Career Options for Fine Arts Majors

Degrees in fine arts typically cover studio art, art history or computer graphics topics. Find out about career options for this program as well as employment outlook and salary information for fine arts program graduates.

A degree in fine arts can lead to a career as a painter, a craft artist, or a multimedia artist and animator. Painters create images that can be displayed in galleries and sold to clients, while craft artists create decorative items using different substances. Multimedia artists and animators provide animation for films, TV shows, video games or other visual mediums.

Essential Information

Fine artists may express their personal visions through creations such as paintings, drawings or crafts. Depending on their skills and abilities, fine arts majors may choose from a wide variety of career options. Fine artists typically work on their creations while holding another job, but some opportunities may lead to a full-time career.

Career Titles Painters (Fine Artists) Craft Artists Multimedia Artists and Animators
Education Requirements A high school diploma or a fine arts degree program A high school diploma or a fine arts degree program A bachelor's degree in art or computer graphics
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% for all fine artists 1% 6%
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $46,460 for all fine artists $30,720 $63,970

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Individuals with artistic tendencies can prepare for careers as painters. Alternatively, they might develop the skills necessary to create decorative art objects. Students who possess drawing and technical abilities could complete a fine arts program where they learn to produce computer-generated art.

Painter (Fine Artist)

Fine arts graduates may consider a career as a professional painter. Individuals may earn an income by selling or commissioning their work to private clients. They may display their paintings at art galleries, museums or private gatherings to promote their work and arrange sales. Painters typically must work in a second career until they can generate enough income from artwork sales and commission.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment for fine artists, including painters, illustrators and sculptors, to increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than average. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for the fine artist category as a whole was $46,460 as of 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Craft Artist

Craft artists design and create decorative items using various materials such as fabric, wood, metal and plastic. They may display and sell their creations at art shows, galleries, museums and stores. Like painters, craft artists are typically self-employed, and they may need to work a second career until they can generate enough income through product sales.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS expects employment for craft artists to grow by 1% from 2014 to 2024. The median wage for craft artists was listed at $30,720 per year in 2015.

Multimedia Artist or Animator

Fine artists who are skilled in drawing and animation may consider a career as a multimedia artist or animator. They typically provide the animation for films, television shows, video games and other forms of media. Multimedia artists and animators may draw storyboards by hand, or they may create their work with computer software.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS expects employment for multimedia artists and animators to increase by 6% during the 2014-2024 decade. The median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators was $63,970 in 2015, according to the BLS.

From 2014 to 2024 craft artists will see nominal job growth in their industry. Painters will have slightly better prospects, with an expected job growth rate of 3%. Multimedia artists or animators should expect a 6% job growth rate, which is as fast as average when compared to all occupations.


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