Art and Design Careers

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The dynamic world of art and design provides an array of career opportunities from designing floral arrangements to creating movie sets. The range of art and design careers provides opportunities for just about every creative person. Art and design careers such as graphic designer and interior designer combine creativity with practical skills, whereas a fashion designer career relies more on creativity.

Just about every sector needs people with art and design degrees for rewarding niche roles. People with art and design careers use their creative skills to communicate their client's message. The art and design sector can be quite competitive, with technical skills increasingly important for many art and design jobs.

Freelance artists who sell their own artwork benefit from more artistic freedom, flexible scheduling and the ability to select their projects. They have to manage their finances, marketing and public relations.

TheBestSchools provides important information about a variety of art and design careers. Click on a career to read a realistic career overview. Review the job outlook and salary sections. Learn about the specific training or degree requirements. Receive important information about the degree you need for the art and design career you're interested in.

Once you've explored this page on Art and Design Careers you should continue reading our website's extensive career guide with details on job options, education requirements and salaries.

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Art Directors

Education and Certifications Art Directors Need

An art director career typically requires a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts and three to five years of previous work experience in a related position, such as graphic designer, illustrator, copyeditor, or photographer.

Some colleges and universities offer a Bachelor of Design, a Bachelor of Visual Communications, a Bachelor in Multimedia Design and Development, a Bachelor in Design Management, a Bachelor in Graphic Design, or a Bachelor in Digital Media degree program.

Some art directors hoping to advance in their career continue their education with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Art directors don't need a specific license or certification.

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What They Do

Art directors are responsible for the pictures that catch our attention; they tell stories and sell products in our highly visual culture. Art directors determine the images used and overall visual style for everything from magazines and newspapers to product packaging and movie or television productions.

Common industries for art directors for employment include: publishing, advertising, public relations and movie production.

An art director takes a concept and put a believable picture to it, and then accurately convey their concept to a team of artists. Art director careers involve developing the look, style, and feel of advertising campaigns or of a movie, show or theater performance. Art director careers often involve overseeing a design staff and working with photographers, writers, directors, editors and other creative directors. Art directors keep their staff on track with the budget and the timeline.

Art directors working in publishing generally oversee newspaper and magazine page layouts, as well as select cover art for books, magazines or web publications. Art directors focused in advertising or public relations convey their client's message visually through media campaigns. An art director career in movie production involves creating the style of a set.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay 92,500
2016 number of jobs 90,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 5%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $51,130
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $170,230

 

Craft and Fine Artists

Education and Certifications Craft and Fine Artists Need

A fine artist career does not require formal schooling, although many artists still obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree or Master of Fine Arts degree. People with an art degree may more easily create a professional portfolio.

Craft artists or fine artists who desire to teach art at public elementary or secondary schools must earn a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Everyone can learn to appreciate art, but not everyone has the talent to become a successful craft artist or fine artist.

Craft artists create handmade art, including items like glassware, pottery, and textiles. Fine artists create original works of art intended for aesthetic enjoyment rather than functional use. Fine artists may include painters, sculptors, and illustrators.

Craft artists and fine artists engage in a variety of artistic expressions, including knitting, weaving, sewing, glass blowing, painting, drawing, sculpting, or inventing new forms of artistic expression or creation. Craft artists and fine artists create professional portfolios of their work, as it displays their best pieces of art and helps them obtain jobs in the art field.

The work of craft artists or fine artists may be displayed in places such as museums, commercial or non-profit art galleries, outdoors, corporate collections, or private homes.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Most artists begin their artist career as a freelancer while they also have a full time job, and may get to the point where they can financial survive just on their art and focus on it full-time.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $49,160
2016 number of jobs 53,400
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 6%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $22,630
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $101,120

 

Fashion Designers

Education and Certifications Fashion Designers Need

Although a fashion designer career can begin with a high school diploma or equivalent, many fashion designers opt for an Associate degree in fashion design or a Bachelor of Fashion Design, a Bachelor in Fashion Marketing and Design, a Bachelor in Fashion Marketing, a Bachelor of Fashion Merchandising or a degree in a related field.

Fashion designers commonly enter the fashion industry through internships or through working as an assistant designer.

Fashion designers don't need specific licenses or certifications.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear, overseeing the entire process of their creation. Fashion designer careers include remaining up-to-date on current world fashion trends in order to design materials that attract and satisfy customers. Often, fashion designers create a line of clothing, accessories, or footwear (sometimes a combination of these two or three) around a specific theme.

The fashion design process usually begins with sketches or computer-aided design programs (CAD), followed by fabric selection, and the creation of a prototype. A fashion designer presents their prototype to a creative director. Companies sell approved items to the public, usually through retail stores.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Fashion designers often begin their career assisting more experienced designers and gradually advancing to better positions. Experienced fashion designers can advance in their career through obtaining a chief designer, design department head, creative director, or another type of supervisory position.

With enough experience, fashion designers may start their own design company or sell their designs in their own retail stores.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $67,420
2016 number of jobs 23,800
3%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $33,910
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $135,490

 

Floral Designers

Education and Certifications Floral Designers Need

A floral designer career requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Floral designers generally learn their trade from on-the-job training.

Private floral schools, vocational schools, and community colleges offer floral design and floriculture programs; they offer certification or a diploma upon completion. Some schools provide an Associate of Floral Design or Bachelor of Floral Design.

Floral designers may earn the Certified Floral Designer certification through the American Institute of Floral Designers; it's a voluntary certification.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Floral designers often create flower arrangements for important life events in our culture, such as weddings, graduations, birthdays, and other celebrations, banquets, or ceremonies. Floral designer careers include arranging live, dried, and silk flowers in beautiful arrangements for decorative purposes.

Floral designers know the appropriate seasons for different flowers, as well as average sizes, color variations, and needed conditions to maintain optimal flower health.

Some floral designers grow their own flowers, while others work with a wholesaler. Floral designer careers include meeting a customer's needs for a specific flower. In many cases, clients ask floral designers for their expert opinion or recommendations of flowers, colors, and locations of arrangements. Floral designing careers include meeting directly with customers and making every effort to work within the customer's budget.

Floral designers also perform care and maintenance on their flowers, including watering them, stripping leaves below the waterline, mixing flower food solutions, and cleaning workspaces.

Floral designers who own their own shop also deal with management tasks, budgeting, ordering supplies, scheduling events with customers and taxes.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Floral designers with formal design training can obtain a chief floral designer or supervisor position or open their own business.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $26,350
2016 number of jobs 55,000
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 -6%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $19,080
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $39,540

 

Graphic Designers

Education and Certifications Graphic Designers Need

Some people seeking a graphic designer career obtain a Bachelor of Graphic Design degree or a degree in a related field. Individuals with an unrelated bachelor degree may begin a graphic design career after obtaining technical training in graphic design. People interested in a graphic designer career need a professional portfolio of their work in order to apply for a job in the graphic design field.

Typically graphic designers keep up with new and updated computer graphics and design software, either on their own or through formal software training programs.

Graphic designers remain up-to-date on computer graphics and design software either on their own or through attending formal software training programs.

Graphic designers don't need specific licenses or certifications.

Find the best school for you: The Top 10 Graphic Design Online Bachelor's Programs

What They Do

Graphic designers are responsible for the logos, websites, and other images which connect people to specific brands or companies and make them easily recognizable. Graphic designers create their work by hand and using computer software, or a combination of the two.

Graphic designer careers include advising clients on ways to reach their target audience through image or visually-based marketing and advertising campaigns. Graphic designers play a major part in determining the message a design should portray, they provide messages through images, color, texts, and layout selected.

A graphic designer career includes presenting ideas and various drafts to the art director, making changes as requested.

Due to the amount of computer technology used in their profession, graphic designers remain up-to-date on developing software and computer technologies in order to remain competitive.

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Career Advancement Opportunities

Graphic designers with work experience may advance in their career to a position such as chief designer, art director or creative director.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $48,700
2016 number of jobs 266,300
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 4%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $28,560
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $83,140

 

Industrial Designers

Education and Certifications Industrial Designers Need

An industrial designer career may begin with a Bachelor of Industrial Design, Architecture, or Engineering degree from a college or university program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. People interested in an industrial designer career typically create a professional portfolio of their work.

Some industrial designers continue their education and obtain a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Industrial designers don't need specific licenses or certifications.

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What They Do

Industrial designers are creative masterminds of new products focused on customer experience; they get to design the products that not only make our life easier but are also fun to use such as cars, home appliances, and toys.

Industrial designer careers include researching various demographics targeted by the device they are designing in order to design something appealing, useful and fun to a specific demographic.

Industrial designers usually sketch their ideas, either by hand or by using computer-aided software (CAD), which develops virtual models and easily makes amendments if needed.

Industrial designer careers include determining the needed materials to create their product, as well as the cost of the materials.

To ensure functionality and safety Industrial designers work with a variety of professionals including engineers, marketing specialists, and production experts.

Many industrial designers specialize in a specific type of product design, such as designing medical equipment, electronic products, or household items.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Industrial designers with experience and working in larger firms may advance in their career to a position such as chief designer or design department head. Industrial designers may also become teachers in design schools, colleges, or universities or open their own design firm.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $65,970
2016 number of jobs 39,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 4%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $36,430
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $106,950

 

Interior Designers

Education and Certifications Interior Designers Need

An interior designer career or modern interior designer career typically begins with a Bachelor of Interior Design degree or a degree in another field along with interior design classes.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, or the National Kitchen and Bath Association have provided accreditation for most interior design programs.

Interior designers need a license in all states, however requirements vary. Some states require individuals to pass the state-approved National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam before they may use the professional title of interior designer.

Interior designers may obtain voluntary certification in design specialties, such as kitchen and baths. Professional and trade associations, independent of the NCIDQ licensing exam, provide interior designer certifications.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Interior designers create the tone, mood, and attitude of a location through the decorating choices. Interior designers may design homes, offices, airport terminals, shopping malls, restaurants and other spaces. Interior designers often specialize in one or two specific types of locations.

Interior designer careers include communicating with clients and acquiring a deep understanding of the client's goals for a particular space. Interior designer careers also involve creating sketches of their ideas for the space, or using computer-aided design software.

An interior designer determines the necessary materials to create a space, such as furnishings, lighting, wall coverings, flooring and artwork. When designing a space interior designers consider the use of the space and assure things remain easily accessible and practical.

Upon completion of a project, an interior designer closely inspects the project, ensures customer satisfaction and makes changes or alterations if needed. Interior designers find work through client recommendations as well as personally finding and bidding on jobs.

Sustainable designers specialize in utilizing energy and water efficient strategies, as well as improving air quality designs. Sustainable designers also specialize in environmentally preferable products. Some sustainable designers become certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Universal designers renovate spaces with the intention of making them more accessible for individuals such as the elderly or those with special needs.

Kitchen and bath designers specialize in cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing and electrical solutions for kitchen and bathroom spaces.

Lighting designers specialize in lighting for homes, businesses, or public spaces.

Closet designers maximize and organize storage and closet spaces.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $51,500
2016 number of jobs 66,500
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 4%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $27,240
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $93,780

 

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Education and Certifications Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers Need

There is more than one road to a jeweler career or precious stone and metal worker career. Traditionally, jewelers received long-term on-the-job training rather than a formal education; today, however, a growing number of jewelers take a six month or one year jeweler's course at a trade school or even earn a Bachelor of Jewelry Design or even a Master of Jewelry Design.

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers don't need specific certifications or licenses.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Jewelers are the silent partners in most of the engagements, weddings, anniversaries, and — let's face it — apologies in our country. Jewelers design, manufacture, sell, adjust, appraise and fix all types of jewelry, from rings and bracelets to necklaces and earrings.

A jeweler career may involve working with a variety of stones and metals beyond the traditional diamonds and gold. Creating jewelry involves first creating a model with carved wax or with a computer program, and then making a cast of the model. Creating an actual piece of jewelry involves using soldering tools, lasers, and other small hand tools. Lasers may be used to solder without leaving a seam or to include a tiny engraving or marking personalizing the jewelry.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Jewelers working in manufacturing may have an opportunity for career advancement to a supervisory role, such as master jeweler or head jeweler. Jewelers working in stores or repair shops may advance to management or eventually open their own business.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $37,960
2016 number of jobs 37,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 -7%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $22,240
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $65,140

 

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Education and Certifications Multimedia Artists and Animators Need

A multimedia artist career or animator career may begin with a Bachelor of Computer Graphics, Art, Animation, or Graphic Design degree or a degree from a related field.

Individuals wishing to enter a multimedia artist career or animator career should put together a professional portfolio showcasing a variety of their best work. A strong portfolio can sometimes get an aspiring multimedia artist or animator a job in the industry even without a degree.

Multimedia artists and animators may also receive on-the-job training to learn how to use a company-specific animation software.

Multimedia artists and animators don't need specific licenses or certifications.

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What They Do

If creating visual effects for movies, televisions, mobile devices, and other media forms sounds just as fun as watching them, you may enjoy an animation career or a multimedia artist career.

Multimedia artists and animators utilize pen and paper and computer programs to create illustrations. Some companies have their own computer animation software an animator or multimedia artist must learn to use upon hire.

Multimedia artist careers and animator careers typically involve working as part of a larger team of animators and artists, all working on creating the same movie, show, game, or program. Multimedia artists and animators also work directly with clients, head animators, games designers, and directors.

Multimedia artist careers and animator careers include mapping out storylines and making adjustments as needed based on deadlines and feedback from directors, game designers, head animators, or clients.

It's common for multimedia artists and animators to not only specialize in a specific field, such as animated movies or video games, but to further specialize within that field, such as designing only characters or scenery.

See also:
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What can I do with a Degree in Video Game Design?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $70,530
2016 number of jobs 73,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 8%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $39,330
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $123,060

 

Set and Exhibit Designers

Education and Certifications Set and Exhibit Designers Need

Some people seeking a set designer career or an exhibit designer career obtain a Bachelor of Set Design, Scenic Design, or Theater degree from a program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

Set designers and exhibit designers don't need specific licenses or certifications.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Set designers and exhibit designers play and important role in helping transport people's imaginations to a different time and place, whether it's for a play, movie, television show, or exhibit.

A set designer career and an exhibit designer career involve reading scripts and researching the history of artifacts in order to create appropriate and believable sets and exhibit designs. A set designer career and an exhibit designer career includes identifying the intended audience and catering to their preferences while designing a set or exhibit.

Set designers and exhibit designers often use computer-aided design (CAD) programs when creating prototypes of sets or exhibits.

Set designer careers and exhibit designer careers involve meeting and consulting with directors, curators, clients, production staff, and other designers in order to agree upon a final vision and the steps to take to reach their goal. Set designers read scripts and familiarize themselves with the story.

Set designers and exhibit designers work within a given budget and time line or sometimes must create their own.

Exhibit designers specialize in designing areas to display art or artifacts for museum exhibits. They must consider space and leave enough room for people to admire the artifacts but also move around them easily and carefully.

See also: What can I do with an Art & Design degree?

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $53,090
2016 number of jobs 11,490
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 N/A
Entry-level education requirements N/A
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $29,010
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $98,470

* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by
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