Top 6 Online Associate in Art and Art History Degrees

Students in online art history associate degree programs gain unique perspectives on cultural anthropology, world religions, and Western culture while exploring artistic media such as photography and painting. An online art history degree prepares students for a variety of bachelor’s and master’s programs and for careers as museum and gallery curators, gallery managers, and conservators. As public interest in museums and cultural centers grows, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for curators, archivists, and other museum workers will increase 7% by 2024.

What Are The Best Online Associate in Art and Art History Programs?


Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA


Foothill College serves more than 13,000 students from its 122-acre campus in Los Altos Hills, CA, as well as online. The college offers more than 75 associate degrees and professional programs to distance learners, including an online art history associate degree. Art history majors at Foothill College will complete 90 units in a combination of general education, core, support, and elective courses. Coursework is self-paced and is delivered asynchronously through the Canvas platform. The curriculum emphasizes a broad survey of all major periods of art history around the world, beginning with prehistoric art and early Christianity and concluding with modern art and post-impressionism. Additional course topics include cultural anthropology, fundamentals of drawing, and comparative world religions. Applicants must satisfy prerequisites in English and math. Students who plan to advance to a four-year program are strongly encouraged to study one to two years of a foreign language, depending on their specialty.


Allen County Community College Iola, KS


Allen County Community College students embrace technology; 25% of students attending the college’s Iola Campus in Kansas incorporate at least one online learning course into their schedule each semester. Among ACCC’s many online AS and AA degrees, the school offers an associate of arts with an emphasis in art that combines general education and visual arts coursework. Students may choose a track in either art or graphic design. The 64-credit program incorporates study in drawing, English composition, and social and behavioral science. Graduates of the program are eligible for transfer into bachelor-level arts degrees at seven institutions of higher learning across Kansas.


Front Range Community College Westminster, CO


With the majority of its students enrolled in continuing education programs, Front Range Community College boasts a robust selection of online programs for distance learners. The college offers 25 degrees, 13 certificates, and hundreds of courses online, including an online art history associate degree. Graduates who complete the program are guaranteed transfer at partnering schools in Colorado, where they can enter a four-year art history program as a junior. The degree requires 60 credit hours in foundational art history survey courses, studio arts, general education, and electives. The four-semester curriculum also requires intensive study of math, communications, arts and humanities, and science. Students who intend to continue on to a bachelor’s degree after completing their online art history degree at FRCC must fulfill a foreign language prerequisite in their sophomore year.


Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO


Comprised of an 11-campus system spanning 12,000 square miles in north-central Colorado, Colorado Mountain College serves more than 20,000 students each year through its comprehensive on-site and online programs. Among its more than 130 associate, bachelor’s, and certificate programs, CMC offers an online art history associate degree designed for students who intend to transfer to a bachelor’s in art, art history, or a related major. Coursework includes 60 transferable credits in general education, CMC requirements, and electives. The curriculum builds broad skills in communication, math, arts and humanities, and computer proficiency. Online coursework at CMC may include a combination of web-based and interactive video classes requiring asynchronous and synchronous participation.


Essex County College Newark, NJ


Home to two campuses in Newark and West Essex, New Jersey, Essex County College has served a diverse, cross-cultural student body since its founding in 1966. Today, the college offers nearly 50 majors and more than 500 courses on campus and online. The school’s online associate of arts in art prepares graduates to transfer into a bachelor’s program in art, graphic design, interior decoration, advertising, museum studies, curating, or teaching. Students take an average of 16 credits per semester and can complete the degree in two years of full-time study. The curriculum requires the completion of 66 credits in general education and the fundamentals of art, drawing, and two- and three-dimensional design.


Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, CA


Serving the Kern community college district in California, Cerro Coso Online offers 18 associate degrees, 17 certificates, and more than 160 courses to distance learners. The college’s online art history degree is tailored for transfer students, providing a pathway to a bachelor’s program at a school within the California State University system. Graduates of the online degree in art history are guaranteed acceptance into an affiliated CSU baccalaureate program in art history or a related field. Required courses include surveys of western art from prehistory to the middle ages, the Renaissance, and contemporary periods, as well as introductory drawing. Students may choose additional courses from topics including Asian art, design, sculpture, and painting. The art history online degree is comprised of 60 course credits and is typically completed in four semesters or two years.

How to Choose an Online Associate in Art & Art History Program

Identifying the criteria for your ideal online art history associate degree program will help you narrow your search. First, ensure that each school is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency. Also consider tuition costs and financial aid options, such as federal aid and field-specific scholarships. The cost of tuition and fees are affected by the length of the program; accelerated programs take less time to complete and tend to cost less. Online associate degrees in art and art history typically have no on-campus requirements. However, in-state programs may offer lower tuition prices and state-funded scholarships.

Educational Paths for Associate in Art & Art History Degrees

Because most art and art history careers require a bachelor’s degree, many graduates of online art history associate degree programs transfer into bachelor’s programs. An associate degree in art and art history prepares students to pursue bachelor’s degrees in art history and related majors, such as museum and curatorial studies and fine art and design. Below are a few bachelor’s degrees that graduates of online art history associate degree programs commonly pursue.

  1. Art history: A bachelor’s degree in art history expands on introductory concepts covered in associate degree programs. Core coursework covers Renaissance art, contemporary art, and all major periods and movements in between. Some programs require a studio art component.
  2. Museum and curatorial studies: A relatively new and increasingly popular major, museum and curatorial studies prepares students to form collections, arrange objects and develop displays, and impart cultural and artistic messages through exhibitions. As many curator positions require a master’s degree, some schools offer dual bachelor’s/master’s programs.
  3. Art and design: This major is available in BA and BFA degrees; the former includes both visual arts and liberal arts studies, while the latter focuses on studio art. BA programs also develop business and professional skills. BFA degrees encourage portfolio development and may include "benchmark" critiques or reviews.

Career Paths for Art & Art History Graduates

Graduates of online art history degree programs become museum curators, conservators, museum technicians, and gallery curators and managers. Below are common careers for professionals with an online art history associate degree.

Museum Curator

Museum curators acquire and oversee the storage and exhibiting of museum collections. They may also develop a museum’s research and educational programs. This position typically requires a master’s degree.

Median Salary: $49,686

Art Gallery Curator

These professionals curate and manage collections within a commercial art space, which is typically for-profit. Curators at some small institutions and art galleries need only a bachelor’s degree.

Median Salary: $45,011


Archivists preserve historical documents, photographs, maps, and sound recordings for museums and cultural organizations. Some specialize in a particular historical era. A master’s degree is required for entry-level employment.

Median Salary: $48,020

Museum Technician

Museum technicians, or registrars, oversee the safekeeping of artifacts and objects in a collection. They maintain documentation of insurance policies, risk management, and loan agreements. This position requires a bachelor's degree and sometimes a master’s degree.

Median Salary: $37,493


Conservators handle, preserve, and restore works of art, artifacts, and antiques. Most specialize in a particular material or medium and have knowledge of scientific methods of restoration. They typically hold a master’s degree in conservation or a related field.

Median Salary: $40,040

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Art & Art History Associate Programs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for archivists, curators, and other museum workers to increase 7% by 2024. As electronic records management becomes standard, archivists with technology experience will secure top jobs in the field. Growing interest in cultural institutions and in the synthesis of art, science, history, and technology will drive the demand for more curators, technicians, and conservators. Art and art history professionals with an advanced degree, specialized training, and work experience will have the best prospects for long-term employment.

Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Art & Art History Associate Degree Programs

Professionals with higher levels of education and more experience earn higher salaries. While the positions listed below offer starting salaries that are below the national average for humanities majors, professionals in each occupation earn more than the national average for workers with five to ten years of experience. Professionals trained in art and art history may earn up to three times their starting salary after 20 years in the industry.

To determine the best online associate in art and art history programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 6 best online associate in art and art history degree programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.