A Guide to Online Visual & Performing Arts Degrees Accredited Online Degree Programs in Visual & Performing Arts

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Visual and performing arts degrees include both BA and BS programs. Students with a variety of talents study painting, dance, acting, photography, and other visual arts. With a visual or performing arts degree students go on to find jobs or start businesses where they can pursue their passions. Many students go on to pursue master’s or doctoral level degrees in their area of expertise.

In this section, we cover the following: 

  • What kind of majors are in the visual and performing arts category?
  • What majors are in visual and performing arts?

What Majors are in Visual and Performing Arts?

With a performing arts degree, artists use their skills to perform or become coaches, choreographers, and teachers. Graduates who become teachers may teach in public or private schools or conduct private lessons. Dancers in large cities make up the bulk of successful visual performing arts students. Other popular majors include painting, photography, sculpting and art. With a degree in fine arts, students can pursue a variety of careers and can learn the latest techniques to further their craft. Learn more about these programs below.

Most Popular Schools with Online Visual & Performing Arts Degree Programs

Arts and Design Salary Expectations

The median annual wage for arts and design occupations was $48,130 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.

OccupationEntry-Level Education2019 Media Pay
Art DirectorsBachelor’s degree$94,220
Craft and Fine ArtistsSee more about Art & Design$48,760
Fashion DesignersBachelor’s degree$73,790
Floral DesignersHigh school diploma or equivalent$28,040
Graphic DesignersBachelor’s degree$52,110
Industrial DesignersBachelor’s degree$68,890
Interior DesignersBachelor’s degree$56,040
Multimedia Artists and AnimatorsBachelor’s degree$75,270

Most Affordable Online Visual & Performing Arts Degree Programs

What Can You Do with a Visual & Performing Arts Degree?

There are numerous paths for careers in visual and performing arts. For example, students with a photography degree can become creative director’s or lead photographers for major publications.

Freelance videographers go on to pursue visual and performing arts careers. Some become writers and editors and others take on roles as creative leads. Other visual and performing arts major careers include artists that go on to become freelance designers.

With five to eight years of experience, careers in visual and performing arts can lead to supervisory positions or new businesses. From web graphics to marketing, professional roles open up to degree holders seeking visual and performing arts careers.

Examples of visual and performing arts major careers include:



Pursuing a dancing career is intense, especially given the short life span of most dancing careers. Dancers perform in movies, casinos, cruise ships, music videos and the theater, among other venues. The job is physically taxing in many dancers retire or pursue other careers by age 40.

Obtaining a degree can provide artist with a backup when it comes to making a living as their physical capabilities diminish with age.


As with other visual arts careers, there is no formal requirement for a degree in photography. However, receiving postsecondary, Masters and doctoral degrees provides photographers with marketable skills and helps them build their reputation. Getting an education with progressive degrees can also open doors to teaching and holding workshops for students, which can become a great income stream.

With a photography degree, students can gain experience and learn how to put together a portfolio. People hire photographers for a number of reasons including graduation, wedding, school pictures and other events. Building a clientele can take some time but pay off with steady income and referrals. Going to school to get a degree can help photographers learn more about the marketing and finance side of opening a business.

Postsecondary Teachers

Many people with a degree in visual arts teach high school or college level programs. Requirements vary from institution to institution, but many positions require a master’s degree or doctoral degree. Students prefer instructors with both experience and educational credibility.

Degree Types in the Visual and Performing Arts

Students who get an associate’s degree often go on to higher levels of education such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Those who wish to teach or obtain deep knowledge in their areas of expertise often go on to pursue a doctoral degree. Learn more about the various online degrees, certificates and scholarships available in the sections below.


With an associate of arts online degree, students can try out visual and performing arts that appeal to their talents. An associates of arts degree online allows students to learn more about their craft while determining what career choice best suits their interests.

There are many choices available for associate of arts degree online. Choose an accredited online associates of arts degree that has a well-respected program in your area of specialization.

Durham Tech has an Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts that requires 60 credit hours and often qualifies for transfer to a four-year institution. With this degree, students also gain competence in writing, reading, math, computer and other basics. This program covers design methods for digital and traditional media, and students learn concepts and ethics regarding visual communications as well as how to understand a client’s needs.

The program’s courses include the following:

  • Design and color
  • Typography
  • 3-D drawing
  • Vector illustration
  • Imaging
  • Digital art


With a visual arts degree online at the baccalaureate level, students receive a four-year online visual arts degree in their field. Online performing arts degrees provide a great foundation for students who want to go on to earn a master’s degree or become working professionals in the visual arts arena.

Typically, a performing arts degree online can take anywhere from three to five years to complete, depending on whether the students attend part time or full time and the complexity of their program. With the bachelors degree in visual arts, students also have an opportunity to take courses in other disciplines such as finance and marketing. This allows them to prepare themselves for careers as freelancers, performers and teachers.

With an online visual arts degree, artists can take their talent to the next level. A variety of talented performers choose online performing arts degrees, which offer maximum flexibility for when and where to complete coursework. This can be important for sculptors, painters, dancers, singers and other performers who spend the majority of their day working or going on auditions.

A performing arts degree online teaches students the history and theory behind their craft. Students can learn a variety of artistic styles and ways of expressing themselves. With a visual arts online degree, many students are better able to articulate their skills, express their passion and pursue advanced technical training.

Several accredited universities and colleges offer a visual arts online degree. Some have shorter terms that allow students to take off time without missing 10 or 15 weeks of school. The flexibility of online classes is a strong draw for working professionals who teach, manage businesses and juggle family responsibilities with their career ambitions.

Top visual arts degree online programs include the following:

  • Nazareth College, located in Rochester, NY
  • Converse College, located in Spartanburg, SC
  • William Jewell College, located in Liberty, MO
  • University of North Carolina School of the Arts, located in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University, located in Lincoln, NE


Rockhurst has a masters in visual arts online. This is just one example of hundreds of master of visual arts online degrees students can choose from. At Rockhurst, students take 25 hours of foundational courses and then complete 10 credits in their area of concentration.

To provide an understanding of a typical master in performing arts online, here are the courses offered at the university:

  • Financial Decision Making
  • Managerial Communications
  • Project Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • Compass Learning Community
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • HR and Managing People
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Leadership
  • Conflict Management
  • Business Management
  • Organizational Change

A masters in visual arts online gives students an edge over other candidates when it comes to professional, teaching and even performing roles. With a master of visual arts online, students open the opportunities available to them, as long as they choose an accredited master in performing arts online with a great reputation.


UARTS has a PhD in Creativity that is available mostly online but also requires low residency. Coursework includes classes in interdisciplinary arts, sciences and humanities. This unique PhD in art online represents some of the diverse programs you can find to meet your creative and professional goals. This doctorate in fine arts online includes courses in creative thinking, and workshops to develop dissertation ideas and research plans.

With a PhD in art online, graduates can go on to teach at high schools, college and post graduate programs. A doctorate fine arts online program offers maximum flexibility for students juggling diverse responsibilities such as jobs, performance schedules, running businesses and spending time with family and friends.

Accreditation for the Arts

Without the appropriate accreditation, degrees from colleges and universities hold little meaning. For students serious about pursuing jobs in dance, art, acting, and other visual arts, a degree from an accredited institution provides an edge over their competitors. With so many choices online, It’s important to carefully research any schools that make a student’s top 10 list. Word of mouth and online rankings can help those seeking schools narrow down their list of choices. Many schools also offer virtual tours and advisors for incoming students looking for more information about specific programs.

Art school accreditation includes the following steps:

  • Completion of a self-evaluation by the university or college
  • On site evaluation by experts in the field
  • Assessment by an accrediting organization

There are many accrediting agencies that specialize in visual and performing arts. These agencies awards accreditation too schools that demonstrate they can comply with the standards and guidelines in the industry. Self-regulation and peer reviews are key to this process.

Choose schools that have reputable programs in your area of art, dance or other visual performing arts.

Art Institutes Accreditation Agencies

Art school accreditation includes agencies listed on the Department of Education website. The most popular agents for performing arts accreditation include the following:

Many agencies involved in art institutes accreditation have histories that go back decades or over a century.


Harvard University offers a Visual Arts Graduate Certificate. Certifications are a great way for performers to explore the arts and obtain credentials from top brand schools. Whether you choose an online certification or in person option, hands-on artistic and academic experience can enrich your career. Liberal arts graduate certificates require experience and a bachelors degree and gives students the opportunity to fill in the gaps between mediums, themes and genres that they didn’t have a chance to explore in their undergraduate experience.

This visual art certificate focuses on methodologies on how to understand, appreciate and critique art. This graduate certificate in visual art gives graduates and deeper knowledge of the political, cultural, historical backdrop for art movements. With a certificate in visual arts, successful graduates will learn more about Buddhist and Japanese influence on western art and art history in the contemporary era.

A visual arts certificate is a great way to prepare for upcoming master’s classes and a graduate certificate in visual art can increase the authority of musicians, actors and artists who teach. With a certificate in visual arts, students can deepen their knowledge in a preferred niche.


There are many visual and performing arts scholarships available online. Choose visual and performing arts scholarships that apply to your experience and professional goals.

Scholarship.com lists hundreds of visual arts scholarships, including the following:

  • Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship    
  • AGL Over the Rainbow Scholarship
  • Against The Grain Production Artistic Scholarship    
  • Arts for Life! Scholarship    
  • Betty Harlan Memorial Art Scholarship
  • Austin College Art Scholarships

With online degrees and thousands of scholarship opportunities, a degree in visual and performing arts makes sense on a number of levels. Students who have been holding off their education due to financial or time constraints can now fit in their studies around their own schedule and attend part time if necessary. Research schools that match your interest and experience will help you further your career or develop your business.

Whether you are a freelance writer or a classical ballet dancer, pursuing degrees online can hope you work in school around it busy rehearsal or work schedule.


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Ready to start your journey?