I was busy packing lately, because I am going to move soon. If you are like me, you all the sudden start reading those books, cards and letters that you rarely touch as you put them in the moving box. There's this little piece of paper called "diploma" hidden in my bookcase. I got this little piece of paper back in 2007 as I graduated from the art school. Grew up in a typical Asian family, I was taught that a degree is the most important factor for obtaining a job and become successful. While that might be true for some career, I can tell you right now it is irrelevant for an artist.
I remember during one of the class I had during my art school year. The instructor jokingly told us that when we graduate, we should give our diploma to whoever pays the tuition. I never done that because my parents probably won't take it too well, but I totally understand what he meant. Never once in my career has anybody ask to see my diploma, nor do they care where I graduated. It's been 9 years since I graduated. I think it's safe to say that an art degree is not really necessary.
Don't get me wrong, I am not undermining the importance of education and going to a good school. But that's just it, it's about education and the knowledge you received in school, not the little piece of paper they gave you when you walk with your cap and gown. Most of artist will agree that the real learning comes AFTER the school. My art school was just preparing me for it by giving me a solid foundation and establish a working habit. I have learned so much more after the college. The training of 500 heads, the knowledge in lighting and composition, and edge control were only there to get me started! That was back in 2007, almost 10 years ago. Think about the vast resource on the web and how much easier it is for people to get affordable education right at their home!
If you never went to an art school, I am here to tell you that you don't have to! If you are willing to learn, there are resource for you.
I know many great artists who don't have an art degree. Many of them never actually went to a college! If you are an artist, remember your learning never stops just like you don't stop painting/drawing. If you are an art buyer or employer, ask to see the portfolio instead of their degrees.