Art and design have significant implications in many art careers. A wide array of industries are now in need of professionals who have a background in art. If you have a knack for creativity and impressive design skills, then maybe an art career is right for you. Read on to discover what education, skills, and knowledge you need to pursue an art career.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate in arts and design occupations has declined slightly due to the outbreak of COVID-19 this year. However, this has only been a slight drop since art professionals are still essential in the booming industries of animation, multimedia artistry, and graphic design.
Moreover, the median annual wage in art and design occupations was $48,130 in May 2019, which was higher than the median annual wage across all occupations, which stood at $39,810 at the time.
In this article, we’ll tell you about the best career paths in art and the top featured programs and schools that will help you work toward a degree in art. These are the academic and professional tools that you need to succeed in any art career.
Which Arts Degree Should I Get?
Since there are a plethora of different career paths available to art majors, your educational goals will depend on your interests. Though earning a graduate degree is a fine option, a bachelor’s degree in this field is also sufficient to secure a high-paying job. Certain arts jobs may even require only a high school diploma or associate degree.
With an associate degree, you will be prepared for entry-level art and design positions. This degree will give you a solid foundation of applicable skills and concepts in your field of choice, which can be useful for further study.
Although this degree seldom leads to advanced positions, it will allow you to seek employment in a wide array of fields like fashion, photography, and graphic design.
There are numerous associate degrees available in the arts. The two main options include an associate of applied business (AAB) and an associate of applied science (AAS). With an AAB, you can pursue a job in fashion design, graphic design, and interior design. With an AAS, you may prefer to seek employment in areas such as illustration, multimedia technology, or recording arts technology.
The main advantage of an associate degree is its minimal cost and relatively quick completion time. An associate degree is the first step in many professional and academic journeys and can help you decide if you want to commit to a career in the field. Many schools also offer associate programs that are available entirely online, which allows for greater flexibility.
Below are some of the best affordable online associate programs in art:
With a four-year bachelor’s degree in hand, you will become a highly sought-after candidate for many jobs. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for most design-related careers.
If you pursue this degree, you will learn the skills needed to gain a position that will offer you the potential for career advancement. It can also function as the next step toward a graduate degree, such as a master’s degree or doctorate.
A bachelor’s degree curriculum will provide you with extensive knowledge in your field of study. Though a master’s degree may be ideal for higher-level jobs, you may still acquire a lucrative role in a managerial capacity with a bachelor’s degree.
Many colleges offer bachelor’s programs that are taught partially or fully online, which means you will have the option to continue working while pursuing a degree. Some schools also offer special tuition discounts for students who choose to complete their degree online. Remember that earning a bachelor’s degree is also an essential step for those who later want to earn a master’s degree.
At the bachelor level, you can expect to earn a salary of $50,000 to $100,000 per year, with many opportunities to advance your career. You may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Art and Design.
The former option is offered in fields such as art history and with the latter, you may specialize in fields such as web design and development. Some of the jobs you can secure with a bachelor’s degree include industrial design, architecture, multimedia artistry, and many more.
Below are some of the best online bachelor’s programs in art available:
Master’s degrees come highly recommended as they are a great way to enhance your chances of being hired in an exciting and lucrative role. These degrees are recommended for those who want to break into a high-level art or design career, as they offer advanced knowledge and skills training in several areas.
For instance, if you wish to fill an executive role, like an art director, animation supervisor, or executive producer, then a master’s degree is the way to go.
Most master’s programs require two years of full-time study, though they may be completed faster in an accelerated format. Many programs emphasize leadership skills and build on the skills learned in a bachelor’s program.
Some master’s programs are offered partly or fully online and offer a flexible, high-quality education. As mentioned above, accelerated programs are also available for students who wish to obtain their degrees quickly.
Master’s programs usually provide practical, professional experience in your area of interest. For example, you might intern at an art museum as part of an art history program or at an animation studio as part of an animation program.
An MA (master of arts) can be obtained in many concentrations, including integrative design, fine arts, and graphic design.
Below are some of the best online master’s programs in art:
What Skills Do I Need to Pursue a Career in Art?
Apart from education and training, almost every industry requires professionals to possess an impressive skill set that makes them a good fit for their desired role. This is especially true for art careers since artists rely more on creativity and personality traits than scientific knowledge.
When considering an art career, you should consider improving the following skills.
Creativity and Passion
Creativity is a foundational skill when it comes to art and design. The field extends beyond just traditional art and blends concepts of technology, marketing, and even psychology. Knowing how to integrate these topics into a captivating product requires immense creativity.
Having a sincere passion and curiosity for art is a big help. If you love what you do, it won’t seem like work. With that in mind, you should always seek to improve and increase your knowledge in your area of expertise, as this will undoubtedly help further your career.
Communication and Teamwork
It’s important to be able to articulate what you’re trying to create, whether artistically or interpersonally. Being a good communicator is essential whether you’re working with your peers or trying to attract patrons. The most important soft skills in the field of art and design are networking, time management, and listening.
Most of the best inventions and breakthroughs in science have been achieved through collaboration and teamwork. The same is true for art and design. Being in a room with creative, open-minded people is seldom a bad thing, and it can help you immensely as you learn more about product/service design.
As an artist, having transferable skills such as those mentioned above is important, but the foundation of your career will rest on your technical knowledge. Whether it’s art history, design principles, or computer-aided artistry, being well-versed in all concepts within the field will dictate your success. Not only will you be able to expand your job prospects, but you’ll also be able to impress others with your knowledge.
You should also remember to stay curious and learn as much as you can about the job you want. Try reading books, taking extra classes, or watching films or videos that excitingly discuss art. Reach out to professionals involved in the field. Furthermore, you should ask instructors for tips that will help you succeed.
An important yet overlooked facet of many artists is their keen business sense. Artists create enticing products, but they also need an audience that is accepting of their work. This is why it is essential to advertise your talent to the world. You should network with popular artists and promote your content through social media and in person.
For instance, Instagram and Facebook have become increasingly popular tools for promoting businesses and content. If you prefer to promote your art traditionally, you can hang flyers, host social events, and communicate face-to-face with potential clients.
Attention to Detail
One last important skill that you should hone is your attention to detail. This applies not only to the art you create but also to the way you promote it. Being a critical thinker will help you investigate problems and setbacks that are holding you back from a successful career.
If you think your content is not good enough, ask for opinions to try to break down the nature of the issue. If you feel your product is excellent but not taking off like it should, ask yourself what you can do to enhance your success. Being a meticulous thinker will be very beneficial in a field as unpredictable and exciting as art and design.
Most Popular Art Careers
The following list of the most popular art careers is based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Median Pay in 2019 : $94,220
Number of Jobs in 2019: 99,100
Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images seen in magazines and newspapers, on product packaging, and in movie and television productions.
Median Pay in 2019: $73,790
Number of Jobs in 2019: 28,300
Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear.
Median Pay in 2019: $52,110
Number of Jobs in 2019: 281,500
Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers.
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Median Pay in 2019: $75,270
Number of Jobs in 2019: 67,500
Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move, as well as visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.
Median Pay in 2019: $80,750
Number of Jobs in 2019: 129,900
Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.
FAQs About Art Careers
I’m Not Sure What Career I Want in Art. What Should I Do?
It is common to be perplexed about exactly what career path you should pursue, especially in a field as vast as art. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when looking for the right career:
- What am I looking for out of a career – monetary gain, or fulfilling work?
- What type of work environment do I thrive in?
- How far am I willing to push myself to achieve my goals?
How Should I Start My Career as an Artist?
Though there are no rules, here are some tips that may help you get your career off the ground:
- Develop your artistic knowledge and skills: Take courses or consider going to art school; practice and hone your craft; learn from your mentors or idols; seek advice from experienced artists.
- Promote yourself and your work: Develop a social media network; make friends with artists and seek mentorship; enter art competitions and go to galleries.
- Learn how to monetize your product: Consider taking business-related courses in conjunction with your art courses; budget your time and money efficiently; explore new ideas and modalities on how to create and sell your art.
Are There Other Resources Available to Help Me Make a Decision? At Career Karma, we provide academic and professional advice to help you make informed choices. If you want to learn more, here is an article that discusses the best careers in technology and design, and another that talks about the top tech design careers. If you’re passionate about art, these articles will help your decision-making.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Read more