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Art: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Art Museums, Galleries

  • 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

Information & 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, fundraising, 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

    Information & 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

    • 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)

    Information & 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

    • 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

    Information & Strategies

    • Obtain certification for public school teaching.
    • Graduate degrees 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

    Information & 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

    • 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

    Information & 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

      Information & Strategies

      • Apprentice with a freelance 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

        Information & 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

          Information & 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

          • Buying
          • Store management
          • Display design
          • Fashion coordination
          • Custom framing

          Employers

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

          Information & 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.
          Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

          Next Steps

          Learn more about North Park's art program.

          Art at North Park University