8 unexpected careers you can pursue with an art degree

. . .

Thursday, April 9th, 2015


College is an important investment and begs the question, “Am I going to get a job after college?” And more importantly, “What careers are open to someone with an art degree?” You may be unsure what jobs are out there for a recent graduate with an art degree, but you know one thing for certain: you want to pursue a career in the arts and you are considering art school as the next step in making that happen. That’s great! This essential curiosity, challenged and developed in pursuit of a degree in the arts, promises a lifetime of discovery that will enable you to think creatively about anything you choose to engage in. But, you are justified in thinking, “Does that really lead to a job?” and “What careers in art are out there for me?”

In this ever-changing economy, graduates need to find ways to stand out to prospective employers in a highly competitive job market. You need to know that an art degree prepares students for the creative thinking that leads to the collaboration and problem solving most employers look for. In fact, a 2014 SNAAP survey of graduates who have earned degrees in the arts offers substantial proof of this. SNAAP results showed that not only are art graduates among the most satisfied professionals in the U.S., but the majority of respondents (65%) reported they were able to find work in art-related fields, and 52% said they were satisfied with their income. Here are some of the sorts of careers SNAAP survey respondents talked about.


Here are 8 careers you can have with an art degree:

Web Designer

Web Designers are employed across all industry sectors. They focus on information architecture, web page scripting, web page layout, database integration and web standards. Competition among web sites is growing day by day, so in order to retain and attract visitors, websites need to be attractive, multimedia-rich and provide an outstanding user experience. Therefore, professionals skilled in web design are currently in constant demand. 


Whether you choose to work for a local publication or travel the world, the primary purpose of a Photojournalist is to be a visual storyteller. Knowing how to capture intriguing images then edit and present them to tell a powerful story requires an education grounded in aesthetics and extensive technical skills.

Event Planner

From decorations to locations and entertainment, Event Planners are in charge of every facet of meetings and events. An art major’s creative eye, along with the time management, concept, communication and critique skills developed in studio course work make it easy to see why this would be an interesting job for a visual art graduate.

Movie Set/Costume Designer

This career takes strong communication and organizational skills coupled with an educated, discerning eye for visual impact. Set and Costume Designers research a specific style for a film and are instrumental in turning the director’s vision into reality.

Video Game Designer

Game Designers create memorable storylines with compelling characters, develop the design concept and video, sketch what the game will look like and create a limited version of the audio and video of the game.

Creative Director

Creative Directors are the ones who ensure that content and design exceed quality standards, satisfy client expectations, maintain good reputation and fit within the organization’s graphic and artistic guidelines. They are the creative leaders at companies who lead the creative team and oversee both visual design and copywriting.

Art Gallery Director

Art Gallery Directors are responsible for deciding what work the gallery will exhibit, while also taking care of essential gallery business. In addition to curating exhibitions, gallery directors develop budgets, create marketing plans and cultivate patron and clients.

Sketch Artist

Sketch Artists use charcoal, pastels, pencils and other media to create drawings of people, courtrooms, crime scenes and other subjects. These are the sketches that are used by law enforcement and news media to identify suspects and solve cases. The work of the sketch artist also informs TV viewers about court and government proceedings.

It should be apparent that, no matter what major in the visual arts you choose, there are a lot of interesting jobs and careers out there that rely on completion of an art degree. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a breeze to get the job of your dreams without persistence and planning. And planning begins with investigating your art school opportunities! Do your research, consider your options and figure out what works best for you. Ask the question, “Where can I see myself working and reaching my fullest potential as an artist?”

We have created a helpful guide that provides you a more detailed look at the types of careers you can have with an art degree, why a specialized art college can be more beneficial to a career in the arts than a traditional college or university, and how a single-focus art college can best prepare you for the real world and a career as a working artist. Good luck!