human activity or output that expresses technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. It is based on creative and imaginative talent without the use of science. Art covers a broad range of subjects such as painting, literature, dance, filmmaking, architecture, and cooking.

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What Is an Art Associate Degree?

An art associate degree, commonly known as an Associate of Arts Degree (AA degree), is a standard two-year degree program usually offered by a community college. AA degrees are the first step in the undergraduate process and are often used as a stepping-stone to a four-year bachelor’s degree.

For mature students or those who can’t afford a full four-year degree program, AA degrees can be occupationally focused, preparing students for immediate employment. If you plan on transferring to a four-year institution, your studies will be more generalized. Either way, degree pathways always include the social sciences and liberal arts.

Art Associate Degree Requirements

Admission requirements can vary from school to school, but in general, a high school diploma or a Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED) is the basic requirement for an art associate degree.

To graduate with an AA degree, students are generally required to complete a minimum of 60 degree-applicable units and maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Subjects are divided into general education courses, also called core courses, and elective courses. This allows students to explore a variety of subjects and areas of interest.

How Much Does an Art Associate Degree Cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that in 2019 the average cost of tuition for associate degree students studying full-time was $3,621. Total spending, including room and board, was $11,381 on average.

Art Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Arts Degree

Perspective art students can apply for scholarships, standard financial aid packages, and art grants and fellowships. Unfortunately, art scholarships are usually only granted to students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree. If you only require an art associate degree, then try a federal student loan instead.

The best way to apply for financial aid is by submitting your request through the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) form. Most students who apply for financial aid will be successful. In 2018, the NCES reported that nearly 84 percent of full-time two-year degree students received financial aid .

Best Art Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Bay College Associate of Arts in Arts and Design Higher Learning Commission
Cañada College Associate of Arts in Anthropology Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
College of the Siskiyous Associate of Arts in Humanities Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Keiser University Associate of Arts in Cinematic Arts Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Miami Dade College Associate of Arts in Computer Arts Animation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Regent University Associate of Arts in Christian Studies (Hybrid on-campus and online) Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
St. John’s University Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education
St. Leo University Associate of Arts in Information Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
SUNY Sullivan Associate of Arts in Theater Arts Middle States Commission on Higher EducationState University of New YorkNew York State Department of Education
University of Massachusetts Global Associate of Arts in General Education WSCUC Senior College and University Commission

Best Colleges for Art: Top Art Associate Degree Programs

Whether you are looking to gain employable skills or transfer to a four-year degree program, the following section will help you decide which program is best for you. These art associate (AA) degree programs cover various fields of study, from liberal arts to information technology.

Associate of Arts in Arts and Design | Bay College

Bay College has been around for over 50 years. The AA in Arts and Design program includes art history and visual structure classes. Further career or degree pathways include art education, painting, and digital photography.

Associate of Arts in Anthropology | Cañada College

Cañada College is a San Mateo County public college. The AA in Anthropology includes electives in world music and social concerns. Aside from an obvious possible career in anthropology, you can become a linguist or an urban planner upon graduation.

Associate of Arts in Humanities | College of the Siskiyous

The College of the Siskiyous is part of the California Community Colleges System and is the only college in Siskiyou County. The AA in Humanities allows you to transfer to a variety of four-year colleges and further your education in related studies.

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Associate of Arts in Cinematic Arts | Keiser University

Keiser University is committed to preparing students for successful employment in the movie industry. The AA in Cinematic Arts will help you build a successful career in film production, directing, cinematography, and script analysis.

Associate of Arts in Computer Arts Animation | Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College values personal attention and community. Its academic offerings prime you for the current workforce or higher education. The AA in Computer Arts Animation teaches you how to use cutting-edge 3D animation tools, preparing you for the animated movie industry.

Associate of Arts in Christian Studies | Regent University

Regent University offers degrees in business, communication, technology, divinity, and education. The AA in Christian Studies includes courses such as Theology and Pauline Literature and prepares you for work in human services or Christian education.

Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts | St. John’s University

Students at St. John’s University will benefit from New York City’s vast educational opportunities. AA in Liberal Arts students can expound on their art education and research skills in New York, where arts and culture thrive.

Associate of Arts in Information Technology | St. Leo University

You don’t have to have a science degree to study information technology. St. Leo University, Florida’s oldest Catholic school, offers an arts degree in IT. You’ll learn everything from basic computer skills to finite math, preparing you for an IT degree or an IT career .

Associate of Arts in Theater Arts | SUNY Sullivan

If you love performing on stage, then SUNY Sullivan’s AA in Theater Arts can help fast-track your theater career. Aside from acting classes, you’ll also learn dramatic literature and technical theater design. This art associate degree will help you become stage-ready in just two years.

Associate of Arts in General Education | University of Massachusetts Global

UMass Global has helped working adults earn degrees and succeed in their careers for over 60 years. The AA in General Education prepares you for a four-year bachelor’s degree in a field of your choice. This program covers general knowledge in liberal studies, math, and natural sciences.

Best Online Art Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
American Intercontinental University Associate of Arts in Business Administration Higher Learning Commission
American Public University Associate of Arts in Real Estate Studies Higher Learning Commission
Ashland University Associate of Arts in General Studies with a Business Concentration Higher Learning Commission
California University of Pennsylvania Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Eastern Kentucky University Associate of Arts in General Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Florida Institute of Technology Associate of Arts in Aviation Management Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Hodges University Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Liberty University Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Pennsylvania State University Associate of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Southern New Hampshire University Associate of Arts in Photography New England Commission of Higher Education

Best Colleges for Art: Top Online Art Associate Degree Programs

An accredited Associate of Arts (AA) online program is ideal if your career or personal obligations prevent you from attending a four-year or two-year program at a private or public university in person. This means you can graduate without giving up your day job. Below are some online AA degree programs to consider.

Associate of Arts in Business Administration | American Intercontinental University

American Intercontinental University aims to meet students’ educational needs academically, personally, and professionally. The AA in Business Administration lets you master business writing, speaking, and management skills as well as learn about modern computer systems and applications.

Associate of Arts in Real Estate Studies | American Public University

APU’s online courses equip students for global service and leadership. You can become an agent, broker, or appraiser with APU’s real estate studies, where you learn property valuation and management. You’re not awarded a professional certification, but will be prepared to obtain one.

Associate of Arts in General Studies with a Business Concentration | Ashland University

Ashland University endeavors to focus on the individual. The AA in General Studies with a Business Concentration prepares you for entry-level business positions and provides the groundwork for advanced degrees.

Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies | California University of Pennsylvania

California University is a public university in Pennsylvania. The AA in Liberal Studies equips you with broad knowledge and in-demand skills. After completing the program, you can work in accountancy, advertising, or public relations.

Associate of Arts in General Studies | Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University has offered online degrees since 2006. The online AA in General Studies allows students to customize their degree plan to their career path. Students can use advanced degree credits to broaden their job prospects.

Associate of Arts in Aviation Management | Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Tech opened in 1958 to serve the Space Coast. If you’re interested in aviation, freight, or cargo, or wish to work in this industry, then the AA in Aviation Management is for you. Airspace systems, aviation planning, and safety are part of the program’s courses.

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice | Hodges University

Hodges University helps students hone their skills in personal, professional, and civic endeavors. There are classes on public policy and criminal justice reform from seasoned law enforcement professionals. After finishing the AA in Criminal Justice, you can apply to become a security officer or a police officer.

Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies | Liberty University

Political and economic principles, institutions, and free-market processes are covered in the AA in Paralegal Studies. An online paralegal degree will give you the basic legal skills required to work closely with lawyers.

Associate of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences | Pennsylvania State University

Penn State’s World Campus allows students to get a degree solely online. The AA in Letters, Arts, and Sciences emphasizes writing, communication, and quantitative reasoning. An advanced degree or a career in retail, sales, or human services can be obtained upon graduation.

Associate of Arts in Photography | Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU reinvents higher education to keep students connected to emerging technology and modern job demands. As such, this AA in Photography is aimed at students interested in photojournalism, portraiture, or product photography.

What’s the Average Art Associate Degree Salary?

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Caption: An art associate degree will get you a lucrative job and help you pay back your student debt

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for art associate degree holders was $938 per week, or $48,776 per year , in 2020. That was more than the national average of $41,950. Furthermore, associate degree holders have an unemployment rate of only 7.1 percent. Read on, as we break down the average salaries for the top art associate degree jobs.

Top Art Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Art Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Writers $67,120
Computer Support Specialist $55,510
Graphic Designer $53,380
Paralegals or Legal Assistant $52,920
Photographer $41,280

Best Art Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Writer

  • Average Salary: $67,120
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Number of Jobs: 143,200
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, California, Connecticut

Writers and authors provide content for advertising, blogs, novels, magazines, and scripts. About 68 percent are self-employed, as better communications and Internet capabilities allow them to work remotely.

Computer Support Specialist

  • Average Salary: $55,510 per year
  • Job Outlook: 9%
  • Number of Jobs: 844,600
  • Highest-Paying States: New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts

Computer support specialists assist and advise computer users and businesses. Nearly a quarter of them are in computer systems design and related services, while 12 percent are in telecommunications. Some work remotely as help-desk experts.

Graphic Designer

  • Average Salary: $53,380 per year
  • Job Outlook: 3%
  • Number of Jobs: 254,100
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Washington, Massachusetts

Graphic designers create visual designs that inspire, inform, and attract people. They plan the layout and production of advertisements, brochures, publications, and reports. Nearly 20 percent are self-employed with a good number working from home.

  • Average Salary: $52,920 per year
  • Job Outlook: 12%
  • Number of Jobs: 345,600
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, California, Washington

Paralegals and legal assistants assist lawyers by managing files, performing legal research, and preparing papers. Nearly 75 percent of them are in legal services teaming up with attorneys and assisting with depositions or trials.

Photographer

  • Average Salary: $41,280 per year
  • Job Outlook: 17%
  • Number of Jobs: 110,500
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, New York, Massachusetts

Photographers create and preserve photos that tell stories or document events. They are mostly self-employed and work either indoors or outdoors, depending on their specialty. Photojournalists are always on the move, while product photographers typically work from a studio.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Art?

Yes, if you want to learn job-specific skills or explore different degree pathways, you should get an associate degree in art. Art associate degrees (AA) will give you a well-rounded education and allow you to explore various fields of interest with elective courses. Furthermore, it only takes two years to complete an AA degree and there are plenty of job prospects.

You can obtain an associate’s degree on-campus across various institutions or through affordable online schools . This allows flexibility while obtaining your degree. Along with subject-specific courses, AA degrees also provide students with general education. This is vital for those looking to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Art Associate Degree FAQ

What is an associate of arts degree good for?

An Associate of Arts degree is good for jobs in social sciences, humanities, design, and education. AA degrees often emphasize career development, and graduates can easily find entry-level jobs in human services, communications, and administration.

Is an associate of arts degree worth anything?

Yes, many professionals value an associate of arts degree because it helps people quickly develop skills needed to excel in a chosen career path. Furthermore, it builds the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree.

What major does an associate of arts allow?

An associate of arts degree allows you to major in a wide variety of subjects such as math, humanities, literature, life sciences, social sciences, and history.

How long does it take to get an associate degree?

An associate in arts degree typically takes two years to finish. Requirements, such as credit hours and average GPA, must be fulfilled to complete your degree. You can use your associate degree as a stepping-stone toward a four-year degree.

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Kyo Zapanta

About the author: Kyo is a writer and educator. After teaching college research and communication for nearly a decade, she worked full-time as a writer and editor for various online news and academic sites before finally joining the Career Karma team. She also continues her volunteer work as a research instructor for senior high school distance learners.

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