Is Art and Design School Really Worth It?

The Economy

Art and design is a rapidly growing sector that has a significant impact on our economy and has played a critical role in innovation and start-up culture. More than 25 million people currently work in an art or design-related industry according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and by 2020 this is projected to be more than 28 million people.

To further understand the scope and importance of the arts on today's economy, view Americans for the Arts 2015 report Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts, which finds that, "Nationally, 702,771 businesses are involved in the creation or distribution of the arts, and they employ 2.9 million people. This represents 3.9 percent of all U.S. businesses and 1.9 percent of all U.S. employees—demonstrating statistically that the arts are a formidable business presence and broadly distributed across our communities."

The Workspace

The ability to think creatively in the work space is an essential skill in today’s society. According to a study by The Conference Board, creativity and innovation are among the top-five skills employers list which will increase in importance within the next five years.

Similarly, in a study done by IBM, 1,500 corporate heads and public sector leaders across 60 nations and 33 industries were polled on what drives them in managing their companies in today's world. Those polled listed creativity as the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing even integrity and global thinking.

The Training

Through learning by making, through engaging in a rigorous and focused track of study with like-minded mentors and peers, through research, and through creative play and risk-taking, AICAD students learn critical thinking and problem solving skills which prepare them for the workforce and for the creative careers of today and the future.

"Our students, regardless of their choice of major, engage in project-based learning.They learn through making. They learn integrative team-based thinking and how to build their ideas through iterative, progressive modeling. They gain empathy and an appreciation of how different disciplines bring distinct approaches to solving complex real-world problems. They learn to focus their creative ideas and to make art that matters--not just within the boundaries of our campus, but also out in the world." - Stephen Beal, President, California College of the Arts, in an article appearing in Huffpost College entitled The Art School Brand: Something in the Way We Teach.

The Success

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, a national survey of 92,000 alumni administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, paints a positive picture of the prospects for success with an art and design degree. Survey results have shown high job satisfaction and involvement in the arts well past graduation. In a special analysis, AICAD alumni were shown to be more likely to pursue, achieve, and maintain a career in the arts after graduation, and their first job is more likely to be closely related to their education then other arts graduates.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

SNAAP data also indicated that AICAD alumni tend to demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit with over 50% of AICAD respondents reporting that they are self-employed.

The Creative Network

AICAD alumni place great professional value on the networks they developed at college, specifically, classmates, alumni, and guest artists. Students studying at AICAD schools graduate into a vast alumni network - a global community of like-minded mentors and peers which they are part of for the rest of their lives.

The Creative Minds

Learn more about how AICAD Alumni are transforming our society.

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