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Ceramic Arts Degree

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What is Ceramic Arts?

Ceramic Arts is a field of study within the visual arts made from ceramic materials.  Ceramic materials in this medium of visual arts can include clay, tile, art ware, figurines, and tableware.

Some pieces of ceramic art may be considered works of art while others are defined as decorative pieces, industrial art, or applied art objects.  Ceramic arts is one of the plastic arts along with sculpting which somewhat belies its name.  It is known as a plastic art given the historical definition of artwork that entailed specific synthetic organic materials.

Plastic arts involves the manipulation or molding as seen in ceramics and Ceramic Arts and Ceramics along with visual arts such as film, painting, photography.  Ceramic art can be made by a single person or a group of artists in a studio or in a factory.

Top Degrees in Ceramics

Art students looking to find the best ceramics program will need to start with understanding the programs available.  Degree programs include undergraduate and graduate options along with certificate programs at accredited colleges and universities across the country.

To determine the best program for you, simply request information from schools listed on this resource page to determine how they fit with your goals and objectives.  A summary of ceramic arts programs are listed below to help you best understand your degree options.

Ceramic Art Bachelor's Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees in ceramic arts are conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).  Degrees at this level are designed to take student’s 4-years to complete.  BA and BFA degree programs meld liberal arts education with fine arts and studio arts to provide a well-rounded educational experience.  L

iberal arts programs typically include a combination of the following types of classes: philosophy, communications, history, sociology, math, and psychology.   Core curricula in ceramics will include a cross-section of classes such as ceramic wheel basics, ceramic fundamentals, sculptures, glaze application, ceramic decorations, electric kilns, ceramic materials, kiln technology, kiln firing, history of ceramics, and visual arts.

Graduate Certificates in Ceramic Art

Graduate certificates in ceramics will vary widely by institution.  Some schools will provide certificate programs in a defined area of study such as surface treatments, wheel, firing, art history, sculpture, kiln technology, and hand-building.

Within each specialty, students can take a set of singularly focused classes or a clustering of classes.  As a result of this variation, graduate certificate programs can last a few weeks to a few years.  To learn more about which graduate certificate program is best for you, simply connect with accredited colleges and universities offering top-tier studio arts programs.

Ceramic Arts Master's Degrees

A Master’s degree in ceramics is conferred as a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) or Master of Arts (MA).  Master degrees can last 1-2 years depending on the course structure and program emphasis.  In many cases, students will be able to select an area of emphasis to study and map out courses in ceramics in conjunction with an academic advisor.  Areas of emphasis may include:

  • Teaching Ceramic Art
  • Photographic Ceramics
  • Arts Management & Marketing
  • Kiln Design & Construction
  • Wood Firing Theory / Soda Firing Theory
  • Ceramic Decoration
  • Clay/Glaze Chemistry
  • Composite Sculpture
  • Creating with Porcelain
  • Glaze Applications
  • East Asian Wedged Coil Technique

Educational Requirements in Ceramic Arts

In terms of educational requirements, Ceramic Arts and Ceramics degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:

Employment in Ceramic Arts

Students earning a degree in ceramic arts will have acquired a specific set of specialized skills.  While the vocations related to ceramics are narrow, career options can include a variety of associated vocations.  Examples of careers for ceramics students include teaching high school students, independent artist, working at museums, art gallery manager, research specialist, art historian, art critic, auctioneer, and art author.

Ceramic Jobs and Career Outlook

Careers in the arts continue to be pacing with the national average for all occupations.  Jobs like teaching are outstripping the national baseline substantially.  In fact, job growth for college professors is projected to increase by 13% while high school teachers should see a 7% bump in jobs during the next ten years.

The mean annual income for ceramic artists is currently $57,520 with the median income just above $49,000 a year.  The largest employers of ceramic artists include independent art studios, motion picture industry, retail stores, colleges, and publishers.  States employing the most ceramic artists include California and New York followed by Florida, Texas, and Ohio.

Additional Resources for Ceramic Students

For more information about the ceramic trade, students can research regional and/or national organizations focused on this trade.  Associations such as the Ceramic Association (CA), National Council on the Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), US Advanced Ceramics Association (USACA), and the Contemporary Ceramic Art Association (CCAA).  These groups focus on advancing the field of ceramics, provide education opportunities, and professional networking for individuals in this career.

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