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What Can You Do With An Art Degree?

What Can You Do With An Art Degree?
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Here find over 200 career choices for art students.

By: Andrea Mulder-Slater

Dear KinderArt,

I am a highschool student seriously considering getting a Fine Arts Degree (BFA) or maybe even higher such as masters… or even PhD..

All I wonder is that is it worth it to pursue such a goal? Everyone (other than people also aspiring to become artists, and my mother) that I talk to believe that getting an Art Degree is pointless, because “There is nothing to do with an Art Degree” so my parents want me to get a practical degree.

My question is “Is it worth it to go into art in the end?”

Years ago, I was invited to speak to secondary school students at a career day session. My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to talk about what I did for a living. A simple enough task, however, in preparation, I felt I should research what (other than artist, writer and teacher) can be done with an arts degree. In addition to locating a number of suggested career paths for those graduating with an arts degree, I sat down and began writing down all the careers, associated with the arts, that came to mind. I stopped when I reached 209.

Not long after, the above letter touched on the very same topic. The author of the above question is facing something many entering college/university do. There is a common belief that an arts degree will get you nowhere and that those who study art should really do it “on the side” while working toward a “practical” degree. That might be true if an arts degree only leads to a job as a visual artist. However, I’m here to show you that possibilities exist far beyond an artist’s studio.

Bottom line, if you are a creative person who enjoys art and wants to learn more about it — go for it. In the end, opportunities will present themselves if you are open to them. An artist is never out of work.


UPDATE: When I posted this piece several years ago, I never expected the kind of response I’ve received with comments that range from cheerful to downright ugly.

I felt it was fairly obvious to anyone pursuing a degree, that different specialties call for different educational paths. I was under the impression that people would recognize that if they wanted to become an Advertising Director, than they would need to pursue an education in advertising as well as art. And, if you they were longing to become an Archaeologist, they would understand that a degree in archaeology would be a necessity. Similarly, a Lawyer with an Art Specialty would need to be a lawyer first.

Honestly, I didn’t for foresee the anger that this piece has elicited. I contemplated taking it down but then it occurred to me that by removing the list would just perpetuate the idea that The Arts are not a valuable commodity. Nothing could be further from the truth. The “starving artist” myth exists only because too many people are stuck in a “we’ve always done it this way” rut. If you want to study art and have the means, then do it. I’m a big believer in following your bliss. After all, you only have one life to live and if you aren’t spending (at least a portion of it) following your dreams and discovering your affinities, then you might want to choose a new path and art might just help lead you there.

Now, if you want to “play it safe” the general consensus is that a Liberal Arts degree (not so far removed) is far more valuable in today’s world than any other degree. But, you don’t have to take my word for it…

“The people who will succeed in more expensive labor markets like the U.S. will be those who can think creatively and generate the IDEAS that will propel economic growth.”
~Vivek Ranadivé


Here’s the list, for what it’s worth.

  1. Accessory Designer
  2. Advertising Director
  3. Aerial Photographer
  4. Airbrush Artist
  5. Antique Specialist
  6. Appliqué Artist
  7. Archaeologist
  8. Architect
  9. Architectural Graphic Artist
  10. Architectural Writer/Critic
  11. Architecture Teacher
  12. Art Activity Writer
  13. Art Appraiser
  14. Art Book Editor
  15. Art Consultant
  16. Art Coordinator
  17. Art Critic
  18. Art Dealer
  19. Art Director
  20. Art Distributor
  21. Art Historian
  22. Art Insurance Agent
  23. Art Librarian
  24. Art Magazine Editor
  25. Art Researcher
  26. Art Restorer
  27. Art Specialist
  28. Art Supervisor
  29. Art Teacher
  30. Art Teacher Assistant
  31. Art Therapist
  32. Artist in Residence
  33. Artists’ Agent
  34. Audio/Visual Designer
  35. Automobile Designer
  36. Background Artist (TV)
  37. Bank Note Designer
  38. Basket Maker
  39. Block Engraver
  40. Book Jacket Designer
  41. Bookbinder
  42. Botanical Designer
  43. Calendar Editor
  44. Calligrapher
  45. Camera Operator
  46. Candle Maker
  47. Caricaturist
  48. Cartographer (mapmaker)
  49. Cartoonist
  50. Ceramicist
  51. Children’s Book Illustrator
  52. Cinematographer
  53. Comic Strip Artist
  54. Commercial Photographer
  55. Computer Graphic Artist
  56. Conceptual Artist
  57. Copywriter
  58. Corporate Art Collector
  59. Corporation Photographer
  60. Costume Designer
  61. Court Artist
  62. Craftsperson
  63. Curator
  64. Curriculum Writer (Art)
  65. Design Consultant
  66. Designer
  67. Drafter
  68. Editorial Art Director
  69. Editorial Illustrator
  70. Enamellist
  71. Environmental Artist
  72. Environmental Designer
  73. Environmental Planner
  74. Equipment Designer
  75. Exhibition Coordinator
  76. Fabric Designer
  77. Fashion Art Director
  78. Fashion Consultant
  79. Fashion Display Director
  80. Fashion Editor/Writer
  81. Fashion Illustrator
  82. Fashion Merchandiser
  83. Fashion Photographer
  84. Faux Finish Specialist
  85. Film Animator
  86. Film Developer
  87. Film Editor
  88. Filmmaker
  89. Fine Art Photographer
  90. Fine Artist
  91. Floor Covering Designer
  92. Floral Designer
  93. Forensic Artist
  94. Foundry Worker
  95. Furniture Designer
  96. Gallery Assistant
  97. Gallery Director
  98. Gallery Owner
  99. Gallery Photographer
  100. Gem Cutter
  101. Glass Blower
  102. Goldsmith
  103. Graphic Arts Technician
  104. Greeting Card Designer
  105. Hair Stylist Designer
  106. Heavy Equipment Designer
  107. Illustrator
  108. Industrial Designer
  109. Interior Decorator
  110. Interior Designer
  111. Jewelry Maker/Designer
  112. Lace Maker
  113. Landscape Designer
  114. Law Enforcement Photographer
  115. Lawyer with Art Specialty
  116. Leatherworker
  117. Legal Photographer
  118. Lighting Designer
  119. Lithographer
  120. Lithographic Photographer
  121. Magazine Art Director
  122. Magazine Photographer
  123. Makeup Artist
  124. Manufacturer of Art Materials
  125. Manuscript Illuminator
  126. Marine Architect
  127. Master Printer
  128. Medical Illustrator
  129. Metalsmith
  130. Model Builder
  131. Mold Maker
  132. Movie Art Director
  133. Movie Scene Painter
  134. Mural Artist
  135. Museum Curator
  136. Museum Director
  137. Museum Photographer
  138. Museum Photographer
  139. Musical Instrument Maker
  140. Ornamental Metalwork Designer
  141. Painter
  142. Papermaker
  143. Parade Float Designer
  144. Patternmaker
  145. Photo Researcher
  146. Photo Re-Toucher
  147. Photo Stylist
  148. Photofinisher Specialist
  149. Photographer
  150. Photographic Engineer
  151. Photography Teacher
  152. Picture Framer
  153. Photojournalist
  154. Playground Designer
  155. Police/Court Artist
  156. Portrait Painter or Photographer
  157. Poster Artist
  158. Potter
  159. Press Photographer
  160. Printmaker
  161. Private Art Instructor
  162. Product Designer
  163. Product Illustrator
  164. Product Photographer
  165. Promotion Designer
  166. Puppet Designers
  167. Puppeteer
  168. Quick Sketch Artist
  169. Retail Store Art Director
  170. Rug Maker
  171. Scenic Artist
  172. School Photographer
  173. Science Fiction Illustrator
  174. Sculptor
  175. Set Construction Worker
  176. Showroom Manager
  177. Sign Painter
  178. Silk Screen Artist
  179. Silversmith
  180. Sketch Artist
  181. Space Planner
  182. Special Effects Artists
  183. Sports Clothing Designer
  184. Sports Equipment Designer
  185. Stage Design
  186. Stained Glass Maker
  187. Stencil Illustrator
  188. Storyboard Illustrator
  189. Tapestry Worker
  190. Tattoo Artist
  191. Teachers Aide
  192. Technical Illustrator
  193. Television Art Director
  194. Television Graphic Artist
  195. Text Book Illustrator
  196. Textile Artist
  197. Theatre Set Designer
  198. Theme Park Designer
  199. Tool Designer
  200. Toy Designer
  201. Typographer
  202. Video Artist
  203. Wall Covering Designer
  204. Transportation Designer
  205. Wardrobe Staff
  206. Web Site Designer
  207. Window Display Designer
  208. Wood Crafter
  209. Workshop Coordinator

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