One of the most popular songs from the hit Broadway show Avenue Q poses the question: What do you do with a B.A. in English? You could replace English pretty much any creative degree, and still be stumped. Designers, artists, and writers alike leave school wondering how to build successful—and in some cases, lucrative—creative careers. The good news is, it’s easier than ever to answer that question.
The internet, self-publishing, streaming services, social media and remote jobs have all created more opportunities for people to perform creative work. But a lot of traditional creative talents are still in high demand too. If you’re trying to choose the perfect creative career, you’ve come to the right place.
Most people would probably agree that “art director” is a vague job title. But in most cases, art directors (which often have similar titles to people with creative director jobs) are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an ad or media campaign. People who hold art director jobs also manage and mentor junior-level designers.
When it comes to artist jobs, art directors tend to be fairly senior-level employees. As such, the average salary for art director jobs in the U.S. is just under $80,000 per year. They typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in art or design, plus several years of practical experience.
Multimedia animators create visual effects and animations for television, movies, video games, and more. Folks that hold these artist jobs tend to be self-employed and often work long hours, but they can charge upwards of $36 per hour, depending on the scope of the project and the animator’s experience.
Multimedia animators tend to have a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, or animation. Employers also prefer candidates who have at least some working experience.
Looking for jobs for creative thinkers? Marketing designers focus on projects that, well, a marketing team works on—which require more methodical planning and thought than you’d imagine. Marketing designers create a wide variety of assets, including ebooks, sales materials, and graphics for marketing campaigns.
Marketing designers range from very early in their careers to very experienced folks who operate in roles similar to creative director jobs. However, the average marketing designer in the United States earns a salary of around $56,000. They also typically hold at least a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, or animation.
Graphic designers do similar work as marketing designers—the big difference being they don’t focus solely on marketing projects. They’re in demand across several industries and build assets for the web, magazines, and even art installations, just to name a few.
The average graphic designer salary in the United States is just under $50,000 per year. However, the big difference is that many graphic designers don’t hold bachelor’s degrees. In fact, a growing number of them began their careers by learning the basics online.
User experience designers (or UX designers) are tasked with making websites and other cloud-based products, well, usable. They take a designer’s sensibility and apply it to create online experiences that are both user-friendly and powerful.
UX designers also take home fairly large salaries at an average of just over $113,000 per year. And while many UX designers hold a two or four-year degree, many others got their start by enrolling in online courses or boot camps.
Video Game Designer
Video game designers do exactly what you think they do—they design video games, using their skills to create immersive environments and realistic-looking characters. Neat, right? This is one of the more unique visual development artist jobs on our list.
Much like UX designers, many video game designers got their foot in the door via online coursework or intensive boot camps. They also take home fairly healthy salaries, especially compared to many other jobs for creative people, at an average of just over $73,000 per year.
Wait, aren’t we talking about creative jobs? You bet—and that’s why web developers made our list. Not only do they need technical chops to build awesome websites, but they also need a designer’s eye to understand how to build awesome websites that people will actually use.
While you might need to supplement your current education with online coursework or a boot camp, U.S. web developers make an average salary of $70,000 per year.
Want to take your knack for creating stunning visual experiences and apply it to everyday items such as lamps and children’s toys? The world of industrial design might be for you. This role requires equal amounts of talent in visual art, business, and engineering to create best-in-class products that people use daily.
Junior-level industrial designers tend to make an average salary of $58,000 per year, depending on location, and are often expected to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in the field.
Photography assistant positions tend to be entry-level art jobs, but they’re ideal for someone interested in photography who’s just getting started. Photography assistants get a hands-on education from a professional photographer; they’re typically responsible for tasks including coordinating photoshoots and setting up before and after large shoots.
Photography assistant salaries tend to be hourly and fluctuate based on the photographer’s budget. However, since these are entry-level art jobs, there are no educational requirements other than a sincere interest in learning the finer details of photography.
Interior designers make interior spaces functional and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They’re most frequently associated with home decor but often work with companies to design unique workspaces.
Interior designers earn an average salary of just over $57,000 per year. They also tend to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, although many of them did not attend school to be interior designers.
Ever wonder who designed the look and feel of your favorite television or Broadway show? Enter the set designer, who’s responsible for designing the vision for a set—and then getting their hands dirty and building it.
Set designers tend to work on a freelance basis, but Glassdoor finds that the average salary is roughly $57,000 per year. Of course, take that with a grain of salt, especially considering that estimate is based on a 40-hour work week.
Much like a set designer, a museum curator is responsible for the look and overall feel of, you guessed it, a museum. They’re tasked with choosing the art that guests will enjoy, while also designing programs and other supplemental materials to enhance the overall experience. Think of things like pamphlets, signage around the museum, and even audio guides.
This is one of the more difficult careers for creative people on our list to get into. Most museum curators hold at least a master’s degree in art history or a similar field of study. In exchange, they earn roughly $52,000 per year.
We probably don’t need to explain what a jewelry designer does. But while there are full-time jobs with large companies available, many other jewelry designers operate as small business owners. You’ll find dozens of them on marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy—and many of them report very livable salaries.
The good news is that you don’t need a two or four-year degree to design jewelry. But the salary will depend on whether you find an opportunity to work with a company, or if you launch your own business.
This probably falls in the category of visual development artist jobs that we don’t need to explain. But as video across the internet becomes just as popular (or in some cases, more popular) than network television, many video editors today focus on creating and editing videos for sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Others focus on editing videos of events such as weddings or corporate retreats.
In a similar fashion to many other roles on our list, video editors often work in a freelance capacity. According to Salary.com, the average “salary” for a video editor is roughly $66,000 per year.
Writing and Editing
Copywriting positions are among the first creative writing jobs that many people discover early in their search. They’re responsible for coming up with quippy, impactful taglines and product descriptions, just to name a few. Some focus on copy for the web, while others specialize in the language you’ll find on toothpaste or greeting cards.
The average salary for a copywriter is roughly $57,000 per year. While many copywriters hold a bachelor’s degree, others learned their trade through intensive boot camps or online courses.
Social Media Manager
Social media managers are responsible for some of the same tasks as content marketers. These jobs for creative thinkers utilize content to attract potential customers via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. However, unlike content marketers, social media folks have a little more leeway to promote their company’s offering.
Entry-level social media managers typically earn $41,000 per year. However, many companies do not require a bachelor’s degree—and aspiring social media pros often learn the ins and outs online.
Ghostwriters are invaluable to thought leaders who have something unique to share but need help getting it down on paper. While you won’t get credit for writing a piece as a ghostwriter, you will find that quality ghostwriting is in high demand. As a bonus, ghostwriting is among the most flexible gigs for people looking for remote creative jobs.
Ghostwriters tend to operate on a freelance basis. And while rates will depend on the length of the project, some ghostwriters earn up to $9,000 per full-length book.
When many people think about what jobs can you get with a creative writing degree, becoming an editor is one of the first goals they set. In addition to editing work by other writers, editors are responsible for evaluating pitches for their publications and assigning articles to both in-house and freelance journalists.
Depending on your location, Salary.com estimates that you can expect to earn between $74,000 and $90,000 per year as an editor. In addition to a portfolio of published articles, many editors hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as journalism or English.
It would be easy to assume that by choosing these art degree jobs, you’re committing to a lifetime of writing for newspapers. That’s partially true—but as a growing number of people get their news primarily off the internet, you’ll find yourself writing for the web more often than not.
Journalism salaries are pretty inconsistent. Many beginners earn roughly $39,000 per year, depending on their location. They also tend to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Looking for what jobs can you get with a creative writing degree? Technical writers combine their technical knowledge with their ability to craft compelling stories. They’re most often known for writing technical documentation, but they’ll often write external content about technical subjects for a wide variety of marketing campaigns.
The average salary for a technical writer is roughly $70,000 per year. And while you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to do the job well, you should have some fairly extensive technical knowledge, especially if you’re joining a company with a very in-depth product.
If You’re Interested in a Variety of Creative Fields
Marketing Assistant or Associate
Looking for art degree jobs, but aren’t sure where to begin? Consider a marketing assistant (or associate) job. These roles expose you to every aspect of a marketing team, from lead generation to product marketing campaigns—and all of these facets require creative thinkers.
These tend to be entry-level roles and pay an average of $42,000 per year. Many companies “require” a bachelor’s degree for these roles, but a growing number of organizations are open to candidates who don’t have a two or four-year degree.
Looking for help on how to write a resume for creative jobs like a marketing assistant? Check out this Skillshare class.
You might not have imagined working in a kitchen, but the best chefs know how to make food taste, look, and smell appealing. Where else can you combine so many aspects of being a creative person?
While you’ll find that many sous chefs have attended culinary school, there are plenty of examples of very popular chefs who got their start by washing dishes or waiting tables. The average salary for a sous chef in the U.S. is roughly $60,000.
Want to equip the next generation of creatives to build or craft beautiful art? Art professor jobs of all levels are vital to the growth of budding artists, and they’re particularly appealing to creative folks who have a wide variety of interests.
If you’re looking for art professor jobs in a public school, you will need a bachelor’s degree and any required certifications for the state in which you’d like to teach. Higher education jobs usually require a master’s degree in a related field. The average salary for a teacher in the United States is roughly $58,000 per year.
Which Is the Right Job for You?
Creating Your Dream Career: Uncover Your Creative Strengths