7 Best High Earning Careers For Graduates With Arts Majors

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Written By Adrian Cruce






Most people think that art design jobs do not pay well and that artists starve. This is not actually the case. Having an arts major opens the door to various different career paths because the degree is highly versatile. You get the education foundation needed to be on a really high earning path.

Employers are now looking for candidates that have very strong analytical skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills. The great thing about arts majors is that they actually offer all these important skills. This is why so many businesses and organizations actually appreciate the candidates with arts majors.

If you are among those that think a high earning career is not available if you have an arts major, here are some that you can consider right now and that pay quite well.

Art Director

  • Expected Salary: $42,000 to $160,000

The art director is an upper level executive that directs and designs layouts, graphics, visual styles, illustrations, graphs and art work. This job normally involves overseeing conceptual layout, planning, packaging, television productions, film sets and more. They will sometimes review and then approve stylistic needs and can present designs in order to get approval, together with coordinating various projects with the help of various departments like customer service, financial and of course, creative.

For the job of art director the minimum is usually a Bachelor’s in design, photography, art or another related discipline. At the same time, past work experience is needed as a deciding qualification factor. Getting an MBA or A Masters in Fine Arts helps.

Art Professor

  • Expected Salary: $45,000 to $89,000

Most people do not know this but the art professors can end up earning quite a good living. The Art professor is responsible for planning, developing and teaching lessons plans, assignments and course curriculums. The main job is to improve the knowledge and skills of the students through progress assessment and instruction. An art professor can also perform research, analyze artwork, analyze documents, publish research findings and offer critical reviews, among others.

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If you want to be an art professor, you need a Masters as a minimum in art history or visual arts. Work experience will also be needed for 2 year community college jobs. Employment at larger universities and colleges also requires completing doctoral degree programs.

Art Agent

  • Expected Salary: $41,000 to $117,000

Are you interested in trends and you want to be aware of them at all times? If you are like that and you have an arts major you can consider becoming an art agent. The job is mainly representing artists and presenting them to prospective employers and clients. Also, the agent can also promote talents. Strategic planning is normally needed to advance the career of a client, to handle negotiations, handle contracts and arrange meetings. Arranging travel, lodging, overseeing advertising, writing contracts, scheduling meetings and doing PR work for clients can also be needed.

As an art agent you normally need just a Bachelor’s but remember that earnings are normally based on commission rates. For instance, helping clients sell artwork normally brings in a 10 to 20 percent commission.


  • Expected salary: $45,000 to $83,000

The animator is responsible for the creation, development and the production of moving images that are then used for film, television projects, video games and even websites. An animator will normally use computer software, hand drawings and computer graphics in order to produce and design 2D or/and 3D animations for characters, models and storyboards. You will also often see animators hired to design ads that are used on TV or on the internet. If you want to be an animator the most important part of the requirement is work experience and skills but a Bachelor’s will surely help.

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Commercial Artist

  • Expected Salary: $43,000 to $86,000

A commercial artist develops and creates images and graphics used in advertising campaigns, magazines and even packaging materials. The job involves interpreting conceptual ideas based on client description to produce drafts that meet the needs of the client with the use of computerized design programs or even freehand sketches. In most cases the job involves the artist working with supervisors, clients and other people to refine designs, brainstorm ideas and properly understand budgeting issues, project objectives, scheduling goals and target markets.

In many cases the commercial artist does independent work as a freelancer but direct employment is available in graphic design firms, publishing companies, advertising corporations and much more. The expected salary mentioned is for the salaried commercial artist. As a freelancer, income can vary, sometimes going way above what was mentioned.

Interior Designer

  • Expected Salary: $35,000 to $65,000

It is surprising to see that arts major graduates do not know about the fact that they can do work as an interior designer. Such professionals combine beauty, style, safety and function in order to create interior spaces that are aesthetically pleasing. They will closely work with their clients in order to determine project purpose and objectives. Then, design sketches can be delivered, only to then select furnishings and materials, all while making sure that client space requirements are respected.

An interior designer can also oversee project aspects in order to guarantee budgetary restraints, time efficiency and even proper installation. You often see the specialists working with structural engineers, contractors and architects.

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Many of the interior designers end up specializing in specific structures, styles or even rooms. The flexibility of the job is so much higher than what many expect, all with the minimum education needed being the associate or the bachelor degree.

Freelance Writer

  • Expected Salary: $28,000 to $56,000

This is a job outlook that is most likely unexpected but the truth is that freelance writers specialized in arts and design can end up making a lot of money. They research and prepare stories, articles, content and books for print and online publications, television and radio. Independent work is done so it is possible to work with multiple possible clients. Some of the freelance writers also provide opinions, create content, report facts, edit content, review content, provide technical instructions and conduct interviews.

Most of the freelance writers that have an arts degree specialize in something specific, like journalism, technical writing, creative writing and many possible communication fields. The idea is to enhance employability by establishing work in a specific niche. While not all freelance writing positions will require a degree, there is a need for dedication, motivation and creativity.