Careers with a Fine Arts Degree


A fine arts education is, by its nature, broad and diverse, rather than narrow and specialized.


As a graduate of this field, you will be highly employable because of the fact that your broad education base has helped shape a set of both unique skills that are applicable to careers in the fine arts, as well as transferrable skills that enable you to seek employment in careers outside of the field.



More On What You Can Do with a Fine Arts Degree

You may have taken a degree in fine arts to nurture your creative side, and follow your dreams of working as a creative artist.


Your career options however, are not limited to such work. Aside from becoming a creative artist, you can use your degree as the foundation for a broad range of career directions, from teaching to management, to media and advertising.


While a fine arts degree may not 'get you a job', per se, it can make you highly employable, and arm you with the skills necessary to succeed in a variety of occupational fields. For example, an education in fine arts helps shape an inquiring mind, and inquiring minds can help employers evaluate conflicting points of view during their business operations. Your employability becomes even greater when you use it as a foundation for a graduate or professional degree.


So, if you’d like to know more about what you can do with this degree, read on below. This careers guide contains detailed occupational information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers.





Employable Skills You'll Gain For Relevant Careers

As a result of this coursework and practical experience, a degree in fine arts can provide you with a set of skills that is specific to the subject matter. Although these skills are largely applicable to a broad range of careers, they are particularly applicable to careers that are in some way or another closely related to the arts.

• Ability to articulate ideas and information comprehensibly in visual, written and verbal forms

• Ability to employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools with skill and imagination

• Ability to disseminate the material outcomes that constitute our visual culture

• Ability to create original artwork, special effects, and animation using a variety of media and techniques

• Ability to combine artistic skills with knowledge of other disciplines, such as political science or communications



Career Guides: Directly Related to a Fine Arts Degree

Now that you have an idea of what skills you’ll be able list on your resume, it's time to find out what careers you can pursue wherein they'll be of great use:

• Actor

• Advertising Illustrator

• Aerial Photographer

• Animation Instructor

• Animator

• Antique Restorer

• Architectural Illustrator

• Art Consultant

• Art Critic

• Art Director

• Art Editor

• Art Historian

• Art Instructor

• Art Therapist

• Artist

• Arts Advocacy Agency Director

• Arts Council Director

• Assistant Photographer

• Automobile Painter

• Background Artist

• Band Director

• Billboard Designer

• Cabinet Maker

• Cantor

• Caricaturist

• Cartographer

• Cartoonist

• Ceramist

• Children's Book Illustrator

• Choreographer

• Cinematographer

• Colourizing Technician

• Comic Book Writer

• Commercial Artist

• Composer

• Corporate Designer

• Costume Designer

• Court Artist

• Creative Director

• Cultural Administrator

• Digital Animator

• Digital Artist

• Display Artist

• Editorial Illustrator

• Ethnomusicologist

• Exhibit Designer

• Expedition Photographer

• Fabric Designer

• Fashion Buyer

• Fashion Designer

• Fashion Illustrator

• Fashion Merchandiser

• Film Critic

• Film Director

• Film Editor

• Florist

• Furniture Designer

• Gaffer

• Gallery Director

• Gallery Owner

• Graphic Designer

• Greeting Card Designer

• Hair Stylist

• Instrumental Musician

• Interior Decorator

• Interior Design Consultant

• Jewelry Designer

• Layout Designer

• Lighting Designer

• Lighting Technician

• Logo Designer

• Magazine Designer

• Makeup Artist

• Medical Illustrator

• Multimedia Designer

• Muralist

• Music Advisor

• Music Agent

• Music Critic

• Music Editor

• Music Journalist

• Music Lawyer

• Music Librarian

• Music Specialist

• Music Therapist

• Music Video Director

• Painter

• Photo Editor

• Photo Retoucher

• Photo Technician

• Photographer

• Photojournalist

• Police Artist

• Programming Director

• Prop Maker

• Re-Recording Mixer

• Record Sales Manager

• Recording Engineer

• Seamstress

• Scientific Illustrator

• Sculptor

• Set Designer

• Silversmith

• Singer

• Sound Editor

• Sound Effects Designer

• Sound Technician

• Special Effects Technician

• Stage Manager

• Story Editor

• Studio Musician

• Stylist

• Tailor

• Tattoo Artist

• Technical Illustrator

• Technical Writer

• Television Director

• Theatre Director

• Theatre Manager

• Toy Designer

• University Professor

• Urban Planner

• Video Editor

• Visual Effects Artist

• Visual Merchandiser

• Voice Coach

• Voiceover Actor

• Wallpaper Designer

• Wardrobe Supervisor

• Weaver

• Web Designer


Please Note: Some of the careers listed above may require additional education and training. Click on careers you are interested in to visit their guide and find out more!




Transferrable Skills You Can Develop

Apart from the skills that are specific to careers in fine arts, you can also acquire general, transferrable skills as a result of your studies. You can apply these skills to plenty of careers that are, and are not, directly related you degree:


• The ability to develop individual ideas and collaborate with others

• Strong observational, research and analytical skills

• Creative problem solving

• The ability to learn from criticism and be objective about your work

• An openness to new influences and concepts

• The ability to meet deadlines



Other Career Guides: Indirectly Related to a Fine Arts Degree

Not interested in a career that’s directly related to your fine arts degree? That’s okay, because of the skills you’re able to gain as a result of your studies, you have plenty of career options, including:

• Advertising Consultant

• Architectural Technologist

• Art Auctioneer

• Art Dealer

• Artist Manager

• Blogger

• Booking Agent

• Broadcaster

• Broadcasting Technician

• Camp Director

• Choral Director

• Concert Promoter

• Consumer Advocate

• Copywriter

• Daycare Worker

• Elementary School Teacher

• Entrepreneur

• High School Teacher

• Historic Preservationist

• Lithographer

• Liturgist

• Market Researcher

• Mayor

• Producer

• Production Assistant

• Production Coordinator

• Publicist

• Publisher

• Radio Program Director

• Radio Program Producer

• Radio Station Manager

• Retail Sales Associate

• Sales Representative

• Stunt Coordinator

• Talent Agent

• Talent Coordinator

• Technical Director

• Tour Manager

Please Note: Some of the careers listed above may require additional education and training. Click on careers you are interested in to visit their guide and find out more!



Increase Your Employability: Consider a Double Major

Pursuing a second major in a field that is typically highly employable can greatly increase your chances of finding work that is directly relevant to your university education. For example, by pursuing a second major in one of the following fields, you will still be able to study what you love, fine arts, while also being able to earn a highly employable, transferable skill set:



Graphic Design

Interior Design



Marketing Yourself for Careers in Fine Arts

Developing a Portfolio

If you decide to pursue a career as a creative artist of any kind, it is strongly recommended that you develop and maintain a portfolio of your best and most recent work, as it is extremely difficult to secure employment without one.


A good place to start the development of a portfolio is by doing creative work while you’re in school. For example, if you want to work as a set or exhibit designer, get as much experience as you can working on school productions or exhibits.

Speaking to teachers and professors, and letting them know what your professional interests are, can lead to plenty of these in-school opportunities. But don’t limit yourself to these routes, you can also actively pursue opportunities outside of school to volunteer your services, as this is a great way to hone your skills and add to your portfolio.


Whatever you do, don't limit your portfolio to simply examples of mandatory assignments you had to complete for classes. The more examples of your own creative work you can display in your portfolio, the better.

Working as an Assistant to Open Doors

A great way to gain career experience in creative fields can be in the form of working as an assistant to a creative professional. If you demonstrate strong aptitude ability and a willingness to learn, you may be fortunate enough to earn gain more responsibilities while working under the professional, and eventually get a chance to showcase your designs and creations as you gain more experience.






Factors that Can Influence Your Future Earnings

The salary you could earn as a fine arts graduate depends on what career you pursue. For example, if you go on to become an exhibit designer, your earnings may be different, for better or for worse, from what you would earn if you choose to become a music critic. Other factors that have an effect on your earnings include:

• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have



Some Actual Salary Figures for Fine Arts Graduates

Salaries in Ontario: According to a salary survey in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $34,653 CAD is the average salary earned by  graduates in Fine and Applied Arts programs, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2008. Unfortunately, similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources, nor can more recent statistics.


Success Tip: To get a better idea of what you could earn, click on some of the career fields listed above, in the "Career Guides: Directly Related to a Fine Arts Degree" section. It is more accurate (although still not perfect) to estimate your potential future salary based on the career field you plan on pursuing, rather than by your general degree.


What you can do with a fine arts degree


Fine Arts Scholarships

Help yourself pay for tuition by finding a scholarship from our database that's specifically for students in a fine arts degree program.

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.


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