You’re an artist. You paint, sketch, draw, sculpt or design. It’s in your heart, in your soul. You just don’t have the credentials—yet.

The question you ask yourself—in your mind and in your soul—is whether or not you can get those credentials by going to art school.

The answer might surprise you. Here are three reasons you should go to art school.

Should you go to art school? Yes, if you want to develop a solid understanding of fundamental methodologies.

There are basic, fundamental rules when it comes to art. Do you always have to follow them? No, but knowing what they are will serve you well—both personally and professionally. Art school will teach you what the rules are, why they exist and how you can incorporate them (or not) into your own art.

In addition, a lot of organizations and corporations employ artists, and most expect their artists to have a solid understanding of the rules and follow them. Which leads to the second reason the answer to the Should you go to art school? Question is yes.

If you want to work as a professional artist, you should go to art school.

When you’re interviewing, you’re going to have to show examples of your work as well as know how to talk about them. Art school will help you develop a body of work (a portfolio) that you can share with perspective employers during your interviews.

Art school will also help you talk about your work in a clear, knowledgeable way. You might be a great artist, but if you can’t talk about how you connect your skill, passion and vision with that of the company or organization for which you hope to work, chances are you won’t get hired—and getting hired is what it’s all about (at least in terms of working as a professional artist.).

This leads to the third reason you should go to art school: connections.

Connections are important for any artist. Professional connections can help you get your foot in the door with companies and organizations looking to hire artists. Personal connections can get your work into galleries, inspire your creativity and give you honest feedback about your work.

So, should you go to art school? Yes, if you want to understand the fundamental principles of art, work as a professional artist and make connections that can inspire you to greater (personal and professional) heights.