Image provided by Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
Background Image: Teacher working with students
Teacher working with students

Image provided by University of the Arts

Teacher Resource Center

AICAD recognizes the vital role K-12 art and design educators play in our schools and advocates for the arts as an integral part of a well-rounded education. Here you can find helpful resources, such as lesson plans, hands-on workshops, professional development, and advice about the college admissions process for your students who are interested in pursuing the arts at the college level.

Resources for the art classroom


Professional development

What are my student's prospects for success with an art and design degree?

"The special quality of teaching art and design is this: most of the jobs our students will have haven’t been invented yet, so we need to teach for possibilities" - Kelly McConnell, Director of Art Education, Maine College of Art, essay entitled Taste, Aesthetics, and Student Designers

There are many professions that one can pursue with an art and design degree.

  • A fine artist creating for gallery exhibitions
  • An industrial designer inventing the next life-changing smart device
  • A Fashion Designer creating what we wear and making it more environmentally sustainable
  • A toy designer shaping how the next generation plays
  • A community artist guiding and organizing for positive change in big cities and small towns alike
  • An architect designing the spaces in which we live and work
  • Virtually every object that we use on a daily basis, such as our coffee pot, our sneakers, our car and our computer, has been touched by a designer

The career prospects are vast for those with an art and design degree, and we invite you to read through our alumni stories to explore the varied paths they take, discover art and design careers and learn about the value of an arts education.

Alumni stories

Discover art and design careers

What's the return on investment for an art and design degree?

Students working together on a costume design

Image provided by Art Center College of Design

What does it cost and how can my students pay for it?

Tuition and fees at AICAD schools range between $23,700 - $54,300 (2017/18) per year, similar to most private colleges and universities in the United States. Though these numbers may sound high, virtually every college in the United States, including AICAD schools, offers financial aid. Often, the most expensive colleges offer the most financial aid, meaning that sometimes the highest “sticker price” can turn out to be the most affordable option. In 2015-16, 83% of all first-time, full-time freshmen at AICAD schools received some form of financial aid, and the average financial aid package (not including loans) was in the amount of $17,703 - over 50% of the average tuition cost in the U.S. (2016-17 average tuition cost for private colleges in the U.S. is $33,480.)

Fashion design student working in studio at a sewing machine

Image provided by Rhode Island School of Design
Photo: Jo Sittenfeld

How do I help my students get in?

AICAD schools offer admission based on a combination of factors including the strength of artwork/portfolio, grades, test scores, writing samples, recommendations, extra-curricular activities, and sometimes interviews and auditions.

Some additional tips:

  • Encourage students to attend a National Portfolio Day event to get in-person feedback on their artwork.
  • Contact admissions offices at AICAD schools to arrange classroom visits with admissions representatives in the fall.
  • Encourage students to draw, paint and sculpt from direct observation and include this work in the application/portfolio.
  • Remind students that maintaining strong grades can be a significant factor in the admissions decision.
  • Inform your students about the many pre-college programs available at AICAD schools. Pre-college is a terrific opportunity for students to "try-out" an AICAD education before formally applying.
  • Invite your students (as early as 9th grade) to upload their artwork to the AICAD Portfolio Review Portal to receive feedback from AICAD schools.

Application preparation

Summer opportunities

AICAD Portfolio Review Portal