Freelance Art Director Education Requirements And Degrees

There are several education requirements to become a freelance art director. Freelance art directors usually study graphic design, fine arts or design and visual communication. 79% of freelance art directors hold a bachelor's degree and 10% hold a associate degree. We found these by analyzing 2,312 freelance art director resumes to investigate the topic of freelance art director education more precisely.

The most common colleges for students to pursue their goal of becoming a freelance art director are School of Visual Arts and Art Center College of Design.

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

What Degree Should I Get to Become a Freelance Art Director ?

The most common degree for freelance art directors is bachelor's degree 79% of freelance art directors earn that degree. A close second is associate degree with 10% and rounding it off is master's degree with 7%.

  • Bachelors, 79%
  • Associate, 10%
  • Masters, 7%
  • Diploma, 2%
  • Other Degrees, 2%
Freelance Art Director DegreeascdescPercentagesascdesc
Bachelors
78.9%
Associate
10.4%
Masters
7.0%
Diploma
1.7%
High School Diploma
1.3%

What Should I Major in to Become a Freelance Art Director ?

Most freelance art directors, 40% to be exact, major in graphic design. Some other common majors for a freelance art director include fine arts and design and visual communication majors.

Freelance Art Director MajorascdescPercentagesascdesc
Graphic Design
40.3%
Fine Arts
14.9%
Design And Visual Communication
8.1%
Photography
5.4%
Advertising
5.3%

Most Common Colleges for Freelance Art Director

Here are the most common colleges for a freelance art director career in the US based on their resumes. Advocates often get their degree in School of Visual Arts, Art Center College of Design, and Pratt Institute .

School of Visual Arts

Art Center College of Design

Pratt Institute

Syracuse University

Fashion Institute of Technology

Freelance Art Director Common CollegeascdescPercentagesascdesc
School of Visual Arts
20.00%
Art Center College of Design
8.78%
Pratt Institute
8.29%
Syracuse University
7.80%
Fashion Institute of Technology
5.61%

Average Freelance Art Director Salary by Education Level

Freelance art directors with a Bachelors degree earn more than those without, at $81,278 annually. With a Masters degree, freelance art directors earn a median annual income of $79,058 compared to $76,862 for freelance art directors with an Associate degree.

High School Diploma or Less

Master's Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Some College/ Associate Degree

Freelance Art Director Education LevelascdescFreelance Art Director Salaryascdesc
High School Diploma or Less
$66,183
Master's Degree
$79,058
Bachelor's Degree
$81,278
Some College/ Associate Degree
$76,862

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10 Best Universities For Freelance Art Directors

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 freelance art directors. 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. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

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

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

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

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

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

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

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

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

8. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

9. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

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

10. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
2
Duke University
Durham, NC
3
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
4
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
5
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

20 Best Online Courses for Freelance Art Directors

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

  • Photography
  • Layout
  • Creative concepts
If you want to improve freelance art directors skills these courses could help you in this.

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Photoshop and Photography Digital Art Compositing Course
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Digital Arts Certificate
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Graphic Design Mastery: The FULL Branding & Design Process
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4.4
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Follows the FULL Graphic Design Process for A Company: Logo, Ad, Social Media, T-Shirt, Package, Website Design & More!...

The Freelance Masterclass: For Creatives
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4.8
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The Ultimate Guide to Freelancing: Learn to Price Projects, Build Portfolios, Find Clients, Brand Yourself & More!...

Graphic Design Masterclass - Learn GREAT Design
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4.7
(31,186)

The Ultimate Graphic Design Course Which Covers Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Design Theory, Branding and Logo Design...

Learn Photoshop, Web Design & Profitable Freelancing
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4.6
(6,111)

Learn Adobe Photoshop and use it to create amazing website designs and create a high, stable income. No coding needed!...

Photoshop CC 2021 MasterClass: Be a Creative Professional
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4.4
(706)

Master Adobe Photoshop for Graphic design, Photography, Photoshop retouching, digital painting & illustration, Animation...

Graphic Design Bootcamp: Advanced Training Using Adobe CC
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4.5
(442)

Project-Based Learning For Intermediate Designers: Use Photoshop, Lightroom, and Other Adobe Creative Cloud Programs...

Photoshop CC for Beginners: Adobe Photoshop Course
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4.6
(580)

This Adobe Photoshop CC course will teach you the basics of Photoshop for web design, graphic design, photography & more...

Multimedia Arts Certificate
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Multimedia Arts Certificate...

Pixel Art Master Course - Beginner to Professional/Freelance
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4.6
(5,360)

Learn ALL about pixel art in an always growing course! Get access to basic and pro techniques with daily feedbacks!...

Master Graphic Design & Software with Practical Projects
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4.3
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Conquer Popular Graphic Design Projects: Logo, Package, Magazine, Book Cover Design, Branding, Digital Graphics & More!...

Pixel art for Video games
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The essential course for creating stunning pixel art graphics for video-games or stylish illustrations and designs...

Modern Art & Ideas
coursera

Welcome to Modern Art & Ideas! This course is designed for anyone interested in learning more about modern and contemporary art. Over the next five weeks, you will look at art through a variety of themes: Places & Spaces, Art & Identity, Transforming Everyday Objects, and Art & Society. Each week kicks off with a video that connects works of art from The Museum of Modern Art's collection to the theme. You will hear audio interviews with artists, designers, and curators and learn more about selec...

Arts Therapy: Arts Therapy For Self-Exploration (Part 2)
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4.5
(1,069)

Arts Therapy: Understanding Art Therapy / Therapeutic Art and The Healing Process of Therapeutic Art (Part 2)...

Logo Design Masterclass: Learn Logo Design and Illustrator
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4.4
(1,711)

Learn logo design by applying principles and techniques in Adobe Illustrator CC and Dimension CC. For beginners + more...

Master Web Design in Photoshop
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4.6
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Learn how to create stunning website designs in Photoshop; No coding included!...

Complete Web Design: from Figma to Webflow to Freelancing
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3 in 1 Course: Learn to design websites with Figma, build with Webflow, and make a living freelancing...

The Art of Figure to Ground: Photography's untaught secret
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For years, the Art of Figure to Ground was only taught to artists...

Art for Games
coursera

In this beginner focused specialization we will show you the essentials of 2d and 3d game art production as well as concept art for games and current gen game art workflow. While each of the four courses will build your knowledge of the practice of game art, each module is a self contained unit designed to teach a specific area.\n\nBy the end of the Specialization, you will have a thorough knowledge of the creation of high-quality game art assets. Through these courses, you will be using Maya, U...

Best Freelance Art Director 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 A Freelance Art Director

Top 10 Affordable Universities For Freelance Art Directors

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 freelance art directors.

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. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

10. California State University - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,749
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.
$14,823

Top 10 Hardest Universities To Get Into For Freelance Art Directors

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. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,508

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
5%
SAT Average
1,520

3. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

Admissions Rate
9%
SAT Average
1,516

4. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
17%
SAT Average
1,507

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

Admissions Rate
8%
SAT Average
1,492

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
19%
SAT Average
1,466

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
4%
SAT Average
1,497

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

Admissions Rate
13%
SAT Average
1,445

9. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
22%
SAT Average
1,420

10. New York University

New York, NY • Private

Admissions Rate
20%
SAT Average
1,419
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
2
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
3
Duke University
Durham, NC
4
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA
5
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Top 10 Easier To Apply Universities For Freelance Art Directors

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. Curry College

Milton, MA • Private

Admissions Rate
93%
SAT Average
1,026

4. Wayland Baptist University

Plainview, TX • Private

Admissions Rate
98%
SAT Average
1,003

5. Notre Dame College

Cleveland, OH • Private

Admissions Rate
90%
SAT Average
994

6. Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI • Private

Admissions Rate
71%
SAT Average
1,035

7. University of the Incarnate Word

San Antonio, TX • Private

Admissions Rate
88%
SAT Average
1,044

8. Kean University

Union, NJ • Private

Admissions Rate
86%
SAT Average
991

9. Centenary University

Hackettstown, NJ • Private

Admissions Rate
67%
SAT Average
987

10. Clarke University

Dubuque, IA • Private

Admissions Rate
82%
SAT Average
1,058
RankascdescSchoolascdescLocationascdesc
1
Notre Dame de Namur University
Belmont, CA
2
Mount Saint Mary's University
Los Angeles, CA
3
Curry College
Milton, MA
4
Wayland Baptist University
Plainview, TX
5
Notre Dame College
Cleveland, OH

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