Welcome! We hope you'll find this page a good place to help you determine what kind of art-related career is right for you, as well as what you can do right now to work towards that career - starting right here at Linn-Benton.
Want to skip the FAQ's and go straight to the advising guide? Then click here.
You'll find answers to some of the more common questions listed here, as well as detailed advising guides for several degree paths. If you don't see just what you're looking for, or if you want to talk more about what you've read here, then be sure to contact one of us; we find that advising and guiding our students towards a fulfilling artistic career path is one of our favorite things, so please don't hesitate. For contact information, click on the link to our bios.
FAQ's for Visual Arts students
Q: What kind of jobs are there in the arts? How much do these types of jobs pay?
Artists and designers work in a variety of careers. While it's true that fine artists sometimes do fit the "starving artist" stereotype, many people do find more regular, stable careers in the arts. The Federal government maintains a Website that describes all of the occupations in the arts (all the occupations in the whole country, in fact!) Click on the links below to read about what each occupation is, what skills you need, and what kind of values are needed in that job. You can also find out about the average pay and employment outlook in each occupation. (* Note: the ones with stars/asterisks are occupations that the government expects to be growing over the next few years, so pay special attention to those).
- Fine Artist, Sculptor, or Illustrator
- Craft Artist (working with glass, fiber, furniture, ceramics, for example)
- Multimedia Artists and Animators
- Fashion Designer
- Interior Designer
- Art, Music, or Drama Teacher (postsecondary)
- Art Therapist*
- Art Director
- Museum Technician and Conservator*
- Set and Exhibit Designer
- Commercial and Industrial Designer
- Graphic Designer*
Q: What kind of art degree should I get in order to get the job I want?
It seems like there are as many degrees in art as there are occupations! Here is a brief description of what the main degrees are, and why you might consider each. The choice of degree depends on both your career plans and your interests and values, so talk to your advisor before making a decision.
Bachelor of Arts (BA): This is a four-year degree that often has tracks in fine arts, graphic arts, art history, and other sub-fields of art. Generally speaking, this degree is about 2/3 general education courses and 1/3 art courses. This is a great degree for people who want a well-rounded education, which can be important to you personally as well as being increasingly valued by employers. For students interested in teaching art, this is also an excellent choice.
Bachelor of Science (BS): This four year degree is less common, but not unheard of. It, like the BA, is a liberal arts degree and you will get a lot of general education. Your general education courses, however, will be more geared towards math and science. This can be a good choice for people wanting some business skills as part of their degree, for example.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA): This is the go-to degree for many people who want to be professional artists. While it does incorporate some general education courses, it is far more heavily weighted towards art studio classes. (four to five years)
Master of Arts (MA): This is a graduate degree in art (one to two years)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA): This is the terminal graduate degree in the fine arts. (two to three years) An excellent additional resource on this topic is the "Career Information" page of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.
Q: What is the difference between fine arts, commercial art, design, crafts, and all those other terms I keep hearing?
If you are having trouble deciphering some of the career paths described above, it might help to understand the vocabulary of the artistic world! Here are some basic definitions:
Fine Art: This doesn't necessary refer to the quality of the art, but rather to the source of the art. This type of artistic "product" is a form of self-expression, and the motivation to create that particular piece of art came from the artist herself. This is why most fine artists are self-employed.
Commercial Art, usually referred to as Graphic Art: While this sounds like "selling out," commercial art doesn't actually mean anything about the quality of the art. Instead, it refers an artistic product that, unlike fine art, was not motivated from within the artist, but was commissioned by someone else.
Design: An important part of fine art and graphic art. Also called "applied art."
Crafts: This refers to artistic products that are created for a practical, and usually commercial, use. Glasswork, ceramics, apparel, textiles, furniture, jewelry, and even handmade shoes would fall into this category.
Q: If I love creating art, but don't want to be a professional artist, what other careers should I consider?
If you have a strong interest in art, but don't want to be a professional artist, there are lots of options. One is to consider a career that involves working with the arts, with an arts organization, or with artists. A good option with these types of careers is to pursue a second major or minor in addition to art. A second degree in business, for example, would help prepare you to run a non-profit arts organization, be an art agent, or direct a museum. A second degree in psychology would help prepare you to become an art therapist, while a degree in history could allow you to be an art historian or own an antiques shop! A second degree in education would allow you to teach art at various levels. It is generally possible to complete a double major in four years, but it requires careful planning (and possibly a summer or two spent in school). Corporations and companies are also often interested in hiring people with a strong background and/or a degree in the art field because research has shown that their thinking skills are enhanced by their art experience. If you are interested in any of these, or another path, talk to advisors from both disciplines as soon as you can to develop a plan.
Q: What is the Degree Partnership Program, why should I do it, and how do I sign up?
The Degree Partnership Program (DPP for short) is a rather unique arrangement between Linn-Benton and Oregon State. The idea is that you can "live" at one school, but take some of your classes at the other one. For example, you can be a Linn-Benton student, but take classes at OSU. For most of the art degrees that OSU offers, DPP is going to be a great idea. There are some lower-division classes that are required just to get into the major that we can't offer , so you'll definitely want to take those prior to transferring as a junior. (Just as an aside: sometimes LB doesn't offer classes because we don't have someone here with the appropriate expertise, sometimes it's because we don't have the necessary equipment, and sometimes OSU just wants art majors to take that class at OSU).
Here is the LB webpage link to DPP: http://www.linnbenton.edu/go/dpp; and here is OSU's description of the same program: http://oregonstate.edu/partnerships/students/. If you have questions about the details of the program, you can make an appointment with our Dean, who will walk you through the process (to schedule an appointment, please call 541-917-4237). Make this appointment at least one term in advance of when you plan to take classes as a dually-enrolled student at OSU, and be sure to list both Linn-Benton and OSU when you complete your FAFSA (if you don't know what a FAFSA even is, you might want go to this site to learn about financial aid: http://www.linnbenton.edu/go/financial-aid/federal-and-state-programs).
Q: I'm finally ready to graduate! Yay! Now how do I do that?
Congratulations! But first, make sure you really are ready to graduate. Hopefully, you'll be using one of our advising guides (see below) to help ensure that you transfer without losing any credits. If you want to graduate with an AS or AAOT, you also need to check Degree Runner, which you can find in Web Runner under the "Student" tab. Degree Runner will show which courses you've taken, how they are applied to your degree, and what (if anything) you have left to do. Then you need to complete a Graduation Worksheet, have your advisor sign it, and turn it in one term before you finish all your classes. Click on the following link for the specific deadlines, and see the sidebar on the same page for the paperwork that you will need to fill out: http://www.linnbenton.edu/go/graduation
ART ADVISING GUIDES
Once you've figured out what you want to do (see above if you still don't know, or get in touch with a friendly art faculty member), it's time to get started. Linn-Benton offers two transfer degrees in Art, the Associate of Science and the Associate of Arts (Oregon Transfer). Don't be alarmed by the degree title "Associate of Science" - it's still an art degree! It's what we have chosen to call our degrees that are designed to to transfer directly to Oregon State. The Associate of Arts (Oregon Transfer), or AAOT, is a general transfer degree that is accepted at all Oregon four-year institutions. Be careful with this degree, however, since different four-year schools have different specific requirements in the major. Talk to an art advisor to get a better sense of which classes you should take within the AAOT to best transfer to a specific school.
Links to LBCC degrees
- Associate of Arts, Oregon Transfer: Click here for AAOT graduation worksheet
- Associate of Science (transfer to OSU): Click here for AS graduation worksheet
Our AS degree is designed to allow you to transfer directly to OSU in one of four paths. Click on the specific degree below for detailed information on how each course you take at LB will count in each major, and which electives make the most sense for you. We recommend that you use these as your guides in selecting courses here at LB.
Links to planning guides if you want a BA in Art from OSU
- BA in Art, Art History option
- BA in Art, Fine Arts option
- BS in Apparel Design
- BS in Interior Design, Interior Design or Housing Option
OTHER ADVISING INFO/TOOLS
Graduation worksheets (LBCC degrees)
DegreeRunner is an online tool that lets you track how close you are to completing the requirements for your degree or certificate. You can also run "what if" scenarios for another program to measure how close you are to completion of a different degree or certificate.
To access Degree Runner, go to the LBCC home page and select "Log in to WebRunner". Log in using your student ID and password. Go to the "Student" tab/area, then select the "Academic Records" link. On the next page, select the "Degree Evaluation" link; on the next page, click on the button that says "Connect to DegreeRunner".
Need more information on DegreeRunner and how it works? Click here for FAQ's.
Last updated: 02/03/2012