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The 20 Best and Highest Paying Art Careers Worth Following

Woman painting on canvas
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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. Make-Up Artist

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, being able to do make-up well, is an art in itself. If you’ve dreamt of sculpting faces with make-up 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 make-up brand to learn top tricks of the trade.

Median Salary: $33,000 (£24,243)

2. Musician

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.

Median Salary: $39,000 (£28,652)

3. Art Lecturer

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.

Median Salary: $42,300 (£31,076)

4. Art Gallery Dealer

Art gallery 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, travelling and making hard sales.

Median Salary: $45,200 (£33,207)

5. Talent Agent

This exciting job involves the tracking down of aspiring actors/actresses 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.

Median Salary: $45,900 (£33,724)

6. Fine Artist

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 could complete your projects while working in another part-time job until you have developed a solid business.

Median Salary: $46,600 (£34,238)

7. Printmaker

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.

Median Salary: $47,200 (£34,679)

8. Photographer

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 have to have good communication skills and be inventive to come up with new angles and ideas.

Median Salary: $47,400 (£34,831)

9. Editor

Are you a bookworm that has 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.

Median Salary: $49,555 (£36,414)

10. Art Teacher

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.

Median Salary: $49,900 (£36,668)

 

20 percent discount
20 percent discount

 

11. Animator

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 with a good eye for detail.

Median Salary: $50,450 (£37,075)

12. 3D Artist

A 3D artist isn’t like your regular one that puts paintbrush to paper and creates a fascinating masterpiece. This type of artist uses specialised 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.

Median Salary: $52,000 (£38,214)

13. Technical Writer

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.

Median Salary: $57,700 (£42,405)

14. Illustrator

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.

Median Salary: $58,600 (£43,067)

15. Interior Designer

Interior designers are professionals who combine function, safety, style and beauty to create aesthetically 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.

Median Salary: $58,800 (£43,213)

16. Architect

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.

Median Salary: $59,200 (£43,507)

17. Graphic Designer

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.

Median Salary: $61,900 (£45,491)

18. Film Director

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 theatre, 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.

Median Salary: $62,800 (£46,151)

19. Art Director

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

Median Salary: $71,000 (£52,177)

20. Fashion Designer

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. If you want to be the next Olivier Rousteing or Zac Posen, this high-paying job could be the ideal career path for you.

Median Salary: $80,200 (£58,938)


If you want to excel in any one of these positions, 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 comment section below…

Note that all salaries vary depending on experience, employer, location and industry, and in this article they provide an indication of what you could be earning in the job based on the median salary taken from PayScale. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 3 January 2018.