Careers for Art Majors

Art majors can go into careers in teaching, graphic design, multimedia animation and studio art production. Read on to learn more about the career options available to you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of the Art Major

If you choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in art, you'll take academic and studio art courses that will expose you to artistic influences and allow you to explore your creative potential. Although your course requirements and emphasis options may vary depending on your school, you'll generally take courses in drawing, painting, art history, graphic design and studio art. In your studio art classes, you'll be expected to create finished pieces based on what you've learned in your academic courses. Depending on your program's options, you may choose an emphasis in painting, sculpting, photography, graphic design, teacher education or art history.

Your program will typically take at least four years to complete, and you'll usually graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree; however, if you enter a program focused on art education, you might receive a Bachelor of Science degree. Common jobs for art majors include art teacher, graphic designer, fine artist and multimedia artist.

Important Facts About Careers for Art Majors

Art Teachers Graphic Designers Fine Artists Multimedia Artists and Animators
Average Salary (2014) $59,3330 (secondary teachers) $50,670 $51,120 $69,410
Key Skills Communication, patience, resourcefulness Artistic ability, computer, creativity Artistic ability, business, dexterity Artistic talent, communication, computer
Work EnvironmentClassroom Studio Commercial or private studio Office or Home
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 6% (high school teachers) 7% 4% 6%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Art Teachers

As an art teacher, you'll be responsible for educating elementary, middle or high school students about art history and assisting them in the creation of their own works of art. Your duties will include planning lessons, grading students' assignments and meeting with parents to discuss students' progress.

In addition to completing your undergraduate degree in art, you'll need to comply with your state's teacher qualification standards, which may include completing teacher education programs and passing teacher credentialing exams.

Graphic Designers

If you work as a graphic designer, you'll use text and images to design messages that convey ideas and concepts. You may design logos and create advertisements for billboards, magazines and the Internet. It is likely that you'll use traditional drawing methods with image-manipulation computer software to produce your designs.

Fine Artists

As a fine artist, you'll produce pieces of work in your chosen craft, which could be illustration, jewelry or ceramics. Some of your work may land in museums or art shows. You may also create pieces according to clients' specific requests. According to the BLS, it's difficult to make a living wage on the money you earn from selling your art.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

As a multimedia artist and animator, you'd work with 2-D and 3-D graphics and animations. Using a computer, you would create content for video games, movies or TV shows. You might make background designs, characters or scenery. Other tasks include creating storyboards, making edits and meeting with both clients and coworkers.

The BLS reports that more than half of artists and animators are self-employed. Positions are also available in offices, video game studios and motion picture and video studios.

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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