There’s much you can accomplish within two years at an art and design school. Although many art schools only offer two-year tracks for Associate of Applied Sciences degrees, there are many colleges throughout the country that offer accelerated tracks for earning a Master of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Post-Baccalaureate diplomas. The important thing to consider is what you want to do with your degree after you graduate. While many commercial positions only require Associate diplomas, most fine arts teaching positions require a Master of Fine Arts degree.
The Art Institutes
Centered in Pittsburgh, the Art Institute maintains a national network of art and design institutes, with locations in nearly every major city in the country. The schools offer two-year associate degree programs in design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts. Beginning with introductory courses in fundamental skills, such as illustration, software competence and communications training, the programs become more focused as they progress into their second year. Additionally, the Art Institute emphasizes hands-on learning, providing students access to work in professional environments.
Art Center College of Design
Located in Pasadena, California, the Art Center College of Design provides an accelerated Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program, allowing students to complete their degree in under three years. The college’s curriculum focuses heavily on craftsmanship and professionalism, providing students with the chance to develop projects for public and commercial organizations, such as Nike, Disney or the school’s non-profit design organization, “Designmatters.” Completion of the Bachelor of Fine Arts requirements at Art Center requires the student to attend eight terms, but since the school operates year round, many students are able to complete their degrees in under three years.
The New School’s Parson School for Design
Situated in the heart of Manhattan, the New School’s art department, called The Parsons School for Design, is renowned for its design program and the architecture of its facilities. In addition to its programs for Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees, Parsons provides two-year Associate in Applied Science degrees in Fashion Design, Graphic Design and Interior Design. The college emphasizes flexibility in its Associate programs, allowing students to complete the 34 required credits part-time and full-time, and boasts a high-percentage of its students going on to careers related to their field of study.
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Just a mile from downtown in the Pearl District of Portland, the Pacific Northwest College of Art offers a number of art and design degree programs. Consisting mainly of Bachelors and Masters in Fine Arts programs, the school also offers a Studio Certificate program. The program emphasizes developing a portfolio over grade achievement, offering both beginning and advanced artists and designers the opportunity to hone their craft for professional careers in digital publishing, fine art, graphic design and illustration. Requiring the completion of at least 15 units of studio work, the program can take as long as the student wishes, but it generally takes under two years to complete.
Travis Meyer is a co-editor at Poor Claudia and Pocket Notes. Also a front-end web developer, he specializes in server-side content management systems, web-based business solutions and graphic design.