What Can You Do With an Art Degree? 100+ Careers & Salaries Revealed

Who says you can’t make a great living with an art degree?

Time and time again, young talents desire to attend college to pursue visual & fine arts, but incorrectly feel that doing so may jeopardize career earnings.

Actually, the opposite is true: going to college for art can open up a significant world of opportunity, providing the foundational skills for success in dozens of lucrative careers.

Pursuing a career in art, however, can give you something so much more than just a fantastic salary; it can provide the path towards a career you feel incredibly passionate about.

However, just like anyone in any discipline, artists desire to have careers filled with opportunity, satisfaction, and very importantly, a consistent salary.

The following careers are all excellent choices for the aspiring professional artist. Many of these careers fall under the traditional categories of design, illustration, and teaching, however there are a number of unique, unusual, and highly lucrative careers listed here as well.

Do note that many of these careers you can get with just an art degree, while some will need additional specialization or education outside of a single degree.

Also, all salaries posted are median salaries. The top level artists in every field below can make up to 2x or more than the listed salaries depending on their level of expertise, years in the industry, and more.

Here are 100+ amazing careers you can get with an arts degree – salary information included.

Animator

Animators create multiple frames that, when displayed in a rapid sequence, display the illusion of movement. Animators are highly in-demand in the fields of television, video games, and films. 

Additionally, many independent animators can display their animations online and develop a following they can monetize, such as FilmCow on YouTube.

Salary: $55k/year (Payscale)


Appraiser

Making a professional opinion on art. Photo by Marcwathieu via Wikimedia Commons

Someone who provides a professional opinion on the value, as well as the authenticity, of a work of art.

Salary: $60,000/year (Study.com)


Architect

Unique Architecture – photo by Pivari.com via Wikimedia Commons

An architect plans the creation of buildings. This includes helping to design the buildings. Usually requires an architecture specialty degree.

You can succeed in this profession either as an employee of an architecture firm, or you can start your own firm and secure very large contracts.

Salary: $72,000/year (Glassdoor)


Art Agent

A representative of an artist whose primary function is to sell the art of their client. Art agents are paid by commission, usually between 15% – 35%.

Salary: Commission-based, between 15%-35% (Wikipedia). The most successful artist agents exceed $75k/year. The top 1% easily make six figures.


Arts Administrator

Person who helps oversee the day-to-day functions of an arts company. This work includes administrative, clerical, and fundraising efforts. Some places that employ arts administrators include museums, galleries, and even large-scale musical ensembles like the New York Philharmonic.

Salary: $62,000/year (Paysa)


Art Handler

Art Handler – photo by Areppertgerber via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as an art preparator, this is an individual who is trained to work with artwork. Although it may sound simple, it is not; considering many works of art are worth millions, delicate and professional handling is required to preserve the integrity of the work.

Salary: $34,125/year (Neuvoo)


Art Restorer

An individual who skillfully repairs damage to a work of art. Art restorers can work on sculptures, paintings, ceramics, valuable books, and more.

Salary: $42,000/year (ZipRecruiter)


Art Therapist

A unique form of psychotherapy, arts therapists facilitate creative self-expression through visual media. The result for an art therapist’s clients can be a reduction in stress as well as an increase in cognition and emotional well-being.

Salary: $45,000/year (Payscale)


Assistant to Artist

High-level, successful artists need help with their day-to-day life. Artist assistants can do anything from maintaining an artist’s workspace, fetching supplies, and doing clerical work for an artist to helping an artist promote their work on social media. Other duties can include handling the schedule of the artist.

Fantastic entry-level job for someone just graduating college.

Salary: $18.50/hour (Payscale)


Automotive Designer

photo by Robert Basic via Wikimedia Commons

Creating the appearance of an automobile. This industry applies to essentially any motorized vehicle, including cars, busses, trucks, vans, and motorcycles. 

Salary: $78,000/year (Paysa)


Billboard Artist

An artist who designs the appearance of billboards for use when advertising. One of many much-needed commercial artist positions on this list.

Salary: $57,000/year (Paysa)


Brand Designer

An artist responsible for the visual look of a company, including graphics, logos, colors, brochures, and other marketing materials design. Think about the colors, shapes, fonts of Apple vs. Amazon, or Rolex vs. Coca-Cola; a brand designer has overseen all of this before the public views it.

Salary: $81,000/year (ZipRecruiter)


CAD Drafter

photo by bls.gov via Wikimedia Commons

Someone who uses computers to design products and buildings. CAD Drafters are highly in-demand in many major firms and agencies worldwide. In addition to knowledge of art, it also requires knowledge in computer programs specializing in commercial design.

Salary: $55,000/year (Study.com)


Calligrapher

Calligraphers design letters and special characters with a broad tip instrument, brush, stencil, or electronic pencil. Many calligraphers are self-employed and the salary range can vary tremendously depending on how much work an individual calligrapher commissions.

Salary: $65,000/year (CareerExplorer) Self-employed artists have the ability to make significantly more.


Camera Operator

Many arts degrees these days teach the art of filmmaking as well as videography. Even with the rise of selfie cameras, camera operators are as in-demand as they have ever been. Their work includes film, television, and internet publications.

Salary: $82,000 (Salary.com)


Caricaturist

An artist who specializes in making caricatures, which are exaggerated drawings of individuals, most notably in editorial cartoons. Hundreds of artists have made livings as caricaturists.

Salary: Caricaturists, if employed by a major company, would be called cartoonists, which is also listed here. However, independent caricature artists can make a lot of money if marketed well.


Cartoonist

Someone who draws cartoons, including television cartoons as well as editorial cartoons and even comic books.

Salary: $63,000/year (Salary.com)


Ceramicist (Ceramics Artist)

Someone who makes ceramics, such as pottery. Ceramicists take raw material, mold it, then heat it up in a kiln and then paint it before taking the work to market. 

Salary: $53,000/year (TheArtCareerProject)


Cinematographer 

An artist who captures images for films and major motion pictures. They do this through image-capture technology like cameras.

Salary: $58,000/year (TheArtCareerProject)

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