Art Editor: Job Description and Requirements

Oct 03, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an art editor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

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As an art editor you'll ensure that publications made by an art institute's publications are of the highest quality. In order to qualify for this position, you must have a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions or a master's degree for more advanced positions.

Essential Information

An art editor writes about art and supervises others who produce content related to the arts. People with the title of art editor may write about local exhibits for newspapers or create a website for a museum. Art editors must possess a broad knowledge of art and good written communication skills. A bachelor's degree in English, journalism or a related field may be sufficient to work at a print publication, but graduate level studies in art history or related topics are often required for positions with galleries or museums.

Required Education Bachelor's degree at minimum; some jobs call for master's degrees
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -3% decline for all editors
Median Salary (2018)* $59,480 for all editors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description

Art editor jobs encompass a variety of titles and duties. Positions may range from assistant editor to freelance editor to publisher, who oversees all of an art institution's publications.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for all types of editors are predicted to decline from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). Specific data for art editors is not provided. In May of 2018, the BLS reported that editors in general earned a mean annual wage of $69,480.

At a Publication

If working for a magazine, newspaper or even an online publication, art editors' duties may include checking articles submitted by writers for grammar, spelling and accuracy as well as suggesting ways the writer can improve the article. Art editors may be responsible for assigning stories to the writers. They may be in charge of the layout and content of an entire publication devoted to the arts, or they could be tasked with only a section of the publication set aside for the coverage of art. The art editor may work alone or with others. Hours can be long at times.

Museums and Other Artistic Settings

According to an October 2014 posting on the Association of Art Editors (AAE) website (www.artedit.org), an editor at an art gallery or museum might be required to edit and proofread manuscripts, brochures, programs and Web articles detailing exhibitions or scholarly events.

Requirements

Education

An art editor at a print publication typically needs at least a bachelor's degree in English, journalism or mass communications, according to the BLS. Job candidates with proven writing ability and knowledge of art may also be considered, even if they hold other degrees.

According to the USAjobs.gov and AAE job listings, applicants with graduate education are preferred at art galleries and museums. The type of degree can vary as long as it's directly related to the field; art history is an appropriate example.

Skills and Attributes

An art editor must have wide-ranging familiarity with artistic mediums and styles. Someone pursuing this position should be at ease with writing and have mastery of English grammar. Understanding of electronic publishing, the Internet and multi-media presentations can be helpful. An ability to work cooperatively with others is essential; an art editor may coordinate with authors, freelance writers, production staff and museum administration. To obtain art editor jobs, directly related experience is typically necessary, per the relevant job postings and the BLS.

Art editors need to have extensive artistic knowledge but they also need to have knowledge of editing processes, excellent writing skills and the unique ability to transcribe a visual medium into written word.

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