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BA in Art History, Want a Career in Graphic Design...Now what?


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As stated aboved, I have my BA in Art History from a very reputable institution. I have been working the past four years since graduation as a milliner (hat-maker) and own and operate every aspect of a small business selling my wares. I know it sounds highly unlikely, but I don't make very much money as a milliner (gasp!) and my Art History degree doesn't seem to be helping me very much in this slow job market (what? never!). Enter: my need for technical skills so I can live a more comfortable life in Hypothetical Artistic Employment Land.

I am a creative jack of all trades. I dabble in everything. Graphic design has been a hobby of mine over the years - designing all my own marketing material, a couple websites, event flyers, and playing around with photography and fine art. I know I would be good at this if I were to take it to a professional level. I think I could even enjoy it as a 9-5 career (before eventually segueing into my own freelance business again). To be specific, I wouldn't mind corporate or business related branding design, would love something like textile design (also fashion in general), I'd rather not get bogged down with the coding of web design but could make it work, and I would love to master key programs to create some serious awesome fine art (ex. Andrew Jones).

So, on to my question (one that has been asked many times, but always with different specifics that are not quite me):

What kind of program is suitable for someone like me?

1. I am not interested in another BA or BFA - I already have one, am still in debt from it, and it's not helping.

2. Time is of the essence - I need to be employed so I can pay off the first degree and also stay alive.

3. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, an over-achiever if you will - I went to a top university for UG and I'd like to do the same in the future. I am currently the only member of my family without a masters (or higher) and that's something I've aways expected to obtain.

4. I'm a starving artist still in debt from UG - i.e. I can't get anymore financial aid until I pay some of that back (and I can't pay that back until I get a job, but I can't get a job without more schooling, but I can't afford more schooling without financial aid - ha!)

I've been looking into post-bac programs but find that they are still fairly expensive and not always spoken about with the highest esteem ("they're for those who aren't ready or prepared for a real Graduate Program" - makes me feel lesser than and my ego shrinks - I want to be the best). Would it be better for me to wait, work for a year doing something random, pay off some of my loan and then apply for grad school/financial aid? Am I suitable for a 2 year program with my background/experience (assuming I had a decent portfolio) or would I need to apply to a 3 year program? Is an MFA in Graphic Design really only necessary if you want to teach or do people have significantly more success in finding employment/getting higher salaries with an upper level degree? What would be the highest level of employment I might hope to achieve (in the best of all possible worlds) with a BA in Art History and a Post-Bac in GD? And finally, any school/program suggestions - I live in the Bay Area, CA but I'm from Rhode Island, so I guess I could go back there...

Thank you for any help and Sorry for the snarkiness :)

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