Creative Director Training and Degree Programs

Read about education programs for creative directors, also known as art directors. Find out the job duties, employment outlook and education requirements. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Creative Directing?

Creative directing, or art directing, is the practice of coordinating the creative elements of advertising or marketing projects. In this position, you could oversee print production, graphic design and copywriting. Some creative directors specialize in a certain field; you might work only with web-based promotions, for example.

Depending on the size of your creative team, you could perform creative tasks yourself, such as a laying out a publication, writing advertising copy or designing logos. Other responsibilities of creative directors could include making sure a publication is eye-catching, developing creative goals and deadlines, managing teams of creative professionals and conceptualizing the overall effect of a piece.

Key Skills Clear communication, creative, critical thinking, analytic ability, keen observation
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Median Salary (2015) $89,760 for all art directors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Degree Do I Need?

You could get this position with a number of different degrees, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you will likely need several years of experience in a creative field in addition to a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Creative directors have sometimes worked as copywriters or graphic designers, for example. To this end, if you want to work toward a career as a creative director, one option is to pursue a degree in graphic design. In this field, you could earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

Bachelor's degree programs in the field typically take four years to complete, while MFA programs take 2-3 years to finish and culminate in a creative thesis or portfolio. Your classes might include:

  • Imaging theory
  • Foundations of color
  • Design history
  • Drawing techniques
  • Illustration
  • Typography

What Is the Job Market Like?

According to the BLS, job growth for art directors was projected to be about 2% from 2014-2024, or below average for all occupations. Job opportunities in the publishing industry as a whole were expected to limit the demand for creative directors. The BLS reported that art directors earned a median annual salary of $89,760 as of May 2015. Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $46,900, with the top-paid professionals in the field making upwards of $81,320 per year, according to the BLS.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The Art Institutes

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    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Master
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    • Virginia: Arlington
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    Popular programs at Winthrop University:

    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • University of Miami

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    • Florida: Coral Gables
  • Stanford University

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    • California: Stanford
  • Syracuse University

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    • New York: Syracuse