Art Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as an art major. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and education information. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can You Do As an Art Major?

As an artist, you will help to create things in the world around you. You can focus on a variety of concentrations, some of which include teaching, fine arts, and multimedia arts and animation. Artists employ a variety of techniques to a variety of materials and mediums to create and craft works of art often for exhibit or sale. While becoming an artist of any kind does not necessarily require any formal education, many choose to pursue at least a bachelor's degree in order to learn the principles of art theory and experiment with different media. Teachers of art will need a bachelor's degree, as well as the appropriate licensure and certification in their state.

The table below outlines some basic information about these careers.

Art Teacher Craft Artist Multimedia Artist
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Art education Drawing, painting, jewelry, pottery, metal working Computer animation, multimedia arts, and technology
Licensure/Certification Licensure required in public schools N/A N/A
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for elementary, middle school, high school 2% 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $54,550 (elementary school),
$55,860 (middle school),
$57,200 (high school)
$30,720 $63,970

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Art Majors

The most common art degree programs are broad courses of study that lead to associate and bachelor's degrees. Graduate degrees usually require a specific focus within the field. Some of the skills that you will gain through an art degree program are patience, attention to detail, creativity, logical and spatial reasoning, terminology, research methodology, assessment, and constructive criticism.

Associate degree programs focus on the humanities as a whole. Normally, credit requirements are so limited that students in associate programs spend little time on art electives and focus primarily on art history and Western cultures. Bachelor's degrees spend more time on art courses, and you may find yourself immersing yourself in classes like cultural, period or religious art, art education or history, fibers, acrylic painting, graphic design, jewelry casting, ceramics, watercolors, nudity in art, color theory, typography, and animation.


At the master's and doctoral levels, you will find that the art programs want specificity in the area you want to study. Some of the most common focuses are art education or history, graphic studies, art therapy, and studio art. Some colleges may offer concentrations in art theory, media arts, film, and visual arts as optional focuses as well.

Career Options

Artists are a vastly creative and versatile bunch of people. As an artist you will have the world of art opened up to you to create pottery, jewelry, metal work, sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, and graphic designs. This doesn't even begin to mention the various styles and techniques for each of these creative outlets, such as glass blowing, cutting or painting, digital or sepia photography, charcoal drawing, watercolor, oil-based painting, pencil sketching, stitchery, digital distortion, linocut, and the use of recycled materials, including stones, beach glass, beads, thread, and fabrics. Music, costume design, poetry, literature, and website design are also considered art forms.

Beyond creating art, many careers are also available to those with a strong background in this area, such as art education or therapy, book or Web design, art criticism, medical illustration, and photojournalism. You may also find work as an art investor or dealer, art conservationist or archivist, a visual aide, or an art historian. Of course, the majority of these careers include climbing the career ladder or having a graduate degree in a related field.


As a teacher at the high school level, you can make a median salary of $57,200 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( It is difficult to generalize about how much artists make, because salaries can vary depending on your talent and art form. For instance, salaried fine artists who work with drawing, sculpting, and painting made a median salary of $46,460 in 2015. For those interested in working with media art, creating websites, film, advertisements, and computer games, the median salary in 2015 was $63,970.

What Are Some Similar Careers?

Another position for art majors to consider would be art director. Art directors manage the visual layout of various mediums such as magazines, advertisements, and exhibits, directing others in how to best showcase the art on display. Art majors who specialize can become graphic designers, creating art in traditional and digital means for the purpose of conveying ideas and meaning. Another potential career path for art majors who go into teaching is to become a principal. After gaining teaching experience, teachers are better enabled to manage the demands of becoming an educational administrator. The first two art careers only require a bachelor's degree, while principles at any level require a master's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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