Where I Am
I'm an Environment Artist who's worked at an indie game startup and then indie film startup for a total about 3 years before leaving. For the past 11 months I've been building up my skills and took the Env Art for Games as well as Organic Worldbuilding courses at CGMA (which consist of the first two pieces on my portfolio).
My portfolio: https://michaelhuang97.artstation.com/
In terms of my job hunt, I've sent out 200+ applications over the course of 2 months, applying to Junior, Standard, and even Senior level Environment Artist positions or related positions, and have only gotten 2 interviews which never progressed past the first stage. Since then, I've just been focusing on building my portfolio.
While money is a concern due to being unemployed so long, I'm considering taking Vertex School's 9-month Game Art program or Think Tank's 4 month Env Art program, both are around $9000.
I recently had an interview for Vertex School and the reviewer evaluated my current portfolio at a level of 6-7/10, with 8/10 being entry level and 10/10 being in the industry having some experience with shipping a title. He recommend I still partake in the Vertex School program, with the goal of raising my skill level to qualify for a AAA studio at the start rather than an indie studio.
I've seen the work done by some Vertex School graduates and would like to reach that level. However, 9 months and $9000 is a long and heavy commitment, and given that I'm this far ahead in the job hunt/skill level, I'm not entirely sure if it will be worth it.
The advice I'm seeking is, based on my currently portfolio and with that evaluation of my current portfolio, is it a good idea for me to enroll in these costly online programs? Has anyone who's taken either of these courses who would recommend them based on how far I am? Or would it be better for me to just push for that last 1/10 to reach entry level?