Only 30% of artists that have bachelors degrees got their degree in art. That means that 70% of people that work in the art industry on a full-time or part-time basis have degrees in unrelated fields.
What does that say?
To us, it says that students do not have faith in the value of an art degree. Given that fact and considering the reality that student loan debt is ballooning to historic highs, most people are forgoing mastering their craft in college to instead work on getting degrees that supposedly offer better financial opportunities.
We think that students that are more focused on “falling back” than they are on their passion for art are doing the wrong thing. Today, there are plenty of high-paying and excellent careers for art majors. Here are 10 of them.
1. Character Designer
Do you find yourself scribbling characters in the margins of your notebook? If you do, you might have what it takes to be a character designer.
Character designers conceptualize, pitch and finalize models for animated movies, live-action films, children’s books, advertising campaigns and more. A character designer can make a living that exceeds median standards working on a freelance basis.
2. Art Director
Art directors are among the best-compensated careers for art majors that one can pursue. As an art director, you’ll be responsible for steering the visual motif of whatever project it is that you’re working on and you’ll also be expected to manage lower-level people within a project’s art team.
Art directors work on films, video games and on any other project where having a strong visual perspective is important.
3. Graphics Producer
Have you ever watched kid’s television and between the show and a commercial break, saw an animation popup that said, “We’ll be right back!”? Those elements are called “bumpers”. Bumpers and thousands of similar graphics that you see on television are produced by a talented graphics producer.
Graphics producers that work for motion picture or television companies can make double the median income starting out. There are tons of graphics production jobs available, especially as viewership rises on streaming platforms that are in need of fresh graphics packages.
4. Children’s Book Illustrator
This profession is a pick that many people get arts degrees with the intention of pursuing. And why not? Children’s book illustrators have the opportunity to inspire millions of young people with their art.
Children’s book illustrators tend to work on a freelance basis but if you latch onto a popular book series, you may be able to get consistent, well-paying work.
5. Storyboard Artist
When movies are being made, television shows are being created and commercials are being produced, before the camera rolls storyboards need to be drawn up.
Storyboards are visual roadmaps that directors use to plan production. They enable creative professionals to foresee problems with shoots so they can make adjustments before a pressure-filled day on set.
Storyboard artists get hired on a project by project basis but are compensated very well when hired.
6. Fashion Designer
Not every art major has an eye for fashion. If you do though, there is a lot of opportunity out there.
The global fashion industry is expected to grow by almost 5% just this year and has grown by over 20% in the last 3 years. With more consumers buying fashion, more labels are going to need artistic designers like you!
7. Gallery Worker
Art galleries feature work from talented artists in their community and sometimes from around the world. As a gallery worker, you’ll need to use your eye for art to help curation teams select pieces to feature. You’ll then use your sales skills to get people to buy that art.
Gallery workers typically make a small hourly rate but can get rich off of commissions if they’re good at selling.
8. Art Agent
If you’ve got a great eye for artistic talent, you could use your art education to find and represent other great artists. Art agents get their client’s work into galleries and find them related opportunities in the world of art.
Agents typically collect 10% of the profits that are generated from deals that they set their client up with.
Depending on the school that you teach at, an art professor can easily make over 6-figures. High compensation like that will usually need to be earned at a private school. Also, you’ll have to have had a good art career up to that point to be considered for these high-paying positions.
If you want to teach and don’t have a rich a career behind you, you could teach art in a public university or even in a high school setting as a teacher for average pay and excellent benefits.
10. An Artist
Sometimes, artists just want to create unencumbered by the demands of working for others. If that sounds like you, go for it.
Start painting, drawing or doing whatever else it is that you do. Be an entrepreneur and find ways to sell your work at galleries or online.
If you’ve got the talent and the drive, the sky is the limit to how much money you can make as a self-employed artist!
Our Final Thoughts on Careers for Art Majors
Anybody that says that there aren’t careers for art majors available in today’s economy haven’t done a lick of research because there absolutely are. So, if your dream is to make money from art, do it and don’t worry about falling back!
Looking for more job inspiration? If you are, do yourself a favor and dive deeper into our colorful palette of helpful blog content!