Last year I met a woman who was halfway through an arts degree. The programme she was following had already given her many of the practical tools she would need as a professional artist. She knew how and where to look for funding (and had already done so), she had a polished artist's statement, business cards and so on. I sincerely hope that her experience is the norm in art colleges today.
My own experience was very different. Admittedly it was a long time ago now, it was the mid 80's, but even so - there was absolutely no career guidance. No discussion about how to approach galleries, how to sell work, how to support yourself. Nothing at all! I was ill-equipped for the workforce to say the least. The underlying message was that if you were good enough you'd make it (no matter what). I felt defeated before I even started and eventually turned my back on art and started a whole new career. I am thankful for that as it took me around the world and opened up many new doors. However....it's taken me years to get back on track where my artwork is concerned.
I would say I've spent the past ten years gradually stepping back into making art again. At first very tentative steps, regaining lost confidence, getting angry about 'what might have been', finding my own voice, learning new skills. I'm still not quite at the place I would like to be but I'm working on it - the business side of being an artist.