Artist/Illustrator Education Requirements And Degrees

The education needed to be an artist/illustrator is normally a bachelor's degree. Artist/illustrators usually study graphic design, fine arts or animation. 74% of artist/illustrators hold a bachelor's degree and 15% hold a associate degree. We found these by analyzing 509 artist/illustrator resumes to investigate the topic of artist/illustrator education more precisely.

The most common colleges for students to pursue their goal of becoming an artist/illustrator are School of Visual Arts and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. We also broke down what colleges provide the best overall education for an artist/illustrator. Students have a great path to earning their artist/illustrator qualifications at the following schools:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Southern California

If you're interested in getting a college degree in an affordable college for artist/illustrators - University of Florida is an excellent option for you. If your SAT or ACT score aren't as high as you'd like, you can look at Notre Dame de Namur University, as the admission requirements aren't too selective. On the other end of that spectrum are the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University and Northwestern University.

For those who would rather stay in your pajamas during the day, we prepared some online courses that can help in artist/illustrator education paths.

What Degree Should I Get to Become an Artist/Illustrator ?

The most common degree for artist/illustrators is bachelor's degree 74% of artist/illustrators earn that degree. A close second is associate degree with 15% and rounding it off is master's degree with 4%.

  • Bachelors, 74%
  • Associate, 15%
  • Masters, 4%
  • High School Diploma, 3%
  • Other Degrees, 4%
Artist/Illustrator DegreeascdescPercentagesascdesc
Bachelors
74.0%
Associate
15.1%
Masters
4.2%
High School Diploma
2.9%
Diploma
1.9%

What Should I Major in to Become an Artist/Illustrator ?

Most artist/illustrators, 38% to be exact, major in graphic design. Some other common majors for an artist/illustrator include fine arts and animation majors.

Artist/Illustrator MajorascdescPercentagesascdesc
Graphic Design
37.7%
Fine Arts
27.2%
Animation
6.9%
Design And Visual Communication
3.9%
Business
2.3%

Most Common Colleges for Artist/Illustrator

Here are the most common colleges for an artist/illustrator career in the US based on their resumes. Advocates often get their degree in School of Visual Arts, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and Savannah College of Art and Design .

School of Visual Arts

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Savannah College of Art and Design

Syracuse University

Academy of Art University

Artist/Illustrator Common CollegeascdescPercentagesascdesc
School of Visual Arts
12.99%
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
10.39%
Savannah College of Art and Design
7.79%
Syracuse University
6.49%
Academy of Art University
5.19%

Average Artist/Illustrator Salary by Education Level

Artist/illustrators with a Masters degree earn more than those without, at $56,769 annually. With a Bachelors degree, artist/illustrators earn a median annual income of $52,348.

Master's Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Some College/ Associate Degree

Artist/Illustrator Education LevelascdescArtist/Illustrator Salaryascdesc
Master's Degree
$56,769
Bachelor's Degree
$52,348
Some College/ Associate Degree
$49,170

Artist/Illustrator Jobs You Might Like

10 Best Universities For Artist/Illustrators

In a lot of cases, a higher education can mean a higher salary or even a better job. That's why we found out the best colleges for artist/illustrators. We based this list on these metrics: admissions rate, retention rate, mean earnings of students working, ratio of working vs. non-working students 10 years after admission, average cost of attendance and median debt for graduates.

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

5. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
2
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
3
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
4
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
5
Duke University
Durham, NC

20 Best Online Courses for Artist/Illustrators

Sometimes things are just better when you get to stay in your pajamas all day. That includes school. We found top courses for artist/illustrators from Udemy, Coursera, EDX, and ed2go that will help you advance in your career. Here are essential skills you need to be a artist/illustrator:

  • Art direction
  • Photoshop
  • Web services
If you want to improve artist/illustrators skills these courses could help you in this.

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Best Artist/Illustrator Certifications in 2021

1. Certified of Medical Illustrator (CMI)

The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators administers a certification program for illustrators who seek a recognizable means of credentialing. The designation of Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI) denotes this voluntarily earned credential and provides a recognizable means of signifying a practitioners current competency in the profession of medical illustration. Certified Medical Illustrators have passed examinations dealing with business practices, ethics, biomedical science, drawing skills, and have undergone a rigorous portfolio review.

The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators administers a certification program for illustrators who seek a recognizable means of credentialing. The designation of Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI) denotes this voluntarily earned credential and provides a recognizable means of signifying a practitioners current competency in the profession of medical illustration. Certified Medical Illustrators have passed examinations dealing with business practices, ethics, biomedical science, drawing skills, and have undergone a rigorous portfolio review.

Certification Details
  • More than two years of education or training after high school required? Yes
  • More than two years of work experience required? Yes
  • Oral or Written Exam Required? Yes
  • Renewal Required? Every 5 year(s)

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming An Artist/Illustrator

Top 10 Affordable Universities For Artist/Illustrators

If those top 10 were a bit out of your price range, you might want to check these schools instead. After factoring in in-state tuition and fees, average cost of attendance, admissions rate, average net price and mean earnings after 6 years, we found that these are the most affordable schools for artist/illustrators.

1. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$21,034

2. Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Brooklyn, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,240
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$13,991

3. Fashion Institute of Technology

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,740
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$17,864

4. Brigham Young University

Provo, UT • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,620
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$18,136

5. Lehman College of the City University of New York

Bronx, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,210
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,359

6. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$22,430

7. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$18,306

8. Queens College of the City University of New York

Queens, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,338
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$14,281

9. Florida International University

Miami, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,556
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$19,434

10. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,656
Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance is the estimated annual cost of attending a particular college or university. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses.
$21,623

Top 10 Hardest Universities To Get Into For Artist/Illustrators

Some people like a challenge. Well, we challenge you to get into one of these schools. It's not going to be easy. We know this based on these institutions' admissions rates, average SAT scores accepted, median ACT scores accepted and mean earnings of students 6 years after admission.

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,492

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
17%
SAT Average
1,507

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,508

4. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
19%
SAT Average
1,466

5. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
5%
SAT Average
1,520

6. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

Admissions Rate
9%
SAT Average
1,516

7. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
13%
SAT Average
1,445

8. New York University

New York, NY • Private

Admissions Rate
20%
SAT Average
1,419

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
22%
SAT Average
1,420

10. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
4%
SAT Average
1,497
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
2
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
3
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
4
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
5
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Top 10 Easier To Apply Universities For Artist/Illustrators

Why make getting a job harder on yourself than it has to be? With these colleges, you're sure to be accepted in no time. We compiled admissions rates, average SAT scores, average ACT scores and average salary of students 6 years after graduation in order to uncover which were the easiest schools to get into.

1. Notre Dame de Namur University

Belmont, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
82%
SAT Average
983

2. Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
84%
SAT Average
1,031

3. Wayland Baptist University

Plainview, TX • Private

Admissions Rate
98%
SAT Average
1,003

4. Curry College

Milton, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
93%
SAT Average
1,026

5. Notre Dame College

Cleveland, OH • Private

Admissions Rate
90%
SAT Average
994

6. Marymount University

Arlington, VA • Private

Admissions Rate
91%
SAT Average
1,065

7. Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

Admissions Rate
71%
SAT Average
1,035

8. Grand View University

Des Moines, IA • Private

Admissions Rate
92%
SAT Average
1,060

9. Centenary University

Hackettstown, NJ • Private

Admissions Rate
67%
SAT Average
987

10. Thomas More University

Crestview Hills, KY • Private

Admissions Rate
90%
SAT Average
1,099
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
Notre Dame de Namur University
Belmont, CA
2
Mount Saint Mary's University
Los Angeles, CA
3
Wayland Baptist University
Plainview, TX
4
Curry College
Milton, MA
5
Notre Dame College
Cleveland, OH

Artist/Illustrator Internship Jobs

Artist/Illustrator Jobs