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Online MFA Degree Programs

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A MFA is a masters of fine arts. It is a masters degree is a graduate level degree in the fine arts and design. In the same way a BA differs from a BFA, a MA differs from a MFA. A BA or MA focus on the arts and specialize in an area such as a BA in Human Resources or MA in Education. A BFA and MFA focus on the actual arts, such as dance, photography or drawing, only to name a few. Most MFA programs take two years to complete and typically takes 60 hours. A MFA requires the majority of course hours to be completed in the studio, so students are hands-on and learning the fine art they will master. A MA focuses on classes. For a dance student, the majority of work will be done in the dance studio; for a ceramics student, you will practice the majority of the time creating pieces. A MFA is considered a terminal degree and the ultimate degree a person practicing that art can achieve.

If you obtain a MFA, you may go on to professionally practice your art. There are many artistic careers out there. The artistic and creative fields are all about networking and being prepared with opportunity knocks. It is about keeping your eyes and ears open to learn of new opportunities through unconventional sources. Most who achieve a MFA have practiced their art the majority of their lives, which makes it easier to gain employment in the respective art. The career possibilities will be limited to your creative area of study, such as graphic design or writing.

With a MFA, you may also teach your art through the graduate level. For most universities, you will have to pass certification tests and for teaching an art at the high school level, you will have to pass certification exams in your state. One thing to consider when it comes to teaching at the college level, is most universities and programs are turning away from a tenure model. This means only a select few professors ever make tenure and this is becoming less and less popular. Most instructors at the university level work part-time and have other employment within their field, whether that's working as an artist or teaching private classes to young students. Most programs also expect you to have a vast amount of experience as a practicing artist in a major market, such as New York City or Chicago.

For the majority of people in the creative fields going to school for their MFA means they want to teach in some capacity. These creative industries move very quickly and in some cases, such as dance, a professional career begins at a very young age. Building your portfolio can happen outside of graduate school and potential employers know this. Within the creative fields, do not count on a MFA landing you a high paying or high profile job. In most cases, this will not happen as everything in the creative fields depends on your experience. If you attend a MFA program and have limited professional experience in that art, you will be fit for a teaching position more than practicing the art. Remember that just because you do not practice your art for a living doesn't mean you can't work within the field. There are many positions within a dance company or photography studio that help the machine run and with a MFA, you're more than equipped to handle a job such as working in the front office or organizing fundraising events.