Is a Printmaking Degree Worth It?

A printmaking career nurtures the artists within while bringing in an income. In our current saturated job market, workers want every edge they can attain. A printmaking degree seems like an effective way to stand out from the crowd, but is it worth it?

A printmaking degree is worth it because it allows artists to refine their skills, build portfolios, and gain experience in navigating the industry. Getting a degree increases students’ odds of getting a career by 14 percent by helping them attain valuable internships and connections. 

HOWEVER, each individual needs to assess whether or not a printmaking degree’s rewards warrant the considerable expense of pursuing one. This article presents solid numbers, figures, and areas of study to help you determine Is a Printmaking Degree Worth It?

Factors to Consider Before Deciding to Get a Printmaking Degree

Here are some factors that you should consider to help you decide if getting a degree in printmaking will be worth it for you. 

Necessity of a Degree

Printmakers don’t require a degree; however, having one broadens career opportunities while deepening an artist’s knowledge. The subject was the 825th most popular major in the 2019-2020 school year. 53 American schools offer printmaking degrees.

Hands-on experience goes a long way in the industry. Internships and apprenticeships teach many of the skills and abilities artists need to thrive in a printmaking career. However, the job market is flooded with workers, making it harder to stand out. A degree can provide candidates with an edge.

Return on Investment

The notion of education for the sake of learning is romantic but impractical. Most of us must consider whether the degree’s benefit outweighs the costOpens in a new tab.. Assessing this requires a comparison of the earning potential versus the debt accrued. This sum varies depending on the degree and school. 

A Bachelor’s degree provides higher earning potential with a manageable debt ratio. This chart compares the salaries, and debt ratio of the different printmaking degrees available:

Education LevelSalaryDebt
Associate’s Degree$21,194$12,000
Bachelor’s Degree$30,381$24,216
Master’s Degree$35,949$51,446
Updated on November, 2022

Many students may determine a Master’s Degree doesn’t warrant the cost. Hands-on experience via internships or entry-level jobs provides similar educational opportunities and experiences without the heavy price tag. 

Some colleges charge different tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. 

Printmaking Degree Requirements

Printmaking degrees come at different levelsOpens in a new tab.. Each level requires unique prerequisites. All degrees require a high school diploma. Knowing whether you meet the credit requirements will help you decide if the printmaking degree is right for you.

The chart below looks at printmaking degree requirements at each level of education:

DegreeCredit RequirementsProgram DurationPercentage of Workers with the Degree
Associate’s Degree60-70 credits2 years11.4%
Bachelor’s Degree120 credits4 years20.7%
Master’s Degree50-70 credits1-3 years28.5%
Doctorate DegreeThesis or dissertation4 years17.1%
Updated on November, 2022

Individual schools have different SAT and grade point average requirements. 

Skills Necessary for Printmaking

There are several skills that you will need to work as a printmaker. Knowing if you have these skills or need help cultivating them can help you decide if you need a printmaking degree. 

Printmakers need to be able to communicate effectively. For the career to be profitable, a printmaker must be able to understand what a client wants and deliver those requests in a timely fashion.

Additionally, printmakers must have an aesthetic eye with an appreciation for art. Printmaking is a fine arts career. Those hoping to succeed in the industry must have a thorough knowledge of artistic practices. Successful printmakers possess a wealth of artistic knowledge and ability. 

Schools offer three primary focuses for printmaking degrees: media arts, graphic arts, and design. No matter the specialty, all students need to build a fine arts foundation by studying:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Art history
  • Modern art

Beyond the fundamental fine arts basics, printmaking students learn a slew of specialized skills. These include:

  • Typesetting
  • Relief printmaking
  • Graphic design 
  • Lithography
  • Engraving
  • Silk-screening

Consider whether or not there are local apprenticeships or internships where you can gain this knowledge and experience. These skills are vital to succeeding in the industry; however, many can be learned by doing. 

However, we all learn differently. Some strive for hands-on experience, and some benefit from studying theory and having an instructor on hand to guide them. Knowing your own learning style is essential to determining whether or not pursuing a printmaking degree is prudent.   

Types of Jobs for People With a Printmaking Degree

A printmaking degree helps students get work as printmakers. However, much like education isn’t limited to printmaking, neither are the career opportunities. On averageOpens in a new tab., workers possessing this accreditation make $48,780 annually or $23.45 dollars hourly. 

A printmaking degree prepares students for a slew of art-related jobs. The most lucrative of these are:

  • Professors: $83,220 annually
  • Fine Artists: $63 030 annually, $30.30 hourly 
  • Crafter: $38,740 annually, $18.63 hourly 

Updated on November, 2022

There are myriad career prospects within these categories. Artists aren’t limited to canvas and paint; students can use their printmaking degrees to become:

  • Cartoonists
  • Graphic manipulators
  • Book illustrators
  • Color matchers
  • Art administrators
  • Sculptors
  • Fashion designers
  • Etchers
  • Lithographers
  • Fiber artists
  • Potters
  • Tattoo artists
  • Stencil cutters

Schools With the Best Printmaking Programs (USA)

If you decide to pursue a printmaking degree, you must select the best school for the job. According to a U.S. News & World Reports study, these nine schoolsOpens in a new tab. offer the best printmaking programs:

  • University of Wisconsin
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Tennessee
  • Temple University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Iowa
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Ohio University 

Final Words

Whether or not a printmaking degree is worth it is subjective. The course of study is pricey, and you can attain much of the knowledge via hands-on work experience. However, getting that work experience can be challenging without a foot in the door, and a degree gives you an edge and helps you make industry connections. 

The information included in this article will help you assess your needs, abilities, and any financial restrictions to determine whether or not the course is right for you. 

Creative HiveOpens in a new tab.
Was this article helpful?


Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

Recent Posts