If you’re considering an online creative arts education, it can be hard to know which program is right for you.
With so many institutions now offering online programs, evaluating each of them is bound to be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to begin, start gathering information and get the conversation going with these questions.
1. Is this institution accredited?
Accreditation means that an establishment meets or surpasses pre-determined educational standards, and accreditation by agencies that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education is the gold standard. Accredited institutions are typically held in higher regard by employers, and if you attend a school that isn’t accredited, you may not be eligible for federal or state financial aid.
Accreditation Information for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division
2. What will my classes be like?
The classroom experience is important whether you attend classes online or at a brick-and-mortar institution. Small classes can allow for increased one-on-one time with the instructor and additional collaboration, critiquing, and networking among students. Ask about class sizes, typical assignments or projects, and how interactive the classroom is at each institution you have on your list. You may even be able to find examples of student work or portfolios, so that you gain a better understanding of what the program can prepare you to create.
Watch our Online Classroom Demo and samples of course material here.
3. What experience do your faculty members have?
Good instructors are critical to you getting the most out of your prgogram, so it's an excellent idea to research the school's faculty members, particularly those who teach in the program that interests you. Look for instructors with appropriate degrees, professional experience, and possibly even publications in their field. Some instructors may have their own websites that showcase their creative work and industry experience.
Learn about our faculty here, or hear from our faculty on the blog.
4. What type of support do you offer? How accessible are members of the faculty and staff?
Inquire about what support is available should you need it. Are there academic resources available around the clock, and tech support for your online classroom? What about career services or financial counseling? You’ll also want to know how accessible your instructor will be for answering questions.
Discover our Graduation Teams, Career Services, Online Library, and more.
5. What tuition is associated with this program and what options do I have when paying for school?
Online education is in many ways cost-effective; you eliminate commuting and relocation expenses by studying remotely. Still, earning a degree is a big investment and you’ll want to know what aid the institutions accepts or provides as well as what monthly payment plans are available. You may qualify for employer tuition assistance, military aid, and financial aid packages that include scholarships, grants, student loans, or military and veteran's benefits.
Learn about our tuition and your financial options here.
6. What are your transfer of credit policies?
If you’ve earned credits elsewhere, find out whether those credits will transfer. You can also check to see if they accept credits for life experience or examinations like CLEP and DANTES that allow you to prove prior experience and expertise. These options can both reduce your tuition and shorten your path to a degree.
Read more here about your options for transferring credit.