21 Exciting Art Careers for Creative Students

7 min read

Know a student who loves art but isn’t sure in what direction it will take them later in life? Although some art careers require conventional drawing and fine art skills, there are a lot of other outlets for creative expression. Some art careers take you behind the camera, some lead you to design logos and products, while others encourage you to design buildings and interior spaces. Share these interesting career paths with your creative students to show them how their love of art can translate into a job they’ll love just as much.

1. Industrial Designer

A hand is shown sketching a car on a tablet (art careers)

Since industrial design covers a wide array of products, there is a niche for every aspiring designer out there. While industrial designers do a lot, one of the main things is coming up with new designs for products ranging from medical equipment to smart phones to bicycles and cars. Salary range: $45,000 – $91,000

Learn more: Career Explorer/Industrial Designer

2. Art Teacher

Two small children are shown painting at easels and an adult woman (art teacher) looks on (art careers)

Regardless of whether you see yourself working with toddlers, adults, or those in between, this occupation has you covered. At the elementary and secondary level, art teachers teach a broad range of visual art skills while art professors are more likely to specialize in one area such as painting or photography. Salary range: $40,000 – $95,000

Learn more: Firsthand/Art Teachers

3. Interior Decorator

A hand is shown sorting through a ton of different colored paint samples (art careers)

Interior decorators are tasked with creating magazine-worthy spaces while staying within their client’s budget and design preferences. They select finishings, including paint, furniture, lighting, and more. Salary range: $37,000 – $110,000

Learn more: Occupational Outlook Handbook/Interior Designers

4. Web Designer

 A man is seen turning from his work on the computer to look at the camera (art careers)

A web designer, not to be confused with a web developer, is generally responsible for the appearance and functionality of a website. While creative skills are a must, technical ability is as well, and web designers should have knowledge of programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Salary range: $41,000 – $100,000

Learn more: TechnoJobs/Web Designer

5. Art Curator

Some art careers are best suited to a degree in art history, such as a curator. Art curators research works of art so they can make informed decisions about how to display them in museums and galleries. Additionally, they’re responsible for acquiring, cataloguing, and caring for works of art. Salary range: $70,000 – $170,000

Learn more: LiveAbout/Art Curator

6. Photojournalist

A man is seen crouching down in a street while holding a professional camera.

A photojournalist tells a news story through the photographs they capture. Some art careers take you around the world, and photojournalism is one of them since you have to go where the story takes you, potentially even the front lines of war. While photojournalists can work for a single employer, they can also work as freelancers. Salary range: $38,000 – $51,000

Learn more: Firsthand/Photojournalists

7. Tattoo Artist

Gloved hands are shown tattooing someone's arm.

On the surface, the job of a tattoo artist is to create and apply custom tattoos to their clients’ skin, but there’s much more to it than that. They also need to ensure the health and safety of their clients through sterilization and careful work. Salary range: $24,000 – $108,000

Learn more: The Art Career Project/Tattoo Artist

8. Cake Decorator

Frosting is shown being applied to cupcakes (art careers)

Some cake decorators work in bakeries or grocery stores while others work for themselves. Although they decorate a number of different pastries, wedding cakes are one of the largest and most complex projects they create. Salary range: $22,000 – $43,000

Learn more: Zip Recruiter/Cake Decorator

9. Cinematographer

A woman is shown looking through a large video camera (art careers)

Many art careers are based in the film industry. Cinematographers are responsible for monitoring the camera and lighting crew during TV or film production. They’re also important in establishing the visual style of the product. Additionally, they need to have an understanding of lighting techniques. Salary range: $40,000 – $50,0000

Learn more: NFI/Cinematographer

10. Makeup Artist

A woman is shown applying makeup to a seated woman in front of a large vanity and mirror.

Makeup artists work with clients to establish a “look” and then use makeup to create it. They can also work on film or TV sets to create a number of different looks using both makeup and prosthetics (think: aging a young actor for a scene taking place in the future). Salary range: $31,000 – $70,000

Learn more: Better Team/Makeup Artist

11. Forensic Sketch Artist

A hand is shown sketching a male face with a pencil (art careers)

Forensic artists create sketches of suspects or missing persons based on interviews. In addition to drawing skills, sketch artists also need to have a working knowledge of victim psychology and human memory. Median salary: $63,000

Learn more: Forensics Colleges/Forensic Sketch Artist

12. Animator

A woman sits in front of a computer that has an animated girl on the monitor with pink hair.

Animators are found across many different media, so they usually specialize in a specific area such as film, websites, video games, and other digital platforms. Salary range: $40,000 – $100,000

Learn more: Indeed/Animator

13. Art Therapist

A woman and a little girl sit facing each other. The woman is holding several pieces of a child's artwork. (art careers)

If you have a love of both psychology and art, then an art therapist might be the perfect career for you. There’s a lot of variety in this field since some art therapists work in schools, some work in psychiatric hospitals, and others work in private practice. Salary range: $30,000 – $80,000

Learn more: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics/Art Therapist

14. Graphic Designer

A man sits in front of a computer doing graphic design (art careers)

People who love both art and technology will enjoy a career as a graphic designer. Graphic designers create graphics for printed and electronic media. Salary range: $35,000 – $80,000

Learn more: Career Explorer/Graphic Designer

15. Art Valuer/Auctioneer

A man is seen behind a podium. The backs of a few people's heads are shown and one has his hand up.

If you love art but are not a visual artist yourself, a career as an art auctioneer might be perfect for you. An art auctioneer researches art pieces, identifies the right markets for them, and then works with art collectors and appraisers to sell artwork. Salary range: $58,000 – $85,000

Learn more: The Art Career Project/Art Auctioneer

16. Video Game Designer

Three people are in a studio. One is wearing a virtual reality headset. (art careers)

What’s better than a career that combines art and creativity and video games? A video game designer is a type of software developer that creates story ideas and worlds for video games that are played on desktop computers, mobile devices, or video game consoles. Salary range: $40,000 – $120,000

Learn more: Computerscience.org/Video Game Designer

17. Children’s Book Illustrator

A hand is shown illustrating a story board with a pen (art careers)

Although some children’s book illustrators are employed by publishing houses or authors, most work as freelancers. Aspiring illustrators should study popular children’s books like those by Eric Carle. Salary range: $30,000 – $90,000

Learn more: Reedsy Blog/How To Become a Children’s Book Illustrator

18. Fashion Designer

A man is seen with a soft tape measure around his shoulders as he drapes a dress over a manequin. There are sewing machines in the background.

You need a wide range of skills to become a fashion designer since it entails drawing, sewing, designing, and having marketing skills. While it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s probably a good idea to get a degree in fashion design or a related field. Salary range: $50,000 – $76,000

Learn more: WikiHow/Become a Fashion Designer

19. Jewelry Designer

A woman is seen manipulating materials to create jewelry (art careers)

Jewelry designers create prototypes of different kinds of jewelry such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and other types of accessories. While some jewelry designers work from a home studio, other possibilities include jewelry stores, manufacturing facilities, design studios, and jewelry repair shops. Salary range: $35,000 – $53,000

Learn more: Indeed/How To Become a Jewelry Designer

20. Architect

Two people in orange vests go over architectural plans laid out on a large piece of paper (art careers)

If you love drawing and also have an affinity for buildings and design, you might make a great architect. Although architects don’t do the actual building, they are usually involved in every phase of the design process. Architects are in high-demand, so it’s an excellent career path if you value job security. Salary range: $80,000 – $100,000

Learn more: New School/What Degree Do You Need To Be an Architect?

21. Creative Director

A woman shows a man a sample. Paint swatches are seen in the background.

A career as a creative director pays well while leaving you room for creative expression. Creative directors are responsible for developing and supervising a variety of creative projects in fields like marketing and advertising. Salary range: $115,000 – $165,000

Learn more: Brand Master Academy/How To Become a Creative Director

Looking for more career ideas? Check out these surprising science careers!

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