Illustrators get hired to illustrate – but the range of illustrations may surprise you. There are medical illustrators who create images of surgical procedures, the human anatomy, and animations or 3D models for medical purposes. Scientific illustrators may draw or digitally create pictures for scientific publications of subjects ranging from animals to plant life to planets to molecular structures. Legal illustrators work for lawyers creating images required for court cases.

Then, of course, there’s the type of illustrating which most people immediately imagine: pictures in books and magazines or images on textiles, wrapping paper, greeting cards, stationary, or calendars.

Many illustrators now work primarily on a computer, which means they can also work in broadcast media and animation.

Illustration Degrees

Considering the range of careers available, it makes sense there’s an equally wide range of degrees. Many colleges and universities offer both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in fine arts. To broaden your career opportunities, make sure whatever program you choose teaches computer techniques, visual display software, and computer graphics.

Independent art schools usually focus on studio work and hands-on experience, while art degrees at traditional colleges and universities will also require courses in other subjects such as social sciences, English, and natural science along with art history and studio art classes.

Illustrators in technical fields, such as medical illustrating, require special degrees. For that, you can either combine a bachelor’s degree in fine art with pre-med classes, or master’s degrees are available specifically in medical illustration.
 Here are 2 online colleges who strive for excellence i n these fields,
American Intercontinental University with 6 locations available, and Harrington College of Design located in Chicago, Illinois.

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Illustrators are employed all across the American job spectrum to create visual graphics that present ideas and augment text. Students who study illustration at college degree or arts training programs find careers in advertising, public relations, the news media, in education, healthcare, sales and manufacturing, and entertainment sectors. They can work as designers of digital and print presentations, publications, greeting cards, medical and scientific applications.

Colleges and independent art schools offer training programs and undergraduate degrees dedicated to illustration, or at least offer an illustration focus within a larger graphics arts curriculum. Courses in a comprehensive illustration program often introduce students to a combination of hands-on drawing methods in addition to computer-aided illustration software used in commercial print and online publishing.

Among the illustration trades, multi-media artists should have the greatest number of job opportunities over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For those who wish to work in the scientific or medical illustration trades, there are college degree programs that include coursework in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, or geology. Often illustration training programs include studies in broad artistic techniques, including sketching, printmaking, color theory, sculpture, painting, and art history.

The BLS reports that artists and illustrators held approximately 208,000 jobs in 2004, with about 29,000 jobs with median annual earnings between $25,990 and $51,730. Multi-media artists earned between $37,980 and $70,730. With experience, illustration and arts specialists can rise to positions as art directors with design, media, and advertising companies. The top percentage of art directors earned more than $123,320 in 2004.

If you are interested in Online Illustration Colleges, you may also be interested in finding more information on Online Animation Colleges, Online Multimedia Colleges, Online Game Design Colleges and Online Fashion Colleges. Feel free to browse these art school profiles and securely submit your information to request information.

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