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List of Careers in Art and Design: Job Options and Descriptions

Training in art typically covers principles of composition and design. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for artists.

A career in the field of art and design can mean working as a photographer, an art teacher, or an industrial designer. It may be possible to begin a career as a photographer with no postsecondary training, but art teachers and industrial designers need a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

Artists and designers may concentrate on their individual art practice and pursue careers in photography or industrial design. They may also become art teachers. Photographers and designers may pursue undergraduate degrees in fine arts to hone their skills and build a portfolio. Teachers will need to obtain certification in the state they wish to work.

Career Photographer Art Teacher Industrial Designer
Education Requirements None Bachelor's Bachelor's
Other Requirements None Teaching certification Design software proficiency
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% 6% (grades k-12);
11% (postsecondary teachers)
2%
Median Salary (2015)* $31,710 $54,890-$65,340 (for all teachers, elementary through postsecondary; depending on level) $67,130

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Artists have a variety of career options available to them in a number of fields, including design, photography and even teaching.

Photographer

Photographers frame and preserve scenes, people and events. As visual storytellers, they utilize the best cameras, equipment, computer programs and techniques for developing film and processing prints. Photographers have an eye for composition and detail. They work with lighting, varying points of view and subject matter to achieve the desired effect.

Photographers may work as portrait or event photographers in schools or at weddings. Individuals interested in keeping up with current events or interested in working as documentary photographers may pursue a career in photojournalism.

Fine art photography may be suitable for independent photographers or those interested in preserving and presenting their own artistic view of the world. They often show their work in galleries, museums and other institutions. The flexible work of a photographer, whether a commercial or fine art photographer, often requires the ability to work independently and with clients.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of photography jobs will grow by 3% from 2014-2024, a rate that's lower than the average for all jobs during that same decade (www.bls.gov). The agency reported that photographers earned a median salary of $31,710 in 2015.

Art Teacher

Art teachers at all levels are entrusted with educating students in the creation, exploration and interpretation of visual art. Art educators work to ensure that their students achieve standard academic goals, such as personal development, life skills and academic competency. Art history, theory and criticism are also essential aspects of a curriculum in art education.

Art teachers typically have an in-depth understanding of their own art practice(s) as well as art in historical and cultural contexts. An understanding of child development is imperative for elementary through secondary art educators.

Elementary and middle school art teachers generally teach an overview of studio art practices, incorporating two-dimensional, three-dimensional and mixed media lessons. Art teachers in secondary schools may teach courses in painting, photography or art history. Art educators in colleges and universities typically teach courses in sculpture or new media.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS estimates that during the 2014-2024 decade all teaching jobs will experience growth from 6-11%, depending on the grade level. In 2015, the BLS reported that the median salary for all school teachers ranged from $54,890-$65,340, depending on the grade level taught.

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers develop consumer products, such as household appliances, electronic devices, vehicles and furniture. They may also help develop industrial products, such as medical equipment and agricultural machinery. Industrial designers may work for large manufacturers or independent design agencies or as freelancers. They have an understanding of the impact of their products on the individual, society and the environment. Knowledge of psychology, behavior, engineering and production coupled with that of design principles and techniques are essential aspects of a career in industrial design.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to BLS estimates, the number of jobs for industrial designers is predicted to grow by 2% from 2014-2024. The median salary for people working in these jobs was $67,130 in 2015.

Photographers may take portraits in a studio, on location, or may photograph images of interest for newspapers or websites or magazines. Art teachers instruct students in visual arts and may focus on arts such as photography, sculpting or painting. Industrial designers help determine the look of products such as couches, microwaves or cars.

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