The 25 Best and Highest-Paying Art Careers Worth Following

Love art? Make it your career.

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

art careers examples like architect fashion designer and furniture designer

When you think of a job in the field of arts, a high wage doesn’t usually come to mind; you think of a struggling artist or a busker full of fire in their belly trying to make ends meet. Yet, surprisingly, there are plenty of artistic jobs that offer a high salary and great job satisfaction — sounds like a dream come true, right?

If you have a creative degree and don’t know what route to take, these top jobs will help you narrow your search.

1. Makeup artist

Makeup artist doing a woman

Average salary: $35,990

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, being able to do makeup well is an art in itself. If you’ve dreamt of sculpting faces with makeup and turning your clients into the best version of themselves, this is definitely the job for you. In order to succeed as a freelancer, you’ll need to gain some work experience in a store for a big makeup brand to learn top tricks of the trade.

2. Musician

Musician holding a guitar and singing into a micriphone

Average salary: Varies

Did you think your dream of making it in the music industry was coming to an end? If you did, think again! You don’t have to be performing at Madison Square Garden to call yourself a musician. You can work behind the scenes and climb your way up the ladder at a production company, or you can opt to be a music teacher and form your own band that plays at parties and weddings.

3. Art lecturer

Art lecturer standing in front a group of students

Average salary: $86,240

If you have the passion and experience in the art industry, being a lecturer sounds like a logical calling. As a professor at a college or university, you will be in charge of delivering the course’s curriculum and assessing the students on the knowledge that they have learnt. Art lecturers must complete a minimum of a master’s degree within the visual arts or art history combined with work experience.

4. Art dealer

Art dealer standing in an art gallery

Average salary: $54,130

Art dealers are industry experts that buy and sell artwork. They work closely with artists, critics, museum owners, collectors and purchasers. This job involves staying up to date with current trends and informed on new products, all while traveling and making hard sales.

5. Talent agent

Talent agent sitting in front of a laptop

Average salary: $116,410

This exciting job involves tracking down aspiring actors and models that you think have the talent to pursue a long-lasting career. If your judgement is right, you could become a household name in the industry and make a good living for yourself, too.

6. Fine artist

Fine artists working on a canvas painting

Average salary: $69,010

This is perhaps the most obvious of careers in art but one that requires an incredible amount of self-belief and dedication. If you aspire to be an artist, you could begin by being an assistant in an art studio and complete your projects while working in another part-time job until you have developed a solid business.

7. Printmaker

Print maker working on a print

Average salary: $53,280

Printmakers create art using printing press, usually on paper. Techniques used include etching, block-printing, woodcuts, silk-screening and lithography, with electronic and digital processes increasingly being used. If this is the career route you would like to take, networking may be the path to getting your name heard.

8. Photographer

Photographer holding up a camera

Average salary: $38,950

If you find yourself taking snaps of all things around you and making them look really captivating, consider choosing a career in photography. You’ll need to have good communication skills and be inventive to come up with new angles and ideas.

9. Editor

Web editor reviewing a website on his computer

Average salary: $76,400

Are you a bookworm with excellent writing skills and a strong command of grammar? If so, becoming an editor may be the right choice for you. These professionals proofread and revise content for newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and publishing houses.

10. Art teacher

Art teacher standing in the middle of an art class

Average salary: $47,440

If you have the passion to share your knowledge and skills with others, why not become an art teacher? You can have the comfort of a job with set hours and holiday, and be inspired by the passion that your students share for the subject. You’ll be responsible for training your students for exams and will feel a huge sense of satisfaction when they have passed.

11. Animator

Animator sitting at a desk and working on a laptop

Average salary: $86,220

An animator is a special kind of artist that produces multiple images called frames which, when put together, create an illusion of movement. Take Disney movies, for example, which are created through animation. To become a successful animator, you need to have artistic talent and strong technical skills as well as a good eye for detail.

12. 3D artist

3D artist working on a laptop

Average salary: $86,220

A 3D artist isn’t like your regular one that puts paintbrush to paper and creates a fascinating masterpiece. This type of artist uses specialized design and drawing software to create computer images of people, buildings and objects to make sure they can be viewed from all sides as a separate element.

13. Technical writer

Technical writer typing on a laptop

Average salary: $81,470

Writing is an art in itself, having the creative talent to cultivate fictional stories or report a piece of news in an enticing way. However, technical writing is a rare form; these writers must have the skill to create technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices and maintenance instructions.

14. Illustrator

illustrator working on a design on a tablet

Average salary: $69,010

Illustrators use their creative skills to demonstrate stories through images for an intended audience. This could be through the front cover of a book or a series of caricatures, photographs or digital illustrations. In order to succeed in this field, you should have already completed a degree in fine arts.

15. Interior designer

Interior designer working on an interior design plan

Average salary: $62,570

Interior designers are professionals who combine function, safety, style and beauty to create esthetically pleasing interior spaces. They usually discuss the client’s wants and needs, and design the project around their budget. Designers must also be technically advanced, as they will use computer-based programs to create their vision boards.

16. Architect

Architect reviewing a floor plan

Average salary: $91,900

Architects are responsible for designing buildings and structures. If you find yourself admiring the unique architecture of buildings and doodling sketches of random designs, this job will be perfect for you.

17. Graphic designer

Graphic designer sitting in front of a laptop and sketching logos in a notepad

Average salary: $59,970

Are you passionate about creating an image on your computer that can speak a thousand words? If so, graphic design allows you to combine art and technology. You may be hired to design images for a website, publication, film, store or restaurant.

18. Film director

Film director sitting in a director

Average salary: $101,950

If you have the vision and ability to use technology to capture talked-about images that make it past the cutting room floor and into the theater, then this job is best-suited for you. Gaining industry knowledge can be difficult, but if you have the skills, you’ll earn mega bucks being a film director.

19. Art director

Art director reviewing something on a computer

Average salary: $115,430

Have you ever dreamt of being the big boss and overseeing design and direct layouts? By being an art director, you will manage the planning, design and production, whether it’s on a modeling set, commercial, poster or magazine. You’ll be the contact for clients and delegate the stylistic needs to team members who will present designs for approval.

20. Fashion designer

Fashion designer sketching a dress

Average salary: $83,650

Fashion designers have the responsibility of creating wonderful patterns for a variety of clothing, shoes and accessories. This can range from products for high-street fashion or haute couture. The designer initially drafts the design but can also be involved in selecting the fabric and cutting and crafting the items.

21. Art therapist

art therapist working on a creative task with a patient

Average salary: $53,900

If you love art and helping others, you’ll be able to combine your two passions as an art therapist. At its core, this profession involves working with people who have physical or mental health problems, as well as clients seeking emotional, spiritual and creative growth, using a variety of artistic processes (like painting and drawing). To practice this highly rewarding job, though, you’ll need to complete comprehensive training that includes a bachelor’s degree in art education or psychology, and a clinical internship.

22. Jeweler

Jeweler holding a hammer and working on a ring

Average salary: $47,090

If you prefer a more practical career and love jewelry, then becoming a jeweler might be right up your alley. As a jeweler, you will design and make jewelry (like bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings) using a variety of metals, gems and other materials. Jewelers are typically hired by jewelry and accessory brands, but many choose to make a business out of it.

23. Art curator

Art curator walking through a hallway decorated with paintings

Average salary: $63,880

Art curators are tasked with the management of art collections in institutions like museums and galleries, and often lead or assist in the production of exhibitions. As they deal with procurement, acquisition, appraisal, appreciation and visual display of artwork, their job is highly specialized and, as such, require formal training art history, art theory or museum studies.

24. Floral designer

Floral designers assembling flower bouquets

Average salary: $32,100

One of the few art careers that don’t require a formal education, floral designers are offered the unique opportunity to combine their artistic expression with a love of flowers. Also known as florists, they use their creativity and knowledge of flower design to arrange live, dried and silk flowers and greenery to make decorative displays according to the needs and requests of their clients.

25. Set and exhibit designer

Theatre set created by a set and exhibition designer

Average salary: $62,960

Set and exhibit designers are tasked with designing the physical sets for film, TV, theater and video productions, as well as displays for exhibitions, museums, galleries, libraries, shows and businesses. They generally specialize in one or the other, but many choose to do both. One of the best things about working as a set and exhibit designer, meanwhile, is that you often get to meet and work directly with famous directors, actors and artists!

Final thoughts

If you want to excel in any one of these jobs, make sure you do in-depth research and have what it takes to succeed. These jobs will feel like a hobby rather than actual work if you have your heart set on them.

Do you see yourself in any of the professions listed above? If so, let us know how you plan to go about it or if there are any other jobs you would like to do in the comments section below.


Originally published on January 8, 2018.