What can I do with an Art degree?

ART MUSEUMS/GALLERIES

AREAS

Education
Administration
Curatorial
Conservation
Registrar
Collections Management
Sales
Publications
Development
Public Relations
Exhibit Design/Preparation
Archivist
Tour Guides/Docent

EMPLOYERS

Government or private museums
Local historical societies
Galleries

STRATEGIES

Intern or volunteer in an art museum. Develop strength in art history areas.
Enhance computer skills. Earn a business minor. Acquire strong skills in research, fund-raising, speaking, and writing. Earn an advanced degree in an academic discipline or museum studies for greater career opportunities. Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training. Develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well on teams.

FINE ARTS

EMPLOYERS

Self-employed
Shared studios
Historic sites
School/Community programs

STRATEGIES

Prepare a strong portfolio. Participate in juried shows. Secure guild membership.
Consider developing a source of supplemental income. Learn to network and make contacts. Develop strong skills in area of interest. Obtain experience through apprenticeships, internships, or volunteering.

COMMERCIAL ART

AREAS

Graphic Art
Computer Graphics
Illustration
Advertising

EMPLOYERS

Newspapers
Publishing houses
Advertising agencies
Design firms
Large companies - product design divisions
Department stores
Television and motion picture industry
Non-technical and technical books, magazines, and trade publications
Internet media companies
Self-employed (freelance)

STRATEGIES

Prepare a strong portfolio. Gain computer and technical skills. Find an internship in a design firm. Work on campus publications in design or layout. Obtain summer or part-time experience with book, magazine, or newspaper publishers. Develop attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines. Supplement curriculum with course work in advertising or business.

EDUCATION

AREAS

Studio Art
Fine Arts
Art History

EMPLOYERS

Art schools
Public and private schools (K-12)
Colleges and universities
Adult and community programs
Libraries
Museums
Alternative schools
Group homes

STRATEGIES

Obtain certification for public school teaching. Graduate degree usually required for post- secondary teaching. Develop a specialty area. Work or volunteer as a tutor, camp counselor, Big Brother/Sister, or after-school program counselor.
Become a member of art clubs. Obtain substitute-teaching experience. Develop strength in art history areas.

ART THERAPY

EMPLOYERS

Hospitals, nursing homes
Mental health facilities
Rehabilitation centers
Nonprofit organizations

STRATEGIES

Requires specialized training and certification, usually a master's degree in art therapy. Supplement curriculum with psychology, social work, or counseling courses. Gain experience working with diverse populations.

MEDIA

AREAS

Sales
Programming
Design
Video
Production
Editing
Art Journalism
Illustration
Art Criticism
Animation/Cartoons

EMPLOYERS

Corporate media departments
Federal, state, and local government
Nonprofit agencies
Public relations and advertising firms
Independent production companies
Art-related publications
Publishing houses
Newspapers and magazines

STRATEGIES

Compile an up-to-date portfolio. Gain knowledge of a variety of technical equipment. Develop strong computer skills. Participate in student theatrical productions. Serve as audio-visual aide for campus films and lectures. Act as photographer for campus events. Work on student publications. Gain experience through internships in media or related areas. Supplement curriculum with courses in business, journalism, or broadcasting/electronic media.

PHOTOGRAPHY

EMPLOYERS

Museums and historical societies
Media organizations
Photo agencies, studios, and auction houses
Libraries
Self-employment
Large corporations
Hospitals

STRATEGIES

Apprentice with a free-lance photographer. Prepare a black and white and a color portfolio. Obtain a staff photographer position with the yearbook, campus newspaper, or magazine. Act as an audio-visual assistant or projectionist.

FASHION, TEXTILE, INTERIOR DESIGN

EMPLOYERS

Pattern companies
Apparel manufacturers/textile mills
Interior design departments
Commercial/residential design firms
Self-employment

STRATEGIES

Prepare a strong portfolio. Complete an internship in a production firm. Create and fit costumes for stage productions. Enter design ideas in magazine contests.
Become a student member of professional organization(s). Research requirements for entering these fields. Some may require specialized training or additional degrees.

ART SALES

EMPLOYERS

Galleries/Museums
Auction houses
Specialty stores

STRATEGIES

Gain sales experience.
Obtain a business minor.
Develop computer skills.
Establish contacts by attending shows.
Volunteer in museums, membership drives, and community outreach programs.
Serve as a student assistant in a university gallery.
Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills.

RETAIL

AREAS

Buying
Store Management
Display Design
Fashion Coordination
Custom Framing

EMPLOYERS

Retail stores, including department, grocery, drug, specialty, and variety chains

STRATEGIES

Gain sales experience. Enhance curriculum with business courses. Obtain summer, part-time, or internship positions in retail. Secure leadership in campus organizations. Serve as treasurer or financial officer of an organization. Obtain a sales position with the yearbook or campus newspaper.

GENERAL INFORMATION

A bachelor’s degree is valuable for entry-level positions, but an advanced degree is usually necessary to attain competitive, upper-level positions.

An art degree can and should be tailored to areas of specialization.

Save artwork for a strong portfolio - too much is better than too little.

Be prepared to relocate to the larger markets of metropolitan areas where more opportunities exist.

Join art related professional and student organizations.

Volunteer with fundraising efforts for the arts.
Gain valuable experience through volunteering, internships, part-time and summer jobs, and apprenticeships.

Conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas of interest to learn more about opportunities and strategies for these areas.

Learn to network.

Be prepared to begin career in entry-level positions.

Pair an art degree with other career interests to increase opportunities and provide supplemental income.

Develop skills in business management, computers, marketing, and other related areas to increase marketability.

A career in the arts takes dedication, patience, flexibility, talent, and some luck.

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