Area

Museums and Galleries

  • Art direction
  • Administration
  • Curatorial
  • Conservation
  • Restoration
  • Registrar

  • Collections management
  • Exhibit design/preparation
  • Archive management
  • Education
  • Tours

  • Sales
  • Publications
  • Development
  • Public relations
  • Historian

Employers

  • Art museums:
    • University
    • Public
    • Private

  • Archives
  • Historical societies
  • Natural history museums
  • Living history museums

  • Galleries
  • Community centers
  • Auction houses

Strategies

  • Gain relevant experience through internships or volunteer positions in museums or galleries.
  • Visit museums around the country and world to gain exposure to art. Learn a foreign language and plan to study abroad.
  • Supplement curriculum with courses in history, religion, anthropology, and classical civilizations. Most art historians will specialize in a period or region.
  • Acquire strong skills in research, fund-raising, speaking, writing, and an attention to detail.
  • Plan to earn a graduate degree in art history, museum studies, or other related discipline depending upon specific interests. Each specialty has varying qualifications and required training.
  • Develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well on teams.
  • Become a member of local museums.
  • Read published resources provided by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Area

Fine Arts and Crafts

  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Textiles
  • Printmaking

  • Multi-media
  • Fibre
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Illustration

  • Film
  • Performance
  • Installation
  • Video

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Studios
  • Living history museums and historical sites

  • School and community programs
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

  • Complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) to continue developing skills and to increase professional opportunities in art related fields.
  • Consider whether you want to pursue art as a full- time job or as an avocational interest.
  • Opportunities are limited for full-time work. Many artists hold other jobs to supplement their income.
  • Participate in juried shows and exhibitions.
  • Maintain an up-to-date physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • Gain additional skills and experience through an apprenticeship, internship, or volunteer position with a professional artist or organization.
  • Secure guild membership.
  • Learn to network and make contacts.
  • Build a reputation by circulating art work and developing a particular style.

  • Graphic art
  • Motion design
  • Web design
  • Graphic novels

  • Illustration
  • Story boards
  • Advertising
  • Medical and scientific illustration
  • Typography

  • Animation
  • Art direction
  • Logo/Branding
  • Design: advertisement, magazine, layout, book, packaging, stationary, wallpaper

Employers

  • Advertising agencies
  • Public relation agencies
  • Design firms
  • Company marketing departments

  • Publishing companies: magazines, newspapers, books
  • Department stores
  • Television and motion picture industry
  • Governmental agencies
  • Universities

  • Manufacturing firms
  • Greeting card companies
  • Internet media companies
  • Self-employed
  • Large corporations

Strategies

  • Develop excellent technical and computer skills in a variety of platforms and design software.
  • Maintain an up-to-date physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • Gain relevant experience through part-time jobs and internships.
  • 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.
  • For medical illustration, undergraduate coursework in anatomy and biology may be necessary, as well as a master’s degree in medical illustration.
  • Participate in the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition to build a greater understanding of the industry and to gain recognition.

Area

Education

  • Formalized instruction
  • Recreational instruction
  • Research (art history)
  • Art curriculum writing

Employers

  • K-12 schools, public and private
  • Universities and colleges
  • Art schools
  • Adult and community programs

  • Museums
  • Recreation centers
  • Libraries
  • Group homes

Strategies

  • Develop strong communication skills and teaching ability through coursework and campus activities.
  • Acquire a teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
  • Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work.
  • Participate in art clubs, juried shows, and exhibitions.
  • Maintain an updated physical and digital portfolio of your work.
  • To teach art history in higher education:
    • Take general history classes in addition to art history classes.
    • Learn one or more foreign language to research original sources.
    • Earn a doctoral degree in art history.
  • To teach studio and fine arts in higher education, earn a graduate degree in a specific area of art.
  • Study, memorize, and analyze art movements around the world.

Area

Art Therapy 

Art therapy is a mental health profession that utilizes the creative process of art to enhance functioning in individuals experiencing mental or physical difficulties. It combines the creation of art with theories of counseling and psychotherapy. (Adapted from AATA resources.)

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Community agencies and centers
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Correctional facilities

  • Domestic violence and homeless shelters
  • Art studios
  • Private practice

Strategies

  • Take courses in art, as well as courses in psychology, social work, education, and child and family studies.
  • A master’s degree and coursework in art therapy from a program accredited by The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is required to enter the field.
  • Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
  • Learn to work well with many types of people and develop excellent communication skills.
  • Cultivate a strong sense of empathy, patience, and interpersonal skills. Learn to work in a team environment.

Area

Media

  • Journalism: production, design, art criticism, editing
  • Art direction
  • Sales
  • Programming

  • Video
  • Illustration
  • Animation
  • Story board

  • Film
  • Social media
  • Digital imaging and editing

Employers

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites

  • Book publishers
  • Studios

Strategies

  • Develop excellent grammar and writing skills along with knowledge of the history and culture of art.
  • Learn HTML and other computer programs to prepare for online work. This area of journalism is growing while print is declining.
  • Become comfortable working in a deadline-oriented atmosphere.
  • Work with campus or local newspapers. Create a portfolio of work samples, especially those that have been published.
  • Seek opportunities for recognition and networking through writing contests and freelance writing submissions.

Area

Photography

  • Fine arts
  • News
  • Commercial and industrial
  • Portrait

  • Nature
  • Scientific
  • Journalism
  • Food

  • Underwater
  • Weddings/Events
  • Fashion

Employers

  • Museums
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites
  • Photo agencies

  • Studios
  • Libraries
  • Large corporations
  • Self-employed
  • Venues

Strategies

  • Develop proficiency with photo editing software.
  • Because more than half of all professional photographers are self-employed, it is important to develop knowledge and understanding of business principles.
  • Apprentice with a free-lance photographer.
  • Maintain an up-to-date portfolio of both black and white and color photography.
  • Obtain an internship or part-time job with the campus newspaper, local newspaper, website or other media outlet.

Area

Art Sales 

Employers

  • Self-employed
  • Dealers
  • Galleries

  • Museums
  • Auction houses
  • Specialty stores

Strategies

  • Learn to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. Take additional courses in interpersonal communication and public speaking.
  • Prepare to work independently and to be self-motivated.
  • Plan to work irregular and/or long hours.
  • Cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit, including self-discipline and perseverance, are keys to success.
  • Pursue a business minor to increase knowledge of business principles.
  • Obtain sales experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
  • Volunteer in museums, membership drives, local galleries, and community outreach programs.
  • Serve as a student assistant in a university gallery.
  • Develop solid public speaking skills.
  • Become familiar with marketing techniques using social media platforms.

Area

Fashion/Textile/Interior design

  • Fashion design
  • Fashion product development
  • Entrepreneurship

  • Colorists
  • Stylists
  • Fabric development
  • Surface design

  • Management
  • Buying
  • Tapestry
  • 2D, 3D, and 4D product design

Employers

  • Fabric manufacturers, printers, and converters
  • Print design studios
  • Garment suppliers
  • Retailers

Strategies

  • Most professionals in this field have formalized education and training in the field of fashion and textile design. Research schools offering related programs.
  • Develop proficiency using industry specific computer software such as CAD systems and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Display motivation by designing clothes for yourself and others.
  • Stay up to date on fashion and design trends by following current media related to fashion and textile design.
  • Be able to communicate effectively with different types of people in various functional areas.
  • Expect to work with overseas suppliers. Knowledge of languages, customs, and cultures is helpful.
  • Gain experience by completing internships with design or related firms.

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.
  • Seek exposure to art by visiting museums around the country and world.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas of interest to learn more about opportunities and strategies for these areas. Learn to network.
  • Pair an art degree with other career interests to increase opportunities and provide supplemental income.
  • According to the Department of Labor, many Artists are self-employed.
  • 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.