Artistic Careers for People Without a Degree

There are a number of artistic and creative career paths that rely more on natural ability, practice, and experience than formal education. Individuals without a degree may be interested in taking a closer look at job options in art, dance and crafting.

Career Options for Artistic People Without a Degree

Artistic individuals may be able to channel their passion and creativity into a career without having to earn a degree. In many artistic fields, an artist's talent and the work they produce is a more important factor in success than having the credential of a university degree. These careers do still require a great deal of practice and sometimes training, however. We will look at five different careers below that may be good options for artistic people who do not have degrees.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Craft Artist $33,440 1%
Woodworker $30,180 -1%
Jeweler or Precious Stone and Metal Worker $38,200 -11%
Dancer $13.74 (hourly) 5%
Manicurist/Pedicurist $22,150 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs for Artistic People Without a Degree

Craft Artist

Craft artists are artists who generally work with one or more types of materials, like wood, metal, ceramics, or textiles, and create functional objects. A glass artist who makes glassware, vases, ornaments and jewelry is considered a craft artist, as is a ceramic artist who works with clay to create bowls and mugs. To become a craft artist, having a degree or any sort of formal training is not required, since most of them learn their trade through years of practice.


A woodworker is a type of craftsperson who creates products like benches, tables, and cabinets out of wood, either by hand or with specialized woodworking equipment. While some woodworkers may be employed by large manufacturers and mass-produce items, others can be quite artistic and design their own furniture and decorative items out of wood. To become a woodworker, a high school diploma is necessary, along with on-the-job training, depending on the employer.

Jeweler or Precious Stone and Metal Worker

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers handle fine jewels and gemstones, as well as precious metals like silver and gold. Some of their job responsibilities may include appraising stones and jewelry for quality and price, repairing broken jewelry, and creating new jewelry by designing stone settings and shaping and soldering metal together. To become a jeweler or precious stone and metal worker, you could receive non-degree training through a trade school, though many jewelers are also trained on-the-job.


Dancers are very physical artistic professionals who often work for performing arts companies like ballets or operas or for schools. Their main responsibility is to work with choreographers, directors, and other dancers to learn specific choreography, which could involve spending hours every day in rehearsal. To become a dancer at a high level, it is generally necessary to receive formal training from a young age, though a degree in dance is not usually required.


An individual who works as a manicurist or pedicurist is responsible for providing clients with hand and foot care, which could include painting nails and creating nail art. As a manicurist or pedicurist, you may prep a client's nails by cleaning them, shaping them, and massaging them before applying nail polish and creative designs. To become a manicurist or pedicurist, you will generally need to complete a nail technician program or cosmetology program to become licensed, though no formal degree is required.

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