What Can You Do with an Art Degree?

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Some people just have a knack for creativity and design, and luckily there are many ways that you can turn that passion for art into a fulfilling career! If you are interested in pursuing an art degree, several reputable colleges offer a variety of online art degree programs that can help you achieve your goals.

List of the Top 40 Art Careers & Salaries

An art career can take many forms, from professional artistry to teaching students how to tap into their own creative talents. Below you will find a list of 40 popular career paths within the art field as well as their average median salaries:

Job Title Job Summary Median Salary
Animation Director Creates deadlines for animation projects and works with teams to ensure successful completion of creative goals. $101,831
Senior Fashion Designer Managerial position that works in the fast-paced design world to observe and communicate trends to fashion designers. $82,076
Senior Art Director Professional in graphic design that is in charge of a team of junior designers. $101,437
Web Art Director Leads a design team in conceptualizing and creating a visual aesthetic for web design projects. $71,216
Photography Director Manages a production’s cinematography and visual style on the set of a film or television show. $57,009
Creative Services Manager Manages the creative output for an organization through every stage from concept to production. $64,912
Art Director Coordinates concept and design efforts for promotions in print, websites, or commercials. $69,516
Fashion Designer Creates designs for clothing, shoes, and accessory items that could eventually go into production. $65,025
Senior Graphic Designer Leader of a graphic design team that is responsible for creating original graphics for commercial purposes. $61,339
Industrial Designer Works in the manufacturing sector to design and develop concepts for products. $66,274
3D Artist Uses relevant software and creative skills to create 3D computer images of people, buildings, and objects. $54,423
Fashion Stylist Responsible for dressing their clients in stylish wear that is appropriately tailored to a particular occasion. $41,434
Animator Creates cartoons through hand drawings or computer software to meet client specifications. $62,077
Music Producer Assists studio artists in creating recorded music that fits their overall tone and expression. $55,481
Animation Designer Uses powerful technological tools to create animation effects for a wide range of applications. $67,999
Librarian Works in a public, school, or university library to maintain library materials and assist patrons. $50,658
Curator Employed by museums, galleries, and colleges to oversee and manage a collection related to art or science. $50,655
Artistic Director Typically works with theaters to direct employees in artwork, presentation concepts, and design. $50,216
Photo Editor Reviews, selects, and edits photographs to meet the specific needs of their employer. $51,110
Illustrator Creates visual drawings that are used in physical and digital illustration applications. $52,582
Interior Designer Often works for home or office builders to create a space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. $49,948
Production Artist Uses specialized software to upload design files and make design changes that suit a company’s needs. $37,586
Photographer Uses creative and technical skills to capture appealing photos of people, places, and things. $40,040
Fine Artist, Painting or Sculptor Works in a variety of industries or independently to create unique and beautiful works of art. $45,677
Art Therapist Works with patients who have mental or emotional challenges by helping them explore feelings through art. $49,376
Art, Drama, or Music Teacher, Postsecondary Educates postsecondary students in the various skills related to drama, music, and the arts. $45,121
Art Teacher Works in a variety of school settings to instruct students in the history, theory, and techniques of art. $45,712
Graphic Artist Designs visual presentations that include advertisements, logos, signs, and websites. $45,696
Graphic Designer Designs logos, packaging, print materials, and websites that visually communicate a company’s message. $49,029
Costume Designer Designs the wardrobe for a variety of productions, including movies and theater performances. $27,768
Music Therapist Works with patients to conduct music therapy that includes instruments, singing, and moving to music. $51,730
Assistant Fashion Designer Works under the supervision of a fashion designer to assist with all aspects of the design and creation of fashion products. $46,041
Music Director Organizes and oversees the music programs within an organization. $40,912
Makeup Artist Works in a variety of settings that use cosmetics to create attractive looks that meet a client’s needs. $38,896
Interior Decorator Designs interior spaces so that they are effective and aesthetically pleasing. $49,948
Musician or Singer Performs in a variety of venues and records music to share their creative talents with others. $41,195
Junior Graphic Designer Works as part of the creative team of an art department to help design and develop graphics for product brand identity. $43,234
Floral Designer Works with fresh flowers and other plants to create various displays and arrangements. $28,122
Curatorial Assistant Assists with the development of exhibits and the acquisition of museum collections. $38,101
Framer – Art, Mirrors, Pictures Works in frame shops, studios, or museums to create visually appealing framed works of art. $26,354

*Average Salary Data provided by Payscale.com

What can you do with an Art Degree?

The table above shows the diversity within the art world, and there are countless ways that you can use your art degree to meet specific career goals. From the dynamic world of graphic design to fine art creation or the management of visual productions, there is something for everyone in the field of art!

Salary ranges in the art field vary widely as evidenced in the table above. While some entry-level positions may only earn annual pay in the $30,000 range, it is possible to work your way up to a six-figure career. As with many jobs, the top earners in the art field are those who have put in time and effort to expand their expertise and gain valuable experience in their creative field. Depending upon your specific art specialization and innate talent, you may make more or less than the salaries listed above.

What is an Art Degree?

An art degree can take on many forms, and the program that you choose to commit to depends upon your long-term goals. If you have a talent for drawing, painting, or music, then pursuing a degree in fine arts will help you build the technical skills needed to hone your craft. If technology and production are more your style, then there are a variety of degrees in computer art design or theater that you can choose from to reach your career goals.

At most reputable colleges, there are several art degrees offered at an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate level. The amount of education that you commit to depends upon the career path you wish to pursue after graduation. If teaching or top-level managerial positions fit in with your long-term goals, then you will likely find that higher-level art degrees are the better match for you.

A few of the many concentrations that you may be able to choose from after enrolling in an art degree program include:

  • Computer Art and Design
  • Art Education or History
  • Cinematography
  • Advertising
  • Photography
  • Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture

If traditional, on-campus classes won’t work with your busy schedule, you may find that online art and design degrees offer you the flexibility that you need to meet your other work or family obligations!

Art Career Outlook

When it comes to a broad field like the fine arts, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact outlook for degree graduates as a whole. Resources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) can provide valuable information on specific art career paths that include average salary and the projected occupational growth.

To give you an idea of what to expect after graduating with an art degree, the BLS projects that art and design occupations will decline 4% between 2019 and 2029, losing about 32,900 jobs. The median annual wage for arts and design occupations was $48,130 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $39,810.

If you see the world through a creative lens and want to share your talent with the world, then earning a degree in art can be the perfect starting point to launch a successful career. For those who put dedication and hard work into mastering their craft, there is a world of opportunity out there for those with an art degree!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.